Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate

Update:  WUWT has posted the rationale statement prepared by the workshop organizers, Jerome Ravetz and Angela Pereira

by Judith Curry

This week, I will be in Lisbon attending a Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate.  The Workshop was conceptualized by Jerome RavetzSilvio Funtowicz, Angela Pereira, James Risbey, and Jeroen van der Sluijs.

While I (relatively) rarely travel overseas for meetings, I jumped at this invitation.  The topic is certainly intriguing and an issue that I have spent a great deal of time pondering over the last year.  Further, I really want to meet Ravetz, Funtowicz, Risbey, and van der Sluijs, whose papers I have been avidly reading over the past year, including citing them on a number of Climate Etc threads:

What has impressed me about their writings is that they recognize that climate change is not only a scientific subject, but also a political, economical, and ethical subject.

Postnormal science

The names Funtowicz and Ravetz are associated with the concept of postnormal science.  The issue of postnormal science is widely misunderstood in the climate blogosphere.  As per the Wikipedia:

James J. Kay described Post-normal science as a process that recognizes the potential for gaps in knowledge and understanding that cannot be resolved other than through revolutionary science, thereby arguing that (in between revolutions) one should not necessarily attempt to resolve or dismiss contradictory perspectives of the world (whether they are based on science or not), but instead incorporate multiple viewpoints into the same problem-solving process.

Detractors of post-normal science, conversely, see it as a method of trying to argue for a given set of actions despite a lack of evidence for them, and as a method of trying to stifle opposing voices calling for caution by accusing them of hidden biases. Many consider post-normal science an attempt to ignore proper scientific methods in an attempt to substitute inferior methodology in service of political goals. Practitioners advocating post normal science methods defend their methods, suggesting that their methodologies are not to be considered replacements for dealing with those situations in which normal science works sufficiently well.

Ravetz has clarified his ideas on this topic in the context of climate change in this essay at WUWT and response to WUWT criticism.

Von Storch has also discussed postnormal science in the context of the climate change debate:

This paper addresses the views regarding the certainty and uncertainty of climate science knowledge held by con- temporary climate scientists. More precisely, it addresses the extension of this knowledge into the social and political realms as per the definition of postnormal science. The data for the analysis is drawn from a response rate of approxi- mately 40% from a survey questionnaire mailed to 1000 scientists in Germany, the United States, and Canada, and from a series of in-depth interviews with leading scientists in each country. The international nature of the sample allows for cross-cultural comparisons.

With respect to the relative scientific discourse, similar assessments of the current state of knowledge are held by the respondents of each country. Almost all scientists agreed that the skill of contemporary models is limited. Minor differences were notable. Scientists from the United States were less convinced of the skills of the models than their German counterparts and, as would be expected under such circumstances, North American scientists perceived the need for societal and political responses to be less urgent than their German counterparts. The international consensus was, however, apparent regarding the utility of the knowledge to date: climate science has provided enough knowl- edge so that the initiation of abatement measures is warranted. However, consensus also existed regarding the current inability to explicitly specify detrimental effects that might result from climate change. This incompatibility between the state of knowledge and the calls for action suggests that, to some degree at least, scientific advice is a product of both scientific knowledge and normative judgment, suggesting a socioscientific construction of the climate change issue.

Where do I stand on the postnormal science issue?  I prefer to use the term “postnormal environment for science” to avoid the perception that proper scientific methods are being ignored.  The environment that brought about the behavior of Mann, Jones et al., the blogospheric obsession with their emails, and publication of statements such as those by Hasselman and Trenberth does not reflect a normal scientific environment, but rather a highly politicized one.   Scientists and others being labeled as “deniers” or “alarmist” is a clue that this is not a normal environment for science.

Climate science is fraught with uncertainty, as acknowledged Funtowicz, Ravetz, and von Storch.  The key point is the incompatibility between the state of knowledge and the calls for action.  The “call for action” aspect introduces the extended peer community, of which the climate blogosphere is a poster child.  So I think there is merit in this concept, provided that that postnormal science is not used either as an excuse to short cut the scientific method or to dismiss the science.   At the science-policy interface where the science is highly uncertain, understanding of the postnormal environment for science can help avoid situations of overconfidence in the science and keep the focus on understanding and characterizing the uncertainty.

Ravetz makes the point that the situation with climate science is a long way from the classic problems of the philosophy of science as laid out by Popper and Kuhn. Ravetz argues that there is a new class of epistemic problems that are dominated by uncertainty in the context of social and ethical concerns.

Towards reconciliation

I am hoping that there is some sort of path for reconciliation in this debate for the benefit of both scientific progress and social consideration of the issues surrounding climate variability and change.  I don’t know what this should look like, other than:

  • transparency and traceability in the science
  • loyalty to truth and the scientific method
  • understanding and acknowledgement of uncertainty and the possibility of error
  • win-win situations such as no regrets policy.

I know what it DOESN’T look like, and that is reflected by Kevin Trenberth’s essay, where the blame is put on the deniers, the media, etc. (everybody but the IPCC scientists and their supporters).  The domination approach only “works” if you can actually pull it off; climate scientists are babes in the woods when it comes to this kind of politics.  A partnership  approach makes much more sense and might actually produce a good outcome.

I will be posting more on this topic after the Workshop (and possibly during); I look forward to your thoughts on this topic.


I just received a list of the participants last week, an interesting group to say the least.  A total of 28 people are participating.  In addition to the organizers, a number of names will be familiar to denizens of the climate blogosphere:

  • Judith Curry
  • Steve Goddard
  • Steve McIntyre
  • Ross McKitrick
  • Steve Mosher
  • Fred Pearce
  • Nick Stokes
  • Hans von Storch
  • Peter Webster

Note: I am on travel this week, not quite sure how regular internet access will be. I have someone moderating in my absence, in case I am away from the blog for any length of time.  Behave :)

449 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate

  1. Hi Judith,
    I’m in Lisbon. I’ve following some of these guys for so long I would love to have a hand shake with either of.
    Where is it being held?

  2. I hope I will be able to attend, but at the time of the workshop I am at work :(

    The place of the workshop is very nice, if you have the change visit the art museum and take a walk around the garden.

    So many people, whose thoughts I read daily, are together in my city… I won’t have the change to be there :( :(

  3. Dr. Curry,
    Please let us know if the conference is covered by any news media. Is Andy Revkin planning to go?

  4. Not much chance of reconciliation in the UK after the latest BBC TV program. Take a look at the BBC’s latest ‘contribution’ to the climate science debate

    BBC – Horizon – Science Under Attack.

    Professor Nurse – the new President of the Royal Society ‘defends’ science, but really it is a blatant very thinly disguised patronising defence of ‘climate science’ (of the CRU/team kind).

    take a look, he links climate denial with AIDs denial, uses deniars frequently, interviews Phil Jones, ‘the nature trick’ explanation may surprise you all.

    The BBC has sunk to a new low and has apparently learnt very little in the last year, yet it may ‘backfire’ spectacularily, it should be interesting to watch.

    • Damn, “not available in your area”, got another link to it?


        Horizon and the President of the Royal Societ handwaving the inquiries away, in light of this seems to be just propaganda.

        Graham Stringer MP: (Sci Tech Committee)

        “There are proposals to increase worldwide taxation by up to a trillion dollars on the basis of climate science predictions. This is an area where strong and opposing views are held. The release of the e-mails from CRU at the University of East Anglia and the accusations that followed demanded independent and objective scrutiny by independent panels. This has not happened. The composition of the two panels hasbeen criticised for having members who were over identified with the views of CRU. Lord Oxburgh as President of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association and Chairman of Falck Renewable appeared to have a conflict of interest. Lord Oxburgh himself was aware that this might lead to criticism. Similarly Professor Boulton as an ex colleague of CRU seemed wholly inappropriate to be a member of the Russell panel. No reputable scientist who was critical of CRU’s work was on the panel, and prominent and distinguished critics were not interviewed. The Oxburgh panel did not do as our predecessor committee had been promised, investigate the science, but only looked at the integrity of the researchers. With the exception of Professor Kelly’s notes other notes taken by members of the panel have not been published. This leaves a question mark against whether CRU science is reliable. The Oxburgh panel also did not look at CRU’s controversial work on the IPPC which is what has attracted most [serious] allegations. Russell did not investigate the deletion of e-mails. We are now left after three investigations without a clear understanding of whether or not the CRU science is compromised.”

        and in the UK media:

      • Barry – all of your links lead to Bishopshill.

        Do you think that folks here are incapable of exploring a blog once they’ve been pointed to it?

        FWIW – I thought the BBC 2 Horizon programme last night was excellent, it certainly had James Dellingpole squirming (‘I don’t read the peer reviewed literature, I interpret other peoples’ interpretations’ – aka Chinese whispers?)

      • Come now Louise. It was a propaganda piece that made no attempt whatsoever to put forward the “sceptic” position at all. Nurse used the metaphor of a field of plants and then complained that the sceptics “cherry picked” from it in order to bolster their case. He himself then proceeded to cherry pick the examples he gave, the people he interviewed and the way the interviews were edited, to support his case. He let Jones off the hook with his “hide the decline” remark, without asking him whether the sceptics were right to question the proxy record as a consequence.

        Honestly, it was the biggest load of sanctimonious tripe I’ve seen from the BBC since the Professor Cox lecture and frankly I’m surprised you thought it was “excellent”.

      • The demolition of James Delingpole was fantastic.

        It can be seen here

      • Why don’t you answer my points, rather than engaging in displacement activity by posting 2 minutes of a 3 hour interview with Delingpole.

      • At the Bish’s, Louise is incredulous that a retired BBC reader and another journalist who doesn’t read original peer reviewed literature seem to know what is going on better than the government scientists in Britain. But yes, it’s true. Care to wonder why, Louise?

      • Louise- Delingpole certainly answered poorly. It would have been nice to respond something like—“what is it you believe there is a consensus on?” In medicine, doctors reach a consensus regarding treatment of a patient. Regarding AGW, there is certainly no consensus regarding what individual nations should do in response to any potential warming, or if warming is bad.

      • If stumping someone into polite incredulity with a very poor analogy is a victory in your world, Louise, you have at it, sunshine.

      • Delingpole was given every opportunity to respond. The video makes that abundantly clear. How was it propaganda if he can’t respond to an examination of his claims?

      • And the media link, lead to the Telegraph, the BBW and many other msm media reports of the Sci/Tech committee..

        Trying to make it convenient.

        Any thoughts on Graham Stringer MP’s thoughts… thought not ;)

      • Louise,

        My main gripe about the programme would be that it actually spent too much time on the subject of climate change to the exclusion of other possible topics. For example some coverage of vaccination and the MMR controversy would have been interesting.
        Other than that I quite enjoyed it. I think he probably could have chosen a more credible example than Singer to represent the “skeptical” view, but people can’t say it wasn’t included. Of course Delingpole has no credibility whatsoever but if he’s good enough for Heartland… anyway it was fun watching him make a fool of himself – he will no doubt claim he was stitched up but he’s a piece of work and thoroughly deserved it.

    • ‘the nature trick’ explanation may surprise you all.

      How so?

  5. On a positive note, fred pearce comes across as a decent person. I would recommend his book – The Climate Files – to anyone, whilst disagreeing with some of his conclusions. Professor Nurse would probably think it the work of a ‘deniar’

  6. This sounds rather exciting. In fact it feels like the first time since I involved myself in the debate, however loosely, that I feel a sense of hope that common sense might actually have an opportunity to prevail in the broad field of climate sciences.

    Best of luck!

  7. Judith:
    My wishes for safe and productive trip.
    I wondering if the precautionary principle will get vetted. If so, I’m even more interested in what conclusions, if any, are made regarding said principle.
    Regards, Gcap.

  8. oops – I must correct my previous post…..
    Replace I with I’m.

  9. Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate

    Reconciliation can only be achieved if policy is based on verified science.

    Verification of the science can be achieved as follows:

    Here is IPCC’s projections on global temperature trends:

    For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.

    Here is my suggestion on how reconciliation in the debate can be achieved

    a) For the period from 2000 to 2030, if the global warming rate is 0.2 deg C per decade, the AGW theory is proved and policy follows.

    b) For the period from 2000 to 2030, if the global warming rate is less than 0.1 deg C per decade, the AGW theory is disproved and it is rejected.

    • Warmists will never accept that, as they’ve already issued CYA disclaimers that there might be a temporary cooling until then — after which Warming will undoubtedly (they assure us) play catchup with a vengeance!

  10. Thanks, Judith, for the posting. Good luck!

    Regretfully, there can probably be no reconciliation in the climate debate.

    Climategate exposed an unholy, worldwide alliance of politicians and world leaders with leaders of government science agencies.

    Major distortions in science since 1969 are documented in this new paper on “Neutron Repulsion”.

    What are the chances that leaders of the UN’s IPCC, the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK’s Royal Society, and editors of leading research journals will now

    a.) Address the experimental data presented in the paper, or

    b.) Admit that Earth is heated by neutron repulsion, rather than by hydrogen fusion?

    That is the chances of reconciliation

    Regretfully unlikely,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  11. Judith

    Is it possible to get a feature in your blog to preview our comments before posting?

    • Nope. She is using the default WordPress free hosting package, which doesn’t have that facility.

  12. Judith,

    Have a good time!
    Give Tallbloke one “upside the head”. :-)

  13. The temperature changes talked about are well inside the extremes we have had during the past ten thousand years. If the next 20 years temperature matches or does now match the predictions is not proof. The theory and models must be validated and a short term good or bad guess does not do that.

  14. Joe Lalonde – I write my posts in Microsoft Word and preview them there. When I am satisfied, I copy and paste into Notepad to remove any formatting and then copy and paste into the final window for the post. I don’t always do this, but when I do I make less mistakes.

    • Thanks Herman!

      I like living on the wild side and try to catch my mistakes before hitting that post button. :-)

    • Why not just use NotePad and have the text-only format in the first place?

      I can also recommend the ClipMate package, which allows composition of “clips”, and saves all copied items in “Collections” of your choice, temporarily or permanently, with editing facilities. , a marvelous tool.

      • Thanks Brian!
        I’ll give it a try!

      • or you can continue to live dangerously, without spell check in free worpress form and hope all recognize the difference between bad spelling and just plain bad typing — and as I typed this I found JC now has spell check activated — I am saved! You are on your own Joe!

      • There is always:

        a spellcheck plug-in for IE, or you can swap to a Mac or use Safari Firefox or Opera on Windows to get spellcheck!!

  15. Dr. Curry,
    Best wishes for a great trip and productive meeting.
    The nattering extremists will only be dealt with when reasonable people stand up to them.
    Lisbon is a great place to start that standing.

    • Hunter,

      I think this will be a very interesting meeting.
      Many of the presenters are bringing up concerns of the science.

  16. Judith, I think being near Spain is apropos. Spain is economically suffering big time because of subsidizing alternative energy sources because of trying to curb CO2 emissions. It’s failing miserably, more private sector jobs lost than so called “green” jobs created. Plus not getting the energy they were told they would get.

  17. Says it all:

    “[…] gaps in knowledge and understanding that cannot be resolved other than through revolutionary science […]”

  18. If one ‘side’ of the debate is absent, how can anyone hope for reconciliation?

    Or are Drs Trenberth, Hansen, Mann, Jones, Schmidt, etc also going to be present?

    • Latimer Alder

      Good question, and the answer is not at all clear.

      But I guess you have to start somewhere?? At least if they produce something concrete, it’ll give a new framework for discussion.

    • Louise –

      If you take the time to look over the entire list of attendees, I think that you would find that both ‘sides’ are present. Just not any of the high priests – and given that none of the names you mentioned will even admit that there could be a debate on their views, what would be the point of their attendance?

  19. Willis Eschenbach

    Judith, my best wishes, it sounds like it could be very interesting.

    As you perhaps know, I am extremely skeptical about Dr. Ravetz’s theories. I have posted about them here.

    My main problem with it is the “mushy” nature of the substitution of some vague criterion called “quality” for falsifiability.

    I do like your substitution of “post normal environment for science” for “post-normal science”. PNS is many things, but it is absolutely not science as I understand science.

    Keep fighting the good fight,


    • WIllis,
      Anthony never did publish Ravetz’ essay on ‘Quality’ I sent him. I’ll email it to you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Ravetz firmly believes in properly done normal science as a precursor to the input of the ‘extended peer community’.

      This is the misunderstanding Judith refers to and the one I tried, but failed to dispel in the face of the onslaught on WUWT.

      Best to you.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        tallbloke | January 25, 2011 at 8:46 am

        Anthony never did publish Ravetz’ essay on ‘Quality’ I sent him. I’ll email it to you. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see Ravetz firmly believes in properly done normal science as a precursor to the input of the ‘extended peer community’.

        It would have been simple for Ravetz to have said at any time in the debate that “Post-normal science is for when regular science isn’t enough. Here are the criteria for ‘science isn’t enough’.” That would have cleared the air immensely.

        But he never said that. Matter of fact he never said much at all, what you might call his “post(normal)-and-run” posting style was grating, irresponsible, and counterproductive.

        So yeah, email me the essay, but I notice that when he discussed his whiz-bang post-partum science in public and was asked these very questions, he declined to answer. When he held the public pulpit, he didn’t say what you claim his essay says.

        Finally, it appears to me that he has no criteria for when science has failed us and post-traumatic science is therefore required. For example, Ravetz seems to think that science has failed us in the arena of climate, and hey, guess what, he’s selling just what we need in this very situation, post-apocalyptic science … I get nervous when the guy making the diagnosis is also peddling the medicine that cures that specific disease, but maybe that’s just me. In any case, science hasn’t failed us.

        As revealed in the Climategate emails, what failed were ordinary humans, not science. Humans lied and cheated to push their agenda, not science. It was humans who didn’t enforce the archiving policies of their own journals and funding organizations. Humans evaded questions and destroyed evidence, not science. Humans hid and refused (in some cases up until today) to archive the data we taxpayers paid them to collect. Humans broke the IPCC rules to keep some papers in and other papers out, not science. And meanwhile, the other humans, the mainstream AGW climate scientists, mostly kept their eyes pointing anywhere but at the lying and the cheating, so they could honestly say “We didn’t know!” in the best historical tradition.

        And now that it has been exposed (not all of it by any means, but enough to gauge the depth of the rot), the denial has continued. Trenberth and Mann and Jones and the other “un-indicted co-conspirators” (the lovely Nixon-era phrase) are still feted and invited to address conferences as though nothing had happened. In the real world, people are laughing and pointing fingers at the various co-Emperors’ lack of clothing, but they and the mainstream climate science folks are acting like nothing has happened and nothing is happening. Bad combination.

        Fortunately for us, they are their own worst enemies. For example, Trenberth’s essay has re-focused attention on the fact that the null hypothesis has never been falsified. Nothing that we have seen the climate do is outside of historical parameters, and Trenberth knows that. He knows that’s the gaping hole in the AGW argument, and he tried to pre-emptively cooper it up. Like I said, that’s a lucky thing, because it shows his view of whether the null hypothesis has been falsified.

        Anyhow, reconciliation. See if you can reconcile on a statement about the null hypothesis, and what it is, and what it should be if it isn’t, and whether it has been falsified. My POV is that the null hypothesis is “Nature done it”, and that there hasn’t been anything unusual or anomalous to date. Yes, ice is retreating. And retreating ice is constantly revealing human artifacts … which were laid down when it was as warm or warmer than it is now. I’ve laid out the null hypothesis case in detail here. In any case, since two people as far apart as Trenberth and I both think that to date the null hypothesis has not been falsified, that should be one of the agreed upon items in the reconciliation agenda …

        Regardless, Judith, you’re definitely going in the right direction, keep fighting the good fight.


      • Willis,
        Did you get the email attachment and if you did, have you read it?

        We just had a great evening out here, with much discussed about our approach to the conference, full report on my blog tomorrow.


      • Willis Eschenbach

        Thanks, tallbloke. I got it. It starts:


        To start, ‘quality’ now means ‘goodness’. But it is not a simple property. In fact, it is complex, recursive and moral. First, for any thing or action, there are a plurality of attributes of quality, each of which will have its own criteria and standards. These do not come from nowhere; for each there will be a social system that defines and then monitors them. This immediately raises the question in the Latin motto, ‘who guards the guardians?’ For each answer, the question is reiterated, and so there is a recursive process. The tasks are different, at the different levels; and ultimately there is a sanction in an informal, perhaps indefinable thing called ‘public opinion’.

        Tallbloke, perhaps on your planet that means something. On my planet, that paragraph would be in the running for the “least meaning per word” record. He starts by saying that “quality” is not simple, it is “complex, recursive and moral”. Hmmm …

        Whatever “quality” is, however, he goes on to say it is different for each “thing or action”. Since there are thousands of “things or actions” out there, there must be as many qualities. But it’s not that simle.

        Eeach thing or action comes not with one “quality”, it comes with a complete set of “attributes of quality”.

        And each “attribute of quality” has its own “criteria” and its own “standards”.

        But it doesn’t stop there. “For each answer, the question is reiterated, and so there is a recursive process.” Oh, great. So the processes have absolutely no end … it’s sounding like:

        Big whorls have little whorls
        Which feed off their velocity
        Little whorls have lesser yet
        And so on to viscoscity.

        I don’t get it, tallbloke. Truly I don’t. This ever so charming Dr. Ravetz wants to replace science with a system where every action has its own “attributes of quality”, and each of those “attributes of quality” has their own “criteria” and their own “standards”, and these criteria and standards and attributes are upheld by a social system containing a recursive process which is repeated up to some supreme sanction of unknown nature … what on earth does that all mean? Give me some hard, solid definitions of each and every one of those terms, what he wrote is content-free. That is the most vague paragraph I’ve read since … well, since the last time I asked Ravetz for a definition of “quality” … and this sounds better than our current admittedly flawed system just how?


      • “This ever so charming Dr. Ravetz wants to replace science with a system where every action has its own “attributes of quality”, and each of those “attributes of quality” has their own “criteria” and their own “standards”, and these criteria and standards and attributes are upheld by a social system containing a recursive process which is repeated up to some supreme sanction of unknown nature …”

        Climate Science by Social Process?? (I won’t say what I really wanted to say)

      • Willis, I’m going to chime in from an excerpt of an email I sent you last year.

        Everyone else: This was from a discussion about Ravetz I was having with someone else on this thread and subsequently forwarded to Willis.

        Ravetz’s point of view simply disgusts me to no end. His conflation of policy making decisions with the concepts of scientific relativism are so trivially stupid that I can’t stand to read a tenth of what he writes. He uses lots of big words and weaves wonderful Marxist tomes of long complicated sentences without ever saying anything. It is an edifice of words with no substance.

        A. There is science. There are relativistic discussions of science as a product of belief systems. You can agree or disagree with Relativism as a philosophy of science. That is a reasonable debate.

        B. There is policy making where decisions have to be made on the basis of prediction, risk assessment, uncertainty, and the opposing interests and advocacy of multiple parties.

        The existence of B does not change the “reality” expressed in A. It may influence funding and allow advocates to take over bureaucracies, but it is not a new relativism bending reality to a new belief system. It is simply advocacy undermining science, not a new science, not a new way of thinking. Just advocacy distorting institutional behavior. PNS is less than meaningless.

        It is negative knowledge.

      • Whoa Charles! If you agree that there is a reasonable debate about relativism in science (I don’t), then there must be a reasonable debate about scientific relativism in policy making. This is just what Ravetz is talking about. Concepts are theories so you have to accept scientific relativism in order to understand him. His words assume relativism. (Just as the words of AGW proponents often assume AGW.) In abstract discourse especially, understanding requires a degree of assent.

      • David- In regards to policy making, imo; your summary is inaccurate. People continue to comment endlessly regarding scientific details, but in regards to policy implementation, there is ONLY one macro level answer.

        Policies regarding the issue of climate can only be enacted at an individual nation state level. Therefore, the cause and effect of any potential climate related policy needs to make clear sense for individual nations.

        This situation is different in today’s world than in the recent past due to the changed economics of the world today. Today, and for the foreseeable future; no nation has the economic capacity to pay other nations to implement policies. As a result policy implementation for individual nations will be based upon the basic economic considerations of normal long term infrastructure.

        This seems pretty obvious. You can extrapolate the long term impact of this basic set of facts in many ways (economic, climatic, etc.); but that is a longer, different discussion.

      • Rob, I do not see how what you say is related to the issue of what Ravetz means, which is what I was talking about.

        Nor do understand your point, except I agree that there are countries. Are you claiming that countries cannot join together to fight environmental problems? There are a host of treaties that say otherwise.

      • David- in regards to climate change what is there that countries “joining together” can do that would actually get implemented; that would not have to come about based upon a transfer of wealth? You talk about prior climate treaties, but those are not germane to the issue of CO2.

        Countries are not going to move away from emitting CO2 until alternate forms of energy production are similarly cost effective to produce electricity or personal transportation. The potential impacts of emitting CO2 are long term and the costs of not doing so are prohibitive.

        Since CO2 levels will undoubtedly continue to rise until new technologies become cost competitive, the answer becomes building the proper infrastructure to adapt. In the economic environment of the next 15 years that becomes every country looking out for themselves. In the US, we are clearly at the stage of massive spending cuts/higher taxation. Even continuing to fund $5B per year to study this issue is wasteful. Funding in the near future should be much more focused and only continued only with proven results.

      • What you said.
        The AGW hand-waving is getting ruinously expensive.

      • So… scientific truth may or may not be relative, but policy making isn’t, and if it acts like it is then it undermines science? I’m having a hard time finding much meaning in the email excerpt above.

      • Ravetz’ “a prize for every child” spiel is superficially attractive – we are conditioned to see conflict as something that ought to be resolved. But a moment’s thought ought to tell us that conflict is essential to the practice of science. The purpose of the scientific method is in part to ensure that the conflict stays within the science, but certainly not to banish it.

        Part of the problem is that Ravetz suffers “reverse Eschenbach syndrome” – so impenetrably turgid and prolix is his prose that any subject it touches turns to mud. It’s hard, then, to know whether he does this on purpose, to enable him to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, or because he can’t write. I suspect a bit of both. Either way, it doesn’t argue strongly for his clarity of mind.

        The last paragraph of the “rationale statement” is unusually clear for Ravetz, so presumably it was the work of Pereira, who doesn’t have Ravetz’ handicap of grappling with his native language. At any rate, with the exception of its first sentence, it provides the clearest enunciation I have yet seen of all that is wrong with climate “science”.

        A sentence like “There are no crucial experiments to resolve the debate; instead we need nonviolent conflict resolution.” is just a loaded way of saying “the science is settled”, with the gratuitous and unsubstantiated imputation of violent intent to anyone who ventures to suggest that actually there are crucial experiments being done and to be done, and that any of them may resolve a conflict of opinion by determining the truth, and excluding falsehood.

        I have seen nothing that persuades me that “reconciliation” of the current cadre of climate “scientists” to the re-embrace of traditional scientific method that they presently resist is not all the “reconciliation” the field needs or deserves.

      • Is there any place to read Ravetz’ essay on ‘Quality’? I try to read both sides of issues. If ‘Quality’ really means ‘meets requirements’, then I’d like to know the requirements addressed by Dr. Ravertz.

        I don’t intend this to be snide or disparaging, however poorly worded. Thanks in advance!

  20. Steven Mosher

    In Amsterdam, headed to Lisbon.

  21. Good luck, Dr Curry. Although, as Louise suggests, the make-up looks like it may be biassed towards the doubters, I don’t think that should stop you making progress. If more people on all sides of the debate were to adopt your approach (which I see as: read and listen to everybody and try to understand what leads them to their stated position) there would be more chance of establishing common ground.
    But is thorough-going reconcilation between the opposing camps likely to happen soon? I’m as pessimistic as Barry Woods; I see no prospect of a mass conversion of ‘alarmists’ to ‘scepticism’ (or the converse). Things may get a lot worse before they get better. The best one can hope for IMO is ‘…an increasing shift in the distribution of professional allegiances.’ (Kuhn, SOSR, 1962/1996, p 158). It’ll take time.
    The attendees at the Lisbon get-together include a fair number who are not happy with the current establishment climate science paradigm, parts of which look to me worn-out and almost beyond repair. I’m looking forward to seeing early drafts of a new paradigm which could replace the old one. Might that emerge from Lisbon?
    n.b. I’ve changed my alias from ‘hr’ to ‘Coldish’. Makes searches easier. I’m still using an alias, tho’, as I prefer my scientific colleagues not to know that I ask questions about climate.

    • Coldfish: “But is thorough-going reconcilation between the opposing camps likely to happen soon?”

      I don’t think so, sadly. Within the science, there seems to be too much at stake. Consequently, there has been too much shouting and insufficient listening by both sides. With such high-stakes politics feeding the fight, it is hard to see how this situation will change although one can live in hope.

      Whilst I don’t expect a miracle to occur in Lisbon, if the meeting identified a framework for dialog then that would be a positive step. I think a key factor for success would be that any emerging mediators are seen as honest brokers by the two camps. A gradual change seems the most likely outcome whereby no individual ‘side’ is seen to have lost!

      • Well, here’s the kicker.

        If actual science begins to be applied to the issue, the Warmist house of cards collapses immediately. And they know it.

        So they will never agree to anything like that. Just note the presumptive terms of reference listed by this commenter:

        Short version: Bad stuff could be happening, so we must agree on prevention. Then we can deal with the science later. I.e., full-blown Precautionary Principle acquiescence is the price of admission.


      • Craig Goodrich

        Neither the “rationale statement” linked above nor Dr. C’s first impressions (at WUWT) present grounds for optimism. The preponderance of “social science” types suggests strongly that this will be yet another “how can we talk these boneheads into surrendering” conference.

        In this connection, Doug Hoffman has an excellent article at

      • Steven Mosher

        That’s an utterly ill informed and unscientific assessment.

      • Steven Mosher,

        I have a question for you. Since you are such an excellent judge of what is ill informed and unscientific, can you point us to the most informed and scientific work on AGW? Is it your own book? Is it Al Gore’s Climate Poetry? Which specific work do you find the most compelling?


      • Steven Mosher

        I can recommend a process. Pick a chapter of the IPCC. get the bibliography. read all the papers. I’ll answer you again when you prove you can read the fundamental literature

      • Steven Mosher,

        I asked for a specific work.

        Yes, please answer when you figure out how to answer the question asked.


      • “That’s an utterly ill informed and unscientific assessment.”

        Ummmm, bad day? Given the history, his lack of optimism is a perfectly rational, informed assessment. You may disagree. You might even be right. But your characterization of his differing view is bit over the top. Of course, that happens a lot on the internet.

      • stan,

        That’s Steven Mosher’s way of finding his beloved “common ground”.

        VERY effective. ;)


  22. Steven Mosher

    Reconciliation may only consist of finding some kind of common ground on how to start

    That’s hard on the internet where we make points bickering.

    • but I do think we are making progress: not for all but for most in delineating key constructs and the issues for which there is divergence and why. This new map is not inclusive of all denizens (and certainly not those who aren’t here) but I do think it is a beginning. If nothing else, the tone and overall willingness to engage is productive and has stimulated some excellent expositions of positions and perspectives.
      Next step is to cull through the many and various posts and synthesize some semblance of summary of the discussion to date such that we move forward to new ideas rather than circling the wagons and recycling the same “issues” under new banners.

  23. By the way, Judith, this post seems to have disppeared from the front page of the blog and I could only access it by clicking on somebody’s comments in the list at the side. Must have gone to Lisbon with you!

  24. Quoting Dr. Curry:

    “I don’t know what this should look like, other than:

    ■transparency and traceability in the science
    ■loyalty to truth and the scientific method
    ■understanding and acknowledgement of uncertainty and the possibility of error
    ■win-win situations such as no regrets policy.”

    These goals seem quite impossible with the current CAGW proponents.

    Have a great trip and post as many details as you can. I wish I could be there.

  25. Reconciliation?
    Reconciliation as in conflict resolution.
    To achieve what, a new consensus?
    Bad for science.
    Facts and data should be a battleground field for the conflicting views and ideas.

    • I don’t think a forced consensus is the goal. I think it is a step forward to meet people, be civil and discuss the science clearly. I also with you with that conflicting ideas and facts need to be aired and that is why I am asking people to consider pressuring the IPCC to publish a Majority Report and a Minority Report. It is the only way I know of to air all of the scientific evidence, otherwise someone is going to be complaining their perspective was not considered.

      My idea is to have one report lead by Jim Hansen or Gavin Schmidt. The other to be led by Roger Pielke Sr or Judith Curry. You have 4,000 qualified climate scientists take part in the writing and review process. If you are part of the process, then you get to vote on which report best represents the science. After the two reports come out, you might be surprised which report wins the vote to become the Majority Report.

      Of course, voting doesn’t determine truth. Truth would still be open to debate. The vote would only determine which report was called the Majority Report.

      • Steve Reynolds

        That would provide an incentive for accuracy. Losing Majority status would be devastating to the warmer side.

      • A nuance: it is a majority only within two groups: political movers and shakers, and the publics of certain countries in the EU, and possibly Canada (where I live), and possibly China (very opaque) and possibly India (judging from the heretofore unanimous media).
        The pols in the US appear to be moving away from the Warmist camp in response to massive popular distrust of their motivations and plans and claims.
        It is very hard to know whether it is a majority among scientists, and the “stats” have been thoroughly muddied by recruiting the executives and administrations of professional societies to “speak for” the members. Anecdotal evidence and sign-ons to the “Minority Report” etc. suggest the contrary.

  26. I’m in Lisbon for the workshop too. I’m looking forward to meeting Judith and the rest of the participants. I’m a strong believer in the power of getting disputants to sit down and eat together. It’s hard to impolite to someone who just passed you the bread.

    I’m keeping my blog updated with developments too, for another perspective.

  27. Dr Curry, I’d recommend taking some boxing gloves along with you, at least one of those on your list is in the habit of fulminating about ‘deniers’ and regularly calls another a ‘charlatan’ or a ‘liar.’

    If nothing else this should be interesting to see when you return.

  28. I have a problem with the whole idea of reconciliation in the climate debate and for once, it’s not political but moral. When an area of science mutates into pseudo-science and attracts a large following, it is always hijacked by political forces, which give it a whole new and terrible dimension. In the end, people get killed or hurt and the sum total of human suffering is increased. Examples, trivial and large, abound of this phenomenon; Phrenology, Lysenkoism, pseudo-Darwinism and Eugenics to name but a few.

    There is good and evil in the world and although I’ve met a handful of people I’d truly classify as evil, it’s my experience that the majority of evil deeds done are by ordinary people who think they’re somehow acting on behalf of a higher good or bringing a brighter future closer. Although not the only factor, the rush to produce bio-fuels resulted in a doubling of food staple prices in the developing world. Starvation, death and food riots ensued. I was unfortunate enough to see a food riot and I can assure you, it’s pretty unforgettable.

    The pseudo scientific mania of a combination of Eugenics and Nazi-perverted Darwinism led directly to its logical conclusions at Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. It gave a specious scientific authority to horrific acts which were essentially political. It took the discovery of the concentration camps in 1945 to finally pull the plug on that particular science-approved mania although human beings were still being forcibly sterilised into the 1970s.

    I view Environmentalism and Global Warming in particular, as being just as evil as the manias above. That being the case, although having dialogue with them may be useful, reconciliation can never be possible. All I’m interested in is stopping them.


    • So how does one build bridges to scientists to whom you compare to Nazis? When people go to “Climate, etc.”, this is the face that is presented. Any plans afoot to build bridges to the scientists who make up the consensus?

      • Sadly Deech56, as the only response to my comment, you’re confirmation of an idea. The skeptics think there’s no moral dimension to their viewpoint or they think it shameful or inappropriate. I don’t.


      • There is no lack of extremists on both sides. It is one of the more amusing aspects of the debate, especially when the extremists on one side point to the extremists on the other side, to make their case. Politics is a game of extremes. I am constantly amazed that people think the future of the world depends on who is elected President of the USA. It doesn’t.

      • Ah David,

        When the U.S. buys and pays for a theory, does that count?

      • Count as what, Joe? I don’t understand the question.

      • Michael, this may be a reading skills issue but while I’m quite prepared to defend myself from things I’ve actually said, the same is not true for things I actually haven’t.


      • Those responsible for GW and environmentalism as as “evil” as the Nazis’. That’s about it isn’t it?

        Maybe if you tried to make a point in less hyperbolic terms (not hard as it would be impossible to be more hyperbolic) you might find fewer people thinking you are making extreme statements in profoundly insulting ways.

        Remember Godwin.

      • Michael, I was being charitable about you. I didn’t suspect it was the tawdry debating trick of accusing someone of something they’d not actually said and then rushing to condemn them for it, hoping the audience couldn’t but be frog-marched into agreeing. All a bit sad really.


      • Invoking Godwin often excuses evil.

      • More often it highlights silliness.

      • Or lazy argumentation. Nazis are just so easy to work into any argument – every slope is potentially a slippery slide to whatever depths Hitler is lurking in.
        This would be simply amusing if the implication wasn’t, as Pointman put it: “reconciliation can never be possible. All I’m interested in is stopping them.” After all, there’s no negotiating with Nazis or their moral equivalents (cue Chamberlain or Winston Churchill reference).
        I would encourage anyone posting here who thinks efforts to combat AGW have disastrous consequences or are promoted dishonestly to provide evidence entirely disconnected to the feelings any of us might have about the consequences of Nazism.

      • We are certain of the negative consequences to the poor of demonizing CO2 and raising the price of energy and we are not certain of the negative consequences of continuing to release CO2. It’s that simple.

      • Certainty does indeed make things simple – too bad there’s so little of it to go around. Energy policy can be formulated in various ways, and steps can be taken to ensure that the consequences are not equivalent to the Holocaust. Ultimately, many consequences will remain uncertain however, especially if we’re trying trying to decide between multiple futures: One where things stay as they are, where food and energy prices rise with no thanks to anti-AGW legislation, or some alternate future that can be crafted to lessen the harm.

      • I really hate poking my nose into the well-intentioned ignorance of those clothing themselves in moral superiority..

        But then, if none dare venture where angels fear tread, who will be left to stand against the spread of error and mistake?

        Firstly, the only people who “discovered” concentration camps in 1945 were the ones who had been burying their heads in the sand until 1944; their existence was well-known, though the graphic and clear horror of their reality did not sink in until pictures were taken, and the people responsible for hiding their terrors began to be routed and apprehended in their lies.

        Apparently it’s only a discovery if it is on the cover of Time.

        Secondly, the subversion of science to support atrocities (which certainly began before and continue after the particular span of years Pointman alludes to) is much overstated, considering that those who perpetrate atrocities subvert everything to their cause, be it science or religion, finance or politics, or even morals. Science, if anything, has the defence that objective measure can be used to argue against subversion, as it never can be in religion, politics or morality. To some degree, too, finance has that element of measurable outcomes.

        Pointman does no better in this regard using moralism than might anyone using religion, or politics, to support what is, after all, ultimately a bankrupt claim.

        On bio-fuels, I agree with Pointman. It’s a clear example, and financial and scientific measurements can be used to show, that bio-fuels are largely a scam, an opportunistic parasite no matter which side of the debate one supports.

        How though, does morality predict that all possible actions will by financial and scientific measure always be morally wrong?

        Some say accusingly that AGW-supporters support, “a trillion dollars of new taxes on the poor.” AGW-supporters might argue, were there evidence of the trillion dollar figure, that what currently happens is a trillion dollars of preventable theft from everyone with a stake in air.. which by my moral compass, would be everyone, equally.

        If there is no way to resolve the right or wrong of the debate, there remains a moral way to resolve the potential problem, regardless of which side of the debate one is on.

        Charge and rebate a fee for eating up the air in ways that contribute to lasting changes, the charge based on GHG emission, the rebate to each person per capita.

        If there is no harm, then this distribution of rents will pay back to everyone equally for consent to share this common resource, and the reinvestment from this system of rents will stimulate new and better solutions to pressing problems based on the individual judgment of each investor.

        If there is harm, then each person harmed is compensated, and may invest in adapting to the more expensive new conditions of the world made more difficult to endure due to these harms.

        No opportunity is lost.

        No tax is taken.

        No one is unduly enriched.

      • So we just need to find a way to calculate and attribute harm for each ton of CO2/GHG released?

      • Zajko

        “So we just need to find a way to calculate and attribute harm for each ton of CO2/GHG released?”

        That would be the position of those who were certain of their side of the debate, for whatever reason.

        Wouldn’t a better thing to measure be not the nearly imponderable topic of “harm” but the very easy to calculate “change”?

        I mean, I don’t get charged rent on a hotel room based on what I do in that room, do I? I get charged rent on the basis of how long I stay.

        If the hotel finds, and can prove, “harm”, don’t they charge me that separately?

        “Harm” is hard and inobvious.

        Change in CO2 and GHG level, that’s almost easy.

      • I see nothing wrong with linking GB Shaw to Eugenics (although the quote you used has been interpreted as satire), or Eugenics to Nazism, except for the fact that it seems completely beside the point here.

      • Great to abhor the nazis after the fact. But who is really certain they wouldn’t have been in the crowds cheering them on if in the same position?

        Eugenics was practised in Canada too by the way. Not on such a scale of course. But it was classed as a public health issue. There must be a tipping point progression from bad science -> moral crusade -> madness of crowds -> patriotic duty.

      • @James G

        “There must be a tipping point progression from bad science -> moral crusade -> madness of crowds -> patriotic duty.”

        Being able to see that tipping point coming or at least recognizing that it’s arrived, is where ethics comes in. Logic won’t because the perpertrators always have over-ruling reasons as to why it’s okay after all.

        Eugenics legislation was enacted all over the word except in the UK. A handful of very brave men talked it off the floor of the Parliament but it was damn close.


      • Since you mention Holocaust, there was an analysis that had little to do with National Socialism per se. It used the Holocaust as an example.
        Bauman, Zygmunt. 2001. Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press, February.

        According to Zygmunt Bauman, the techniques for suppressing alternatives to The State have two essential ingredients:
        1) Convince the population that the opponents are “The Other”, or the stranger, not “Us”. (E.g., “Deniers”)
        2) Create a hierarchical bureaucracy, whose moral compass is extinct, to deal with “The Other”. (E.g., EPA)

      • And my point is proven, “When people go to ‘Climate, etc.’, this is the face that is presented. ”

        Viewpoints such as what are presented here are pretty much tolerated (I might even say encouraged) by the host. Scientists see this type of commentary as representing the blog’s commentariate. If the idea behind this blog is to build bridges, I would submit that bridges to other climatologists who represent the consensus are being burned.

      • You do realise that “The Simpsons: The Movie” was not a documentary?

      • The problem is there are self-declared environmentalists who have in fact called for a reign of genocidal terror to destroy what they see as man’s blight on Earth.
        And the book attracted the unsolicited endorsement of none other than James Hansen:
        “Keith Farnish has it right: time has practically run out, and the ‘system’ is the problem”
        Professor James Hansen, Columbia University
        (from the same link)

      • Well, I don’t think Farnish is calling for genocide, just a transformation of society so radical someone could argue it would result in mass death ( alternately, you can make the opposite case that doing nothing is/will have similar consequences – but I don’t like either argument). Genocide has a more specific and emotionally-charged meaning.
        But let’s assume Farnish is saying something reprehensible… So what? You can find environmentalists who have said all sorts of nutty things. A few of them have even been involved in the history of the IPCC. I’ve seen skeptics both on and off the blogs make some pretty ridiculous statements as well, but that doesn’t lead me to believe anyone questioning the IPCC does so out of fear of a One World Government. Likewise, finding environmentalists who have claimed industrialization or capitalism is the problem is not evidence that the IPCC/UNFCCC is a plot to destroy industrial capitalism.

      • Watch the video and then guesstimate how many Copenhagen attendees agree with this nut job:

      • I really don’t know how many clapped, but from the videos I’ve seen I wouldn’t characterize it as “deafening”, and I still haven’t seen footage of his “standing ovation”. Chavez still has his fans, and a lot the things he says about capitalism or imperialism will resonate with part of a large audience drawn from around the world.
        Now let’s listen to what the real powers say to each other behind closed doors at Copenhagen (,1518,692861,00.html).
        It doesn’t quite seem as if they’re on the same page as Chavez (he wasn’t even invited) – not a single mention of doing away with capitalism.
        There are many points of view involved in the international arena, but not all are taken seriously in the end.

      • And the fact that two growing countries with severe internal population problems might not want to create even worse internal problems for themsleves contradicts the Chavez video and numerous environmentalists and UN types how?

      • Well China for one doesn’t make a habit of anti-capitalist tirades at international meetings. For a communist country they’re rather fond of capitalism. Chavez likes to talk of revolution, as do many environmentalists (though they don’t always have the socialist sort in mind) but this is a hard sell for the governments that matter.
        Better to set lofty, long-term targets, or devise a market-based scheme to generate profit. Market-based economic approaches are presupposed both for IPCC WG III and the UNFCCC.

      • Zajko,

        I’m sorry, but where in the definition of Capitalism is the part about an authoritarian gubmint having absolute control over businesses and lives at all times???

      • The Chinese no longer exercise complete control over their economy. They certainly intervene more than American regulators, but have done a remarkable job merging capitalism with authoritarian government. In a way they have redefined capitalism for themselves.

      • Zajko
        Would you want to live in China?

      • One of the big environmental moves I remember Chavez making was the cancellation of a large cellulosic ethanol project, of which he said the land would be better used to grow food.

        I’ve seen similar logic used to disparage ethanol subsidies in the United States, and accusations our corn ethanol policies have caused food shortages in poor countries.

      • Are you trying to tease out my position on the ideological spectrum? I’d like to visit China, and might consider living there for a time (with moral reservations), but I certainly am not a fan of the regime.

      • Given that Venezuela’s economy is entirely dependent on ol I’m not sure how much of a friend chavez is likely to be to environmentalists or people concerned about AGW generally.

      • Given that Venezuela’s economy is entirely dependent on ol

        And oil as well of course.

      • Zajko
        Don’t give a rip about your “ideological” position. Just wondering about your sense of reality wrt Third World country living. Not that “foreigners” live in those Third World conditions in China, but they are subject to more restrictions than most would be happy with on a long term basis. It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that. :-)

      • “The Chinese no longer exercise complete control over their economy. They certainly intervene more than American regulators, but have done a remarkable job merging capitalism with authoritarian government. In a way they have redefined capitalism for themselves”

        No, the Chinese exercise control any time they feel the need as shutting down businesses for the Olympics and other arbitrary activities show.

        You are not much of a history buff apparently. There were some other people who merged capitalism with authoritarian government under the guise of Socialism. I am hesitant to mention the name due to the people who scream about even valid comparisons.

        I would also offer that the US appears to be going the same direction with the nationalization of companies and redistribution of their assets not based on actual Law or Contracts/Obligations.

      • JCH,

        not sure the direction of your comment.

        The production of ethanol for fuel in the US uses huge amounts of land, some of which was brought back into production for this purpose, large amounts of energy to the point there is probably a net loss, major water consumption, and little savings in net CO2 emissions (which are plant food anyway.)

        Whether the US production of ethanol had a major impact on world food supply I do not have solid figures. When we add in Brazil and other countries with the US it is probable. Another real issue with food supplies appears to be weather related though and appear to be getting worse.

        We should stop the failed ethanol experiment as we could make a difference in turning the land back to food. Of course, all those farmers and agribusinesses profiting from the subsidies will not be happy nor the politicians buying their votes.

      • JCH,

        why yes, even Jimmah Cahtah said it was a fair election!!

        Oh, and we should ignore his packing the court and legislature so that he could get laws changed making it easier for him to pressure people by shutting down businesses and broadcast facilities. His arming his own little militias is another Democratic activity I am sure. Why any of these things could happen right here in the US under Obama!!


        Thanks for sharing.

      • I believe 80% of North Americans were persuaded to invade Iraq because Saddam was linked to Al Qaida and he was supposed to have had weapons of mass destruction. As yet Chavez and his supporters still have a long way to match that for rank, mass stupidity. I’m sure you’ll find an equivalent parallel in your own country without searching too hard.

      • Hugo Chavez has won two elections, both of which were observed by impartial parties. He is currently still within the constitutional timeframe of his 2nd term.

        He presented reasons for his election and reelection to the Venezuelan people. In the first go around 56% freely voted for Chavez and 44% freely voted for his opponents. After years of putting up with Chavez, 60% freely voted for Chavez and 40% voted for his opposition. His party has suffered losses in free elections.

        So calling him a dictator makes little sense, and that accusation just feeds into his supporters’ hands. He’s a loudmouth and other objectionable things, but he holds power according to the Venezuelan constitution: he’s elected.

        He once was a part of a coup attempt, but that was before he ran for office.

      • The debate over whether Chavez is or is not a dictator could also belong on another blog, as it could be a long one – plenty of evidence on both sides. Maybe we could just agree to call him a democratically-elected strongman with a tendency to centralize power and try to extend his term in office.

        MODERATION NOTE: discussion on dictators and nazism is being deleted, not relevant on this blog

    • Indeed. Keep bringing back the focus to the death and deprivation that is entailed in the “mitigation” that is inextricably part and parcel of Climate Changeology. Its likelihood approaches 100%, unlike the tiny odds of natural disaster (which mankind could probably cope with fairly readily anyhow) “feared” by the cAGW cult.

      As Winston said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

    • With this level of comment indentation, it’s nearly impossible to follow the ebb and flow of debate. My take on it.


  29. The idea that there can be any such thing as post normal science is ridiculous. The idea that there are defined periods of scientific revolution, and in between periods of something else, is ridiculous. The environment we are in is no different from any other, and it is one, which it always is, of decision under uncertainty and in the presence of scientific discovery. Calling this post normal is just evidence of an inability to think clearly, or use ordinary language in a meaningful way.

    • Michael, The concepts of normal and revolutionary science date from Thomas Kuhn, 50 years ago. Are you aware of this literature in the science of science?

      • For that matter are you aware of the study of science as a separate field?

      • Unfortunately David, you aren’t representing Kuhn very accurately.

        He was wasn’t talking about a ‘revolutionary’ form of science that exists seperately from ‘normal’ science (ala ‘post-normal’, which I think michel disparages quite rightly), but the process of normal science where there are short bursts of ‘revolution’, when existing paradigms are replaced with new ones – via normal scientific process and progress

      • Michael, I did my Ph.D. thesis on Kuhn. Michel said “The idea that there are defined periods of scientific revolution, and in between periods of something else, is ridiculous.” This idea is exactly what Kuhn said. The “something else” is normal science.

        But I am not defending the concept of post-normal science. I too find that wrong, if not ridiculous. But Kuhn’s model is very important in the climate case, where we have a politically motivated scientific paradigm in AGW. The paradigm- defense measures Kuhn describes are everywhere apparent in the pro-AGW camp.

      • Kuhn’s ideas relate to developments in science, not the wild accusations emanating from key-board warriors on blogs.

        Kuhn’s ‘anomalies’ are scientific ones, not conspiracy mongering and wild assertion. Maybe you could make your case by outlining the mass of scientific anomalies that would indicate the impending, or required, paradigm shift. And what that shift is. But let me be clear about this, it’s about anomalies that indicate serious deficiencies in the ability of the current paradigm to serve as a useful tool. Anomalies are, as Kuhn made clear, a routine and normal part of scientific progress. And anomalies are not uncertainty.

        And let me give you my take on Kuhn’s ideas as they relate to AGW – AGW was the paradigm-shift away from the idea that climate was on too massive a scale to be influenced by human activity. Only gradually has the notion, pretty much so taken for granted as to be not metioned, that climate is above our influence, been overturned. But there remains a vocal defense of the old orthodoxy – climate variation is normal and human activity can play no role.

        And it is intensly political and involves all kind of attacks, conspiracies, and most importantly – almost no science, as well as ascribing ill-intent against those who have had a role in developing, or accept, the new paradigm.

      • The anomalies are well known. They are what the skeptics are pointing to. I myself believe that AGW has been falsified by observation. The new paradigm will almost certainly take natural variability into account, quite possibly explaining all observed variability without AGW.

        The important point is that climate science has been captured by the environmental political movement. This is relatively unprecedented and Kuhn’s model has to be modified to include this novel feature: politicized science. For example. we are seeing anomalies set aside, rather than being pursued, so that governments can proceed with adopted policies.

      • What are these anomalies that are “well known”?

        What is the new paradigm – do you mean the old one that climate can’t be influenced by man??

      • From what I’ve seen here, many of them are the very things you object to, but fail to examine closely.

        I’ve only been here a short time. I came here to learn. I have learned….. that there are even more holes, uncertainties and politicized science than I knew about before coming here. And I was no virgin when I got here.

        If you haven’t learned the same things, then you just haven’t been paying attention. Or you’re a True Believer and are experiencing cognitive dissonance.

  30. Judith,

    Government science gave us misinformation about:

    1.) The Sun’s origin,
    2.) The Sun’s composition,
    3.) The Sun’s source of energy, and
    4.) The Sun’s dominant influence on Earth’s climate:

    “Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” addresses item #4.

    Are we still supposed to pretend that the Sun is a giant ball of Hydrogen heated by Hydrogen fusion?

    After “reconciliation”, how are we supposed to regard Al Gore and his lockstep army of Nobel Prize winners?

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

  31. I’ve had a feeling for a while that this week, the week of Holocaust Memorial Day, 2011, was going to be mighty important. I didn’t know about this meeting until just now. But it seems to fit.

    Blessings, everyone.

  32. Judy, best wishes to you and your collaborators for a very productive tripe.

  33. Dr Curry,

    I wish you all the best and I sincerely hope the discussion proves to be a positive one.

    I’m not sure, however, if ‘reconciliation’ is the correct term for what is about to happen, as there are several meanings.

    If it is ‘restore friendly relations between(as in the two sides wish to be reconciled)…’, then that is always laudable and should be taken advantage of. However, this would appear to be at odds with the ‘scientific consensus’ view

    If it is ’cause to co-exist in harmony with (as in you must reconcile yourself to this idea)…’, then I fear that is a political goal, not a scientific one.

    If it is ‘settle (as in a disagreement)…’, then I would think there is no hope of this unless the key players from ‘either side’ are present.

    Still, I do not wish to be negative at welcoming any opportunity to explore the truth. In the end, this should be the only goal (unless you are a politician…).

    Have a good trip.

  34. Greetings Judith

    There is no incompatibility, per se – the issue is how to apply what the science is telling us, in a rational and ethical context.

    Of course, there is a sociology of science; and it is not the same thing as cultural and ethical relativism.

    The problematic ‘environment’ is perhaps the environment of science communication, rather than the ‘environment of science’. Clarity about this is important.

    I agree that it is important to recognize that scientists have not been called on in the way they are being called on, today, to consider communication issues. What’s more, our public is not as used to participating in public policy decisions as they could be and should be.

    The sociology of science recognizes that scientific activity has progressed from simple-minded instrumental reason and positivism, and the pretense of value-freedom in the application of scientific knowledge, to include dialogue about what should be done (ethics).

    “Ravetz makes the point that the situation with climate science is a long way from the classic problems of the philosophy of science as laid out by Popper and Kuhn. Ravetz argues that there is a new class of epistemic problems that are dominated by uncertainty in the context of social and ethical concerns.”

    Yes. The point is that the classic paradigmatic problems discussed by Kuhn do not refer to a lapse in the objectivity and rationalism of the scientific method (as distinct from other types of knowledge, and knowledge production), but rather, to a more complex rationalism. A ‘new class’ of epistemic problems emerges from the evolution of democracy, and the intersection of democracy with science, rather than from any substantive change in the scientific method or the nature of the resulting scientific knowledge.


    • I think I get it. There’s a gulag brave-new-word that needs to be foisted on the “herd” for its own good. And what “we” need to do to make it happen is to jettison our “..simple-minded instrumental reason and reason and positivism and of value freedom…”, lock-and-load our Lysenko-science, and get on with the culling process. And we can be sure that the new, higher-science will spare the “enlightened ones” the rigors of the process. Heck, they might even make a buck or two off the deal. Might even be enough left over so that some lucky few flunkies get a little walkin’-around money. Like I say, I think I get it.

    • Martha, nice to see you back again. You stated:

      “The sociology of science recognizes that scientific activity has progressed from simple-minded instrumental reason and positivism, and the pretense of value-freedom in the application of scientific knowledge, to include dialogue about what should be done (ethics). ”

      I can’t agree that this is a natural evolution. Part of the problem is that the science has been hijacked by those who have their own political agenda (you call this ethics). The delineation between politics and science has become blurred and this has reduced scientists’ credibility as experts – especially those that have become strident policy advocates. The public – who you patronisingly state are not used to participating in policy discussions – have their own way of showing their disinterest. They yawn, shrug their shoulders and just get on with their lives. You might call this complacency, I would just call it realism. They’ve heard it all before.

  35. Dear Dr. Curry,
    Climate Science may be a “wicked problem”, but Scientific discipline is not. A lot of work, yes. “Wicked”, no.

    I am delighted to see some of the names due to attend. I am surprised not to see Mike Hulme among them; he has a big stake in post-normal science.

    If I may suggest:
    1) Review the Validation and Verification thread on this forum.
    2) Consider the importance of Requirements Management, including changes to and approval of requirements. This implies inclusion of all stakeholders.
    3) Consider the importance of Change Management, including the history of acquisition and changes to specifications, code, data, test scenarios (a.k.a. Base Case)
    4) Disciplined Data Retention practices
    5) Disclosure

    However, if Climate Science is to regain credibility, restoration of Integrity is essential. You and your blog is leading the way. May your tribe increase.

    • I forgot to add:
      If the philosophical approach of Post-Normal Science is to be used, then practitioners should say so. Let us hear no more of an unqualified “The Science is settled”.

      • re “an unqualified ‘the science is settled'”
        People informed about climate change, and particularly scientists, don’t talk like that. I’m not sure that the purpose of a post-normal science framework is best understood by setting up straw scientists, like that.

        Climate science is telling us that CO2 from human activity is the cause of the current warming trend and it’s a serious problem. I’m pretty sure that Judith Curry doesn’t dispute that. What’s more, the scientific method, and the basics of current climate science knowledge, are not going to be debated within the proposed framework. It’s about the edges.

        It’s about extending science-related concerns into decision-making arenas and offering a framework for problem-solving. Post-normal science has its inspiration in the sustainability movement and is a facilitative framework to address the multi-stakeholder nature of complex ethical and economic problems, and the role of science-related activity in a problem-solving policy framework. So, questions will be around what interventions and policies are justified by what the current science already says — not just what it doesn’t yet specifically know — about risks and implications of climate change.

        Doing nothing is not supported by the current science or any problem-solving perspective. I’m not sure if that’s what you meant.


      • Martha: re 1) “an unqualified ‘the science is settled’” and 2) “Doing nothing is not supported by the current science or any problem-solving perspective. I’m not sure if that’s what you meant.”

        1) Sorry. Attempts at brevity sometimes fall short :-) in clarity. If one is using the paradigm of post-normal science, then the fittingly-qualified phrase should read ‘the post-normal science is settled’. This would alert the public to criteria that differ from those of ‘normal science’.

        2) “Doing nothing is not supported”. In concentrating on CO2 reduction by government diktat, the IPCC left out an important option: adaptation. I am sure you realize that the temperature rise from doubling CO2 without feedbackis on the order of 1oC. That is roughly the difference in average temperature between Boston and New York City. We can live with that. The scenarios use feedbacks to project alarming rises. None are negative. Some (aerosols) use different parameters for tuning and projections.

        Finally for now, empirical evidence mounts against the IPCC theory. Some of it may have landed on your walkway. Aside from that, the seas are cooling, and the lagged effects spreading to other ocean basins. I could go on, but in summary, there are many drivers other than CO2 that should have been taken into account, but were not or were short-changed.

      • Pooh,
        Planning for adaptation is discussed at length by the IPCC.
        I’m wondering why you wish to set it up as adaptation ‘vs,’ mitigation? CO2 reduction is considered a modest plan and a reasonable first action by many economists, and a lot of businesses and corporations and other governments have already moved forward with changes, without a global treaty. Further, local risk assessments and adaptation measures, along with other community initiatives related to e.g. energy diversification/independence, have been underway for years in many parts of the world.

        Who is ‘we’? Your ‘we’ doesn’t seem to include people in the most vulnerable regions around the world (e.g. island nations, delta regions of Africa or Asia, the North).

        The most at-risk regions affected have the fewest resources to cope. That may suggest extra responsibilities for the West, but no one is talking about crippling the economy. Most economists anticipate new directions in production for all kinds of reasons (including the current low productivity and increasing poverty in the U.S., along with the decrease in American dominance of global relations), not just climate change.

        re. snow – as you know, weather is not climate. Although, climate change is linked to increased weather extremes. ;-)

      • When one pierces Martha’s Stepford-scholar cant and letter-perfect right-think, one perceives a forthright contempt for science (at least that old-fashioned, “simple-minded” version, once held in high regard) in favor of “science” as a propaganda adjunct to the latest “big” idea.

        Two questions:

        From earlier posts, it appears that Martha is a newly-minted product of our university science education programs. Many of the commentators on this blog are academics, so I ask–is Martha typical of the “new breed” of “scholars” destined to become the leaders of science in our future, or not?

        Martha’s view are highly controversial (in my view repugnant and alarming). Yet Martha seems to be handled with kid’s gloves, on this blog, even by those who disagree with her appalling views. We don’t extend such deference to the hired-gun scientists in the employ of tobacco companies. So why does Martha’s advocacy “science” get such a wide berth?

        If Martha’s brand of “science” is now respectable, then scientists are in the same category as used-car-salesmen, hedge fund operators, and New Jersey politicians. Such creatures have a place, of course, in the bio-sphere, they are not, however, to be trusted by any prudent individual.

      • Mike – I’m not an academic and I don’t have any gloves I’m afraid. I find her comments on this thread pompous and pretentious. It would be tempting to dismiss them as nonsense if they weren’t so dangerously Orwellian.

      • Were these questions for me?

        My understanding of science is that it is both a product of society and unique in its goals and methods in relation to the production of objective and rational knowledge of the world around us.

        Science informs. The public needs to decide what kind of risk it wishes to take regarding climate change, based on what sort of society we wish to live in, using democratic decision-making.

        Does that help you?

      • Martha, the human race uses about a millionth of the sun’s energy that hits the earth to sustain itself. A tiny increase in the efficiency of our use of that energy will sustain in fine style many multiples of the present human population. So much for Malthus and all his latter day hallucinotons.

        All you need is imagination. Many, many, more can live sustainable lives.

    • Data handling integrity and validation protocols would both be fatal to the Changeologists’ case and livelihoods. Never happen except over their dead (professional) bodies.

  36. Anybody going from the Walker Institute, Reading University.
    (IPCC lead authors, contributors and editors) linked with Hadley Centre, etc

    They are part of AVOID: Tyndall Centre, grantham, Hadley Centre & Walker Institute. They advice the Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK. I have a climate scientist friend or 2 there, who is very sensible, even when they disagree with me about AGW ;)

    I’m sure the like of Hansen making alarmist statements does them no favours, as Professor Arnell agreed with me at a public lecture, recently. I was in front row in the reserved seats for guests.

    very late notice, but tommorrow.
    26th Jan Damian Carrington, Guardian and Observer
    Why scientists must talk to the media!

    I can’t make it, I have my three year old all day..

    this is the man that ‘scooped’ the 10:10 ‘No Pressure’ video,and thought it was very good.

  37. Judith,

    I agree that the path for reconciliation in this debate is not one where the blame is put everybody but climate scientists. There is indeed some introspection to do (as I’ve noted, e.g. )

    But I do know that the path to reconciliation is neither one where the blame is exclusively put on climate scientists.

    The latter has been a very popular pastime, esp since the CRU email affair, and it only ads oil to the fire since it leads to a defensive response, and the circle is round.

  38. The public lost confidence in the scientific community – with good reason.

    Current leaders of the scientific community will have to go.

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

    • Oliver,
      Why do you say things like this? Do you still believe that there has been a conspiracy theory dominating science since 1969 to hide the truth found in lunar sampling by Apollo? And that the current warming is caused by an iron sun, and climate scientists are covering it up to suit themselves?

      It’s false and misleading that you try to base your rejection of AGW on the work of research astronomer, Debra Fischer. Debra’s research finds that stars with large amounts of iron are more likely to have planets, and it’s really interesting work that suggests ‘a correlation between metal abundance and planet formation’. In terms of the creation of solar systems, it means later-formed stars would be more likely to have planets, and that our solar system may not be typical.

      One would think that Debra would be the one to reject AGW on the basis of her own research. She doesn’t.

      Since you think you are a better interpreter of Dr. Fischer’s own work than she is, I do have to wonder if you are doing something similar, here.

      Where do you believe that Dr. Curry implies agreement that leading climate scientists are incompetent and should not be working, and that there is a cover-up and that the current warming is caused by an iron sun rather than increased CO2 from human activity?


      • Martha: Re: “Do you still believe that there has been a conspiracy theory”

        I do not think a conspiracy theory is at work here. (There are too many adherents to fit around a guttering candle in a dark cellar.) :-) Post-Normal Science is at least plausible, but by introducing additional factors for results, it introduces uncertainty.

        On the contrary, a convergence of interests may be at work. You may wish to review
        Sunstein, Cass, and Timur Kuran. 2007. Availability Cascades and Risk Regulation. Research. Social Science Research Network. October 7.

      • One of the great strawman arguments used by the AGW believers is along the lines of
        ‘since you cannot show a criminal conspiracy behind AGW, it must be true.’
        Where history is full of examples where nobel cause corruption, availability cascades, peer pressure and self interest, all can lead to bad ideas being widely accepted and promoted.

      • hunter,

        It’s the m.o. of Warmers to require proof of a conspiracy, but require no proof of AGW.


  39. Dr. Curry,
    I suggest a concerted effort on the IPCC to publish a Majority Report and a Minority Report. In AR4, the IPCC almost always took the more extreme viewpoint on any debated point of science. A Minority Report would put pressure on the Majority to be more fair in its assessment. The only way I know to reign in ideologues is to remind them of reality. A Minority Report would do that.

    • Won’t happen. Remember? “No pressure!” ~~BOOM~~

      • I just realized. The “no pressure” line actually means that no pressure on the Warmists is permitted!

        Finally, that phrase makes sense.

      • I am only suggesting they discuss the idea of pressuring the IPCC to publish two reports. I would like to know what they consider the positive and negative aspects of such an approach. I can see only positives. If one report was led by a Gavin Schmidt type and the other by a Roger Pielke Sr or Judith Curry type, the reports would be very different. At the end of process, the climate scientists who participated could vote on which they thought best represented the process. I am willing to bet the report by Pielke or Curry would get more votes than Gavin or Jim Hansen would like to know about.

      • The presumption that IPCC represents anything other than the midpoint of scientific evidence is striking and strikingly unsupported.

        Of course it’s unsupported because it’s wrong. There would have to be two minority reports, because IPCC is by design representing the midpoint of informed opinion.

      • I agree in part Michael. People like Hansen and you are far to one side of the IPCC, while Lindzen and I are far to the other side. However I think it is a polar distribution, along the conceptual lines of a chart you posted some time ago. Thus there are two bell-shaped distributions, not one, with a relatively empty valley in between. There is the skeptical bell and a pro-AGW bell. The IPCC is clearly over in the pro-AGW bell, while the overall midpoint is in the valley, where nobody lives.

      • Michael your assertion about the midpoint of opinion presupposes that both sides get a fair bite at the cherry. This is not what the climategate emails seem to suggest…..keeping scientific papers out of IPCC reports etc.

      • Micheal— then you also agree that shutting down all the world’s coal-fired plants by 2030 would cost $5 trillion and result in 0.27C reduced warming by year 2100?

        That is based on the IPCC’s numbers. Seems like a really bad plan to me.

      • ” There would have to be two minority reports, because IPCC is by design representing the midpoint of informed opinion.”

        Like much of the statistics used to support IPCC Climate Science this statement represents a too much certainty.

  40. Dear Judith,

    I’m a Portuguese blogger from Lisbon, and skeptical of course! Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend. If you need any insight, please contact me.

    On a side note, it’s very interesting that this meeting occurs here in Lisbon. Less than half year ago, we had the Climategate gang here in Lisbon, in a mostly secretive meeting

    Have a nice stay,


    • Since your link leads to a discussion of the MWP, you might enjoy the following:
      Anon.n.d. CO2 Science Medieval Warm Period Project Map.
      Shows Medieval Warm Period and worldwide locations at which its existence has been investigated / confirmed. The “Hockey Stick” graph did not show them, and its existence has been disputed by AGW advocates.
      You will need Java running on your browser. Page down below the map to review its features.

  41. RE: list of participants

    Is there another “Steve Goddard” involved in climate communication/science besides the person that formerly blogged for WUWT?

    Any idea if there will be some other climate scientists participating?

    That’s a rather narrow range of opinion represented, isn’t it? Almost… tribal… one might say.

    • thingsbreak – apparently Anthony Watts was also invited but declined.

      The guest list does seem a lttle ‘one sided’ to me.

      Is it really an attempt at reconciliation or an attempt to build the denialist concensus and ensure that moderates are now grouped in with the WUWT crowd?

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Is it really an attempt at reconciliation or an attempt to build the denialist concensus and ensure that moderates are now grouped in with the WUWT crowd?’

        If that were its purpose, it seems strange that the WUWTer-in-Chief is not attending.

        I thought it was sceptics who were alleged to be obsessed with conspiracy theory??

      • Latimer – he was invited but declined due to family and business commitments

      • Latimer Alder

        Thanks. I was aware of the circumstances

        But it tends to discount your theory. If the meeting is planned to ‘group the moderates with the WUWT crowd’, would it not have been wise to secure the attendance of the Chief WUWTer before anyone else?

        Otherwise (if your theory is right) it will be Hamlet without the Prince. And how could such a ‘prince of darkness’ as AW decline an offer to draw yet further innocents under his wicked spell? Perhaps a double or even triple game is being played here….?

        Or more likely its a bunch of people who want to get together to talk about climate issues without the need to continuously toe the party line.

      • Louise

        Notwithstanding the attendance list, the pre text to the workshop contains the following statement that should reassure you slightly and perhaps temper the enthusiasm of some of the skeptics:

        “We believe that the possibility of harmful climate change is real, and that the resolution of the science (even recognition of its inherent uncertainties) is urgent. It makes only the minimal assumption that everyone agrees that there is a problem to be solved, which will not go away or be achieved by the surrender of one side.”

      • The conference blurb is here

    • The complete invite list has 28 names on it. I listed the names people were most likely to have heard of. The organization hosting the workshop is Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Of the names on the list, I would judge about 1/3 are supporters of the IPCC/UNFCCC science and policies. In terms of climate scientists such as IPCC authors, well there are none (several were invited but declined). Actually, I find the range of opinion reflected by the group to be extremely broad; note the purpose of this workshop is not to debate nuances of the hockey stick or sensitivity or whatever.

    • Curious Canuck

      ” In addition to the organizers, a number of names will be familiar to denizens of the climate blogosphere:” she said the line before. Bold emphasis is mine though.

      I had to re-read it too. The list of those familiar to us blogophiles was so distractingly refreshing that my eyes jumped over her last sentence.

  42. Had an interesting dinner with Tallbloke, McIntyre, McKitrick, Webster, Mosher, Stokes. If anyone is concerned by an insufficient diversity of perspectives, well I don’t think you need to be too concerned.

    • Thanks, Professor Curry, for being there.

      The very survival of our democratic form of government is at stake.

      The people will not have the information needed to make rational decisions if government scientists are allowed to distort data to please the politicians that give them our tax funds.

      Climategate is our wake-up call: We are on the slippery slope that leads to the tyrannical government described in “1984”.

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

    • best thing i’ve read in years.

    • But what (and i think i speak for everyone here when i say this) i think we all want to know is…

      who had the fish?

    • I have no doubt there is a significant amount of diversity within the spectrum of the persons participating.

      My concern had more to do with where that spectrum is centered. To use an extreme example (and not drawing an equivalence), obviously it’s possible to have an incredibly diverse conference about the ostensible problems plaguing evo/devo without having a single mainstream evo/devo biologist (or I suppose relevant communicator like Carl Zimmer) in attendance. Again, that’s simply an illustrative example, not a direct comparison.

      The climate scientists named so far do not remotely resemble what I would consider to be a representative sample, but rather represent a fairly narrow cluster on the outer edges of mainstream. This is not a comment about their scientific work, but rather in terms of their own statements regarding their own positions.

    • If by “diversity of perspectives”, you mean that none of them can agree exactly why climate science is a fraud, the IPCC should be disbanded and they’ll all in it for the research grants, I’d probably agree with you.

  43. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Maybe, this is the first step – Good Luck, Judith

  44. Judith;
    Don’t know if you’re logging in while traveling, but here’s a cautionary note (comment) posted over at WUWT you should read:
    The terms of reference have been liberally salted with presumptions of a crisis and the need to respond to it, in other words. Do you accept those terms?

  45. Reconciliation? Compromise?

    “No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. . . . For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; . . . Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.”

    “I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” Patrick Henry, 23 March 1775

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

  46. Dr. Curry

    Lots of luck at the Lisbon workshop.

    I am not as pessimistic as some others appear to be regarding its outcome.

    It can’t really be worse than some of the stuff that has gone on since Climategate, etc. “hit the fan” and could hopefully address some of the many points of contention in an impartial and rational manner.

    Keep us all informed.


    PS If you like fish, I hope you’ll get a chance to try the “bacalhau” (dried, salted cod fish). Locals claim there are more ways to prepare this than there are days in the year, but Lisbon has it’s own special way (in scrambled egg with onions and potatoes). Bom apetite!

  47. Post normal science, what nonsense. Science is science. If it’s not science its superstition, propaganda, ideology. It’s quite obvious the computer generated descriptions of climate reality are problematic– don’t work–and the policy prescriptions advocated by some people based on the precautionary principle is not science. Post normal science is a sort of recycled Marx: “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” ‘Cause the revolutionary moment or history or some such precautionary “ethical” crap allegedly demands it.

  48. Anne van der Bom

    Reconciliation? How about evidence to to prove your point? Much more effective than group hugs.

  49. Lack of Leadership! That is the problem.

    In 1983 we predicted in a peer-reviewed paper that the Galileo Mission would find excess Xe-136 in Jupiter [“Solar abundance of the elements”, Meteoritics 18, 209-222 (1983)].

    In 1995 the Galileo probe observed excess Xe-136 in Jupiter.

    In 1998, Dr. Dan Goldin was being videotaped by CSPAN News when I asked him for the data.

    Immediately he turned to Dr. Wes Huntress, who was on stage, and said, “NASA does not hide data !”

    Wes, I’ll give you 24 hours to get that data on the web.

    If the data is not on the web in the next 24 hours, I want a letter on my desk explaining why not!

    How differently it might have been today if leaders of the scientific community had displayed the leadership skills of Dr. Dan Goldin and separated themselves and their institutions from those who were caught manipulating and hiding climate data in 2009.

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

    PS – Five students deciphered the xenon data in a few weeks [O. Manuel, K. Windler, A. Nolte, L. Johannes, J. Zirbel and D. Ragland, “Strange xenon in Jupiter”, Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry 238, nos. 1-2, 119-121 (1998)]; “Isotopic ratios in Jupiter confirm intra-solar diffusion”, Meteoritics and Planetary Science 33, A97, 5011 (1998).

  50. The morning session is in progress, with each participant making a 5 minute statement. There are genuinely a diversity of perspectives here, about a third of the participants are physical scientists with some knowledge of climate science, whereas the majority are social scientists (with a few journalists).

    The meeting is being run under Chatham House rules. A few points that have caught my interest so far:
    • dealing with complex problems using complex tools, ideas
    • the idea of reconciliation in scientific debates is to try different approaches in an experimental meeting for attempting nonviolent communication in impassioned debates where there is disagreement
    • reconciliation is not about consensus, but rather creating an arena where we can have honest disagreement
    • violence in this debate derives from the potential impacts of climate change and the policy options, and differing political and cultural notions of risk and responsibility.
    • disagreement in climate science is more violent than other fields where there is much disagreement and high societal stakes (e.g. economics). On person attributed the violence of the disagreement in climate science to the propensity of scientific societies to publish position statements, and the IPCC itself; these create animosity and hostility through the exercise of power without sufficient accountability.

    • huh, encouraging stuff.

    • Judith,

      The problem is that is science does not get it right, lives will be lost and someone will have to be accountable for the bad advice or bad science.
      Precipitation patterns of increased water vapour in clouds are generating massive water dumps and prolonged precipitation.
      These cannot be measured by temperature patterns.

      • Joe, what evidence do you have that anyone has died due to an AGW induced weather event?

      • There has never been an AGW event. It all has been natural progrssive planetary changes.
        Just climate science missed the ocean heat moving to the Arctic and currently is pumping out the water vapour into the atmosphere. This has virtually covered the whole landmass in the northen hemisphere.

        Impressive really!

      • Joe Lalonde

        There has never been an AGW event. It all has been natural progressive planetary changes

        I would agree, but apparently Kevin Trenberth does not. He has even made the scientifically curious suggestion that ALL weather events are caused by AGW – in fact, he describes this as the “null hypothesis”.

        Given that global warming is unequivocal, the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of “of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming”.

        But this has all been covered on another thread here.


      • The problem is that is science does not get it right, lives will be lost

        I think you’ve got your argument the wrong way around. It should be something like:

        If science gets it right, lives may be saved

        It’s a simple point concerning the burden of evidence.

      • The two statements are logical equivalents. And they’re both wrong.

        The problem is that in 5,000 years, science has never gotten it right. The progression from Aristotelian science to quantum mechanics has been a several thousand year chronicle of not getting it right, but rather continually moving on to the next not-right position. And there’s no evidence that getting it right will happen in the near future.

        And you want the entire human race to bet the farm on science getting it right this time?

        I don’t think so.

      • Jim Owen gets it.
        The herd will swing around, but it will still be a firm and arrogant herd (paraphrasing Thomas Gold).

      • Uninformed Luddite

        For some reason your ‘bet the farm’ comment made me think of a book I read many years ago. It was Silent Spring and it was a very convincing load of crap. Millions died because of this book and it has always made me look at alarmists in a different light.

    • It’s the Chatham House Rule, singular, so I’m told.

      Thanks for the clues as to what’s been going on.

    • So when scientists get death threats, it’s their fault or the IPCCs fault.


      And I think there is an important, but small, correction to make here – it should be the “violence of the disagreement about climate science” as the vast majority of the violent disagreement comes from the outside.

      • Indeed, the violent disagreement is in the political arena, where violent disagreement is the norm, up to and including overthrowing governments and massacring populations. The scientific disagreements are in the firm grip of political disagreements. No one is demonstrating over string theory.

        So if there is to be any reconciliation, whatever that means, it will be along political lines. Dissolving the IPCC might be a start, because it deliberately conflates the scientific with the political. But that would be a big defeat for the green side.

        I am reminded of the dismay of the American founding fathers at the rise of the two party system. Reconciliation was not possible.

      • randomengineer

        IPCC is a political position by a political body by definition, so it would be stretch to claim that the IPCC is a consensus on science.

        I am reminded of the dismay of the American founding fathers at the rise of the two party system.

        Damn. You’re somewhat older than I’d pictured.

      • The IPCC is both political and scientific by definition and that is the problem. It is jointly run by the UNEP, a political program, and the WMO, a scientific one. It is no accident that the IPCC is cited as a scientific authority, yet it gets the Nobel Peace Prize, a prize normally given for for activism. The IPCC members are countries but the authors are scientists. I call it “artful bias”.

        The prototype for the IPCC was the massive “scientific report” leading up to the Montreal Protocol on CFC’s. That trick worked so well it was institutionalized by the UN. The USA is the largest sponsor by the way.

        I am old but not that old. I can read.

      • Seems to me the “violence” is coming from the AGW side only. That alone is telling.

      • Given that AGW folks are the ones pushing for social change they get to throw the first political rock. But AGW scientists are getting death threats, and subpoenas, from skeptics. There is political violence on both sides, as there must be. This is a genuine political tussle.

      • David –
        There’s a LARGE difference between death threats and subpoenas. And I know beyond doubt that the death threats are not coming only from skeptics. There are numerous violent statements from political figures aimed at sceptics. Nor should you believe that prominent sceptics haven’t been threatened privately. I’m certainly not prominent, and I’ve gotten some openly threatening messages.

      • Jim, I never suggested that it was one sided. On the contrary my point was that it was two sided, so skeptics being threatened is no objection to my point.

      • Re: “and subpoenas”. If you refer to the Civil Investigative Demand (CID), it was directed to the University of Virginia (UVa) for disclosure. Its focus was on the question of possible fraud involved in applications for grants. In their response, UVa conceded that “academic freedom” was not at issue.
        Re: “Political Violence”. You got it right: qualified to distinguish from “Physical Violence”. However, I have not heard of any “death threats”, except against skepticism. “No Pressure” comes to mind.

      • A number of AGW proponents have complained of death threats, or so I have heard. In any case I see this all as a fairly normal political struggle, but one which has caught a scientific community in its grip. History in the making.

        I am not an activist skeptic because I am interested in the science. I am a cognitive scientist and could care less about climate science. I am interested in the science only because my opponent is trying to distort it for political ends. That has forced me to become an expert, and has made climate science a mainstream interest. Even the research program is political. Absent the policy issue I doubt it would be more than a tenth its present size of $2 billion/year in the USA alone.

    • Judith,

      Interesting points, except for the last one which I think totally misses the mark.

      • randomengineer

        Read Trenberth’s AMS speech. Meanwhile ask why the AGU thinks it needs a “position” on climate. Does it have one on string theory? Why not?

      • Because there is no public interest or public debate about string theory.

      • It is a deeper question if you think about it.

        Scientists have not tried to influence governmental policy positions when it comes to string theory (because, imo; scientists would not know of any applicable policy on the topic)

        When it comes to climate change, it appears that those initially involved in the science reached a conclusion that:
        a. CO2 would raise worldwide temperatures- (that was science….good or bad)
        b. That a warmer world was bad for humanity- (that was not really science based, but more of conjecture)
        c. That specific global governmental policies should be implemented to try to prevent “a” from occurring

      • Bart Verheggen

        Interesting points, except for the last one which I think totally misses the mark.

        Bart, I’d have to disagree with you .

        Let’s revisit that “last point”, as written by Dr. Curry:

        disagreement in climate science is more violent than other fields where there is much disagreement and high societal stakes (e.g. economics). On person attributed the violence of the disagreement in climate science to the propensity of scientific societies to publish position statements, and the IPCC itself; these create animosity and hostility through the exercise of power without sufficient accountability.

        Disagreement in climate science is certainly more violent than in (at least most) other fields. Uncertainty in “climate science” is great (as Curry has stated elsewhere). It is also great in “economics” – where forecasts that go beyond a few years rarely turn out to be correct, due to the many unknown outliers (or “black swans”, as Nassim Taleb would call them). But the level of emotional involvement (and hence the violence of disagreement) is greater in the climate debate than elsewhere.

        It certainly has not helped for “scientific societies to publish position statements”; these are often just token rubber-stamps of one position or another by the political leadership of these organizations, without any serious scientific justification for the position. Instead, they often rely on the argument of authority (IPCC said so).

        Is IPCC part of the problem? Has it “exercised power without sufficient accountability”? I think the recent revelations show that it has done so. Has this “created animosity and hostility”? Maybe these expressions are a bit too strong, but it has certainly created a high degree of mistrust. And, in the process, it has probably become irrelevant and redundant.

        So I’d say the last bullet is “spot on”.


    • Saying that CO2 is the likely cause of future change to the environment and saying that mitigating CO2 or adapting to CO2 is the only known way to meet these challenges is a perfectly logical and scientific stance to take, according the current state of risk shown in the literature. Blaming hostility on position statements is like blaming a fire alarm for causing hysteria. Societies inability to deal with warnings in a responsible nature says much more about us than it does about the IPCC or the AGU. Perhaps the focus should be there. By this rational, the AMA never should have warned people about cigarette smoking.

      • randomengineer

        By this rational, the AMA never should have warned people about cigarette smoking.

        It’s never been demonstrated that a single human has ever been made so much as sick by second hand smoke, much less died from it, although all sorts of absurd statistics are used claim this. In turn this is used to raise taxes which then are’t used for the intended purpose.

        No, nobody could possibly be suspicious. What a silly thought.

        (Note that I don’t smoke and don’t like it. However when talking to idealogues it becomes necessary to put forth a disclaimer to thwart the obvious low hanging fruit.)

      • Please don’t deflect my point with silly 2nd hand smoke Popperisms. Even if this were a legitimate complaint, which is isn’t, the point is that medical associations said cigarette smoke was a medical risk– ALL kinds, not just 2nd hand. And these are the types of warnings that scientific associations have a responsibility to make.

      • randomengineer

        The point is that association directors feel thee need to take positions on that which is demonstrably not true, which doesn’t do much other than make the association look bad. When associations take positions, this is POLITICAL, so it shouldn’t be a great surprise that there’s going to be pushback. This is especially true when the position isn’t provable.

        If associations would simply associate and leave the politics out of the deal much of the animosity would vanish. As Dr Wojick notes there aren’t people deomstrating against string theory, and curiously, the AGU etc doesn’t seem to have a “position” on it.

        Dr Curry is stating the obvious. Why it takes a conference of experts to grasp the obvious is a mystery. Why you don’t is more ideology than anything.

      • I know a smoker’s home as soon as I go in one. My lungs shut tight, can’t breath (severe asthema), and I have to leave. Is that enough evidence for you?

      • randomengineer

        Try to keep up. Second hand smoke didn’t CAUSE your asthma.

      • No it didnt, but it makes it worse, causing more damage.

      • It is not a deflection, it is on point. Warnings about second hand smoke would be irresponsible because the science is not there to justify them. (Moreover, the AMA is not a scientific society, as most doctors are not scientists.) Scientific societies have no business making policy pronouncements in general, and certainly not when the science is controversial. The AMS, AGU, AAAS and such have taken sides in a political fight and science is going to pay the price for their political advocacy. We skeptics have warmed about this for decades and now it is here.

      • Warnings about second hand smoke would be irresponsible because the science is not there to justify them

        No, the science is very concrete. Yes, smokers can harm others. Whatever your threshold is for justification of assessment of risk, I can only hope it is ignored by most people.

      • I guess your word against mine, just like with climate science. That makes it controversial. Your assertions cannot stop it from being controversial. This simple fact seems to be lost on the “science is settled” folks.

      • Bah, second hand smoke is harmful to those hypersensitive to it, and there are some. Second hand smoke in general is not harmful as the dose is not poisonous. Remember, there are no poisons, only poisonous doses.

        H/t Paracelsus.

      • Supplying a difference of opinion is not scientific controversy. It appears the hostility about position statements has nothing to do with the associations making them or climate science.

      • What is scientific controversy if not a difference of opinion about the science?

      • Uninformed Luddite

        If you reread your last sentence you will see that AGW-Speak has begun to infect your conversation.

      • ‘Adapting’ to CO2 is not the problem. Regulating the climate by mitigating CO2 in the foolish ways proposed by the community is the problem.

    • “• disagreement in climate science is more violent than other fields where there is much disagreement and high societal stakes (e.g. economics)…”

      It has taken on the air of an impending ‘Comet Impact’ hasn’t it? Perhaps that is why so many of the highly educated are running around shouting ‘the sky is falling’. But, unlike the children’s story, so many of the 7 billion ‘stupid’ mortals in the barn yard today are ignoring the ranting and raving, and this seems to make the little genius chickens so much more angry. There is definitely a sociopsychopathic, “Save The World” element in the mix that’s making everything a little murky. Hope it doesn’t explode and take on the elements of a “religious” crusade or jihad; which is quite possible. Who could have imagined this in 21st Century Science, truth is indeed stranger than fiction.

      On the issue of “post-normal science” suggest scientists (especially Climeatologists) everywhere treat this as a matter of socioreligious faith and ignore it for a hundred years. The culture needs more time to fester and mature.

    • On person attributed the violence of the disagreement in climate science to the propensity of scientific societies to publish position statements

      Yeah how dare those scientific institutions publish statements on questions of science. Christ on a bike….

      • It is the foolish statements, like declaring climate apocalypse, hat annoys people.
        Read your history.

      • I don’t care if these position statements annoy people, I care if they accurately reflect the science and as far as I’m concerned they do. If you are claiming that they do not then please provide some evidence.

      • You say they accurately reflect the science. But has that always been true? Here’s Roger Harrabin of the BBC on 27th May last year:

        The UK’s Royal Society is reviewing its public statements on climate change after 43 Fellows complained that it had oversimplified its messages.

        They said the communications did not properly distinguish between what was widely agreed on climate science and what is not fully understood.

        The society’s ruling council has responded by setting up a panel to produce a consensus document.

        The panel should report in July and the report is to be published in September.

        Sure enough, a much revised position statement emerged on 30th September.

        Are you saying both statements were right or just that the latest one is? The former stance could be a pretty post-normal one from where I’m sitting.

      • Richard,

        It is difficult for me to give an answer to your question because I haven’t seen a comparison between the two documents, but I had a quick read of the updated version and it seems perfectly reasonable to me, so I strongly suspect the differences are ones of emphasis rather than substance.
        In that case they could both be fair reflections of the science – within certain limits there doesn’t have to be just one single valid interpretation. The current version certainly supports the contention that the earth is warming, that we are causing it and that this may have serious implications (although it doesn’t properly consider the likely impacts of AGW).
        Surely the fact that institutions are willing to review and if neccessary update their published assessments from time to time would indicate that they want to honestly reflect scientific opinion rather than merely adopt a dogmatic position.

      • aa,
        So you think we are facing a world wide climate disruption caused by CO2 with grave impacts on life on this planet?

      • Hunter,

        Yes, I pretty much accept the mainstream scientific opinion, which says that the earth is warming, we are the primary cause of it, and if we carry on as we are there are likely to be serious consequences. In fact some may already be unavoidable.

  51. From the definition of post-normal-science:
    “thereby arguing that (in between revolutions) one should not necessarily attempt to resolve or dismiss contradictory perspectives of the world (whether they are based on science or not), but instead incorporate multiple viewpoints into the same problem-solving process.”

    You can incorporate in the problem-solving process any beliefs you might hold, such as religious belief.
    What you cannot do is to claim that they are science.
    There is no post-normal-science.
    The problem arises when people who claim to be scientists (and hold academic degrees) try to pass post-normal-beliefs as science and other people, who are scientists and also degree-holders keep quiet and let it pass.
    You should insist at the conference that the integrity of science be preserved, and no unsustainable and unprovable beliefs be presented as science.

    • Jacob,
      Current science does not want to change. As far as they are concerned, they are correct no matter what as they are “experts in the field” and do not have to answer to anyone. Even if the science is totally corrupted.

      • Science has to be purified of corruption and hijacking by post-normalists.
        No one can do that but the scientists themselves.
        Reconcilation is not purification. Each scientists should speak up, loud and clear, and state what is known and what not, like Dr. Currie did.
        Leave “reconcilation” to sociologists and politicians.

      • That is not going to happen.
        These people’s reputations and careers are on the line.
        So, unless they change, they will battle right to the end they are correct. No matter what.
        So, on OUT has to be created to change their positions.

      • And what kind of “out” is needs to change people like Hansen or Mann? Personally, they have caused so much damage to scence and society that they should be thrown in jail for fraud.

      • Hansen and Mann are extreme cases.

        Hansen’s 1988 predictions were totally off the mark and his current hysterical doomsday predictions are not taken too seriously by most people (many climate scientists included).

        Mann’s “hockey stick” has been comprehensively discredited as a fraud (by M+M, confirmed by the Wegman committee and the NAS panel).

        Neither is likely to change position on AGW, no matter what the facts show, since their position is not fact-based to start with. Hansen is in the position to be able to “manipulate” the facts (GISS temperature record), but the validity of this record is also doubted by many today.

        Mann is already irrelevant.

        I predict that Hansen will also be so in short time.


  52. There are gaps in our knowledge, no doubt about that.
    Filling those gaps with pseudo-science in not acceptable.

    • Jacob,

      Just measuring temperatures to the exclusion of all other factors is pseudo-science.
      Solar penetration- Not included
      Evaporation- Not included
      Precipitation- Not included
      Planetary Rotation- Not included
      Pressurization- Not included

      • I’ll send them a letter about the things you say they do not measure, and I’m certain they’ll get right on it.

      • JCH,
        A far as models are concerned, they are not included. Just temperatures to generate a prediction. That is why the system is currently falling apart and they have no real idea of what is currently happening with the weather.
        “La Nina” does not explain the movememt of ocean current heat.

      • Joe,

        I admire your capacity to be always wrong.

        Evaporation and precipitation have been in the models going back to the earlist GCMs in the ’60s.

      • Well then, obviously my letter arrived 50 years ago.

      • Very hard to do this when cloudcover comes in many shapes, sizes and densities reflecting solar radiation at different rates.
        Hard to project that to future models when circumstances change with ocean heat to the Arctic now.
        This has water vapour virtually covered the whole northern hemisphere landmass. And there is a great amount of snow on the land mases.
        This means that there is a great amount of solar radiation being reflected back that would normally have gone through to melt or heat.
        Going to be one extremely wet and cool year!

      • Michael,

        Has your models also included the surface ocean salt changes?
        No, you have had no idea what that has done.

      • Joe, you made a blanket statement that that such things are “not included”.

        Will you correct your false impression, or will you just carry on regardless in true ‘skeptic’ style?

      • But Michael, he’s only partially wrong. A recent post by A. Lacis admitted that there are some “minor” effects that are NOT modelled. Note that “minor” was his judgment/assumption. But then, at one time solar effects were assumed to be “minor” as well. Are we approaching the point where that’s recognized as being untrue? Certainty in science is an oxymoron. If not a lie.

      • Joe Lalonde: “La Nina” does not explain the movememt of ocean current heat.”

        If Bob Tisdale is correct, it is the reverse. Movement of Ocean heat explains “La Nina”. Variations in trade winds and air pressure explain the movement. (I think I’ve got that right. See for yourself below.)

        NASA. 1998. SVS Animation 287 – Visualizing El Niño. Scientific. Scientific Visualization Studio. April 1.

        Tisdale, Bob. 2010b. La Niña Is Not The Opposite Of El Niño – The Videos. Scientific Blog. Climate Observations. June 10.

        ———. 2010c. An Introduction To ENSO, AMO, and PDO — Part 1. Scientific Blog. Climate Observations. August 8.

      • Oooops! Forgot to include Pacific thermocline. It is in the NASA video.

  53. How can you attempt to reconcile with a group that has stood on the mountain top and loudly proclaimed to all –

    “The debate is over”

  54. Anne van der Bom: (at 4.48):
    “Reconciliation? How about evidence to to prove your point? Much more effective than group hugs.”
    I second that.
    There is no “post-normal-science”. It’s up to scientists to defend science and denounce pseudo-science.

    • Jacob,

      Come into the light my son!
      When scientists WILL NOT open their research up, you just have to take their word that they are correct. Because they say so.

      • “When scientists WILL NOT open their research up…”
        The other scientists need to speak up and criticize them for it.

  55. Jacob, I agree.
    You can call, “post-normal-science” anything you like – just don’t call it science.
    Science is about finding the truth – whatever that truth may be.
    Post-normal ‘science’, as far as I can see, appears to be an attempt at establishing the ‘facts’, when there’s no truth to be found.

    • So, if we fill in the Great Lakes, it will have no effect to the area?

      • I don’t follow?

      • If you fill in the Great lakes, the area will distrupt and change the whole evaporation and precipitaion circuit in that area that was used to a certain amount of moisture and growth.
        In the winter time vast amounts of moisture is circulated in a wide area through snow accumulations.

      • Sounds like a good plan. Where I am stringers off Lake Huron dump as much as 3 feet in a few days.

      • Yeeeeessssss…., but…

        ….how did we get from discussing post-normal science to filling in the Great Lakes, in one easy step?
        I fail to see the context.

      • Uninformed Luddite

        I wouldn’t even try

  56. Here’s a reconciliation proposal:
    Close down the IPCC, or boycott it. Science does not need a political structure to ride on their shoulders and “explain” science.
    Issue a statement that clarifies that the IPCC is not part of the scientific process.

    • When wondering what “post-normal” science may be – well – it’s the IPCC.

      • On the contrary, if the post-normal view is to “incorporate multiple viewpoints into the same problem-solving process” then the IPCC just is the opposite. It presents its pro-AGW viewpoint as the only viable option.

      • While normal science is: “let’s see what we know”, post-normal science is: “let’s do what needs to be done, no matter what the science is”. Exactly the IPCC.

      • I don’t understand. The IPCC takes a very strong position on the science, does it not? So where does this “no matter what the science is” enter in? You seem to be projecting something onto the IPCC that is not there. I think the science is highly uncertain but the IPCC does not.

      • “The IPCC takes a very strong position on the science, does it not?”

        I don’t see how. IPCC reports are a compendium of the latest and best available science, reviewed and authored by unpaid experts.

        The United Nations member states may well have strong positions on the science, though, as the IPCC was established by two of their organisations, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It’s a UN affair.

        I’m surprised you didn’t know this.

      • I know it the IPCC organization very well, so I am surprised at your thinking not. I have tracked and studied them for 19 years. In any case the IPCC reports are very biased in favor of AGW, hence they take a ‘strong position’ on a controversial topic. They read like legal briefs in favor of a position, not like assessments, which is what they claim to be.

        The logic is obvious when you analyze it, which I have, in detail. They do not recognize numerous counter arguments that are well known, while others are summarily dismissed. In places they even respond to these arguments without acknowledging them. The reports are in no sense “a compendium of the latest and best available science,” far from it. They are the strongest argument that can be made for a particular hypothesis, drawing on just that science that supports them. And they are masterful at this artful bias.

      • “artful bias”, what a lovely turn of phrase. Very nice, David.

      • Thanks Ken. If you do a Google search on it you will find my old paper with “artful bias” in the title. I did a detailed analysis of the TAR SPM.

      • Also, normal science is not “let’s see what we know.” In Kuhn’s model of science, during normal science anomalies are assumed to be explainable using the paradigm, but at a later date, with further work. They are not considered evidence against the paradigm.

        For example, under the AGW paradigm it is assumed that the lack of warming over the last decade or so is merely temporary, even though it can’t be explained at this time. It is not considered to falsify AGW, even though it does prima facie. This is because the task in normal science is to use the paradigm to explain the world, not to test the paradigm. This is actually quite sensible and it is how science works.

      • David L. Hagen

        David Wojick
        I understood science to be founded on skepticism, with a continual reevaluation of models whenever the model does not fit the data.
        Major breakthroughs are usually linked to this approach:
        E.g. Kepler observing the discrepancies between Copernicus’ model (only fit a circle to 10′) and Brahe’s 2′ highly accurate data. That forced Kepler to abandon circular orbits and discover elliptical orbits.
        Similarly, the transit of Mercury did not fit Newton’s laws exactly, but confirmed Einstein’s General Relativity

        Current AGW climate models appear to have growing discrepancies with the climate. This should drive discovering why the discrepancies and arrive at modified/new models that do fit global temperature data.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Current AGW climate models appear to have growing discrepancies with the climate. This should drive discovering why the discrepancies and arrive at modified/new models that do fit global temperature data’

        I’ll bet my house on little green Martians arriving and asking to be taken to see Chris Monckton before I’ll expect any climate modellers to give a t**s about observational data.

        As far as I can tell from the earlier comments on this blog (eg by Lacis and Colose and Easterbrook), they actively despise such stuff, because their models have already arrived at such a state of perfection that when reality and models diverge, this is just a sign that reality needs to be adjusted…..which is done in the temperature data sets, bringing everything back into sync again.

      • It is beyond the scope of this blog for me to explain Kuhn’s model of science. Suffice it to note that of the million or so scientific journal articles published each year, few if any present skepticism. They present explanations. A scientists job is not to be skeptical, it is to explain the world. That was Kuhn’s big insight.

        The inability to explain some things, which are called anomalies, ultimately leads to revolution. But scientific revolutions, like social revolutions, are scarce and are not sought. It is not the scientist’s job to try to overthrow the existing framework.

      • It’s always a scientist’s job to overthrow the existing framework.

        What else is the existing framework but our ignorance and misconception?

        If you are able to demonstrate an existing framework that doesn’t need overthrowing, then we have come to the end of our need for the work of science.

        If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him!

      • The existing framework is not our ignorance and misconception, it is our understanding of the world. The interesting thing about scientific revolutions is how much knowledge is retained. Progress is not endless failure. Buddha is never killed.

      • Poor Buddha.

      • David L. Hagen

        Nobel Prizes are given for discoveries and inventions, not incremental improvements. Nobel specified:

        the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind. The said interest shall be divided into five equal parts, which shall be apportioned as follows: one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery or invention within the field of physics; one part to the person who shall have made the most important chemical discovery or improvement; one part to the person who shall have made the most important discovery within the domain of physiology or medicine;

        e.g. in 2010:

        Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene”.

      • Indeed, but most scientists work to unpack these great discoveries. I make the analogy with prospectors and miners. Prospectors make the big find, but miners get the riches out of the ground. In science the prospectors get the Nobel prizes but almost all scientists are miners. Kuhn’s point was that thinking that scientists are prospectors misses the nature of science. Without miners, prospectors are worthless.

      • This points to a persistent tension in defining the nature of science, between the scientist as groundbreaking skeptical revolutionary and the scientist as conforming to the dominant paradigm. Both characterizations are correct, and neither needs to be the ideal (unless scientific fame is the goal).

      • “For example, under the AGW paradigm it is assumed that the lack of warming over the last decade or so is merely temporary, even though it can’t be explained at this time. It is not considered to falsify AGW, even though it does prima facie. This is because the task in normal science is to use the paradigm to explain the world, not to test the paradigm. This is actually quite sensible and it is how science works.”
        No, for every statement you have made, here.
        Kuhn’s description of how he thought science worked, and his concept of ‘paradigm’, is being badly misunderstood, by you. Paradigm refers to a type of heuristic, a building block of theory-formation. Paradigms are used in the absence of a theory. AGW is a scientific theory, not a scientific paradigm, on Kuhn’s approach.
        Kuhn’s ideas on the history and epistemology of scientific activity are part of many examinations in philosophy of science and sociology. In his time, he wrote very specifically in the context of the critique of logical positivism and he wrote Structure for philosophers of science with a background in Kant, quite frankly.
        “It is beyond the scope of this blog for me to explain Kuhn’s model of science”
        And it is beyond your knowledge, to be perfectly honest with you. Please don’t misuse concepts to suit yourself. I encourage you to re-read Kuhn, and Popper (because you also badly misuse the concept of falsifiability.


      • Hmmm, why do alarmists always use ‘cheers’ so violently?

      • Cheers means ‘thanks’, as in ‘thanks and that is the end of what I’m saying’. It is an attempt to keep it friendly, especially when giving feedback that might not be especially welcomed or accepted.

        If anything, I think I prefer it to the more formal, administrative tone of ‘Best regards’, or ‘Regards’.

        Aren’t perceptions funny, Kim? :-)

      • Kuhn’s paradigms are not as easy to pin down as you think. I would encourage you to read Margaret Masterman on The Nature of a Paradigm (1970).

      • Yep. Kuhn himself felt he was in a bit of a muddle, as his work and many recorded interviews after Structure, revealed. Concepts that are unclear, so they continue to be studied, criticized, interpreted and developed. But some understandings are not correct, on any interpretation – as I indicated above.
        You are citing an essay by Masterman in the Lakatos and Musgrave book, Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge. I would go further and recommend the entire book, not just the Masterman essay, to anyone seriously interested in philosophy of science, criticism, and specifically, the Popper-Kuhn debate. Then there is a whole body of post-Kuhnian philosophy of science that continues to examine a really wide range of questions in the epistemology and history of science, not just Kuhn’s concepts. I’m glad you mentioned Masterman. Some people mind find it a little technical (a lot of philosophy of language) but it’s good stuff! 

      • My point being that Kuhn’s “muddle” makes it difficult to unequivocally claim that “Paradigm refers to a type of heuristic, a building block of theory-formation. Paradigms are used in the absence of a theory” – so that therefore AGW is not a paradigm, and to say otherwise constitutes a misuse of the concept and betrays a lack of knowledge.
        I think Kuhn left the paradigm concept open enough that AGW could conceivably fit one of its dimensions, as a sort of organizing principle (not just a theory). But this is debateable, so much so that I prefer to leave paradigm-talk and all its ambiguities out of talking about AGW. But just because someone has a different understanding of paradigms than you do does not mean that they do not know what they are talking about or need to re-read the book.

      • Martha,

        depending on your belief structure AGW is at best a hypothesis.

      • In science, a theory is what is generally accepted as an explanation when enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, or initial postulation.

        For example, the small number of scientists discussing ‘cooling’ amounted to a hypothesis that was not supported by the science.

        On the other hand, there are thousands of peer-reviewed climate science studies/papers that provide evidence that supports AGW. It is far beyond a hypothesis, unless you want to mean something very unusual or scientifically unconventional by the term ‘theory’ or ‘hypothesis’, in which case you are really only talking to yourself.

        Maybe it’s that you want to have a discussion about what counts as ‘evidence’ in science, which is very interesting to me. However, within conventions of what climate scientists using the scientific method count as scientific evidence in climate science, there is a lot of evidence.

        The burden would be on you to show that they are using a corrupted scientific concept of evidence or there is a conspiracy, or whatever.

        My belief system is irrelevant. We are talking about terms used in science, and correctly understanding those terms in the context of their common usage.

        We might argue philosophically from the perspective of, say, a radical epistemological relativism, that the use of terms is pointless and science is irrational, etc; but you would need to have something even more radical to say than Paul Feyerabend to surprise anyone who is already scientifically literate and using their best judgment to arrive at rational and objective knowledge about the world.

        Feel free to test the theory of gravity. I don’t recommend it, but you could jump off the second floor of a building and see which way you go. You see, radical relativism in knowledge has its fans, but the result is problematic from a practical and pragmatic perspective. :-(

        Compelling scientific evidence supports the claim that CO2 from human activity is driving the current warming trend, that the trend is potentially dangerous, and is already having negative impacts. AGW has theory status. It moved to theory status to hypothesis status quite awhile ago, actually. No one but a few special interest sites that are scientifically illiterate are arguing that AGW is still ‘just a hypothesis’.

        That said – there are obviously many interesting and important questions still to address.

      • er, don’t you mean ‘current cooling trend’?

      • Martha, there are not thousands of papers supporting AGW, though there are indeed thousands that assume AGW. The difference is hugely important. There is very little observational evidence for AGW, and that is indirect. It is a tenuous theory. Also, in science the word theory is often used synonymously with hypothesis. For example, I have a theory about why my right hand hurts.

      • Uninformed Luddite

        The fact you are single shouldn’t be part of this debate

      • Martha,

        are you discussing a Consensus or a Theory?

        I do not believe Climate Science even has a Consensus much less a theory. Pointing to the self serving scientific organizations and professors and scientists feeding at the trough does not create a theory, only a hypothesis. Please show me the empirical evidence that I appear to have missed that supports your alledged Theory. Most of what I have read appears to be work ASSUMING the theory is correct and continuing in other veins.

        First please tell me what the AGW theory is as there are a number of variations I have seen. My take centers on the IPCC hypothesis that man’s increased CO2 causes a feedback through water vapor that is causing a warming of at least 2c/century and that it is BAD in numerous ways to the environment.

        Of course, their main claim to support is model output that show a hot spot in upper tropical troposphere warming about 3x surface, elevated tropopause and cooling stratosphere. None of these have been seen in the last 15 years. Please note, surface temps, if they are actually going up WITHOUT the faster rise in the hot spot would actually disprove this theory!

        RTE’s and CO2 effects in the atmosphere are still under investigation as it appears there are many areas where the values are not nailed down yet. Cloud effects, precipitation, and other areas are poorly modelled or seemingly not modelled at all. Their projections were OK as long as the ocean and atmospheric cycles were synched into a warming phase. Now they are not and we see divergence. The models had to be ad hoc adjusted to fit the new reality. Simply put, they are wrong.

      • Martha January 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm

        I think this comment does reinforce your point about being precise in the use of language and definitions .

        The issue here is you have been a bit sloppy in your characterisation of the hypotheses and hence the theories under discussion.

        If you hypothesis is “GHG measurably increase global temperatures”, I think you are on solid ground, and could take that to the point of declaring it as theory. (Just as you could with “UHI measurably increase global temperatures”). I don’t think I’ve run into anyone that says GHG (or UHI) measurably reduces global temperatures, although there maybe some that look at the longer-term impacts and argue that flow on effects might reduce it).

        However let’s now turn to the IPCC hypothesis “man made GHG caused more than 50% of the 20th century increase in global temperature”. I’m sorry you don’t have thousands of papers and you don’t have a theory (or put it another way I’d be pleased to see the body of work that falsifies “man made GHG caused less than 50% etc”).

        To repeat you need to be clearer in your definition of the hypothesis (and theory).

      • Martha, all I can say is that I did my Ph.D. thesis on Kuhn’s model of science, and in its time (around 1970). As for your claim that “Paradigms are used in the absence of a theory,” I am not sure science ever experiences such a time, but it was certainly not what Kuhn was talking about.

        Normal science is what we see in the journals, namely scientists using established theories to explain the world. It is really very simple, and powerful. It overthrew the empiricist (nee positivist) paradigm in philosophy of science. Those were high times. In fact my first major paper, in 1973, was titled “The Structure of Technological Revolutions” and obviously modeled after Kuhn’s STR. Same story.

      • “ am not sure science ever experiences such a time”

        Sure it does. It is all activity that may or may not provide enough evidence to support a scientific explanation i.e., movement from hypothesis to theory.

        “ it was certainly not what Kuhn was talking about”

        In Structure, he was arguing (against Popper) that theory-formation is non-linear and ‘driven’ by paradigm shifts rather than ‘led’ by theory. This is what he was talking about. The book is a dialogue with Popper, not just a critique of logical positivism.

        I agree that his concept of normal science is complex. It may not be an accurate description of knowledge formation in science: there are many criticisms of Kuhn, as well as much misapplication of this ideas. Kuhn tried to clarify his own concepts further, while at MIT (post 1979) but those clarifications are often ignored and may not have added substantially to the original ideas.

        Can you point me to a copy of your paper on Kuhn, or your subsequent work in philosophy of science? Thanks. I really don’t think you represent his ideas accurately.

      • I can send you my stuff. Send me your email address to But for present purposes it does not matter what Kuhn said. Let’s call it my theory of science. AGW is a paradigm that has been captured by a political movement. Everything follows from that.

      • I don’t recall anything about non-linearity and drivers in STR. These are recent concepts. Nor is it simply a critique of positivism or a dialog with Popper. It presents a new model of science, one that explains what we see in the literature. That is its power.

      • “I don’t recall anything about non-linearity … in STR.”
        It is largely a response to Popper’ account of a linear logical progression of theory formation. Like a lot of scholarship, it is part of discussion that was going on with his contemporaries, at the time. The book did not pop out of nowhere or out of context: it was written as part of the stream of ideas in post-positivist science for many decades before Kuhn.
        The basic insights of post-positivist science are common knowledge, and along with other social insights, not an argument against the scientific evidence for AGW.

        “Let’s call it my theory of science. AGW is a paradigm that has been captured by a political movement. Everything follows from that”
        That’s right, it is your theory. It has no basis in Kuhn. What’s the evidence for your theory?
        Science is a social activity and like all social activities, can be heavily bureaucratized. Of course there are perspectives and interests at play, and scientists have incomes for what they do – just like you. But unless you want to claim that no one can ever adjudicate between knowledge claims (say, on the basis of critical and pragmatic evaluation of sources and information, or for scientists, by using the scientific method and rigorous peer review) then no one has any reason to pay attention to anything you say, either, and you could argue just about anything.

        Climate scientists, on the other hand, have thousands of papers of undeniable evidence that climate change from human activity is happening and it’s a very big problem. What to do about the problem, is a separate matter.

        So – which of the thousands of climate science papers are wrong? Most people do not read the science, and get their information from pseudo-science sites that offer interpretations that are deliberately misleading (speaking of politics).

        But it is possible to evaluate the quality of sources, too, and make this an aspect of pragmatic evaluations of information. In your prior role as planning consultant for AES—which has an abysmal and very public record on social and environmental responsibility and is a major lobby for the coal industry – how did you view yourself? How did you personally separate out such over-riding special interests, and the priority of maximum profit at any cost that AES is known for, from what you must surely have believed was your desire and ability to offer objective and independent engineering knowledge?

        In other words, even in the worst-case scenario, even if the issue is not just unavoidably but hopelessly political, you are an excellent example of how someone has promoted professional interests and also the political interests of others, while still (I presume) giving priority to good engineering knowledge. Did you really not notice that?

        Scientists have struggled to communicate the facts of climate science to the public. Now they are clearly saying that the overwhelming majority of climate scientists are saying that AGW is real and that mitigation via emissions reduction is needed because the warming is the result of increased C02 emissions from human activity in such a relatively historically short period of time. It’s not an impossible shift, to ask of industry. And the interests that resist this, along with the implications of peak oil, are the stronger political interests, David. By far.

      • Martha, I see no way to respond to your lengthy diatribe, which has the logical precision of a shotgun blast. Not in this forum anyway. If you want to join my Yahoo! Group at we can fight it out in detail and over time.

        I can summarize our basic disagreements. As I said, I do not think there are thousands of papers supporting AGW, or if your standards are such that there are then there are thousands against it as well, supporting natural variability. Nor do the vast majority of climate scientists support AGW. I make it about 70-80% and much of that majority can be explained in terms of political demographics. If you do not see that the science has become politicized then I do not know the world you live in. It is the premise for what this blog is about so you may find little of interest here.

        As for my professional advocacy, I have been a defender of industry against the growing green menace for over 40 years. My focus has been climate change since 1992. Because of my original work in the logic of complex issues, I believe that I understand the overall scientific and policy issues better than anyone else in the world. I am proud of my work.

  57. David L. Hagen

    The Chatham House Rule

    “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed”.

    Text & Translations

  58. Civility can not be imposed. Civility is also defenseless in the face of violence. Civility and non-violent actions occur in an community which values civility and shames violence and violent behavior. Therefore it is altogether fitting and proper that a meeting, whose objective is reconciliation, is predominately attended by the social and political scientists who embrace civility, and will carry that conciliatory mind-set back to their community. A community is larger than the perpretators of violent speach and violent actions. So, reconciliation will blossom in a community where violence is shamed; and the violent perpretator is left unheard no matter how clairvoyant their message, and relegated to the dustbin of history. Climate science is no more or less vulnerable to such community influences or potential outcomes. The arguement for the righteousness of a radiative transfer model cannot nor will not be sustained by an angry or violent delivery.

  59. I just looked over the “rationale statement” and unsurprisingly, it is a joke.

    Scientists don’t “negotiate”. They present evidence.


  60. My prediction is that a large number of mainstream IPCC climate scientists were invited to the meeting, but refused to attend when they learnt who else had been invited.
    Well in fact I see from Judith’s comment above that this is indeed what happened. JC moderation
    What a pathetic bunch of cowards they are. Perhaps reconciliation is not something they are interested in.

    • PaulM – Do you know how many mainstream IPCC climate scientists were invited?

      Anthony Watts was also invited but has declined – do you think that is because he ‘refused to attend when he learnt who else had been invited’?

      Is Anthony Watts also a pathetic coward? JC moderation

      I have as much evidence to base this on as you have – perhaps that’s how you’re used to doing ‘science’?

      • Well, someone here is pathetic.

      • Uninformed Luddite

        Is it me?

      • Louise–do you have a defination for a “mainstream climate scientist”?

        The field of study (long term climate change) has not really been one that has been examined at a great level of detail for very long. it is also not all that difficult a field to become a relative expert in in a fairly short time with a decent technical background.

      • I imagine some on the warmer side might prefer that Anthony had been able to atend, instead of Steve Mosher delegated to in his place…

        Actually it would have been good if they both could have gone,
        (but those exxon cheques just dried up years ago – sarc off)

      • Perhaps Anthony declined because his wife is suffering from breast cancer and had surgery in the past month or so?

      • Quite – and perhaps the IPCC mainstream scientists that PaulM decided were “a pathetic bunch of cowards” also had genuine reasons for their non-attendance?

      • Louise,
        They were afraid of being beaten up by “denialists”.

      • Could have been good reasons.
        Last time I checked, btw, Dr. Curry is a mainstream climate scientist.
        But do mark the calendar: I agree with you. Calling those others who declined ‘cowards’ & etc. is inflammatory and prejudicial and has no real place in this discussion.

      • hunter – I used the term ‘mainstream climate scientist’ only because that was the term PaulM used to describe those not attending because they were cowards. I accept that Dr Curry, Nick Stokes and many others are ‘mainstream climate scientists’

        I hope the guys in Lisbon are having more success in having a rancour free debate than we are :-)

      • Well,
        There is that oldie but goldie, “Let peace begin with me”.
        I never liked the bumper sticker saying of ‘If you want peace work for justice”.
        I have over the years become a great fan of the idea “If you want peace, offer forgiveness”.

      • Anthony Watts was also invited but has declined – do you think that is because he ‘refused to attend when he learnt who else had been invited’?

        Is Anthony Watts also a pathetic coward?

        What moron you are. JC moderation

        He has already stated he could not go because of his business obligations, the downturn of the economy weighing heavily on his livelihood.

      • Good grief.

        I have now been called pathetic, a troll and a moron for pointing out that PaulM had no reason to call the mainstream IPCC scientists pathetic cowards.

        I’ll state loud and clear for all those who are a little hard of understanding – I did not say that Anthony Watts was a pathetic coward.

        Don’t you guys understand rhetorical questions?

      • Yep, it was a pathetic rhetorical question.

      • It was an entirely reasonable point to make.

      • Louise, do you know Anthony’s excuse?

      • kim – yes I do

        Do you know the reasons why the ‘mainstream climate scientists’ turned down their invitations or do you assume it was because they’re pathetic cowards like PaulM does?

      • If you don’t it’s pathetic, because he’s made one. If you do, it’s doubly pathetic.

      • No, I don’t assume they were pathetic cowards. But knowing his excuse, your rhetorical question was pathetic.

      • er, I mean, ‘doubly pathetic’. Perhaps even violent, heh.

      • However, there is an interesting question here. Why aren’t more climate scientists following Judy’s example of not being a pathetic coward.

        What price Kevin’s rant?

      • Kim – perhaps they had prior commitments such as the AMS conference?
        Perhaps they had personal family reasons?
        Aren’t you being just a little silly now?

      • Ah, I’ve moved more generally in my use of ‘pathetic coward’. Note that I have not speculated on the motives of those invited but not attending. I merely point out how pathetic your rhetorical question was, particularly if you knew Anthony’s excuses.

        But let’s continue with the general meaning of ‘pathetic coward’. Why aren’t more mainstream climatologists admitting that the certainty about climate change is much less than the public and policymakers were led to believe, and why aren’t more of the pathetic cowards willing to admit the travesties that some of their colleagues took with the scientific method?

      • This debate, about the science, is being dodged by most mainstream climate scientists, hence I label them ‘pathetic cowards’. Note, I’m not speaking of their reasons for dodging this specific event, which I don’t know.

        And I wonder if my meaning of ‘pathetic coward’ isn’t what Paul had in mind in the first place.

      • Why aren’t more mainstream climatologists admitting that the certainty about climate change is much less than the public and policymakers were led to believe, and why aren’t more of the pathetic cowards willing to admit the travesties that some of their colleagues took with the scientific method?

        At a guess I would say because they believe the uncertainties have been represented fairly and that the accusations made against their colleagues are either untrue or greatly exaggerated.

        As for why they declined the invitation, maybe they just didn’t see any benefit in attending. No one is under any obligation to attend any old thing they get invited to.

      • The uncertainties have not been fairly represented and climate science has strayed from the scientific method.

      • Well if you believe that then you are entitled to argue
        your case, but if you are waiting for the “mainstream
        climate scientists to agree with you and make some kind of apology then you are going to be disappointed.

      • this for andrew adams about fair representation by climate scientists.
        Usually the people amking errors are more than happy to defend them.
        It is a bit circular for the consensus scientists to say that since they are satisfied, we should accept that as a sufficient reason to agree.

      • hunter,

        That’s not what I’m saying. I think climate scientists should discuss their work honestly and openly, including admission of errors when they are made.
        What I don’t accept is that they are obliged to issue apologies when they don’t accept that charges made against them have substance.

      • I agree Andrew. We have to move the stream.

      • Sorry David, you lost me there.

      • The mainstream. You sit by the river long enough and…

      • First, calling a commenter a “moron” is a flagrant violation of this blog’s rules.

        So climate scientists don’t have conflicting family and work schedules? Was one, for instance, supposed to drop Seattle and fly straight to Spain to prove manhood?

        The implication that climate scientists who did not go to Lisbon are cowards is beyond preposterous, and a moderator should have snipped it long ago.

        This blog either needs a new pair of scissors or somebody who knows how to impartially use them. The strike-through act is insufficient. The offense is still there: fully legible.

      • small geographic point: Lisbon = Portugal (not Spain)

      • Thank you. Correction of my freakin’ moronic gaffe noted.

      • trying to inject some levity back into the thread

      • Uninformed Luddite

        I appreciate being able to see the gaffe – thank you

      • JCH: [“The strike-through act is insufficient. The offense is still there: fully legible.”]

        I totally agree.

  61. Louise you say “Is Anthony Watts also a pathetic coward?” Weren’t you the one crying on several occasions about incivility on this board, and threatening to leave. Take your own advice troll. You have nothing to offer except re-posting left wing articles from Romm, CBS or ABC. I beg of everyone not to respond to this troll again.

    • Bob – I was using that analogy to demonstrate why I thought that PaulM had no evidence to support his calling IPCC Mainstream climate scientists ‘pathetic cowards’ in his post to which I replied

      (or is it OK to call one ‘side’ names but not the other?)

    • Bob
      On a political level, I agree with very little with what Louise has to say and I find her continual questions about blog policy to be a little irritating. That said, I believe the tone of the various comments in the thread above is not really in keeping with what Judith is seeking to achieve on this blog and your treatment of her is particularly unwarranted. In my view everyone should take a deep breath and regain some civility. Judith did tell us to behave whilst she was away! Regards,

  62. Latimer Alder


    Either stop complaining about robust debate and language, or stop indulging in it yourself. You can’t try to have it both ways and retain any credibility as a serious commentator.

  63. She wasn’t ‘indulging in it’, she was pointing out that such an accusation was unwarranted. The rhetorical answer to the question was ‘no’.

  64. “While normal science is: “let’s see what we know”, post-normal science is: “let’s do what needs to be done, no matter what the science is”.

    I must correct this. It should read:
    Post-normal science is: “let’s do what needs to be done, and bend the science to serve the purpose”.

    • I seriously doubt this. Can you point to any post-normal science advocate saying “bend the science” or words to that effect? Mis-characterization seems to be your thing. It is not useful, precisely because it is false.

      • Thanks, David Wojick, for presenting your instructive arguments so clearly and calmly in this post. Might we see them assembled into a longer essay as an update of your earlier article on John Daly’s site?
        I too am of the opinion that it is a lot easier to make sense of the current climate ‘debate’ if one has read Kuhn. As you point out: “The paradigm-defense measures Kuhn describes are everywhere apparent in the pro-AGW camp.” It’s all happened before.

      • “Can you point to any post-normal science advocate saying “bend the science” or words to that effect?”

        Here is were I point you:

        First let me say that in general, as my own opinion, I feel rather 
unconfortable about using not only unpublished but also un reviewed 
material as the backbone of our conclusions (or any conclusions). 
I realize that chapter 9 
is including SRES stuff, and thus we can and need to do that too, but the
fact is that in doing so the rules of IPCC have been softened to the point 
that in this way the IPCC is not any more an assessment of published science 
(which is its proclaimed goal) but production of results. 
The softened condition that the models
 themself have to be published does not even apply because the Japanese 
model for example is very different from the published one which gave results 
not even close to the actual outlier version (in the old dataset the CCC model 
was the outlier). Essentially, I feel that at this point there are very
little rules and almost 
anything goes. I think this will set a dangerous precedent which might mine the 
IPCC credibility, and I am a bit unconfortable
that now nearly everybody seems to think that it is just ok to do this.

      • This is still confusing PNS with whatever scientific practice happens to be disagreeable. PNS is a theory/framework/method developed by science studies. It has its advocates, some of whom are listed at the top of this page, and the IPCC to my knowledge has so far ignored it.

      • Rattus Norvegicus


        I can’t make heads or tails of the actual email you linked to. Is it referring to WG1 or WG2. Fillipo seems to be arguing for presenting some other results in addition to the SRES results, but I really can’t tell. How was the dispute resolved?

        Another issue raised in this email seems to be how to present results in the figures associated with this section, but it is hard to tell because the whole thing is w/o context. It is not clear what the argument is about.

        Can you shed some light on this? Or are you just cherrypicking?

  65. Paul M asked a valid question: Is reconciliation desired by mainstream, consensus climatologists?

    Probably not.

    Higher up the chain of command and distribution of public funds are a lot of well-paid bureaucrats and editors of once reputable journals who would love to have the climate scandal “swept under the rug” before their involvement is exposed.

    Oliver K. Manuel

  66. Reconciliation events have acquired a bad reputation of late, it seems, for “stooge reconciliation,” or insincere efforts that have not shown the necessary commitment to mutual respect and comutual respect for truth and desire to move forward into the future together.

    If the 217 responses before mine on this page are any reflection, one can well understand the partial merits of such a concern aimed at this particular effort, though one hopes of course for better.

    There’s nothing good my own participation could add to a sham reconciliation, nor any good my comments could add to a real one.

    Which won’t stop me from making response 218 (or thereabouts).

    We have plenty of ‘Truth’, that handshaking partner of real reconciliation, as most of the events in question are played out in the context of a blogosphere so open as to be practically a nudist colony of unfiltered opinion and unexpunged first drafts, with a prolonged media frenzy of coverage and discoverage.

    We lack common basis of agreement, common sense of responsibility to answer for our actions and their consequences, and common beliefs or goals, or even for most an inkling of how divergent these are.

    How and why then even attempt reconciliation?

    Some of the world’s most powerful belief systems are at odds, some of which openly seek the dissolution of the material world and all things in it, while others hold the exact opposite view; some place a divine premium on achieving the overarching ambitions of the faithful to the extent of utterly disdaining truth or fact, while others hold no regard for the ambitions of any person or people so long as fact is held supreme.

    So, while I remain hopeful, I appreciate that cynicism is not an irrational response.

  67. Dear Professor Curry,

    We’re looking forward to your report on the first day of the meeting!

    I doubt that the pawns want reconciliation, but those who gave them public funds would like to get this matter settled ASAP.

    We live in interesting time, Professor!

  68. A bedtime video for , oh, what’s her name, Louise.

  69. Can I just state for the record that the fact the Chatham House Rule needs to be in effect indicates something is terribly wrong with science?

    Chatham House Rule was designed for political meetings so people could air points of view which may be different from their boss. Scientists are supposed to deal with facts and let the chips fall where they may. Putting Chatham House Rule in effect may allow people to speak more openly… and that’s good… but it proves how the science has been corrupted by politics. Scientists are being pressured to toe the line even if the evidence points in a different direction. It’s sad really.

    • The point of Chatham House rule is that people feel free to communicate without fear of their statements being misquoted, taken out of context, whatever, by a reporter. If a reporter/blogger wants to attribute a statement to a particular person, then they need to get specific permission. It would be an enormous strain if everything you said was “on the record.”

      • Be assured that some of us are content with that Judith. We are where we are and we need to be somewhere else. If this helps some people make the necessary moves, so be it.

      • Sounds like a good set of rules – that should be applied, and have been applied in the issue of reasonable climate conversations. Too bad this protocol was not recognized as important when the CRU emails surfaced … think of the damage that has been caused by reporters and bloggers who took things our of context and imagined what this and that meant! And, then there were those who saw it as an opportunity to launch themselves into the limelight … oh well.

      • except for the fact that Climategate reveals that many of the leading players had acted as academic bullies. A lot of other aspects of the affair may be open to interpretation but bad behavior, bully tactics and intimidation by authority are indisputable. Integrity means doing the right thing even if no one is there to notice it: the converse is what — hypocrisy? Do one thing if its in public and another if the email is private or not intended for disclosure? Do I think the actions revealed by the CRU emails are the exception within academia? Sadly, no, I do not. Does that mean they should be condoned? No. Does that mean they should be forgiven? Only if the protagonist recognizes their actions to have been at fault: Tom Crowley posted an apology on Climate Audit, Trenbeth used the AMS to attack, Jones and Mann went the PR spin media redemption route. But please, as much as the actions of a few should not taint everyone, the good work of some does not suddenly make martyrs of those that enjoyed their prominence gained by bully tactics.

      • … Right, you can get a great sense of the full context of meaning, make definitive assessments of one’s character, and determine how much prominence was gained professionally through a perception of written attitude in emails? … by reading an incomplete segment of emails between colleagues.?.. bully tactics and intimidation by authority are not disputable? Only in the world of your bias.

        The “right thing” is to be striven for (BY ALL! – that is my point)…. and without the context of living in one’s shoes, it’s dangerous, IMO, to assume “right” action for others in such matters as are revealed in the partial disclosure of emails through CRU.

        And no, I don’t agree that the other side of the “right thing” to be hypocrisy. There are better and worse choices, discernment, judgment calls, mistakes. Decisions (chosen actions) can run on a continuum of “rightness”, I suppose. Hypocrisy, in this case, reflects your interpretation of what your read …. not proven by any means through my eyes. You imply these emails reveal expressions that wouldn’t have been made face to face, as a generalization, which, again, is certainly disputable.

        Having met many of the players of “Climategate”, having some exposure to how they deal with each other and the broader public and to less connected professions … I’d have to say, much of what I read in the emails, would have absolutely been said face to face. Certainly, there were things that were personal expressions of frustration, that were meant as private expressions; Geeze – I do that. Say things to my friends, prior to thinking things all the way through. Then, when I am faced with actually dealing directly, my language, tone, attitudes shift. No sin there.

        Bridge building and reconciliation (the topic of the Lisbon meeting and this thread), I would think would require a higher standard of care in making assessments, determining context, deciding the motives and character of others …. though clearly, that is not the culture of this blog site. Being careful, that is. For all the posturing about seeking ways out of “tribalism”, this blog consistently panders to those who don’t come close to displaying the standards they scream have been violated (though often these claims are too weak to be determinant). The lack of careful is the thing that stands out.

        Martyrs? Not sure where you got that. I don’t see any of the players as that. These are people. And, all I was really trying to lift was the seeming hypocrisy of so many on this site who support things when it suits them, then violate those very standards they are demanding. Respect, dealing with people WITH integrity, honesty, openness, building bridges doesn’t happen through magic. It won’t happen as long as we see people as villains, ideally, or as martyrs.

        I just doubt most here have any real intention of bridge building. Maybe that’s my bias …



      • Climategal,

        they were asked to release the rest of the emails to provide context. They haven’t. It is their decision to allow the released mails to create the reality. Your whining about assumptions is out of place. They have the ability to move the discussion from limited context to full context.

        Thanks for the apologia.

      • Climategal,

        Bridge building and reconciliation is greatly assisted by apologies and improving activities. We have already seen no apologies for the smears of reasonable professionals and have also seen continued difficulty in accessing data to check papers.

        When will we see ACTIONS that can be interpreted to show an acceptance of incorrect attitudes and activities? All I have seen is louder pounding of the drums.

      • Almost forgot, and a couple of reports of continued gatekeeping. You couldn’t be more wrong Climategal.

      • climategal

        “I’d have to say, much of what I read in the emails, would have absolutely been said face to face.”

        Are you sure?

        Look at the following:

        I would not give them *anything*. I would not respond or even acknowledge receipt of their emails. There is no reason to give them any data, in my opinion, and I think we do so at our own peril!

      • well, I guess we will agree to continue to differ: you from your personal vantage point of the saintly warriors of Climate purity, nobly battling the injustices of unwelcomed scrutiny and I from my personal vantage point of arrogant academics refusing to concede mistakes or poor discernment but rather adopting “the best defense is a good offense” tactic as with Trenbeth, Mann and Jones to name just three.
        I am quite willing to extend to all the same level of respect and capacity for human failing they extend to others. The CRU emails (extensive as they are) are not the whole record, but do appear to present a damning pattern I would characterize as disdainful and dismissive consistent with arrogance and not humility. Given the prominence of the IPCC process, this arrogance both enabled and rewarded bully tactics.
        I would suggest greater personal humility (rather than the evident hubris) amongst the key players would have resulted in a far different set of outcomes, such as compliance with data requests, FOI requests, meaningful dialogue with those outside of the Team and a more equitable oversight of peer review.
        Of course, you may still disagree with both my assessment, my characterization and the evidence revealed within the CRU emails — which only serves to underscore the challenge facing any move towards “reconciliation”. Without contrition, apology and/or acceptance of personal responsibility for words and behavior, what chance is there of any reconciliation of ideas, particularly where those ideas are so intimately intertwined with academic career?

    • The reality is that the Chatham House Rule has been in place for some time in the blogosphere. Too many of the commenters have to resort to anonymity when posting what they really think, since anything else would lead to problems within their professional circle. One commenter has already said so on this very topic.


  70. I have a dream that someday science will be judged on the evidence and not on its policy considerations; a dream that someday scientists can meet together and discuss climate openly and without fear of censure, loss of employment or lost opportunities for advancement; a dream that scientists will be judged on the basis of the quality of their observations and logic and not on their politics.

    • With apologies to that great Republican Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

      • Ron, I got the reference – but of course MLK’s dream was of a state of affairs which had never existed. Yours (and mine) is of a return to a well-founded tradition.

    • Ron

      Let me continue with what you started:

      So I have just one wish for you–the good luck to be somewhere where you are free to maintain the kind of integrity I have described, and where you do not feel forced by a need to maintain your position in the organization, or financial support, or so on, to lose your integrity. May you have that freedom.

  71. Pockets of intellectual integrity remain, but they are perhaps only mentioned in hushed whispers near the seats of power today.

    As recently as 1999, I personally knew a great scientist who remained intellectually honest despite decades of recognition and public service:

    Glenn T. Seaborg, 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Director of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, Chancellor of the University of California at Berkeley, Chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission under President Kennedy, and the only scientist to have an element named after him while still alive (element #106).

    In 1998, Nobel Laureate Glenn T Seaborg agreed to give the keynote address and to co-chair the 1999 ACS Symposium on the:

    “Origin of Elements in the Solar System: Implications of Post 1957 Observations”

    Glenn invited many of the participants, but then died shortly before the symposium. Aother great intellectual giant, Geoffrey Burbidge, gave the keynote address instead.

    The Proceeding of the symposium (pp. xi-xiii) were dedicated to Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg (1912-1999).

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

    • Oliver,
      I submitted a paper to Nature 2 days ago.
      It is the bias of the AGW theory by government and media and the ocean salt changes changing the ocean heat and generating massive evaporation.
      Called it “Climate Science Disastrous Truth”.
      Don’t expect it to be published.
      But if it does, there will be a huge contraversy created and it will sell a great deal of magazines.

      • It certainly will not be published.

        They will not even admit the well-documented errors identified here [] in their “consensus”, “scientifically-settled” opinions about the Sun’s origin, composition, and source of energy.

        Hugh sums of government funds and the reputations of the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the UN’s IPCC, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, and the once reputable scientific research journals are all now at stake.

        They have good reason to hope for quiet reconciliation with critics of AGW before the public becomes aware that government science has become a tool of worldwide government propaganda.

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

      • Judging by the title I would recommend you seek out someone to help with editing before making future submissions. Still may not be enough to get Nature to take you seriously, but it would help.

  72. Oliver – I’m a bit suspicious of the the claim that “government science has become a tool of worldwide government propaganda” and, indeed some of your other comments. I have set out a few comments on why:

    • Paul,

      There is no need to move the discussion to your private blog.

      Government-funded “group-think”, “settled-science” advocates have ignored high quality experimental observations for decades that belie their “consensus” fables about the Sun’s:

      a.) Origin,
      b.) Composition,
      c.) Source of Energy, and
      d.) Influence on Earth’s Climate

      Two recent manuscripts summarize the data:

      1. “Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun”,
      Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144

      2. “Neutron Repulsion”,
      The APEIRON Journal (2011) in press

      Please feel free to address the observations yourself or to request help from the Presidents of the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the UN’s IPCC, or the editors of Nature or Science – if you can get them to come out of hiding!

      • Oliver
        I am not a scientist, but have been following the “climate debate” for nearly two years. I first came across your posts on WUWT and realize that you are obviously a highly educated academic. I have noticed that you have a, could we say, obsession, with the iron sun theory. Respectfully, I have also noticed that most of your posts are ignored. Perhaps I am wrong, even ignorant in asking what, if the theory is correct, has the suns composition got to do with the climate debate in general. You yourself acknowledge that some people regard your position as somewhat “crazy”. I am merely enquiring, because I keep seeing you plugging away, and I keeping seeing a non-response. Where is it going?

      • randomengineer

        Classical physics says that fusion can only happen with light elements and that elements heavier than iron can’t fuse and come from supernovae. Oliver here is saying that they’re wrong and heavier elements are found in the sun, which obviously is working, hence we don’t really have a full grasp on physics yet.

        He’s probably correct. e.g. look in the news (“google “peswiki”) and you’ll see that some Italians demo’d a claimed cold fusion device that is impossible in terms of physics. If the device works (it uses nickel) then at least some of what we reckon we know is incorrect.

        **(Hey Oliver, you need to have a look at this yourself. If this is real then this validates your statements.) **

        It then follows that if solar fusion is happening in ways we don’t comprehend then there’s a lot we’re not getting re RTE and so on where it concerns climate (and the sun’s effect thereon) because the energies are wrong.

      • My bogosity meter is pegged on ‘high’ irt to the Italian cold fusion claim.
        I would suggest a strong, strong dose of skepticism regarding anything to do with cold fusion. Think of the appropriate level of skepticism as as double espresso with an extra shot or two of caffeine by way of a metaphor.

      • randomengineer

        I would suggest a strong, strong dose of skepticism regarding anything to do with cold fusion.

        There’s such a thing as “too skeptical.” LENR (cold fusion) is real enough with real scientists with real reputations doing real science. There _is_ a “there” there, although whether this is usable or mere cusiosity isn’t known. Something is happening. Understanding it is different, and a lack of funding into the more serious efforts seems to be just as much of an issue as anything else.

        Regarding the Italian claim, who knows, we’ll have to see. Could be bogus. On the other hand their patent was rejected since their explanation was incompatible with the current peer reviewed lit (i.e. they’re told that the device can’t work as claimed) so lacking protection they are going a different route. In their shoes I might do the same for the same reason.

        Pity, really. Ogg the cavemen figures out how to spark a fire using flint but gets his patent rejected because he can’t explain precisely how it happens? i.e. humans have a long history of discovering stuff long before they have any clue why it works. (For that matter we still can’t explain ordinary magnets.) This could be similar. Or not. Note that I’m *not* holding my breath.

      • The title to the first paper answers your question.

  73. KPO is partially correct.

    1. An obsession with experimental data is helpful in science.

    2. An aversion to experimental data is common in the “consensus” or “group-think” science that produced Nobel Prizes for the UN’s IPCC, Al Gore, and their army of AGW followers.

    Since 1975 I have been obsessed with the observation that all primordial helium was tagged with excess Xe-136 at the birth of the solar system [“Host phase of a strange xenon component in Allende,” Science, vol. 190, Dec. 1975, pp. 1251-1262; “Extinct super-heavy element in the Allende meteorite,” Science, vol. 190, Dec. 1975, pp. 1262-1271]:

    The [primordial He/excess Xe-136] link:

    a.) Concerned Nobel Laureate Professor Seaborg in 1975 because it indicated that the excess Xe-136 was not a fission product, as claimed.

    b.) Was confirmed in diverse types of meteorites [“The enigma of helium and anomalous xenon,” Icarus , vol. 41, February 1980, pp. 312-315].

    c.) Was predicted in Jupiter’s He-rich atmosphere in 1983 [“Solar abundances of the elements,” Meteoritics, vol. 18, September 1983, pp. 209-222].

    d.) Accepted as nucleogenetic rather that fission in 1983 [“Barium isotopes in Allende meteorite: Evidence against an extinct superheavy element”, Science, vol. 222, December 1983, pp. 1013-1015].

    e.) Confirmed in Jupiter’s He-rich atmosphere in 1995 [“Isotope ratios in Jupiter confirm intra-solar diffusion”, Meteoritics and Planetary Science 33, A97, abstract 5011 (1998)].

    Does this explain why I was obsessed with the experimental data?

    Why have the Presidents of the US National Academy of Sciences, the UK Royal Society, the UN’s IPCC, and the editors of Nature or Science had such an aversion to the experimental observation that tells them the Standard Solar Model is wrong?

    I look forward to hearing their side of this story – hopefully directly from “the horses mouth”.

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

    • appreciate both the question and the reply. One of my favorite quotes is:
      The biggest tragedy is to believe that the limit of our perception is the limit of all there is to perceive. Leadbetter

  74. Hi Judith, I was drawn to your blog by John O’Sullivan yesterday when he advised my of an up-coming “ .. Big Debate over the ‘Slayers’ book is set for next week with many top tier scientists in the fray

    Reading this thread took me to “The Uncertainty Monster” (, a topic that shoul be emphasised over and over again by honest scientists. The comment there that ijmpressed me most was “Monster adaptation. Monster adapters attempt to transform the monster by subjectively quantifying and simplifying the assessment of uncertainty”.

    Let me quote something that I have used again and again during my discussions in the blogosphere about the “significant human-made global climate change” hyothesis.

    In April 2009, in his article “Ian Plimer – Heaven and Earth” ( criticising Professor Ian Plimer’s book, ecologist Dr. Barry Brook, Director, Research Institute for Climate Change & Sustainability at Adelaide University ( said “ .. There are a lot of uncertainties in science, and it is indeed likely that the current consensus on some points of climate science is wrong, or at least sufficiently uncertain that we don’t know anything much useful about processes or drivers”. In my opinion that statement describes “the monster” perfectly so I repeatedly questioned Professor Brook about how he could justify his unflinching support for the hypothesis given such uncertainty but he refused to respond.

    Professor Brook went on to say “But EVERYTHING? Or even most things? Take 100 lines of evidence, discard 5 of them, and you’re still left with 95 and large risk management problem”. In my opinion that statement was Professor Brook’s feeble attempt “to transform the monster by subjectively quantifying and simplifying the assessment of uncertainty”. Pick a number out of the air (95%) and imply that uncertainty only amounts to 5% – wonderful.

    My repeated attempts to get a response on this had a simple ending. I was banned from submitting further comments to bravenewclimate. Let’s hope that the Lisbon workshop resolved the uncertainty issue in a more productive manner.

    Best regard, Pete Ridley.

    • Hi Pete
      Judith never mentioned this forthcoming event but she is full of surprises! However, it will be interesting to see if next week’s so-called big debate can offer anything that hasn’t already been thrashed to death on the many threads on this blog that have discussed the GHE and Radiative Transfer Theory. IMHO, this sounds like some kind of PR push to get the Dragon Slayer Book advertized. I await the discussion with interest. Regards, Rob

    • I think the Dragon book is not going to help clarify very much at all.

    • Pete, re Slaying the Greenhouse Dragon and John O’ Sullivan’s remark. A few threads ago (perhaps Pierrehumbert), i made a disparaging remark about the book. This started a long chain of emails, and I told them that I didn’t have time to do a thorough critique. An author of one of the chapters (on the greenhouse effect) particularly would like a scientific critique. I have a number of problems with this chapter, but again no time to do a detailed critize. I agreed to host a thtread related to one particular chapter, provided that chapter is made publicly available, to allow the Climate Etc. denizens to provide arguments for against the material provided in this particular chapter.

  75. RobB, if you check out the promotional bulletins in the blogosphere and elsewhere you may find evidence to support your opinion. Have you seen,,, ? They all provide parts of the jigsaw puzzle. As is often said, if something is puzzling you “follow the money”.

    Best regards, Pete

  76. I’ve just checked again on that first blog that I linked to seen Yesterday there were 4 comments posted, today there are none. I wonder how they were lost. Never mind, I saved the page in anticipation and here they are (it’s hard to remove stuff from the Internet once it’s out there). I wonder how long it will be before my comment on the GoFundMe blog ( will stay posted.

    QUOTE from EbookPartnership at 27th January:
    Pete Ridley says: January 26, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Hi Matt, there have been numerous claims in the blogosphere that “Slaying the Sky Dragon” is a best-seller, but what does that mean in terms of numbers sold? I did a “straw poll” among associates other than those involved directly with “the Slayers” and hardly any had even heard of the book never mind read or bought it. Most of the enthusiasm appears to be coming from the team of authors itself.

    Amazon has been offering the book at a significant discount for a while now. In addition, when appealing for charitable donations for ” .. supporting Principia Scientific International (PSI) .. ” ( the offer of a copy of this “bestseller” plus a companion volume QUOTE: .. If you contribute £60 (Sixty British Pounds) or more (approx. US$100) we will ensure you receive a copy of ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon: Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory’ plus a bonus book (two volume pack RRP: $38.98).” ) doesn’t seem to have been considered attractive by potential donors (1 donation within the first hour then nothing else in the subsequent 8 days).

    Of course, I may have missed something so come on Matt, lets have some facts and figures about those sales volumes that warrants the claim that it is a best-seller..

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    Matt Horner says: January 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks for your interest Pete.

    Since launch this eBook has been in the Top 10 Bestseller ranks on in three separate categories and remains there today:
    #5 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science > Earth Sciences > Rivers
    #6 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science > Environment > Ecology
    #7 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science > Environment > Weather
    Obviously I’m not in a position to publish the sales figures – you would need to contact the authors about that:

    I’m a little confused about the point you are making with regards to Amazon discounts – the eBook isn’t discounted and the printed copy (which we haven’t been involved with) doesn’t seem to be either?

    Pete Ridley says: January 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    Hi Matt, since late December I’ve been exchanging opinions relating to this book involving “the Slayers” and associated individuals. Although it is claimed to be a best-seller, what does this actually mean? I did ask for information from them relating to the sales but it wasn’t forthcoming. Since you support those claims I expected that you’d have some knowledge of how it has been selling. Just because the book appears in a list of best-sellers doesn’t tell us much. Doesn’t it depend upon how many other books were sold in any particular category during any particular period? If other books in a category only sold a couple of books each then another selling one more would be a best-seller wouldn’t it – or am I being too simplistic?

    Regarding the discounts, this Amazon page says “ .. Digital List Price: £6.84 .. Kindle Price: £4.76 .. You Save: £6.24 (57%) ( Isn’t that a discount?

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

    Matt Horner says: January 26, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Pete. “Although it is claimed to be a best-seller, what does this actually mean?” It means that its sales were better than those of other books in a specific category over a specific time. Of course, books in niche categories don’t have to sell as many as books in more popular categories, otherwise the only best sellers would be celeb biographies and books about boys at Wizard school!

    Fair cop about the Amazon discount. Amazon are entitled (under their Terms of Sale) to reduce the price of any eBook so that a) it is less than the printed version and b) they are not undercut by any other retailers.

    Thanks for your interest, Matt


    It seems that Matt no longer welcomes my interest in “Slaying the Sky Dragon”. We live in interesting times, but that’s another story about which all will be revealed in the fullness of time! I’m looking forward to that “100-top-scientists-in-heated-debate-over-slaying-of-greenhouse-gas-theory”.

    Best regards, Pete

  77. Hi Kim, but how many books were sold to make it a number 1? That’s what I’d like to know about “Slaying the Sky Dragon” too, but I can’t get John O’Sullivan to divulge that information. I wonder why not!

    Judith, thanks for that clarification about the extent of the debate over “Slaying the Sky Dragon”. May I quote you on John’s thread thread ( – oopps, I’ve just tried to go to that page and get the message “You may not be able to visit this page because of:
    1. an out-of-date bookmark/favourite
    2. a search engine that has an out-of-date listing for this site
    3. a mistyped address
    4. you have no access to this page
    5. The requested resource was not found.
    6. An error has occurred while processing your request.
    Please try one of the following pages:
    If difficulties persist, please contact the System Administrator of this site”.

    Now isn’t that surprising. A similar thing happened when I pointed out some significant deficiencies in what was being displayed on “the Slayers” Principia Scientific International (PSI) blog (, Now “This site is down for maintenance. Please check back again soon”. Two coincidences like this in almost as many days – odd.

    John and I had just agreed to move the recent debate we were having about how dead the Greenhouse theory might really be after the attack by those dragon slayers over to Judith’s up coming new thread that John was boasting about. Never mind, I’ll send John another E-mail.

    Best regards, Pete

  78. BTW Judith, was that chapter that you agreed to debate anything to do with “the thermal equilibrium concept”?

  79. May Science Survive !

    Please say a special prayer for the survival of science as a process of “truthing” on this last day of the Lisbon Workshop to try to reconcile dishonest climate predictions with basic principles of science.

    “Truthing” means always searching for a better understanding, and always knowing that you will never have the whole truth!

    That is exactly how experimental data from analysis of the:

    a.) Meteorite that fell on Pueblito de Allende, in Chihuahua State, Mexico on 8 February 1969, and

    b.) Moon soils and breccias that became available almost six months later from the first Apollo Moon Landing

    Revealed that Earth’s Heat Source is a neutron star – that is hidden from view by the brightly glowing waste products (91% H and 9% He) that “consensus” scientists mistakenly call the Sun [“Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press, 1011]:

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

    • LOL
      Not a lot of work going on it seems!! I have a new conspiracy theory: there’s no conference in Lisbon at all. I think they just went there for a few beers and some stout Portugese cuisine. Also, I think tallbloke bought the T-Shirt in his size!!

  80. Michael Larkin

    I‘ve been ploughing through the comments here and have a few reflections, not necessarily with any thesis in mind that I want to develop.

    1. I’m minded of the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief:


    I’m wondering if “reconciliation” is a disguised form of bargaining. A kind of tacit acceptance that one can’t win, and so must seek to minimise the losses.

    That would be different than a meeting between opposite sides where the object was to identify differences and to inculcate mutual respect for those. But I doubt at this stage that is possible. Too much water under the bridge, etc.

    2. Lots of esoteric talk about science and its nature, but I can’t help but think that the interpreters’ and pigeon-holers’ efforts are no more than an attempt to try to describe the reality of scientific practice in academically discussable ways. At the end of the day, scientists are people just like anyone else, and just as susceptible to irrationality and bias. One can bang on indefinitely about the “scientific method” and what it is supposed to achieve, but in the end each scientist practises science with a degree of integrity that is influenced by his/her personality, in turn at least partially determined by upbringing, education, perceived loyalties, etc.

    There are rules and procedures, for sure, but always at the end of the chain is the interpretation of individual scientists and the reaction of their peers to that. This determines the popular, officially-approved expressions of understanding framed for consumption by the general populace. Climate science is far from unique: IMO, there is an enormous amount of unacknowledged uncertainty in all sorts of fields.

    3. Scientific progress, or more generally progress itself, could be seen as not the aim, but the welcome and somewhat incidental result, of how humanity works. At any given time in history, some views are widely accepted, some minority ones are tolerated, and others, vilified. By sheer dint of numbers and authority, a particular view tends to predominate for a period.

    Until that changes – for whatever reason. But until then, the dominant view hangs on with grim determination. Reality is always there; we could in principle have got closer to it centuries or even millennia ago. Constantly, we’ve moved from one platform of imagined certainty to the next. We all readily accept this – for the past, at any rate; but NOW, of course, we really have got that certainty, haven’t we? In a pig’s ear we have.

    Malcontents always rock the boat. A proportion of them are right and may help achieve useful change. Of course, we can’t allow any old idea, however dubious, to upset the applecart, but unfortunately, even good minority views can be labelled dubious, even crackpot, thus delaying desirable progress. In the NOW, be that a thousand years ago or today, we are always so very convinced we are living in the real.

    It would be so nice if we could recognise this dynamic and find an optimal balance between stability and change; perhaps civilisation needs periods of stability, even at the price of stifling change. In the last century or two, the rate of change has accelerated very noticeably. Perhaps things have become unbearable; perhaps both sides of the climate debate, subconsciously, are seeking ways to introduce stability. For the pro-AGW side, I get this sense of a mythical time when human beings lived in harmony with nature. For the sceptics, more the sense of mythical dominance of rationality leading to control of the present, and the direction of the future.

    Both sides may be trying to stabilise around these myths. Both sides are laying exclusive claim to rationality (which could, perhaps, be more accurately described as rationlisation) because these days it’s difficult to openly express opinion based on inner desire for how reality should be. That applies even in politics; opinions have to be seen to be bolstered by “expert” input from, e.g., science and economics. The temptation to game the system so that experts deliver messages that support unacknowledged desires could be very strong.

    Do we want to reach some kind of mutual understanding and respect? To do so, I think we have to appreciate the symmetry of the situation. Neither side has it “right” in a psychological sense, and are both after the same thing: the restoration of stability. In the absence of that, I think many of us are afraid, anxious, angry, and may be seeking someone or something to blame. But heck, it’s us being us, just as roses will be roses, and skunks, skunks.

    • I was loathe to mention it but exactly my thinking. The death of a belief system with a bit of Pathological Science thrown in.

      “If you’re tracking the collapse of belief in AGW around the world as closely as I am, it’s important to recognize that what you’re actually looking at is the collapse of a belief system.”


    • Michael,
      I think you raise a very interesting perspective of grief and climate change, and I think you are at least partially correct in this. I had also been struck by the parallels to the grieving process and had thought that perhaps it was just coincidental. Regardless of this the bargaining/reconciliation process may be achievable but not necessarily for all individuals. The other thing is that in the AGW camp a lot of people are at acceptance and may not feel like revisiting earlier stages of the process.

      Also,thinking about it now, if the grieving process is about the damage to our environment, it is up to each individual to come to terms with this. Then I would interpret reconciliation as a counseling activity, not the bargaining stage but enabling the bargaining stage.

    • Michael Larkin you make a good point about reconciliation-seeking being a covert form of bargaining. I have long suspected that efforts to “reconcile”, “build bridges” or “stabilise” climate science may be not merely futile, but rather pernicious as well. The essential function of the scientific method is not to act as a constraint on immoral or irrational behaviour by scientists, but to ensure that when such behaviour leads them into error, their errors do not survive. It does this, however, by censuring the error, not the behaviour that led to it. This is important because bad behaviour is no guarantee of error, and because many important advances have been made by badly behaved scientists. Think Crick & Watson, or even Newton. Precisely because scientific brilliance, and the personal detachment needed to build a mental Chinese Wall so rarely coexist, science has found a way to keep the baby and drain the bathwater. The scientfic method is the only bridge real science needs. That is why the efforts of PNS to recast it, and the prospect of PNS being recruited to the cause of reconciliation, are so offensive.

      • Tom, I love the word ‘pernicious ‘, it says so much and you are right on the ball.

  81. Dear Professor Curry,

    Please convey my sincere appreciation to advocates of Post-Normal Science for convincing leaders of the scientific, and the not-so-scientific, community into believing that they could take short-cuts in “truthing.”

    “Truthing” (the result of following the scientific method) is always searching for a better understanding and always knowing that you will never have the whole truth!

    Sudden, worldwide interest in our discovery that Earth’s heat source is an unstable neutron star [“Neutron Repulsion”, The APEIRON Journal, in press, 1011], . . .

    Was catalyzed by success of Post-Normal Science advocates in convincing Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC, world leaders, the international news media, and leaders of the scientific community that they could safely announce to the world:

    “Earth’s climate is immune to Earth’s heat source !”

    Whatever is in control of the universe has a sense of humor!

    Again, Professor Curry, thanks for your help.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  82. Yes please remove the off topic comments. It’s just another reminder that our erstwhile truth-seeking bedfellows on climate issues have no such regard for truth on many other issues; their blind dogmata and blank refusal to consider a middle ground just mirroring their opponents.

    Dogma of some kind rules most folk in this “debate”. It’s like watching two tribes shaking sticks at each other from opposite hills; one tribe worshipping mother earth and the other worshipping the invisible hand. Down in the valley many of us just care about what works and what doesn’t so we’d prefer people just to deal with the realities that puncture their overly simplistic theory rather than the lofty pretense of moral superiority and the rampant hypocrisy.

    Back on topic, reconciliation on the climate science isn’t possible with the likes of Trenberth for whom everything around them is evidence of catastrophic climate change. Their version of the facts tell them that drastic action is required now. But drastic cutting of CO2 just idn’t going to happen so reconciliation on adaptation and/or green tech is the only game in town. The science will no doubt catch up later when everything cools off – so to speak. But whatever our stance on CO2, it’s clear we need to prepare somewhat better for extreme weather events, water, food and energy shortages than we do now.

  83. Professor Curry,

    Are you going to make a report on the Lisbon Workshop?

    • working on it, it will be up sometime sunday night

      • Thanks!

        Without this climate scandal, I would probably never have realized that the US National Academy of Sciences and its space agency, NASA, have been practicing “post-normal” science since the time of the 1969 Apollo Mission to the Moon.

        No wonder they learned absolutely nothing and every new observation is headlined as a “surprising new discovery.”

  84. Judith,
    Here is just one week of world weather they all have precipitation causes:
    World weather news, January 2011

    Virtually every country in southern Africa is on alert for potentially disastrous flooding, the United Nations said, as exceptionally heavy rainfall was forecast to continue into March. “We fear flash floods. It’s rather common in the region and this time we are seeing heavier rainfall than in previous years,” said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. “Five countries are on alert for flooding — Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia, — and South Africa will now declare a disaster.” In South Africa flooding and storms have left 40 dead and forced 6,000 people to flee their homes so far, according to the UN, with reports of damage or casualties in Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola and Swaziland. Two of the biggest rivers in the region, the Zambezi and Okavango, are at about twice their normal levels early in the rainy season. Regional forecasts have predicted “normal to above normal” rainfall across the area in January to March.
    Rural Australian towns braced for another week of flooding Sunday as a vast lake continued to spread across the country’s southeast and a potential tropical storm threatened the northeast. The flooding began more than a month ago in Australia’s northeast Queensland state, where 30 people have died, more than 30,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed and at least 3 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion) in crops and coal exports have been lost. Record rains have shifted the flood emergency focus to southeast Victoria state, which is usually parched during the southern summer.
    Brazilian authorities say heavy overnight storms have caused new flooding in Sao Paulo, killing at least one man, toppling cars into buildings, downing power lines and halting traffic. Officials say the death toll in mudslides north of Rio de Janeiro has risen to 809 people. In the southern state of Santa Catarina, flooding has killed five people and driven at least 18,000 driven from their homes in recent days.
    A significant La Niña episode, which is affecting climate conditions in different regions of the world, continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Its strength is expected to decrease during the course of the coming four months, according to a new Update issued today by the World Meteorological Organization. Almost all forecast models predict a continuation of the current La Niña for at least the next 2-4 months, through the first quarter of 2011 and possibly into the second quarter (April or early May). ‘The strength of the event is likely to decrease during the course of the coming 4 months,’ says the El Niño/La Niña Update.
    New York shut down two airports and most city services in the wake of a rare thunder-snow storm that paralyzed air and ground travel over a vast area from Washington to as far north as Boston. After building up early Wednesday with ice and freezing rain, the storm blindsided the US capital at the height of the evening rush hour, not even sparing President Barack Obama, who faced travel delays upon returning from a day trip to the US Midwest. In New York, John F. Kennedy Airport and Newark Airport in New Jersey were closed for almost 12 hours as the storm, simultaneously erupting with lightening and thunder, blanketed the region in more than 30cm of snow. They reopened later Thursday, but with long delays as airlines worked their way through huge backlogs of canceled flights and miserable passengers. The storm, an unusual thunder and snow combination, was the fifth major snowfall in as many weeks for parts of the US east coast. For New York City, this has been the most snow-filled January in history, with a total of 90cm breaking the record set 1925.
    Kuri Bay in the Kimberley has recorded 1339.5 mm of rainfall so far this month (1 to 27 January 2011) which is the highest monthly rainfall total ever recorded in Western Australia. WA Regional Climate Services Manager Mr Glenn Cook explained that the high rainfall was due to an active monsoon season in the north of the state, as a result of the current La Nina and aided by warmer than normal waters off the WA north coast. The previous record for WA was 1321.7 mm at Roebuck Plains in the Kimberley in January 1917; while the previous record at Kuri Bay was 1144.9 mm in January 1974. The average rainfall during January at Kuri Bay is 407.4 mm. ‘The actual monthly total was probably higher,’ said Mr Cook ‘given that the rainfall gauge overflowed before the observer was able to check the total on the very heavy rainfall day of the 11th, when 388.6 mm was observed.’ While the 1339.5 mm at Kuri Bay is the highest monthly total recorded in WA, the Australian record was observed in Queensland where Bellenden Ker (Top Station) recorded 5387.0 mm in January 1979.

  85. Funny, I thought I was also at the conception of the workshop! … but anyway, I feel rewarded I have contributed to star a process. AGP

  86. Joe (Lalonde), OK, various parts of the globe are experiencing “extreme” weather events (January 26, 2011 at 12:42 pm), its wet in parts of the Southern Hemisphere and cold in the Northern at present. What’s new? Weren’t there similar back in 2000 and 1990 (

    On 22nd July 2010 you proclaimed “We have changed the evaporation patterns of the planet on a large scale including billions of gallons per day being used and in some cases such as oil production never to be used again(pumped into wells for pressure)” (

    If your proclamation almost two years ago “We are in the first stages of a long ice age” ( ” (one is due isn’t it?) then we’ll just have to adapt to it. That’s what humans have always had to do.

    But where is the solid evidence that makes you so certain that you can proclaim so confidently? As Professor Barry Brook, Adelaide University said a couple of months after your proclamation about the up-coming ice-age QUOTE: There are a lot of uncertainties in science, and it is indeed likely that the current consensus on some points of climate science is wrong, or at least sufficiently uncertain that we don’t know anything much useful about processes or drivers” (

    (Of course Brook then went on to try to hide the extent of this uncertainty with “But EVERYTHING? Or even most things? Take 100 lines of evidence, discard 5 of them, and you’re still left with 95 and large risk management problem”. I have to ask where that implied 95% understanding came from – probably just plucked out of the air using “expert” opinion, just like the IPCC does in its ARs.

    BTW, what’s your connection with Woods Hole?

    Judith, have you made a decision yet on setting up that thread to help “Slayer” John O’Sullivan promote the book that he co-authored “Slaying the Sky Dragon”. He’s still advertising QUOTE: Top Scientists in Heated Debate over ‘Slaying’ of Greenhouse Gas Theory UNQUOTE and saying “Not wishing to allow such a slight to pass O’Sullivan emailed Dr. Curry and challenged her to debate the issue but she declined. However, after several days of discussion both parties finally agreed to an open debate to begin next week on Curry’s blog.” (

    Come on Judith, lets have a full on-line peer review of that book by top scientists and expose the flaws in that claim to have killed the hypothesis about the “greenhouse effect” – or have St. John and the rest of “the Slayers” team actually killed the sky dragon?

    Best regards, Pete Ridley