Politics of Climate Expertise: Part III

by Judith Curry

The recent controversies surrounding Kevin Trenberth deserve its own thread.

First, we have his preprint for his talk on Climategate for the forthcoming annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society can be found here.  This is being discussed at WUWT and Lubos Motl.  It will be interesting to see how the AMS responds to this (the AMS has many skeptics among its membership).  Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but as a smart move in the politics of expertise, well this statement can’t rank very high, IMO.

Steve McIntyre chimes in with an historical perspective on Trenberth’s activities in the climate debate.

On the science front, Trenberth has stated in an article posted on  Yahoo News about the Brisbane floods that “So it is easy to argue that 1 degree Celsius sea surface temperature anomalies gives 10 to 15 percent increase in rainfall.”  This statement about the Brisbane floods follows his previous statements attributing the Pakistan floods and Russian heat wave to global warming.

He makes the argument in the AMS preprint that:

Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence. Such a null hypothesis is trickier because one has to hypothesize something specific, such as “precipitation has increased by 5%” and then prove that it hasn’t. Because of large natural variability, the first approach results in an outcome suggesting that it is appropriate to conclude that there is no increase in precipitation by human influences, although the correct interpretation is that there is simply not enough evidence (not a long enough time series). However, the second approach also concludes that one cannot say there is not a 5% increase in precipitation. Given that global warming is happening and is pervasive, the first approach should no longer be used. As a whole the community is making too many type II errors.

So we frequently hear that “while this event is consistent with what we expect from climate change, no single event can be attributed to human induced global warming”. Such murky statements should be abolished. On the contrary, the odds have changed to make certain kinds of events more likely. For precipitation, the pervasive increase in water vapor changes precipitation events with no doubt whatsoever. Yes, all events! Even if temperatures or sea surface temperatures are below normal, they are still higher than they would have been, and so too is the atmospheric water vapor amount and thus the moisture available for storms.

Well, burning fossil fuels and other anthropogenic activities have undoubtedly changed the climate and even weather patterns, the butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil, and all that.  Maybe the Brisbane floods would have been less severe without humans on the planet, but maybe the flood would be more severe, there is just no way to know about an individual weather system and it is a pointless question to ask.  The kinds of statistical analyses of climate model simulations to come up with such statistics arent convincing IMO (the attribution of extreme events will be the topic of a future post.) The reason reporters ask this kind of question can probably be traced back to Trenberth’s statements in 2005 attributing 7% of the intensity of Hurricane Katrina to global warming, and that 7% of the intensity was just enough to breach the levees (or something to that effect.)

So back to the politics of expertise, which is the theme of this series.  The skeptics are certainly having a go at Trenberth.  Reactions from lukewarmers and IPCC supporters?  Do you think Trenberth is helping or hindering public education and developing political support for the climate change issue?

Note: I hope to have time this weekend to do a technical post, will try to address the 10-15% increase in precip issue raised by Trenberth, or the issue of attribution of extreme events.

Moderation note: No rude words or personal insults.  Criticize the statements or the strategy, but no personal insults, I will be deleting insulting statements that do not make substantive points.

793 responses to “Politics of Climate Expertise: Part III

  1. Trenberth in a nutshell : since global warming is pervasive, it must be human.

    • David L. Hagen

      The IPCC’s mission was determining

      “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” in relation to Article 2 of the UNFCCC”

      The null hypothesis is therefore more generic:

      Nature and mankind are robust and will tolerate a continuation of previous climate variations will continue.

      These climate variations include ocean and atmospheric oscillations in temperature, pressure, clouds, atmospheric H2O and CO2, sea level, and weather extremes.

      The IPCC’s AR4 summary states:

      There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.6 {2.2}
      Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations. It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica) (Figure SPM.4). {2.4}
      During the past 50 years, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling.

      Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change. {3.4}

      In Box TS.1: Treatment of Uncertainties in the Working Group I Assessment The IPCC defines:
      “Very high confidence At least 9 out of 10 chance”,
      “very likely > 90% probability”, and
      “Likely > 66% probability”

      Far from just inverting the burden of proof, with IPCC’s statements, Trenberth has to show far beyond just “statistical evidence” of “anthropogenic global warming” AGW. He has to statistically show a 90% probability that “Most of” (> 50%) the warming during the 2nd half of the 20th century is due to anthropogenic causes. He also has to show that these will cause “dangerous anthropogenic interference”.
      I.e., “Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”. (CAGW).

      Trenberth’s challenge is not just to show statistical evidence that recent climate changes are anomalous from the null hypothesis, but:
      1) that these are due to anthropogenic causes
      2) that these are
      “very likely due to the increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations”, and
      3) that these will cause catastrophic effects.

      • The other thing is that Trenberth completely botches the concept of the null hypothesis, a null hypothesis is always present for any scientific (in the poperian sense) theory.

        In order to be considered scientific a theory must have a null hypothesis which they are constantly tested against. That gravity exists is an unequivocal fact, but there are a variety of theories about gravity (is it part of the structure of space or is it a characteristic of matter or even the side effect of entropic decay). If I drop my coffee cup cup tomorrow and it does not fall but instead hangs in mid air then whichever theory of gravity I hold will be tested. If everyone tomorrow who drops their coffee cup finds that it doesn’t fall but instead floats in mid-air in front of them then gravity will have been falsified.

        Note that a falsified theory does not mean the theory is wrong, it can mean it is not complete and unable to explain every instance which occurs (sound familiar with respect to climate science?).

        Trenberth has a week before he delivers the speech, I suggest he read up on the theory of science and rewrite the speech. As it stands now (even after at least one round of revisions) he is using terms that he apparently doesn’t understand in order to produce an aura of respectability to climate science which is harmed by his misuse of the terms. He might instead , if he feels justified, rewrite the speech to define the terms (null hypothesis, falsify and such) as he intends them so that the hearer/reader can understand his argument without being distracted by terms which if given their normal definitions make his argument nonsensical. As it exists now this speech is proof that at least one climate scientist does not understand what science is.

      • Completely mucked up the HTML there, moderator perhaps delete and try again without me trying to be more sophisticated than I am:

        max

        WUWT had a thread on Trenberth (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/unequivocal-equivocation/) on which I first had a running battle to counter a view from skeptics that there could be only one true null – namely “AGW is false” (and Willis Eschenbach was as bad as anyone else).

        Then I had a closer look at Trenberth’s speech in the terms you have and came to the same conclusion (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/unequivocal-equivocation/#comment-575969) .

      • HAS, you were kind enough to spring to my defence at WUWT, so I don’t want to perpetuate discord. And I may yet have misunderstood where you are coming from. I understood you to be entertaining KT’s as a tenable position, and I strongly disagree, but if I’m reading you wrong…

        But be that as it may: “that there could be only one true null – namely “AGW is false”?

        I honestly can’t be bothered to track down the exact words, but for an overarching CAGW null hypothesis, mine was/would be something like “CAGW is not occurring”, to the N1 “CAGW is occurring”. I don’t actually think “AGW is false” has all the elements of a true hypothesis, since “falsehood” is not an observable phenomenon, but let’s save that.

        Getting back to your objection to “there is only one null hypothesis”. You are correct (IMO, and subject to withering scorn from on high) in that there are as many N0s as there are N1s – so the number of null hypotheses is, like the number of alternative hypotheses, essentially infinite. But, (forgive caps, no good at html) for any GIVEN hypothesis there can be only ONE null hypothesis. And that will be a null hypothesis DICTATED BY, AND ARISING DIRECTLY FROM, the alternative. In this very limited sense (so limited that I was rash enough to think it merited clarification!), there is indeed only one hypothesis, and it ineluctably is what it is. You don’t get to pick or choose, or ask the AMS to change it.

        But in the general sense I don’t understand Courtney’s insistence that “there is only one null hypothesis”. That would imply that the null to “dogs can breed with cats” is “CAGW is not happening”, and I don’t think that’s what he means, however petulantly he may have repeated it. As I said over at WUWT the science underlying the CAGW hypothesis comprises a multitude of hypothetical components. All, not just the “summit” hypothesis “CAGW is occurring” require the same treatment (and I for one don’t think they’ve been getting it).

        And nor do I understand Richard’s insistence that merely by failing to confirm the alternative you have proved the null. But I guess we’ll have to wait for the next blast, drain the vitriol, and see if we can make sense of what’s left.

        This is as clear as I think I can make it, and offers specific points for you and others to address if you wish. I hope I have explained why I think there can be an infinite number of null hypotheses, while there can only be one “Null Hypothesis”.

        Duck, and cover….

      • Hi

        Experimental science basically advances by demonstrating that “on the odds” theories don’t fit the evidence. Hypotheses get falsified, and by doing so their alternates gain credence.

        My point is that scientists are absolutely free to choose what they are going to try and disprove. A scientist setting out can choose to try and falsify “AGW false” or falsify “AGW true”. In either case if they are successful they add weight to the alternate hypothesis and thereby have added to the sum total of our knowledge.

        But this means there are as many null hypotheses as there are things scientists want to speculate about.

        I should add that if a scientist is unsuccessful in knocking the null off its perch they haven’t proved anything. There are lots of reasons unrelated to what is really going on that might make it impossible to disprove something (e.g. all the things that happen in climate science – poor data, lots of confounding influences etc).

        So Dr T is free to choose his null hypothesis as he sees fit, but that will determine what he has shown if he disproves it.

        One of the supreme ironies of Dr T saying we should adopt “AGW true” as the null means that climate science should then be focused on disproving this. This is of course the skeptics’ position and it’s the failure of the believers to do this that leads to much of the angst.

        All this basically shows Dr T doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

        In fact I think he wanted to make some smart comments about onus of proof (conveniently forgetting that in science the onus falls on whoever’s doing the proving) and wrapped it in up some authoritative sounding stuff about experimental design and statistics, which he clearly doesn’t understand.

        I trust the AMS all fall about the floor laughing when its delivered.

        You make an aside about “AGW false” as a suitable hypothesis because you worry about proving falsehood. Having a well formed hypothesis is essential, and one of the attributes required is the ability for it to be falsified.

        In fact “AGW false” probably translates to “man made GHGs caused less than 50% of the warming over the last century” and you can see how you could falsify this in principle (in practice getting to this point would involve disproving a whole lot of sub-hypotheses).

      • Yes, and how far it is from the Feynman ideal of the hypothesizer eagerly doing his darnest to concoct and conduct challenging experiments and trials, on the basis that the tougher the attacks that fail, the better.

      • HAS

        I did try to lay my comment out in a way that allowed my points to be addressed seriatim, but you have chosen not to do that, so I will try to pick through yours as best I can.

        I agree with all you say about what WOULD be tested IF “AGW false” were the null. But I still don’t think it can be.

        Using google I found

        http://www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&defl=en&q=define:Null+hypothesis&sa=X&ei=HbQ3TfKeH4m3cKu6qNQK&ved=0CBUQkAE

        Now the first instance this page gives might lend support to your view, but:

        a/ it is from Wiki, which I do not trust on anything that may have anything remotely to do with climate – as the null hypothesis assuredly does.

        b/ it contains the qualifier ” (within the frequentist context of statistical hypothesis testing) “, which may be a perfectly good statistical qualification, but sounds a bit like a preemptive Trenberthian plea for the disregard of scientific orthodoxy.

        ALL the other instances appear to me to preclude the use of causal relationships in a null hypothesis. The most succinct, among several:

        “This is the hypothesis that two or more variables are not related and the researcher wants to reject.” Now I put it to you that you cannot fit Trenberth’s “AGW is occurring”, or any of your similar formulations into this definition. A hypothesis which proposes the existence of a causal relationship CANNOT be a null hypothesis, because, quite simply, it lacks the property of nullity. It is an irredeemably positive hypothesis, and therefore cannot be a true null – it MUST be an alternative.

        You write

        “science basically advances by demonstrating that “on the odds” theories don’t fit the evidence. Hypotheses get falsified, and by doing so their alternates gain credence.” Of course, plenty of experiments demonstrate that the evidence DOES support the theory – I’m sure you didn’t mean to imply otherwise!

        More substantially, though, back at WUWT, in response to Jim D, I think, I laid out my understanding of the experimental process, and it differs from yours. No, I don’t think that you demonstrate anything “on the odds”. The statistical regime you declare is part of your experimental method, and can’t also be part of the result!

        The key sentence in my comment is “You would then design an experiment to test your alternative hypothesis, including in your description a declaration of the way you propose statistically to treat your data.” And once you have set your statistical terms, the outcome becomes deterministic, not probabilistic. No further “odds” about it. If someone enquires about the confidence levels you used, he is enquiring about the design of your experiment, not its result. You had your statistical opportunity, so to speak, and you only get it once.

        Now you might argue after the event that you should have used a different statistical regime, but if you then go back to your data and do so, you are essentially altering the experiment (since the statistical regime you chose was an essential part of the first one) and by extension both the alternative and null hypotheses. The results of the first experiment are N1 or N0, not “N1 on the odds”, or N0 on the odds”. The only excuse (see Rutherford) for using statistics is that they permit a deterministic finding which would otherwise be impossible. They are NOT there to build a probabilistic wall that obscures the null hypothesis! Of course we know that there is uncertainty in our deterministic finding, but that doesn’t make it any less deterministic in quality! And we also “know” that by changing the statistical rules of our experiment, we might have got a different (but no less deterministic) result. But that would be a different experiment (even if it used the same data). The result that we got from the experiment we DID design, and DID do, is deterministic. I repeat, statistical formulations which form part of the experiment cannot, IMO, make a second appearance as part of that which is demonstrated – the result.

        And I don’t think “gaining credence” has anything to do with it. Belief may be important and useful to the person, (I think you can make a good case that without the person’s propensity to believe, the scientist within would remain pure, but ignorant), but the scientist within MUST either accept or reject, as experiment determines, until FURTHER experiment determines otherwise. It is of course, this unlimited opportunity for further and better experiment which keeps the system honest, not the degree of “credence” given to this or that hypothesis at any particular time.

        Later you write:

        “You make an aside about “AGW false” as a suitable hypothesis because you worry about proving falsehood. Having a well formed hypothesis is essential, and one of the attributes required is the ability for it to be falsified.”

        Having a well-formed hypothesis is indeed vital – I am devoting considerable time and energy, to say nothing of having to suffer RC’s petulance, to making precisely that point, and I’m a little surprised you should see the need to remind me. But you have ignored the reason I gave for saying that “AGW is false” is badly-framed, while “AGW is occurring” is not. Simply including the words “false” or “true” in your hypothesis doesn’t render it falsifiable. How do you measure or observe “falsehood” or “truth”, when they are logical constructs, not natural phenomena? As I said earlier, I believe students of logic use formulations such as “Xfalse”, but that’s not the same as “X is false”, and should not mislead us. But this is a subordinate point, I hope we can agree.

        It’s good that we can agree that KT’s proposal is foolish, but I wish we could agree that is is also categorically wrong.

        Here I think are my key points:

        1/ A statement of a positive relationship between observed variables can never be a null hypothesis.

        2/ One bite at the statistical cherry – Statistical arguments which form part of an experiment can never be present in, nor qualify, its result.

      • “Here I think are my key points:

        “1/ A statement of a positive relationship between observed variables can never be a null hypothesis.

        “2/ One bite at the statistical cherry – Statistical arguments which form part of an experiment can never be present in, nor qualify, its result.”

        To your first point. Your further quote “This is the hypothesis that two or more variables are not related and the researcher wants to reject.” and argue this means that therefore a hypothesis that “two or more variables are relate” can not be a proper null.

        Let’s for the sake of argument assume this is right. But in very crude terms “A is related to B” is the equivalent to “A is NOT related to NOT B”, so you will find that any hypothesis can be put as a null that meets your requirements.

        On your second point you say that because one should set the significance level prior to the experiment, the result of that experiment is either “true” or “false”, no odds about it.

        I was just making the point that what has been shown to be “true” or “false” is a probabilistic statement (the statement of fit between data and hypothesis). I should just add as an aside that Fischer, the grandfather of this stuff, took the view that the significance level was simply something to be reported, rather than tested a priori. He would have said the outcome of the experiment was the probabilistic statement.

      • I am unpersuaded by your “A is related to B” is the equivalent to “A is NOT related to NOT B”, but perhaps you can render a practical example using AGW?

        And yes, Fischer coined the term null hypothesis, and did well to do so. But he went on to champion Eugenics, which as hunter will tell you bears an uncanny resemblance to CAGW. Importantly both take good science, improperly and perversely extend it, and end up in cloud cuckoo land. Misusing the null hypothesis, whether or not you coined it, is one way of achieving this.

        Sorry, but for the moment I stick by my statements.

      • man made forcings cause more than 50% of global temp increase

        non man made forcings don’t cause more than 50% global temp increase

      • HAS

        “man made forcings cause more than 50% of global temp increase” is the alternative to the null “man made forcings do NOT cause >50% of global temp increase.”

        “non man made forcings don’t cause more than 50% global temp increase” is the null of the alternative “non man made forcings DO cause >50% etc…”

        They are two separate hypothetical pairs, one testing something about “man-made forcings”, the other “non-man-made forcings”. For them to be equivalent, you have to do some further logical work, including establishing that “non-man-made forcings” + “man-made forcings” = “all the forcings there are”. You might be able to do so, but apart from other objections, why would you want to? What deficiency of method do you thereby address? What experimental possibilities does your formulation afford, that mine does not?

      • HAS –
        “A is related to B” is the equivalent to “A is NOT related to NOT B

        Not necessarily so. And not something on which I’d base an argument. It could very well be that “A is related to both B and to NOT B”. Try a simple Venn diagram.

      • You should search on “the law of the excluded middle” if you are looking for something that is neither “man made” nor “not man made”.

        The only reason for my example was because you didn’t feel that “AGW is true” was a legitimate null because it posited a relationship rather than the lack of one. This example shows how “AGW is true” can be expressed as the lack of a relationship. Ergo you should feel free to adopt “AGW is true” as a legitimate null if you wish.

      • Jim Owen | January 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm |

        Hence: “But in very crude terms …” to avoid all the complications of specifying the characteristics of the types of relationships we are talking about etc etc.

        But you’ll see in my comment just above to TomFP we’re all safely back on dry ground.

      • Jim;
        Yes, like:
        Hair-growing is related to males; hair-growing is related to females.
        “Hair-growing is not related to not-males” is thus false, despite its relation to males.

      • :)

        But if you want to test “only men grow hair” then that is the equivalent to testing “all non-men don’t grow hair”, which is my point. For any null that asserts a relationship you can construct an equivalent one that asserts the absense of one.

      • HAS;
        Yeah, amazing the difference that inserting “only” has on the logic, huh?

        Which is actually a really interesting point when applied to cAGW; the assertion is that ONLY AGW could be responsible for certain temperature rises as measured by a huge, sloppy, pencil-whipped-into-submission network of thermometers of unknown accuracy.

  2. So, it is all to do with temperature and not the movement of atmospheric systems.
    Interesting how this AGW theory just keeps certain scientists to put their own foot into their mouths.

  3. Dr. Curry,
    You ask a good question and I would like to make a prediction. I predict the lukewarmers will 100% “have a go” at Trenberth’s statements, but IPCC supporters will be more of a mixed bag – some will offer support for certain statements and try to ignore some of the more egregious logical issues, others disagree with Trenberth’s position entirely. Perhaps you could ask Eduardo Zorita to comment here. I would love to see Stephen Schwartz comment but I don’t think he does blogs. Perhaps James Annan would like to have a go at defending Trenberth. Care to ask him?

  4. I guess I would consider myself a lukewarmer and I think Trenberth’s messaging is not going to help either public education or developing political support for addressing climate change. As can be observed in some comments at WUWT, those that are not convinced that GHGs play any role in climate change will simple see Trenberth’s speech as CAGW propaganda. As you note, it seems obvious to say that long term changes in climate patterns (whether these be natural or due to human activities) will affect weather events, it is really impossible to say to what extent a single weather event is affected by such changes, particularly when the event appears to lie within the range of events that have occurred as does the Queensland flooding.

    To me at least, such constant overstatement of certainty and attribution by those most convinced of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change simple does not help convince the general public (if they are even paying attention) or politicians to move forward on addressing the issue. Think of Chicken Little and The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    • I’m with you Bob. I fear this will serve to further polarise the debate and make the task for any kind of rational response to the issue even harder than it already is.

      Clearly, if this was simply a debate to be won or lost on the skill of the protagonists, I would be cheering right now at what I perceive as a huge ‘own goal’ by Kevin Trenberth.

      I’m not cheering. Science is the loser. Rational decision making is the loser. Are these guys ever going to learn?

    • Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of Trenberth’s comments ARE CAGW propaganda. Especially when information coming out of Australia suggests that much of the devastation could have been avoided if the people responsible for adjusting the levels of what was released from the dam hadn’t gone about with their usual “weekend off” and actually done their job of appropriately adjusting the spillways. That’s not from warming caused by humans – or warming caused by nature. That’s from humans being complete dolts and abjuring their civic duties just so that they can have a few days off. With millions of lives, thousands of homes, cars, land, etc. at stake. Hope they have good insurance to deal with the civil claims that will be brought against them for their negligence.

      I guess my statement actually goes to your second paragraph where you talk about the constant overstatement of CAGW does not help the general public in believing what the CAGW gods say from on high. In this case, Trenberth is greatly hurting, not helping, his cause.

    • So would it be better if his statement was based on what he thought would convince Indians and Chinese and WUWTers, as opposed to how he sees the science? Obviously many of you think he’s wrong anyway, but should what he says be modulated by the political impact?

  5. “Will the last remaining member of the consensus please turn off the light.” You have to give Trenberth credit for continuing the fight at a time others have begun subtly to reposition themselves.

  6. Dr Curry – I am pleased to see that you state “No rude words or personal insults. Criticize the statements or the strategy, but no personal insults, I will be deleting insulting statements that do not make substantive points. ”

    What is your opinion of those blogs that not only do not enforce these rules but seem to encourage personal responses by pointing to Dr Trenberth’s e-mail address?
    For example http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/13/trenberths-upcoming-ams-meeting-talk-climategate-thoughts/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/jan/10/gabrielle-giffords-rightwing-rhetoric-climate-change?
    Where Damian Carrington says:
    “So it’s clear that even in issues such as climate change there is an active fringe of people deploying violent rhetoric and hate mail against those with whom they disagree. Could that tip the balance between thought and action in the mind of an unstable individual? It’s a worryingly plausible thought.”

    • With respect, Louise, it wasn’t the active fringe Carrington refers to that deployed the phrase ‘deniers’ of their enemies, starting with explicit comparisons with Holocaust deniers from 2004 onwards (see my submission to the Parliamentary Committee last February). Anthony Watts has been complaining ever since about such ‘violent’, extreme terminology – and he does so again in the post you link to. Pots and kettles don’t come close.

      • and how many of those deniers have received death threats or razor blades through the post?

      • Has anyone defended those actions?

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Louise

        How would you categorise this quote from George Monbiot:

        “…every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.”?

        Violent rhetoric from an “active fringe”, or justifiable passion from someone concerned with the future of the planet? Please give your reasoning. Do you condemn it or not?

      • Did you read the whole article?

        http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/12/05/life-coaching/

        I suppose it’s true that there are some nutters about who cannot understand the difference between tongue-in-cheek remarks and ‘calls to arms’ but I doubt it.

        “There was one proposal in Sir Rod Eddington’s report to the Treasury with which, when I first read it, I wholeheartedly agreed. He insists that “the transport sector, including aviation, should meet its full environmental costs”(1). Quite right too: every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned.

        Reading on, I realised that this is not exactly what he had in mind.”

      • It’s amazing what can be justified in the name of humour if your cause is just.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Labmunkey

        To be fair, our George has put his foot in his mouth on many an ocassion. But this quote does appear to be an attempt at tongue in cheek humour, as Louise suggests.

        Would that some of Trenberh’s remarks were similarly intended! ;)

      • fair enough

      • The issue is not the nuance of intent, the issue is the violent language being used. You don’t drag people out of their offices and drown them for a laugh. You don’t joke about that kind of thing, unless you can attest to the sanity of your audience as well as their individual abilities to rationalise your implicit meaning – as opposed to the literal meaning of your explicit turn of phrase.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Louise

        Actually you’re right about that quote. I rather lazily picked it up from Bishophill and the discussion there. It seems innocuous enough in context. Apologies. Mea culpa.

      • No worries :-)

      • Is “nutters” appropriate? You seem inconsistant

      • Yep – nutters is appropriate*. Anyone sending razor blades through the post because they disagree with somebody’s view on climate change is a nutter. So is anyone who thinks Monbiot was actually calling for airline executives to be drowned.

        *Sorry for falling into professional/technical jargon – I’m a psychologist by trade.

      • How many “warmists” have been arrested for public order offences? How many of them are currently suggesting totalitarian solutions to environmental problems?

        If you’re going to start complaining about inflammatory rhetoric, I think perhaps you need to nod your head towards the environmental movement first and foremost. Anything you see on the skeptic side is simply a reaction to this, which is to be entirely expected when our freedoms are under threat.

      • I didn’t complain about inflammatory rhetoric – I complained about people sending razor blades through the post and death threats by e-mail.

        Not quite so rhetorical

      • For a moment there I thought you said that people were sending razor blades by e-mail.
        Glad I got that wrong…. phew! ;-)

      • I’m not defending nutters, I’m just struck by how blinkered your opinion is, given it doesn’t take into account the “Che Guevara complex” rapidly developing in the environmental movement.

        And whom exactly has been sent razor blades anyway? Sounds like an urban legend to me.

      • OK, who has gotten razor blade in the mail?

      • Once he says it, it sticks in your mind even if he takes it back, in a way, later. It’s kind of like having a witness taint the jury with information about past crimes of the defendant. The judge will tell them to ignore it, but the cow is already out of the barn.

      • I totally repudiate violence or threats of violence Louise. But one of the problems I have with the claims you make is that nobody that I know of has been convicted of such crimes (and crimes they would be). So we have no idea who has committed such – and thus have any idea what their expertise and opinion on climate science is.

        Otherwise it’s just hearsay. It could even be agent provocateurs seeking to discredit genuine, peace-loving sceptics with a real concern for the science and for truth.

        I repeat that I repudiate abuse and threats on all sides. I would point to the personal example of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts as those that I have seen, on many occasions, eschewing such approaches. But one cannot say the same for Kevin Trenberth in this talk to AMS

      • The same Anthony Watt who pointed to Dr Trenberth’s e-mail address?

      • Of course. There’s no evil or intent for evil in giving out a public email address, any more than a physical address. There is in using ‘denier’ of your enemies. Anthony’s not alone in condemning such terminology. A series of apologies from leading climate players – starting with Mike Hulme, who seems to have got the black ball rolling with a comparison with holocaust deniers in 2004 – would go a long way. But if Trenberth receives some critical email now he thoroughly deserves it. (Not abusive, not threatening, but critical. There’s a difference.)

      • Trenberth helpfully includes his e-mail address in the pre-performance ‘transcript’ of his reamrks. I assume that if he wasn’t keen on people knowing it, he would not have done so.

        See http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/Paper180230.html, and the manuscript therein. The address is clearly given at the bottom of p1 as:

        *Corresponding author: Kevin E Trenberth, NCAR, PO Box 3000, Boulder, CO 80303.
        Email: trenbert@ucar.edu

        I don’t think that you can ‘blame’ Anthony for drawing attention to part of the public document prepared and publicised by Trenberth himself.

        Indeed I would suggest that he may be doing Trenberth a favour by allowing the public an opportunity to show him just what a big hole he has dug for himself and his cause. And maybe to give him a last minute change of heart.

        But as a key man in Climategate, I suggest that he has only limited self-awareness and will nonetheless cahrge straight on in haste..leaving a very long time (for he is still relatively young) for subsequent repentance.

        His choice. His coneequences.

      • Dr. Trenberth’s e-mail address is available to anyone and everyone on this page at his place of employment.

        No one has acted irresponsibly by presenting that information.

      • My apologies for characterizing it as such. At the time I didn’t realize that it was posted as a part of Trenberth’s transcript…I should have checked before hitting submit.

      • What do make of the climate scientists who forwarded Steve McIntyre’s home address to each other?

      • What do make of the climate scientists who forwarded Steve McIntyre’s home address to each other?

        Evidence of this and the identities of those involved should be publicised immediately.

      • Louise,

        Death threats and razor blades are truly awful examples of the extremes some ignorant people will go to in society. They should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law if their identities are ever discovered.

        However, to suggest that they are somehow not responsible for their own actions by virtue of opinions expressed by others is, in my opinion, misguided. The London police are currently searching for a young person who threw a molotov cocktail during a demonstration against tertiary education budget cuts, sponsored by various legitimate political organisations. Are they, rather than the bomb-thrower, responsible for that petrol bomb?

        I completely agree that such extreme instances of antisocial behaviour are completely repugnant and intolerable….but if we continually try to blame others that express controversial opinions rather than the perpetrators themselves, we are surely playing into their hands.

      • I have to conclude all this talk about razor blades being sent through the mail is BS. No one has cited an actual example. If you can’t tell the truth, then keep your mouth closed.

      • As far as I’m aware the connection with razor blades arises from vitriolic emails urging climate scientists to “go gargle razor blades” amongst other abuse. As far as I know no actual razor blades have been sent, although I could be wrong.

      • I read Trenberth’s peice as being directed against those that are true ‘deniers’ in every sense of the word. We have all come across them on blogs (much worse than on here) – people who blindly parrot out every piece of debunked nonsense that they’ve picked up and have no intention of ever opening their minds or examining the science. I see nothing wrong in calling these people deniers as that is an accurate description.

      • Louise i could easily say exactly the same about the cAGW-ers, however i wouldn’t use the term ‘deniers’.

        It is HIGHLY offensive and belittles an absolute horrific event.

        You can call them what they are- closed-minded individuals, of fundamentals- but PLEASE top using that term.

      • I’ve been called marxist, water-melon, eco-facist, alarmist and other terms that are untrue.

        The only people that I call deniers are those who deny that climate science has anything to tell us – these folk do exist although there are very few on this blog.

        I do not call skeptics ‘deniers’ as that term does not fit them.

      • lousie, i’m not bothered WHO you use the term for, i just wish you wouldn’t use it at all.

      • Calling you an alarmist seems completely accurate does it not? Far more so than the description of denier, which can be completely inaccurate for most who think the policy positions of alarmists are wholely unjustified

      • Rob Starkey – I do not believe that calling me an alaarmist is justified. I do not call for the immediate cessation of all fossil fuel burning for example – as a true alarmist would.

        Similarly, I do not call all who are skeptical that climate change is largely a result of man burning fossil fuels a denier.

        See what I did there?

        It’s called being reasonable

      • Louise—sorry, but now you have “true alarmist” vs. “alarmist” and your own personal definition of denier and skeptic. The fact that you create your personal definitions and defend the use of prejudicial terms vs. discussion of the merits of positions seems to demonstrate you are very similar to those you are strongly criticizing.

      • David L. Hagen

        Louise
        I strongly support the request to never use “deniers” except for those who deny the Holocaust. Please read/listen to Eli Wisman to get a perspective on the magnitude of depravity of killing some 6 million Jews and another 7 million Christians etc. Do not cheapen or dismiss such horrific evil by blithely branding as “denier” those you disagree with.

        A scientific disagreement over the magnitude of anthropogenic contribution to climate does not justify such abusive ad hominem tactics.

      • David L. Hagen – I have personal reasons why I do not need to be reminded of the horrors of the holocaust.

        If I had “scientific disagreement over the magnitude of anthropogenic contribution to climate ” I would not use the word denier to describe these people unless they actually denied the science as presented.

        I believe that I have a right to use whatever civil language I believe accurately reflects my views and the use of the word denier as and when I feel fit is part of that right (unless Dr Curry decides that it is not one that she wishes to see on this blog).

      • The only problem being, many people do not find the term ‘denier’ civil.

        I honestly do not understand your insistance on it’s use when there are many other (and far more derrogetory) terms that are perfectly acceptable.

      • I do not use more derogatory terms because I do not wish to denigrate. I wish to be accurate.

      • But you ARE. why can’t you see that?? You MUST be able to see that it’s not acceptable?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Oh, please. If everyone in the room says “I don’t like to be called a whinging Pom, please call me British”, you would be the one idiot in the room who wanted to insult everyone by insisting on accuracy. You would be the one to tell them that you were going to call them what you wanted, no matter what they wanted to be called, because by God you know what they really are, and you are going to be “accurate” no matter what the human cost …

        And you are a psychologist by trade? For shame. Physician, heal thyself. Where I come from, calling people by the names they prefer is COMMON POLITENESS.

      • LabMunkey

        I use the term in the same way that Dr Curry does when she stated “Any person making a scientific argument (right or wrong) or repeating a scientific argument (right or wrong) to me does not deserve the label “denier.” My personal use of the word refers to people who are vocally anti-science and reject AGW prima facie for religious or political reasons, without paying attention to the scientific arguments (on either side of the debate.) ”

        How come I get all the flack and she gets a free ride?

      • I am done with you unless you ever wish to actually discuss policy

      • Willis Eschenbach – I have not called anyone on this blog a denier. I have stated that I believe that deniers exist and I have defined what I believe constitues a denier. I do not see how most of the people on this blog seem to think I am describing them because I sure don’t. I fail to see how you can accuse me of being impolite.

        How come nobody as yet replied to Dr Curry’s definition of a denier?

      • i had not seen Dr Curry’s post. I extend my objection to that too.

        the connotations of the word denier are clear. there are many alternatives that are equally suitable. To persist in using that word, when it has been highlighted by many to cause grave offense is not only callus but perhaps, shows an ulterior motive.

        As willis stated, if nothing else it’s just not polite.

      • what you mean when you use the term has little to no bearing on whether it is rude or not.

        People have told you they find the term offensive. you have heard them. Even if they use the term themselves, to refer to themselves, they can still consider it rude if YOU use the term.

        There is another term in the language like this.

      • Louise is clearly an alarmist, simply by virtue of her insistence on using the term “denier”.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        Louise,
        Who are you to judge who is a skeptic vs who is a denier. You would have to know a considerable amount of detail on the person and their knowledge, and in GENERAL you can’t. To judge based on a comment or two is pure ignorance. I am a ScD scientist with a considerable knowledge on the subject of climate change and have been called denier. Anyone that takes it upon themselves to judge others is totally out of order. Just comment on comments and leave it at that.

      • Leonard Weinstein,

        Your point is well made. I concur.

        Also, a person may claim themselves to be warmist, alarmist, skeptic or denier (etc, etc, ad nausea) . . . . still, it is the nature of their comments that speak to what they think . . . not their self-styled stereotyping that show what they think.

        John

      • Louise: thank you for taking part in this discussion. It would help me understand your point better if you could provide some examples (with names or aliases) of individuals ‘…who deny that climate science has anything to tell us…’. You maintain they exist, but…I can’t think of any.

      • The irony is that Trenberth’s track record is denying Steve McIntyre even the courtesy of an explanation for an accusation that was clearly directed towards him in 2005:

        There have been several examples of people who have come into the field of climate change and done incredibly stupid things by applying statistics in ways that are inappropriate for the data, [Trenberth] says.

        Full details in the April 2006 post on Climate Audit, Thacker’s “Sources”, which I read for the first time yesterday.

        For this man to use the term ‘deniers’ of his opponents (including McIntyre, without question) goes beyond parody. An abject example of how not to win friends and influence people. I’m looking forward to see how the sceptics of the AMS take it – the increasing number of sceptics, as I’m sure it will be by the end of this month.

      • Louise,

        Do you think Kevin Trenberth’s piece will move the debate forward? Do you think he has aided or hindered his intentions of persuading the public as to the rightness of his cause?

        These are surely the most crucial questions for those who agree with his views.

      • Saaad – Yes I do believe Dr Trenberth’s peice to be valuable, especially if the main stream media pick this up. Most media seem to now give equal credence to those scientists working in climate change and people like Monckton. I think this needs redressing. I have heard Monckton referred to as an ‘expert’ on climate change – he is clearly nothing of the sort and I hope that the mainstream media pick up on Dr Trenberth’s views and start to recognise that everyone is not equal in this debate. Some are worth listening to more than others (isn’t that the whole debate about climate experts).

        I would not expect a crystal healer to be commenting on the spread of swine flu in the UK and stating that their crystals are as useful as getting the flu jab yet people like Monckton are regularly trotted out as if they actually know something. Unfortunately, a great deal of the general public never visit these or any other climate blogs and so are unaware that his is not an expert view in any sense of the word.

        I have no problems with true skeptical scientists and others making their point but I do believe that charlatans should not be given air-time. I do think that genuine skeptics should also stand up and denounce these charlatans and I’m glad that Dr Trenberth is now doing so.

      • Louise, how do you reconcile this view with the MANY errors in his piece?

      • Louise,
        If you think Trenberth’s piece has value, where does the value lie?

      • Louise,

        You see, I know that Monckton is a pompous ass and frequently seems to be antagonistic purely for the sake of a charged debate, but I would say that he too has suffered from a similar amount of vitriol to that experienced by Kevin Trenberth and often for no good reason.

        I can see no more excuse for the invective suffered by Trenberth than I can for the insults hurled at Monckton. To give you some idea, I’m preparing for the onslaught of ridicule I might now encounter for even suggesting that some of what Monckton says is also worth listening to. It is…really.

        We desperately need to try and distill this debate down to a robust, reasoned and, above all else, polite exchange of views. IMO Trenberth and Monckton are both examples of people who thus far have hindered rather than helped this aim.

        I can imagine that you’re probably spitting your porridge (or brandy perhaps if you’re from the southern hemisphere) all over the place at my mentioning Trenberth and Monckton in the same sentence. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that Monckton is winning the argument at the moment without ever having to worry about Trenberth, beyond slurring him as someone who won’t deign to debate ‘deniers’.

        Do you see what I mean?

      • Saaad – I do see what you mean but I still don’t understand why sensible people who want to understand more about the science and are skeptical of the certainies, magnitutes, etc seem to think that Dr Trenberth is pointing to them when he describes deniers.

        As for popular appeal – well Monckton is a politician, everything he says is designed to appeal to as many people as he thinks he can influence. He’s had a lot of practice.

        Dr Trenberth as a scientist is more used to calling a spade a bluddy shovel (as we say around these parts) and so has less practice of dressing his remarks up to be pretty. Besides, reading some of the attitudes even on this relatively mild blog (people have called him stupid, idiot, ‘travesty’ Trenberth, etc) never mind some of the more robust over at WUWT – why would or should he try to hold an olive branch to these people?

        He has probably already been the recipient of hate mail before this statement. He’s a scientists, not a diplomat. Why should he care about a minority of nutters on the intraweb? He needs to get to MSM and his statement is designed to do that.

        A statement couched in uncertainties, probabilities, olive branches and similar wouldn’t be news. MSM wants controversy and perhaps the only way to get them to pay attention is to give it to them – it’s what Monckton does after all.

      • Louise: “He needs to get to MSM and is statement is designed to do that.”

        Having read his statement again, I couldn’t agree more. This is not aimed at AMS delegates, this is a pitch to the media. The qustions are why and why now? From the tone of his article, it seems to me that he feels that the IPCC consensus is not getting its message across and perhaps this is an attempt to regain the media high ground. The use of inflammatory language is probably to get their attention. The problem is, the public seem to have switched off.

      • Yes, I do see what you mean, especially the idea of a scientist going up against a practised political animal such as Monckton.

        This is why I’m keen on some kind of web based Q and A – carefully moderated to remove insults and irrelevance – between a Kevin Trenberth and, say, the contributors to this site. Perhaps it could be KT debating, with Dr Curry asking questions on our behalf. Surely this has to be at least an idea worth investigating.

      • “(I)seem to think that Dr Trenberth is pointing to them when he describes deniers.”

        It certainly would help if Trenberth were to define “denier” when refers to them.

      • It is entirely appropriate for Trenbarth to equate a spade with a bluddy shovel. Spades and shovels are completely different tools with different purposes. A spade is a cutting tool for digging (breaking ground). A shovel is a specialist scoop for transferring material from one place to another. Still, don’t suppose technicalities like that will bother you, eh?

      • I have no problems with true skeptical scientists and others making their point but I do believe that charlatans should not be given air-time. I do think that genuine skeptics should also stand up and denounce these charlatans and I’m glad that Dr Trenberth is now doing so.

        For “charlatan” read “Climategate author”. And it is truly time for genuine alarmists to stand up and finally denounce what Trenberth’s circle were caught doing. The longer they refrain from this, the more it looks like ALL climate scientists are dishonest.

      • Louise, the problem with the term ‘true deniers’ is where to draw the line. Those that question whether CO2 can absorb LW radiation may be at one end of the scale, However, what about those that question the extent of radiative forcing at the TOA? Are they deniers or thoughtful skeptics? IMHO, it’s an unhelpful term, with unpleasant connotations with the Holocaust. In my view, Trenberth’s use of it undermines his credibility as an expert.

      • Then he is attacking an easy straw man, and honest, competent scientists should not be admiring that, for it is just another way of dismissing all debate or criticism. That is anti-science.

      • Latimer Alder

        And yet you objected to my use of the term ‘p*f*l*’ as ‘vicious’.

        The term ‘Deniers’ has clear and deliberate overtones of the Holocaust. Would I be right in describing your use of the term as ‘very vicious’? If not how do you reconcile these two views?

      • “And yet you objected to my use of the term ‘p*f*l*’ as ‘vicious’.”

        Get your facts straight first.

        No – I said your (and others) attack was vitiolic. I did not object to specific words but rather to the tone of the debate at that time.

        As I have said very many times, I use the term denier to describe those who reject out-right and without thought all climate science and scientists. I do not use that term to describe people who are willing to debate the science.

        See what I did there?

        It’s called being reasonable

      • Louise– what I believe is inappropriate on your part is the concept

        “I use the term denier to describe those who reject out-right and without thought all climate science and scientists. ”

        In fact, whether you (or I) agree or not, there are scientists who do not agree that additional CO2 is relevant. They may be incorrect, but they do express that position.

        You are name calling, and it does result in a predictable outcome

      • Rob Starkey – I do not use the term denier to describe “scientists who do not agree that additional CO2 is relevant”

        I use the term to describe people who for whatever reason – religion or politics or whatever – will not contemplate that scientists have added to our knowledge of the climate.

        I am not name calling

      • Latimer Alder

        Of course you are right. Your complaint to Judith was that my remarks were ‘vitriolic’, not ‘vicious’.

        But also seem to remember that you were in a minority of one on this point. My views were indeed vigorously expressed, but neither vicious nor vitriolic.

        The strongest language that I used was ‘piffle’, which hardly features at all in the list of bad words unsuitable for polite society. Rest assured that I can do far, far, far worse with great eloquence and feeling, but here is not the right place.

      • “I use the term denier to describe those who reject out-right and without thought all climate science and scientists.”

        In 4 years on the web i do not think I have met a single person who rejects “out right” and “without thought” “ALL” climate
        “Science”

        To be precise. Watts is not a denier. Willis is not. Monckton is not. Lindzen is not. Spencer is not.

        Nobody here rejects outright without thought all of climate science. no one. The worst reject most of it after considerable amounts of confused thought.

        There I’m being precise, you’re being rude

      • People who hang out on climate blogs don’t fit this definition at all, no matter how wrongheaded their understanding or misunderstanding of the science might be. They are not rejecting science, whereas they may be misunderstanding it.

      • What about people who hang out at Climate Blogs and say things like – CO2 is not a green house gas ??

      • perhaps it depends upon their rationale. Maybe their’s is an amazing new justification,(lol) but, even if not, what is the real advantage of applying the label?

      • It saves some of us wasting our time on trying to rationally explain something that for some people, is not a feature of the natural world to be described and understood, but a challenge to firmly held position (political/ideological) which will be rejected as it is percieved as an attack on that position.

        I think of it as a sanity-preserving device.

      • They are wrong, or their is a semantic issue issue with the words “greenhouse gas.” That does not make them a “denier.”

      • what about them?

      • I use the term denier to describe those who reject out-right and without thought all climate science and scientists.

        Can you name any such people? Preferably people we’ve heard of, not “Lurker 99” or “John Doe”.

      • Well I’m not going to name names but anyone who describes AGW as a “fraud” or a “scam” counts. And there are plenty of them commenting on skepical blogs.

      • … I use the term denier to describe those who reject out-right and without thought all climate science and scientists…
        Andrew Adams : …anyone who describes AGW as a “fraud” or a “scam” counts.

        So downplaying uncertainties, hiding data, hobbling the peer process, followed by whitewashes to cover it up, are part and parcel of science and a sincere search for truth now? Not science fraud at all?

      • Even if I accepted that to be an accurate characterisation, which I don’t, there is a difference between a small number of scientists behaving in a way which may be improper and considering a whole scientific discipline or area of study to be a “fraud”.

      • there is a difference between a small number of scientists behaving in a way which may be improper and considering a whole scientific discipline or area of study to be a “fraud”.

        Yes. But what do you make of the deafening silence from most of the the remainder of the discipline, if not agreement with or support for such science fraud?

      • Yes , the deafening silence – a telling point no-one has seen fit to answer in 5 days. It is all very well to dismiss the actions and attitudes of the climategate “Team” as a small group of rogue scientists, but the most notable thing surely has been that, with a few notable exceptions including our host, have either remained silent, or actively attempted to justify and excuse the appalling behaviour revealed.

        Calling a whole scientific discipline “fraudulent’ may seem extreme to those who have chosen to look away from, or worse excuse, this abuse of science. But when practically a whole scientific discipline seems ready to accept and excuse what has gone on, and to insist that the product of such woeful methodology remains unassailable – well, I don’t know if the overall effect is fraud or not, I’m not a lawyer, but I do know it isn’t science

      • And furthermore, I don’t believe that considering this issue makes me a denier of anything. I am extremely sceptical of the demonisation of CO2, while having a fairly complete knowledge of all the scientific issues (6 years in the blogosphere can have that effect).

        While there are those who take scientific positions with which I do not agree, I do not believe any of them deserve to be degraded as deniers – an insult which, like n***er, is usually intended, and always taken, as denigrating and insulting.

        So please, just stop it will you.

    • Louise- I would agree that generally a civil discussion is generally more productive.
      1. Don’t you think that you’re having posted the WUWT link will result in Trenberth getting additional e-mails?

      2. Don’t you also agree that those who believe that human caused emissions of GHG’s going to be a disaster for the world’s climate set the adversial tone of the discussions by arguing that anyone who did not believe in their position were less informed or a “denier of truth”

    • I would very much enjoy having a discussion/debate with you regarding the benefits of the policies you believe should be implemented. That is where IMO your position is in error.

    • Louise,

      Very much with you in regard to ratcheting down the rhetoric. Additionally, posting a person’s email address is irresponsible.

      That being said, I find it a bit too facile to attribute this (or any other similar incident, eg. James Lee at Discovery Channel) to emotionally charged rhetoric. Particularly in the Loughner case, absent a determination of motive, it’s too early. Those who are beating the “violent right-wing rhetoric” drum risk blowback should the investigation reveal a motive that contradicts them.

      The talk needs to come down a notch for it’s own sake. Those who are using this incident to score political points (not saying that you are) are acting in extremely poor taste.

      • Gene – I agree with you absolutely with regards to the Tuscon shooting and do not want this debate to be side-tracked into that discussion.

        However, I do think that Dr Trenberth has been very courageous in his statement. He will, no doubt, be on the receiving end of some very unpleasant e-mail to say the least.

      • Courageous?? The man’s an idiot.

        I’m sorry, but to assert what he does whilst still pretending to follow the scientific method- to preach deliberate falsehoods as fact and to use deeply offensive and politically motivated tactics to marginalise ANYONE who disagree’s with him paints him not as a courageous man, but as a bully and a coward.

        His statement has not only devalued himself as a scientist, but as a person.

        I have no problem with people pushing the cAGW theory if they do it via scientific methods- discussion, presentation of evidence and debate. It’s lauded and to be encouraged. Trenberth has done nothing of the sort.

        Moderation note: this message is on the border, i have struck offending and unneccessary comments.

      • Idiot….yes but, whilst agreeing with much of your characterisation of Trenberth’s views, I do think that he’s a courageous idiot.

        I’m still trying to work out if that’s actually any better than just being an idiot…..actually, yep, definitely better.

        I just feel a little sorry for him actually, because he probably doesn’t realise that he’s exposed himself to a storm of indignation and invective for absolutely no gain whatsoever. Feet and shotguns spring to mind.

      • Apologies, i thought given the tone of Trenberths post that mine was quite tame in comparison. I’ll modify my future posts accordingly.

      • the standards here for civil discourse at Climate Etc. are higher than at some other blogs and higher than that expressed in the “denier” section of Trenberth’s AMS essay.

      • Of course, i made the incorrect assumption that as i deemed ‘idiot/coward/bully’ to be less severe than ‘Denier’ that it would be acceptable in the context.

        Apologies again. I may get ‘enthusiastic’ some times, but i’m not out to offend/attack anyone.

      • And thus the adults in this crucial debate were revealed.

      • Dr Curry – do you accept that there are some who blindly deny the science of climate change, regardless of any of the evidence? I have read many who believe that there is NO warming (man made or not), it’s cooling, all the scientists are frauds and charlatans, it’s all a commie plot to instigate a global government.

        It’s true that not many of those post here but they do exist in the blogosphere. I see nothing wrong in calling these people deniers – they are denying that science can tell us anything about climate change.

        I think Anthony Watts pointing out that Dr Trenberth’s e-mail address is available if anyone wants to send comments to him was a direct appeal to these guys.

      • i disagree and i also ask again, please stop using the term denier.

        call them fundamentalists of idiolocially compromised, ANYTHING but that. please- it does not deserve legitimisation through repeating.

      • Labmunkey – I have explained above why I use the term denier and until that word is forbidden on this blog, I will continue to use it where I think it is appropriate.

      • ..and you are happy with the deliberate holocaust connotations?

      • Labmunkey – I do not believe there are deliberate holocaust connotations.

      • Then i’m afraid you are being, with great kindness, niave.

        It was ‘coined’ for precisely that intent.

      • Labmunkey – you are entitled to your opinion and I am entitled to mine.

        I am also entitled to use language that I think best represents my point of view. I use the word denier to describe people that deny that climate science has anything to tell us – these people do exist.

      • It was ‘coined’ for precisely that intent.

        Evidence?

      • I find the constant refrain in some quarters that “denier” is indelibly associated with “holocaust” to be grossly insensitive and little more than a cynical attempt to escape a simple label by linking it to a horrific and easily denounced chapter in history.

        “Denier”, “Ad Hom”, “CAGW”, “Climategate”. Those that set the tone, define the language and shape the narrative time and again seem to be those willing to spend the most time on repetition in as many forums as possible. This seems to be what the information age has brought us – “letters to the editor” writ large and writ often.

      • Louise – is it courageous to make unsupportable claims to try to get support for you policy positions???

        You seem convinced of the correctness of your beliefs, and I may agree with many of your assumptions, but you seem to think it is acceptable to say that those who do not agree/accept the idea that increasing GHG’s will effect the earth’s climate are ignoring science and it is ok to call them names.

        Clearly there are scientists who do not agree, and although we both disagree, why is it ok to call them deniers?

      • I do not call the scientists who are skeptical of anthorpometric climate change deniers – I call them skeptics. I call the nutters who think climate scientists are part of a global conspiracy to install a worldwide marxist regime deniers. I call the nutters who cheer every post made at WUWT regardless of its value/truthfulness deniers. I’d use the word nutters rather than deniers but it’s too broad and even less PC.

      • Louise—Do you say that it is incorrect that much of India’s pronouncements on the topic of potential global warming is financially motivated? I certainly feel that is a high probability.

      • Craig Goodrich

        Mmmpf. As to conspiracies, one does not have to postulate any conspiracy when scientists are acting in their own interest (attracting grant money), politicians are acting in their own interest (greenwashing themselves to get reelected), and UN and government bureaucrats are acting in their own interest (increasing their power and that of their bureaucracy).

        On the other hand, the Climategate clique certainly showed a lot of interpersonal cooperation in suppressing papers that disagreed with them and deleting potentially embarrassing emails…

      • “I call the nutters who cheer every post made at WUWT regardless of its value/truthfulness deniers.”

        Hmm, since I have posts there critical of skeptics, and since commenters criticize what I write on WUWT, there really arnt any people at WUWT that cheer every post. Again, this denier class you point to seems non existent. Talk to me about how that makes you feel?

      • David L. Hagen

        Louise
        Unquantified “Global warming” or “global cooling” is ambiguous, depending strongly on the time period. Either could be true from the scientific data depending on the period evaluated. 10 yrs from 1998 could be cooling in the US. 100 yrs or 400 yrs globally show warming. 1000 AD to 1600 AD show cooling. Since the last glacial shows warming. From the middle of the previous interglacial to the glacial period shows cooling etc.

        Be clear and precise. Please raise your comments to professional civil discussion not political ad hominem.

      • David L. Hagen – as this particular discussion is about perceptions of Dr Trenbeth’s statement, I have responded in a manner that I feel is appropiate.

      • Michael Larkin

        Louise,

        If all you are trying to say by use of the word “deny” is that there are some who reject AGW without good reason, then why not use “reject”? I think it’s for the same reason that Trenberth and other consensualists use the D-word. To cause conscious offence by association with holocaust deniers.

        On the one hand you admit that most people here aren’t mindless rejecters, and yet on the other, you are repeatedly using the D-word knowing that it presses buttons, all the while claiming innocence. I don’t buy that. I think you may well be trolling and so this is the last morsel I will throw your way.

      • I agree with you on that. It is obvious Louise is using the word ‘denier’ knowing full well the implications. He can play dumb all he wants, his motivations are too obvious.

      • Don’t you people have a term for this perverse psychological attachment to “not being wrong”, in the face of all evidence to the contrary? Perhaps it’s part of that condition that seems to afflict Believers – scichosis? I googled “psychology of being wrong” and got this, which you might find edifying:

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12125926

      • Dr Curry – do you accept that there are some who blindly deny the science of climate change, regardless of any of the evidence? I have read many who believe that there is NO warming (man made or not), it’s cooling, all the scientists are frauds and charlatans, it’s all a commie plot to instigate a global government.

        Oh 10/10 for that one !
        – linking the (straw?)people who say there has been no warming, to those who note the obvious facts that CAGW advances the cause of world govenment, and that the UN – an organisation whose very purpose is world government – is the very organisation pushing CAGW.
        ….I wonder…. does vested interest or impassioned objectivity dominate there?

        And speaking of “deniers”, given that the bulk of politically-funded climate scientists are Climategate-deniers (they deny significant wrongdoing there, hence their deafening silence), a sweeping statement that they are all frauds, does not seem so terribly wide of the mark.

      • those who note the obvious facts that CAGW advances the cause of world govenment, and that the UN – an organisation whose very purpose is world government – is the very organisation pushing CAGW.

        I agree that “denier” is not an appropriate term for such a person.

        “Conspiracy theorist” is much better.

      • …the obvious facts that CAGW advances the cause of world govenment, and that the UN – an organisation whose very purpose is world government – is the very organisation pushing CAGW.

        AA: I agree that “denier” is not an appropriate term for such a person. “Conspiracy theorist” is much better.

        The whole purpose of the UN is world govenment. What would they need a “conspiracy” for?

        The only real conspiracy theory going round is idea the UN and IPCC are NOT working towards world government. It’s an ‘Angelic’ Conspiracy – the notion that scientists working for the IPCC ignore the UN’s political objectives in favour of dispassionate objectivity, honesty, etc etc. Just like we saw IPCC leadings lights behaving in Climatagate.

      • I don’t think that many of the governments of countries who make up the membership of the UN and IPCC are too keen on giving up theire paowers to some putative world government.
        I have to say that the notion that scientists are largely interested in doing science and are not interested in advancing the supposed political goals of the UN and IPCC does not strike me as particularly conspiritorial.

      • I don’t think that many of the governments of countries who make up the membership of the UN and IPCC are too keen on giving up theire paowers to some putative world government.

        The more totalitarian amoungst them would be keen on centralisation, since it is a way to force their ideas on less totalitarian ones, whose freer economies would then outpeform them. This is the essential rationale behind the EU.

        I have to say that the notion that scientists are largely interested in doing science and are not interested in advancing the supposed political goals of the UN and IPCC does not strike me as particularly conspiritorial.

        This overlooks that the scientists and science to get funded, are selected by political bodies in the first place. And this selection process will thus have favoured those scientists thought most likely to advance the cause of politics.

      • Dr Curry – do you accept that there are some who blindly deny the science of climate change, regardless of any of the evidence?

        Such as, for example, The Team at RC, who deny the existence of the global Medieval Climate Optimum (and the Little Ice Age), dismissing it as “a regional North Atlantic phenomenon” despite evidence from Asia, Australia, and the Andes?

        I have read many who believe that there is NO warming (man made or not), it’s cooling,

        Such as Josh Willis of ARGO fame?

        all the scientists are frauds and charlatans,

        Certainly not; only certain particularly noisy, influential, and well IPCC-connected ones.

        it’s all a commie plot to instigate a global government.

        Well, of course it is. But only insofar as the bureaucratic thirst for power — which was, for obvious reasons, most evident in Communist governments — holds sway in the EU, the UN, and (regrettably) the US.

        You are not actually helping your side of the debate, Louise. The shallow character of your comments makes the Aral Sea look like the Marianas Trench.

      • Louise,

        Perhaps, but I doubt you will find anyone here who would condone that.

      • Then I just think that this shows why I no longer should be participating here. It has clearly become a place of one-sided views.

      • Louse you’re more than welcome to continue contributing and i’d hate to think of someone being driven away.

        A suggestion, do as i do and assume most posts are actually good nature in intent and then try to address the points (if they are good) made.

        If they’re just an attack/flame, then ignore them and move on to those who DO want a rational discussion. Regardless of your ‘side’, there’s some very clever people here.

      • Louise, to be clear, Gene is saying that nobody here would condone something you predicted:

        He will, no doubt, be on the receiving end of some very unpleasant e-mail to say the least.

        I cannot see how such agreement with you can be a reason to depart!

      • Apologies to Gene and Richard Drake – threading gets confusing. I thought Gene meant that nobody else here supported Dr Trenberth.

      • Thank you.

      • What???

        How did you parse what I wrote to be anything other than a condemnation of those that would send “unpleasant” emails?

        Since it seems to be necessary: Sending Dr. Trenberth any sort of harassing or threatening email due to this statement (or for any other reason) would be wrong. I don’t believe anyone on this site would disagree that it would be wrong, regardless of whether they actually agree with him or not.

      • Louise, I was beginning to think you grew a pair after taking your ball the other day and went home. Now you’re going home again. Good grief. Louise are you a denier? Do you deny having read the Hockey Stick Illusion? Do you deny that Trenberth has lied on numerous occasions (see the CA thread, e.g.)? Do you deny that temps have not increased significantly in the past decade? Do you deny that over the past 10000 years Co2 increases generally follow temp increases? Do you deny that Mann’s hockey stick has been completely refuted? The list can go on and on. Louise, do deny these things??

    • Louise – I have a question for you. Do you agree that threads should remain on topic? You always seem to want to comment on aspects of Judith’s blog rather than the thread in question. Do you have a view on Trenberth’s remarks that you’d like to share with us?

  7. Oh yes! And some IPCC supporters will try to change the subject!

    • Of course they will try to change the subject. A great deal of government grant money is still floating around and the ones that stay silent will have a better chance to recieve.

  8. Most AGW announcements suffer from poor timing as well.
    Considering most of the population is in the northen hemisphere and it is winter.

  9. I’ve just reposted this from the previous thread – it was in response to Kevin Trenberth’s reply to an email from Helen Armstrong:

    To: Helen Armstrong
    Subject: Re: Your address to AMS

    Because science is evidence and physically based, it is based on facts, and one who says otherwise is a denier. The events in Queensland are indeed a portent for the futures and a sign of global warming. Since you live in the neighborhood, you perhaps should take note.

    Kevin Trenberth

    Brilliant from Trenberth….portents, signs, deniers. Sounds very medieval to me. Mind you, perhaps the language is appropriate – after all he does rely on the modern equivalent of sheep’s entrails for his prophecies of doom.

    Isn’t it about time that the likes of Trenberth and Hansen were retired from the debate? I feel genuinely sorry for the likes of Michael Tobis who is constantly trying to make reasonable scientific points against a background of this breathless advocacy which continually undermines his position.

    I, for one, would love to hear the case made for a measurably concerning anthropogenic warming signal free from the stigma resulting from people who seem to have more in common with latter day prophets than modern day science.

    • Sorry, I should also mention that I’m very much a ‘lukewarmer’ and keen to learn from sober, reasoned analysis of current scientific opinion.

    • I feel more sorry for all the students taught bad science as absolute.

    • Craig Goodrich

      Apparently Dr. Trenberth hasn’t heard that a major contributor to the seriousness of the Brisbane flood was a failure by Queensland water bureaucrats last weekend to lower the water level behind dams specifically constructed to prevent exactly this sort of flood. In particular, when the high water hit, both Somerset and the larger Wivenhoe dams were nearly at capacity. See http://regionalstates.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/brisbanes-man-made-flood-peak/ .

      • Craig,

        I live in Brisbane and actually, the operators of Wivenhoe dam saved the city of Brisbane from a catastrophic flood that would have far exceeded the last great flood in 1974 and resulted in damage at least as bad as Katrina wreaked on new Orleans.

        The fact is there was so much water flowing into the Somerset/ Wivenhoe dam catchments (2 x Sydney Harbour every day!) that there was no choice but to open the sluice gates. Even then the gates were synchronised with the high (king) tides of the tidal section of the Brisbane river to try and minimise the damage…..which they actually did very well!

        The idea of “full” with respect Wivenhoe is also a bit misleading. When the dam is declared “100% full” this is the measure for drinking water purposes only. A couple of years ago, Wivenhoe dam had only 16% left after a decade of drought – a normal state of affairs for Eastern Australia across the climate record actually, despite the doom merchant’s protestations – but by 2009 the dam was declared 100% full, thanks to the PDO shift in the pacific.

        HOWEVER…..the dam was built to accommodate flood mitigation so, over and above the ‘drinking water 100%’, Wivenhoe dam could actually hold over double this amount to hold back flood waters….confusingly.

        The extraordinary local floods that hit the already saturated ground of SE Queensland on Monday/Tuesday of this week would have inundated the city to a level not seen since the 19th century, were it not for Wivenhoe dam and the skilled engineers who controlled the output.

        Now the race is on to empty the dam back to the ‘drinking water’ level before the next big wet event arrives…..and it’s coming. This rain/flood event is nowhere near over.

        Also, just for the record, there is nothing remotely unusual about this cycle. If only Kevin Trenberth had consulted the ample records here in Australia he would have seen that there is no increase in the incidence of such events.

        I’m sure he didn’t mean to be offensive but, so far, 16 people have died in these floods, with another 60 or so still missing. Probably best to leave a discussion of attribution on the Queensland floods for another day.

      • And environmentalists are opposing the building of new dams. The Opposition party wants to build new dams. From the link: But Jamie Pittock, a researcher at the Australian National University, says Mr Abbott’s idea is not smart.

        He says this in spite of the fact that the Wivenhoe dam is designed to do just those two things; store drinking water and control flooding. It worked as designed and the flood would have been much worse without it. While there might or might not be impact on wetlands, the fish can usually be accommodated with fish ladders and other means. This is just more eco-nutty politics.

        http://au.news.yahoo.com/queensland/a/-/mp/8612184/more-dams-wont-solve-water-woes-expert/37/

      • The point of the article referred to was that the Water Authority (or whatever it’s called) had knowledge of the eastern Queensland rains and accurate models to predict when and by how much the rainfall would raise the Brisbane River and its tributaries; this amounted to about a week of advance warning. Yet they allowed the major dam to remain at nearly full capacity, releasing only relatively small amounts of water from it the week before the flood.

        If substantially more water had been released earlier, the claim goes, very low-lying areas might have been flooded earlier and/or longer, but the final flood stage would have been several meters below where it actually was, sparing large areas. I live on the other side of the planet from Brisbane (it’s -2C out with a nasty wet 20 km/h wind here at the moment), but the logic of the charge seemed convincing. Since floods are a regular feature of the area, one would expect the management of the dams to be alert and well-prepared for them.

        But, like any good sailor, I’ll defer to your local knowledge. The real point, I suppose, is that any attribution of either the occurrence of the flood or its severity to CO2-driven global warming is pure hysterical speculation.

  10. I am both a lukewarmer and a skeptic. I think it is reasonable to be concerned about and to study rising atmospheric CO2, but I think the evidence is already pretty clear that is not going to be catastrophic.

    The most troubling aspect of Trenberth’s comments is that he apparently is not in touch with reality. Here’s the quote taken from ClimateAudit.

    “Debating them [“deniers”] about the science is not an approach that is recommended. In a debate it is impossible to counter lies, and caveated statements show up poorly against loudly proclaimed confident statements that often have little or no basis. Scientific facts are not open to debate and opinion because they are evidence and/or physically based. Moreover a debate actually gives alternative views credibility.”

    He does not understand that a science debate is going on, though even newspapers now admit the fact. http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2009/07/01/no_climate_debate_yes_there_is/

    I understand his desire not to debate. It is much more pleasant to make pronouncements from Mt Olympus (the state AMS is giving him for this drivel) and then pretend everyone will follow, but the world is not like that.

    Eduardo Zorita has already called for the Climategate perpetrators to be banned from all future involvement in IPCC assessment reports. I cannot help but think that Trenberth has hear declared himself unfit for future service in the same capacity. He simply is not credible as a person who will be objective about the science.

    • Ron,

      How many times have you seen statements like “There’s been no warming for the last 15 years”, “Satellites show no warming”, “GISS has been shown to manipulate data”, “The planet is cooling”, “Arctic ice is recovering”?

      I see them all the time and they fly completely in the face of the facts. There’s absolutely no point in scientists debating those issues anymore than scientists should debate whether radiometric dating is reliable or a fraudulent conspiracy to remove god from schools.

      • Sharperoo,
        Let me fix it for you. According to satellite data, 1998 is still the warmest year on record. (Check) GISS has been accused of making unwarranted adjustments to the temperature record of the wrong sign. (Check) Arctic sea ice experienced a remarkable recovery in 2009, completely reversing decades of arctic sea ice melt. However, the strong ENSO of 2010 again caused significant arctic sea ice melt. (Check)

        Straw men are terrible allies. They go up in smoke so quickly!

      • ” According to satellite data, 1998 is still the warmest year on record. (Check)”

        A simple comparisons of maximums between years is not a sensible way to evaluate data trends. From Dr Spencer’s most recent update

        because the most recent decade averaged somewhat warmer than the previous two decades, the anomaly values will be about 0.1 deg. C lower than they used to be. This does NOT affect the long-term trend of the data…it only reflects a change in the zero-level, which is somewhat arbitrary.”

        Hence the claim that the satellites do not show warming is false.

        “GISS has been accused of making unwarranted adjustments to the temperature record of the wrong sign. (Check) “

        Er yes. I’ve said they’ve been accused of that and your support is that they’ve been accused of that.

        “Arctic sea ice experienced a remarkable recovery in 2009, completely reversing decades of arctic sea ice melt. However, the strong ENSO of 2010 again caused significant arctic sea ice melt. (Check)”

        This statement is entirely unsupportable and precisely the type of statement which is simply not up for debate.

      • Sharperoo,
        Facts are facts. According to satellite data (which is not adjusted by GISS or CRU) shows 1998 to be the warmest year on record. Based on the theory that increasing CO2 over the next 100 years would cause 5C of warming, that means we should expect 0.6C of warming over a 12 year period or about the same amount of warming from 1998 to 2010 as occurred from 1900 to 1998. But the expected 0.6C of warming between 1998 and 2010 didn’t happen. Well then, why should we be concerned about the 0.6C of warming that happened between 1900 and 1998? Atmospheric CO2 rose dramatically from 1998 to 2010, but record temperatures did not.

        Yes, GISS has been accused of making UHI adjustments which cool the early 20th century and warms the later 20th century. I have not had the opportunity to review the data myself, but have read posts about it on ClimateAudit. I have no reason to doubt Steve McIntyre as he has always behaved admirably. His data, methods and code are available for all to see who have the time to check his approach. Many have checked and now write their own climate blogs, including Judith Curry (although I am not saying she has checked this particular issue).

        Regarding arctic sea ice, if you check the records you will see sea ice extent was within the normal bounds for part of 2009 and possibly early 2010. I don’t have the chart in front of me, but facts are facts. Deal with them.

      • “Regarding arctic sea ice, if you check the records you will see sea ice extent was within the normal bounds for part of 2009 “

        So what’s presented as “a remarkable recovery” ends up becoming “was within the normal bounds for part of 2009”.

        The rest is simply an illustration of why debating basic facts is a waste of time. You insist on comparing maximums without explanation and ignore the fact that the 2000s was warmer than the 1990s which was warmer than the 1990s. When challenged you repeat the claim and insist that unless the maximum year is hotter then it hasn’t warmed at all.

      • Yes, that’s right. Sea ice had not been within the normal bounds for a long, long time. If a decades long reverse can happen quickly after the change to a cool PDO, then that says something the IPCC has dramatically underestimated natural climate variation.

        Regarding the satellite temps, I did not just compare maximums. I showed how the early maximum had not been surpassed even after a great deal of CO2 had gone into the atmosphere. Again, this shows that natural climate variation is much greater than the IPCC expects or is willing to admit. It throws all of their claims about attribution into the trash bin. No one knows how much of 20th century warming was caused by anthropogenic CO2 and how much was natural. If you have 0.6C warming in one period and the IPCC cries “Catastrophe!” Then when you expect 0.6C of warming and you don’t get it, the IPCC says “Oh, it just natural climate variation.” At least Trenberth got it right in the email when he admitted they did not know how to explain the lack of warming. Based on Trenberth’s data from the top of the atmosphere, the warming should have been about six times what the IPCC was expecting. But…. no warming.

        Do you get it now?

      • “I did not just compare maximums. I showed how the early maximum had not been surpassed”

        That’s an entirely contradictory statement. You are comparing maximums and then saying there is therefore no warming.

        With sea ice you’re saying that because extent approaches normal levels in winter there’s therefore no problem, despite the fact that this ice subsequently melts to levels far far below normal.

        This is the problem with getting your information from blogs, it’s simply wrong.

      • Let me fix it for you. According to satellite data, 1998 is still the warmest year on record. (Check)
        Actually they show a statistical deadheat between 1998 and 2005.

        GISS has been accused of making unwarranted adjustments to the temperature record of the wrong sign. (Check)

        Being accused doesn’t make it true, UAH did get the sign wrong with an adjustment to MSU though, which was found and corrected thanks to RSS.

        Arctic sea ice experienced a remarkable recovery in 2009, completely reversing decades of arctic sea ice melt.

        Not on this planet!

  11. ” (the AMS has many skeptics among its membership)”

    How many is “many”?

    ” Maybe the Brisbane floods would have been less severe without humans on the planet, but maybe the flood would be more severe, there is just no way to know about an individual weather system and it is a pointless question to ask. “

    A particular individual aged 55 presents himself with lung cancer. The same individual has smoked 20 cigarettes a day since age 15.

    Can the specific cancer in the lungs of what one individual be attributed to smoking? Can it be guaranteed that either he would never have gotten lung cancer had he not smoked or that he wouldn’t have gotten it even earlier or have developed some other disease?

    There is no way to know so is it therefore pointless to ask? Should the manifestation of an expected types of events be ignored because absolute certainty in their attribution is impossible? If smoking and cancer cannot be absolutely linked in even once individual instance can the link be considered or discussed at all?

    “Do you think Trenberth is helping or hindering public education and developing political support for the climate change issue?”

    Having read Trenberth a lot I think he does a much better job than most. He seems more interested in the actual science, the data and sensible interpretations thereof which is where my interest lies. It’s also interesting that he received so much criticism from “skeptics” (including a significant amount of misrepresentation e.g. re “climategate”)

    • I don’t think Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth has been misrepresented at all. Basically, he said: “Golly, the data doesn’t support our theory, what a travesty, we really need to work on that data.”
      The problem with that mindset is completely obvious…isn’t it? It’s not out of context…it’s what he said. So, spin all you like–good luck and have fun with that.

      • Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth.

        Let’s not forget that one too.

        Lest we forget what it meant.

      • ahh, willard the enigmatic.

        I’d be interested in your unveiled opinion on Trenberth’s piece, if you could just see fit to desist from sounding like the narrator of Spongebob Squarepants for a second! ;-)

      • Saaad,

        Let me think about it.

        In the meantime, I wonder if you’d agreee that TRENBERTH could say, as Jones did in his own time:

        > I seem to be the marked man now !

        Source: http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=790&filename=1177158252.txt

        You could also try to convince me that we’re not witnessing climate porn.

      • I think you are right. Unfortunately I think that Trenberth has been a ‘marked man’ ever since the “travesty” email became public. I think he has suffered a great deal of unfair criticism based on an email that he never intended for public consumption and thus probably lacked even the kind of scrutiny people here apply to their own posts on this blog!

        However, I really do think that he should engage with those he characterises as deniers, however ridiculous he believes their arguments to be. This would circumvent the argument that his position is based on weak science that won’t stand up to scrutiny outside the comfort zone of his own peer group…..unless of course it’s true, in which case perhaps he should now join a monastery.

        The reality is that Trenberth will remain a target until and unless he gets ‘down and dirty’ with the great unwashed….and, by that, I mean people like myself, informed laymen who really want to ask inane and basic questions of Trenberth, questions which he should be able to address online whilst enjoying a massage and a really great movie at the same time.

        To try and do a “willard” for a second….

        Trenberth…

        Not Moses…..

        :-)

      • climate porn.

        and its free.

        and the demographic is super tight. trust me. super tight.
        and you don’t know how to message them.

      • Thank God Moshes knows how to message.

        If only he could cry a Red river, everyone could cross the the sea of words.

      • The ‘skeptics’ seem to have a visceral need for a face to direct their bile towards.

        May have something to do with what appearsd to be a great deal of identity politics that motives them.

      • A cancerous view of your opponents. The truth is that ‘sceptics’ denotes a very wide spectrum. Some are deeply concerned with the science and are only concerned with individuals when they promote what they consider bad or inadequate theories. Others are concerned with the policy choices that are being made. I happen to be very concerned about their likely impact on places like Africa, on the ‘bottom billion’ as Professor Paul Collier calls it.

        Hey, I mentioned one individual there. It’s not possible to talk about either the science or the politics without mentioning individuals. Some get attacked more than others. Some of that is no doubt unfair. But gradually, it seems to me, the debate is becoming grown up again. I don’t think Kevin Trenberth’s contribution will help with that. But it’s not about that one man, it’s about making progress with some vital issues. And Climate Etc. is definitely helping.

      • Steven Mosher

        This is also an example of something that doesnt work

      • Steven Mosher

        Well, how is your messaging working for you lately?

        My point is simply this. You don’t know how to message them. The community as a whole doesn’t know how. If you looked at that you might come up with new ideas to try. But you won’t. What I know is this. I know the current approach is not working. I know that 10;10 doesnt work, consensus doesnt work, the science is settled doesnt work, McIntyre is an Oil Shill doesnt work, etc etc. You would think that you could see that as well. You would think that before trotting out emmauel as a ‘conservative scientist’ that folks would do a bit of Ops research.

        But you care about the planet, so you’re trying all sorts of different ideas, right?

      • Steven Mosher

        and williard runs away from the real question.

        how’s that messaging working will

      • I am sure you know that this is not about the science. It is an attack to undermine the science in some way.

        Of course.
        We’re scientists. We’re good and honourable people. We’re right. Our science is right. All of our colleagues agree with us.
        Therefore they are wrong. It cannot be about the science, as our science is beyond reproach.
        So they must be trying to undermine the science for their own selfish motives.
        Of course!

      • “Basically, he said: “Golly, the data doesn’t support our theory, what a travesty, we really need to work on that data.””

        My entire point is that’s not what he said at all. A statement by him was taken sans context and a meaning was inserted, people then argue that their meaning is the real real one no matter what Trenberth has said or continues to say.

        His viewpoint is captured in

        “To better understand and predict regional climate change, it is vital to be able to distinguish between short-lived climate anomalies, such as caused by El Nino or La Nina events, and those that are intrinsically part of climate change, whether a slow adjustment or trend, such as the warming of land surface temperatures relative to the ocean and changes in precipitation characteristics. Regional climate change also depends greatly on patterns or modes of variability being sustained and thus relies on inertia in the climate system that resides mostly in the oceans and ice components of the climate system. A climate information system that firstly determines what is taking place and then establishes why is better able to provide a sound basis for predictions and which can answer important questions such as ‘Has global warming really slowed or not?’ Decisions are being made that depend on improved information about how and why our climate system is varying and changing, and the
        implications.”

        It’s simply impossible to resolve your interpretation with the above. Trenberth wants enough data to be able to isolate natural variability from other forcings while you characterise his statement as “The data doesn’t support the theory, better work on the data”.

        I’d also note that the standard skeptic arguments are that climate change is caused by solar variation and/or ocean cycles. If your position is “Golly, the data doesn’t support our theory” where “our theory” is one which requires warming to occur then it would seem there’s no need for those explanations to exist at all.

      • The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
        Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth, Climategate e-mail, October 12, 2009.

        This clip is not edited or taken out of context.

        How does “Travesty” know there should be more warming and why does he suspect the data? Spin it like a top, climate activists, its fun to watch.

      • “How does “Travesty” know there should be more warming”

        Because of the difference CERES measured between received and radiated energy.

        “Spin it like a top, climate activists, its fun to watch.”

        Thanks for your contribution Ken, it’s always helpful when people who are hostile to the facts show up in a discussion about people who are hostile to facts.

      • His whole point is encapsulated in the last sentence: “Our observing system is inadequate.” That is the travesty referred to, and is the part almost always omitted by his detractors!

      • And by his wiser defenders, of whom you are not one. They prefer him to be seen to be anguishing over a genuine scientific problem, in a kinda scientific way, than revealed for saying “our models are right, the observations must be wrong”.

    • Sharp,
      I’d bet my mortgage Trenberths data would not survive a typical Biotech Audit, and neither would his job.

      • Which data is “Trenberth’s data” and why is it more problematic than any other data?

      • i should have been more specific- i took ‘data’ from the above post without much thought.

        I was trying to suggest that were i to audit his work as rigorously as mine is checked, including his (any) data, his calculations and methods that i would find many, significant problems with it.

      • “including his (any) data, his calculations and methods that i would find many, significant problems with it.”

        So your position is that data which may or not even exist would have many significant problems which you personally could identify.

      • LOL.

        i’m afraid i’ve dug myself a whole here havn’t i.

        Perils of a long week and a newborn child eroding your sleep i fear.

        Sharp, i was trying to suggest, that given his flippant disregard for the facts in this piece, coupled with the repeated issues (still unresolved) with the CRU et al, that his work would not be to the same level (QC, data archive, reproducability) as is what is the norm in the biotech indstry to which i inhabit.

        I find it very easy to believe, especially having examined many of the data issues myself in my spare time, that the ‘core’ science behind cAGW would not survive a routine ‘hostile’ audit.

        That is my point and i was applying it personally to trenberth on the back of his exceptionally distasteful piece.

      • and by whole, i mean hole. time for home i think….

      • I’m not trying to force you into the hole but I find the climate debate is dominated by statements applied to the general about data availability, data problems and fraud when such statements can only ever be applied sensibly in the specific.

        One can say that ARGO data has problems and why but you cannot say someone’s data has problems based on a very vague analysis of their character. Your statement gets picked up by someone else repeated as “Trenberth’s data has problems” then suddenly you’ve got those alongside “GISS is all fraud” so the debate moves down yet another notch.

      • That is an isse i agree. I think this stems from the perception (right or wrong) that there are MANY aspects of the science (in the specific) that have issues, so as a whole the core science has issues.

        I’ve personally got huge issues with UHI, Feedbacks, models and the ‘sympton as proof of cause’ conflation and from a personal level the more i look into this issue the more problems i find.

        I’m reminded of a lesson an old (but wise-despite the sandals) lecturer who always cautioned data integrity. To paraphrase very poorly he said:

        “data is to science what foundations are to a house. If there’s an issue in one corner, you can be damned sure there’ll be issues elsewhere”.

        To offer a more direct example (and to show where i’m ‘coming from’ as it were) if i find one problem in a data set at work, i can no longer use that entire set of data (discounting one outlyer).

        Perhaps i’m being unrealistic expecting the same level of rigour from Climate science. But to be met halfway would be nice!

      • “I’ve personally got huge issues with UHI”

        UHI is an issue I see discussed a lot and I’m happy to see anything that improves the data and makes it more accurate. However I have no preconception about whether a 100% accurate correction would lead to a trend increase, decrease or no change at all.

        I suspect that many many of the people for whom UHI is an issue are under the impression it can be used to make a chunk of observed warming simply go away. Indeed I regularly see people subtract arbitrary values from trends for UHI (and of course also subtract some more for measurement error and claim the remainder is simply natural).

        We know that given the general agreement between ground measurements and satellite that the global trend is unlikely to be changed much by UHI. This will invariably mean that those looking for UHI adjustments will never be satisfied because their objective is the desired result (reduced warming) not the correction itself.

        I think it’s reasonable to say that pretty much all climate scientists are open about models and feedbacks needing work.

      • you misunderstand- i have an issue with the whole technique and understanding of UHI as a whole, i care not which way it ‘adjusts’ i just don’t like the whole thing.

        I care FAR more about the data being rigorous than being ‘right’ if you follow. I’m very much a bottom up scientist.

        On UHI, unless we’re willing to independantly ‘calibrate’ each end every city, i fear we’ll never get a decent value for it. I’ve written pieces on this before, but it’s too OT to go into it now. Perhaps Dr Curry could be cajouled into a UHI thread so you can run rings around me there!

      • “I care FAR more about the data being rigorous than being ‘right’ if you follow. I’m very much a bottom up scientist.”

        I’m not saying it’s your attitude, I don’t know what yours is. I’m talking about UHI in the debate generally and the fact that its prevalence dominates far more than its importance and likely effects would suggest is necessary.

      • then i’ve misrepresented your position. my mistake.

        Although i’m sure UHI has a very large role to play in some of the developed worlds temperature monitors- the vienna case study alone suggests this and that’s even before you look into the recent nasa satellite work.

        But again, i’ve got no definitive idea on which way it will go (some up some down- dependant on the city).

      • when such statements can only ever be applied sensibly in the specific.

        Indeed. So isn’t it a shame that certain high profile `campaigners’ in climate science so often fail to archive their data and code.

      • I was trying to suggest that were i to audit his work as rigorously as mine is checked, including his (any) data, his calculations and methods that i would find many, significant problems with it.

        Why should he give you his data if he knows you’ll try and find something wrong with it?

      • LOL.
        Because if he has confidence in his methods he will be happy to share it? Because industry is constantly checked via hostile audits and as his work is so ‘important’ it should be too? because it’s good practice? Because if i were him I’D want to know if i had any errors in my work??

        take your pick!

      • Gosh, LM, you need to get up to speed with the new post-normal way of thinking. Have a look in Phil Jones’s Diary for some guidelines….

      • I agree that Trenberth has suffered a huge backlash for what was probably a slightly clumsy expression (the “travesty” email) that he never expected to be subject to public scrutiny. I also broadly agree with the framework he sets out in your quotation above, in so far as it seems to me to be a reasonable summary of his area of interest.

        The problem is not this…the problem is the way he expresses himself with regard to those who may disagree with some of his other public utterances, such as the piece highlighted by Dr Curry in this post.

        Is it not reasonable to expect that such a prominent climate scientist might be willing to engage in a more reasoned discourse with his critics rather than paint them with the “denier” brush. I’m sure he is more than capable of arguing his corner without resort to such insults, especially as they clearly undermine the gravity of the points he believes we should all take on board.

        The fact that he avoids engaging in debate with those who question his views is another, frankly, amazing oversight. He seems to think that, by debating with sceptics, he is giving ‘oxygen’ to unworthy opinions that don’t merit a response. The result is that sceptics from all persuasions are able to successfully characterise him as being ‘scared’ to confront their criticisms and, therefore, scared of admitting the weakness of his own position.

        This is a disaster. I have no doubt that Kevin Trenberth is a very capable scientist and also that his views deserve a far better hearing than they are currently receiving….but, for heaven’s sake, he needs to engage his critics, no matter how stupid he perceives them to be. Surely this would be an easy task, if the arguments offered against his predictions are as weak as he claims – this is what his critics will continue to claim for as long as he remains in his “Ivory Tower”. He is not alone.

        I repeat, this is a disaster for climate science and a potential disaster for science in general. In my profession I have had to learn many new technologies, many new avenues of expression and many new ways of doing business. The moment I stop, I run the risk of becoming irrelevant. The stakes in the climate change debate are far, far higher.

        IMO, Trenberth needs to ‘get with the programme’. The public are watching, listening and reading.

      • Saaad – I don’t believe for a moment that Dr Trenberth does not engage in debate with people with differing views. I’m pretty sure that at his place of work and at conferences and seminars he debates very vigorouly with other scientists. However, I do believe that there is a coterie of people who are not worth debating with because they will not enter into a proper debate with reason and an open mind. These tend be be the blogosphere and media types as I’ve described above – not genuine skeptics.

        There is no point in trying to debate with people who belive that you’re part of a global conspiracy to install a world-wide marxist regime.

      • Agreed re the ‘global conspiracy’ stuff.

        However, I’m afraid that Kevin Trenberth is rather reinforcing the prejudices against him by characterising the ever increasing body of informed – and curious – laypeople either as deniers, or as people not worthy of his time or attention by virtue of their lack of qualifications or expertise.

        Unfortunately, whether he likes it or not, Trenberth is an icon of the climate change ‘consensus’. Also, whether he likes it or not, the “travesty” email has become a meme, a rallying point for those who wish to dismiss his views.

        I, for one, don’t wish to dismiss his views although I must say I’m not over impressed with his communication skills to date.

        Perhaps he could ‘dip his toe in the water’ here, if Dr Curry could host a carefully moderated – but also open – discussion with him.

        What do you think?

      • I think it’s very strange that very many skeptics seem to think Dr Trenberth was referring to them when he talked about deniers.

        If somebody made some sweeping statements about alarmists, I wouldn’t immediately think they were refering to me.

        Why have so many people decided that he was pointing at them?

      • I have been referred to as a “notorious denier.” Watts and McIntyre are regularly referred to as “deniers.” So when the word “denier” gets used by a climate scientist in this way, a lot of people are inferred by the reader/listener to be under this umbrella who by your definition should not be called a denier. Any person making a scientific argument (right or wrong) or repeating a scientific argument (right or wrong) to me does not deserve the label “denier.” My personal use of the word refers to people who are vocally anti-science and reject AGW prima facie for religious or political reasons, without paying attention to the scientific arguments (on either side of the debate.) I don’t ban the word denier since it is part of the discussion of the topic, although I do ban it if it is used in an abusive way to refer to a particular individual.

        In a debate about science, people who spout the skeptic creed without understanding the arguments in any detail are no different than people who spout the IPCC creed without understanding the arguments. Call one group deniers, the other group affirmists if you insist, both groups are significant in the political dialogue on the subject. Fanning the flames with such labels isn’t useful in terms of trying to come up with some policies that are both politically and economically viable to reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events and climate change.

      • “I have been referred to as a “notorious denier.” “

        By whom and when? The only references I can find are this blog post and your own blog where you reference elsewhere.

        I sincerely hope you’re not going to say that since someone somewhere on the internet labelled you a “denier” then therefore you are the type of person that would generally be considered to meet the definition of the term.

      • I have been referred to as a “notorious denier.” Watts and McIntyre are regularly referred to as “deniers.” So when the word “denier” gets used by a climate scientist in this way, a lot of people are inferred by the reader/listener to be under this umbrella …

        Indeed. The first use of the term in connection with climate science I know about – in May 2004 – had six notable characteristics:
        1. The writer was a senior climate scientist, Mike Hulme.
        2. It was used of two other climate scientists with whom Hulme disagreed about some details of average rainfall in the Sahel region of Africa, 1931 – 1990, Adrian Chappell and Clive Agnew.
        3. It explicitly made the connection with holocaust deniers (which is outrageous, given the very technical context).
        4. It was in a private email only made known to the world in November 2009 through Climategate.
        5. From 2005 (at the latest) such outrageous slurs had become commonplace against anyone, scientist or not, who disagreed with any aspect of the science of policy considered ‘the consensus’ – often explicitly mentioning holocaust denial and (because of this) always at least alluding to this comparison.
        6. On the specific issue of drought in the Sahel, from 1990 Mike Hulme’s fears have been totally overturned as the amazing ‘greening of the Sahel‘ has occurred. (Major hat-tip to Bishop Hill early last year – I almost fell off my chair when I first read this.)

        So it seems that Chappell and Agnew may have been quite right on the science. Even if they weren’t, they have the dubious honour of being the first subjects of a slur that became deadly and infectious, poisoning the climate debate, used even of someone of the stature and maturity of Judith Curry.

        As I said earlier, a series of apologies from those responsible would go a long way to right this egregious wrong.

        Meantime, let’s by all means go back to the science being debated as thoroughly as possible – and as dispassionately as possible. But the use of the ‘denier’ label cannot possibly have helped with that. It’s been a disaster.

        It would be a great start to 2011, in my book, for AMS members to show their mass disapproval of this aspect of Kevin Trenberth’s proposed address.

      • I seem to have been on the recieving end of a lot of flack because I attempted to define deniers in very similar ways to Dr Curry yet nobody seems to have picked up on Dr Curry’s views.

        Is it politeness to ones host or mob attacks on a perceived easy target?

      • Please reread her comment. She did not advocate the use of the word you so freely use by your own more narrow defination. Her comment actually made me realize I was wrong to have written “alarmist” in accurately describing the comments of someone else.

      • Judith doth protest too much ….yet again (‘heretic’, ‘martyr’ and now ‘notorious denier’)

        Your penchant for implying that you are persecuted is just a bit wierd.

      • Michael, not even close. I am not implying that I am persecuted. What I am stating is that people often use the word “denier” to refer to anyone that does not completely support the IPCC, and the term seems to mean different things to the different people that use the term and see the word used.

      • Louise, if you see me making sweeping statements about alarmists, feel free to infer that they are directed at you.

      • This is real simple Louise. When we wrote out book about climategate we took extreme care in calling out the individual behaviors of named individuals. All you or Trenberth have to do is use the names of the people you criticize.

      • Extreme care versus extreme language. I think Mosher has shown the way.

      • “I’m afraid that Kevin Trenberth is rather reinforcing the prejudices against him by characterising the ever increasing body of informed – and curious – laypeople either as deniers, or as people not worthy of his time or attention by virtue of their lack of qualifications or expertise.”

        I find it infuriatingly common for any statement like his to be interpreted as broadly and absolutely as possible. Once a climate scientist says that there exists anyone who simply not worth debating it gets presented as them saying that applies to everyone

      • Sharperoo,

        Firstly, ‘deniers’ is plural, it’s obviously not “anyone” but a group of people.

        Secondly, all I’m suggesting is that Trenberth shows us that it isn’t ‘everyone’ by engaging in a debate with those who disagree with him in some sort of public arena.

        It should be beer and skittles for a guy like him – and it would make a huge difference to the way his views are received in the wider community.

      • “all I’m suggesting is that Trenberth shows us that it isn’t ‘everyone’ by engaging in a debate with those who disagree with him in some sort of public arena.”

        When has science ever progressed in this fashion?

        “It should be beer and skittles for a guy like him “

        No it shouldn’t be. Public debates are very much stacked in favour of the best orator and least scrupulous.

      • Agreed – hence Monckton’s fame

      • The point here is not just the advancement of science. Presumably KT made his piece public because he wished to gain some traction in the public arena.
        As soon as he does this he opens himself up to the same level of scrutiny that any controversial publicised opinion would attract.
        It seems to me that Trenberth’s intention is to inform public opinion to the point where they insist on actions to curb C02 production forthwith. If this is his intention then, unless he engages with the blogosphere, he will fail IMO.
        Eventually public funds will be directed elsewhere in science and, in this particular case, the advancement of climate science will be curtailed.

        Of course, I respect KT’s right to choose how he wishes to disseminate his expert opinions. My only wish was for his views to be free from ridicule from influential bloggers who enjoy the luxury of not having to engage him in open debate.

        However, I do think a suitable web forum would have to be found. But this is not impossible.

        And, by the way, great orators are only effective in front of a microphone. That’s not what I was suggesting.

      • Isn’t the problem here that Trenberth has failed to define his term? One is then driven to infer from his past behaviour, and the use of this term by others, to determine what he means by it, and to whom it applies.
        As noted in a number of other threads, the use of the term “denier” has deliberately strong connotations of a connection to those who deny that the Holocaust occurred under the Nazis. In the debate over climate change, those proposing that anthropogenically produced CO2 will be the primary driver of future adverse global warming, have applied this term very broadly indeed. Notwithstanding Louise’s personal interpretation, as Ms. Curry as pointed out, the term is broadly applied to those who would question the mainstream view, regardless of whether they are genuinely debating the science.

        If Trenberth intends to limit the application of the word to a specific subset of those who dispute the current mainstream view on the role, magnitude and ultimate end results of anthropogenically produced CO2 on climate, then it is incumbent on him to define the term more clearly. If his aim is to improve communications, then that is a necessary first step. Otherwise, the way the term is used popularly – by the press, by bloggers, etc. – is the way that it will be understood.

        By providing a clear definition, Trenberth would avoid the need for this debate. It would be clear about whom he is speaking. Otherwise, frankly, we are just guessing as to his intent, and drawing inferences as to motive.

        As always, we should remember Alice:
        “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
        “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
        “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

      • Do you think dr. Trenberth should answer a factual question about a sentence he wrote in AR4?

      • Saad,

        If I was to offer advice to Trenberth et all I’d say that it’s best to remove themselves from meta-commentary of the climate debate and stick to the science. When scientists try to address the debate itself rather than just the facts of the debate they’re stepping outside their competency and creating the impression their objective is to have people reach a certain conclusion at all costs.

        I’ve mentioned before that Julienne Stroeve is an excellent role model for others to follow. She commented regularly on sites like WUWT bringing factual analysis and much needed perspective to the sea ice articles there. She did this very patiently and ignored everything concerning politics, policy etc.

        I know that scientists are also human and I know I get very frustrated when people insist black is white so perfect behaviour from them is a lot to ask. However I think more analysis, more data and more perspective it’s what needed – I think Tamino’s blog does a good if not perfect job of that as well.

      • sharperoo:

        “If I was to offer advice to Trenberth et all I’d say that it’s best to remove themselves from meta-commentary of the climate debate and stick to the science.”

        I agree completely and I wish that was still an option. However I have a feeling that the cusp of the argument is happening right now and over the next year or so and, on that time scale, KT is still ‘front and centre’, whether he likes it or not.

        This is why….and I know I’m banging on about this like a stuck record….I’d love KT to ‘come out’ and have a real debate. To ensure that his great knowledge and expertise isn’t sidelined by the perjorative language he used in his current piece.

        Why not a webcast perhaps, where questions are put to him by Dr Curry, or one of the Pielkes, or Lucia….I don’t know…..something!

        What I do know – IMHO – is that the early years of this debate were characterised by too much ‘head-nodding’ from the MSM. The last couple of years have been characterised by too much ‘climate change is crap’. We need to get past the memes.

        What we need – right now – is a real, open, rational and deadly serious debate. Otherwise we’re either going to waste all the economic and educational benefits, that our forbears worked so hard to achieve, on a trivial issue or we’re going to hell in a handbasket in comparative ignorance. Whichever path we choose, let’s make sure we do it with our eyes wide open.

    • You are picking the wrong equivalent here, just because the probabilities in the attribution are not in the same league…Or maybe you are ready to argue that the probability of floods increase due to man emissions of GG is the same as the increase in probability of lung cancer between a smoker and a non-smoker? Just prentending that they are of the same order of magnitude does not makes sense imho, and such statements are indeed very damaging to cAGW credibility…

      • “Or maybe you are ready to argue that the probability of floods increase due to man emissions of GG is the same as the increase in probability of lung cancer between a smoker and a non-smoker? “

        I’m not talking about probabilities, I’m talking about attribution in individual instances.

        It’s easy to build a population of otherwise similar people except for smoking and non-smoking and discuss probabilities regarding lung cancer between them.

        This is really not possible for climate since floods in Pakistan are very different to floods in Australia. You have to wait for the picture to build over time so you can look at the frequency of floods in Pakistan and the frequency of floods in Australia.

        Even then discussion becomes difficult because people will pick arbitrary metrics which produce a different conclusion, for example above Ron Cram tried to argue there’s no warming in the satellite record because the maximum in the 2000s did not exceed the maximum of the 1990s. The trends over years and decades get dismissed entirely yet also simultaneously attributed to other causes.

    • Craig Goodrich

      Brisbane has regularly had floods in the past, some more severe than the current one (though damage from the current one is greatly increased due to development closer to the Brisbane River) and some less. That’s why flood control dams were built upstream, and it is mismanagement of water release from these dams over the previous week that largely accounts for the severity of the flood.

      Strong La Niñas typically bring heavy rains to eastern Queensland.

  12. Over here in England we have just had the coldest, snowiest December in history. Our Met Office and others signed up to the AGW theory have been falling over themselves to tell us that this cold snap was “just weather”. But when a flood hits Queensland then suddenly that is not “just weather”. It is largely because of this sort of cherrypicking that I turned against AGW. If the theory was as robust as the IPCC pretends then its supporters would not need to stoop to this sort of behaviour.

    By the by, when I was at school I recall that much of southern Queensland used to be called The Overflow because of the frequency of floods. I wish I still had my old school geography books to find the reference

    • So you think mentioning one cold winter in one small part of the globe to demonstrate that AGW isn’t happening isn’t cherrypicking – :-)

      As it happens, Climate Change is a more accurate term and increased precipitation (e.g. snow) is one of the predicted consequences – as is disruption to usual weather patterns (e.g. shifting of jet stream). This isn’t cherry picking (unlike your example above) – this is predictions coming true.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Louise

        It aint “one small corner of the globe”, it’s most of Europe and the States. Hell, even China got it’s cold blast.

        As for the Uk, it isn’t “one cold winter”, it’s three in a row (have you been abroad the last couple of years?).

        “Climate Change is a more accurate term and increased precipitation (e.g. snow) is one of the predicted consequences….this is predictions coming true.”

        What happened to Viner’s prediction of snow being “a thing of the past.”?

        Isn’t you’re ignoring of this and similar claims in the last decade – ie BEFORE the snowfall – simply “cherrypicking”?

        Also, if “Climate change” predicts both milder winters and colder than normal winters, how do we know it isn’t just natural variabilty?

      • Craig Goodrich

        … not to mention that South America had a very cold winter last summer… err.. I mean …

      • Sure, it is not easy to make seasonal and local predictions (the stuff people need, because it is what affect them: English people do not feel the slightest warmer after hearing that the average worldwide temperature is near the recorded max for 2010). But instead of recognizing it is difficult, and maybe not even possible, such predictions are made more or less reluctantly, and worse, changed (mild winters with exceptional snow to more blocking cold conditions and heavier winter precipitation) at interval shorter that what would be necessary to verify such statistical predictions. I would advice playing darts instead, especially when the cAGW consensus change so fast that people/media remember the previous claim (and that is a feat in itself :-/ )

      • David L. Hagen

        You are misusing “global warming” and “climate change” to imply “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”.
        “Climate change” has occurred since the beginning of time.
        See above for my comments on global warming vs global cooling which depend strongly on the period of data.

      • – as is disruption to usual weather patterns (e.g. shifting of jet stream). This isn’t cherry picking (unlike your example above) – this is predictions coming true.

        By what mechanism does a small radiative imbalance at the TOA shift the jet stream?
        And where, when, and by whom, was this particular phenomenon predicted?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Louise, since both snow and the lack of snow are the predicted result of Climate Change, and since both floods and droughts are the result of Climate Change … then I’m not clear what you are advocating.

        Is it that we should stop letting the climate change, because if it stops then we won’t have either droughts or floods?

        Seriously, Louise, if both snow and warm winters and floods and droughts are all predictable outcomes of your theory of climate, whatever it may be, then what use is the theory? It seems that you are advocating something which is not falsifiable. If we have ice storms in the Gobi Desert? Perfectly predictable outcome of increasing CO2, according to you. Worst winter on record? See, we told you that if CO2 went up, the climate was going to change.

        Do you see how meaningless a statement is when it covers every conceivable outcome?

        Give me one, just one, falsifiable claim from your “CO2 Leads To Thermageddon” theory. Then we’ll be talking science. Because as long as every possible weather outcome is a foreseeable and predictable result of your theory, as long as your theory encompasses increased droughts and increased floods and decreased droughts and decreased floods, well then, dear lady … you don’t have a scientific theory at all. You have a very complex way of saying “tomorrow we’ll be surprised by the weather”.

        Not falsifiable? Not science. Sorry.

      • Willis – I think you’re misrepresenting the expected consequences of further warming. The basic principle is that the hydrologic cycle accelerates – warming enhances evaporation, increases atmospheric water content, and subsequently enhances precipitation as well (incidentally, Trenberth has written knowledgeably on this topic). The anticipated result is that regions already susceptible to excessive water loss (drought-prone regions) will witness more prolonged droughts, and regions susceptible to excessive bursts of sudden precipitation will see more flooding, and in winter, more snowfall (although not more cold). The drought problem will also be exacerbated by reduced snow melt.

        We have conclusive evidence for increased atmospheric water vapor, and so the basic physics are not in question. The AR4 IPCC analysis indicates that some of the regional changes in water loss or gain appear to be happening, but admittedly, the evidence is not conclusive and is not apparent everywhere. Whether additional confirmatory evidence emerges or not will be a falsifiability test.

        It’s fair to claim that we need more data, but not that a coherent, rationally-based, and testable set of hypotheses has been lacking.

      • fred but what we DO not have is any link from any of this to CO2.

        you’re putting the cart before the horse i’m afraid.

      • “The anticipated result is that regions already susceptible to excessive water loss (drought-prone regions) will witness more prolonged droughts, and regions susceptible to excessive bursts of sudden precipitation will see more flooding, and in winter, more snowfall (although not more cold).”

        The problem is, we are seeing the contradictory outcomes explained as ‘global warming’ for the SAME regions. The watershed above Brisbane had empty reservoirs ‘due to global warming drought’. Now, the watershed above Brisbane has catastrophic floods ‘due to global warming precipitation’.

        England was predicted to see no snow in the ‘global warmed future’. Now we are in the future of that prediction, and England is buried under feet of ‘global warming induced’ snow.

        The testable hypotheses are lacking, if they do not specify a quantified prediction for a specific region, and all of these ad-hoc-post-hoc attributions that Trenberth is making and encouraging everyone else to make do not apply.

      • The regions are specified in the data evaluated in AR4. In general, regional effects are as predicted, but not invariably. The basic principle – increased evaporation (surface water loss), and increased atmospheric water that must precipitate in excess somewhere – has been confirmed. There are certainly enough regional predictions for testing.

        As a U.S. resident, I’m aware of concerns about increasing water shortages in the southwest U.S. – there is evidence for this as a trend, but more long term data are needed.

        The question as to whether the same region might experience more drought at one time and more precipitation at another is interesting. The answer is almost certainly yes , depending on modifying variables such as La Nina or El Nino. This proposition is probably harder to frame into a specific prediction until we learn more about the modifying variables, but that does not mean that it lacks validity.

        Regarding snow in England and elsewhere, I would suggest that we be cautious in judging the merits of short term predictions, which are more error-prone than long term trends. Even so, those predictions will be more deserving of attention if derived from the scientific literature than from casual statements to the public – even if the statements appear to come from individuals in the scientific realm expressing their own opinions.

        One of the variables affecting short term weather predictions is the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Depending on its direction in a given year, it can dictate Northern European cooling in conjunction with Arctic warming, or the reverse. The last couple of years have witnessed a cooling phase for Europe and parts of North America despite the recent overall increase in global temperatures.

      • Fred- I think you are drawing “alarmist” conclusions without anything barely better than speculation to support your position.

        Fred wrote:
        1. “regions already susceptible to excessive water loss (drought-prone regions) will witness more prolonged droughts, and regions susceptible to excessive bursts of sudden precipitation will see more flooding”

        Yes, over time some regions will get more rainfall and others will get less. The changes will happen over decades and either infrastructure changes will be made to accommodate the changes in the climate or people will gradually migrate to more favorable regions. Regardless, CO2 human emissions levels are not going to fall (for decades at least), and even if they did, there would not be any dramatic change to the climate. Only infrastructure preparation will prevent any “human harm”.

        2. “We have conclusive evidence for increased atmospheric water vapor”

        Which is good for humans over the long term by almost any measure with preparation and somehow “alarmists” try to describe it as bad.

        3. The AR4 IPCC analysis indicates that some of the regional changes in water loss or gain appear to be happening, but admittedly, the evidence is not conclusive and is not apparent everywhere.

        The AR4 analysis has virtually zero merit when evaluating regional changes to the climate and should not be sited as evidence of anything

      • Well yes, sure. This explain perfectly why AGW was invoqued for both drought and floods in the same region, same season (western europe), just a few years appart. Accelerated water cycle, of course….oh wait….

        Well, at least one economic sector is perfectly happy with this kind of scientific theory: insurrance compagnies. They announced already that AGW forced them, reluctantly, to raise their insurrance costs. Maybe they could ask for some governement aids too, who knows? As long as we speak of AGW, but do not look at their yearly benefits.

      • Fred says…

        Willis – I think you’re misrepresenting the expected consequences of further warming. The basic principle is that the hydrologic cycle accelerates – warming enhances evaporation, increases atmospheric water content, and subsequently enhances precipitation as well

        Got any numbers? How much warming since when? How much extra WV in the atmosphere for how long?

        One can just as well say “extra sunshine hours (SSH) enhances evaporation, increasing atmospheric water content, and subsequently enhances precipitation as well”

        Making all encompassing generalised statements about the hydrological cycle is meaningless and proves nothing.

      • BH – There is now a substantial literature on the increase of water vapor with temperature, resulting in a maintenance of more or less consstant relative humidity. One recent analysis is at Water Vapor Feedback

        This is an important topic that deserves a thread of its own, and so the above citation is not exhaustive but illustrative.

      • So what is the average increase in precipitation can we expect from a 0.5C increase in global average temperatures?
        And by what mechanism does that, or any increase in average precipitation for that matter, translate to more, or more extreme, extreme precipitation events?
        And how can we quantify all of this, sufficiently in order to predict when, where and how often they’re likely to strike?

      • The paper you linked to doesn’t answer any of my questions. It is a model simulation which concludes that higher Ts lead to higher RH but doesn’t include hard numbers. Like we needed yet another climate change paper stating the bleeding obvious, with caveats and calls for more studies. Great.

        Like I said in my response to you above, one can just as well claim that more SSH leads to higher RH. This statement of mine is still true.

        From the paper…”These results provide enhanced confidence
        in the range of climate sensitivity in climate simulations, which are based on a positive uppertropospheric water vapor feedback. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition for trusting future climate projections from GCMs.”

        You make the claim that there is “substantial literature” and link to this latest one which doesn’t answer my query at all.

        Furthermore, if in the future I ask a question of you or respond to one of your posts, PLEASE do not send me off on computer modelling paper chases. I am NOT interested in computer modelling. This was just so RC and SKS. Don’t have the answer? Send ’em off on a paper chase. If they come back and say that’s not it, tell ’em they didn’t understand the paper and dissmiss ’em

        So I ask again, “GOT ANY NUMBERS?” And how can SSH be discounted as at least partly responsible for evaporation?

        Here yar, chase this, Lockart et al 2010

      • BH – The Gettelman et al paper I linked to demonstrates increases in water vapor from observational data (AIRS) over a 54 month interval, as well as good correlation with model simulations. The paper also cites relevant references. Rather than discuss this further here, I would recommend that readers visit the paper themselves so that they can make their own judgments. Does that sound reasonable?

      • Yes you are correct Fred. Half of my response was wrong and I apologise.

        The gist of my comment to you was that stating that WV increases with higher Ts is like saying the sun will come up tomorrow. It adds nothing unless there is solid numbers provided, i.e. X Deg increase in T causes Y more WV etc compared to Z amount more SSH causes Y more WV.
        That’s why I listed the Lockart et al paper.

        p.s. You have been more than reasonable with your responses and I thank you for that. Less zeal in mine would be better. Mea Culpa

        I agree to leave this discussion here.

      • Gilbert K. Arnold

        Fred: NOAA has numerous and probably voluminous water evaporation data available which would allow one to infer the moisture content of the atmosphere in arid/semi-arid regions as well as moderate climactic regions. Here’s a paper which details the methods used for these. ccc.atmos.colostate.edu/ET_Workshop/ET_Jensen/ET_water_surf.pdf

      • … since both snow and the lack of snow are the predicted result of Climate Change, and since both floods and droughts are the result of Climate Change … Do you see how meaningless a statement is when it covers every conceivable outcome?

        I think the argument is that global warming will result in more extremes. Which is something that could in principle be measured. Ie falsifiable.

      • “I think the argument is that global warming will result in more extremes.”

        Well, that is certainly what “the argument” is right now. And that is because right now we are seeing extremes, and rather inconveniently for global warming alarmism, the most prominent of those extremes are quite cold rather than warm.

        A few years ago, the popularly observed extremes were incorreclty but popularly attributable to warmth (hurricanes, etc) . At that time “the argument” was that, while we will continue to see some cold extremes (local cold day records, etc) they are becoming ever less frequent and of lower magnitude, soon becoming a thing of the past.

        i.e. “The argument” was that cold extremes were in spite of global warming, and would be going away.

        Now “the argument” is that cold extremes are because of global warming. And those cold extremes, like the global warming that causes them, are only going to become more common and more extreme.

        ad-hoc-post-hoc religionism.

  13. May I draw attention to one of Trenberth’s first statements in his presentation. “The latter term refers to the emails and personal information about individuals, including me, that were illegally taken from the University of East Anglia through a hacking incident.”

    I have studied a lot of what has been written about Climategate, and nowhere has it been established that the emails were “illegally” obtained by a “hacking” incident. This point has been made over and over again all over the blogosphere. In fact, the evidence is the opposite. It takes a certain sort of skill to “hack” into a computer, and the sort of people who can do this are not likely to be familiar with climate science. Yet, somehow, if the emails were hacked, then whoever hacked them knew precisely which parts were the most damaging. A most unlikely scenario. It is far more likely that someone inside the UEA selected the damaging emails for some nefarious purpose, and then left them unguarded, so that they could be downloaded.

    However, the point I am trying to make is that right at the beginning of Trenberth’s presentation he makes a statement for which he has no evidence. So, surely, an unbiased observer would then be prejudiced by any further statements that are made. And as every man and his dog has pointed out, the rest of the presentation is full of completely unsupported statements of “fact”.

    • “nowhere has it been established that the emails were “illegally” obtained by a “hacking” incident. This point has been made over and over again all over the blogosphere. In fact, the evidence is the opposite”

      This is absolutely not true. bearing in mind that RealClimate was hacked at the same time, all of the evidence that exists is for an external hacking job. No evidence exists for an internal whistleblower at all.

      More disinformation presented as fact.

      • It’s a good point that RealClimate was hacked on 17 Nov 2009, as part of the Climategate release. So hacking was involved. But it’s entirely implausible (and always has been) that the rest of the effort was from hackers external to CRU and UEA, as Pointman’s very through presentation demonstrated last month.

      • Loiise writes “This is absolutely not true. bearing in mind that RealClimate was hacked at the same time, all of the evidence that exists is for an external hacking job. No evidence exists for an internal whistleblower at all.”

        It is absolutely true that it has not been proved that the leaked emails were hacked. And no-one mentioned a whistleblower. Where do you get the idea it was a whistleblower? My guess is that it was people at UEA worried about FOI requests, and who were hiding information should their computers be searched. They created a file that they wanted to hide, and inadvertantly left it where it could be downloaded. Nothing to do with a whistleblower.

      • Michael Larkin

        Jim,

        I don’t know whether or not they were hacked, but if what you say is true, I can’t make sense of it. Why not just delete them and have done with it?

        I can’t wait to hear the verdict of the Norfolk police, if they ever get round to pronouncing one.

      • Michael, Deleting public records which are the subject of FOI is an offence under the Criminal Code. Hiding information and putting it back again when the coast is clear may or may not be an offence; but I am not a lawyer.

      • Jim, you have just voiced a suspicion I entertained at the time, but which seems generally neglected. As far as I know, what was “liberated” was a zip file bearing a name that had already been given, by a user of CRU access privileges, a name including the string “FOIA”. It has always seemed to me that the reason for creating a file so-named must be to collate material either for release, or for concealment. Given the content of the emails, the former can be ruled out. I am always surprised that this hypothesis doesn’t receive wider attention.

      • TomFP, I wish I could claim credit for having thought this up myself. I did not. In the weeks following the release of the emails, all sorts of people put forward ideas of what happened. Someone, I have forgotten who, suggested this, and it immediately struck me that this was the way it almost certainly happened.

      • Well I certainly made the suggestion back in Dec 09 – possibly at BH – so I guess it might have been me! But I didn’t see any enthusiasm for the idea at the time. Watching the HOC hearings, I kept waiting for Stringer, or someone to ask “Did any authorised CRU employee create a file named “FOIA.txt”, and if so for what purpose?”

      • http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/why-climategate-was-not-a-computer-hack/

        excellent. The few Great Whites I have known would never trouble themselves with a CRU hack. But what do the experts about hacking known

      • Realclimate “claimed” to have been hacked. Has anyone seen any evidence at all to verify that?

        Not sure this has been covered but I’ll bring it up anyway – a lot of information was redacted from the emails. That takes time – a lot of time considering the number of emails. Which points to someone inside CRU/UEA who had the time to collect the emails, read them and redact information. The latest emails were shortly before the package was delivered. Insufficient time to do that between being plucked (or mailed) from the UEA server and the time the story broke. It also militates against a hacker, who would have had to spend hours collecting and operating on each separate email. I suspect no competent hacker would spend that much time in any one server.

        All of which indicates – the file was collected read, redacted and packaged internally to CRU/UEA. If that file was hacked that implies another, outside, person. But the file itself was put together internally.
        Purpose? Only one person or group of persons know.

      • I think the FOIA directory was collected with in response to the FOIA requests, but CRU decided not to release them. Then, either someone disagreed with that executive decision and distributed the files…or it was like Steve McIntyre’s mole…they left the files on an insecure server and someone grabbed them. Either way, we owe ‘someone’ a lot more than a beer at the pub.

      • Ken, I’m not sure this makes sense. From the get-go, more thought has been applied to why/how the FOIA.txt file was liberated than on the far more intriguing question of why/how it came to exist in the first place. The emails contain much that would no doubt have interested the parties then making FOI requests of the CRU, had they known of its existence, but they didn’t. As far as I could see the file as released contained some material that they were specifically requesting, but much that they weren’t, however gratifying it might have been to receive it. To the extent that it contained material which could have formed a response to a request, it was not thus organised, being merely chronologically sorted. Other than chronology, the only other “sort criterion” I could see was “discredit to Team”. So it just doesn’t have the look of a response to any of the requests I’m aware were being made – or even of an early draft.

        This suggests strongly that it was material collected to (unlawfully?) WITHHOLD, should CRU’s attempts to evade disclosure ultimately fail. That, of course, is something that the liberator could have taken exception to. But whoever created it saw fit to give it a name which ineluctably associates it with those requests.

        It should also be borne in mind that Paul Hudson of the BBC received an earlier version 6 weeks before the “liberation”. So if my suspicions about why is was created are justified, we must further conclude that FOIA.txt was not the result of a single misguided attack of panic, but was a systematic cull of their correspondence, conducted over at least 6 weeks, of embarrassing material. That would raise the tantalising question of what they thought was embarrassing, and why.

        Of course the may be an innocent reason for why FOIA.txt was created, but until someone like Graham Stringer asks the question, or until Mr Plod, who surely MUST have asked the question, tells us, or until the CRU and its camp-followers – who must resent this line of reasoning – provide us with a perfectly satisfactory answer I haven’t thought of, we can only infer.

      • It should also be borne in mind that Paul Hudson of the BBC received an earlier version 6 weeks before the “liberation”.

        This is a common misconception, however he didn’t, what he said was that he was able to test its accuracy by reference to some emails that he had in his possession.

        “As you may know, some of the e-mails that were released last week directly involved me and one of my previous blogs, ‘Whatever happened to global warming ?’

        These took the form of complaints about its content, and I was copied in to them at the time. Complaints and criticisms of output are an every day part of life, and as such were nothing out of the ordinary. However I felt that seeing there was an ongoing debate as to the authenticity of the hacked e-mails, I was duty bound to point out that as I had read the original e-mails, then at least these were authentic, although of course I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the others.”

      • Phil,
        I have (re) visited the page you linked to. And I was aware that in addition to, as I understood it, having received the first tranche of the emails on Oct 12th, he was also a subject of the correspondence therein. The page you link to makes no effort draw the distinction between correspondence directly related to his article, which one would expect, given its implications. And the link to the blog thread seems broken, so I can’t offer verification. But whether Hudson received a tranche of the CRU emails, or just those pertaining to his heresy, matters little to my argument that the most likely reason that a file named FOIA.txt was created was as a repository for material to be WITHHELD in response to an FOI request, and that the person who created it was most likely an authorised user of the CRU system.

      • Climategate : leak or hack?
        Being in response to FOI requests, the person would have needed to know all the FOI requests made by diverse parties, which also suggests an internal leak by someone at UEA with moral scruples and an attack of conscience. Deep Stoat, someone suggested we call him.
        And who certainly deserves more than a beer. A statue? Or perhaps take away the IPCC/Gore Nobel and give it to him/her/them?

      • randomengineer

        This is absolutely not true

        I find it fascinating that you’re willing to appeal to authority regarding climate specialists and call anyone who thinks otherwise a denier… and yet when the pros who know leaks vs hacks tell you that the UEA files were leaked, why, you deny it. Apparently you think you know more about how this works than the people who do it for a living. Very revealing.

    • “However, the point I am trying to make is that right at the beginning of Trenberth’s presentation he makes a statement for which he has no evidence. So, surely, an unbiased observer would then be prejudiced by any further statements that are made. And as every man and his dog has pointed out, the rest of the presentation is full of completely unsupported statements of “fact”.

      There is some not inconsequential evidence that Trenberth (aided and abetted by others who apparently take him at his word) seems to be making a rather unfortunate habit of making statements for which he has no evidence. For example, pls see Kevin Trenberth: false memory syndrome?

  14. I think anyone who expects the alarmists in the climate debate to gently go into that good night politically speaking are sorely mistaken. Copenhagen may have failed, and the last U.S. election seemed to show a dramatic shift away from the alarmists’ political patrons. But proponents of CAGW still control the Senate, the White House, the Supreme Court (on environmental issues), the EPA, most European governments, the IPCC, the most notable science journals, the vast majority of media outlets, and the curriculum in most of education. Why should they give up yet?

    Imagine being one of the vanguard, valiantly trying to save the Earth, indeed all of mankind, from those ignorant, evil deniers. You are absolutely certain that catastrophe looms if the world doesn’t listen to you. Your entire sense of self is wrapped up in this one issue that dominates your life, gives you Olympian status, confirms your superiority mentally and morally over your opponents. And you were soooo close; if only Copenhagen had succeeded, you saw the Holy Grail of enormous political power, unending funding and nonstop media attention within your grasp.

    What would you expect them to do? Want analogy? Think Al Gore after the 2000 election. Don’t expect the climate alarmists to skulk away. They think it’s time, in the immortal words of Sonny Corleone, to go to the mattresses.

    • “if only Copenhagen had succeeded, you saw the Holy Grail of enormous political power, unending funding and nonstop media attention within your grasp”

      Does anyone think Dr Trenberth should be engaging in debate with people with views like this?

      • Gary. As Anthony Watts put it, it is like a hockey game. It is the end of the first period, and the skeptics have scored two quick goals. But the proponents of CAGW had already established a 5 goal cushion. There is still a lot of game to play.

        In your list of organizations who side with the proponents of CAGW, you have left out one very important one; the courts. Luckily our legal system is completely neutral on this issue. I suspect that eventually this business of CAGW is going to get into court, with the rules of evidence in place. I simply dont believe that the Kevin Trenberth’s of this world would survive cross-examination.

      • Jim,

        My list included the Supreme Court, in which five justices (including the supposedly conservative Anthony Kennedy) held that the courts could compel the EPA to regulate CO2. The opinions of the court and dissenters can be found here.

        http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/05-1120.ZS.html

        The decisions are technical on the legal issues of jurisdiction and standing, but they are fairly straight forwadr on the issue of the different takes on whether CO2 is a “pollutant” for regulatory purposes. The Supreme Court having forced the door open, don’t hold your breath waiting for the lower courts to invalidate the regulations to follow.

        As to the hockey game analogy, I would say that with conservatives in control of the House, the skeptics are up one. They can veto any policy initiatives, including defunding the EPA regulations if they have the guts. But there is a lot of time left in the game.

      • Except it is not hockey, its rollerball. And Anthony is on the same team as the hockey team, only he doesn’t know it.

        The goal is not to win or lose, only to stay in the game, and keep Nature off of the power play.

        She is down, but she has scored a few goals lately, and has shown the potential to go on a serious run.

        We have seen some small changes, let’s not wait until we see some big ones.

      • Does anyone think Dr Trenberth should be engaging in debate with people with views like this

        That quote is quite right. From my understanding even the UN admits that it isn’t about climate any more, it’s about redistribution. We must assume it was never about climate in the first place.

        “We must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy….This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore” – Ottmar Edenhofer, IPCC official.

      • And so every climate scientist – including Drs Curry and Trenberth – have the same goals?

      • Have you ever heard of the phrase useful idiot? I’m not suggesting that includes Dr Curry, because she at least asks the question, “am I wrong about this?”. Trenberth doesn’t seem capable of such an intellectual leap.

        Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming.

        In other words, skeptics are asked to prove a negative (impossible) – and this should be the de-facto gold standard of discussion in climate science.

        I have no idea why you’re defending him. It seems to me that he doesn’t really understand what the implications of his suggestions actually are.

      • Louise, are you really saying that a man who can utter:

        “Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming.” – possibly the frankest repudiation of the Scientific Method I have seen since Michael Tobis’ “reporting the null hypothesis don’t add to your cite count” howler – should be given house-space, let alone taken seriously as a “scientist”?

      • No, absolutely not….but surely Louise, there are enough entirely reasonable questions that could be asked to make Dr Trenberth’s time usefully spent?

        I’m thinking that he could deal with all my attribution, feedback extent and modelling a chaotic system questions very easily. In fact, I’m guessing that as much as 90% of the questions would revolve around attribution, forcings and modelling.

        For me personally those questions are my sole interest in using up some of KT’s valuable time.

        As for the political ramifications, I’d far rather talk to you than I would Kevin Trenberth….at that point he ceases to be an expert.

      • Sorry Louise, somehow the previous comment is out of sync – it belongs with your comment at 11.55am.

      • Saaad – take a look at things from Dr Trenberth’s point of view. He has been personally attacked in a variety of media and probably by e-mail too. There have been some pretty scathing comments of him here and this is the very mild end of the wedge.

        What possible benefit would it be to him personally to spend time here?

        His way of interacting with the general public is to make statements such as he has done. There may be some way of making it worth his while to show up here but why here? Why not over at WUWT, Lucia’s place or CA? What makes this place so special? Have you seen the Blog Roll listed here? Would you expect him to show up at each of those places in turn?

        Is he to be criticised for not doing so?

      • Yes–
        He should be criticized for making scientifically unsupportable statements regarding probable future outcomes with a purpose of effecting governmental policy. His failure to engage those skeptical of his policy conclusions (that were based upon bad science) helps to demonstrate the unreasonableness of his conclusions.

      • I won’t bother with the issue of whether Kevin Trenberth should debate me, or anyone else. Not sure what that has to do with my comment.

        As to the substance of what I wrote, here are the goals of Copenhagen, as articulated by the UNFCC:

        1. Make clear how much developed countries, such as the U.S., Australia, and Japan, will limit their greenhouse gas emissions.

        2. Determine how, and to what degree, developing countries, such as China, India, and Brazil, can limit their emissions without limiting economic growth.

        3. Explore options for “stable and predictable financing” from developed countries that can help the developing world reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.

        4. Identify ways to ensure developing countries are treated as equal partners in decision-making, particularly when it comes to technology and finance.

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/12/091205-copenhagen-climate-conference.html

        Unelected bureaucrats and climate scientists combined seeking to regulate energy on an international scale, redistribute wealth from developed to developing countries, and assert global control of technology and finance. But it wasn’t about power or money, right?

      • “if only Copenhagen had succeeded, you saw the Holy Grail of enormous political power, unending funding and nonstop media attention within your grasp”

        Does anyone think Dr Trenberth should be engaging in debate with people with views like this?

        Yes. It would be interesting to see him try and deny it.

  15. randomengineer

    Lukewarmer here.

    On the one hand: I reckon Trenberth to be accurate enough. As climate changes, however slowly, the weather expectations necessarily change along with this. However, this would be true if climate change was or was not caused by human beings. Noting that the climate changes and the weather changes accordingly isn’t exactly a revelation. Noting that 6 billion humans can’t help but change their environment (hence affecting climate, to one degree* or another) isn’t a revelation either.

    On the other hand: I reckon Trenberth to be disingenuous by not noting that this isn’t a revelation and instead making it sound scary. Adding in the now requisite doses of “deniers” and attacking media for failure to promote 24/7 knicker wetting certainly says he’s (ab)using the obvious to make political hay.

    My guess is that he’s convinced of his own cleverness and the AMS members may not quite be as dull witted as he supposes. I think most will see through this as being solely a political appeal with the result being a big YAWN.

    *sorry for the pun

  16. I’m not a professional scientist, though ’twas my undergrad and I follow it as much as I can. I am baffled by the following statement:
    “the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.”

    Does this not turn science on its head? I mean, I still read about papers testing Einstein and Quantun Theory, which are pretty much as close to fact as anything and even these assume the theory needs to be tested to be affirmed, and not the other way around.

    Has it got to the point where the popularity of an hypothesis and the decision of a political organization like the IPCC flips the burden on proof? Did I misread, or has climate science become a sort of Vatican?

    • Mingy. You are absolutely correct.

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      If someone were challenging Quantum theory, they would have to show that the results were significantly different from those predicted by Quantum theory. i.e. it has become the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis is just the one that is currently held to be ‘true’.

      That’s how I understood it, anyhow.

    • Mingy – you seem to be new here. If you are also new to climate “science”, prepare your self for a field entirely founded on disregard of the null hypothesis. Its practitioners don’t understand it, and seem to think it is some kind of separate logical construct from the alternative hypothesis with which it is paired. The perversion you read from KT was more frankly expressed in this blog a few months ago by Bart Verheggen, who contended that “the consensus becomes the new null hypothesis”. I kid you not! And to the extent that climate “scientists” understand it, they don’t like it, because as Michael Tobis says, “it does nothing for your cite count”. So rather than find nullity, they pile on the statistics – which is after all all that binds the disparate strands of climate “science” together – until the null hypothesis has entirely disappeared behind a wall of “probability” (or “uncertainty”, depending on what you’re trying to do with it). Since they never find the null hypothesis, they are never prompted to “think of a better experiment”.

      Having unmoored themselves from science in this way, they have no reason to reconsider their monomaniacal prosecution of CO2, or to look at other drivers of climate.

      I hope this helps.

      • Just a quick observation. There is nothing to stop one testing against a null that man made GHGs are causing >50% of the recent temperature changes. But to test this it needs to clear what we are assuming in the null, and we need to be able to statistically verify or falsify it with the data.

        As I just noted at WUWT the first means that the nature of the claimed causality needs to be specified in the null, and each step needs to stand up to verification. The second means that the noise in the data can’t swamp the evidence for causality, otherwise the null is useless.

        Pursuing these issues with proponents of AGW could be useful, so don’t just write off the suggestion – it could provide a stronger link into good science.

    • Mingy

      The simplified inverted null argument goes thus:

      a) There’s an arguable status quo, the state of the atmosphere before human activities became so large in scale they began to have measurable lasting global effect. (i.e CO2 levels rising from the mid 280’s to almost 400 ppmv so far, ignoring seasonal and local variation.)

      b) The null hypothesis is, “The status quo is benign.” This is, I am told, a conventional approach to public planning. It certainly has the attraction of seeming common sense, but it has a lot of implicit assumptions.

      c) Any change to the status quo has the onus of proving it too is benign.

      “Do nothing,” is the traditional basis of the null hypothesis; the human race and human industry are definitely doing something.

      It makes in contrast no sense to call, “continue changing without plan or limit,” null.

      In this case, anthropogenic GHG’s in the atmosphere and their purported higher order impacts are the change.

      Examples of similar inversions, “prove to me building on a known flood plain with a track record of generational washout is a bad idea;” or, “prove to me eating four meals a day of fast food, supersized, is unhealthy.”

  17. My initial reaction to Trenberth’s AMS preprint was this: Kevin Trenberth is an accomplished scientist with a strong case to make, but he has damaged that case and his own credibility by overstating the certainties involved, and by characterizing those who disagree with him in perjorative terms that many of them do not deserve.

    After a day’s rethinking?

    To quote the favorite phrase of my GPS – “Recalculating”.

    Here’s my dilemma. I don’t think we should exaggerate our evidence or vilify adversaries, but that does not answer the question as to whether Trenberth, in doing so, has damaged or advanced his cause. He has certainly antagonized (or I should say “further antagonized”) many who disapprove of him already, but he is also garnering news headlines as a “climate expert”. Most members of the public are unfamiliar with the details of climate science; their antennas are tuned to both the tenor and the certainty of remarks by those of prominence, and here, I believe Trenberth is right in claiming that statements made in tones of absolute certainty have some resonance with the public, however unjustified.

    At this point, I truly do not know whether Trenberth will benefit from the feedback to his remarks. It’s “deja vu all over again” – a dispute over positive vs negative feedback. I’m beginning to suspect it will be net positive.

    If I were Kevin Trenberth, I would communicate differently, but I’m not he. Climate science still faces the dilemma articulated by the late Steve Schneider and misrepresented by his adversaries – how do we best ensure that the public arrives at an accurate understanding of climate change, when the “sound bite” limits on our speaking time to the media force us to choose between making a few points with all the appropriate caveats, vs presenting details of all the points we believe important but without acknowledging uncertainties?

    Whichever option is chosen is often motivated by the expectation that what any one individual says will be matched in the media by challenges from others. It sometimes plays out as though climate science were a courtroom drama, based on the legal philosophy that truth is best reached when differing views are advanced in an adversarial format rather than by a single individual, with the public in the role of jury – and when it comes to policy decisions, judge as well.

    I don’t think that’s the best road to the truth. The weight of evidence is not the same as the ability to persuade, and “balance of evidence” is not the same as “equal time”. In that sense, I’m not sure how the process can be improved, except in the sense that each of us tries to improve our ability to understand evidence, to evaluate it objectively, and to communicate it effectively to a public audience with a limited attention span and with many other things on its mind as well.

    • Fred – I agree with much of what you say but…

      I frequently use Monckton as an example of the other ‘side’ who is regularly trotted out in all forms of MSM as a climate expert (regardless of his lack of actual expertise). Part of this is because he causes controversy and doesn’t deal in uncertainties. He ‘shoots from the hip’ and ‘tells it like it is’ and people listen/read and believe him.

      The climate scientists on the other hand have in the past mostly played fair. They try to explain the uncertauinties, they talk about probabilities, they talk about how little we still know – they tell the truth and it gets them nowhere.

      If Dr Trenberth wants to atract the attention of the MSM then he’s going about it the right way (in my view) – they don’t want to hear about uncertainty.

      • David L. Hagen

        Louise
        I you read his detailed articles, I think you might find Monckton much more conversant with the climate data and models than most give him credit for.

        Please address his data and arguments, not caricturize him.

    • Fred,

      I think your first thoughts were right.

      Although he may gain traction as an ‘expert’ in the mainstream media with this piece, the fact of the matter is that the blogosphere is taking over as the means by which the public gain access to information and news. Were this not the case, I can’t see any way that genuine scepticism could possibly have taken off.

      Most people I know get their news online and check their facts via any number of blogs, political and scientific.

      I can see that Trenberth’s latest piece reads very much like an opinion piece from an expert that will get published in various mainstream outlets. The problem is that the public have a much more nuanced view of climate science now, thanks to the blogosphere. The phrase ‘denier’ no longer marginalises people with differing views – indeed, it’s worn as a badge of honour by many bloggers and is now treated more as a term used by “cAGW’s” when they’ve run out of ideas. Which is kind of true, actually.

      More than ever before, people not only don’t believe what they red in the newspapers (or TV), they go and find out for themselves.

      Personally I would love it if the likes of KT would actually get their hands dirty on blogs such as this….actually, this blog – it’s the best one I know for (predominantly) reasoned debate. This way lies both redemption and traction for Trenberth IMO….and I don’t agree with much he has to say!

      Perhaps I should have kept my mouth shut!

      • I still think that it is only a minority that are interested enough to bother searching out the right websites that are the ‘informed blogosphere’. Most are far too busy with their face book and social lives to be bothered digging into either CA or RC let alone WUWT or Skeptical Science.

        Main stream media – TV news at dinner time – is still where the average man in the street gets his opinions and currently it’s almost all skeptical as that’s much more photogenic and articulate than the actual climate scientists.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “Main stream media – TV news at dinner time – is still where the average man in the street gets his opinions and currently it’s almost all skeptical as that’s much more photogenic and articulate than the actual climate scientists.”

        Louise, that is laughably innacurate, in Britain at any rate. The BBC is COMPLETELY onside with AGW, take Cox’s recent science lecture as an example. Please point me to where the Beeb have been airing all this “sceptical” opinion.

        On the other “serious” channel, Ch4, Mike Huhne was interviewed at Cancun and the basic premise of cAGW was never once questioned – it was taken for granted as true! That has always been their position. (I like Jon snow, but he’s completely convinced of the reality of global warming.)

        I never watch ITV news, but I think I’d have heard if they’d if gone all controversial. Ditto Ch 5. Can you give examples?

        To say the TV media is mostly sceptical is the opposite of the truth.

      • Louise,

        I’m not so sure about that. When my curiosity was piqued beyond the MSM I found WUWT, then CA. From there I progressed to Real Climate, Tamino, then Lucia, Bishop Hill and Climate Debate Daily. Now I do everything from Marc Morano to Joe Romm, from Gavin Shmidt to Richard Lindzen…..Right now I’m somewhere between Pielke Snr and Bjorn Lomberg….but that could and will change.

        I’m an educated person. There are millions of us. Here in Australia, the rise of climate change scepticism caught the government of the day – and the opposition – so off guard that they have both changed leadership, changed policies, and are still playing catch up with a public that are better informed than they are…why? They followed the MSM, the IPCC, the usual channels of communication, whilst the public were on a new voyage of discovery via the internet. The anarchy of the blogosphere caught parliament by surprise.

        So the minority of which you speak has brought down one Prime Minister, a government, a leader of the opposition…and that’s just in the last year or so.

        This is why I think it is soooo important that people like Trenberth engage with the blogosphere somehow. I can totally understand their reticence – after all, I’m here hiding behind a pseudonym to protect my own career – but, in the end, this is the new mass media, like it or not.

        That’s what I reckon, anyway.

    • Fred,

      I think it is about to happen. Planning a post.

      Peter

    • Climate science still faces the dilemma articulated by the late Steve Schneider and misrepresented by his adversaries – how do we best ensure that the public arrives at an accurate understanding of climate change, when the “sound bite” limits on our speaking time to the media force us to choose between making a few points with all the appropriate caveats, vs presenting details of all the points we believe important but without acknowledging uncertainties?

      Fred M.: I appreciate your calm, knowledgeable presence in these discussions. However, I think you have misrepresented Schneider’s quote:

      On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but – which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This “double ethical bind” we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

      This isn’t about fitting into sound bites. It’s the balance between telling the full truth as a scientist and scaring the bejesus out of people as an advocate in order to be effective then “hoping” that one can do both.

      It’s a current talking point for climate change advocates that Stephen Schneider has been misrepresented, but as far as I’m concerned any scientist who is privately deciding when, where and how much to cross his fingers while speaking as a scientist is untrustworthy … period … and the rest is just rationalization.

      That Stephen Schneider was a good friend and close colleague to Paul Ehrlich, the most outrageous, careless, and unrepentant scientist-alarmist in recent history only reinforces my opinion that Schneider was untrustworty, and, frankly by contamination, any scientists who rise to Schneider’s defense on this point.

      If I’ve got that wrong, plus explain. I do not understand how I am to trust scientists who are secretly calculating how much truth to tell versus how much to press an agenda.

  18. The IPCC suggests that the major impact for global warming on Australia will be reduced rainfall and increased drought. Now floods are explained as effects of global warming even thoug, in fact, they are a common occurrence associated with La Nina. I believe that 1974 and 1984 were major Australian flood years with the former being more devastating that the last. In fact, Trenberth and others have argued that El Nino has become more common as a result of global warming and the world will become more “El Nino like”. Hence enhanced Australian drought.

    So how can Trenberth argue that the long-lived floods in Australia are the result of global warming? He states in his AMS piece that global warming is unequivocal and therefore all weather events are impacted by global warming. If global warming is pushing Australia towards ore drought, is he saying that if it were not for global warming that the floods would have been worse, perhaps as bad as 1974?

    I have had my moments with Dr. Trenberth on the issue that the IPPC almost ignored the substantial global warming in the first half of the 20th century. I will not go into details as they were part of private communication but it was not an edifying interaction. To me the study of this earlier warming would shed light onto the relative roles of natural long-term variability and the trends of global warming. During this interaction I have also questioned the statement that the Pakistan floods as being the result of global warming. I had pointed out (as we do in our GRL paper “Were the 2010 Pakistan floods predictable?”: Jan 2011) that the flooding was not unique but had occurred with similar total rainfall in the past. Other non-climatic effects were responsible for the flooding. But the responses were similar to what has been posted here. It is an interaction I will unlikely to attempt to repeat.

    It is a pointless exercise to guess the motives of another person and probably incorrect to do so. But I cannot help but wonder what this new aggression by Trenberth is supposed to achieve. What is to be gained from once again separating people into the ayes and the nays. What is the point of calling people liars, deniers and etc? If there is a point to this it eludes me and I think it will become to be seen as extremely counterproductive.

    Now I have read the IPCC cover to cover (!) and there are some things I question. But according to Trenberth that cannot be allowed unless you fall into some pretty nasty (or dumb) categories. Used to be if you questioned any orthodoxy of the church or the bible you were a heretic. As in the church, only the priest knew the truth and he could thrust you into everlasting hells-fire. In climate science, it seems that only Trenberth holds the key and I can but guess where he has thrust me. I guess that because I remain a scientist who is skeptical of some parts of the IPCC (be it in terms of omission or lack of substantiation of uncertainty) then I am a “liar” or a “heretic” or just, perhaps, a lying heretic. Well, given that, at least I now know what I shouldn’t do in the future: dare question the unequivocal.

    • Excellent, thorough post Peter. Thanks for questioning the unequivocal – for the rest of us.

    • Peter – Regarding your comment –
      ” have had my moments with Dr. Trenberth on the issue that the IPPC almost ignored the substantial global warming in the first half of the 20th century… To me the study of this earlier warming would shed light onto the relative roles of natural long-term variability and the trends of global warming.”

      First, could you be induced to participate in this blog more often – not only in this thread, but in others as well?

      Could you elaborate on the issue you raised about 20th century warming? I believe the topic has been addressed by many in the literature, with particular reference to differences in the solar contribution between the first and second half of the century. Uncertainties include the nature of solar forcing (TSI, UV, spectral irradiance variations, cosmic ray flux, and the duration and trajectory of long term ocean heat storage), but most evidence appears to support a greater role for the sun in the earlier warming than the warming since the 1970s. Other natural variations include ENSO, PDO, AMO, etc. – are these a major source of difference between the two halves of the twentieth century? How should we evaluate greenhouse gas contributions in the context of these other variables, based on the principles of radiative transfer and the rising concentrations of CO2, and at times, methane?

      Your perspective would be welccome.

    • Roger Andrews

      There’s also a problem with Trenberth’s use of “unequivocal”. He claims that the IPCC concluded in its 2007 report that “global warming” – by which he clearly means anthropogenic global warming – is unequivocal. What the IPCC actually concluded was that “warming of the climate system is unequivocal”, which is not the same thing at all.

    • The IPCC suggests that the major impact for global warming on Australia will be reduced rainfall and increased drought. Now floods are explained as effects of global warming even thoug, in fact, they are a common occurrence associated with La Nina. I believe that 1974 and 1984 were major Australian flood years with the former being more devastating that the last. In fact, Trenberth and others have argued that El Nino has become more common as a result of global warming and the world will become more “El Nino like”. Hence enhanced Australian drought…

      Here is the relevant section from the IPCC concerning Australia, Queensland, rain, drought.

      The area of mainland Australia with at least one day of snow cover per year is likely to shrink by 10 to 40% by 2020 and by 22 to 85% by 2050 (Hennessy et al., 2003). Increases in extreme daily rainfall are likely where average rainfall either increases or decreases slightly. For example, the intensity of the 1-in-20 year daily rainfall event is likely to increase by up to 10% in parts of South Australia by the year 2030 (McInnes et al., 2002), by 5 to 70% by the year 2050 in Victoria (Whetton et al., 2002), by up to 25% in northern Queensland by 2050 (Walsh et al., 2001) and by up to 30% by 2040 in south-east Queensland (Abbs, 2004). In NSW, the intensity of the 1-in-40 year event increases by 5 to 15% by 2070 (Hennessy et al., 2004). The frequency of severe tropical cyclones (Categories 3, 4 and 5) on the east Australian coast increases 22% for the IS92a scenario (IPCC, 1992) from 2000 to 2050, with a 200 km southward shift in the cyclone genesis region, leading to greater exposure in south-east Queensland and north-east NSW (Leslie and Karoly, 2007). For tripled pre-industrial CO2 conditions, there is a 56% increase in the number of simulated tropical cyclones over north-eastern Australia with peak winds greater than 30 m/s (Walsh et al., 2004). Decreases in hail frequency are simulated for Melbourne and Mt. Gambier (Niall and Walsh, 2005).

      • Don’t you find it a bit strange that it seems the more remote the predictions, the greater the accuracy of the figures?

      • Shorter version from WG1

        Precipitation is likely to decrease in southern Australia in winter and spring. Precipitation is very likely to decrease in south-western Australia in winter. Precipitation is likely to increase in the west of the South Island of New Zealand. Changes in rainfall in northern and central Australia are uncertain. Extremes of daily precipitation are very likely to increase. The effect may be offset or reversed in areas of significant decrease in mean rainfall (southern Australian in winter and spring). An increase in potential evaporation is likely. Increased risk of drought in southern areas of Australia is likely.

      • That may very well be what the IPCC says and cites various studies all of which make albeit educated guesses and predictions.

        Yet there is NO SHRED OF EVIDENCE THAT THESE GUESSES ARE BEARING FRUIT. NOT ONE, NADA.

        I wanted to respond to this earlier but I just couldn’t find the graphic I was looking for but as luck would have it, WUWT just posted this in it’s latest article HERE
        One would be excused for speculating that AGW REDUCES extreme flood events.

        HERE is whats happened to rainfall in Australia since 1970
        Whilst HERE is whats happened to Ts in Australia since 1970

        Those who are trying to take advantage of the current floods up and down Eastern Australia may fool journalists, but are doing no good for their credibility.

        The current Australian weather situation is due to a strong La Nina and nothing but La Nina which followed a strong El Nino.

        The only way to link these extreme events in Australia to AGW is to first link AGW to ENSO. Everything else is lies and or opportunistic speculation.

      • I have a simpler hypothesis:
        Warming increases the water vapour in the atmosphere.
        Cooling makes it fall out of the air and onto the ground causing floods.

    • Craig Goodrich

      … except, of course, that Corbyn predicts extreme weather events beforehand and Trenberth blames them on Global Warming afterwards.

      • Corbyn & Trenberth are similar in wasting our time on hyperpartisan political rants, rather than sticking to succinctly informing us about observation-based natural climate variations.

      • Paul – I just looked at Corbyn’s site – if you object to his politics, it’s clear from his site that it’s perfectly possible to simply buy his services without receiving his political views. What exactly is your problem?

        Incidentally, since Corbyn is a one-time Trot, and therefore even though unlike you I’ve never seen one of his “hyperpartisan rants”, he’s someone with whom I would naturally be in hot disagreement. So what? I’m interested in his climate skill, not his daffy politics.

      • If you need to figure out Corbyn’s methods, they’re watered down 1000 to 1 by his politics in communications that leak methodological clues. For example, one has to go through hours of video (including TV interviews) and dozens of newsletters to get bits that can be summarized on 1 page. Our most sensible option is probably to agree to disagree.

      • I never said I needed to figure out his methods – his success speaks for itself, as does Trenberth’s lack of it. Furthermore, since Corbyn’s methods are the result of his own, rather than public funding, there is no earthly reason why he should divulge them unless he wants to.

        You’re still making no sense.

      • Thanks for your comments TomFP.

      • Another one bites the dust….

      • Seems to me that maybe both of them may have difficult communication styles.

        But Corbyn has a track record of being right about weather/climate and Trenberth doesn’t.

        Corbyn survives by having a list of satisfied clients who pay him good money. Works for them. They can always walk.

        Trenberth gets paid by the taxpayer and uses his platform to rant against the stupidity of his employers. They can’t walk.

  19. Defense of the AMS:

    I gather that some of you are pointing fingers at the AMS saying that they are providing a pulpit for Trenberth. Please be reminded that this was a contributed paper. Bill Gray, who represents a completely different view point is giving 2 or 3 papers that can be found at:

    http://ams.confex.com/ams/91Annual/webprogram/start.html#srch=words%7Cgray%20%7Cmethod%7Cand%7Cpge%7C1

    Both of these authors deserve to be heard and to have refused either of them access to present their point of view would be censorship. Neither the AMS or the AGU condones censorship. You may not like what Trenberth or Gray has to say but that is not the point. The AMS allows the portrayal of diverse viewpoints. They have done the correct thing.

    PW

    • I do wonder whether the Australian temperature record has similar “problems” to those uncovered in New Zealand (artificial lowering of past temperature and raising of recent temperature on spurious grounds). Does anyone really trust any of the major surface temperature datasets?

      • Roger Andrews

        Robinson:

        To answer your two questions:

        1. Yes, the Australian record has the same problems. (And so does the US record and a number of others.)

        2. There is one major surface air temperature time series I trust. I constructed it myself from scratch.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        The NZ temperature record from 1850 to 1900 was that of decreasing temperature (0.3 C drop in that period). From 1900 to 2010, it is shown to increase by 0.9 C. If the full period including all of the last 160 years is used, this would only only result in about 0.6 C increase, or average of 0.4 C/century. However, the NZ data is generally only shown for 1900 to 2010, and over that period it showed about 0.9 C/ century gain. The NZ temperature data may or may not have had problems (and is being questioned), but by showing the selected portion (which had a reasonably valid reason of being the most continuous set of data), the impression is made that the temperature gradient is well over twice as large as it would be for the longer period. In addition, most of the rise from 1900 to 2010 occurred in the middle of the period , in just over one decade, and has been level the last 50 years. This makes that data worthless as supporting AGW or CAGW.

      • It does.

        http://joannenova.com.au/2010/09/australian-temperatures-in-cities-adjusted-up-by-70/

        There are other temp series in the SH reasonably suspected of dancing the “CRU Two-step” – interestingly contributing a strongly anglospheric character to the practice of falsifying, oops, homogenising, temperature data.

    • Latimer Alder

      May I paraphrase that as

      ‘If its not raining, it’ll be dry’

      And have those predicted trends (warmer nights, longer dry spells, heavier rain) been shown

      a. to actually exist and
      b. to correlate at all with ‘global warming’?

      Or are we just expected to say ‘must be global warming’ to everything. But in case of them nit having been shown to exist, you will oresumably rely on the defence of A Adams on another thread, that since warming is only very minor as yet we shouldn’t expect any visiblity for a long while until it gets really bad.

      Pull the other one..it has bells.

    • The studies certainly look good and I’m sure they’re largely accurate.

      What I’m not so sure of is your point.

  20. Dr Curry
    Please take a look at this thread at Climate Audit.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/14/12736/

    Dr Curry, is this not incredibly unbelievable?

    Scientists, whether they be ‘warmist’ or ‘skeptic’ or whatever, should not get boxed into a defensive block of homogenous thinking – copying and reproducing abusive rants and ideas cooked up by a few polarizing cunning individuals who are driving a wedge between the scientists and technically minded individuals from other disciplines and the public.

    This is absolute proof however, that this is what is afoot.

    • It certainly seems like the opening salvo of an organised marketing campaign. Surely the self-appointed Disinterested Philosopher Kings have more lofty things to concern themselves with?

    • I think it’s clumsy – seems to be Trenberth’s trademark – but to me it speaks more of someone who is out of his depth with PR.

      I’m not a great fan of his rhetoric in general but perhaps we shouldn’t judge his scientific credibility on the basis of his apparent complete lack of any communication skills.

      • perhaps we shouldn’t judge his scientific credibility

        When a scientist holds such views, why shouldn’t you judge his scientific credibility? Do you have have any confidence that he would be in any way impartial when either collecting, collating or analysing data?

  21. Hi sharperoo,
    I think Dr. Trenberth’s use of the term indicates his belief that he is losing the fight over AGW. I’ll give you an example. Before I was a teacher, I was a marketing manager, and one never-violated rule in marketing is that you never mention your competition, unless you are losing market share. There is a major insurance company running ads now talking about how it has more insured than either of its two named competitiors – “put together!” This is not advertising from strength, but weakness. You know immediately that the big guy is losing (perhaps bleeding) market share. The use of a pejorative indicates to me that he is panicked. My conclusion is that Dr. Trenberth is losing the ‘debate’ and is panicked by the prospect. I will make no speculation as to why he is panicked by the prospect.
    The reason he is losing the ‘debate,’ in my opinion, is that there never has been one. Al Gore simply declared it over, case closed. To say that he cannot win a debate is curious, I think – does he not believe he has the necessary firepower to do so?
    Finally, what is the debate, exactly? It has never been particularly well defined, in my opinion. Is the debate that the world has warmed? I don’t think so. Is it that the greenhouse effect (badly misnamed, in my opinion) does not exist? I don’t think so. I think I and most skeptics would cede those points easily. Is it that the situation is more complicated than it is made out? I think this is a solid debate and worth exploring. Is it that the current state of knowledge about climate is too limited to justify the sorts of political actions being contemplated? I think this is a solid debate.
    So where is Trenberth’s problem? I think he has won the debate about warming and the greenhouse effect, but he is worried that he is losing the debate about how much is really known and with what certainty, and whether the potential problems justify the extreme actions being proposed.
    I know you and I differ on the magnitude of the problem and the need for action, sharperoo, and i respect that. In my opinion, Dr. Trenberth’s piece betrays his own uncertainty and his use of the term denier an imperious nature that has caused much of the problem here.

  22. It seems that not only has Trenberth lied with his interactions with McIntyre, but now has plagiarized sections of his AMS paper from Hassellman at Nature Geoscience – http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/14/12736/

  23. Trenberth is politically naive.

    All he is doing is highlighting how wrong various predictions about the effects of Global Warming have been.

    Explaining to Australian’s that the recent flooding is due to ‘Global Warming’ just reminds them they were told by Global Warming Advocates that the future held only drought,drought and more drought and if they didn’t act to stop global warming they would all die of thirst or something.

    If Trenberth isn’t being paid by big coal he should probably submit an invoice for services rendered along with his pals at NASA GISS who pronounced 2010 as ‘warmest year ever’ when the snow extent is North America is very substantial and the British are experiencing their coldest winter in 100’s of years.

    Successful advocates for a cause are smart enough to cede the weakest arguments.
    Both Monkton and Lindzen readily acknowledge what radiative physics predicts all other things being equal.

  24. Neither Corbyn nor Trenberth are presenting clean, distilled, concentrated truth in an emotionally balanced & ethical manner:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/13/trenberths-upcoming-ams-meeting-talk-climategate-thoughts/#comment-574045

    • I followed the links in search of some evidence of Corbyn’s personal shortcomings that would allow him to be grouped with Trenberth, however irrelevant that might be to the scientific skill of either man. I found none, just a trail of you making essentially the same assertion. Piers Corbyn may be a strange coot, but he has the inestimable advantage over Trenberth of a solid record of precognitive skill. The bookies won’t give him odds any more. Your point is?

      • Concise presentation of observation-based knowledge of natural variations is useful, but injection of hyperpartisan politics (something Corbyn consistently does and Trenberth increasingly does) is useless.

      • Paul you’re not making sense. Piers Corbyn is a weather forecaster, and a good one. That’s all I need or want to know about him. You say he “injects hyperpartisan politics – yet I could find no example in the links you gave, and again, since he clearly has the skills he earns his living by, his politics are of secondary interest, at best.

        Trenberth is also a weather forecaster and he sucks at it. Moreover he has managed to use his unsuccessful predictions as the basis for public policy, something Piers Corbyn hasn’t. So Trenberth’s politicking gives him a case to answer. Corbyn’s doesn’t.

      • Must be some misunderstanding.

      • Possibly, but since I have seen no evidence of Corbyn’s “hyperpartisanship”, so I can’t tell. I’m aware that he has opinions in other fields which which I might disagree, and have no difficulty believing that he may have expressed them in a partisan way. But he doesn’t as you seem to, confuse opinion with science.

      • All the best TomFP.

      • Can you provide any examples of Corbyn’s ‘hyperpartisan politics’?

        Or must your asssertion be taken as just that – an unsubstantiated/unsubstantiable assertion with no evidence?

      • Latimer, forget it, he’s taken his bat and ball and gone home. See my fruitless exchange, above. Like you I was expecting to see at least an example of Corbyn’s excess, but no, it’s just the usual pensioner’s terrier, yapping away…

  25. I suppose I’m a “lukewarmer”, but I’m much more certain of the suicidal nature of Trenberth’s PR strategy then of any part of climate science. You may think that pretending to be sure can be a useful way of persuading people, but eventually it backfires. That took 10 years for the prediction that snow would soon disappear from the UK. It took some years for the prediction that tropical hurricanes would just keep increasing. It could happen to those predictions that the arctic will be ice-free in summer in 5 or 10 years.

    You can’t keep these failed predictions secret in the age of the Internet. You can’t fool all the people all the time.

  26. The misspelling is driving me nuts.

    i before e except after c and when sounding like a as in neighbor and weigh.

    Thus piece is spelled with the i before the e.

    • actually, to be anal that rule is no longer being taught in uk schools as it has more exceptions than make the rule (by about 10 to 1).

      Got to love QI

      • LM, I’m trying to think of exceptions, among dipthongs forming the “ee” sound. Plenty of reigns, and deigns, but they shouldn’t present spelling difficulty because the spelling is phonetic. Can you give me an instance of an “ee” dipthong that breaks the i e rule?

      • ‘Glacier’, ‘Prescient’, ‘Science ‘(!) etc, break the after ‘c’ bit of the rule while ‘Feint’, ‘Being’, ‘Reign’ etc, break the whole rule.

      • So they do, but they are not dipthongs – in each case the “i” and the “e” are re-articulated, and no spelling irregularity, and therefore no need of a handy little rule, is present. And I still think the “ai” constructions like “deign”, although they are not re-articulated, are phonetically congruent, and merit exemption.

        The point is, the rule was devised to deal with the irregular use of “i” and “e” in “ee”-sounding diphthongs, and is one I have found useful for that purpose. The fact that it doesn’t hold good in words that don’t contain the irregularity it was designed to deal with seems a poor reason to deprive English learners of its benefit.

      • and talking of spelling, I think it ought to be diphthong:-)

      • my examples were by no means exhausrtive. All i know is that the rule was ineefective for diphtongs too, so has been dropped in uk schools.

      • There’s also no ‘r’ before ‘t’, as in ‘exhaustrive’ ;-)

      • LM, there’s no ‘i’ in ‘etc’ ;-)

        BTW, how’s the little munkey?

        Sorry for being OT

    • Latimer Alder

      I agree entirely. Bad spelling is very annoying.

      It is neighbour.

  27. From: Kevin Trenberth
    Date: Oct 21, 2010
    Subject: Re: Global Warming Question
    To: Girma orssengo

    See below

    On 10/20/2010 7:29 PM, Girma orssengo wrote:
    > Dr Trenberth

    > I have issue with the interpretation of the mean global temperature data.

    > Could you please comment on my interpretation of the data?

    > Here is the data from the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

    > http://bit.ly/bylFMq

    > The following is my interpretation of the data.

    > In the last 100 years, the globe had TWO warming phases. The first was from 1910 to 1940 and the second was from 1970 to 2000, and their global warming rate was about 0.15 deg C per decade giving a warming of 0.45 deg C. In the intermediate 30-years period from 1940 to 1970, there was slight global cooling.

    > Based on these observed data, as the global warming rate of the two global warming phases were identical, the effect of human emission of CO2 for 60-years has not increased the global warming rate. Though CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the observed data says it has no effect on the global temperature trend. Observation should win theory all the time.
    >
    1) It is correct that the warming has occurred in two phases. However
    the exact points you choose influence the outcomes in terms of rates and
    duration. Does the first phase go to 1940 or 1945? What about the
    abrupt reversal in the early 1940s? The second phase starts about 1975
    and continues to the present. It has not stopped. The first 8 months of
    this year are by far the highest on record. Throughout the record one
    can pick places to stop and start and they are mostly arbitrary. It is
    not an appropriate way to interpret the record as a piecewise set of lines.

    2) Why should the rate of warming change? How do you draw your
    conclusion? It is certainly wrong.

    3) The warming in the first phase was not global but focussed in the
    North Atlantic. It was related to changes in the ocean. The warming in
    the southern hemisphere is more steadily upwards: no steadying off or
    downphase. So the patterns of change also matter.

    4) CO2 increases slowly. The effects are small compared with natural
    variability from year to year and only on time scales of about 25 years
    or longer should one expect to see CO2 warming. Indeed it is
    happening: The record has warmed by 0.8C Given the large warming,
    well outside the natural variability of about 0.2C, CO2 must have had an
    effect: or something else.

    > In addition, since 2000, the global warming rate has been flat as shown in the following plot.

    > http://bit.ly/aDni90

    This again selects the start and end points after the fact. Try adding
    2010! If you start in 1970 and go thru 2010 there is a strong upward trend.
    See the attached figures.

    > Could you please comment on my interpretation of these data?

    > Thank you

    > Girma Orssengo, PhD

    > orssengo@lycos.com
    > Ph: 61 + 8 + 9390 2217
    > Perth, Australia


    ****************
    Kevin E. Trenberth e-mail: trenbert@ucar.edu
    Climate Analysis Section, NCAR
    P. O. Box 3000, (303) 497 1318
    Boulder, CO 80307 (303) 497 1333 (fax)
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/trenbert.html

    Street address: 1850 Table Mesa Drive, Boulder, CO 80305
    Packages mail to: 3090 Center Green Dr. Boulder, CO 80301

    • Hi Girma,

      FWIW I lived in South Perth and Swanbourne/Claremont for eight years. Where are you located?

      Regarding the oscillations of the HADCRUT3 temperature record, it’s important to take into account the ocean oscillations, particularly the 56-year Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and the 75-year or so oscillation which seems to have drifted into phase with the AMO during the first half of the 20th century. While these don’t vary as quickly as shorter-term phenomena such as the El Nino events and episodes and the solar cycles, when looking at decadal and longer-term phenomena they dwarf the faster ENSO, SSN, etc. phenomena.

      When you eliminate these faster phenomena you end up with only the ocean oscillations, some longer-term aerosol-cooling effects (volcanoes, WW2, etc), and a mysteriously growing temperature that by some remarkable coincidence just happens to be a perfect match to the formula Svante Arrhenius came up with over a century ago concerning the impact of increasing CO2 on the temperature of the surface of the Earth.

      Even more remarkable is that the HADCRUT3 curve less the aerosol impacts can be described by a formula! Here it is.

      T(y) = 1.837 lb(280 + 2^{(y – 1790)/32.5}) + 0.0660 (sin(2π (y – 1925)/56) + sin(2π (y – 1925)/75)).

      This says that the global temperature T(y), relative to an average some time in the third quarter of the last century, where T is Celsius and y is the year, with y = 2011 being now, is the sum of a CO2-induced global warming term, and two sine waves. Here lb means log base 2 while 2^{(y – 1790)/32.5} is anthropogenic CO2, supposed to be 1 ppmv in 1790 and doubling every 32.5 years. The two sine waves are ocean oscillations with respective periods 56 and 75 years.

      The red line here shows the HADCRUT3 temperature smoothed to a 12-year running mean. The violet curve is the formula above. The black line labelled “Residue” is their difference.

      Notice how closely the violet curve tracks the red curve.

      It is reasonable to assume that the violet curve depended on the last three decades of the HADCRUT data in order to track it so well. This would be wrong. If you consider only the data we had up to 1981, thirty years ago, and try to fit the same theoretically derived temperature curve to the data up to then, you get this. Using the same simple-minded model of how the oceans and CO2 impact temperature, in conjunction with the data only up to 1981, theory predicts a sudden rise in temperature as indicated by the violet curve.

      Taking the three decades of data between 1981 and 2011 into account, the parameters for the violet curve barely change at all. This shows that we could have predicted what was coming in 1981. The reason we didn’t is that back then we didn’t have a good theory of what was happening. Now we do.

      • Dr. Pratt,

        Vaughan, I’ve expanded by search to more than 70 wars fought between 1939 and 1970, the three biggie being WW2, the Korean War, and the Cold War:

        WW2 atomic testing and bombs to the end of above-ground testing:

        http://tinyurl.com/4hazqfm

        “global marine pollution threat from over 7800 sunken WWII vessels worldwide, including over 860 oil tankers, corroding for over 60 years at the bottom of the worlds oceans. …”: – http://tinyurl.com/4cqlqym

      • whoops – 4 biggies: WW2, Cold War, Korean War, and Vietnam War.

      • That above-ground A-bomb testing was interesting, JCH. It’s competing with the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation for explaining the flat temperature from 1950 to 1970. Wonder how that should be divided up.

      • Don’t know, Dr. Pratt. Buy Arrhenius earlier in the 20th Century than previously thought; sell off some natural variability? Start comparing warfare effects from 1940 to 1970 with the Asian Brown Cloud. What does it look like?

    • Vaughn,
      So in simple terms, how does the current good theory explain the change from the rise from ~1975, to the ~levelling of the last decade or so ?

      Since CO2 was steadily increasing, this presumably means natural factors changed; and the current good theory must by implication include a good understanding of these natural factors, and details of their changes?

      And given this, when will global temperatures start significantly rising again?

      • So in simple terms, how does the current good theory explain the change from the rise from ~1975, to the ~levelling of the last decade or so ?

        Global temperature has huge annual fluctuations, and somewhat lesser but still very large fluctuations on a 5-10 year time scale. If you’re interested in these relatively short-term fluctuations then I’m sorry but I can’t help you. Betting on these is like betting on horse races. I’m only interested in the likely temperatures in 20, 50, and 100 years hence. These are easier to predict than temperatures 10 years hence because averaging at that time scale, for example with a 12-year moving average, eliminates the considerable fluctuations due to solar cycles, El Nino events and episodes, and other large but relatively short-term influences on global temperature.

        Smoothing the global temperature with a 12-year running mean eliminates these short-term events, including the recent cooling you’re interested in. To put that cooling in perspective, look at the black curve here. This curve represents the portion of global temperature that is not accounted for by the two main ocean oscillations, of respective periods 56 years and 75 years, and the CO2 blanket that Tyndall and Arrhenius wrote about in the 19th century.

        The cooling you speak of can be seen between 2000 and 2005 (a 12-year running mean can only get you to within 12/2 = 6 years of the present, 2011). Compare that with the other fluctuations of the black curve since 1856. In the grand scheme of things, how big a deal would you say that cooling was?

      • Let me rephrase my question : how much more non-warming would it take for you to sense a ‘travesty’ and/or begin to reconsider ?

      • Let me rephrase my question : how much more non-warming would it take for you to sense a ‘travesty’ and/or begin to reconsider ?

        Still stuck on your same tired old mantra, eh, Punksta?

        Looking back over recent HADCRUT3 temperatures, I see

        2008: 0.325 °C
        2009: 0.443 °C
        2101: 0.475 °C

        That comes to 0.75 °C/decade. Over a century that would be 7.5 °C. I submit that anyone who calls that “non-warming” is delusional.

      • A whole three years…

      • And you still didn’t answer the question……
        Try this more general one : what type temperature record would induce you to reconsider?
        If temperatures departed from CO2-based predictions for…..10 years? 15? 30? …..

      • And you didn’t really show or claim we now have a good grasp of natural factors, knowledge that is a prerequisite for knowing how significant the CO2 effect is. Not to mention cloud and feedback effects.

  28. If another commenter has already linked to Steve McIntyre’s post on 1/13, I apologize for the redundancy.

    McIntyre’s comment’s about Trenberth appear to be both relevant and well documented.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/14/12736/

  29. Both sides try much too hard to play “the tar-baby game”. “You have to prove it is 0%!”. . . “No, YOU have to prove it is 100%!” Dead giveaway you’re looking at politics instead of science when you see that.

    And the real issue, for me, is less to do with whether Trenberth is in the ballpark on his attribution of marginal percentage increase of precipitation due to “global warming”. Because even if he is, underlying that at one level of abstraction further down is the assumption that something close to 100% of that global warming is due to C02. . . and that’s the real issue in dispute.

    • Because even if he is, underlying that at one level of abstraction further down is the assumption that something close to 100% of that global warming is due to C02

      Who’s assuming that? This is one of the classic climate skeptic arguments, that climate scientists are claiming that CO2 is 100% to blame for temperature fluctuations. Climate skeptics love to put words in the mouths of climate scientists that way. Name one single climate scientist who has ever said that the CO2 is 100% responsible for variations in climate. It’s not even close.

      • There was this guy at http://boole.stanford.edu/dotsigs.html#ClimateChange who seemed to be saying it was just CO2 and AMO.

      • There was this guy at http://boole.stanford.edu/dotsigs.html#ClimateChange who seemed to be saying it was just CO2 and AMO.

        I appreciate that, HAS. Shows you’ve been paying attention. Yes, it is CO2 and AMO. And that is very different from saying that CO2 is 100% responsible. Before 1970 it was less than 50% responsible, after 1970 it became more than 50% responsible. CO2 is starting to loom very large lately.

      • Silly me, I thought AMO was cyclic so “something close to 100% of that global warming is due to C02” was exactly what you claimed.

      • At the physical level we have some grounds for confidence in basic radiative physics, but the same is not true of clouds and feedback, and natural factors in general.
        So what grounds are there for putting any figure at all to CO2?

      • So what grounds are there for putting any figure at all to CO2?

        That’s a fair question. I would say the main ground is that the Keeling curve shows CO2 to be rising with remarkable smoothness. We can therefore say very precisely what the CO2 was in 1958, and now, and everything in between.

        And we can then plot the log of that growth to infer what the rise in temperature should be as a result of that growth.

        That gives me a lot more confidence in CO2 than in say cloud behavior, which seems much more variable and complex than CO2.

      • I didn’t mean confidence in how much CO2 there is, I meant confidence in how much effect CO2 is having on recorded temperature. (Given the agreed complexity of feedbacks, which may even be negative).

  30. geo– the real issue is the policies that governments enact as a result of the conclusions that they reach on the science. One path would be to invest funds to reduce their CO2 emissions and another would be to spend funds to improve infrastructure.

    The 1st path will not improve the level of GHG’s in the atmosphere for 100 years and thereby not improve human’s lives for that period.

    The 2nd path leads to a positive effect for humans

    • I’ll argue a third point.

      Only a small fraction of the worlds countries believe increased dependence on fossil fuels is in their long term economic interest since very few countries in the world are ‘fossil fuel independent’ and almost no-one believes the prices of fossil fuels will become more economic over time.

      So the question for almost every country in the world is whether or not the cost of forgoing short term economic is worth whatever long term benefits that may accrue.

      One can easily assume(yes an assumption) that oil production rates of 160 million barrels per day and coal production of 12 billion tones per year as predicted by the IPCC is somewhat unrealistic realistic given the price pressures being exerted at production levels of 80 million barrels per day and 6 billion tons per year.

      One can reasonably ask how much we should be spending to protect our future economic growth from substantial future increases in fossil fuel prices and how best to allocate that money.

      IMHO there isn’t anything all that inconsistent with addressing CO2 emissions and addressing long term energy needs.

      Where the inconsistency arises in my mind is when other green groups get on the bandwagon and demand that hydro and nuclear not be included in our future energy mix or demand full scale rollout of ‘not ready for prime time’ energy sources like solar, or rolling out windmills with out consideration of how they fit in with overall load patterns or adequately considering the energy storage challenges.

      French CO2 emissions per capita are the lowest in Europe, so are their wholesale electricity prices.

    • The 1st path will not improve the level of GHG’s in the atmosphere for 100 years

      Source?

      I claim the opposite. Even if we don’t reduce our CO2 emissions one iota during the next 30 years, the rate of accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere will slow down and converge to a manageable limit.

      But that’s only assuming no decrease in CO2 emissions, it says nothing about further increases.

      The reason that convergence is not going to happen is because human population will continue to increase exponentially, and per capita fuel consumption will also continue to increase exponentially. This adds an exponentially increasing CO2 burden to the atmosphere. That’s been the problem up till now, and so far there is no sign of it going away. That’s a very different scenario from simply holding our current level of CO2 emissions constant, which would be a huge improvement over the status quo.

  31. Although the “Trenberth effect” can be judged in isolation, it’s worth considering it in the context of a principle not yet enunciated here – “the extremes define the middle.”

    A previous exemplar has been Jim Hansen. In my view, Hansen is a scientist of unsurpassing brilliance, whose positive contributions to our understanding of climate change are historical in their import. Today, however, few climatologists will agree with his apocalyptic predictions of an Earth turning into Venus if we fail to retreat to CO2 levels of 350 ppm – Hansen has converted himself in the public eye from scientist to political activist.

    On the other hand, it is not at all inconvenient for many knowledgeable climatologists to say, “Yes, I think anthropogenic global warming is happening and is a potentially serious threat to human welfare, but I think Jim Hansen’s opinions go too far. We should adopt a more reasonable perspetive.” And it would not be unusual for members of the public to think, “Yes, I agree. Let’s take the threat seriously but not in an unreasonable panic.” Mission accomplished.

    Trenberth’s advocacy may be doing the same thing. And my “more reasonable” position, which I hold with unwavering sincerity, based on considerable knowledge of the evidence, as well as an ability to admit uncertainty, may benefit from being more moderate than Trenberth’s.

    Given human fallibility, that is the best I can offer.

    • On the other hand, it is not at all inconvenient for many knowledgeable climatologists to say, “Yes, I think anthropogenic global warming is happening and is a potentially serious threat to human welfare, but I think Jim Hansen’s opinions go too far. We should adopt a more reasonable perspetive.” And it would not be unusual for members of the public to think, “Yes, I agree. Let’s take the threat seriously but not in an unreasonable panic.” Mission accomplished.

      Trenberth’s advocacy may be doing the same thing

      Fred M.: However, I think it likely that some members of the public will sense that scientists are indeed playing a Good Cop/Bad Cop game and decide that the scientists involved are all complicit and untrustworthy. That’s pretty much where I land these days.

      I have to say that the approach you describe is playing with fire. People may not be able to follow the niceties of radiative forcing, much less the accompanying equations, but they can often tell when they are being manipulated.

      Once lost, credibility is hard to restore and that seems to be where climate scientists are these days. Yet they don’t seem to notice or care and continue their strategy of demanding that people acquiesce to their scientific expertise no matter what games the scientists have been playing.

      I will be very surprised if that works.

      • People may not be able to follow the niceties of radiative forcing, much less the accompanying equations, but they can often tell when they are being manipulated.

        That’s total BS. If you aren’t able to follow the niceties of arithmetic enough to tell that 378*453 = 171234, you can claim you’re being “manipulated” as you put it all you want, but that doesn’t make the arithmetic wrong.

        Those members of the public who are able to follow the “niceties” you speak of can easily see they’re correct. Accusations of “manipulation” are nothing more than a cheap shot.

    • Ah, those nasty Freudian typo-tells: “Hansen … a scientist of unsurpassing brilliance”.
      Indeed, he doesn’t surpass very many at all.

      But is unsurpassed at arrogant extreme extrapolations and bile-spewing. Not to mention data-corrupting and fiddling.

      • [Hansen] doesn’t surpass very many at all.

        One thing I like about the peer-reviewed literature vs. what I read here on these Climate Etc. threads is that the reasoning in the former usually hangs together reasonably well. Brian H’s reasoning by contrast could only be found compelling by the particular choir he is preaching to.

        I imagine I’m making this point solely to his choir, in which case I’m obviously wasting my time since they’re presumably firm believers in Brian H’s POV.

  32. How is the use of labels such as “denier” or “warmist” any different than using terms such as “nigger” or “honkey”? They are insults that do not belong.

    • ge0050 – they differ in that the latter are matters of which individuals have no choice. The former are decisions the individual has chosen to make.

      • I agree with Louise, but would go further and ask ge0050 which labels he feels do belong. If ge0050 objects to all labels as insulting then one must infer that “human” as a label is insulting.

      • Louise and Vaughan Pratt.
        If you start by addressing people with a thinly disguised insult you also give them the impression that you have little else to contribute.

    • Louise: argues”nigger” and “honkey” are matters of which individuals have no choice, whereas “denier” or “alarmist” concern decisions the individual has chosen to make.

      Clever. So if one is not convinced of of CAGW, one must accept association with holocaust deniers. In that vein, let’s just call anyone who agrees with the consensius a “liar” or a “crook” shall we?

  33. Perhaps the more important issue is that Trenberth is drawing attention away from the fact that if there is an increase in disasters due to AGW, it is still too small to be detectable statistically. This has become clearer in recent years and makes it harder to defend the idea that there is a “climate crisis”. This, of course, may have significant policy implications.

    • You raise an interesting point, Dagfinn, but there’s a subtle element that goes beyond statistical disaster counting, and instead assesses the magnitude of climate phenomena is terms of well-established observations.

      A salient illustration involves the lethal and economic consequences of hurricanes. Considerable debate revolves around the question of whether future warming will increase the frequency of very severe hurricanes. Total hurricane frequency is projected to decline, and over recent decades, there is no clear trend, but only year to year variations. In addition, modern technology has enhanced our ability to forestall or mitigate hurricane damage. In the light of all these variables, it is hard to predict whether future hurricanes (“typhoons” in the terminology used in parts of Asia) will do more or less harm than today.

      However, we can ask, “ceteris paribus, will they do more harm than would occur in a non-warming world?” There is evidence that the answer is “probably yes”, at least based on the history of past trends. The most lethal component of a hurricane is the storm surge. Its height is built on the sea level that prevailed prior to the hurricane, and that is now about 0.3 meters higher than a century ago, and rising. For the more severe storms reaching land, this translates into hundreds of millions of additional tons of water capable of crushing what lies in the path of the surge. It has probably been responsible for thousands of additional deaths in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and other vulnerable regions in recent decades, although an accurate accounting is impossible.

      This is worth mentioning particularly, in my view, to emphasize that the consequences of climate change do not reside exclusively in the future, even though the past consequences are difficult to quantify. How to address the future consequences when certainty will remain impossible in the foreseeable future remains a question of policy rather than science.

      • David L. Hagen

        Fred
        The Australian CSIRO climate model got their prediction of rising drought exactly backwards from the evidence. See evidence by David Stockwell at Niche modelling. eg
        http://landshape.org/enm/validation-of-climate-effect-models-response-to-brewer-and-other/

        On ” thousands of additional deaths in Myanmar, Bangladesh,”
        What evidence to you present?
        The facts are that there has been a major reduction in cyclone deaths in Bangladesh due to construction of cyclone shelters and timely evacuation.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclone_Sidr
        Hurricanes and global warming – still no connection

        Furthermore siltation rises the delta with sea level.

        Hurricane intensity has been DECLINING NOT rising. See:
        Hurricanes and global warming – still no connection
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/05/hurricanes-and-global-warming-still-no-connection/
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/26/inconvenient-hurricane-facts/

      • David – In my earlier comment, I pointed out that we don’t know whether future tropical cyclones will be more or less damaging than previous ones, particularly since adaptive measures are being undertaken in some vulnerable areas (e.g., Bangladesh). Myanmar, where Typhoon Nargis claimed more than 100,000 lives, has not engaged in those measures, and other underdeveloped nations also remain vulnerable. My point was simply to compare the dangers with those that would prevail without future warming. Unless remediative measures are 100 percent effective, rising sea levels will continue to pose increasing threats. Siltation rarely raises shore land to a degree commensurate with the change in sea level, and storm surges tend to erode rather than bolster the shoreline – Storm Surge . (Parenthetically, tide gauge measurements of sea level are made relative to the adjacent land, and have shown sea level rises encroaching on the shoreline).

        I don’t know the Australian data very well, but multidecadal climate predictions are less reliable on a regional basis than globally. However, it remains to be seen how the drought predictions will play out over the next thirty years. Flooding episodes are not a useful criterion in that regard.

  34. Louise – on the contrary, the labels are intended as insults. The insult is not directed at one’s actions, which are a matter of personal choice. Rather, the insults are directed at ones beliefs. The labels are based on whether you believe in AGW or not.

    An individual’s beliefs are not a matter of choice. They are a product of your nature and nurture. Thus, to insult someone for their beliefs is not different than to insult them for their heritage and their experience.

    • As I have said numerous times – I use the word denier to describe those who completely refute that climate science has anything at all to say. This is not an insult nor is it intended as an insult, it is an accurate description.

      I do not use the word denier to describe those who are willing to debate the science of climate change because it does not describe them.

      • yet there are other prerfectly acceptable terms to use that do not have the same connotations.

        your attitude on this baffles me it really does.

      • Seems pretty reasonable to me when the behaviourial characteristics are unreason and impermeability to developing knowledge as opposed to holding opinions.

      • I’ve seen Moncton debate, so clearly he cannot be a denier. Al Gore has refused to debate, so he is a denier by your definition.

      • If you’ve seen Moncton debate you’ll see that he rail-roads the debate with lies, misinformation and more lies (and you can quote me on that).

        See http://bbickmore.wordpress.com/lord-moncktons-rap-sheet/
        “1. John Abraham pointed out a number of examples where Monckton cited scientific literature that actually refuted his points, or the authors of the papers said that Monckton had misinterpreted their results.

        2. Tim Lambert caught Monckton making up stories about one Dr. Pinker, and it turns out that Dr. Pinker says Monckton misinterpreted her work.

        3. Monckton cited statistics about variations in the amount of incoming solar radiation to come to exactly the opposite conclusion from the authors he cited.

        4. He also repeatedly cited statistics about local temperature records and treated them as if they were global. (This is a big no-no.)

        5. Lord Monckton totally botched his discussion of ocean acidification, revealing that he doesn’t understand ocean circulation, the significance of pH in aqueous systems, and so on.

        6. Monckton published an article on climate sensitivity in a newsletter of the American Physical Society. He has repeatedly claimed that this constitutes a peer-reviewed scientific publication about climate change, but the fact is that society newsletters are not typically “peer-reviewed” in any normal sense, and the newsletter editor appended a notice on Monckton’s article saying it was not peer-reviewed. A single scientist associated with the journal (and not a climate specialist) giving you some comments on a draft isn’t the same thing. Almost 2 years later, Monckton was still claiming the newsletter is peer-reviewed scientific literature, however. In any case, Arthur Smith picked this article apart and found 125 errors of fact and logic. Tim Lambert provided a short explanation for why Monckton’s main argument was wrong.

        7. Lord Monckton really wants the Medieval Warm Period to have been warmer than today, and will latch onto any piece of “evidence” that seems to support this. For example, he wrote that “There was little ice at the North Pole: a Chinese naval squadron sailed right round the Arctic in 1421 and found none.” He apparently got this claim from Gavin Menzies, but it has been shown to be complete garbage.

        8. A New York Times reporter fact-checked Monckton after a debate by asking experts in the relevant fields to comment. The experts said that Monckton was in fantasyland about polar bear populations and global temperature histories. As an aside, I mentioned above that I had shown Monckton tended to erroneously use local temperature records in place of global ones, which is what he was criticized for in the Times.

        9. Alden Griffith showed how Monckton has cherrypicked data when discussing trends in Arctic sea ice extent.

        Making up Data

        1. Lord Monckton made up data on atmospheric CO2 concentration and global mean temperature that he claimed were IPCC predictions. (This has been addressed several times by Gavin Schmidt, John Nielsen-Gammon, Lucia Liljegren, and me. And yet, Monckton still keeps publishing the same false claims.)

        Abusing Scientific Equations

        It doesn’t take much effort to plug some numbers into a scientific equation and solve it. Scientists have to learn to plug the right numbers into equations appropriate for the problem at hand, and it usually requires considerable experience for this principle to sink into students’ brains. Before it sinks in, students often tend to use the wrong equations for a given scenario, or plug the wrong kinds of values into the right equations. Monckton does both.

        1. He attacked mainstream estimates of climate sensitivity by a misapplication of the Stefan-Bolzmann equation.

        2. Monckton made some wild claims about climate drivers after he misinterpreted the work of Rachel Pinker and colleagues. He essentially plugged the wrong kind of numbers into an equation that converts a change in radiative forcing into change in global mean temperature.

        3. He frequently uses an IPCC equation for the EQUILIBRIUM temperature response of climate models to calculate TRANSIENT temperature response. The IPCC publishes the transient responses, as well, but Monckton refuses to use that data, because he says the IPCC has monkeyed with their models to make the transient response agree better with global temperature data. In the past he has just substituted in the equilibrium values and plotted them as if they were time-series. However, in response to criticism he says he’s going to correct the equilibrium values–seemingly by multiplying them by a factor of 0.8 instead of looking at the actual model output.”

        Do we see him here? Wonder why not?

      • …and here’s one I prepared earlier…phew, Louise.

      • Why didn’t you just link to Lord Monckton’s Rap Sheet?

        Do you think Lindzen is a denier? Because he certainly says he is.

        I don’t object to the term . The funny thing about using a word like that is its meaning undergoes a subtle change when it’s used in a different context to the one it was originally used for. It certainly has far less impact now it’s being thrown around so liberally.

      • The funny thing about using a word like that is its meaning undergoes a subtle change when it’s used in a different context to the one it was originally used for. It certainly has far less impact now it’s being thrown around so liberally.

        Though I agree with this for some ‘speech acts’ that have used the word denier by ordinary people involved in debating climate in the last year or two, the meaning (and thus the offence taken) crucially depends both on the context and on the power-relationships between speaker and those that are being addressed.

        ‘Nigger’ provides a good analogy. A black rap artist is not typically criticised for using the word of himself and other black people. (Lindzen as rap artist – worth conjuring with in passing!) A white man using it with contempt as he’s about to beat up a black man – that would be viewed rather differently, would we not agree? How about a group of white people, egging each other on towards a lynching with such words? I’m sure we get the point.

        This thread is (for all Louise’s valiant attempts to generalise it) about Trenberth’s proposed address to the AMS later this month. Trenberth doesn’t come to this situation naked as the day he was born. He has a history – and he also has the priviledge of being honoured as a chosen speaker to this conference, as someone with apparent authority in the areas of climate science and its now ever-present corollary, Climategate.

        If by any chance Trenberth’s use of the word ‘denier’ goes back to the bad old days when it was explicitly meant to connote equivalence with holocaust deniers … then how would we view it? Does anyone have a record of Trenberth criticising the original comparison with holocaust deniers? I’ve not seen such a thing. He seems to have been unwavering in his support for those who have made such comparisons. And he has treated Steve McIntyre and other such principled questioners of some of the ‘consensus science’ with practised contempt. He has never to my knowledge made a distinction between the deniers he believes deserve to be treated with contempt and someone like Steve. He hasn’t even as far as I know made that point about Judith.

        In short, his use of the term a disgrace. Those who fail to see this will also I fear fail to see much else of importance in the very complex nuances of the debate both about the science and policy of climate. Blindness is like that.

      • If by any chance Trenberth’s use of the word ‘denier’ goes back to the bad old days when it was explicitly meant to connote equivalence with holocaust deniers …

        The … “bad old days” …?

        What are you smoking, Mr Drake?

        Godwin’s law states: “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

        So if I deny God, or Kurzweil’s singularity, or communism, or cholesterol, I’m supposed to be making a comparison with Nazis or Hitler?

        That’s just plain nuts. People who deny global warming are denying global warming. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the Holocaust. One would have to be paranoid, or an habitual instance of Godwin’s Law, to make that connection.

      • You’d have to be a politician or some other kind of professional liar (IPCC leading author maybe) to deny the intetended subliminal association with the holocaust.

      • Louise, What you need to realise is the Lord Monkton is an extremely effective speaker; I may say a brilliant speaker. If I had to choose someone to support my side of a debate, any debate, Monkton would be near the top of the list. So people like yourself, desperately try to prove he does not know what he is talking about. Whether he does or not, is really quite irrelvant. He knows how to speak, and get his point across.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        “…he does not know what he is talking about. Whether he does or not, is really quite irrelvant. He knows how to speak, and get his point across.”

        Mmmm….don’t think I’d go along with that Jim. If we’re criticising Trenberth for political posturing, we have to be even handed. Oratory is not enough in my book, and Monkton may charm the yanks with his “lordiness”, but in the end if he overstates he’s as bad as the worst alarmist. There are too many good sceptic arguments to need to fall back on this larger-than-life self-publicist.

      • There are too many good sceptic arguments to need to fall back on this larger-than-life self-publicist.

        That sure caught my attention. What’s the best sceptic argument? Or two or more if it’s hard to break the tie.

      • Jim Cripwell, when you wrote “Whether he does or not, is really quite irrelvant. He knows how to speak” the scales fell from my eyes.

        I get it now.

        It’s not what you say but how you say it!

        It doesn’t matter if somebody is spouting massive lies as long as he says it well he will be believed by you.

        Now I understand your position I shan’t bother you again.

      • Still, you have agreed that Moncton debates. You may not agree with him, but under your own definition he cannot be a denier.
        Al Gore on the other hand will not debate. He uses the phrases such as “the science is settled” to justify this. As such, by your definition of denier, Al Gore is a denier.

      • Monckton accepts that C02 warms the planet. I think that the vast majority of what he says is a crock, but I have to say he accepts this piece of climate science

  35. Trenberth is preaching to the choir. Skeptics will continue to ridicule him and luke warmers will probably not be swayed by yet another stale argument from authority.

    As far as I can tell, the smart money is betting on a cooling trend in GMST that will last another 20 years or more. I suspect that Trenberth and others of his ilk might also think this may occur. So how to keep the catastrophist AGW bandwagon rolling when the direct and consistent personal experience of billions is that of a cooling world? Tenberth attempts to provide a way of doing so.

    First, of course, dissent must be suppressed. The scientific community and mass media should not even acknowledge the existence of dissent. The ignorant masses must be led to believe that the science is settled and consensus is universal.

    Second, the catastrophic AGW subset of the scientific community needs to redouble its efforts to scare people.

    Third, the burden of proof should be shifted to “deniers”. Weather no different from average for this time of year? It would have been colder if not for global warming. Same holds true for colder or warmer than average weather. All weather, everywhere and at all times, is now influenced by global warming. Prove that isn’t true! No self-respecting scientist is going to buy that. But a gullible public might be susceptible and it offers the mass media a warmist angle for any weather story. “Record Low Temperatures Higher Due to Global Warming” is a likely NYT headline of the future.

    So, in part, Tenberth provides an outline of a political propaganda and agitation program designed to mitigate the impact a protracted cooling trend might have on public opinion. I don’t think it will work.

    • As far as I can tell, the smart money is betting on a cooling trend in GMST that will last another 20 years or more.

      What’s the “smart money”‘s record over the past half century? What proportion of them are not broke at this point?

  36. Willis Eschenbach

    sharper00 | January 14, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “I’ve personally got huge issues with UHI”

    We know that given the general agreement between ground measurements and satellite that the global trend is unlikely to be changed much by UHI. This will invariably mean that those looking for UHI adjustments will never be satisfied because their objective is the desired result (reduced warming) not the correction itself.

    First, the “general agreement” between ground measurements and satellites, in the context of looking for a signal that is assumed to be on the order of a couple hundredths of a degree per year, is actually quite bad. There are large disagreements in specific areas of the world. In addition, last time I looked the difference between say GISS and the satellites was on the order of 0 04°C per decade.

    Since this is two thirds of the rate of last century’s warming, I think you might want to reconsider your foolish claim of “general agreement” … and while you are at it, making disparaging guesses at the motives of people who are looking for errors in the data is also a non-starter. Doesn’t matter why they are looking for errors, it only matters if they find them … and boy, do they ever find them.

    • Willis –
      Your main point seems unarguable – we should attempt to reduce errors and uncertainties in all climate measurements, including surface temperature, MSU satellite data, sea level measurements, and beyond. Regarding the very specific issue of UHI disparities, however, I think it’s fair to say that correcting UHI errors will have little impact on global temperature trends of recent decades.

      The reasons are several. First, most of the world’s heat and 70 percent of its surface is found in the oceans, which therefore dominate global temperature trends. If one compares sea surface temperature (SST) with global temperature, the trends are very similar, so that eliminating land-based data would have little impact.

      Adding land warming trends does, however, slightly augment the global trends over SST data alone. It has been known since far before industrial times that land heats faster than the oceans. The principal reasons are the very high specific heat of water (4.186 Joules/g/deg C) and the moderating effect on ocean temperature of evaporative cooling. For these reasons alone, it is predictable that a land-warming trend will slightly exceed an ocean-warming trend, and this is what has been observed.

      Does this mean that UHI errors contribute nothing to the land trend? Not necessarily, but given the correspondence between expectations and observations based on physics alone, they have little “wiggle room” in which to operate.

      None of this exempts us from improving the accuracy of how we assess true changes in land temperature, but this should be done without expecting the improvements to radically alter the numbers we end up with.

      • Just curious – when measuring the heat content of the ocean, why would you refer to the SST? Isn’t the better measure that which is being produced by undertakings like the ARGOS project?

      • Yes, you’re right that ocean heat content (OHC) is an important determinant of SST on a long term average basis, but if we want to know SST, we can measure it more directly via satellite measurements of skin temperature and ship-based measurements of bulk water or marine air surface temperature. This allows us to compare land and ocean based trends and combine them to compute global trends. If we want to know why SST is changing at observed rates (long term), or why it takes so long for changes in atmospheric dynamics to register fully in the ocean, OHC is critical, but if we simply want to quantify the change, the direct measurements are more appropriate.

      • Leonard Weinstein

        Fred,
        The problem with your argument is that satellite data only goes back a short while, ARGOS only a few years (and it’s predecessor less accurate), and complete sea data from ships has limitations in coverage. Ground based temperature outside the US is much less covered, and much of all land based temperature (including US) possibly error laden. I would tend to agree that over the last 150 years the world has warmed, but the range could be 0.4 C to 0.8 C, and that would make a lot of difference. Even if it was 0.8 C, it is presently below much of the Holocene from glacier and sea bed core data. What of it?

      • Leonard – Thanks for your comment. I agree that uncertainties increase as we go back in time.

        I hope you’ll forgive me if I decline to answer your “What of it?” question. However, perhaps elsewhere we can discuss your evidence that current temperature (if I interpret you correctly) is “below much of the Holocene” – i.e., an interval you believe has been warmer than today during most of its 11,000 year extent.

  37. Curious Canuck

    If you look at the team and friends, they’ve almost become defiant about their behaviour. I can’t necessarily say it will be a hinderance to their cause. Despite losing a fair deal of credibility with the media and on exposing how open the debates on so many aspects of the problem-defintion and the solution, they don’t seem to have learned anything.

    Unlike Fred though I don’t see them as extremes or outliers in the same sense though. I see them as seeing themselves as not being to one side, but above and instrumental to the IPCC policy drive in the US. If the media was interested in credibility, they’d ask more questions to more people, not fewer and simply to policy spokemen.

    They are behaving as public figures, propenents in a broader policy campaign, which is what the IPCC approach has given us. Mann’s campaign speech on the eve of the election, essentially to ‘protect’ science from Republicans. A prominent writer on the ‘War’ (… [not going there]) between science and Republicans being moved into a high-profile position in the AGU. Hansen having himself arrested, again.

    It’s hard to not see this as a bulwarking and indignance with an utter disregard for the damage these tactics have done before. There is a chance that, as after Climategate, that any such bulwark will be effective, though.

    They would do well to consider that by making themselves public figures in the world of politics, circumstances (even the weather, as Katrina taught Bush) and moods/perceptions can have as much or more effect on the depletion of political capital as does how much they start with. If and when they exhaust it, no matter how high they see themselves above debate and no matter how shrill they become into pointing to their own authority they will be looked DOWN upon by the public and media.

    The same goes for the IPCC itself, who are gagging on a spokesmen who’s abandoned all sensibility and regard for impressions of himself in his politically damaging drive for anything ‘binding’ during his tired reign.

  38. There seems to be a common occurrence with each new thread that Judith starts. Remember Derecho64, then Tobis, now Louise. It seems that the Team has people on call for every new thread whose sole purpose is to suck the oxygen out of the room with inane CAGWism’s. Notice how there is never more than one at a time. Conspiracy, dunno.

    • Latimer Alder

      We know that Michael Tobis exists as a real person. But has he ever been seen in the same room as D064 or ‘Louise’? :-)

      • Bob, The answer is quite simple. Science, proper science, is on the side of the skeptics/deniers. There is no proper science to support the idea of CAGW. So one at a time, the proponents of CAGW come on Judith’s blog, and get thoroughly clobbered for their trouble. So they leave with their tail between their legs. Then another one tries, and we get the same result. I dont think we will be seeing much more of Louise.

      • I nominate this as the most fractally wrong comment of the month so far.

      • Dave– can you point out any evidence (reliable) to support the position that increasing CO2 will be a catastrophe for humans and what policies you believe would preclude that potential from happening?

      • As I’ve pointed out time and again – to weak and self-congratulatory responses from the same disingenuous contingent that disputes the term “acidification” – the term CAGW is an imprecise fiction, laden with value judgement. Challenging me on the term “catastrophe” is a massive straw man that I refuse to be drawn on when it is a big misdirection from the comment I actually made.

      • Dave H–I am trying to understand your position. Are you stating that you believe that ocean acidification is the greatest threat to humans by releasing CO2?

      • You’re trying to understand my assertion that Jim Cropwell’s comment was fractally wrong by inventing positions and attributing them to me?

      • the term CAGW is an imprecise fiction, laden with value judgement.

        It is the entire basis upon which global political action is being urged.

  39. Louise – You have said several times what you consider a “denier” to be and insist that Trenberth is using it in the same way. Others including Dr. Curry have questioned your interpretation of Trenberth’s intent. If you bother to read the UEA emails, correspondance by Trenberth shown a Climate Audit, and even the context of “denier” in his speech you will see that you are mistaken. Trenberth uses “denier” to include essentially anyone that does not susbscribe to his view that AGW is a grave threat to humanity and to the environment. He is NOT excluding the likes of Lindzen, Spencer or even McIntyre all of whom accept the fact that CO2 slows down the release of radiative heat into space. It is clear that only if you accept large modeled positive feedbacks resulting in catastrophic negative consequences are you not a “denier”. I defy you to find any evidence to the contrary.

    • I would reiterate my point from above – at the end of the day, the question is not what Louise defines “denier” to mean; rather, it’s what Trenberth thinks it means and what he intends when using it. We are driven to try to infer his meaning, which really is a pointless exercise. He needs to define the term (which is not a term of art) and clarify whom is included in this group.

      • Thanks, Ian (14 Jan, 5.11pm), I second that. I don’t understand what Trenberth means by ‘deniers’, but he has obviously gone to some trouble to insert the term into the passages he borrowed from Hasselmann’s comment in Nature Geoscience, so he must consider it significant. Does he include all those with relevant expertise who have drawn attention to weaknesses in the current global warming paradigm? (in which case why not use the less confrontational term ‘climate sceptic’?) Or is Trenberth using the term in a tighter sense, more like Louise in this thread, whose definition would exclude all ‘climate sceptics’, leaving only Lord Monckton and possibly a couple of others as identifiable ‘deniers’?
        Or is Trenberth, by conscious introduction of an inflammatory term into his presentation, cleverly trying to direct his listeners’ attention away from the increasingly shaky-looking AGW ‘consensus’?
        As Ian points out, only Trenberth knows the answers to these questions. Until he provides an explanation we just don’t know what he is talking about. We need a translation.

    • Who denies that CO2 slows down the release of radiative heat energy into space? Not me (the U.S. publisher of the Sky Dragon Slayer book) …I think the optical path length increases and the delay might be a really long time…perhaps as long as several microseconds. I have never denied that 390PPM of CO2 couples a tiny amount of heat energy to 1,000,000 PPM of N2, O2, and Argon. What I deny is that the effect can be quantified, measured and verified in our atmosphere. Once you open the door to effects that can’t be measured, then there are an infinite of number of things you can choose to believe. I don’t care, believe whatever you like, just keep your hands off government power and tax money and we have no problem.

      • Ken, You write ” What I deny is that the effect can be quantified, measured and verified in our atmosphere.” This ought to be emblazoned in large headlines wherever possible. I has taken me about 10 years to realize that this is the fundamental and fatal error made by the IPCC. I always knew the IPCC was wrong, but until very recently I did not know why. Now I know.

      • “I always knew the IPCC was wrong, but until very recently I did not know why”

        Great to see confirmation bias happening live!

    • “Trenberth uses “denier” to include essentially anyone that does not subscribe to his view that AGW is a grave threat to humanity and to the environment.”

      Indeed. When you complain about someone because of what they believe, not because of what they do, it is called intolerance. Intollerance closes your mind to other points of view, which leads to false beliefs.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milutin_Milankovi
      Objections were raised in the 1950s against the Milanković theory of ice ages; these objections came mainly from meteorologists who claimed that the insolation changes due to the changes in the Earth’s orbital elements were too small to significantly perturb the climate system. However, in the late 1960s and 1970s, investigation of the deep-sea sediments brought widespread acceptance of Milanković’s view, since the periodicity discovered (100,000 years) matched so closely with the longest orbital period.

  40. Okay guy…answer me this.

    You suspect next summer is going to be cooler. Will it also be wetter? If so what do YOU SUGGEST THE WORLD FARMERS TO PLANT?
    What you suggest could hurt the world food supply.

  41. I’m not Louise, nor am I mt.

    What’s so important about who is who, anyway? Too many “skeptics” would rather take issue with the people, not the science. Why?

    That said, this whole thread is just red meat to the person-players, not the ball-players. Yep, let’s all jump all over Trenberth. That’ll show *him*!

    • Derecho, I am glad you are not me, as I was beginning to worry. Now I just need to hear from Louise.

      I agree very much with your point. I think a lot of what goes on in the blogs is disgracefully ad hominem. This applies on all sides. Let’s focus more on what is true and less on who is who.

      • Michael, you are hilarious as well as su generis. Not many ad homs here. You, DR and Louise are just so repetitive, never concede a scientific point even when you are obviously in error, that many tire of the mendacity.

    • Latimer Alder

      So you’ll be giving up your relentless pursuit of Richard Courtenay and his CV then? That’ll be a start.

    • What’s so important about who is who, anyway? Too many “skeptics” would rather take issue with the people, not the science. Why?

      because some of those people misrepresented the science. You will not be able to answer my science question about what Trenberth.Jones wrote. When the science question goes unanswered people ask why and the speculate

      • Steven,
        Theories usually implode from one of two factors. History back far enough or simple measurements.
        Climate science has failed to understand this planet and how the pattern repeats every 10,000 years without fail since evaporation first started 1.25 billion years ago.
        This planet is far more complex than the current science can comprehend.

      • Latimer Alder

        How do you come to the startling conclusion that ‘evaporation started 1.25 billion years ago’?

      • Don’t, Latimer. Just don’t.

      • Hey Tom!
        How ya doin buddy! :-)

      • Latimer,
        I am getting tired of doing your research for you.
        The oldest salt mine is 1.25 billion years old and the string of Ice Ages started 1 billion years ago.

      • Joe. If you have a theory I will suggest that you take it to Jeffid.
        Jeff will post your theory and then the denizens of the Airvent will tear it to pieces for you.

  42. Dr. Trenberth has dedicated his talk to Steven Schneider, who famously said that when scientists are speaking to each other “we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.” Schneider went on to explain that other standards apply when scientists are talking to the public while attempting to make the world a better place. Is this AMS meeting a forum where scientific standards apply? Or is it a forum where one-sided advocacy is appropriate? If the nature of the forum and his talk are not clear, shouldn’t Dr. Trenberth inform the audience (and any attending reporters) that he is speaking to them as an extremely well-informed advocate, not as a scientist? Dr. Trenberth is certainly allowed to play either role – just not to confuse anyone as to which role he is playing.

    My biggest problem with the IPCC’s reports is that they don’t come close to meeting Dr. Schneider’s standards for science, yet the IPPC claims the reports do not to advocate.

    Trenberth tells us that global warming is “unequivocal”. He neglects to tell us that the only part of anthropogenic global warming that the IPCC has found to be “unequivocal” is about 0.5 degC. (“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”) “Unequivocal” is merely >90% probability, significantly short of the 95% confidence Trenberth tells us that scientists normally rely upon to avoid false positives. When commenting on the Russian heat wave in 2010, Trenberth logically should say that about 0.5 degC of this heat wave is probably due to man.

    Trenberth says: “For precipitation, the pervasive increase in water vapor changes precipitation events with no doubt whatsoever.” How big is the “perverse increase in water vapor” that associated with an “unequivocal” temperature increase of about 0.5 degK. Trenberth 2010 (doi: 10.3354/cr00953) tells us that the holding capacity of the atmosphere increases 7% per degC, or about 3.5% from “unequivocal” anthropogenic warming. Trenberth logically could say that 3.5% of the rain that caused the 2010 floods in Pakistan is probably due to man. Carrying capacity is only part of the story; Trenberth’s abstract actually predicts that monsoon rains like those that caused the Pakistan floods are likely to “falter”.

    In connection with some types of extreme weather events, Trenberth says: “natural variability provides valuable opportunities for ongoing “news” and education, as teachable moments” and then bemoans the fact that for other events “the media continue to report highly misleading material about how cold outbreaks, snow events, or one cold month”.

    “AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment.”

    “Three investigations of the alleged scientific misconduct of the Climate Research Unit … have confirmed … established scientists depend on their credibility and have no motivation in purposely misleading the public and their colleagues. Moreover, they are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect.” I don’t remember any of the investigations reaching these conclusions. I don’t believe the ellipsis introduces any distortion. The full quote: ” Three investigations of the alleged scientific misconduct of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia — one by the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, a second by the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Royal Society, chaired by Lord Oxburgh, and the latest by the Independent Climate Change E-mails Review, chaired by Sir Muir Russell — have confirmed what climate scientists have never seriously doubted: established scientists depend on their credibility and have no motivation in purposely misleading the public and their colleagues. Moreover, they are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect.” But the full quote has that embarrassing assertion that Lord Oxburgh chaired a “Scientific Assessment Panel of the Royal Society”.

  43. Dr. Curry,

    We may perhaps be on opposite sides in what is usually a very emotive debate but I have to say I admire your academic integrity and intellectual courage in engaging. I wish you luck.

    Pointman

  44. Fred, you say, “I think it’s fair to say that correcting UHI errors will have little impact on global temperature trends of recent decades”. Fair enough and you make a reasonable point. Are you familiar with the P. Jones/Wang UHI issue in all of its gory details? If yes, are you comfortable with the temp keepers? Do you there is a lot of support for Hansen’s control of the GISS record?

    • Bob – I’m not familiar specifically with Jones/Wang. However, I believe the GHCN process needs to be improved, and although I find Anthony Watts to be biased in many respects, I think he has provided a powerful impetus to improve the data collection. Recently, the U.S. data have been reviewed, and a majority of stations found to be untrustworthy. When they were excluded, the overall results changed only slightly.

      I don’t know how much “control” Jim Hansen has over the GISS record, but I doubt that his management proceeds without oversight from others – however, I can’t say I know that for certain. The GISS, HadCrut, and NCDC data tend to show similar trends (not surprising given their dependence on GHCN input), and so serious attempts to introduce distortions are unlikely, absent a conspiracy. Also, while I’m sure Hansen has his biases, I have seen no evidence to support allegations of dishonesty on his part. Retrospective adjustments to climate data are not only permissible but obligatory to ensure accuracy. GISS is not alone in doing this, nor is there reason to think the adjustments have radically changed the record.

      Elsewhere in this thread, Bob, you have accused Michael Tobis of “mendacity”. I think you should reconsider remarks like that in favor of simply registering your disagreement, or at most, your displeasure.

      • Fred, if you have the interest you can get up to speed on Jones/Wang at CA. It is not pretty. While it may not be meaniful to the overall issue of GT, it does demonstrate unprofessionalism and leads to distrust. Fred, have you read Montford’s Book?

        With regard to the mendacity comment, you perhaps have a point. I am still searching for the word that best describes his comments at his “Dogs and Deniers” and his “Idiocracy” posts. Have you read these?

      • Fred, I also note in some of your posts that you sing the praises of Hansen. I agree that he has scientific talent. I think what you fail to understand is there is a great deal of mistrust with him having control over GISS records. These temps are not simple data sets, there needs to be a great deal of adjustments made. No problem if these adjustment methods were made truly public and transparent. Do you think they are?
        Where does the distrust come from. Well, you know his activist history and you be hard pressed to say he is not conflicted. It is similar to a principle physician investigator having access to the patient code in a double blind clinical trial. It would not ever happen. Fred, I surmise you had the opportunity to read Hansen’s recent editorial in a Chinese newspaper. After reading it you might understand that having him control this important database would be equivalent to having GWB direct control over all WMD intelligence during the conflict in Iraq.

      • I understand the distrust, because Hansen has clearly changed from scientist to advocate. I don’t know how much of the GISS data processing is available for public scrutiny, and I probably should check into that, since there are multiple individuals involved besides Hansen who might be an information source. As I mentioned before, the GISS data don’t diverge greatly from the other datasets.

        There’s a public relations benefit to proclaiming 2010 tied for the “warmest year on record”, but in a practical sense, it makes little difference whether it was the warmest or the second warmest, as I believe the UAH MSU satellite data appeared to show.

  45. By using the word ‘denier’, Trenberth significantly weakens his AGW argument.

    My view is that it is always an opportunity for me to weaken someone’s argument when they call me a pejorative name like ‘denier’. It is an opportunity to show the weakness of such a tactic and therefore to lower the character/credibility of anyone using that tactic.

    That said, I think it is better to act in a civil manner in discussions on these blogs. And better for Trenberth’s credibility if he does so at the AMS meeting.

    John

  46. I am still waiting for a qualified climate scientist to try to defend Trenberth’s remarks. It would be best for Trenberth if someone from the opposite camp came forward to defend him, the way Alan Dershowitz came forward to defend Sarah Palin regarding her use of the term “blood libel.” But failing that, can we get any qualified climate scientist to defend Trenberth? Earlier I suggested Dr. Curry contact James Annan to ask him to take a run at defending Trenberth. Perhaps Gavin Schmidt would like a go at defending him. Or maybe Eric Steig.

    I just think his comments are indefensible and prove that Trenberth is not competent to be in any leadership or authorship role for the IPCC. Does anyone care to dispute that? James? Gavin? Eric?

  47. Skimming thru the comments, I concur with what Ken Lydell said January 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm.

    Taking a cue from rank exploits, wrt to the Trenberth AMS text…. blah, blah, blah…. move along.

    If his talk is really supposed to be helpful with respect to communicating science ……. dang…… his students should look for a better role model.

  48. Perhaps Klaus Hasselmann will be willing to come and defend Trenberth! I have just been over to ClimateAudit and learned that Trenberth has aggressively copy and pasted from Hasselmann’s opinion piece in Nature Geosciences. He did change a few words, like adding the word “deniers” in appropriate places. Since Trenberth used Hasselmann’s words so freely, does that mean Hasselmann agrees with Trenberth?

    I would to love to know what Hasselmann thinks of this.

  49. Louise: I find your strategy curious. On one hand you are speaking out for civility; on the other you insist on tossing around labels like “deniers” and “nutters”, and tarring the skeptic side with the brush of death threats and razor blades.

    Personally I request that you refrain from using “denier” in these discussions even if you consider it valid. You don’t have to of course, but that would be my request.

    I suggest — again your call — that if your desired outcome is greater civility, that you go the extra mile for civility yourself.

  50. Judith: “Maybe the Brisbane floods would have been less severe without humans on the planet, but maybe the flood would be more severe, there is just no way to know about an individual weather system and it is a pointless question to ask. ” Just so, but it is not at all pointless to ask whether, and to what extent, preparedness for this event was impaired by the prevailing belief of the last 2 decades that water shortage, not superabundance, was the threat. This is far from the greatest such event on record – 1894 knocks it into a cocked hat, and 1974 comfortably beat it. Brisbane is merely the classic example of a besetting Australian problem – settlement in floodplains, abetted by a repeated tendency of governments to recompense property-owners for their uninsured or uninsurable losses. Back in 1974 it was confidently predicted (so let’s have less of the hand-waving “these are too extreme for anybody to bear any responsibility for their outcome” twaddle) that this flood would happen, and steps embarked upon to mitigate its consequences. One step was the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam, which was accomplished. But then the dead hand of CAGW descended upon Australian environmental planning, and the rest dried up, as did the weather – but not, obviously, the climate. Not only were counter-inundation infrastructure projects sidelined, but the insidious process of creeping amnesia and false optimism that leads people to want to build on floodplains, and planning authorities to let them do so, was given “scientific” sanction, in the form of CAGW theory, which to all but those who read the smallest of print, seemed to be saying that it was daft to worry about things like floods. Daft to forgo the opportunity to buy land at a flood-affected price, in a country that was losing its capacity to flood. Daft of the State Government and local authorities to forgo the stamp duty to be had from permitting building on floodplains, when floods were a thing of the past. Besides, where was Queensland to find the money to build the desal plant the catastrophists were telling them was essential if Brisbane wasn’t to die of thirst.

    The persistent theory-saving casuistry of the warmers, when they bear at least some of the responsibility for the loss of life that has occurred, is despicable, but of a piece with their post-normal concept of truth.

    By the way, no Australian political party emerges from this with credit. They all drank the Koolaid. All the more reason for a Royal Commission. There will be bipartisan reluctance to ask the hard questions.

    • Tom,
      The UK has gone the same way. Some 10% of the UK population now live on floodplains, following massive “bluebelt” development over the last 30 years. DEFRA has issued guidelines to prevent further development but, without any teeth, they are largely ignored. I can predict with confidence that we will see a lot more major flooding disasters in the UK. No doubt these will also be attributed to climate change rather than the natural recurrence of floods which have been going on since pre-history.

      • People may be interested in how Canada deals with flood plains. There is no prohibition to building in a flood plain, but when the flood happens, the government does not provide any compensation. So if you live in a flood plain, you need to carry your own “insurance”. That is, if you can make enough money in the years when you are not flooded to compensate for the inevitable flood, then build in the flood plain.

  51. Why is the media reporting on global warming so biased in favor of those supporting it? Shouldn’t there be two sides to every story? Why are all the western governments pushing for global warming taxes when the science remains unproven? Why do people still believe that hypocrite and snake-oil salesman Al Gore?

    Al Gore has no friends and is just using global warming to get attention. His own wife divorced him and his children are on drugs and booze because of him. I’m super cereal.

    By the way, there’s no possible way for America to pay back its debts. Even if Americans passed a carbon tax, they still couldn’t overcome their budget deficit. They can’t print money forever. I look forward to the day when China buys America and turns it into a sweatshop. Of course, America could always go rogue like North Korea and threaten everyone with nukes.

  52. Mark my words. The western nations will be punished for their arrogance and for pushing this global warming scam against the rest of the world. Jared Loughton is just a symptom of the cancers eating America from the inside. If this global warming scam is not stopped, and those pushing it punished, then prepare your family and kids for HELL ON EARTH.

  53. Not sure if this helps to close any energy budgets, but FWIW
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/14/total-solar-irradiation-tsi-value-lower-in-2008/#more-31684

    Also, to my friends who want to trust observation over models.. just a reminder

    Interesting stuff.

  54. I think Trenberth is right to frame it that even now climate change is pervasive and that it therefore affects everything. A half-degree warming is already adding to everything the weather does, and that is not insignificant. So, while you can’t attribute individual events to climate change, which is nonsensical, you can attribute an element of climate change in all events, disastrous or not, simply because the temperature change is global and affects all seasons.
    I don’t think this is extremist thinking. It is a reasonable view to have.

    • Nonsense. Half-degree fluctuations are common as grass blades geo-historically. And, further, it’s in the right direction. We may be about to learn what even bigger fluctuations in the wrong direction are like. We should not expect to enjoy it.

      We’ll be wishing that the Magic Fairie Dust CO2 Thermostat actually worked. But it won’t.

    • Latimer Alder

      Jim

      Please show me how an increase in ‘global average temperature’ (whatever that may mean), from say 288.15K to 288.90K will have the huge effect that many attribute to ‘climate change’.

      Because, prima facie, the change is so small, (0.26%) that it is meaningless. Especially in a world where, even in a temperate climate like UK the daily variation is likely 10K.

    • Jim D,
      Well I have to agree with you. When the climate changes, it, er…like, changes. I am sure that even the most ardent deniers wouldn’t question that fact, and it doesn’t matter whether you believe that the anthropogenic contribution is small or massive.
      So now what I want to know is should I build levies or desalination plants? Igloos or solar panels? Ah, for that we need a predictive capability. It is entirely possible given the non-linear chaotic nature of the system that we will NEVER be able to develop such capability, in which case we have to rely on the same old risk management and adaptation strategies that we have used with mixed results for the last 10000 years. On the other hand, if we are ever going to be able to develop such a capability we better get the question of attribution sorted out.

    • I would add that the Little Ice Age was about a half degree colder than average, so what we have now is equivalent to the LIA in the opposite direction. This also helps put in perspective the magnitude of the 3 degree change expected by 2100 as being six times stronger in some sense.

    • “I think Trenberth is right to frame it that even now climate change is pervasive and that it therefore affects everything. A half-degree warming is already adding to everything the weather does, and that is not insignificant.”

      When you wrote this, did you notice the subtle (and unsubstantiated) shift you made from from “affects everything’ to “adding to everything”?

      “So, while you can’t attribute individual events to climate change, which is nonsensical, you can attribute an element of climate change in all events, …”

      You can only make that kind of attribution, if you know the direction of the alleged affect of global warming on the event. Trenberth advocates glossing over that detail. His method is simply to assign blame to global warming for any event that occurs that is considred adverse. As with your opening statement, Trenberth’s operating assumption (explicitly stated in his preprint) is that global warming runs only in one direct wrt its effects. “Affects” means “adds to”, never “subtracts from”. “Affects” means “makes worse”, never “makes better”.

      And of course, the additional subtle but substantial bias is that adverse events that would have happened, but did not, are unaccounted for.

      This is similar to other religionism. God takes credit. Sin or the devil is left with the blame.

      Today is a wonderful day where I live, weatherwise. It is neather too hot, nor too cold. It is neither too snowy, nor too dry. I blame thank global warming.

      • I have not said that a warmer climate is good or bad. That would depend, for sure, on where you live. I am just saying climate change is here, and this should be recognized as part of the background to whatever happens in the weather. Not an exciting statement, I know, but it is what it is. I think a lot more people would accept the science if it wasn’t for the doom and gloom baggage that keeps getting attached to it. If it could be just presented as cold detached science, like a lot of other science is, it would be somehow more acceptable.

      • I think a lot more people would accept the science if it wasn’t for the doom and gloom baggage that keeps getting attached to it.

        Yes, if only people stopped their doom and gloom predictions, such as:

        I would add that the Little Ice Age was about a half degree colder than average, so what we have now is equivalent to the LIA in the opposite direction. This also helps put in perspective the magnitude of the 3 degree change expected by 2100 as being six times stronger in some sense.

  55. JC,
    You gave your readers a link to ClimateAudit. I would strongly recommend to readers that they follow the links offered therein by Dr Pielke Jr in his post of
    Jan 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM.
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/11/fabrications-in-science.html
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/shameful-article-review-and-update.html
    My main question about Trenberth’s AMS article is: What on Earth was he trying to achieve? The article includes divisive language likely to inflame even the mildly sceptical , strong overtones of elitism, a number of readily falsifiable assertions about extreme weather events, and an ill-considered proposal for a reversal of the burden of proof. To make matters worse, the first-line target audience for this is a group that has scientific training and ready access to the necessary data to falsify many of his comments. (Australian drought/flood records, anyone? Russian forest fires? Flood basins round the Indian sub-Continent? Cumulative cyclone energy?) This goes beyond naivety or poor judgment. I say without any insult or sarcasm intended that Dr Trenberth might want to seek some medical advice on the deleterious effects of stress on mental health.

  56. The real problem stems from the logical fallacy inherent in the syllogism:

    Global warming increases the probability of certain events such as severe floods.

    We have just had a very severe flood in an area.

    Therefore Global warming caused this particular severe flood.

    Global warming in fact may or may not have contributed to this flood. We then seek evidence to test the hypothesis.

    Looking at it probabilistically, lets assume that under pre-warming conditions a certain area has a 10% chance of undergoing a severe flood in any given period – say 30 years.

    Lets assume that global warming doubles the probability of severe flooding in a given thirty year period in flood prone regions worldwide. If three areas in one year undergo severe flooding, the probability that all three events would have occurred regardless (ie, in the absence of global warming) at a particular time is 0.1 x3 = 0.001. The odds of such a concurrence seem quite slim and naturally we think global warming is the culprit.

    However, if we assume that the probability of of a given flood is now doubled to 0.2 because of global warming, the likelihood of three similar floods occurring in a given year rises to 0.2 x0.2 x0.2 = 0.008 which is actually quite low.

    In short, Trenberth’s recommendation that we reverse the null the hypothesis seems problematic particularly given the sheer multiplicity of causes which would underlying any event.

    Trenberth does seem to try to have his cake and eat it. He writes:

    ‘Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence.’

    Unfortunately, human influences extend vastly beyond climate warming including issues such as land usage, drainage, deforestation, population densities, etc, many of which are largely unrelated to global warming. However, by reducing the argument to a simplistic linkage between the unequivocal reality of global warming and ‘human influences,’ Trenberth tries to make an unassailable case for AGW as an explanation for a range of disasters. While few would argue that global warming is not happening or that humans make no significant contribution to the warming, Trenberth’s logical fallacies and seeming neglect of probabilistic thinking muddies the waters.

    To take an example from medicine, tuberculosis is unequivocally caused by exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, not every person exposed to the bacillus develops TB – in fact, many if not most don’t. However, the malnourished or immunocompromised are at enormous risk. Consequently, in tackling TB, you need a multifaceted approach encompassing treatment of infected individuals, vaccination, and a general improvement in living standards, nutrition, and health. Neglecting any of these aspects leaves you tackling the problem with one hand tied behind your back.

    Likewise, Trenberth’s oversimplification does a great disservice to the complexities inherent in planning for future catastrophes and mitigation thereof.

  57. Dr Curry: Thank you for the link to Climate Audit where ‘Steve McIntyre chimes in with an historical perspective on Trenberth’s activities in the climate debate’.
    To quote from McIntyre’s post:
    ‘Trenberth also purports to justify Jones’ successful effort to keep McKitrick Michaels 2004 out of the two AR4 drafts sent to reviewers on the basis (this incident has been discussed at length on other occasions) that:
    “AR4 was the first time Jones was on the writing team of an IPCC Assessment”.
    while noting that Trenberth himself, as a “veteran”, was aware of the obligations:
    “As a veteran of 3 previous IPCC assessments I was well aware that we do not keep any papers out, and none were kept out.”
    Trenberth goes on to add that:
    “[climate scientists] are unlikely to make false claims that other colleagues can readily show to be incorrect. “ ‘
    McIntyre and other commenters then go on to show that Trenberth’s statement conflicts with demonstrable facts in that Jones had previously been a Contributing Author on several chapters of the IPCC TAR WGI (2001) report, as well as having a similar role on the SAR (1995) and FAR (1990).
    As it stands Trenberth’s claim appears to be false. Does he have a defence? He’s perhaps unlikely to show up on this blog, but one could in his defence point out that for citation purposes ‘Contributing Authors’ are not listed by the IPCC as ‘authors’ of the chapter concerned . Only the Coordinating Lead Authors and Lead Authors are so listed. I don’t think (please correct me on this) Jones was an IPCC Lead Author prior to AR4, while Trenberth had been a Lead Author for Chapter 7 (Physical climate processes and feedbacks) of the TAR WGI (2001) report, and so could claim to be a veteran with more experience of the IPCC report writing process than Jones.
    This defence does not however absolve Trenberth and Jones from joint responsibility as Coordinating Lead Authors for the content of Chapter 3 (Observations: Surface and Atmospheric Climate Change) of the AR4 WG1 report.
    Ross McKitrick has openly http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/uk_plmnt_inquiry_submission.pdf
    accused Trenberth and Jones of ‘fabrication’ of an important reference within that chapter. Fabrication in a scientific document is a serious offence, amounting to fraud by invention. There may be an innocent explanation for the alleged fabrication, but has Jones or Trenberth or the IPCC responded to McKitrick’s allegation?
    See in particular section 3, paragraphs 17-19 of McKitrick’s submission.

    • Misuse of references is not unique to ‘warmists.’ I recall a heated debate between Plimer and Monbiot on the ABC in which Monbiot accused Plimer of misquoting a reference. Plimer dodged the question and the debate proved a futile two sided harangue at cross purposes. My curiosity was piqued and I checked the reference looking behind the paywall. Plimer’s citation stated the opposite of the author’s conclusions.

      Again, Plimer could simply have conceded that he had made a mistake (we’re all allowed to make them) but chose to bluster. However, I’ve seen similar misuse of literature citations in my field so I was not that surprised. However, I did think that the the field of AGW had enough by way of uncertainty to make resort to dubious citations superfluous as well as destructive of civilised debate.

      I guess our common humanity rules our propensity to misbehave – however, Mckittrick’s allegations are another canary in coalmine filled with explosiveand noxious gases :-).

    • With regards to the status of contributing authors for the IPCC. I know a tiny bit about this since I was a contributing author for Ch 7 of IPCC TAR. Basically, they are asked by a lead author to provide a paragraph or two on a particular topic. I wasn’t invited to any IPCC meetings or engage in discussions about all this other than with the lead author that contacted me. To say that contributing authors aren’t really a part of the IPCC is a true statement. The lead authors etc. all have to be nominated by their countries or by the IPCC and be approved by some IPCC committees. These are the people that end up being in control of the IPCC, attend all the meetings, etc. Contributing authors contribute, these individuals aren’t really a formal part of the IPCC (although there names get included in the thousands of scientists, etc.)

      • Steve McIntyre

        Judy, Trenberth described himself as a “veteran” of three IPCC reports. Based on information to date on IPCC-1 and IPCC-2, Trenberth and Jones were both Contributing Authors and would have similar status.

        In TAR, the Climategate letters show that Chapter 2 Contributing Authors had a subset of “Key Contributors” – the double sequence in the listing of TAR Chapter 2 Contributing Authors matches the email list of Key Contributors. Jones was a “Key Contributor” with assigned responsiblity for a couple of sections, just like a Lead Author.

        Jones was involved in an important sequence of Climategate correspondence after the Arusha Lead Authors meeting discussing what to do with the decline of the Briffa proxy reconstruction – eventually “resolved” by deleting post-1960 values (the notorious hide the decline.)

        Trenberth’s claim that Jones was a newbie to IPCC writing process was untrue.

      • key contributors is a nuance that i had not picked up on

  58. Louise writes:

    “I do not call the scientists who are skeptical of anthorpometric climate change deniers – I call them skeptics. I call the nutters who think climate scientists are part of a global conspiracy to install a worldwide marxist regime deniers. I call the nutters who cheer every post made at WUWT regardless of its value/truthfulness deniers. I’d use the word nutters rather than deniers but it’s too broad and even less PC.

    “… I do believe that there is a coterie of people who are not worth debating with because they will not enter into a proper debate with reason and an open mind. These tend be be the blogosphere and media types as I’ve described above – not genuine skeptics.

    “There is no point in trying to debate with people who belive that you’re part of a global conspiracy to install a world-wide marxist regime.”

    It is easy to dismiss concerns and questions with labels such as “denier” and “nutters” obsessed about a “global conspiracy” to “install a world-wide Marxist regime.” Some of the questions I have pondered is why, given the immediate threats associated with “weapons of mass destruction,” poverty, lack of clean water has so much time and money been concentrated, globally, on this issue.

    In the US today, agencies dealing with “climate change” include Jim Hansen’s team at NASA Goddard; most of NOAA (including their new prototype website, Climate.gov); the EPA, threatening to establish carbon caps; the National Science Foundation funding research concentrated, not upon basic science, but upon “climate change” verification and mitigation. Finally, the Department of Energy has just undergone a name change: Department of Energy and Climate Change. Why?

    And, I believe that a recent National Academy of Sciences panel led by Robert Corell recommended that a “cap and trade” policy be implemented by the US. Hardly, an appropriate purview of the NAS.

    It appears that attempts to implement “cap and trade” elsewhere have resulted in little more than scheming corruption with no impact on carbon emissions.

    Al Gore’s “green” venture capital company is, reportedly, now worth billions of dollars.

    I fail to understand why reducing emissions in the US, but spewing them elsewhere, would benefit anyone except carbon traders and bankers hungry for a new commodity upon which to make money.

    I have read numerous times that meeting the US carbon goal would be “impossible.” What’s “impossible?” What are the implications of trying? Will the govt have to confiscate every third car in the nation? Limit home heating temperatures? Abolish air conditioning? What are the implications of an EPA mandate on our quality of life and economy? Why is the EPA not publishing reports about how easy and wonderful it will be?

    If controlling emissions is critical, why doesn’t the US just “go for it” boost our energy costs and set an example for the world of what one nation can do with fewer cars, less heat and no air conditioning.

    (I read that, when complete, the Cape Cod Wind Project, expects energy costs to be “down” to over double what I am paying at present. That’s a projected “down” from my present costs. How bad will it be if the projection is incorrect?.)

    Is there anyone who doubts that “big coal and oil” would sell snuggies or knitted afghans, if it would make a profit for them?

    “Greenie” Annie Leonard has crafted a succinct profile of the basics of “cap and trade” and is not pleased:
    http://www.storyofstuff.com/capandtrade/

    Now, Kevin Trenberth has tried to turned science upside down and, like the strange man whistling non-stop and twirling his fingers iin his back yard, demands: Prove to me that I’m not keeping elephants away!

    Beyond the “global conspiracy” and “denier” labels – and beyond the quality of the present science – there are some legitimate questions about why Goldman Sachs et al want “cap and trade” as well as the implications if, instead of merely running as fast as we can to develop economical alternatives, we attempt to implement restrictions, today, in the US alone, or globally.

    …Lady in Red

  59. Dr Curry,

    When you started this blog, it brought a lot of hope to many, as it appeared that we at last would have a forum where serious climate science and related policy issues would be discussed in a nice friendly and open manner.

    As can be seen by some of the quarrelling above, some individuals insist on having the last word, and refuse to allow bend to alternative views despite rather overwhelming opposition.

    Clearly a lot would be lost if you other other moderators had to intervene in discussions, as an inevitable bias would present itself, and much of value might then be removed.

    So is there a simple automated moderation than can be applied to stop such quarrelling? Perhaps a limit of 5 posts per article from any named individual would put a cap on those who refuse to stop, but still allow enough sensible back-and-forth for most posters.

    If there is a serious discussion under-way that needs more exposure, a new article could be started to accommodate it (as you’ve done a few times in the past).

    • Perhaps a limit of 5 posts per article from any named individual would put a cap on those who refuse to stop, but still allow enough sensible back-and-forth for most posters.

      As someone already over the limit – it sounds like a breathaliser test for a boozy Christmas driver in the UK – for the first time on Climate Etc I see this problem with your proposal: honest people that use their real names or the same pseudonym for all their edits would be capped, but the less scrupulous would change their name and keep going. This would definitely not have the desired impact on quality.

      Judith has quite a job on her hands. We’re grateful, not least for some excellent, hard-hitting exchanges on the scientific threads, from which I have already learned a great deal.

    • Steve, on the discussion threads (like this one), there is a certain amount of bickering that seems unavoidable. The nesting of the comments helps isolate these little discussions (so they can be ignored by everyone else). I thought of limiting the number of comments per person, but on the technical threads this would preclude some useful exchanges. So no simple solution, unfortunately.

  60. Enough is enough: Trenberth’s response to Girma Orssengo

    If you read Trenberth’s AMS paper and other statements he states categorically that his conclusions are based on the data, the facts and they cannot be argued about. But if you look more closely, you find that his conclusions may be more based on what he would like the data to say than what the data really says. It appears to me, based on his response to Oressengo that he has not looked at the data or wishes to acknowledge what the data says. To wit:
    ___________________________________
    > Based on these observed data, as the global warming rate of the two global warming phases were identical, the effect of human emission of CO2 for 60-years has not increased the global warming rate. Though CO2 is a greenhouse gas, the observed data says it has no effect on the global temperature trend. Observation should win theory all the time.
    >
    1) It is correct that the warming has occurred in two phases. However
    the exact points you choose influence the outcomes in terms of rates and
    duration. Does the first phase go to 1940 or 1945? What about the
    abrupt reversal in the early 1940s? The second phase starts about 1975
    and continues to the present. It has not stopped. The first 8 months of
    this year are by far the highest on record. Throughout the record one
    can pick places to stop and start and they are mostly arbitrary. It is
    not an appropriate way to interpret the record as a piecewise set of lines.

    2) Why should the rate of warming change? How do you draw your
    conclusion? It is certainly wrong.

    3) The warming in the first phase was not global but focussed in the
    North Atlantic. It was related to changes in the ocean. The warming in
    the southern hemisphere is more steadily upwards: no steadying off or
    downphase. So the patterns of change also matter.
    ___________________________

    I am disappointed at the response given by Trenberth. I will leave (1) and (2) for a later time. The absolutism of “It is certainly wrong” deserves a comment. But with respect to (3) it simply is not true. If one looks at the land station data (or island data) one find that the early mid-20th century warming was global in extent. Note that we are talking about raw station data (kindly provided to me by Phil Jones), although these data are also consistent with the actual ship data (COADS). Either Trenberth has decided that this somehow diminishes his arguments and prefers to ignore the data or he simply has not looked at the raw data.

    Judith and I will make a post over the weekend showing the land surface data and the global (including SH) nature of the mid-century warming.

    • Peter,
      Do you realize the time frame to the date of this planet is less than .0001% for the temperature time frame?
      How accurate can that be?

    • Really? Because Girma is just repeating the same line he’s been sticking to for about 2 years now. He’s shown himself to be immune to reason on countless occasions, and has a long history of cherry picking and ignoring criticism. Every now and then he just draws a straight line through the entire HadCRU dataset, superimposes a rough “w” shape where he thinks the peaks are and claims he’s disproved AGW.

      I’m disappointed in Trenberth’s response also. I’m disappointed he wasted time giving one to someone who has no intention of deviating from his preconceived position under any circumstance.

  61. I’m pretty sure the term “denier” exists because there was a need for a word that had a negative connotation. Doubt in science is generally considered a good thing, so what can you do when you want to make sure everyone agrees with the “consensus” and you have these annoying doubters known as climate skeptics getting in the way? Two strategies (at least) are available. Either you can claim that “the science” is so rock solid or “settled” that there is no reason to doubt anything. Or you can claim that the doubt is not really doubt, it’s denial.

    That’s the primary function of the word “denier”. It’s a deliberately constructed straw man. A rhetorical concept with no analytical value in practice. There may be those who use it differently, but I think they are in a small minority. And that is the reason for the reactions to Trenberth’s use of it.

    • In climate science “either your with me or against me.”
      No other ground exists!

      • Yes, and since climate change is particularly complex (more so than many other scientific controversies), a significant amount of distortion is required just to make it fit that mode of thinking.

      • Very true Joe – just as everything that Dagfinn says is true and exceptionally pertinent.

        Even so – and this is the great problem with this deceptively simple little word – it’s much, much worse than that. It isn’t simply that there are only two positions on all of climate science and policy, with us and against us. The choice presented, from the start, has been between being with us or being equivalent, both in one’s lack of grasp of reality and in one’s total lack of morality and compassion, with holocaust deniers.

        That was the root of the term, there is no question at all. And I don’t know of anyone in a position of influence or authority who has apologised for its use on that basis. Though Phil Willis, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Science and Technology last year, did offer what seemed like a sincere apology to Martin Brumby for the offence (and indeed the suspicion of bias) caused by his use of it as he talked about his committee’s inquiry into Climategate. And even Willis went back to using the term later.

        Nobody that I know of has come out and said that the comparison with holocaust deniers was totally out of order in what needed to be a very civilised debate where respect for different points of view was of the essence – as it is for instance on Climate Etc. The stigma attached quite rightly to holocaust denial takes the term way beyond a normal ‘straw man’ and is reason enough for it never to be used by anyone advocating consensus science and policymaking, especially those like Trenberth in positions of significant influence or power.

        So Anthony Watts is right and Kevin Trenberth is terribly wrong. Horrible concept for some I’m sure. But on this matter at least it’s cast-iron fact.

      • Richard,

        It sure would be nice to have a fantacy of working together for a common good and expanded knowledge.
        Rather than ripping each other apart.

      • Of course we all think that we’re good, rational, sincere, reasonable and intelligent people.
        Which we are.
        So anyone who strongly disagrees with us must, by definition, have the opposite qualities.
        Which makes them somehow sub-human, not deserving to be heard, and completely deserving of labels such as, ‘denier’
        But we don’t consider how strong our belief systems are, and how much they can taint our thinking, while still allowing us to think that we’re being perfectly rational.
        Well, we’ve all seen the only too graphic recent examples just of what strong beliefs can make ‘good and rational’ people do.

        All of which is why the scientific method is so important.

    • That’s the primary function of the word “denier”. It’s a deliberately constructed straw man

      Constructed by whom? If by non-deniers, you might have a point. If by deniers themselves however then don’t you think that would tend to undermine this point you’re trying to make here?

    • MIT professor Richard Lindzen, who has served on many climate committees in the past several decades, denies climate change. He has endorsed the term “climate denier” at minute 55:00 of http://ceiondemand.org/2009/10/26/cooler-heads-event-with-dr-richard-lindzen-on-cap-and-trade/

      His reasoning here is that in order to be a skeptic there must be a good a priori case for the opposing viewpoint. There isn’t even a good a priori case, he says. This is why he favors the term “climate denier.”

      As far as I’m concerned, climate deniers are those who take Professor Lindzen’s side on the climate debate. If you don’t agree with Lindzen then you’re not a denier. But in that case what are you, exactly? Do you have any label at all, or are you one of those who prefer to go through life unlabeled?

      In that case how are we to know what you are?

      • Vaughan, I’m afraid you’re challenging my theory with real-world observations. I need to label you so that I can ignore you.

      • Vaughan, I’m afraid you’re challenging my theory with real-world observations. I need to label you so that I can ignore you.

        Replying to this just to make sure you really are ignoring me.

        Blessed are the illogical, for they can prove anything. You are one of them, Dagfinn.

      • You didn’t catch the (self-)irony in my reply? Maybe I should have used a smiley? ;-)

        My primary claim is that “denier” is not a descriptive or analytical concept. It’s a rhetorical one, and it may be used be different people for different purposes. But mostly it’s used by some “warmists” to deflect criticism they would rather not deal with. (That’s what I allude to obliquely when I say I need to label you in order to ignore you.)

        The word “denier” is made for sweeping, superficial generalizations. Only the purpose and the impact is important. What the word “really” means is secondary, and attempts to define it precisely or objectively will fail eventually. At least three different ways of defining it have been proposed in this thread. And they are probably all mutually exclusive if you study them.

      • Ya, lighten up, VP! It was a humorous compliment. Perhaps you’re not acquainted with either of those, though. Too bad.

  62. “Maybe the Brisbane floods would have been less severe without humans on the planet,”

    Of course with no humans, there would not have been any damage. Hence severity is relative to there being humans to begin with.

    Such flooding is over all benificial to the biota as it brings in needed nutrietents.

    • so there is no sense to us denying that “deniers” is part of the dialogue. Lets move on.

      And what convenient term for the other side Liars? Frauds? Cheats?

      • And what convenient term for the other side Liars? Frauds? Cheats?

        Since the only people denying global warming are the deniers, one would have to say they’re the liars, frauds, and cheats.

      • So, you want exclusive use of all the abusive terms? Verrryyy interesting …

        But disgusting.

      • Since the only people denying global warming are the deniers, one would have to say they’re the liars, frauds, and cheats.

        There’s still life in that old strawman is there?

        In this (== Trenberth’s) context, most people are talking about CAGW, not plain GW.

    • Such flooding is over all benificial to the biota as it brings in needed nutrietents.

      Have you considered employment with a flood insurance company? I bet they’d love to have your upbeat attitude.

  63. I would like to discuss the politics of Climate Expertise. Instead we appear to be discussing the exact meaning of ‘Denier’. Irrespective of whatever each one of us thinks that is exactly, all the grownups in the room know it is a perjoritive term.

    Let’s just agree not to use it and move on. Perhaps we might even get to discuss some politics.

    Pointman

    • agreed, thx. i am rather tired of the denier issue, its over use has lost most of its pejorativeness and it seems the word is here to stay in the dialogue, so there is no sense to us denying that “deniers” is part of the dialogue. Lets move on.

      • I’m sorry Pointman And Dr Curry, but just because something is used regularly, doesn’t make it acceptable.

        It was coined primarily as a means of slight. I.e. as a political marginalisation attempt via association with holocaust deniers. It was then and remains highly offensive. To continue with and to condone it’s use is to legitimize that sort of atactic.

        there are numerous other terms that are far less offensive that could be used. it baffles me why people defend it’s use when it CLEARLY upsets a LOT of people. Common decency and politeness would restrict it’s use.

        You moderate me (rightly) for using terms such as idiot and bully, yet ignore this other temr as you feel it’s too pervasive. That’s just not a good enough reason to allow it’s use.

        HOwever, having said that, i do regret having dragged this topic too far off, erm, topic. Apologies if i monopolised the thread- it’s obviously something i feel strongly about- but i suppose is houldn’t inflict it on others.

      • Dr. Curry,
        I am realistic enough to know that advocates for CAGW will continue to use the term denier. So, in that sense, it is part of the dialog. But I am unwilling to quit pointing out that people who use the term denier should not be part of the IPCC authorship process. The term denier is offensive to most every skeptic, although some have embraced the term. The inability of Kevin Trenberth to understand IPCC authors need to appear above the fray is disheartening.

        How can the IPCC pretend to be an objective assessor of the science if lead authors refers to some scientists by a derogatory term they are offended by?

        Trenberth’s use of denier says to me that he has not taken the time to come to grips with science papers by McIntyre, Schwartz, Chylek, Pielke, Christy, Spencer and Douglass among others. Some of these scientists are researchers of some renown.

        What do you think, Dr. Curry? Should people who use the term deniers be allowed a leadership or authorship role in future IPCC assessment reports? I don’t. But I would like to hear your thinking on the matter.

      • I certainly think it would be appropriate for the IPCC to request that participants not use the word denier in public discourse.

      • I certainly think it would be appropriate for the IPCC to request that participants not use the word denier in public discourse.

        Request.
        Yeah, that’ll really make them change their tune. Nay, their very outlook on science.

  64. Of all the offensive things associated with Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth, I think the worst and most blatant is the Kiehl-Trenberth energy balance chart showing 333W/M^2 of “back radiation”. If the number was 3.33W, that would be more reasonable, don’t you think?
    One of our biggest energy problems is storage…it would be great if we had a practical and cost-effective way to store solar or wind energy so it could be delivered during periods of peak load, but we don’t. How does this relate to global warming? Well, if you want to store heat energy, it’s obvious you need materials with large thermal masses. How much thermal mass does 390PPM of CO2 have? Why don’t we call it none…that would be close enough for a first approximation.

    • I think the worst and most blatant is the Kiehl-Trenberth energy balance chart showing 333W/M^2 of “back radiation”. If the number was 3.33W, that would be more reasonable, don’t you think?

      Ken, have you ever heard of the Stefan-Boltzmann constant? If so, do you know what it means? If so, do you know how to use it? If so, can you use it to compute the temperature of the sky assuming 3.33W coming down?

      I thought not.

  65. David L. Hagen | January 14, 2011 at 11:52 am | Reply
    Louise
    I strongly support the request to never use “deniers” except for those who deny the Holocaust. Please read/listen to Eli Wisman to get a perspective on the magnitude of depravity of killing some 6 million Jews and another 7 million Christians etc. Do not cheapen or dismiss such horrific evil by blithely branding as “denier” those you disagree with.

    And I totally repudiate such a request, the attempt to appropriate a perfectly useful word from the English language and to attribute to those who use it in its normal and historical context a certain political belief is reprehensible. A denier is one who denies, and the context makes clear what is being denied. If someone denies the ability of CO2 in the atmosphere to act as a GHG and thereby heat the atmosphere he’s a denier, and he’s wrong!

    • Phil denies that words have connotations. Very interesting.

    • In your opinion.

      You seem to have a more narrow prejudicial opinion than some who use the term, but the use of the term still seem needlessly inflammatory.

      • Why, we have a classic case below, Ken Coffman categorically denies the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding. In plain English he’s a denier of the greenhouse effect, there is no implication of equivalency with Holocaust denial, what other circumlocution would you have me use to describe such a fellow accurately?

      • Have you stopped to consider that he may simply have misunderstood something, rather than just label him a ‘denier’ and be done with.
        Why not try explaining it to him?

      • See below!

      • Then Jones is also a denier. Denier of FOIA requests. The simple fact is you have a good number of ways to avoid the use of a word that has pejorative connotations for some.

        Ken Coffman refuses to accept the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Ken Coffman categorically rejects the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Ken Coffman willfully ignores the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Ken Coffman blindly argues against the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Now you will note that each of these verbs is more difficult to turn into a noun. In short they make it hard to call people names. Don’t pretend that the language forces you to use the word denier. Don’t pretend that it is more accurate than the other words. Don’t pretend to use it because it’s most economical. You use it because as a verb its easy to turn into a noun. and As a noun it has connotations that put your opponents in a bad light. Don’t deny it.

      • Anthropogenic Climate Change:
        -rejecter
        -disputer
        -doubter
        -challenger
        -arguer
        -gainsayer
        -challenger

        Lots of alternatives; I suggest mix-‘n’-matching according to context!

      • Ah, Phil can rant and rave, it’s okay.

        Point an IR detector into the sky and read back from something that isn’t a blackbody, but radiates equivalently to a 300W/m^2 blackbody heater floating in space. If he wants to use that amazing atmospheric heater for his house, it’s fine with me. Poor me, I have to pay the power company a significant amount to get that kind of heating action in my house…while Phil gets it for free. Good for him.

      • Then Jones is also a denier. Denier of FOIA requests.

        Indeed he is, quite proper use of the term, with no pejorative implication at all.

        Ken Coffman refuses to accept the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Perhaps ‘refusnik’?

        Ken Coffman categorically rejects the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        Ken Coffman willfully ignores the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        OK we’ll call him ‘willfully ignorant’ then or perhaps an ‘ignoramus’, that would be consistent with his statement below that real, measured IR radiation is ‘an accounting fudge factor’, however he does more than ignore its existence, he says it doesn’t exist. None of your suggestions fits as well as denial.
        That’s the problem of a group claiming a perfectly useful word as their own and denying others the right to use it in its proper context. It’s the same with ‘the Holocaust’, there can now be no other, Churchill’s use of the word to describe the Armenian genocide could presumably not now be used, although my understanding is that that the word is not favored in Jewish usage because of its original meaning referring to a pagan ritual!

        Ken Coffman blindly argues against the existence of ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation, measurements of such not withstanding.

        He doesn’t argue against it’s existence, there’s no logical argument there at all Mosh, he just says it doesn’t exist, in the face of actual measurements.

      • steven mosher

        i was thinking ignorati or refusnik

      • steven mosher

        I think the biggest issue is you want to name or label the group.
        when you should just deal with the individual. I know that’s hard. Evry time I write ‘climate scientists’ i know I am over generalizing.

      • Yes, that makes it clearer. Sometimes we do need to speak about a group, but we should realize how vague and approximate it is.

        But then there are some who make inferences from the group to the individual. That’s when the real trouble starts. “Since you’re a denier/skeptic/warmist/climate scientist (…), I know that you believe everything that group believes, and I can tell that you’re stupid/evil/irrational and there’s no point arguing with you.” Lots of variations, but the crucial pattern is drawing conclusions about a person from a group stereotype, and that these conclusions come to seem more “real” than the person’s observable behavior.

      • steven mosher

        yes, its the group to individual logic that is where all the nonsense begins. There are other mechanisms at play as well. If I can ‘hijack” a discussion of C02 into a discusion of socialism or marxism, then I’ve hijacked it onto a playing field where I may be more comfortable ( I never do that, BTW) . Or, if I can hijack the discussion into a discussion of big oil or tobacco, then I’ve changed the playing field to one that is more comfortable. These “reframings” cannot be avoided in any extended dialog with many participants. People always reframe to a structure of meaning where they are more conversant ( as lakoff says we live in metaphor), but people should recognize the rhetorical tactic for what it is. a tactic. Basically to reframe the debate in a catagorical manner where the structure of the new category is favorable. But that “reframing” is sometimes dangerous. The first ‘reframe’ of the climate debate was
        mann’s attempt to ‘reframe’ mcintyre as an Oil shill. That reframe failed utterly because it was false. What Mann didnt realize is that getting that frame wrong had tremendous downsides. “if I say my opponent is an Oil Shill and he’s not, what happens?”

      • Steve—what I find most frustrating is the inability to have real; substantive conversations with those who support the idea that we need to reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible, about the merits of their proposed solutions vs. the cost to implement.

      • The problem there is it is very difficult to have that discussion without at least broad agreement on climate sensitivity and the cost of inaction.

        Depending on where you stand on the problems we face, inaction could mean anything from collapse of human civilisation within a century, to bounteous wealth the like of which we’ve never seen, via no change whatsoever. Until you can agree that there are external costs of CO2 emissions and go some way towards quantifying and agreeing what those costs might be, any debate on financially viable alternatives becomes skewed.

      • er, how about “someone with whom I am in disagreement”?

      • I’m not in disagreement with him, that would imply his statement has some merit, it doesn’t. He just denies the existence of real measurements that don’t fit into his view of the world.

      • You’re talking about average downwelling LW.

        He thinks you’re talking about daytime net LW flux

      • Hold on, what am I denying? Everything that has a temperature emits radiation…including air and CO2 and water vapor. What I deny is there is any kind of atmospheric heater than can produce anything close to 333W/M^2 (or 324 or whatever the latest number is). In order for things with low thermal mass to heat things with large thermal mass, the low mass temperature must be extreme and our atmospheric temperature is not extreme.
        There’s a NASA energy budget I believe…and I can cough up a link if you like–it shows water and land and incoming insolation heating air…and the integrated graybody heat radiating into space…and no hocus pocus atmospheric heaters that are apparently stronger than incoming solar radiation. The atmosphere radiates in all directions, sure it does, but the non-physical effect Trenberth-Kiehl describe is wildly exaggerated…

    • Phil, the point is it was COINED with the inflammatory connotatoins directly in mind. ‘They’ deliberatley chose that word to try to discredit via association.

      If all you are interested in is labelling someone/a group who you disagree with broadly then use another word.

      Many people have stated they take great offense at the word and the reason for why it was first coined in this debate.

      It takes nothing to use another word. It doesn’t affect your argument, make you weaker or make you look stupid. In fact it is a polite and good natured thing to do. it is the Adult thing to do.There is LITERALLY no defensable reason to continue to use it in the full knowledge that it DEEPLY offends some people.

      The only reason is to carry on trying that cheap political trick of guilt via association.

      Civil discourse does not allow the use of derrogatory terms, neither does a scientific debate.

      • Phil, the point is it was COINED with the inflammatory connotatoins directly in mind.

        No it wasn’t, it was coined to mean ‘one who denies’. For example William Romaine (1714-1795) used it in his treatise on “The Self Existence of Jesus Christ”. The use of the term ‘Christ denier’ is used in theological discussions concerning the historical existence of Jesus Christ and no association with the Holocaust is intended or implied, indeed the term in this context far predates that event.

        It has been asserted here that the use of the word in climate discussions was deliberately done to associate with the Holocaust, has anyone any evidence of that? Just because someone was offended by the use of the word which they regard as their personal possession doesn’t mean that there was intent.

        I have no wish to label any group or person with whom I disagree, I however resent the move to prevent me from using the most appropriate word to describe an action for political reasons. I find the attempt to claim that anyone who uses the word ‘denier’ is asserting guilt by association to be itself a cheap political trick.

      • Phil – I for one don’t care a tinker’s if you or anyone else calls me a denier. Now, your point was?

      • Good then we’re in agreement.

      • That’s it? That’s your point?

      • Phil you, like Louise, have been given plenty of examples of terminology that will not obstruct your attempts to communicate with people with whom you disagree, yet you prefer to argue interminably that you (or KT) were not, in strict terms, wrong to use the language you used, than make the temporary concession asked of you. We must conclude that you are not really here to debate, but to parade your sense of your own superiority, and to belittle anyone who disagrees with you. I’m not scientifically literate enough to know whether you or Ken Coffman are right in your present spat – but thanks to your arrogance my money’s on him right now. There are plenty of places on the net for your kind of teenage venting. This isn’t one of them.

      • Actually no-one has provided such terminology. Posters on CA who called me a liar were encouraged to by McIntyre even when he knew what I was saying correct, whereas were I to call someone a liar there my post would be banned. One reason why I no longer participate there. I am not belittling anyone here, Coffman made obviously false statements which denied the existence of ~300W/m^2 downward propagating IR radiation, and continued to do so, first of all he couldn’t see it then it was an ‘accounting fudge’. He’s hoist by his own petard, I notice you don’t criticize his insults, typical of the asymmetry found in these discussions.

      • What do you call BrianH’s

        “Anthropogenic Climate Change:
        -rejecter
        -disputer
        -doubter
        -challenger
        -arguer
        -gainsayer
        -challenger”
        ?
        Even the Hockey Team use “contrarian”. What would it cost you to drop “denier”, given the alternatives available, and the possibilities doing so would offer you to persuade, rather than deride, your interlocutors?

        Anyway, as I have said, I don’t object to denier, but I still don’t see what point you are making if you call me that.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Phil

        Can you provide a link to the Climate Audit thread in question?

        Thanks

        ACYL

      • IIRC, it was Al Gore who started using the word some years ago during his lectures. And he made it quite plain that he intended the direct association with the Holocaust by stating that sceptics were the same as Holocaust Deniers.

        Gore may or may not have known about William Romaine and the theological usage. He was reportedly, at one time, a seminary student. But the insult was plain and intended.

        Whatever “your” intent, it is still insulting, not only to the intended recipient, but to the 20 million Jews, Catholics, Czechs, Rumanians, Poles, Danes, Lithuanians, Norwegians, French, etc who died in the camps. Not to mention those Allied soldiers who freed those camps. My father and 4 uncles were among those soldiers and any of them would have decked anyone who dared say that word to their face.

        You can be as obstinate as you want about using it, but be aware that there are people who will take violent offense to it. BTW, your obstinacy also makes you a denier – a denier of reality and truth.

        BTW, IIRC, Gore was also the one who initiated the “flat earther” garbage.

      • If Al Gore did initiate the linkage between ‘Climate denial’ and Holocaust denial then it was stupid and reprehensible of him. I’d be interested in a quotation showing that. I have been to Auschwitz and other camps and would share their repugnance at any attempt to link the two. I also resent the implication that anyone using the word ‘denier’ in any context is doing so.

      • The key there, Phil, is “any context”. I could accept that. But in relation to “climate” it acquired a negative, insulting context the first time it was used.

        Reference – I wish. I know I saw a video clip some years ago and it’s probably still running around someplace. But have no clue where. I’m probably gonna go look for it later cause now I’m curious. But no guarantee that I’ll find it. It also showed up somewhere in the blogs, along with a lot of indignation. I was spending a LOT of time in the mountains and backcountry back then – and not much on the Internet. If I find it, I’ll be back here.

      • steven mosher

        Gore’s use of the metaphor goes back to 1989. In short, In 1989 Gore set up the analogy between the threat of Hilter and the threat of global warming.

        http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE1D6113EF93AA25750C0A96F948260

        All of the early uses of the term denier in the debate came with explicit references to the holocaust and suggestions that deniers should be tried in nuremburg type trials

      • Pedants’corner: Steven, the anglicised form is ‘Nuremberg’.

      • steven mosher

        crap if your gunna check my spelling you got a big task ahead of you

      • ;-) “nahh body takes ya seriously when ya write uh letter to thuh crew wiff such bad spelling an’ grammar, we’s all think ya iz nuttin’ but uh little kid.”

      • And didn’t use the word ‘denier’ once in that piece and didn’t refer to ‘holocaust denial’ but rather to the lack of preparedness prior to WWII compared with the lack of preparedness in 1989 for a number of pending environmental threats. That isn’t the same thing at all.

      • Indeed. At best Al Gore made a comparison that would be deemed ill-advised a couple of decades years later.

        There’s no linkage (implicit or otherwise) to holocaust denial here whatsoever.

      • Here is Gore calling skeptics deniers, while he tells us the Arctic ice cap is gone in the next ten years.
        The video is from dec. 2009:
        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/34350277#34350277

      • Steven Mosher

        That’s hardly the point. The point is this. Gore set up a frame, a metaphor. As you should know out everyday understanding of the world is largely metaphorical ( by analogy.. I’ll refer you to lakoff and Johnson Metaphors we Live by) Now of course in science we try to avoid metaphorical thought and expression because it is emotional and imprecise. So, Gore has set up a metaphor, a way of looking at Global warming that is tied directly to WWII. That’s the conceptual universe. Once that universe is set out, once that frame of looking at things is established, people extend the metaphor. They extend the analogy. (extended analogy is also called allegory) This is how we think. Naturally then the denier metaphor fits very nicely into the frame Gore created.
        Gore has tried other frames as well ‘the world has a fever’
        Other’s have tried to frame this debate as being akin to the tobacco issue. Some have tried to liken it to the debate over evolution ( that’s how I came up with the Piltdown Mann) The bottom line is that the framing and reframing is a very dangerous way to discuss these things, because you don’t control where a metaphor goes. That’s the beauty of figurative thought in say literature, but in discussing policy its very dangerous. You may say “denier” and deny that you mean anything figurative about the word. problem is, you don’t get to define the meaning and conotation of terms. And you don’t get to control what others do with your figurative language. You may think you are using the term literally but the literal/figurative distinction is not inherent in the sign.

      • Poor ole’ Al. The term “fish in a barrel” comes to mind.

        “Why are these dramatic changes taking place? Because the human population is surging. ”

        Spoken by the father of four…

      • I have no idea where this is going to show up with the nesting of comments, but regarding using “denier” in the sense of the Holocaust, this one’s pretty unequivical.

        http://www.deseretnews.com/article/660193920/Global-warming-denial-will-not-save-our-planet.html

        “Let’s just say that global-warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers…”

        Just make sure you buy those curly lightbulbs and everything will be OK.

    • “If someone denies the ability of CO2 in the atmosphere to act as a GHG and thereby heat the atmosphere he’s a denier, and he’s wrong!”

      How about someone that simply says the evidence doesn’t support CAGW?
      1) That there may well be warming from CO2, but the evidence doesn’t show this to be outside of natural variability.
      2) Further, that the historical evidence shows on average that in the past warming has been correlated with a positive effect on human civilization, while cooling has been connected with a detrimental effect.
      3) That the uncertainty levels do not justify the political solutions being put forward and are likely to cause the most harm to the earth’s poor.
      4) That there are much more cost effective ways to reduce CO2 by taking advantage of the fact that nature produces 97% of the CO2 released as compared to human 3%. It is almost always more cost effective to make small changes to a large number, than large changes to a small number.

      • geo050 those sort of questions are apparently rejected by the lords of climate.
        Their null hypothesis is that humanity is changing the climate.
        That is all.
        The rest is too inconvenient for them to consider.

  66. Ken Coffman | January 15, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Reply
    Of all the offensive things associated with Kevin “Travesty” Trenberth, I think the worst and most blatant is the Kiehl-Trenberth energy balance chart showing 333W/M^2 of “back radiation”. If the number was 3.33W, that would be more reasonable, don’t you think?

    No, not at all, where do you suppose the ~300W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation is coming from otherwise?

    • Phil, I can’t tell if you’re kidding or not. Stand outside and tell me–with the warm earth under your feet and the cool breeze on your skin–is most of the heat you feel is from downwelling, re-radiated IR? I don’t know what world you live in, but in my world, most of the heat I feel is from air…which was mainly heated by water and then convected to my body.
      So, where do I think 333W/m^2 of downward longwave radiation comes from? It doesn’t exist, so I guess it comes from the nowhere between your ears.

      I’ll repeat myself… some ideas are so dumb, only a climate scientist would believe them.

      • If you care to look here you’ll find measurements of the radiation that you deny exists, in this case at the North Pole: http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/np2008/gallery_np_weatherdata.html#weather

        Since I wasn’t near the NP at the time in question your hypothesized source can’t be correct, perhaps you were there?

      • I looked, but I didn’t see 333W/M^2 of downwelling IR radiation. I see insolation (mainly shortwave radiation) and air temperature. I am not denying there is some re-radiation from the thin air, but I’m saying it’s more like 3.3W than 333W and that it’s small, hard to measure and inconsequential. Everything radiates…the amount varies with temperature. What I’m saying is, 1,000,000PPM of N2, O2 and Argon atoms and molecules have a temperature, but CO2 and downwelling radiation have very little to do with that temperature.

        Want to move thermal energy around? Here are the mechanisms in order of effectiveness: Conduction, Convection and Radiation. Our average radiation depends on our average temperature. CO2 resonance has very little to do with our average temperature.

      • Then a visit to the opthalmologist is clearly warranted, there is a graph there clearly labelled IR which shows approximately 300W/m^2 from May through September.

        Your knowledge of heat transfer in the atmosphere is severely flawed too, you appear to have it backwards!

      • Ah, Phil, you’re right, it’s right there. I see what they’re reporting…300W/m^2 of supposed IR radiation from the atmosphere. With a surface temperature of 0C and a supposed 300W/m^2 atmospheric heater, I don’t feel the warmth and it’s a travesty that I don’t. I don’t care what you think is being measured, it has no physical reality…it can’t change an average temperature and it can’t change a peak temperature. It’s an accounting fudge factor. It’s really cold and has this magical heater built into it. Nice.

      • I see what they’re reporting…300W/m^2 of supposed IR radiation from the atmosphere.
        No you’re still in denial, it’s actual, measured, IR radiation (between 3.5μm and 50μm).

        I don’t care what you think is being measured, it has no physical reality…it can’t change an average temperature and it can’t change a peak temperature.

        More of the same, it’s real and if it wasn’t there the surface would be a damn sight colder, it certainly does change the temperature.

        It’s an accounting fudge factor.

        No it isn’t, it’s real electromagnetic radiation measured by an Eppley radiometer a.k.a. a pyrgeometer.

      • Well, this is sad…when I walk under a carport on a cloudy day and am instantly shielded from >300W/m^2 of downwelling IR photons I refuse to even notice how much colder I am. I’m willing to lie and say the temperature is pretty much the same when clearly it can’t be when I’m shielded from Trenberth’s amazing atmospheric heater…
        Silly me, thinking my skin temperature is mainly achieved from molecular collision and very little from radiation.

      • The usual advice when digging yourself into a hole is to stop digging. Every post you make reveals your lack of knowledge!

      • Really? This is a sincere question. Do you think my ignorance reveals a lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of thermodynamics or simply a refusal to buy into arcania as devised by climate scientists to make their models and energy balance charts do what they want?
        While I’m broadcasting my ignorance, what is the emissivity of air as measured by an instrument calibrated to a blackbody…then pointed at the sky?

        And John, I understand advection as a subset of convection, but I don’t see how it relates to quantifying downwelling radiation. I want to hold my hand out horizontally and understand how upwelling radiation affects my palm and how downwelling radiation affects the back of my hand.
        I readily admit, if the 300W atmospheric heater does not affect the temperature of the back of my hand (and the air around me), then I consider the effect nonphysical–I don’t care about it and I will discount any chart that shows it. And don’t tell me that radiation up is subtracted from radiation down for a lesser net effect.
        Thank you.

      • Ken, I think you’re confusing energy with heat. The heat you feel is from the energy absorbed by your body, which is the incoming energy minus the outgoing energy. And, like the surface and everything around you, you’re also emitting LW.

      • I confuse energy with heat? Interesting. I’m not the one pointing an IR heater up and pointing an IR heater down and making any kind of claim the radiation cancels out.

        Net energy flow: yes.
        Net heat transfer: yes.
        Radiation at Point A = Radiation from Point B added to radiation from Point C: Yes.
        Radiation at Point A = Radiation from Point B minus radiation from Point C: No.

      • Do you think my ignorance reveals a lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of thermodynamics

        No, actually a lack of knowledge of radiation physics. According to you the sky is at 88 K. Where on earth did you get such an incredibly low temperature for the sky? At that temperature it would be frozen rock solid. Are you claiming the sky is solid? That’s kind of like this guy who’s been claiming the Sun is made of iron.

      • A visit to SoD is in order, Mr. Coffman.

      • steven mosher

        Somebody should also do an intro course for SoD

        It would be cool if commenters were magically transported to the place they need to go..

        There’s an idea there..

        For every skeptical topic there should be a requiste blog.

        For C02: Sod
        For UHI
        For GCMs
        For Arctic Ice

        Thats something that Tobis could actually work on.
        hell, I’d help him

      • Indeed it is!
        Ken Coffman | January 16, 2011 at 9:54 am |
        Really? This is a sincere question. Do you think my ignorance reveals a lack of knowledge of the fundamentals of thermodynamics or simply a refusal to buy into arcania as devised by climate scientists to make their models and energy balance charts do what they want?

        Clearly a lack of knowledge of the fundamentals, for example you are unaware that the carport roof you referred to would also be radiating ~300W/m^2.

      • Phil…I agree with you completely. If I could believe the sky back-radiates >300W/m^2, then I would be foolish not to believe the roof of my carport emits that same IR intensity as the air above it.
        300W per square meter. In the Antarctic. As measured by Trenberth’s dowsing rod. Okay, you convinced me. Why not? Climate science. I love it. Outstanding. Good work, fellows.

      • If I could believe the sky back-radiates > 300W/m^2, then I would be foolish not to believe the roof of my carport emits that same IR intensity as the air above it. 300W per square meter.

        Well, of course, Ken. Your carport roof wouldn’t dream of radiating less than 900W/m2.

        Or do you think it is only radiating 200W W/m2?

        Why don’t you toss a coin and come up with a number for what your carport roof actually radiates?

        Amazing how many charlatans Judith’s Climate Etc. blog has managed to attract.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Just one word: advection.

      • steven mosher

        I’ll suggest you take your questions about downwelling IR over to Science of Doom or to JeffId. In either place you can get some information that will help you.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry to disagree, Ken. But your perceived skin temperature is greatly affected by your ability to sweat and the capability of the local atmosphere to absorb that sweat. Dry moving air does a lot better than still damp air, even at the same measured temperature. Hence the ‘wind chill’ factor in weather forecasts.

        So, sadly, ‘how you feel’ is not a sound experimental measure. Probably good enough for climatology – and better than most of it – though.

      • Okay, Mr. Alder, that’s fine…but I never have any trouble correlating what my skin feels to what a nearby thermometer reads. I can assure you, if there was a >3ooW/m^2 IR heat source…I would see the effect on my thermometer…particularly when there is another one pointing up…in fact, let’s talk about the infinite number of IR emitters since radiation is omnidirectional.

        If Trenberth’s DLR described in W/m^2 is not something I can measure on a thermometer, then I don’t care about it…it’s non-physical…an accounting trick to make dreamed-up energy balance equations work out.
        If you’re simply saying N2, O2 and Argon atoms and molecules have a temperature and they radiate omnidirectionally based on that temperature, then I’m with you 100%.

      • Ken, it’s clear you don’t actually own a thermometer. Go buy one for $26.76 at http://www.amazon.com/MicroTemp-MT-250-Digital-Infrared-Thermometer/dp/B001GT34E8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1295693788&sr=8-4 and measure it for yourself. Let us know when you’ve bought it so we can start paying attention to you again. Until then you’re speaking out of pure unadulterated ignorance.

        Moron. JC moderation

  67. David L. Hagen | January 14, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    Louise
    I you read his detailed articles, I think you might find Monckton much more conversant with the climate data and models than most give him credit for.

    One wonders why he so often gets it wrong in that case.

  68. Trenberth’s AMS talk is the best thing since Climategate that can happen to further the rationally skeptical view of the premise that AGW represents a potential threat.

    It definitely “can’t rank very high as a smart move in the politics of expertise”. I’d say it’s more a direct self-inflicted shot in the foot.

    Max

    • Pride is a fall, and Trenberth’s pride is great.
      If he delivers that speech as written he is going to rank up there with Custer for demonstrating how timing and arrogance can intersect to lead to surprising results.

  69. Anomaly:
    I suggest there can be a difference between “what is average” and “what is expected”. “Climate” is defined as a 30-year average. Various organizations treat average as “what is expected” and derive anomalies from that average.

    However, multidecadal oscillations can cover 50- to 60-year periods. Akasofu, 2010, fit the temperature record to recovery from the Little Ice Age +/- multidecadal oscillation. (This does not imply causation, but does hint at a different underlying cause.)

    As Bob Tisdale shows (below and elsewhere in Climate Observations),
    the oscillations in various regions / ocean basins do not march in step. Tisdale attributes ENSO change-overs to trade winds.

    How do we then define “Climate” as “what is expected”? I believe that 30-year average is clearly misleading from the standpoint of trends being outside the expected range of climate. Perhaps it should be more like a full cycle of 60 years. That might also cover a full cycle of solar maxima / minima.

    Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. 2010. “On the recovery from the Little Ice Age”. Natural Science 2, no. 11: 1211-1224. doi:10.4236/ns.2010.211149. http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=3217&JournalID=69
    Tisdale, Bob. 2010a. An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO – Part 1. Scientific Blog. Climate Observations. August 8. http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/08/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-1.html
    ———. 2010b. An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 2. Scientific Blog. Climate Observations. August 16. http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/08/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-2.html
    ———. 2010c. An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 3. Climate Observations. September 3. http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/09/introduction-to-enso-amo-and-pdo-part-3.html
    ———. 2010. Multidecadal Changes In Sea Surface Temperature. Climate Observations. November 17. http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2010/11/multidecadal-changes-in-sea-surface_17.html

    • Deciding that a 30 year average is climate is a new position, designed to help sell AGW.

      • Do you just make stuff up to force facts to fit into your worldview? Gunning hard for the “conspiracy theorist” label I see.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010BAMS2955.1

        “Basing climate normals on thirty-year averages has been standard practice for almost a century now, since the IMO first mandated member countries to provide climate normals for their respective countries. Interestingly, elementary statistics texts often state that a sample size of 30 is the “rule of thumb” threshold for which reliable estimates can be determined.”

      • Perhaps it is possible that the IMO’s 30-year average was set before there was much scientific interest or capability in multidecadal oscillations. In the case of the PDO, first the fish knew, then the fishermen found out what the fish knew, then the scientists found out what the fishermen knew about fish.

        And you are indeed correct that a sample size of 30 is a good rule of thumb — assuming a normal distribution. However, if one is sampling the amplitude of a sine wave with a 60-year period, one should come up with an average pretty close to zero. Were one to sample only the positive side of the wave (say a grand maximum), the average would not be zero.

        For consideration of what happens when one combines an oscillation with a trend, see page 1221 (physical 11) of

        Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. 2010. “On the recovery from the Little Ice Age”. Natural Science 2, no. 11: 1211-1224. doi:10.4236/ns.2010.211149. http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=3217&JournalID=69

        Incidental: See the section on “New 30-Year Base Period Implemented” for his take on temperature anomalies due to his change to a 30-year base period.

        Spencer, Ph.D., Roy W. 2011. Dec. 2010 UAH Global Temperature Update: +0.18 deg. C. Scientific. Global Warming (drroyspencer.com). January 3. http://www.drroyspencer.com/

      • I’ll admit to being somewhat confused by the response.

        Based on the evidence available, would you agree or disagree with Hunter’s statement:

        > Deciding that a 30 year average is climate is a new position, designed to help sell AGW.

      • I don’t see it.

        UAH only this year has a 30 year record. Most of the other indices randomly/cherry picked a 30 year baseline. Spencer used the only 30 year baseline he had as soon as he had it.

        Didn’t change the trend, just the centerline.

      • What are you talking about?

        Once again, given that the formal practice of using 30 year averages dates back a century or so according to the evidence I’ve supplied, is this a true or false statement from Hunter?

        > Deciding that a 30 year average is climate is a new position, designed to help sell AGW.

        Can you also clarify your usage of the phrase “cherry-picked” and provide evidence to support that assertion?

      • Dave H:”Based on the evidence available, would you agree or disagree with Hunter’s statement?”
        I disagree that a 30-year average is a new position. It is not new. Further, if we get a future cooling phase of a decade or so, I think it would not support AGW theory. The baseline for 30-year “climate” anomalies would have been set over a period dominated by a solar grand maximum. I also take issue with trend lines that start with 1850 (end of LIA), 1910 (cold period) and 1970 (cold period).

      • In simplest terms, 30 yrs covers the second half of a 60-yr. sine wave. Or the first half. Take your pick.

      • Brian: Right. But I neglected to add that while either the first or second 30-year average of a 60-year sine wave may indeed be an average, it probably says little about “what is expected” from the full cycle. :-)
        Step 1: First, Observe

  70. Temperature Records
    Perhaps Kevin Trenberth is drawing from a “short deck” of temperature records.
    Consider reading E. M. Smith’s analysis of GISStemp data and Fortran code.
    Archive for the ‘GISStemp Technical and Source Code’ Category
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/category/gisstemp-technical-and-source-code/

  71. I’m genuinely curious about this…and would love some help in understanding how the pyrgeometer is calibrated and how it relates to measuring downwelling IR from the atmosphere. I have a sense the measurement represents a tautological argument, but I’m just not sure.

    They calibrate the pyrgeometer with a blackbody mockup and SBL…I’m okay with that. It makes the instrument a SBL-meter, which correlates voltage to blackbody radiation. No problem. Then they point the thing into the air and the directional IR photons produce a voltage…which is translated via SBL to an energy density (W/m^2). Is this even a reasonable test of anything? I wonder if, in essence, the meter is actually calibrated to some theory and not really anything physical.
    Help me out!

      • That was one of the things I read as I Binged around. I’d love to understand this fully (which I don’t), but it looks to me like the pyrgeometer will work when focused on a black (or gray) body, but what is it measuring when it is pointing into thin air? Is it simply a fancy air temperature thermometer? Is it a Trenberth-effect detector similar to a dowsing rod?

        I’ll look around at SOD and see what I can find.

  72. I wonder how many denizens of Climate Etc. will be attending AMS…

    Very few, I suspect. Pity.

    • My wife spent too many years doing that. I’ve never felt the need.

      But I do wonder if Trenberth will actually give the speech as published?

    • How do you categorize or classify those at this site? I have found a pretty wide variety of opinions here.

      • Since you and I have had exchanges, do I fit that classification or some other?

      • lol!!
        Then why do you come here?

      • Funny, it seems you are just a run-of-the-mill trollish believer who never posts anything but snark, no matter how many citations are referenced, or how deep the flaws the skeptic points out.
        And of course when the snark gets stale, there is the reliance on vengeance plots and grand conspiracies to freshen things up.

      • I think it is a bit more even then you suggest, D64. Your ‘side’ is well enough represented and there are a good deal of neutral lurkers that occasionally pop their heads up. For me, the balance of the opinions is the attraction of the site, despite the occasional name calling. Perhaps it’s the principle of the site that offends you. I don’t suppose you see much value in engaging skeptics or whatever it is you like to call them.

    • 3 people from my research group will be attending AMS, so i will get a report. I will do a thread on the AMS meeting, but I am on travel that week at another meeting, so the thread will probably be the week after the AMS meeting

    • I’m planning to attend Trenberth’s diatribe…

  73. IMHO, this thread is just a way for Judith to enjoy attacks on Trenberth in a vicarious fashion. She can declaim anything, because she wasn’t the one who said it…

    Methinks there’s a bit of an underhanded vengeance theme going on here.

    • riiiiiiiight . . . it was much easier for me to pull this thread together than to go over to WUWT and read the comments

    • I have to disagree, D64. IMHO Dr. Curry’s intent with her post is to help us all understand that Dr. “Thermroid” Trenberth, a leading thermroid, is a “thermroid.”

      Hey you know, D64, when you just make things up and attribute them to others’ bad-faith, hidden motivations, then a whole world of good fun opens up to the thermroid propagandist, doesn’t it?

  74. So far, I’ve steered clear of the debate over the term “denier”, but I’ll offer my own perspective here. It’s based on trying to reconcile several different principles that I consider relevant.

    1. I believe it is legitimate to describe individuals in ways that accurately reflect their stated beliefs. Some individuals deny that the climate is changing significantly. These might accurately be described as “climate change deniers”. Others reject assertions that human activities play a prominent role. These can be called “AGW deniers”. The term “deniers”, without the accompanying qualifying terms, is ambiguous and open to misleading inferences.

    2. Climate skeptics who do not fit any of the above characterizations should not have those designations applied to them.

    3. No-one, in my view, has an unchallenged right to insist on being described by self-chosen euphemisms. This is the province of political advocacy, where the most devious and reprehensible movements often refer to themselves in a manner remote or even opposite to an objectively chosen description. Indeed, when it comes to nations that adopt the title, “The People’s Democratic Republic Of….”, I generally think of totalitarian regimes where the fate of the “people” is to obey silently under pain of torture or death.

    4. HOWEVER, even in light of the above, I believe it is a reasonable exercise of courtesy to afford groups considerable latitude in how they ask others to refer to them. In this particular case, “denier” is not the only term that could reasonably be used to characterize individuals who disagree with the climate science mainstream. Therefore, although I would reserve for myself the right to use any of the appellations in section 1 above when appropriate, I don’t think I will often find myself compelled to do that. When the disagreements are discussed in a civil and rational manner free of insults, I would prefer to accede to the request to use some other term. These include “skeptic” when accurate, or perhaps “contrarian”. If it’s clearly necessary, as part of the discussion, to call attention to denial, I will be careful to append the qualifying terms to the description, or better yet, avoid categorical descriptions of the individuals involved, and respond instead to their specific arguments.

    • Fred, I appreciate your openness and sensitivity on this matter. But for me, people like you were never the problem. People like you could call me a climate denier and I wouldn’t care a fig. It’s only when it’s said with contempt that it reminds me of its origins in ‘holocaust denier’. And I cannot tell you how much I hate that. I hate it more than I can possibly say.

      There’s only one thing worse I think and that is someone like Kevin Trenberth using it at AMS, in his position of power and influence there. That is an outrage.

      But you know what? The moment I first heard about this, on Watts Up With That three days, I also saw the significance of when that AMS conference ended. 27th January 2011. Ring any bells? 27th January is designated Holocaust Memorial Day in many countries, as it was the day in 1945 when Auschwitz was liberated. And this date reminds me that there is something immeasurably more important than the names we are called: the way we treat people different to us, at every level: thought, word and deed. That is the only issue here.

    • My current thinking is that anyone who supports civility and insists on calling opponents “deniers” is a “hypocrite” and should be called so in public discussions.

      It’s a reasonable argument and one that I deem correct, therefore it stands, no matter how much it may bother hypocrites. After all that is what they are.
      ***

      I see no difference between the above logic and all the special pleading I’ve read about using the label, “deniers.”

  75. Someone suggested “refuseniks” — I kind of like the historical context of it for the advocacy aspects. Feel free to call me that. As far as scepticism, I don’t believe anything 100% until I get my hands on data and equations and work with them myself. I call this having an open mind. Coherent arguments can be checked but handwaving can’t. An expert should not hand-wave.

  76. Reading over this lengthy thread, it is apparent that most of the CAGW advocates remain attached to the term “denier” and have boldly announced their intent to employ the term in the future. This, despite, the good-faith request of others on this thread not to use the term “denier” as it lacks civility and is a highly loaded term with “holocaust denier” resonances.

    I strongly suspect that much band-width and think-tank and focus-group billable hours have been expended on the term “denier” precisely because it has powerful propaganda value. That is, the term “denier” has an undeniable “punch” when it comes to contemptuously dismissing an opposing view and subtly suggesting that any individual holding such a view is somehow a crypto-Nazi. As long as the term retains such propaganda value, I’m quite sure the term “denier” has an enduring future.

    So despite all the well-intentioned appeals to civility in this post, about all that has been somewhat achieved is that the more generous of the CAGW advocates have offered their assurances that they will use the term “denier” in a nice way.

    Under those circumstances, the only effective way to counter scurrilous propaganda of the “denier” sort is to devise a counterpart term of equal Orwellian throw-weight. “Warmist” and “alarmist” don’t get it. My best effort, but still not there yet, is the term “thermroid”.

    I’ll play around with “thermroid” and see if it gets traction.

    • “Warmist” and “alarmist” don’t get it. My best effort, but still not there yet, is the term “thermroid”.

      “climate-gater” ?
      – to capture the lurking and lethal dishonesty that is the bedrock of mainstream alarmism.

      • Punksta,

        Please do not take offense, Punksta, but IMHO you are too much of a gentleman with too confirmed a commitment to rational discourse and good-faith, ethical dealings with others to be a mean-spirited propagandist. “Climate-gater”, again IMHO, appeals too much to the mind and intellect to be an effective counterpart to “denier.

        “Denier” is an example of gutter-propaganda at its most accomplished. “Denier”, with its “holocaust denier” association sublimally tags the person to whom the term is applied as a leper-like, repellent “other.” From a strictly objective point of view, the term “denier” is a propaganda masterpiece. Which undoubtedly accounts for the term’s appeal to “thermorrhoids” like the redoubtable Dr. Trenbreth.

        “Thermorrhoids” are “fundamentally” a pain and “thermorrhoid’s” close association with the medical science term “hemorrhoid” helps to to communicate, with a good subliminal “slime,” the thermorrhoids’ salient characteristic. That’s what recommends the term to me.

        Still, the term “thermorrhoid” is a conventional munition and packs nothing like the nuclear, mega-tonnage wallop of the term “denier.” So we must do better. “Thermorrhoid” is only a stepping-stone on a journey to a better counter-propaganda.

    • Upon reflection, I think the term “thermorrhoid” is better than thermroid.

      • I think an apology is in order.

      • Fat chance, Dave. I mean, I have nothing for which to apologize. On the other hand, it’s good to see that the term “thermorrhoid” is getting some traction. Appreciate the feedback, Dave.

      • mike,
        Part of me lies that ‘thermorroid’ very much, but I think it is too blatant to gain popular use.
        I have used ‘true believers’ for awhile, since the behavior of many who strongly support AGW catastrophism use language similar to ‘true believers’ of more traditional religions.

      • hunter,

        Really enjoyed the “inflammatory” comment you provided elsewhere? And you’re right, “thermorhhoid” isn’t gonna get it as a general term for the reasons you’ve given. “True believer” is a much better term. But let me propose a term that might be better still–“eugenicists.”

        The term “eugenicists” has many of the same subliminal associations as “denier.” But the term might be a little too blatant, as well. As the occasion presents itself, I’ll try working “eugenicist” into my comments and see if it clicks or not. In the meantime, I think “true believer” is the state-of-the-art.

        Thanks for the critique, hunter.

      • Judith,

        Just so you know, for what it’s worth it’s the fact that this series of comments has been allowed to stand that has finally convinced me that bothering to comment on this site was worthless.

        Regards.

      • I think you’ve made a good decision, Dave. This blog allows for free-wheeling open debate, and I can understand your discomfort with that format. Fortunately, there are a number of “eugenik” blogs that accomodate those with an intellectual need for censorship of unorthodox opinion and where terms like “denier” are not considered offensive agitprop, but rather ordinary, descriptive terms with no subliminal message at all.

      • Dave H,
        Please do not leave.
        You have just won the gold medal in mental gymnastics.
        But you have to be present to get the prize.

  77. I don’t understand why Dr. Trenberth doesn’t just use the term “climate heretic”.

    That term clarifies his position on our ever changing climate and eliminates all the nuances, baggage and mis-interpretations of other terms such as denier, skeptic, pagan, witch doctor, voodoo scientists, etc. while promoting the concept that the similarly enlightened, such as IPCC authors, have shaman like qualities.

    • Orkneygal,

      It is interesting that thermroids prefer sly innuendo and control-freak censorship of the public discussion of climate science issues (all in the name of “civility” and the need to eliminate “vitriolic language” to be sure). My best effort to understand the matter is that robust, good-faith, ethical intellectual debate of an issue is poison to propagandists. And thermoids are, at bottom, propagandists. Hence we get a style of discourse that is best described as “agitprop.”

    • Orkneygal,

      “Climate heretic” does invoke the concept of “climate dogma”.

      It is strange (and telling) that Michael D. Lemonick, of Climate Central, Inc., used this term to describe Judith Curry in the November edition of Scientific American.

      Max

  78. Rob,

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree the term is not optimal and a better counterpart term to “denier” is needed. So, at best, thermroid is a temporary expedient. Nevertheless, in the Orwellian brick-bat game, that has become such a part of climate science discussions, an effective counterpart to “denier” is needed. Suggestions? In the meantime, I’d like to play around with the term a bit more–bear with me, please.

    • If you want to be sarcastic, why not “Thermomaniac”

      But for an “if-the-cap-fits” term for egregious warmists I use Believer. Always with a capital C. Try it, to see what I mean.

    • Try “sceptic” – or more accurately “realist”.

      • Jim,

        I fully agree with your suggested terms in place of “denier.” However, the discussion topic (which I apparently did not make fully clear–my apologies) is the best term to employ as a counterpart to the term “denier” which is likely to remain a fixture of climate “science” propaganda. I’ve been flogging the term “thermorrhoid”, until a better appears. In that regard, when it comes to propaganda brawls, one is best off fighting fire with fire, I recommend. Of course, best of all–rational, fair-minded discourse, with all the cards on the table.

      • The problem with your offerings is that they are neologisms, not actual English.
        I suggest some variation on “credulous”.

      • Good point, BH. But with “denier”, the eugeniks latched onto the meanest word in the dictionary. So my notion is that we have to search beyond the dictionary to find a comparable retaliatory term. At least, I haven’t seen a dictionary term yet to match. Not to say, my efforts are the “last (new) word” in the matter.

      • mike –
        Somehow this doesn’t seem to be settled, so I’ll butt in again. One of the things I’ve used, although it can be awkward, is “True Believer in the Church of AGW”. I’ve yet to use that on this blog, even though there are a few who fit the description.

        For people like Hansen and Gore, it translates to “High Priest of the the Church of AGW”. Although I think Gore has become more of a “money changer (or tax collector?) of the Church of AGW”.

        Ok, enough sarc. Bad dog – no cookie. :-)

      • Brian, I have suggested “Believer”, with a capital B. It is very difficult for warmists to object to, unless they want to deny that they are believers:-). It offers silent, but palpable riposte to “denier”, and is subtle, in that it suggests a great deal more than it actually says. Has to have the big B though. Try pretending you are a climate catastrophist (I never said this was easy) who is in the habit of using “denier”, and see how “Believer” sits. It also goes with my policy of embracing, rather than abhorring, the denier term. It stops the dialogue there, unless they want to go on and tell my how wrong I am for being a denier, and then THEY have to tell me what I’m denying, and then….. Well, safe to say they start looking at their shoelaces and talking about the cricket. Arc up about it, and it’s ME that has to lay it out.

      • …I have suggested “Believer”, with a capital B…

        Or “Truther”?
        Carries notions of credinous dissembling.

      • not baaad… but a bit American, isn’t it? I have only a vague recollection of the Truthers, and I’m not sure it exports well.

        The thing, I think, is “don’t get mad, get even”. This calls for a passive-aggressive response, rather than the “retaliation” pursued by some. So I still favour Believer…. By disparaging “denial”, they implicitly admire “Belief”. But they want us to believe they are motivated by science, not belief. Bit of a dilemma. Tough, mate, shouldna called me a denier. Your choice of battlefield, not mine.

        How silly this all is….

      • “Sillifier” ;-)

  79. “Denier” suggests someone sticking his/her head in the sand and ignoring the data in order to justify a pre-conceived irrational notion (there can be no human influence on our climate so no action is required).

    “Alarmist” suggests someone sticking his/her head in the sand and ignoring the data in order to justify a pre-conceived irrational notion (human influence on climate will lead us to certain disaster unless immediate action is taken).

    I believe that both expressions have an emotional undertone and are derogatory. And both miss the point when applied to rational individuals, who simply see or interpret the data differently.

    Just my thoughts.

    Max

    • Manacker,

      Reasonable men and women may disagree. But IMHO the terms “alarmist” and “denier” are not comparable. While both terms are, indeed, derogatory and have no place in good-faith climate science debates and discussion, “alarmist” is a pea-shooter sort of word while “denier” with its holocaust-denier “hook” is a nuclear device.

      • > with its holocaust-denier “hook”

        A hook popularised and reiterated pretty much exclusively by those on the receiving end of the label, and not one inherent to the word itself.

        Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

      • Dave H,

        So, Dave, ol’man, you consider it a snappy put down to refer to me as a “lady.” Didn’t the example of poor greenfyre, last seen retreating from this blog amidst a hail of “sexist-schweinhund!” brick-bats, teach you anything? Duck and cover, Dave!

      • Can’t Shakespeare be (mis)-quoted now?

      • I know! As soon as I typed it I realised…

        My kingdom for an edit function.

      • DaveH,
        Are those denialists getting uppity?
        How dare those denialist scum question their betters?
        Perhaps you do not know the lady so well?

      • Mike: “While both terms are, indeed, derogatory and have no place in good-faith climate science debates and discussion, “alarmist” is a pea-shooter sort of word while “denier” with its holocaust-denier “hook” is a nuclear device.”

        I agree that people should strive not to be derogatory, ar at least be clever and witty when they are.

        But I disagree that “alarmist” is necessarily an innocuous term. Depending on the context, the word can be used to quite sinister effect. For example: “Sir, have you check the alarmist body count lately? People have starved.”

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/17/ncdcs-dr-tom-peterson-responds/#comments

        This is hardly pea-shooter stuff. Nor do climate sceptics limit themselves to a single epithet. The likes of “warmist”, “warmista” “AGW cultist”, “ecofascist”, “greenshirt” also get an airing, even on self-proclaimed “civil’ sceptical websites, as do the inevitable references to Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia.

        Within climate scepticism there is a view that AGW is some sort of hoax or scam concocted by evangelical scientists/environmentalists, who have doctored the evidence and lied, cheated and stolen to convince greedy politicians and rent-seeking corporations of a non-existent or exaggerated threat.

        In its most heightened form, this view sees AGW as a means for an unscrupulous cabal to seek global domination.

        It’s hard to know just how far this view has seeped into mainstream climate scepticism, but the themes of corrupt science and cheating and lying climate scientists are widely disseminated on sceptic blogs and other outlets.

        Climate scientists (and their supporters) should really try to be more polite, but I can understand why they can have a jaundiced view of their critics.

      • In its most heightened form, this view sees AGW as a means for an unscrupulous cabal to seek global domination.

        CAGW is undeniably a means to impose global controls, hence the involvement of the UN, a body devoted to promoting global controls. The only people who deny this are the ones seeking the global controls.

        …the themes of corrupt science and cheating and lying climate scientists are widely disseminated on sceptic blogs and other outlets.

        And so they should be, since it is true. Barely a peep has been heard from the climate establishment over the IPCC cadre’s sustained (and continuing) efforts to sabotage the science process.

        … I can understand why [climate scientists] can have a jaundiced view of their critics.

        This ‘jaundice’ is merely their anger at being found out.

      • Sorry Punksta, I have to disagree with you too. It’s not undeniable that CAGW is the means and the global controls the end rather than the other way around. Although I will grant that there is some evidence that some influential individuals have wanted to use it that way, that does not necessarily mean it’s the dominant driving force.

      • And what would you suggest as the standard of proof that it IS the “driving force”? The Precautionary Principle suggests that it might come too late to avert the purported goal, and hence it is wisest to assume the worst, and stomp ’em. Flat.

      • Brian, that’s actually an interesting question that’s hard to answer. A standard of proof for a conspiracy theory is hard to determine. I do think that often that standard is too low and that a few isolated examples are insufficient. In the climate change controversy, that applies to both sides. If a couple of vocal climate skeptics have received money from tobacco companies at some time in the past, it doesn’t prove that “merchants of doubt” are driving climate skepticism.

        More importantly, whatever your standard of proof, it shouldn’t be influenced by your threshold for action. The Precautionary Principle (which I’m not necessarily a big fan of) is about action in the face of uncertainty; it doesn’t justify lowering your standard of proof so you can claim that there is no uncertainty.

      • Dagfinn, You’re not denying though that CAGW is a means to justify global controls.

        Is it a coincidence then that those supportive of political action on climate, are largely those towards the totalitarian end of the political spectrum – those who prefer state control to a freer society, ie supportive of political inteference generally ?
        * most scientists vote Democrat, we heard in an earlier thread
        * most scientists are state employees, hence more statist in outlook

        Equally of course it’s no coincidence that those critical and suspicious of political action on climate, are towards the libertarian end of the spectrum, ie those who prefer a freer society wherever possible. (Not that this maps nicely to voting Republican though).

        How can there but be serious skewing, when virtually all climatology funding (ie state funding) goes to those with a totalitarian bias? Especially when we see they have been caught red-handed trying to skew the climate pitch.

      • Punksta:: “CAGW is undeniably a means to impose global controls, hence the involvement of the UN, a body devoted to promoting global controls.”

        What I said was “global domination” by an “unscrupulous cabal”. I was not referring to international agreements.

        “And so they should be, since it is true.”

        I guess the issue here is whether your views on the work of climate scientists are a form of “mainstream” or garden-variety climate scepticism or whether they form the basis for a view on global domination by an unscrupulous cabal.

        It’s this type of seepage of the more extreme viws into apparently mainstream discourse that muddies the ground between sceptics and deniers.

      • Brendan H: What I said was “global domination” by an “unscrupulous cabal”.
        Yes, a common enough strawman amoungst alarmists, designed to draw attention away from the systemic pro-political bias in politically funded science. There is nothing secret or cabal-like about it, simply political institutions openly pursuing their self-interest via their funding choices.

        It’s this type of seepage of the more extreme viws into apparently mainstream discourse that muddies the ground between sceptics and deniers.
        Only in the rhetoric eyes of extreme alarmists, and in the eyes of the politically ultra-naive.

      • P: Conspiracy theory …. Yes, a common enough strawman amoungst alarmists…

        BH: I’m not sure how an alarmist would argue

        It’s more what they don’t say than what they do say. They routinely ignore that those who select and fund scientists – the state, funding climatology in this case – thereby have an influence on its course. (Although the same people usually have no trouble seeing this in the funding of reseach into smoking by tobacco companies).

        So it’s not a conspiracy, it is just the open workings of the state as it funds what it percives is in its own best interest – which in this case is promoting belief in CAGW, since this provides the state with an iron-clad justification for expanding itself. More taxes, bureaucracies, etc. Politically-funded science in area such as this where their is huge vested political interest, is obviously prone to a pro-political bias.

        The claim of conspiracy is thus a strawman.

        Indeed, you would need a reverse, ‘Angelic’ conspiracy to prevent the state from acting in its own perceived best interest : scientists, selected for their suitability for the state’s purposes, as a group sticking their necks out to put objectivity above their paymaster’s (and their own) political ideals. This unlikely scenario, is what those who maintain that state-funded climatology is honest science, effectively imply.

        Lord Monckton was voluble over a perceived threat of global governance

        Do you doubt that those who favour global governance – ie the elimination of national choice and sovereignty – have latched onto CAGW in a big way? And centralisation is at a root a tactic to force dissenters into subnmission, ie to sabotage democracy. Hence its attraction to the “consensus”.
        And while I would be surprised if CAGWers were not involved in such manoeuvering, it is the systemic and open bias in state-funded climatology that is the real issue.

        But if the danger is not global domination by an unscrupulous cabal, but rather the usual sort of international agreements, it’s hard to see the reason for sceptic alarm.

        Yes there is – the use of centralisation to impose the will of some onto all, the sabotaging of democracy.

      • Punksta, “So it’s not a conspiracy” – although I prefer to avoid the “C” word if possible, I do think a conspiracy of silence has operated. Like I say, though, there’s plenty other meat on the warmist bone, without gnawing at the emotion-laden conspiracy bit.

      • Yes, the nothing-to-see-here-folks-just-move-along attitude to Climategate springs to mind as a corroding silence. Not sure if it’s a conspiracy though, just suits your typical CAGWer/Truther/Believer.

      • One of the things Monckton pointed/points to frequently is the insertion of language into treaties that cedes overriding authority to bodies, committees, and bureaucracies to be named later. These are to have the purview to alter national laws, levy surcharges and taxes, and generally screw around with the fundamental parameters of global trade. And as he repeatedly points out, the “accountability” channel is long, narrow, and feeble. Those subject to their rulings would have to virtually dismantle the UN to get at or control such bodies.

        Which may be in fact necessary.

      • Punksta: So it’s not a conspiracy, it is just the open workings of the state as it funds what it percives is in its own best interest…”

        I don’t see where AGW is unambiguously in the interests of the state, and certainly not any Western state that wishes to remain competitive with the newly industrialising states.

        Since AGW is global, any successful mitigation would ultimately need to involve international agreement, where the risk and rewards are uncertain, hence the reluctance of the current parties to do more than discuss the issue.

        The larger issue is that democratic political systems accommodate the interests of disparate groups, not just those of the state apparatus. These various interests act as a check and balance on state power. For example, there is as much interest group pressure to downsize the state as there is to enlarge it.

        “Do you doubt that those who favour global governance…have latched onto CAGW in a big way?”

        Many people latch on to many issues to push their own barrow. That doesn’t show that political motives are the cause of AGW science.

        Clearly, democracy needs to be safeguarded, and threats identified. But over-reading AGW as a threat to freedom muddies the waters of scientific discourse. In that type of atmosphere, doubts about, for example, the data, quickly default to suspicion over the motives of climate scientists.

        Where AGW is seen merely as some kind of Trojan horse for other agendas, rational discussion of the issues becomes difficult of not impossible.

      • It is not that AGW is or would be in the interests of a state, it is that the remedies all center on control of energy production and use, which is virtually everything that constitutes an economy. So playing up AGW and its energy-control remedies makes the state the master of all it surveys. Those who are statists like this idea very much, and hence push AGW for all it’s worth (and a great deal further, IMO). The temptation of all that power is what turned Gore into a full-blown slavering shyster for CAGW. And has every Leftist on the planet a card-carrying Believer.

        AGW, as presently formulated and promoted with the associated “mitigations”, is a deadly threat to democracy, and economic freedom of every kind.

      • Brian H: “So playing up AGW and its energy-control remedies makes the state the master of all it surveys.”

        Governments, including democratic ones, create overarching regulations as a matter of course, for example in finance. Regulations on energy use are no different. This sort of action is in no way sinister, nor is there any reason why energy should be exempt from oversight.

        “Those who are statists like this idea very much, and hence push AGW for all it’s worth (and a great deal further, IMO). The temptation of all that power is what turned Gore into a full-blown slavering shyster for CAGW. And has every Leftist on the planet a card-carrying Believer. ”

        “Every” leftist? And how do you know that?

        More broadly, I think these sorts of comments bear out my earlier contention that over-reading AGW as a threat to freedom muddies the waters of scientific discourse, focuses on motivation, and makes rational discussion impossible.

        It also leads to absurdities and second-guessing such as this one on the recent debunking by climate scientists of a claimed warming of 2.4C by 2020: “Which is why I think the whole debarcle could have been organised so that The Guardian and Gavin’s quite measured warming predictions could gain credibilty. The KGB would have been proud.”

      • There are important and indeed vital limitations on what governments can regulate. Energy use is way above their pay grade; it’s the very life blood of the world, and gubmints are neither competent nor benignly-enough motivated to be allowed anywhere near it.

        As for the Leftists generalization, it applies to every one of them I’ve read, talked to, heard about. Do you know of any exceptions? Total statist control is home plate for them; after the Climate Control long ball, they’ve been running hard for an inside-the-park home run.

        But it seems the outfielders have stronger arms than they thought, and they’re currently caught in a rundown between third and home. It looks bad for them (you). But they(you) may escape the tag and scamper home; it’s been known to happen.

        But we anti-statists are determined to prevent it.

      • Brenda H…my earlier contention that over-reading AGW as a threat to freedom muddies the waters of scientific discourse, focuses on motivation, and makes rational discussion impossible.

        The problem we actually face is quite the opposite.
        Under-reading CAGW as a threat to freedom, and glossing over motivation or pretending it is honest and that climate science is not corrupt/politicized, is what has muddied the waters.

      • Brian H: “There are important and indeed vital limitations on what governments can regulate. Energy use is way above their pay grade…”

        The reality is that governments do regulate energy use. You may be arguing that they shouldn’t do so, but that’s another issue.

        Your original claim was of AGW as a ploy to extend political control, to make the government “master of all it surveys”. Where I come from, the state has not just regulated energy production, but has owned energy plants. Yet, I wouldn’t regard my country as groaning under a regime where the government is “master of all it surveys”

        “As for the Leftists generalization, it applies to every one of them I’ve read, talked to, heard about.”

        Which is not quite the same as “every Leftist on the planet”.

        Do you know of any exceptions?

        The journalist Alexander Cockburn is a leftist and global warming sceptic.

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

      • Congrats! You found one!

        Now you know the true meaning of the phrase, “The exception that proves the rule.”

      • Brendan H: I don’t see where AGW is unambiguously in the interests of the state, and certainly not any Western state that wishes to remain competitive with the newly industrialising states.

        It’s plainly in their interests because it justifies them expanding their dominion over society – more taxes, bureaucacies, regulations. Much like the tobacco companies did, they are unequivocally funding an idea that boosts their own fortunes. Coincidence?

        As to concerns over competitiveness, that explains the big push for world governance, which is where the UN/IPCC fits in.

      • Punksta: “It’s plainly in their interests because it justifies them expanding their dominion over society…”

        There are also downsides. For example, few governments, even those not subject to an electoral cycle, want to risk alientaing the public through the possibility of price rises in basic goods.

        Rises in the prices of basic goods are often the catalyst for instability in authoritarian-style governments, and electoral defeat in democratic ones. So governments will tread very warily in these areas, as they have done so.

        “As to concerns over competitiveness, that explains the big push for world governance, which is where the UN/IPCC fits in.”

        Economic conpetition also exists at the regional level, where economic issues are often those of international rivalry writ small. And the phenomenon of regions jealously guarding their independence is also writ large in the claims of the state in relation to international rivals.

        One-worlders, whether for or against, give too little credence to the very strong tribalism that exists within human societies.

      • Brendan –

        The UK seems to have no compunction about raising the price of energy. And the present US Administration has declared its intent to make energy much more expensive. If energy is more expensive, then so is everything else. That doesn’t fit with your view that few governments, even those not subject to an electoral cycle, want to risk alientaing the public through the possibility of price rises in basic goods.

        I’ve seen few non-elected governments that care at all about what the “people” think. And many of the elected governments are very little better.

      • Jim, I think the truth is that elected politicians are cravenly sensitive to price rises they think their voters will object to, and just as ready to take advantage of revenue they believe the electorate has given them permission to take. I think we will find that elected politicians have persuaded themselves that they have obtained electoral permission for – for instance -the pious little paragraph in my electricity bill that explains why part of it isn’t going to buy electricity, but to develop “renewables”. And if it were true that the electorate had properly assessed the science they were served up to excuse this robbery, and still come to the conclusion that it was sound, they would indeed have received that permission.

        But one of the problems of the argument to authority, apart from its logical fallacy, is the very practical one that everybody ends up thinking that someone else has done the science, and done it well.

        Add to that the fact that CAGW is a lifestyle choice, not a considered position, for most electors, and it would be more accurate to say that, like movie-goers, they have “suspended their disbelief”. Now, a permission to tax, given while the elector was, effectively, at the movies, is only good until the movie finishes and he emerges, blinking, into the cold light of day.

        The catastrophists are already complaining that they are losing the permission to tax that they seemed to have a couple of years ago. I don’t think they’ve seen anything yet.

      • Jim Owen: “The UK seems to have no compunction about raising the price of energy…That doesn’t fit with your view…”

        To have “no compunction” is to lack concern, guilt or anxiety about an action.

        The issue we have been discussing involves government intentions and justifications for action. What I said was that few governments want to risk alienating the public through price rises.

        The fact that a governent may feel compelled to raise energy prices through whatever means does not mean they want to alienate the public. Governments will take action that is considerd necessary, but are careful to try and remain on-side with the public.

      • Think of “tribalism” as “Political Bio-Diversity”. Attempting to impose a monoculture on the politics of the planet is asking for the same disaster that strikes biological ones: the first effective attack on a weakness brings the whole mess down.

      • Brian H: “Think of “tribalism” as “Political Bio-Diversity”. Attempting to impose a monoculture on the politics of the planet is asking for the same disaster that strikes biological ones: the first effective attack on a weakness brings the whole mess down.”

        I’m not decrying tribalism, merely noting that it exists and is a protection for those who worry about imminent one-world government.

        I don’t see where moves towards new forms of energy generation would impose a monoculture; certainly no more mono than the existing ways of producing energy.

      • We need to disguish between an elective monoculture, and an imposed/political one.
        The former can experiment and adapt and become diverse in response to an attack or weakness.
        The whole purpose of the latter is to stamp out adaptation by diversity and local experiment.

      • Punsta: “We need to disguish between an elective monoculture, and an imposed/political one.”

        The aim of an energy regime should be to ensure that the potential for innovation and flexibility is built into policies and regulations. I don’t think that goal is impossible, and certainly not in democratic countries, where the government of the day is accountable.

      • The aim of an energy regime should be to ensure that the potential for innovation and flexibility is built into policies and regulations

        The whole purpose and effect of any government policies and regulations is precisely to stamp out flexibility, and coerce people into doing only what the government wants. For flexibility you need government to refrain from interfering.

      • Brian H: “Congrats! You found one!”

        And some more: http://climatedepot.com/a/7477/Leftwing-Env-Scientist-Bails-Out-Of-Global-Warming-Movement-Declares-it-a-corrupt-social-phenomenonstrictly-an-imaginary-problem-of-the-1st-World-middleclass

        I’m not sure how may exceptions are needed to disprove a rule, but that’s beside the point. The reality is that you don’t know, and cannot know, that every leftist on the planet is a believer in AGW.

      • Brendan, I followed some of your links, and found that one of your examples appears to disagree with you, if not that “every single” leftist is not necessarily a warmist, but that exceptions are few enough to prove the rule:

        “After publicly speaking to reject man-made warming fears, Cockburn wrote on February 22, 2008, “I have been treated as if I have committed intellectual blasphemy.” Cockburn harshly critiqued the political left for embracing climate alarmism. “This turn to climate catastrophism is tied into the decline of the left, and the decline of the left’s optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political program. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice,” Cockburn wrote. ”

        And your man Rancourt looks unlikely to dispute the idea that leftists tend to be uncritical warmists:

        “Rancourt’s dissent on man-made climate fears has not set well with many of his fellow green friends. “When I tell environmental activists that global warming is not something to be concerned about, they attack me — they shun me, they do not allow me to have my materials published in their magazines,” ”

        And:

        ““They look for comfortable lies that they can settle into and alleviate the guilt they feel about being on privileged end of the planet — a kind of survivors guilt. A lot of these environmentalists are guilt laden individuals who need to alleviate the guilt without taking risks,” he said. “They are weekend activists…looking for lies to hitch onto.””

        These guys have impeccable leftist credentials – ought we not to take them at their word when they speak of the Left?

      • Good catches, Tom.

        Perhaps I should modify my generalization thusly:
        “Virtually every Leftist on the planet is a supporter of CAGW mitigation.” The science, and belief or lack of in same, is a secondary come-along.

        ;)

      • Brian H I only became seriously worried about climate when it seemed the CAGW nonsense had TRANSCENDED the normal divide that separates left and right when it comes to the politics of propitiation – trying to get government to impose penances on all society that expiate your guilt for occupying the fortunate end of the bell-curve of prosperity. This USED to be the province almost exclusively of the prosperous, bourgeois left, and its more absurd inanities used to get drained out, like pus from an abcess, every time the electoral cycle turned. But this one seems to have overcome that natural check, and that has me really worried. The last pseudoscientific craze to achieve the same sort of bipartisan acceptance as CAGW was eugenics, and that didn’t end well at all.

        Elsewhere with Punksta we’ve been toying with the term “noble-cause totalitarianism”, which has resonance here.

        I think I quote Voltaire correctly
        “He who can make me believe an absurdity can make me commit an atrocity.”

      • I b’lieve it was FDR (confessing?) who said, “In politics, if it happened it wasn’t an accident.”) or SLT.

        That “transcending” has been a long-term project and goal.
        Here’s a vigorous response to that:
        http://www.tothepointnews.com/content/view/4368/44/
        8-O

      • Tom P: “Brendan, I followed some of your links, and found that one of your examples appears to disagree with you, if not that “every single” leftist is not necessarily a warmist, but that exceptions are few enough to prove the rule:”

        What you appear to be arguing is a variant on “all the leftists I know are warmists”. I don’t have a problem with that, nor a claim that the majority of “leftists” — whatever the composition of that category — support global warming mitigation.

        My original comment/question was directed at this assertion: “And has every Leftist on the planet a card-carrying Believer.”

        What I wanted to know was how the writer could know that this absolute statement was true. And of course he can’t. Is this a pedantic point? Yes. But my original comment was a throwaway.

        “These guys have impeccable leftist credentials – ought we not to take them at their word when they speak of the Left?”

        Are you arguing that truth-telling is an “impeccable leftist credential”? I won’t attempt to disabuse you of that, but I take people at their word when they have earned my trust. I don’t know enough about the people referred to in my link to make that judgement.

        On the other hand, I don’t know enough about them to disbelieve them either, so if they say they have received stick from their leftist mates, I’m happy to accept that.

      • That Alexander Cockburn quote bears emphasising:

        “… left’s optimistic vision of altering the economic nature of things through a political program. The left has bought into environmental catastrophism because it thinks that if it can persuade the world that there is indeed a catastrophe, then somehow the emergency response will lead to positive developments in terms of social and environmental justice”.

        The “emergency response” and “social justice” being increased political controls, of course.
        ie, CAGW is manna from heaven for the statists, and hence the state. (Self-produced manna actaully, since the state is the funder of the very CAGW thinking that gives itself so much more scope).

      • Brendan you misunderstand me. Since I know personally leftists who are not warmists, I have every reason to contradict “all the leftists I know are warmists”, not to assert it.

        What I am invoking is “ipso dixit” – why should I trouble to argue the matter when 2 copper-bottomed, first-rate, three-decker leftists clearly think the done thing if you are a lefty is to be a warmie, and offer their personal experiences of apostasy as evidence. Why do you think they are wrong?

        And all the leftists I know who aren’t warmies have much the same experience as your two examples.

      • TomFP: “…three-decker leftists clearly think the done thing if you are a lefty is to be a warmie, and offer their personal experiences of apostasy as evidence. Why do you think they are wrong?”

        I don’t think they are wrong in claiming that most leftists are warmers. As I said, I don’t have a problem with that claim.

        I was making the point that when our opponents confirm our beliefs, we place a high degree of confidence in that confirmation, probably more than we do when our supporters confirm our beliefs.

      • The reality is that you don’t know, and cannot know, that every leftist on the planet is a believer in AGW.

        Yes. While leftism is fundamentally hostile to the concept of a free society, there are one or two on the left who think the that a better use of their taxing and controls over society, is to feed to the poor.
        This is an argument made by eg Bjorn Lomborg. See also the UK online magazine Spiked

      • > CAGW is plainly in states’ interests because it justifies them expanding their dominion over society…
        > governments do not want to risk alientaing the public through the possibility of price rises …

        Hence all the official government catastrophist ‘science’ and propaganda to underpin the necessity of them helping themselves to more control over us.

        >As to concerns over competitiveness, that explains the big push for world governance, which is where the UN/IPCC fits in.
        > Economic conpetition also exists at the regional level..

        This has no bearing here. To the extent regions come under a central unit, they must abide by any central groundrules. And there is a chain effect, so if world government imposes groundrules on national governments, those same groundrules get imposed down on regions, cities, etc.

      • Punksta: “[Regional economic competition] has no bearing here. To the extent regions come under a central unit, they must abide by any central groundrules.”

        For sure. But centralised financial controls, for example, have not destroyed regional competitiveness within economies.

      • ..centralised financial controls, for example, have not destroyed regional competitiveness within economies.

        Central controls by their nature override local ones, thereby – by design – wiping out competition between formerly autonomous local control systems. To centralise is to eliminate competition.

      • …the sole underlying purpose of political centralizing being to stifle political competition between (formerly) autonomous political units.
        Alarmist states want all states to be forced to be as totalitarian as the alarmist ones want to be, so that less totalitarian ones can’t outshine and outcompete them.

      • Punksta – since we already have “noble-cause corruption”, I suggest “noble-cause totalitarianism” to describe this particular urge to coerce. It seems to exist exclusively in people who for whom anti-fascism is an article of faith.

      • Yes. Or perhaps “noble-cause fascism” ?

      • Yep, a la Tom Friedman. “What the world needs is an enlightened benevolent dictator — such as me!”

        The child’s game of “What would you do if you were King of the World?”.

        The absolute corruption of absolute power is evidently not needed for these birds, though. They’re mostly there already.

      • I think we can agree that “noble-cause” is a usefully disparaging qualifier for a variety of objectionable -isms, many of which are to be found in warmism.
        :-)

      • – the ideological home of the Greenshirts.

      • Led by the notorious Sir Oswald Meusli, aka Greg Craven:-)

      • Punksta: “Yes, a common enough strawman amoungst alarmists…”

        I’m not sure how an alarmist would argue, but pre-Copenhagen, Lord Monckton was voluble over a perceived threat of global governance arising from that meeting. He wasn’t talking about standard international agreements, but rather, covert means to assert global dominance. So not a strawman from where I sit.

        But if the danger is not global domination by an unscrupulous cabal, but rather the usual sort of international agreements, it’s hard to see the reason for sceptic alarm.

        “…systemic pro-political bias in politically funded science.”

        I’m not sure what this means. Climate science investigates the climate, which as far as I am aware has no pro or anti-political bias.

      • Brendan, I can understand that, too, but mostly because many climate scientists tend to believe rumors, straw men and unwarranted generalizations about climate skeptics rather than checking who’s actually saying what. And you seem to be contributing to that in vague sort of way, by making insinuations about “mainstream climate skepticism” instead of discussing specifics. The echo chamber is the problem, on both sides to some extent. The problem is, they lose credibility in public because the “jaundiced view” does not convince anyone on the outside.

      • Daggfinn: “And you seem to be contributing to that in vague sort of way, by making insinuations about “mainstream climate skepticism” instead of discussing specifics.”

        I was wondering how general are the themes of corrupt science and cheating and lying climate scientists within mainstream climate scepticism, i.e not the conspiratorial variety.

        The poster Punksta seems to align with these views. However, there is a difference between a “soft” view that climate scientists have been playing fast and loose and the UN would be the vehicle for international agreements, and a “hard” view that AGW is all about global domination by an unscrupulous cabal.

        In the latter view, the doctoring of evidence is central to the attempt at global domination, since the aim is to scare or guilt-trip people into acquiescence. This view is what I would term denial, since it’s not based on science, but on a particular worldview.

        The question then is: how widespread is this view? I would say most climate sceptics take the “soft” view, but their rhetoric can sometimes make it appear that they hold the “hard” view.

      • Brendan H,
        Any community is going to have a spectrum of people whose distinct motives and roles coincide enough to make them unify enough to be recognized as a group.
        Think of Wall St. as a community. A relatively small community that was held in high regard and given extraordinary amounts of money and power. Run by extremely well educated people. But a very human community none the less.
        While a significant majority of decision makers on Wall St. used flawed risk models, few were corrupt in their use: they were merely wrong. But they still destroyed their firms. And their models were strikingly similar in design and assumptions.
        While most money managers are not crooks, there were notable exceptions, like Bernie Madoff, for instance. But Madoff was ignored for years because even the regulators preferred to ignore complaints about him rather than consider the idea that maybe he was bluffing.
        Climate science is a community receiving extraordinary amounts of money and is very powerful politically. I would submit that human nature is not excluded from this community anymore than from Wall St.

      • Hunter: “Climate science is a community receiving extraordinary amounts of money and is very powerful politically.”

        I can’t quantify how much political power climate science wields. If mitigation policies are a measure of power, climate science isn’t making a great deal of traction. As for money, it goes without saying that there should be a careful accounting of money received, especially public money.

        “I would submit that human nature is not excluded from this community anymore than from Wall St.”

        I can’t comment on any similarities between Wall St and climate models, and I’m not sure that climate science is quite as intimate a community as Wall St.

        If you’re arguing that human beings are fallible and subject to temptation, the obvious answer is yes. And yet we still allow human beings access to power and money, because there is no other option.

    • max,
      If ‘skeptic’ is the correct term for the vast majority of those who question the scope of risk and danger implied in AGW, what is a name that is appropriate and non-demeaning for those who believe a catastrophe caused by CO2 is underway or imminent?
      I have used ‘true believer’, but if that is too prejudicial, I would be open for alternative, but accurate, name.
      Do you have any ideas?

      • Hunter

        Before we give them a “name”, let’s see if we can describe the two groups.

        I am referring to the two groups who have opposing, rational views on the premise that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the major cause for past warming and that it represents a serious potential threat for humanity and our environment.

        I would exclude those who are motivated more by emotions (fear, greed, etc), ideology or dogma than by reason: doomsday hysterics, political or environmental activists, religious extremists, opportunists on both sides, etc., but limit it only to the two opposing rational camps.

        One group rationally supports the above premise of “dangerous AGW”, while the other is rationally skeptical of this premise (in the scientific definition of rational – or scientific – skepticism).

        Without getting into derogatory “name calling”, I would refer to the two groups as: “rational supporters” and “rational skeptics” of the “dangerous AGW” premise (or simply “DAGW supporters” and “DAGW skeptics”).

        “Lukewarmers” would fall into the latter camp, for while they accept the GH theory and the fact that humans emit GHGs and therefore contribute to their increase in the atmosphere, they are rationally skeptical of the premise that this has been the major cause for past warming or that it represents a serious potential threat for humanity and our environment.

        This camp appears to be growing, based on Dr. Curry’s earlier remarks regarding the many new “lukewarmer” blogsites. And, as she suggests, this group may be instrumental in defusing the debate by moving it away from an emotional or dogmatic “black and white” discussion to one that is more rationally based on the scientific method and approach.

        Sorry for the long post, but it’s not a simple question.

        Max

      • manacker,
        Thank you for your interesting take on this.
        I could go with it.
        I wonder if our friend CGL24 could go with it as well?

  80. I’m surprised the “denier” discussion continues.

    Climate change advocates: What do you get out of calling some of your opponents “deniers”?

    * It’s not a substantive argument for your position.
    * Whether you agree or not, you understand that many people consider it a nasty cheap shot exploiting the Holocaust.
    * There are other possible words that express lack of acceptance, yet you insist on “denier.”
    * Even skeptics who are not “deniers” by your standards say they find it insulting.
    * It reeks of political name-calling like slurring people as “racists” because they disagree with Obama.
    * It undercuts the impression of dispassionate, intellectual fairness that otherwise ought to be a strength for those arguing from science.

    So what use is the “denier” label?

    Pragmatically speaking, the “denier” label may strengthen your base but it also firms up your opposition and I suspect it does you little good with independents, though I might be wrong.

  81. Oh please! The term denier is used in many contexts; it’s not a term reserved for those who deny the Holocaust or AGW. Webster’s defines denier as “One who denies.” It is frequently used in the evolution-creationism discussions – which often sound eerily like some of the climate change discussions.

    What really came through in Trenberth’s article (and his much-criticized, frequent use of the term denier) was sheer frustration and aggravation. This focused and relentless nitpicking of of climate scientists’ work via blogs and FOI requests is a new development; scientists working in new and controversial fields have never before had to deal with such a constant and continuous barrage of criticism, accusations of fraud, constant misinterpretation and, threats.
    What makes this seem especially appalling is that most of it is coming from outside the scientific community, from people who do not have the deep background and context to be able to evaluate the data. Then come the complaints that they are not taken seriously, and are kept out of the journals by conspiring scientists. It all sounds strangely like some of the creationist rants about the evil “Darwinists”. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously should go get some credentials. Lawyers need law degrees, engineers need engineering degrees and professional certification, and so on. Research science is no different.

    • Oh please! The term denier is used in many contexts; it’s not a term reserved for those who deny the Holocaust or AGW

      CGL24: Assuming that you were responding in part to my post, I wrote:

      * Whether you agree or not, you understand that many people consider it a nasty cheap shot exploiting the Holocaust.

      That’s simply true. The point I intended was that I don’t think the use of the “denier” label works for your side even in your side’s terms.

      The fact remains — and climate change advocates repeatedly miss — that if you want to make an impact with the vast majority of us who do not possess doctorates in climate science, you will have to persuade us.

      Just possibly, insulting us with labels like “denier”, “creationist”, “nutter” and so forth, might not be an effective strategy for persuasion.

      It might be worth a shot.

    • scientists working in new and controversial fields have never before had to deal with such a constant and continuous barrage of criticism, accusations of fraud, constant misinterpretation and, threats.

      That’s because never before have scientists been discovered committing fraud, misrepresenting, and generally sabotaging the science process for some ulterior motive. And one doesn’t need an advanced degree in climatology to detect this.

    • Your text needs a bit of editing.

      How about “scientists working in new and controversial fields have never before persistently refused to reveal their workings upon simple request, with the result that they ended up having to deal with a constant, continuous, and entirely justified barrage of criticism, accusations of fraud, constant misinterpretation and, threats….”

      There, as they say, all fixed!

    • randomengineer

      This focused and relentless nitpicking of of climate scientists’ work via blogs and FOI requests is a new development

      Scientists who take the public’s money for the purpose of conducting science used to create policy intended to relieve the public of even more money are obligated to put what they do where the public can access and examine it. The public paid for it (and probably twice.) It belongs to the public. The need for FOIA requests in the first place is insulting. This negates your silly complaint.

      As I see it scientists who aren’t willing to play by those rules are welcome to find employment that suits what you seem to claim as being their delicate sensibilities.

      Note that in Dr Curry’s testimony before congress openness was discussed as a ‘must’ to repair the current situation. This will happen. There is an outcry for just this. And yet despite your being able to post here, the magic of the intertubes seems to have not connected for you.

      What makes this seem especially appalling is that most of it is coming from outside the scientific community, from people who do not have the deep background and context to be able to evaluate the data.

      ‘The rubes are all dummies’ variant #45. We’ve never heard this amazingly flaccid argument before. Except, perhaps, the other 44 variations. Hint: read the denizens thread, genius. Most of the posters here have advanced degrees in various sciences and engineering. They’re probably capable of understanding the arithmetic involved. More capable than you, even.

      • “This [openness] will happen” in the U.S., if and probably only if, conservatives keep control of the House, and gain control of the Senate and Presidency in 2012. If that happens, expect legislation to require a commitment to archive all data and code as a condition of receiving any government funds for research.

        Not sure of the likelihood of being able to force the issue outside the US though. Every other western government seems to be committed to the CAGW agenda.

      • Besides Reality and Truth and verification and all that, the force that may bring said governments to their senses is Economics. There are signs in many places (Spain, Germany, etc.) that the money hemorrhage is starting to really hurt.

        Because, face it they must: renewables subsidies are the tip of the iceberg. The self-dismantling of their underlying economies is insupportable, and will be stopped by those it threatens to starve.

      • Yet the leadership of the USSR and China under Mao, got away with just that, and more than once.

      • Only after massive slaughter, and continuing as long as the guns were pointed and smoking. Further, both were geographically very large and rather isolated. And neither population had much experience with anything other than privation and successive tyrannies.

        Those conditions don’t hold for the West, and not all Tom Friedman’s wishing will make them do so.

      • Repair required.
        “More capable than you, certainly.”
        “More capable than you, especially.”
        “More capable than you, obviously.”

        Take your fix-pick!

        ;)

        (Yes, I know you were being ironic/sarcastic. I just suspected that you were being too subtle for your intended audience member.)

    • CGL24,
      I think what comes through in Trenberth’s article/speech is the hubris of someone who has made a lot of money off a non-falsifiable hypothesis.
      And the arrogance of someone who feels entitled to stand apart from mere mortals and their pesky ethical, accountability and responsibility standards, and to judge when they apply to him.
      Rationalizing this away as you do only makes the problem worse.

    • Your rationalization of the use of ‘denier’ sounds just like the rationalizations I heard in my youth regarding the term ‘ni**er’.
      If using it makes you feel superior and gives you the thrill of being able to tell yourself the skeptics are really subhuman and unworthy, then have at it.
      And I hope Trenberth and the other big AGW promoters stick to it as well. Sticking to it only shows the content-free nature of your position in clearer terms for more and more people.
      After all, nothing underscores a strong argument better than demeaning your critics and removing their integrity and humanity.

    • What really came through in Trenberth’s article (and his much-criticized, frequent use of the term denier) was sheer frustration and aggravation.

      There really isn’t any need to nitpick climate science.

      IPCC AR4 emissions scenario A1F1 assumes that coal is an unconstrained resource.
      Whether or not a resource is constrained or unconstrained is determined by the laws of economics not the laws of geology.
      An unconstrained resource will exhibit little or no price change as a result of demand changes.

      The price of steam coal in Asia has gone from $27/tonne in 2002 to $120/tonne today. The hypothesis that coal is an unconstrained resource is falsified and so is every projection based on that hypothesis.

      To be fair to various Climate Scientist,s prior to 2002 the hypothesis that coal was an unconstrained resource appeared to be true. In the US Midwest it still appears to be true, however USGS resurveyed the Powder River basin in 2008. The remaining ‘economically recoverable’ coal in the Powder River basin is now estimated to be 10 billion tones, rather then the previously thought 200 billion tons. At current extraction rates the illusion that coal is an unconstrained resource in the US Midwest will end. We will have burned all the ‘cheap stuff’. There is a reason that various midwestern utilities that still have access to ‘cheap coal’ are applying to the NRC for nuclear site permits. The supply of ‘cheap coal’ is not unlimited.

      It’s must be truly frustrating to spend ones entire career determining what will happen if the world burns 20 or 30 billion tonnes of coal per year when the economic evidence points to the world never burning more then 7 or 8 billion tonnes per year.

    • Although it is clear that one can also theoretically “deny” a “falsehood”, the term “denier” has the hidden implication that a “fact” is being “denied”.

      “Holocaust denier” is a case in point.

      Rarely does one read about a “cold fusion denier”, a “phlogiston denier” or an “extraterrestrial alien invasion denier”.

      It is not a good term to use to describe those who are rationally skeptical of the (not yet scientifically validated) premise that AGW, caused principally by the human emissions of CO2, has been the primary cause of past warming and that it represents a serious potential threat for humanity and the environment.

      I believe “skeptic” is a better term.

      (I also do not believe that “alarmist” is the best term for those who rationally support the above premise; a better term might be the nore neutral “supporter”.)

      Max

      • Although it is clear that one can also theoretically “deny” a “falsehood”, the term “denier” has the hidden implication that a “fact” is being “denied”.

        Max: Good point. “Denier” imo is as a rather clever bit of “framing” to put skeptics at a disadvantage before debate even begins.

        I assume that’s why the climate change side bids so strongly to keep it in use. I was struck in these recent Climate Etc. discussions at how tenacious some were to defend and use the term, “denier.”

        I have been referring to the other side s as “climate change advocates” and so far no one has complained, though it’s not ideal since no one advocates climate change per se, but the theory of AGW.

      • Perhaps ‘Believer’ with the capital ‘B’ is the best really, the most faithful and measured counterpart to ‘denier’.

      • New suggestion: “Enforcer”, short for “Climate Fix Enforcer”.

        >:-)

        ;)

      • huxley

        Agreed: “Advocate” (in its classical sense) is a good term.

        It has recently taken on a secondary meaning of “activist”, however (especially in American parlance, where one talks of “animal rights advocates”, etc. )

        While some DAGW advocates are also activists, some are not.

        It appears to me that “supporter” is more “neutral” – but maybe that’s only my perception.

        At any rate, we agree that “denier” is a “loaded” expression, which should be avoided.

        Max

      • Max: I take your point on “supporter” except that it always brings to my mind a particular association from high school gym class.

    • Let me attempt that rashest of all ventures–a grand synthesis.

      If an AGW advocate uses the term “denier” or some similar example of gutter-agitprop to advance their position then:

      -If the individual is otherwise nice about matters, then the cheap-shot artist should be termed a “true believer” or “Believer” (with a capital “B”).

      -If the individual is not so nice, but a more or less reasonable cheap-shot artist, then the term “warmist” or “alarmist” applies.

      -If the individual is a at once a cheap-shot artist and a creep and a jerk, as well, or pretends that the term “denier” has no hint of “holocaust denier” attached to it then that crumb-bum should be branded with the term “greenshirt” or “eugenik.”

      -Finally, if the individual is a true horse’s ass then the term “thermorrhoid” should be the appropriate term of reference.

      Hey, guys, it’s my best shot. What can I say?

  82. Regarding our “troll” that has posted under the name Truth, the Beginning, the End. I will try to check the blog during the night to delete such posts more quickly (although this person is rather clever about avoiding being filtered).

    With regards to Trenberth’s AMS statement. To anyone who has read my tens of thousands of words over the last year on climategate, uncertainty, engaging with skeptics, etc.: what I have to say on these issues is vastly different than what Trenberth has to say. I happen to think my statements better serve the science and the public debate on the science than do Trenberth’s comments. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    Scientists who engage in the public sphere will become more or less relevant based upon their public statements. We are unfortunately seeing an extreme position on the “denier” issue taken by some prominent scientists. Others (like Scott Mandia of the Climate Rapid Response Team) are being more measured in their public statements, and I suspect their influence will grow because of this.

    I do not condemn individuals; I will condemn their behavior if they are convicted of a crime. I have my own opinion about what is wise and unwise behavior by individual climate scientists, and I have written about this numerous times. I am also in favor of putting forth a diversity of view points for people to evaluate.

    • Dr. Curry,
      Excellent points on both topics.

    • During the height of the Iraq War I remember a troll who commented under “Truth” in a rather unrestrained fashion against that war and had to be banned.

      We are unfortunately seeing an extreme position on the “denier” issue taken by some prominent scientists. Others (like Scott Mandia of the Climate Rapid Response Team) are being more measured in their public statements, and I suspect their influence will grow because of this.

      I hope so. Hot rhetoric can work in the short term for hot political issues, such as we saw employed against the Vietnam and Iraq wars, but climate change is a much longer term issue. It’s hard to keep that emotional intensity going for decades.

      It’s also incongruous to see scientists employing hot rhetoric. It undercuts their stance of cool, objective authority. It suggests that they lack the solid scientific arguments to otherwise make their points. It makes them sound like campus radicals getting in your face and that’s a huge demotion.

    • Dr. Curry

      I would fully agree with you that your statements “better serve the science and the public debate on the science than do Trenberth’s comments”, simply because they are reasoned and not dogmatic.

      Max

    • Judith;
      I have a blocking suggestion I’d rather not post publicly. I thought I’d seen an email addy for you somewhere. Is it available? If not, access mine and email me directly.

  83. It used to be that people who had black skin were called n***** . Generally, polite and well meaning non-whites refrain from using that term any more as we understand it to be perjorative, offensive and demeaning. If you yourself are black and a comic or rap artist, you are afforded poetic licence to use the term, but for the rest of us, it is a recognized no-go word, unless we wish to confirm our own ignorance.
    Having been variously accused at times of being both a denier and a fascist because of my non-belief in AGW dogma (a certain irony exists here), I find both terms to be both inaccurate and offensive. I would further suggest that as many non-alarmist, engaged and otherwise contrarian, skeptics have indicated in this blog and have sought to explain at length, they neither find the term “denier” to be welcomed, nor plauditary. Thus, whatever accuracy you wish to ascribe to the term, it reamins an insult, designed to both offend and incite intolerance. I would suggest then that all cease and desist from using the term, unless they are Rap artists or professional comics (poetic licence provision) or otherwise wish to confim their ignorance.

    • Denialism according to Wikipedia:

      Denialism is choosing to deny reality as a way to avoid an uncomfortable truth:[1] “[it] is the refusal to accept an empirically verifiable reality. It is an essentially irrational action that withholds validation of a historical experience or event”.[2] In science, denialism has been defined as the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial.[3]

      Denialism is used in connection to a number of controversial issues, such as the connection between HIV and AIDS, tobacco and cancer, and global warming. There are other examples where “denialism” and “denier” have been used outside of the Holocaust. The term was used prior to Holocaust Denialism became an area of discussion.

      Here’s an excerpt from an article on denialism, Reading between the Lines – How the growth of denialism undermines public health:

      Characteristics of denialism

      * Identification of conspiracies: Denialists argue that scientific consensus arises not as a result of independent researchers converging on the same view but instead because researchers have engaged in a complex and secretive conspiracy. They are depicted as using the peer review process to suppress dissent rather than fulfil its legitimate role of excluding work that is devoid of evidence or logical thought.

      * Use of fake experts: It is rarely difficult to find individuals who purport to be experts on some topic but whose views are entirely inconsistent with established knowledge. The tobacco industry coined the term “Whitecoats” for those scientists who were willing to advance its policies regardless of the growing scientific evidence on the harms of smoking

      * Selectivity of citation: Any paper, no matter how methodologically flawed, that challenges the dominant consensus is promoted extensively by denialists, whereas any minor weaknesses in papers that support the dominant position are highlighted and used to discredit their messages.

      * Creation of impossible expectations of research: This may involve corporate bodies sponsoring methodological workshops that espouse standards in research that are so high as to be unattainable in practice.

      * Misrepresentation and logical fallacies: An extreme example of this characteristic is the phenomenon of reductio ad hitlerum, in which anything that Hitler supported (especially restrictions on tobacco) is tainted by association.

      Other methods of misrepresentation include using “red herrings” (deliberate attempts to divert attention from what is important), “straw men” (misrepresentation of an opposing view so as to make it easier to attack), false analogies (for example, because both a watch and the universe are extremely complex, the universe must have been made by some cosmic watchmaker), and excluded middle fallacies (in which the “correct” answer is presented as one of two extremes, with no middle way. Thus, passive smoking causes either all forms of cancer or none, and as it can be shown not to cause some it must, it is argued, cause none).

      * Manufacture of doubt: Denialists highlight any scientific disagreement (whether real or imagined) as evidence that the entire topic is contested, and argue that it is thus premature to take action.

      If the definition fits, own it.

      • If denialism is “the rejection of basic concepts that are undisputed and well-supported parts of the scientific consensus on a topic in favor of ideas that are both radical and controversial”, most of the greatest scientists in history were denialists.

      • ‘Denialism’ denialism – the notion or suggestion that ‘denialism’ has by and large been deployed for honest reasons, not to invite subliminal comparison to Holocaust deniers.

      • Oh brother, shewonk, another “it’s just a word” phony defense of the term “denier.” C’mon, shewonk, you wouldn’t be so stoutly defending the term “denier” if it wasn’t the centerpiece of the scurrilous greenshirt agitprop carefully crafted to advance your thermorrhoid “big” plans for the “little” people. And yes, shewonk, you are fully aware of the subliminal association of “denier” with “holocaust-denier” and purposely use the term to exploit that resonance for shabby propaganda purposes.

        You might wonder how I know all this, shewonk. Well, as a matter of fact, I’m a mind reader. And I read your mind, shewonk. Perhaps you’re a mind-reader too, shewonk. Can you read my thoughts, right now, shewonk? I’ll even given you a hint. My thoughts contain the term “zit-booger.” But I’m not going to do all your work for you. You’ll have to figure out the rest.

      • MIT’s Professor Lindzen has insisted on calling himself a “climate denier.” He is among those who do not accept the novel thesis that CO2 of very recent origin is simultaneously warming the planet while lowering its oceans’ pH.

        The commenters here have objected to Lindzen’s term, though they have yet to speak with one voice as to what to use instead.

        Whenever a novel thesis is advanced, such as heliocentrism, or the wave theory of light, or evolution, or relativity, or quantum mechanics, or plate tectonics, or the health implications of tobacco smoke. or cold fusion, some are eager to subscribe to it and others are understandably more reluctant, for example because that thesis might turn out in the end to be wrong. The latter are customarily called reactionaries, those who object to change that has not yet been fully established and universally accepted.

        Of those here who differ with Professor Lindzen by objecting to the term “denier,” who would object to “reactionary” in its stead, and if so why?

        The term “realist” is unfortunately not available for either side of this debate since both sides claim to be the realists. A term is needed that distinguishes those who feel that humans are not responsible for raising either the planet’s temperature or lowering its oceans’ pH from those on the other side of those debates.

      • “reactionary” ?
        Like “denier”, this too could have been carefully selected for dishonest/subliminal loaded implications – as evidenced by your list of examples of ideas that “reactionaries” objected to.
        We are sneakily invited to compare those who rejected relativity, smoking health issues, evolution, etc, with those who question CAGW.
        (In politics it’s a term very much associated with marxist thinking – those who objected to genocidal socialism in Russia and China were there described as reactionaries. But this sense hasn’t made it to more general audiences I think).

        As to Lindzen’s embracing of “denier”, that is his business. Some black people use the n-word to describe themselves, sometimes a term of abuse is responded to by turning it into a badge of honor and pride.

      • And if anyone is in a position to do that, it’s Lindzen. Because of his credentials, the climate establishment can’t ignore him. That puts those who insist there is no point in debating with “deniers” in a bind. Either they must refuse to talk to him, or they’ll have to deny that he’s a denier.

      • …commenters here have objected to [“denier”] … though they have yet to speak with one voice as to what to use instead. A term is needed that distinguishes those who feel that humans are not responsible for raising … the planet’s temperatutre … from those on the other side of those debates.

        No new term is needed – “skeptic” has long been in use. Studiously avoided by activists like Shewonk resolutely precommitted to defending the endemic dishonesty in climate science that provides so much of the foundation for political action.

  84. I did not mean to belittle the many highly educated and, quite obviously, very very bright, by my suggestion to get educational credentials. What I meant was that there is more to analyzing data than being brilliant at statistics or programing. A scientist who has worked with data sets for a long time, develops a sense of what is good data and what is garbage.

    Discarding bad data points may look like cherry picking to someone who doesn’t have the context and background from working in the field. For example, an abrupt high spot on a subsurface map based on seismic data might look to some with a some knowledge, like a reef or or structure that could hold oil. A geologist familiar with the geology of the area, would would see a bad data point because of its improbability relative to the geologic framework.

    When I looked at the stolen emails, I couldn’t see conspiracy or fraud or lying. It looked like – email. Sometimes there was hyperbole, sarcasm, aggravation just as there is in conversation. Academics were (but may not now be) quite casual and open in e-mail, unlike many paranoid government employees who have the constant threat of FOI requests. I got the definite impression that many of the scientists were not initially aware of the reach and scope of FOI. Having worked in situations where certain data sets had to be protected from release for various reasons, I had a lot of sympathy with the scientists. Data requests can be an enormous amount of work, especially if the data needs to be clean and properly attributed first, because it is draft or working data. The best thing for both sides is to have data up on a server for download, but getting the data prepared for release is often a long and horrible job.

    To see evidence of conspiracy in this bunch of stolen email messages, takes some real mental contortions. Scientists are not not like Republican politicians who can all toe the party line and act in concert. The idea of a bunch of competitive, individualist scientists being able to maintain a conspiracy is ludicrous.

    The term ‘denier’ is too well entrenched to go away. While I can see why some might be very sensitive to its use, I don’t think extreme political correctness is necessary for such a widely used term. I myself am a creationism and intelligent design denier. And a denier of many of the climate beliefs held by some climate skeptics (see, I tried to be polite).

    • I’m not sure of the point of your long comment, CGL24. We are already well aware of the contorted defense of bad science like Mike’s Nature trick to hide the decline–and you betray your bias when, without any evidence at all, you claim the e-mails were stolen.

    • CGL –
      Not sure what you meant by “stolen” emails. I think it’s been well established that they were not hacked and that it was an inside job. So “stolen” could still be true, but would be a matter of interpretation.
      Depends on who looks at it.

      I agree that “there is more to analyzing data than being brilliant at statistics or programing” I spent many years analyzing spacecraft telemetry and science data and I’m very, very good at it. And that ability does spill over into other areas – like system specs, contract docs, ops plans, even collections of emails. None of that requires statistics or programming, although I’ve also done some of those as well. Bottom line here is that it takes no mental contortions for me to see what you don’t . The question then becomes “why do you not see what’s so obvious to others?”

      Or more accurately – “why do you not see what was so obvious to others before the emails that the emails simply confirmed?”

      • Not sure what you meant by “stolen” emails. I think it’s been well established that they were not hacked and that it was an inside job. So “stolen” could still be true, but would be a matter of interpretation.

        I don’t think it’s been established at all, it’s been asserted by some, that’s all,
        and clearly insiders can steal.

      • Except that emails exchanged on a work site in respect of the work performed are the property of the employer, and not “private property” of their creators. You might keep that in mind when using your workplace (if any) browser.

    • CGL24,
      Bunk.
      If it takes a ‘good feel’ for someone to make sense of something, then it is not science.

    • CGL24,
      BTW, your political take is so infantile as to cast real doubts on your other areas of claimed expertise.

    • CGL24,
      Your post is so bad I am reading it in pieces.
      As to your proud choice of ‘denier’, I bet it is the first time you have decided to not be pc in a long, long time.
      So we skeptics will just be good step-n-fetchits for you in the future, y’all hear now?
      By the way, if you did not see problems in the selection of leaked e-mails, then it was only because you carefully averted your delicate vision.
      Usually, when something is taken out of context, the innocent party releases more to show the context. But the climate community clearly recognized that its target audience- you, for instance- did not need a context to maintain your credulity- and would buy into any excuse offered.
      Your excuses frankly sound like the kind of answers the SEC gave for about ten years regarding the inquiries by attorneys and others regarding Bernie Madoff: “nothing here, just move on”.

    • randomengineer

      Scientists are not not like Republican politicians who can all toe the party line and act in concert.

      Very revealing. Although this ain’t well known in the circle you travel in (the same hive mind who accuses republican voters as being part of a hive mind) the republicans don’t have a line to toe to.

      The rest of your post ain’t any better. e.g.

      Discarding bad data points may look like cherry picking to someone who doesn’t have the context and background from working in the field.

      Horsepuckey. Discarding bad data points is what we ALL do as part of our daily jobs. High frequency sample change is obvious and it doesn’t matter if it comes from tornado stats or a temp sensitive CCD. This isn’t quite the same issue as coring 900 trees and rejecting 890 of them that don’t fit the hypothesis du jour.

      The proles may know what cherry picking is after all. Who knew?

    • When I looked at the stolen emails, I couldn’t see conspiracy or fraud or lying.

      Did you spot the ones about hiding data, fixing the peer-review and publication processes, encouragement to delete evidence of circumventing IPCC processes….?

      • Yes, I recommend a prolonged stay in stir to contemplate the difference between erring and lying. Lying with and about data has been endemic in Climate Science.

      • > When I looked at the stolen emails, I couldn’t see conspiracy or fraud or lying.

        > Did you spot the ones about hiding data, fixing the peer-review and publication processes, encouragement to delete evidence of circumventing IPCC processes….?

        > Yes, I recommend a prolonged stay in stir to contemplate the difference between erring and lying.

        The prolonged comtemplative stay-in here recommded (a patience-trying 30 secs it turned out), yielded lie, meaning 2

        2. to create a false or misleading impression

        Spot any attempts at that in Climategate?

    • Dentists can tell when their drill is getting to the bottom of the dental decay by the sharp reaction of the patient.

      The sharp and extended reactions of Ken Coffman, Jim Owen, Phil Felton, Brian H, hunter, randomengineer and L Graham Smith suggest that CGL24 has gotten to the bottom of the mental if not dental decay here.

      Coffman, Owen, and Felton deny the emails were stolen on the ground that it was an inside job. (So according to them if you’re an insider you can take anything you want from your company and it doesn’t count as stealing from the company.)

      Owen furthermore claims CGL24 is unable to “see what’s so obvious to others” without saying what exactly that is.

      Hunter claims that scientists who develop a good feel for their subject cease to be doing science. He claims furthermore that scientists with an “infantile” grasp of politics must therefore be incompetent at science as well, with which randomengineer “violently agrees.”

      Bryan H claims that certain errors (he doesn’t say which) were actually intentional fabrications (“lies”).

      L Graham Smith complains about “activist scientists (especially Hansen, Schneider and Houghton).” I have to say I am in complete empathy with L Graham Smith here, we all know that activism in science leads to all sorts of bad theories like heliocentrism, the wave theory of light, evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics, plate tectonics, the health implications of tobacco smoke, and so on and so on. If L Graham Smith ever runs for office I will sign up as his science advisor to point out all the many evils of activism in science. Science don’t need no stinkin’ activists, do it, Graham?

      I’ve tried to collect in one place the strongest arguments by far against the feeble ramblings of CGL24. If I somehow managed to overlook an even stronger argument I will gladly acknowledge it, just let me know.

      Jim Owen says, “I spent many years analyzing spacecraft telemetry and science data and I’m very, very good at it.” I’ll take him at his word on that and not accuse of him of being a science charlatan.

      However on the basis of the scientific content of the other six respondents to CGL24, I’m afraid I can’t extend this judgment to them. They’ll need to come up with more concrete proof that they’re not science charlatans, something along the lines of Jim Owen’s proof. What will it be, gentlemen? How do you propose to establish that you’re not just half a dozen science charlatans? It’s not like the planet has any shortage of your kind.

      • ..science charlatans? It’s not like the planet has any shortage of your kind.

        Yes indeed, the Climategate emails made it perfectly clear the IPCC cadre are top-rate charlatans. And the lack of condemnation of them from most of the climate science establishment puts them firmly in that camp too. To say nothing of those who engineered various whitewashes of Climategate, both the formal and informal ones.

      • So far, the only crime associated with the unauthorized release of the emails, is the crime committed by UEA and CRU in failing to properly respond to a lawful FOIA request to release the emails in the first place.

        That is a matter of public record in the UK. The local police remain silent on the results of their investigation into whatever factual matters they have discovered about the unauthorized release. Other authorities have already confirmed, after appropriate hearings, the original crime(s) by UEA and CRU about the emails.

        If it was an inside job by a courageous whistle blower with scientific integrity, then that person(s) is to be thanked for their efforts in showing the world the current state of climate science ethics and exposing the real workings of the IPCC cabal.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘we all know that activism in science leads to all sorts of bad theories like heliocentrism, the wave theory of light, evolution, relativity, quantum mechanics, plate tectonics…’

        I’d be very interested to know how you interpret ‘activism’ to include all of the things described above?

        To me, they all arose when independent minds challenged the consensus wisdom of the ‘great and the good’ of the day.

      • Dentists can tell when their drill is getting to the bottom of the dental decay by the sharp reaction of the patient…

        The same applies to those who commit assault.

        …deny the emails were stolen on the ground that it was an inside job [implying] if you’re an insider … it doesn’t count as stealing

        Technically you’re correct, it is stealing. The background to the discussion though, is that those seeking to defend the corrupt scientists, want to try and dismiss the notion that an insider with a conscience leaked them, by dismissing the idea that there is anything there that would fall foul of an honest conscience. So they push the outside/hacker idea, which is what “stolen” has come to mean in this context.

        Activism.
        Again you try and associate activism in science only with progress in it, never blind alleys. With activism’s presumed rigid precommitment to a certain outlook, it seems to me the very antithesis of science.

      • Only a very poor dentist would rely on the reaction of the patient to determine if they have reached the extent of a carious lesion. If your dentist uses this technique I recommend you find a new one.

    • CGL24

      When I looked at the stolen emails, I couldn’t see conspiracy or fraud or lying. It looked like – email.

      Are you sure?

      Let us look at them again:

      1) “Be awkward if we went through a early 1940s type swing!”
      http://bit.ly/9p2e5m

      2) “I think we have been too readily explaining the slow changes over past decade as a result of variability–that explanation is wearing thin.”
      http://bit.ly/aMJ6OQ

      3) “The scientific community would come down on me in no uncertain terms if I said the world had cooled from 1998. OK it has but it is only 7 years of data and it isn’t statistically significant.” [This statement was made 5-years ago and the global warming rate still is zero]
      http://bit.ly/6qYf9a

      4) “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.”
      http://bit.ly/ijJ951

      5) “IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science (which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results”
      http://bit.ly/ca9rMY

      CGL24, an insider says IPCC produces results, not assess science!

      • IPCC produces results, not assess science

        It is part of the UN, a political body, that is politically funded.
        Barring some unlikely conspiracy of honor in its ranks, it will only ever produce argument to support political action, never to oppose it.
        Hence the IPCC’s unwaveringly alarmist line. It is merely a political pressure group like Greenpeace, never an honest assessor of science.

  85. CGL24:
    “This focused and relentless nitpicking of of climate scientists’ work via blogs and FOI requests is a new development; scientists working in new and controversial fields have never before had to deal with such a constant and continuous barrage of criticism, accusations of fraud, constant misinterpretation and, threats. What makes this seem especially appalling is that most of it is coming from outside the scientific community, from people who do not have the deep background and context to be able to evaluate the data.”
    This statement well may reflect your belief and/or your opinion but it is factually incorrect in substance and implication.
    The IPCC process established a cadre of climate scientists who were accorded unprecedented influence over policy development with global ramifications that far exceeded their range of specialization. They were emboldened by a group of activist scientists (especially Hansen, Schneider and Houghton) and engaged in an active and particularly nasty game of expertise politics. Their activism and over-statement of the science in the politicization of the science is both the principal (and principle) revelation of Climategate. That their activities and over-statement of the science existed was alleged by many who used new media and blogs to reveal the extent to which “an almost incestuous” cadre had managed to corrupt the refereed journal process in their field (Wegman). The events well summarized by the excellent Hockey Stick Illusion hardly constitute “nitpicking”.
    At any time, had the key players been open and forthright the debate might have just been about the science and its implications. Instead they initiated a game of political brinkmanship that has now come full circle and the media that helped make them stars has now turned on them. The politicians first in Copenhagen and then at Cancan clearly signaled that climate as a contrivance for global regulation and re-allocation of money was a dead proposition: new imperatives for the same aims are presently being floated to see which if any gain traction, but meanwhile climate as in serious consideration of climate change is politically passe.
    Within this sordid tale few academics spoke up and when apprised of the facts persisted to protect the ivory tower as if it is inviolate: our host on this blog being an exception and what thanks did she get — an attack site vilifying her. Valiant though her attempts have been on this blog to let people converse and discuss issues of merit, they have consistently been hijacked by an unwillingness of posters to accord respect to those of differing opinions. Accompanying this has been an almost visceral attachment to the defense of the academic status quo: these people are scientists, they must be above reproach and some non-scientists are wrong to be nitpicking and daring to question their authority.
    I have not met Trenbeth, nor have I corresponded with him. But from my personal dealings with others of the IPCC climatocracy, I do not accord him any benefit of the doubt or the presumption that he has been misunderstood or misconstrued. The key players are fighting for their academic lives and they do not wish to go gentle into the dark night of academic oblivion from whence they came: they have tasted the Hollywood of IPCC fueled academic stardom and do not want to go back to the minor leagues of obscurity in shame.
    Thus the tone has become even less of a debate and even more of a “knife fight”. My uncle used to say: “little boys and fools should stay away from sharp edged tools”.
    Having a PhD does not make one inviolate. It does not preclude people from making mistakes or errors. The public will accept uncertainty, they will accept mistakes: they do not liked to be deceived, deluded and/or lied to, even if a few elites think it is justified. The lay public may not understand all the nuances of science, but they do understand political spin.

  86. The root of the problem was that [the supersonic] Concorde [jet] was entirely a public-sector project and ipso facto out of touch with reality.
    – Joseph A. Harriss, What Price Supersonic Grandeur?

    For further study of public sector projects (like the human-caused global warming project), I highly recommend reading Nevil Shute’s first-hand account in the 1930’s of the competition between private enterprise and government to build a rigid airship (blimp). This book is called Slide Rule

  87. Daily Bell: What is your position on global warming? It seems like a scheme to take away more Western freedoms.

    [California Congressman] Dana Rohrabacher: Yes, global warming is a good example of the tactics used by the Liberal Left to centralize power. The Left likes to centralize power and give government all sorts of authority to make the world a better place. They’re willing to lie and do anything that’s necessary to accumulate that power.
    When it comes to global warming, it’s more frightening because they not only are trying to create authority centralized in the hands of Washington, DC, but they are willing to set up a global system of controls. They do it by trying to scare people, and they offer a Big Lie…that somehow the Co2 and the emissions from using fossil fuels are changing the climate of the earth.
    Of course, sensible people know this climate cycle is NOT substantially different than any other climate cycle we have gone through. So, it’s a fraud and this needs to be defeated. But if they get their way, there will be huge amounts of resources taken from the American people. More than that, freedom to live their lives as they choose, will be severely limited and authority will be placed in the hands of elected foreigners.

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