Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part IV

by Judith Curry

Fred Pearce’s article in the New Scientist is creating a stir in the climate blogosphere.  Fred, a participant in the Workshop, wrote:

But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.

Across the spectrum, participants were mostly united in disagreeing with Schmidt. Climate science, they said, is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”.

Gavin Schmidt has taken exception to this characterization of his response, who replies (in an email to the New Scientist that was widely circulated, see here for my source):

In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal,” Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.

“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”

This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter:

“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached.  We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

“The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data.  We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”

Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/

Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!

Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.

Yours respectfully,

Gavin Schmidt

PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.

Schmidt, Joe Romm and William Connolley are all tripping over each other to claim the science isn’t settled, and of course Gavin didn’t say that.

At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled.  I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation.  Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email.   I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify.

Well the punchline seems to be this.  Mainstream climate scientists seem to want to loudly proclaim that the science isn’t settled.  And prefer not to be labeled as a “leader of mainstream climate science.”  A very good thing.

Note to “deniers:”  looks like you are currently denying unsettled science :)

975 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation: Part IV

  1. “Deniers” of evolution are also “denying unsettled science,” so…?

    But I think this is a good reason why scientists are careful with whom they debate. Having “dialogue” with people who will misrepresent your positions for political or rhetorical gain is not conducive to understanding and is best avoided. Unfortunately such misrepresentations are the rule rather than the exception in the climate skeptic community.

    WMC points out this particular rhetorical game: “He isn’t using the phrase accidentally or carelessly). It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.”

    • Yes, the stoat on misrepresentation. That one is going in my museum.
      ===============

    • Try it the other way round to see the real game:

      Gavin writes that the attribution of the last 50 years of warming is unequivocally established as due to humans to a certainty of 90% and hence the only real conflict is political. To any observer like Pearce this can be summed up as saying “the science is settled”. But hey, he blusters, I didn’t say 100% so don’t pretend I did! Impressive nit-picking!

      I agree though that Gavin isn’t a science leader, he is a mathematician with enough knowledge of climate to fiddle about with a climate model that doesn’t represent the real world either spatially or temporally and which is is verified merely by bad hindcasting of a single variable in a sea of variables. Computer modeling isn’t even a scientific endeavour because it isn’t real experimentation or data collection.

      • OK JamesG, end all computer modelling for anything and see where you get.

        Really, what’s with all the neo-Luddite fainting spells over computer modelling??

      • Michael,
        I think a better take on what JamesG is saying that modelers need to stop demanding to have it both ways, and to stop pretending that their models are a perfect representation of reality for policy purposes.
        If we go with your empty strawman, then we are not allowed to actually critique anything, but then that is the goal of the AGW community, no?

      • Show me a quote where a modeler ever claimed a model perfect.

        Call me

        Skeptical…… ;-)

      • dolormin,
        How many times do we read that the models rule out everything but CO2 to account for current climate?
        That implies a complete (perfect) state of knowledge represented in the models.
        Are you Schmidt as a sock puppet hiding behind dissembling and parsing?
        You guys get to claim everything is settled, until quoted as calling things settled, then you have a little hissy fit.
        You shouldn’t get to say it is unsettled but then choose what can be critiqued at the same time.

      • So you making up claims that you cannot back up.

        Basically you are a typical climate skeptic.

      • On the second day I was on this blog, a modeller claimed exactly that.

      • Link?

      • “Show me a quote where a modeler ever claimed a model perfect.”

        This is just another ridiculous strawman. All I did was give a fair representation of the state of the GISS model. As a computer modeler I am far from ending computer modeling as Michael seems to have somehow interpreted. But, and this is of crucial importance, there are a heck of a lot of things that just cannot be modelled adequtely at the present time. Trying is one thing but pretending your efforts are adequate when they plainly aren’t is more about politics than science, maths or computation.

      • No one with even the faintest idea of modelling thinks, hints, suggests or any way implies that they “perfect representation[s] of reality”.

        The word ‘model’ – says it all. Look at a dictionary.

      • Then talk to those who make a living scaring policy makers int granting them huge budgets and imposing laws based on them.
        Please continue this bs line of defense. It only shows your side for what it is.

      • Michael,
        They call their computer runs “experiments!” I read a modeler make a startling statement. Here’s the gist – “We tweaked the model and not only did one output get closer to observational data, so did another. This was when we knew we were working with something real.”

        Muddle-headed thinking – like calling computer runs experiments – leads these guys to lose touch with reality. They cannot tell what is real and what is not.

      • Michael, you are right (I hope), and I think that the contrary examples given are mainly colloquial langage, or exageration to vulagrize or get “a story” for the journalist. Not too important imho. But I build numerical models all the time, mostly finite element. In fact, it pays my bills. At there are models you can trust for critical dimensioning, solid models, useful models, and experimental models. some subpart of climate models could fall in the “fully trustable” to “solid”, but they do not predict surface temp. Even for long term average, I would never put any GCM (or other technique that pretend to give a prediction for the actual earth system) above “useful”. In fact, from the validation I have seen and the difference with “naive” 1D models or purely phenological extrapolations/fits, you will have to argue a lot before I accept to let them go out of “experimental”. Imho, “experimental” is not sufficient for policy decision, only to guide further research. Would the code I work with or produce be equivalent, we could maybe hope to sell them to some advanced research center (academic or industrial, some industries do pretty experimental and far from applicaion stuff). But never ever for production center…

      • Too bad, for producing Twin-Earth’s climate sounds like fun.

      • I do not know if you intend sarcasm here, but, at this time, GCM really are used for “production”. Production of attributions and of future scenarios that the cornerstones of CO2 policies (well, at least they are presented as this to the public. I guess an economist or historian may have something to say on the real motives, investigating monetary and political consequences compared actual reduction of CO2 emissions.

      • I do not know if you intend to minimize your criticism, but you have just backtracked from “GCM do not predict climate” to “GCM are used for attribution.” Perhaps you are presupposing that since GCM can only do forecasting, they are only “experimental”.

        In that case, what you’re saying seems to entail that to be of “production quality”, models should be able to make predictions. In other words, the models should be able to reproduce the Earth’s climate.

        Recalling the scale of the endeavour should suffice to show that this desideratum is a bit farfetched.

        ***

        Your guess entails that economists and historians can uncover real motives. I’m not sure that’s the job description of economists or historians. As a way to attribute intentions, it’s not far from formulating a forecasting hypothesis, don’t you think?

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘In that case, what you’re saying seems to entail that to be of “production quality”, models should be able to make predictions. In other words, the models should be able to reproduce the Earth’s climate.’

        Joe Sixpack comments that there’s not much f….g point in having them at all if they can’t do even that! Unless they are there as job creation schemes for otherwise unemployable climatologits.

      • I thought it was Latimer Adler that kept on repeating that claptrap.

        Joe Sixpack should beware with what names he signs his comments, then.

      • Oh, this is something I should maybe not say, because it is the dark side of modeling, nothing to be proud of but as it exists, let’s go:

        sometimes a numerical model is applied outside its domain of application, maybe so far that we know we will be lucky to get a result not completely different from reality. Sometimes we are lucky and the garbage out is not too far from experiment. Sometimes some tuning is done to get it closer, sometimes nobody care to tune, sometimes there is no control experiment. Customers ask it (or do it themselves), because they do not have better tools at hand, and, even if the garbage if far from reality, it can be useful: it produce very nice, animated color plots with a very serious-looking FE mesh that can help an engineering department sell a project to management better (don’t panic, they are not insane, they know they misused the model and usually have an experimental curve to back them up, at least if it is a production project ;-) )

      • Kai,

        And I’m sure you’ve seen, as I have, that a model can behave quite well to a point, after which it diverges exponentially from reality – and, upon investigation, it’s found that one small variable was left out, or something similar.
        The difference between models and the real world is that the real world has to exactly obey all of the laws of physics all of the time, including the ones which might still be unknown. A model will still ‘work’, even if it violates one or more laws.
        If we are to believe the models, we need to find some way of validating them properly. If we can’t do that then we can’t afford to put too much trust in the models.
        Sorry, but them’s the breaks.

      • This is a way to see it. On my side, I consider that science as a whole is a model, there is no fundamental difference between numerical models and physical laws, except the degree of validation and thus trust. It is a hierarchy of models, from fundamental law, to phenomenological law, to numerical models using those laws (and usually numerical approximations) a to build a numerical model which can not fit in a more classical mathematical expression.

        Each level from this pyramid of models takes its justification from the exactness of mathematical derivation from the level below, and testing against experiment.
        Fundamental laws are at the base, and takes their strenght from a lot of experimental validation and (there I differ from more classical view) from a sense of symmetry, elegance and esthetic satisfaction in the mind of physiscists/scientists. This last bit is important, it guides the research, and introduce creativity in science, but, in the end, experiments have the last word….at any level of the pyramid.

        This is a fundamental point for GCM I think, because one can derive a false sense of security from numerical model “that are derived from fundamental principles”. It is, imho, not justified once the numerical model becomes complex enough, because the most part of the model is not from fundamental laws, but from numerical approximations, parametrisation, and a lot of interraction between different modules and physics. In the end, different models based of the same first principles can leads to wildly different models, provided that different types of approximations were used.

        The only sane way the is diagnostic (checking if some global conservation laws are not broken by the model, – this can catch bugs and inadequacies of the numerical methods) and extensive validation (this catch inadequacies in modeling, which involves approximation and elimination of some factors, to obtain a tractable model, and is always present even for particle physics simulation, which directly use first principles (model an idealised version of an experiment).
        When dealing with natural systems (like climate), one do not start from first principles, and there is no way to control experiments….so validation is crucial, and the more complex the model is, the more factors it takes into account, the more diverse validation should be.

      • Sometimes the model itself can be correct, but wrongly used. I have this sort of situation with some research I’m involved in – I’m not going to reveal what it is, as I’m working on a paper which I hope to get published – but it’s nothing to do with climate.
        Essentially the model is used to determine the probability of some rare event from various input parameters. For various reasons, the relationship between these parameters and the event cannot be reliably measured in the real world, hence the model. The model itself is a simple one, making direct use of first principles.
        The problem comes in how the model is used. One of the input parameters (the key one) is varied whilst keeping the other parameters constant. The thing is, the other parameters are dependent on the key one, and so it’s invalid to hold them constant (well you can, but just don’t expect the right results)
        This has, unfortunately, escaped the notice of many researchers in various parts of the world for many years and, as a result, virtually none of the existing papers on the subject can be considered to be correct.

      • We know they aren’t perfect. But the real issue is are they adequate for the purpose they are intended? Computer modelling is one of the things i do for a living. Many, if not most, of the results from my efforts are within 1% error. I don’t expect that in such a hugely difficult problem such as modeling the Earths climate. From my experience there are far too many independent variables that need to be somehow made dependent and the grid sizes are far too huge.

        Some of the modelling though seems to be reasonable, ie when they focus on smaller, solvable problems. eg coupled models trying to predict effects of ENSO, though whether they do more than a human brain could do with a few graphs, a lot of savvy and no model at all, is another issue.

        Apart from that I’m sorry for derailing things again.

      • Fools rush in where angels…?

        ‘Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation’

        Irreducible imprecision in atmospheric and oceanic simulations
        James C. McWilliams *
        Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-156

        http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.long

      • JamesG:

        Gavin writes that the attribution of the last 50 years of warming is unequivocally established as due to humans to a certainty of 90% and hence the only real conflict is political.

        Never mind for 20 years of that 50 years that Gavin mentions, it was actually cooling and for the last decade for all practical purposes (meaning there was no statistically significant warming for that decade), holding steady. It’s been warming unequivocally for just 20 of the last fifty years , and he conflates that to 50 years.

        This is an obvious exaggeration of the facts on Gavin’s part, and is not defensible.

    • It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.”

      Boris, you understand that the first position is a comment on science, and the second on policy, right? right???

      And I’d like to add also that evolution “deniers” are a more uniform bunch that (c)AGW ” deniers. For those who doubt Tyndall’s effect, you may have a point. Those who estimate differently climate sensitivities or doubt significant human consequences from a CO2 doubling are certainly not equivalent to evolution “deniers”. More along those who say that human intelligence arm race was sexual selection instead of survival selection, or people arguing wheter or not sapiens incorporated genetic material from neanderthalis. Maybe similar to the aqua ape adepts for the more extreme of climate deniers who still accept physics as measured in laboratory.

      Even those aqua apist are not labelled “deniers” in the evolution debate. Only challengers, originals, sloppy scientists, dreamers or, at worst, crackpots.

      There is only one reason why “deniers” is (or instead, was, because it is changing fast lately) used much more liberally in climate science: political implication for policies. This is a good proof that the fight is using science as weapon, but is not mainly about science (while, for evolution, it is, because the implication are not policies but philsophies/religion)

    • JCurry, a thought from the bleachers: moderating inappropriate comments with strike-throughs instead of deletions is not really moderating.

      • I made the same point about a week ago. I recommended snipping, which is what, as example, RealClimate does.

        Perhaps my opinion was ignored because I could be just another mental patient who loves to play with scissors.

      • If RC is snipping then it’s a recent phenomenon. My experience is that their snipping is what I would call deleting the comment

      • I’ve read it for years, and they have always edited some comments.

        Total deletions were once goners. Now they put them in the bore hole, and you can read the voices of opposition there.

      • Snipping runs the risk of changing the meaning of the original statement. It is not an honest form of debate.

    • Science is never settled
      Embrace uncertainty
      (fill in your trivial point here)

      It seems these people are using trivial cases to argue why climate science can be excused for producing some sloppy work and at the same time justifying using the results to both define a problem and its solution.

  2. “At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this”
    “Tallbloke apparently actually… “

    Apparently maybe someone sort of saw something that might have contradicted what Schmidt has said about his response but maybe you misheard?

    “Note to “deniers:” looks like you are currently denying unsettled science”

    Is the greenhouse effect “settled science”? If not are people who claim it doesn’t exist “denying unsettled science”?

  3. If the science is not settled, why is it totally locked out to anyone outside the profession?
    I would take it anyone without a degree is not capable of thought and logic.

    • “locked out?”

      What do you mean? There are tons of open access peer reviewed climate science articles available, and quite a lot more at your nearest academic library. Many scienctists also include links to their raw data, and more raw data is available from institutions that produce said data.

  4. So you have no issue with a journalist attributing a statement to a scientist that the journalist did not themselves hear.

    Another opportunity to mount your trusty steed and attack scientists while ignoring a possible case of poor journalism misrepresenting science.

    And they wonder why people doubt your motives. The bounders.

    • “while ignoring a possible case of poor journalism misrepresenting science.”

      If Gavin Schmidt didn’t want his position misrepresented it’s obvious he shouldn’t have written an email which may have been seen by someone else and whom may have told Dr Curry that he might have written something to the effect of “The science is settled”.

      This is another clear case of poor communication by scientists. Gavin Schmidt is a mean, bad man who did a bad thing.
      JC moderation

      • JC moderation

        Oh interesting but innuendo abstracted by about three levels suggesting the same individual is a liar is just fine in the actual post.

      • sharper00,

        At least Judith admits that it’s not an impossible case of poor journalism.

      • Actually, she doesn’t admit that at all, just maybe that it got mangled on the way to the journalist. That’s just unfortunate. Only climate scientists engage in dubious professiuonal practices.

        And Judith, as is her way, can’t resist but having a final little snark at the nasty groupthink scientists.

      • If it was mangled on the way to the journalist and the journalist did not know that it would be bad journalism to publish the story. Perhaps this is an example of Post Normal Journalism – when the truth is complex and cannot be known without a revolution in the technology, go with what you have.

    • I have no idea what Pearce heard, he may have heard this directly from Ravetz, or may have seen the email received by Ravetz. I am not making any judgement on Pearce; what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.” That is what my post is about.

      • “what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.””

        Schmidt’s letter references this realclimate article from December 2009

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

        How does his letter contradict what’s there? If nothing then what’s new or notable about his letter?

      • Unless and until Gavin takes the courage to publicly discuss the uncertainty problem at least as framed by the IAC, whatever he writes in blogs and letters about himself being cleaned of that sin will only be a futile attempt at whitewashing. More than declarations, it’s the company that one keeps…

      • Huh??

      • Michael – shouldn’t be too difficult to understand…who cares what a self-styled non-leader says about “the science is settled” when uncertainties have been forgotten or misinterpreted by the IPCC? And what is the credibility of anybody still pretending there has never been an “uncertainty” issue un climate science?

      • Read the IPCC report and then came back and tell me about how the IPCC report ignores uncertainty.

        Better yet, read the contributers comments on the IAC report and tell us about how some of them think that the IPCC reports systematically downplay the high-end risk uncertainty.

      • The IPCC report assumes that they are dealing with statistical uncertainty (other than uncertainty associated with emission scenarios). They fail to understand the broader dimensions of scenario uncertainty as well as the existence of flat out ignorance on a number of topics, plus the ambiguity associated with arguments for the warming made from the perspective of natural variability.

      • Yeah, that’s right Judith, they’re never considered there are things they don’t know.

      • right, thats why the come up with “very likely” confidence levels.

      • The most impressive part about the IPCC reports is how truly huge uncertainties in the individual inputs somehow become very narrow uncertainties when combined. It is totally innumerate.

      • Why is this all of a sudden a rallying cry for skeptics? If the IPCC estimate of CS is wider than 2-4.5 degrees C, then policy makers should be more worried about the effects of a 6C value (or higher) of climate sensitivity. It is probably true also that a widening of uncertainty would add far more plausibility to the high end sensitivities given that the lower bound is somewhat better constrained by observations.

        It seems that skeptics who have jumped on to the “uncertainty” bandwagon have close to a binary idea of AGW–either it’s true or it isn’t. More uncertainty, in their minds, means it is more likely untrue, and therefore more advisable to delay mitigation or simply prepare for adaptation.

        Meanwhile, the opposite would actually be true. If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely. When the likelihood of extreme damage goes up, calls for mitigation become more persuasive and pass muster against a wider variety of economic scenarios.

      • If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely.

        Well isn’t that some twisted logic. Yes, because the uncertainty of an event is between 0 and 100% we should act on the 100%. So I guess you will demand we spend trillions on an asteroid protection shield since the odds of the earth getting hit with an extinction sized event is between 0 and 100% in the next 100 million years.

      • You are conflating the uncertainties associated with a range of possible outcomes with the chances of a single outcome.

      • Boris –
        You’re conflating AGW with CAGW and calling it all AGW. That “C” makes a world of difference.

        More – you’re assuming that ONLY warming is a possible outcome. But “widening the uncertainty” also opens the door to cooling, which is NOT impossible and would require entirely different policy actions.

      • Oh, please!

        Why not just give CS a value of 100C and be done with it.

      • Boris:

        If the uncertainty bounds are widened, then truly catastrophic warming is more likely.

        Are you sure you don’t want to rephrase that?

      • You are conflating the uncertainties associated with a range of possible outcomes with the chances of a single outcome.

        What crap. Ok, let me rephrase this.

        There is a zero to 100% chance of a large earthquake somewhere on the planet in the next 100 years which will kill hundreds of thousands of people, so we should spend trillions moving all our habitation from active tectonic zones.

        That close enough to your reference?

      • You still don’t seem to understand. If the chances climate sensitivity is 6C are moved up from .5% to 2%, then that would be a GREATER cause for action given the severe consequences associated with a 6C degree rise.

        So, to make your analogy fit, if the chances of a 9.0 Earthquake within the next 50 years in LA went from .5% to 2%, then that would make taking action to mitigate such an event MORE valuable.

      • You still don’t seem to understand.

        I understand very well that you are trying to turn greater uncertainty into greater certainty. That’s known as an oxymoron.

        If the chances climate sensitivity is 6C are moved up from .5% to 2%, then that would be a GREATER cause for action given the severe consequences associated with a 6C degree rise.

        What consequences? Always with the ASSUMPTION that increasing average of the yearly mean is bad. That 6C rise could be going from -16C in winter to -10C. That’s still freezing. What you don’t understand is that there is NOT any increases in heatwaves, therehas been NOT ONE weather or climate event connected/because of/or made “worse” because of our CO2. Not one.

        So, to make your analogy fit, if the chances of a 9.0 Earthquake within the next 50 years in LA went from .5% to 2%, then that would make taking action to mitigate such an event MORE valuable.

        So you are going to start a movement to move all peoples from active tectonic zones? Hundreds of thousands have died, will die in the future. Yet your focus is on a highly uncertain threat which not one person has died from.

        That’s the big difference. Your side cannot cite one single event or series of events or changes in trends associated with our CO2 emissions.

      • 6C is a huge difference in global average temperature and will cause huge, widespread problems with civilization, especially since temperatures over land could reach twice that much.

        Apparently you are not aware that 5C is the difference between an ice age and an interglacial.

      • Michael – are you arguing that if uncertainties are mishandled in both directions, somehow the resulting mess is justified? :-)

      • No, just that uncertainties extend in both directions (doh!), yet for some strange reason, certain groups only consider it exists in one direction. Sceptics – ha!

      • Am sure the IAC, Oxburgh, Watson and everybody else I have mentioned will be happy to know that uncertainties have been over- and under-represented in similar terms. Go ahead then, do make them aware of this important detail they all missed.

      • From Sharperoo’s link:

        In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.

        Is there a large body of evidence that disagrees with this, or a large number of experts who were duped into agreeing to it?

      • This is a classic case of “talking past.” AGW has a number of internal outstanding questions, so Gavin can say the science is unsettled. But the IPCC position, which he here endorses, is precisely what the skeptics mean when they say the AGW proponents are saying the science is settled. So as far as skeptics are concerned he is clearly saying the science is settled in that sense.

      • Fascinating logic.

        Express statements of uncertainty from scientists is carefully parsed by ‘skeptics’ and shown to be an express statement that the ‘science is settled’.

        I’ve tried to be open-minded, but my visceral contempt continues to grow.

      • “Highly likely” is not an expression of uncertainty, as that word is normally used. It is an expression of certainty.

      • Yes, it is highly likely that two times two equals four.

      • This is the fascinating logic:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php?a=195&p=2

        Saying out of one side of the mouth that the science isn’t settled, but out the other side of their mouths it is 90% certain so we must act.

        Seems to me that the meaning from AGW is clear, “the science is settled” for all intent and purpose.

      • And they would be wrong to say that this means anything is settled. Pointing out what scientist agree on does not = settled. Those are important words. It is therefore a strawman. Try using different terminology, ie, “I don’t believe that *so-and-so* is a correct assumption by the IPCC. And here is why…” If that cannot be accomplished, then it is not the other’s problem.

      • It’s when you try to put some significance to those statements that trouble begins, but the discussion usually follows the “I know these things, so I know much more than these things” form. Facts have very different characteristics compared to generalizations and extrapolations, etc.

        So far, what we have that says the planet’s (poorly defined) temperature is increasing is based on proxy data, a physics based model for GH gasses’ role, and CO2 levels correlation. In a climate discussion, what we don’t have is a clear definition of climate, a validated causal structure for climate, or anything other than proxy data. The big problem with AGW is it means different things in different contexts, and the usual mistake is to take it as true in all contexts.

      • Judith this is a red herring beloved of those who wish to argue personalities, deal in sound bites and play with ‘gotchas’ , usually as a diversion to discussing anything sensible or substantive.

      • I have no idea what Pearce heard,
        = = = = == = = = ==
        Nor any interest in ensuring people are not taken out of context to inflame the situation. That would be the job of someone seeking to build bridges.

        what i find interesting here is the “mainstreamers” distancing themselves from “the science is settled.”
        = = = = = = = = = = = =
        What is the most recent quote you can find from a mainstream figure that is broadly in agreement with the mainstream who has said “the science is settled”, just to see how commonly it is used.

  5. Anyone who invokes the ethereal “consensus” of scientists’ opinion in a logically fallacious argument from authority, to close down a discussion with a dissenter, is implying: that the science is in and that scientists agree.

    In other words, that ‘the science is settled’, even if there are minor details to be worked out.. “spats”, as one might call them. This is the net effect of invoking the “consensus”. There is no other conceivable reason for ever making reference to it.

    Gavin Schmidt:

    Regardless of these spats, the fact that the community overwhelmingly supports the consensus is evidenced by picking up any copy of Journal of Climate or similar, any scientific program at the AGU or EGU meetings, or simply going to talk to scientists (not the famous ones, the ones at your local university or federal lab). I challenge you, if you think there is some un-reported division, show me the hundreds of abstracts at the Fall Meeting (the biggest confernce [sic] in the US on this topic) that support your view – you won’t be able to. You can argue whether the consensus is correct, or what it really implies, but you can’t credibly argue it doesn’t exist.

    • In that link you provide, the argument is over whether there is a consensus or not. Are you saying there isn’t? Like I pointed out at KK’s blog, that is why he is asking the person to provide the body of evidence that counters the consensus that has formed over the few conservative tenets in the IPCC. This does not equal argument from authority, or settling science. It is only asking that debate contain evidence. If that cannot be provided, it hardly up to Gavin to pretend that it exists merely to continue a scientific conversation that goes nowhere.

      IOW, if someone is trying to call into question a consensus, it is up to them to show why. The inability to do that may be infuriating, but that it is not Gavin’s fault.

      • No, grypo, that just isn’t reasonable. I don’t have to prove that a consensus doesn’t exist in the same way I don’t have to prove that God doesn’t exist. Like Trenberth, you’re attempting to shift the burden of proof. It’s certainly a bizarre approach, but I do see a pattern forming.

      • The burden of proof for what? That there is a consensus amounts most experts? If you’d like to argue that there isn’t, or show the large hidden stockpile of evidence that shows why they are all misguided, please do so. Meanwhile, the people who understand what is being debated can move on to what to do. I’ll just repost here what I did at CaS because I’m just repeating myself anyway.

        Gavin quotes Hulme:

        “The central battlegrounds on which we need to fight out the policy implications of climate change concern matters of risk management, of valuation, and political ideology. We must move the locus of public argumentation here not because the science has somehow been “done” or “is settled”; science will never be either of these things, although it can offer powerful forms of knowledge not available in other ways. It is a false hope to expect science to dispel the fog of uncertainty so that it finally becomes clear exactly what the future holds and what role humans have in causing it.”

        And you can hear his views on public policy. If you guys can’t recognize the difference between something being “settled” scientifically, and people’s opinions on what constitutes enough certainty to act, then this argument will go nowhere. Drop the rhetoric. Stop forcing words down your opponent’s throats. ”Settled” means something, and is a trick (a long standing one). His, or anybody’s, opinion on “what is enough” is about values and ethics. That is where the debate is. Perhaps the Lisbon pow-wow should have asked that question instead.

      • Perhaps the Lisbon pow-wow should have asked that question instead.

        And perhaps…just perhaps, identifying common ground on the scientific front, without the political baggage of policy and personalities, might be a good way to work into “that” question.

        Just sayin’

      • grypo:

        The burden of proof for what? That there is a consensus amounts most experts?

        Yep. We’ve chopped down the “2,500 scientists agree” consensus already. That one’s been toast for ages. Got any others?

      • The only reason anyone would need to use the consensus appeal is if there are significant points of scientific disagreement. Rather than list a bunch of methodological problems with the research, I’ll just point out that global average temperature proxy methods are still in dispute in the literature. Get the basics right first, then talk to me about what you think you know.

      • grypo –
        The “proof” of a LACK of consensus is the continued existence of this blog.

        As for “evidence” – it’s more than abundant if you bother to actually look. You don’t even have to go to WUWT – there’s plenty of it right here.

      • Yes, we saw that in the dragonslayin’ thread. There sure seems to be a lack of consensus about the greenhouse effect.

        As there is a lack of consensus about the theory of relativity:

        http://www.conservapedia.com/Counterexamples_to_Relativity

        There seems we can see a problem with talking about consensus without saying by whom and about what.

        But even then, I am sure that I can find someone, somewhere over the Internet that disagree with that.

      • Given the true meaning about the word “consensus” you may be correct. It would probably be correct to state:

        “that there is overwhelming agreement in the climate science community that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and that increasing the percentage of atmospheric CO2 will ultimately result in warmer temperatures if all other factors remain constant”

        I would suggest that there is much less agreement regarding the rate of any warming, whether warming is bad, or what governments should do in terms of policies.

      • Willard – interesting – and I’ll agree that there’s ALWAYS someone who will disagree about ANYTHING.

        But wrt relativity, there are also scientists who are finding “holes and uncertainties” in the theory. Relativity is not “settled science” either. And it has a lot better pedigree than CS. :-)

      • Jim,

        The concept of pedigree is interesting. According to you, how do we establish the pedigree of a theory?

        If relativity theory is not “settled science”, would you say that there is no such thing as settled in science?

        In that case, what would have Gavin meant?

        Here is a hint:

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

      • randomengineer

        It is only asking that debate contain evidence.

        This is intellectual bankruptcy of a degree that even Enron would envy and Mike Judge puts in movies. The consensus position is shaping the research such that non-consensus research can’t even get funding. Then, when anyone wishes to debate anything they’re told to reference real “evidence” as per peer reviewed papers. Then you come along and say obviously they have no debate since there aren’t any peer reviewed papers. Duh. Of course the circular logic herein doesn’t appear to be noticed by the bankrupt.

    • Gavin has a deep need to have things settled irt to his funding and political influence and social status, but he is not about to pen the floor to those who agree with him that the science is settled but disagree as to how it is unsettled.
      The AGW promotion community only wants things unsettled to the extent that it yields them more resources.

      • Quick question for Dr. Curry: Are conspiracy theories such as this allowed at this blog?

      • This is what passes as ‘conspiracy theory’ in your mind?
        Simple pride and self interest is all I am alleging.
        Have you checked under your bed lately?
        There might be a denialist checking up on you!

      • Here is a large financial catastrophe where simple greed helped decision makers look the other way because it was good for their bottom line:
        http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703652104576122300990479090.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_News_BlogsModule
        No conspiracy of people setting out to cheat, just a confluence of greed lacking ethics.
        That you consistently use the red herring of false accusations of ‘conspiracy’ to try and obfuscate the issue
        1- is repetitive
        2- displays a lack of serious thinking on your part
        at best.

  6. Joe Lalonde | February 4, 2011 at 8:51 am | Reply

    If the science is not settled, why is it totally locked out to anyone outside the profession?
    = = = = = = =
    Yeah we find the same snobbery with cancer researchers. Another area in dire need to more blogger science.

    • Actually I think most cancer researchers are more open than much of the climate science community.

  7. What I would like to hear Romm, Connolley, Schmidt, Eli respond to, is the number of non-skeptic that have pointed out a lot of climate scientists’ continuous mistreatment (hiding, equivocating, forgetting etc etc) of uncertainties.

    As it happens, for a completely unrelated reason I have recently collected at Omniclimate quotes and links to statements by Mike Hulme, John Beddington, Vicky Pope, Myles Allen, Hans von Storch, Robert Watson, Lord Oxburgh, Oxburgh’s Scientific Assessment Panel, panel member Prof Michael Kelly, Sir Muir Russell and his Independent Climate Change E-mails Review, plus of course the InterAcademy Council.

    They all repeat the same concept, that the public has been repeatedly mislead, and that uncertainties widely acknowledged in the scientific literature suddenly keep evaporating when a policy paper needs to be written or the science of climate change communicated to the masses.

    If Romm, Connolley, etc etc want to seriously deal with the “uncertainty” issue (something the IAC dedicated a whole chapter to!) then they should get their heads together about a widely-acknowledged problem, that is undermining the science/policy interface. And they should get out of their superlative fests, where warmist statements are VERY true, skeptical statements are ABSOLUTELY false, men are REAL men, women are REAL women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri are REAL small furry creatures from Aplha Centauri.

    ps yes, the last bit is not mine

  8. Gavin Schmidt:
    Your challenge is not a fair one! Most sensible scientists working in the climate field, not the famous ones, the ones that just do the work, would not risk their career by saying something that is against the ‘consensus’. You know why. What they really have in mind no one really knows. But we do know that many people agree that current model, including the ones you use in your publications, has a lot of problems. Trusting these models would not be a preference for many of these scientists. Putting our future on these models is dangerous. It may be harsh, but it is the real reality.

    • Hook – You say “Most sensible scientists working in the climate field, not the famous ones, the ones that just do the work, would not risk their career by saying something that is against the ‘consensus’. ”

      From this very blog http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/#comment-7499

      “I was highly critical of IPCC AR4 Chapter 6, so much so that the Heartland Institute repeatedly quotes me as evidence that the IPCC is flawed. Indeed, I have been unable to find any other review as critical as mine. I know — because they told me — that my reviews annoyed many of my colleagues, including some of my RC colleagues, but I have felt no pressure or backlash whatsover from it. Indeed, one of the Chapter 6 lead authors said “Eric, your criticism was really harsh, but helpful — thank you!” “

      • And yet I personally know a dozen or more atmospheric scientists who would not buck the “consensus” because they wanted to continue their careers. Most of them are no longer doing the same kind of work – they found other places that didn’t insist on adherence to a “consensus” view that they didn’t believe.

  9. To set the record straight:

    Because I was an ad hoc member of the invite committee I got an email asking my advice on who to invite in lieu of Gavin Schmidt and some other prominent people who had declined. The organisers inadvertantly included Gavin’s response on that email, and when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.

    I would just stress at this point that what I said constitutes my opinion and not what Gavin said verbatim. However I would also like to say that Gavin’s complaint to the New Scientist does not include any praisee of the passage in his original response which gave rise to my brief summary. I therefore reject Gavin’s claim that I ‘made stuff up’, and respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.

    If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase.

    • “If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase.”

      Why the delay? Presumably you have the actual quote available to you and you can reproduce it at any time, therefore you can settle the matter immediately by reproducing it.

      Why is there a need for further accusation before you’ll do so?

      • I would be better if Gavin simply reproduced it himself to clear the air.

      • Gavin is presumably aware of what he wrote and has unambiguously and publicly stated his position.

        I would think the onus is now on those who claim something akin to “The science is settled” to produce their evidence, I see no reason why Gavin would need to further “clear the air”.

      • tallbloke says:
        “I would also like to say that Gavin’s complaint to the New Scientist does not include any praisee of the passage in his original response which gave rise to my brief summary. I therefore reject Gavin’s claim that I ‘made stuff up’, and respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.”

      • Er yes I don’t think there’s any reason he would include that, why would he?

        He has however clearly stated “The science is settled” is “completely made up” as far he’s concerned. You don’t get any clearer than that.

        You claim to be in possession of evidence which contradicts Schmidt yet won’t produce it until he makes further effort to demonstrate he didn’t say it. So far there’s no evidence at all he did say it and plenty of evidence against, so why is the onus on Gavin?

        Why all the implication and innuendo? Either he said it or he didn’t and he says he didn’t.

      • I respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.

        No need for onuses to be allocated. Just publish the data.

      • You were happy enough to put your own interpretation on Dr Schmidt’s e-mail when you were trying to gain favour with the others at the conference though. You do come across as rather desperate to fit in (‘Climate Scientist of the Year’ FFS), is this one of those after dinner stories that is now returning to haunt you?

        You say ‘Just publish the data’ – let me ask you, do you publish every e-mail you send? Why not?

      • If someone mischaracterised something I said in an email, you bet I’d publish it to prove them wrong. What easier way of refuting someone is there than to confront them with the prima facie evidence?

        By the way, Steve Goddard was busy grabbing his camera and misheard the award I gave Judith , which was for ‘New Climate Blogger of the Year’, in recognition of her integrity, determination, style and sheer hard work.

      • Who voted for the ‘Climate Blogger of the Year’ award?

      • Louise– I believe the award was given under the concept of humor

      • I would like to defend Tallbloke on this one. The issue of why none of the mainstreamers showed up (closest was von Storch) was an obvious topic of discussion at the Workshop. Apparently of those that were invited and declined, only Schmidt gave a reason that wasn’t something like a travel conflict, or too busy. So this was discussed. I heard this originally from Tallbloke (who saw and apparently has a copy of the email). The general issue of the mainstreamers not attending was discussed by Ravetz, I don’t recall him saying anything specific about Schmidt.

        With regards to Tallbloke “fitting in.” Tallbloke is well known to Ravetz. He is a reasonable guy, an interesting one, passionately interested in the research problem he is working on (no judgement here on whether it is useful or not), with a “life of the party” type personality. Peter Webster and I actually hung out with Tallbloke on Saturday, touring around Lisbon. Characterizing Tallbloke as trying desperately to fit in is not a correct interpretation.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        Louise has an unfortunate tendency to try to denigrate and discredit people (actually sceptics) she has never met, by projecting some low-life quality or stigma on to them – thus I was a sexist, Tallbloke is some hanger-on trying to “fit in”. I find this tactic extremely ugly, and it probably says more about Louise than any of her targets.

      • “I respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.”

        Fred Pearce has already published and attributed a statement to Gavin, why in the spirit of openness would he not provide the evidence supporting that statement?

        You claim to be in actual possession of evidence which supports Fred Pearce’s article, why in the spirit of openness would you not release it?

        Why does it fall on Gavin who has already in no uncertain terms denied he made any such statement and already provided evidence he holds no such position to provide even further evidence he didn’t say it?

        “Just publish the data.”

        Yikes.

      • You make some persuasive arguments.
        I’ll reflect further on it before acting.

      • Don’t swing; ball is in the other court.
        ===================

      • see Gavin’s comment further down thread

      • You would think That gavin would publish his mail showing his exact words.

        he hasnt.

        Not sure what To make of that.

        But given that he has asked for Fred to retract, I suppose he invites Tallbloke to set the record straight.

        Tall’s giving him the chance to publish his own words and frame it anyway he wants.

        Clock ticks.

      • He did that already – see below

      • Ball is still in the other court. Unless it’s on its way home, now. Disgraceful. Fred oughta be outraged.
        ===============

      • Fred shoulda had more sense than to publish tittle tattle as if it was fact.

      • I hope to God Fred is both following this conversation and sure of the provenance of his story.
        ====================

      • I’ll repeat what I’ve said about Gavin possibly resenting shovel wielding while the hole is so deep. Check your tool, and the depth.
        ==============

      • See my response to Gavin thanking him for permission. His response is posted on my blog:

        http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

      • Sharperoo –
        For the last 20 years (the effective life of the Internet) it’s been considered VERY bad form to publish the content of private emails without permission, which is what Gavin very probably assumed his to be. You’re asking Tallbloke to break common Internet courtesy just for your own satisfaction/curiousity. I find that to be rude, crude and uncalled for. And not atypical of the residents of your side of the dance floor.

        I know – Climategate. Whoever released those emails was also rude, crude and uncalled for, regardless of which side of the dance floor they inhabit. But those emails should have been released as a matter of law in any case, so the end effect is the same. That they weren’t released under FOI was a legal matter that was never pursued (another failure – of the legal system this time).

      • “You’re asking Tallbloke to break common Internet courtesy just for your own satisfaction/curiousity. “

        Tallbloke’s interpretation of the email already forms part of a Scientific American article. Furthermore Tallbloke has defended the article stating he has evidence that supports it.

        To say that “common Internet courtesy” would then prohibit him from actually showing the evidence is frankly ridiculous.

      • > I know – Climategate. Whoever released those emails was also rude, crude and uncalled for, regardless of which side of the dance floor they inhabit.

        This is what special pleading looks like, Will.

      • Wait, aren’t you “Will”? There’s no sock-puppetry going on here, is there?

      • No, SimonH, my remark was meant for a commenter who signs his comment with “Will”.

        Will used the concept of special pleading in another thread.

    • That’s the way to set a record straight: threaten to set the record straight.

      • I’m thinking on the hoof, being cautious because of it, and giving the person who says ‘stuff was made up’ the opportunity to resolve the issue to everyone’s satisfaction in one easy post.

      • You mean you passed on some malicious comments of your own as if they were Dr Schmid’ts and now you’re trying to cover your tracks because Fred Pearce actually listened to you and published what you said?

        You seem to be spending an awful lot of time wallowing in the reflected glory of “I was invited to a respected conference” that you don’t seem to have recognised that when you speak to a journalist, they might actually publish what you say.

      • “you passed on some malicious comments of your own as if they were Dr Schmid’ts and now you’re trying to cover your tracks ”

        Unwarranted accusation #1

      • What, turnabout suddenly isn’t fairplay?????

      • Gavin might resent someone wielding the shovel despite the depth of the hole.
        ===============

      • I was thinking that somewhere a broom is missing its witch, but unwarranted accusation works, too.

      • It’s not hard to understand why the deflating balloon goes whizzing around the room.
        ===========

    • Tallbloke:

      “If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase”

      And thus starts the 2011 ‘Gavingate’ :)

    • Mate, you are gutless. Publish the information or climb back into your hole.

    • By giving a precis (sic) you have misrepresented Gavin ‘s position, you should apologize or prove you were right.

    • for others who may be wondering, praisee = precis (a brief summary)

  10. “At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled. I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation. Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email. I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify.” – JC

    Shorter Judith; this fitted in nicely to my preconceptions, so I found it easy to believe.

  11. If the science is not settled, then can we get our money back, end the EPA move to destroy the American economy, and start letting civil engineers and meteorologists do their jobs again?
    And especially, if the science is not settled, can we stop with the apocalyptic clap trap that everyone of those opinion leaders quoted above have been peddling for so long?

  12. Latimer Alder

    If ‘the science isn’t settled’, then why the need for the extremely heavy handed moderation at Gavin Schmidt’s Real Climate blog, and at Fred’s other gig at The Guardian?

    And how come this blog survives and thrives without it?

    Just wondered……

    • Yes, but RC moderation.

      • Latimer Alder

        ??

        Sorry, I don’t do telepathy. Pls xplan.

      • Go read the bore hole.

      • Still no telepathy available on my planet. Yours?

      • Latimer
        The ‘bore hole’ is where they put posted comments that they don’t think meet the exacting standards of RC. Read into that what you like.

      • RC Moderation is, eventually, the issue for every denier.

        It’s like Godwins Law Mk II.

      • I don’t know about any deniers, never having met or corresponded with one.

        But it does seem odd that the blogs with the heaviest-handed moderation are those of the supposed ‘mainstream’, and those which tolerate a more questioning approach are not part of the consensus.

        Because I’d sort of expect that if the consensus blogs were so self-evidently right, they would welcome every challenge as another little objection to be hurled into intellectual oblivion with a well-argued rebuttal, never to be heard of again. Cowering away and refusing to engage does not give me any overwhelming confidence that their position is secure and unassailable.

        Instead the exact reverse. More like circling the wagons than sallying forth to preach the good news. I wonder why they feel the need to do so?

        And on a personal note, I took it as a badge of honour that I was eventually banned from Komment macht Frei at the Guardian. It saves me having to read the alarmist drivel that passes for discussion over there. Far better to engage with a diversity of views here than the rigid warmist orthodoxy they require at CiF.

      • Latimer Alder – In my experience, it is those such as I recently quoted from sites such as WUWT, for example “I am violently opposed to the warmistas, their beliefs and their crusade to tax and control me. Let my language make it plain that I believe that this is a war. No reconcilliation – no surrender.” who post at places like RC with the intention to disrupt who regularly and justifiably get banned from those sites.

        They frequently use words such as liar, fraud, cheat, scum, commie, marxist, etc (and those are just the ones that aren’t really foul). Do you really expect these to be answered reasonably by scientists because that’s not what their originators intend?

        If you go to sites such as skeptical science, people who willingly want to discuss the science are engaged in debate. Trolls are not.

        What else would you expect?

      • I wasn’t referring to banning individual contributors for bad language or unpleasant behaviour. Each blogista must draw their own line about their level of tolerance and where the limits of acceptability lie.

        No argument with that – as ‘guests’ of the blogista, one must adhere to the rules of the house. But I’d also point out that if a guest finds the rules too lax for their choice, they must either lump them or leave. If find remarks at WUWT too strong for your stomach, then go elsewhere. Or complain about them to Anthony Watts, not to us. Its his blog, he sets the rules. Not Judith, or any of us.

        But I was thinking more about comments that simply never appear at heavily pre-moderated blogs. They just never see the light of day in discussion, in ‘boreholes’ or elsewhere. Not for reasons of taste or decorum, but purely because they do not advance the view of the blogista(s) or their paymasters.

        It still seems to me that this a self-defeating strategy. First it shows an intellectual weakness, not strength. And secondly it does not give a real workout to their case. Any team that only ever plays behind closed doors to its own adoring fans is always in danger of a nasty shock when it eventually comes out blinking into the sunlight.

      • Worse, that they’ll blow the damned cave up in their anger.
        ============

      • Louise– There are posts at this site that have shall we say….a marginally accepted position. What do you do when you see them? Scan and ignore

        Many posts have unsupportable views, but as long as they are not hateful, why delete? It makes it appear that a site is only allowing information that the site suuports. RC does appear to give that impression imo

      • Moderation is for blog owners who don’t want comments to spiral into an out of control free-for-all about nothing in particular, full of petty point scoring, bilge and bunk.

        And yes, there is effectively no moderation here.

      • The misuse of Godwin’s law is turning it into a defense for any boorish or suppressive behavior.
        I do not believe that is what Mike had in mind when he made his observation.
        Since he was involved with the founding and legal counsel to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, I think twisting his observation about internet conversations into a defense of what places like RC and Romm’s blog do is a bit of distortion.

      • I don’t have an issue with RC’s moderation – it’s their blog, they can do what they like.

      • I agree with you… as I said above – their blog, their rules. But the rules they adopt seem to be entirely counter-productive. Just wondered why they felt the need to do it. And nobody has yet come up with much of an answer……….

      • I think it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to spend time defending research outside of refereed journals. The blog is obviously to bolster the position in the public’s eye – more like a series of press releases.

      • Latimer Alder

        Harold

        I think you are right. Perhaps they feel that their blog is a useful conduit for the general public to be communicated *at*, rather than *with*.

        I guess the strapline

        ‘Climate Science from Climate Scientists’ also gives the game away that their ‘communications model’ is purely unidirectional.

        Not a forum for discussion, debate and persuasion like this one, but a pulpit from which they can declaim the ‘correct and approved’ message.

        Of course they are entitled to run their blog anyway they want. But I guess they shouldn’t be too surprised or disappointed to find its reach and influence waning as other, less prescriptive and didactic fora come to the fore.

      • Latimer Adler,

        While moderation is a fascinating subject, it’s not exactly the topic that is being discussed right now.

        This rhetorical device serves as a hook to coatrack your pet subject.

        Even Joe Sixpack Esq could agree that you are in fact trying to divert attention to what matters right now, that is the content of this very blog post.

        “Yes, but RC moderation” is as common as “yes, but Climategate”.

        In your case, it’s a bit less common than “yes, but what Joe Sixpack thinks” and “yes, once upon a time I was a chemist but I’ve spent 30 years in IT, so.”

        This last paragraph was off topic. See how easy it is to do.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘It’s not exactly the topic that is being discussed right now’

        Clearly not. My remark of 2 1/2 sentences a few hours ago has only produced 17 replies from 7 different contributors. Pretty obvious that nobody else is interested.

        I’ll just note that the very first reply came from you, presumably raised from your slough of indifference to the topic.

        And as far as I can remember I haven’t mentioned this topic anywhere for quite some time, so I hardly think it qualifies as my ‘pet subject’. Happy for you to prove me wrong.

      • You’re conflating indifference with relevance, Latimer.

        Even Joe Sixpack can spot that trick.

      • Whatever.

      • Latimer,

        You introduce RC moderation in the discussion. This subject is not the topic of the post. I point it out.

        Some of the 7 people explained to you that “yes but RC moderation” is the usual trick to bash at RC. It can be rehashed in almost every single thread. Even Joe Sixpack can see that.

        In fact, some the the 7 different people did exactly that: they used your hook and did some more bashing at RC.

        I am saying to you this is off-topic. In fact, I already told you that while moderation is a fascinating subject, it is not the subject of this thread.

        Yet you reply that it still might be interesting.

        That you talk about whatever suits your fancy is not helping Joe Sixpack, Latimer.

      • I am surprised that you have appointed yourself as the arbiter of what may and may not be discussed here.

        When I last looked, the moderator here was our host, Dr Curry. And while I am delighted to accept her adjudications in any matters relating to her blog, I don’t believe that she has granted those powers to anybody else. If so, I’m sure she would have announced it.

        I fear that you will have to hold your nose and look aside if anybody else is cheeky enough to post on matters that you personally feel may be off topic. In this case, six other bloggers were not of your view.

        Those whose previous experience has only been of highly moderated blogs where a rigid adherence to dogma and authority is a requirement for being heard can sometimes find a less regulated environment takes a while to get used to. But those who persevere come to appreciate it after a while.

      • Again, you’re conflating the fact that people took your bait as evidence that it’s related to the topic at hand. And again, you count bloggers who simply explained to you why “yes, but RC moderation” is a common trick that even Joe Sixpack can recognize.

        I am not surprised you open your comment with yet another topic. The way it is introduced deserves due diligence. And the way it conflates arbitrating with commenting is also interesting. Perhaps another time.

        Joe Sixpack does not seem to like it when someone keep shifting topics like that.

      • @willard

        For soemthing that you suggest is not related to the topic at hand, you seem to be spending a lot of mental and emotional energy discussing it.

        Just a shame that in all your condemnation of what you think I wrote to so inflame you, you don’t actually appear to have grasped my central simple point.

      • “Yes, but RC moderation” is obtuse. Yet explaining “yes, but RC moderation” spends too much energy.

        A nice double bind, Joe. With yet another topic, this time targeting my own person.

      • @willard

        I’ll leave others to figure out what (if anything) you were trying to convey.

        It’s baffled me, but perhaps you are used to an audience who are impressed by dense and obscure rhetoric. I’m not, and have other things to do.

      • I see nothing wrong in Latimer asking the question about why CiF needs to have such heavy moderation. Or real climate. Especially when the main argument is about whether the science is or is not settled. I also note that he states that he has no complaint about such moderation existing… just wonders why it is felt to be necessary. It is a big turn-off for many ‘neutral’ observers.

        In my life experience, when somebody tries to prevent or divert discussion of a topic, it doesn’t usually mean that they are confident masters of the subject..more likely that they are on shaky ground.

        BW, Joe

      • Joe,

        I am surprised that you exist. I thought Latimer said that you were only a rhetorical trick.

        Do you happen by any chance to be acquainted to Man of the Street or John Doe?

        ***

        I heartily agree with you that diverting discussion does not bode well. I fail to see how Latimer’s “question” is related to the topic raised by the main post. In fact, if I read correctly what he says afterwards in this very interesting thread, I fail to see how this is not a rhetorical question.

        Perhaps you do not see it’s a rhetorical question because you are only a rhetorical trick yourself, Joe Sixpack?

      • An example of RealClimate moderation, 2007. A regular commenter, a fairly emphatic advocate of AGW, wrote the comment:

        Why is Roger Pielke Sr continuing to promote himself as some kind of wunderkind here? [edit – please no personal comments]

        So a regular commenter, one who generally strongly agrees with climate science, said something personally insulting of Dr. Pielke Sr.

        Now, Dr. Pielke Sr. and the folks at RealClimate have dueled many times. When Dr. Pielke allowed comments on his blog there were some pretty nasty things said there. So Dr. Pielke apparently began moderating just like any lovely old curmudgeon would: damn near everything except himself.

      • @willard

        My biography has been well discussed earlier in this blog.

    • Slaying a greenhouse dragon

      This has been another simple answer to a simple question.

      • Care to elaborate?

      • After Slaying a greenhouse dragon how much traction do you think the author/book/concepts will get with either the sceptic or the AGW side of the dance floor?

        How much might they have gotten if not for that exposure?

        Think about cockroaches and light.

        And then apologize to Dr Curry.

  13. Look who’s spinning the But You Said That Science Was Settled:

    > Is there some new issue on GW and huricanes? Is somebody somewhere claiming that GW will lead to fewer or less strong hurricanes? WHAT? Utter nonsense! It is not logicaly possible. the link between GW and hurricanes is settled science. it’s like the laws of newton, it’s like F=ma. Nobody could argue that GW leads to fewer hurricanes. don’t they know that 2+2 =4? these sceptical greek chorus idiots; are they talking about wind shear, or long term cycles. Hmm is there a test we could set up.. maybe a hypothesis.. a prediction.. and then test, yes test the theory?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/04/ocean-cooling-not/#comment-31207

    • Here’s another…

      “…And I’m going to show you the latest science, which now doesn’t leave the question unsettled anymore this is now settled science, it is now settled science that there is not a problem with our influence over Climate. The science is in, the truth is out and the scare is over.”

      — Christopher Monckton. 10/14/9 Minnesota Free Market Institute presentation

  14. On reading his letter above, my opinion of Gavin Schmidt took a turn for the better. In particular his acceptance that the science is not settled (if that is what he meant) and that he does not regard himself as a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’. If he goes on at that rate then ‘reconciliation’ may not be so inaccessible after all.

    • I think you’ll be disappointed.

      Gavin still seems to be focussed on science, while the gathered ensemble seemed to enjoy wallowing in po-mo bunk.

  15. interesting discussion also going on at collide-a-scape about “settled”
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/02/03/climate-whine-fest/

  16. Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    Granted, he did say “almost entirely”, but this statement seems to deny that there is conflict over any aspect of the science. That is over broad and while it doesn’t use the exact words “the science is settled”, well…

    • No, what he is saying is that there is scientiffic debate and scientific uncertainties (and they are sorted out by doing science) none of which was indentified in the intro letter. (IMHO, however wrote that letter needs to take some classes in writing-for-clarity)

      OTOH, there are a range of conflicts thrown up in the public sphere, especially blogs,which have almost nothing to do with science and are mostly political in origin.

      • Sorry, Michael, but I have a hard time parsing that statement to mean anything other than debate about the MWP, climate sensitivity, etc. is politically motivated.

        Certainly there is a huge amount of conflict that is political – policy is purely a political question (although hopefully informed by the science). That being said, can you really say that there is no legitimate scientific debate on paleoclimate and climate sensitivity?

      • I’ll try to be clearer – there are scientific issues in climate sensitivity etc. (but “ice” – WTF?).

        What Gavin is saying, and I pretty much agree, is that the public conflict (AKA ‘debate’ in some quarters) is not much to do with the scientific debate about those issues, but is political talk that dances around the issues which are, in effect, just symbols to be attacked.

      • Michael,

        It isn’t an issue of clarity…Gavin explicitly stated that the conflicts are political rather than about about climate sensitivity or the MWP (FWIW, I agree with the WTF about “ice” – someone could have done their homework better).

        The invitation specifically said the conference was to address scientific issues and not policy. I don’t see where his statement can be construed to admit that there are scientific disagreements to be reconciled.

    • this statement seems to deny that there is conflict over any aspect of the science

      How on earth did you get from there to that? Truly ‘mazin’. You obviously have never read Gavin Schmidt.

  17. If Gavin wants to refute the claim, the process is simple: post the email where he declined the invitation.
    I wonder why he has not done that?

    • Somebody got the email. Why haven’t they reproduced it?

    • Simple.

      1. he will then claim its a private mail.
      2. he might atack the organizers
      3. The debate over what he meant exactly will ensue.

      i would suspect that there is something that comes close to ‘the science is settled” but not those words exactly or something that implies the idea.

      No I have not seen the mail. And did not ask to see it.

      The paraphrase I heard was Gavin did not want to attend because policy discussion were off the table.

      From my standpoint this was not a topic of discussion. I heard it on day one and noboby talked much about it after that.

      • Gavin has (below) asked Tallbloke to post exactly what it was that he used to base his precis on.

        Surely the most sensible way to proceed? Tallbloke must have used something and Gavin is giving his permission to Tallbloke to post whatever that is (including a private e-mail).

      • Gavin | February 4, 2011 at 11:34 am | Reply

        Tallbloke, feel free to post my response to the email in full.

        = = = = = = = = = = = =
        So even 25 minutes after Gavin had given permission to publish the email we have Mosher porojecting neferious objections he imagines Gavin will use to block the publication.

        Sums up “skeptics” rather neatly.

      • A whole 25 minutes? In a fast moving thread with mushrooming replies? And you think Mosh’s oversight “sums up skeptics”.

        Mosh is correct, I did say as part of my summary characterisation of Gavin’s response that ‘He said he wasn’t coming because policy discussion is off the table and anyway the science is settled’.

  18. “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”

    Utter nonsense, is it possible very few still support the IPCC consensus?

    At least someone admits the science is flawed / incomplete.

    • Maybe this is indictive of some of the problem – flawed and incomplete seen as interchangeable terms?

      Since all science is incomplete, it’s all flawed (I assume you are implying wrong)??

      • Your argument depends totally on your assumption of the meaning of / in this context. So yes it is a lot like the real problem at hand; towit assumption-led conclusions.

        Why don’t you just admit you have a gut feeling about AGW and you are a pessimist at heart. You could say something like; ‘it would be fortunate indeed if the only thing chimneys emit turns out to be benign or even beneficial, but experience tells us that’s unlikely’.

        Now that’s a perfectly respectable stance that avoids coating rampant guesswork in a flaky mathematical veneer.

      • Interesting point Michael, I could have been more careful with the choice of terms but they illustrate what I’m seeing and are not intended to be inflammatory.

        Dr. Curry has done an excellent job of framing the issues. The issue that jumps out at me is the fact that the IPCC and Climate Science was tasked with the study of AGW and not funded to study and quantify the climate system as a whole.

        Because the Climate System is not fully understood, assumptions related to AGW are highly suspect. The missing aspects of Climate Science are numerous but being addressed to one degree or another.

        New funding to understand the Carbon Cycle, Water Cycle, Salinity, etc. are examples. Its one thing to say all Science is incomplete as a respectful nod to the Scientific Method, its quite another to claim a consensus of understanding without the facts.

        IMHO, its not unreasonable to conclude flawed in the face of the logic related to the “consensus” of opinion. Its worth noting, the IPCC and Climate Scientists freely admit the missing information so maybe I’m missing the point.

      • To be fair, I should have said:

        At least someone admits the consensus is flawed and the science incomplete.

    • “Utter nonsense, is it possible very few still support the IPCC consensus?”

      With over 60% of both Americans and Brits agreeing man is causing dangerous climate change, every single national scientific academy in the world endorsing the IPCC’s conclusions, and only a few scientific institutions disagreeing, I think we can safely say no, not really. Don’t you?

      • HUH!!! 60% of WHO?
        Brits – maybe.
        Americans? You’re dreaming.

      • I’ve looked over the “polls” for quite a while especially related to the Junk AB32 California legislation and find the Polls are poorly designed or designed to reveal political bend and little more.

        In the US, the vast majority feel Climate related legislation is not an issue worthy of support. If one were to spin the question design to reveal the percentage who feel industry should do a better job of managing poisons, the percentage would be 100%.

        CO2 isn’t a poison, however, the unnecessary emissions are wasteful.

        The issue isn’t about Climate Science from the general publics perspective in the US, the issue is about waste and inadequate thinking.

        CO2 isn’t causing inadequate decision-making!

  19. Dear Professor Curry,

    Thank you for keeping the discussion of the climate scandal alive. Thanks to the persistence of you and others who have challenged the “settled science” claim, we now see admissions:

    “Climate science . . . is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”.”

    Climategate is somewhat like Watergate. The root of the problem is near the top, where the flow of public funds is controlled.

    But the climate scandal is broader, international in scope, involving leaders of the political community as well as leaders of the scientific community. It will be harder to resolve.

    Much more is at stake.

    Thank you, Professor Curry, for your persistent efforts to get to the bottom (actually the top) of the problem.

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

  20. “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.

    At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss.”

    Uh, ya you did. That is what the “the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics ” part means.

    The level of cognitive dissonance/deceit found in this guy is nothing short of astounding.

  21. “At least someone admits the science is flawed / incomplete.”

    Isn’t science, by its very nature, flawed and incomplete ? Any scientist, and those interested in science, would agree, surely – and that includes Climate Science.
    Is the Theory of Evolution complete or perfect ? No. Just like the Theory of AGW, there is unanimity and no other valid competing theory.

    • “Isn’t science, by its very nature, flawed and incomplete ?”

      JMurphy,

      OK. Thanks for the update.

      So why should I believe in AGW rather than not believing in it?

      Andrew

  22. Gavin says: “Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.”
    But he is wrong. Conflict in the climate change debate (and most of the Climategate mails) do not deal with political objections (conservative, libertarian or whatever) but with specific scientific objections raised by the likes of Steve McIntyre and Ross Kittrick. It is about the MWP, the possible effecto of UHI on instrumental temperature records, arcane mathematical discussions about the way principal component analysis is implemented in some scientific papers, the use of data of disputed or uncertain validity (e.g. Chinese met stations), the legitimacy of eliminating diverging tree-ring data, the release of actual raw data on which calculations have been based, the possible neglect of negative cloud feedbacks in the estimation of climate sensititivy, the claim that recent warming is unprecedented in a millennium, and so on. No one in that context has disputed that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, no one has denied that the greenhouse effect exists, and most if not all have not disputed the reality of recent warming (2nd half of 20th century) even admitting UHI effects. And as far as I can see, no one disputed these points among the people invited to the ‘reconciliation’ workshop.

  23. Having only been to this site a couple of times in the past, I’m not aware of the moderation policy but am surprised to see such accusations as accusing someone of “cognitive dissonance/deceit” (based, as far as I can see, on the poster’s own interpretation of someone else’s words) being allowed. Shame.

    • Yeah, you likely much prefer the ‘moderation policy’ at RealClimate, where one is not permitted to question the pronouncements of the Almighty Schmidt in any substantive fashion.

      The cognitive dissonance in Schmidts words is plain. If you disagree with that assessment, make your case rather than calling for the opposing view to be censored.

    • Latimer Alder

      I wonder exactly how you expect a blogospheric discussion to be conducted?

      Over cucumber sandwiches (sans crusts) and weak tea at the Vicarage, with language carefully moderated in case the Rector’s unmarried and super-sensitive sister is in earshot?

      Or robustly and vehemently as befits the (supposedly) ‘Most important problem that humanity has ever faced’?

      If the former, I suspect that this blog may not be to your taste. But many others have read and contributed here without falling ill with a fit of the vapours at the robustness of the discussion?.

  24. Judith
    I followed one of your links to climateprogress and was shocked at the tone of most of the comments. Many of them were particularly critical of you and there were some threats to invade Climate etc and ‘set them straight’!!
    On a more serious note, I see little scope for reconciliation at the moment.

    • well I am even more shocked by the post by Joe Romm, someone I actually used to work with on a few things.

      • Judith,

        Your continued feigning of ‘shock’ about what others say is wearing a bit thin, when you are the queen of nasty innuendo and snide remarks.

        But then, nothing has really changed from the days of “brain fossilization”. You’re still making intemperate remarks about your scientific colleagues in public forums, you’ve just taken aim in a different direction.

        I reached the conclusion that your contributions to ‘debate’ are ethically dubious.

      • Clearly a ‘set them straight’!! comment…

      • Michael,
        That is some rather bold grimacing by you, from yet another anonymous internet self-declared hero.

      • He couldn’t be the infamous Michael…Mann, could he?

      • LOL!

        I think you’ll find that Michael Mann isn’t prone to wild, Curry-esque accusations in the public sphere.

      • NAH he isnot Mann enough

      • Michael

        I’m afraid I have to defend Judith here.

        You state she is “the queen of nasty innuendo and snide remarks”.

        Can you back this up with anything (except nasty innuendo and snide remarks)?

        Max

      • Oh, where to start!

        Well there’s this post for starters, where she finished a post on the apparent, and now known to be very real, false accusations against Gavin Schmidt, with a little dig at climate scientists in general.

        Then there’s the broad allegations of corruption and fraud from Judith against scientists in the IPCC, which when she was challeged to back up these very serious claims with evidence, we got ‘ um…er…I’ve been misunderstood’ . No apology of course.

        Her continued mealy-mouthed jibes at a certain ‘young PhD’ (we all know who she means) who is only interested in using science to advance his career.

        Some people, not me, might call Judith a nasty piece of work.

        I’ll remain polite and say that her conduct has been ethically dubious. Ethically challenged, if you prefer.

      • Seems to me that hypersensitive souls who are so upset by such trivial slights – real or imagined – should find another topic to be interested in.

        Because otherwise it will all end up in tears before bedtime for them.

        Meanwhile the rest of us can get on with discussing what some have hysterically described as ‘the most important problem humanity has ever faced’ without playground games of ‘he said/she said’, and loudly complaining that not everybody always agrees with them….and that its just not fair…..

      • Stiff responses to accusations of scientific fraud is hardly a matter of being “hypersensitive”. If proven true, the accused scientist will end up teaching elementary science in a community college for a pittance, with no opportunity to do research.

        Judith should put up, or shut up, when she makes claims that insinuate such.

      • Latimer Alder

        Did I miss something?

        Who has been directly accused of fraud? Are they sung Judith? What is she supposed to have said? And what is his/her defence?

        Seems to me that you too should put up or shut up when making unpleasant claims…in this case about JC.

      • JC;
        “These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise…These scientists have used to IPCC to gain a seat at the “big tables” where they can play power politics with the collective expertise of the IPCC, to obtain personal publicity, and to advance their careers”

        OK I’m open on this question – are these broad brush, completely unsupported by evidence allegations, a result of dubious ethics, or an integrity deficit?

      • It is a criticism of the IPCC, it is not a criticism of individual scientists. It is scientists working within the system to maximize their personal advantage and influence. It is a criticism of the institutions, not of the individual scientists that manage to thrive in it.

      • Yet your words read exactly the opposite – the IPCC abused by scientists who have “used the IPCC” for their own personal benefit.

      • Michael and Judith

        If I may interject myself here, Michael, I’d suggest that, rather than making empty and unfounded accusations, you actually read what Dr. Curry wrote about the IPCC and the integrity of the scientists in her seminal blog on this topic last November:
        http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/03/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop/

        So were the scientists innocent victims and pawns in all this? Were they just hardworking scientists doing their best to address the impossible expectations of the policy makers? Well, many of them were. However, at the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.

        This all is pretty clearly stated and makes sense to any impartial observer, especially after the “hockeystick” fiasco, Climategate and other revelations.

        It’s certainly not climate science per se that is corrupt, nor is it the climate scientists, in general. It is the highly politicized IPCC process, which has corrupted a small cadre of scientists, who have used this corrupt process to gain positions of influence and who misuse their positions of expertise to protect the IPCC against criticism.

        Denying that this is the case will not make it go away. It will only exacerbate the situation and further weaken the credibility of the IPCC and, unfortunately, climate science, in general. It may eventually lead to IPCC becoming totally irrelevant.

        Dr. Curry has made some very astute suggestions concerning what needs to be done to reverse the “direction of this positive feedback loop” (as she described it).

        My advice to you: read this (as openmindedly as possible). Then let it sink in. Then read it again, if necessary.

        It is very much to the point.

        And it should clear up any confusion you may have on this issue.

        Max

      • And she also wrote what I posted above – that scientists were using the IPCC to advance their careers wtc.

        I’d suggest you go back and read that ‘seminal post’ which was an awful load of tripe, full of unsubstantiated allegations of malfeasance.

      • Nice try, Michael.

        But there’s no substance here.

        Get specific.

        Max

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m sure Judith’s shoulders are broad enough to allow her to be able to cope with your remark.

        And the high regard in which she is held by many here will fortify her should she weaken in her resolve to directly tell the truth as she sees it.

        It would, of course, be open to her to do so from behind a pseudonym, but she has the cojones to speak as herself.

    • RobB – equally shocking are the tone of many of the commenters over at WUWT. For example “I am violently opposed to the warmistas, their beliefs and their crusade to tax and control me. Let my language make it plain that I believe that this is a war. No reconcilliation – no surrender.”

      This is not an unusual type of comment but represent at least 20% of the views there.

      One thing is quite clear – there are blogs from both (extreme) sides of this debate. Pointing to either and saying “look how horrid they are over there” doesn’t actually achieve much.

  25. Bad Andrew and Hector M. – I believe you would both find answers to many of your accusations/questions/doubts over at Skeptical Science :

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/

    • JMurphy,

      I can only conclude that you are linking us to “flawed and incomplete” information. That doesn’t help.

      Andrew

      • Since when did linking to science not help ?
        Did you have a problem with anything in particular at Skeptical Science ?

      • JMurphy,

        You argued earlier that “all science is flawed and incomplete”.

        If that is true why is your link of any value?

        Is that not your position? What is your position, if I am mistaken?

        Andrew

      • Those who are interested/work/involved in science, acknowledge its limitations but/therefore/so continue to be interested/work/involved in science because they know the value of science. Those who know that, will be interested in learning more.

        Richard Feynman : “The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following : The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific ‘truth’. But what is the source of knowledge? Where do the laws that are to be tested come from? Experiment, itself, helps to produce these laws, in the sense that it gives us hints. But also needed is imagination to create from these hints the great generalizations — to guess at the wonderful, simple, but very strange patterns beneath them all, and then to experiment to check again whether we have made the right guess.”

      • Well that just about rules climatology out from being a science then. Nobody ever does any experiments at all.

        As ever, Feynman spoke with great clarity and integrity.

      • Yes, climatology is more of a real soft science, like social sciences and economics. None of which can produce controled emperiments to test hypothesis.

      • “the value of science”

        JMurphy,

        What specific value does your link have, considering the universally acknowledged yet unspecified limitations?

        Andrew (Goalpost Chaser)

  26. Can anyone here tell us if the present state of cliamte science has improved meteorological methods?
    If so, how?

  27. hunter, a quick look at WIKIPEDIA came up with this :

    Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and short term forecasting (in contrast with climatology).

    Climatology (from Greek κλίμα, klima, “region, zone”; and -λογία, -logia) is the study of climate, scientifically defined as weather conditions averaged over a period of time, and is a branch of the atmospheric sciences.

    • Pointing out one of the ratholes – weather is chaotic and can’t be predicted reliably much into the future. Climate is an average of weather (whatever that means). If weather were random instead of chaotic, averaging would buy you something, but here it leads to another chaotic situation which can’t be predicted reliably much into the future.

    • How is climate manifested?

  28. Tallbloke, feel free to post my response to the email in full. It will be better if you do so, so that it is clear exactly what you received and read. For reference, the full invitation (06/Oct/2010) was as follows:

    Dear Dr. Gavin Schmidt,

    We have been following your activities with regards to the science of climate change, the controversies and the challenges, etc.

    We are writing to you now about a proposed workshop on the issue, which we are hoping to organise for next January, the 26th to 28th. It will be sponsored and financially supported by the Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen of the European Commission’s DG Joint Research Centre, and will take place at the C. Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

    We have been trying to find a way to begin to overcome the polarisation on this issue, which as you know has already done great damage to the cause of coping with climate change, as well as to the reputation of science itself. At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.

    The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ‘ice’, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.

    Since the topics are so sensitive we would have Chatham House rules unless the consensus desires otherwise; and there would be some public report of the proceedings.

    We are just now finalising the invitation list. I do hope that you find this a useful activity to engage on.

    With very best wishes

    Sincerely-

    The organising Team

    • Gavin, it will be better if you post what you sent. That way it is clear what you sent and meant.
      ========

      • If Gavin were to post it, there are folks that will say he has edited it or will refuse to believe it is the actual real McCoy. Better that Tallbloke posts what he based his precis on.

      • Gavin, it would be better if you post what was sent.
        That way it is clear what went and was meant.
        ========================

      • To paraphrase : If Gavin were to post it, there are people who will say he that he has edited it, or will refuse to believe it is the actual real McCoy. Better that Tallbloke posts what he based his precis on.

      • The only way this is going to work out happily is if both versions agree exactly, as they should. Then we will know what was sent and was meant, and what was got and was thought. Nice, huh?
        ================

      • Besides, the provenance of Gavin’s is assured. The other version’s is a little more uh, shall we say, ‘uncertain’.

        So let’s have the certain one first. The original, so to speak. Then we can compare to establish ‘certainty’ in the provenance of the latter.
        ============

      • …assuming the post above is actually from Gavin and not from an interloper! Damn conspiracy again!

    • Gavin – it would be best if both you and Tallbloke send copies of what you wrote to Dr. Curry so that the samples don’t appear to influence the other. Such a double-blind exchange would go far toward keeping the conspiracy hounds of the blogosphere at bay.

      • Send it to the recipient of a prize that throws climate science in the trash can, accepted from one of the parties in this whole fiasco? Get real.

    • Dr. Schmidt,
      You seem to need to have it both ways. Why don’t you just post the exchange yourself?

      • hunter – it may be the case that what Tallbloke saw was an edited version of whatever Dr Schmidt sent. If Fred Pearce has based his comments on Dr Schmidt’s non-attendance on whatever Tallbloke reported that he saw, it is important to know exactly what Tallbloke saw.

        I agree that having both Dr Schmidt and Tallbloke post their own versions is best, that way, if there are any differences these will be apparent. If there aren’t any, then a discussion of the interpretation of Dr Schmidt’s words is probable.

      • Louise, the provenance of Gavin’s is stronger. He should take the gallant offer of first post from Tallbloke, and frame his meaning as he likes. Then Tallbloke can confirm or deny identity of the two emails. If it is confirmation then the debate over meaning should progress. If it’s denial, then there is a whole can of worms to open and digest, but the first step is clear. It is Gavin’s.
        =============

      • kim – I disagree.

        As the debate is actually about Tallbloke’s precis then I think it is most important that we see what that precis is based on – simple.

      • Riiiiight, Louise, the argument is about this derivative thing off to the side, and not on what Gavin wrote and meant. Nice try.
        ====================

      • The issue at this time is the e-mails. If there is an ethical question that comes out of the posting of the e-mails, that is a new issue. Right now, I would grant that both parties have acted in good faith irt this e-mail exchange.
        If either wants their position crystal clear, all they should do is post he exchange.
        Dr. Schmidt seems to have a different definition of ‘the science is settled’ than what would be commonly used. He could clarify that further as well, if he chooses to.

    • Gavin, thank you for permission to post. I appreciate your openness in regard to this issue, and I hope the discussion which follows can remain reasonable and objective. My own observation is that this will hinge around the question of what constitutes “The scientific community” and whether or not my summary was fair or not.

      Let the chips fall where they may and the discussion commence, I have posted on my blog so that Judith is not accused of anything unfairly, but I have closed comments, so as not to fracture the debate here.

      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

      • The email you’re quoting is entirely consistent with Gavin Schmidt’s letter ,a comment of his I read prior to the publication of the SA article and of course the realclimate piece linked above.

        Aside from the fact Gavin’s known position is not consistent with “The science is settled” the only way you could extract that interpretation from that response is if you’re very very keen for that to be what was said.

        I think it’s likely you didn’t realise that your summation would be repeated much less published but I consider it baffling you’ve continued to defend its accuracy.

      • None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions.

        Oh, yes, that really appears to be an acknowlegement that there are valid differences of opinion within the scientific community.

        I’d be interested to see where McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster fall “between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position”. After all, “no ‘conflict resolution’ is possible” between those two divides.

      • “Oh, yes, that really appears to be an acknowlegement that there are valid differences of opinion within the scientific community.”

        Firstly there is no divergence between what Gavin wrote before the SA article, what he wrote in the letter in response to the SA article and this email that tallbloke has now quoted.

        Consequently any interpretation you want to apply applies equally well to everything he’s said on the topic both in public and private.

        The problem is that tallbloke claimed to have a “private” email which contradicted Gavin’s other statements. This has now been shown not to be the case.

        Secondly you cannot arbitrarily interpret people words or insert your own meanings into what they’ve said especially when they’ve clarified what they’ve said or produced a pattern of statements that makes it clear what they’ve said. If someone says “The science is not settled” and later says something that if you strain hard enough could be “The science is settled” then you have a very very poor case for contradiction.

        The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. I suggest reading WUWT any day of the week for yet another “proof” the temperature data is all fraud or wrong. If you think these analyses are valuable then you need to research the topic more and learn why they’re not instead of agreeing with anything that produces an answer you like.

        Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone but gleefully stuffing yet more straw in the debate. Does that mean every criticism of climate science that can be found on blogs represents a “valid difference”? No.

      • “Secondly you cannot arbitrarily interpret people words or insert your own meanings into what they’ve said especially when they’ve clarified what they’ve said or produced a pattern of statements that makes it clear what they’ve said. If someone says “The science is not settled” and later says something that if you strain hard enough could be “The science is settled” then you have a very very poor case for contradiction.”

        A bit revisionist on the timeline there Sharper. I characterised it first, then Gavin clarified it.

        I interpreted Gavin’s words before he clarified it.

        Sharper00 said:
        “Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone ”

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

        Seems you have a disagreement with Gavin to sort out.

      • “A bit revisionist on the timeline there Sharper. I characterised it first, then Gavin clarified it.”

        Gavin has stated his position on whether the science is “settled” publicly at least a full year before this incident. He also posted his reasons for not attending the conference before the SA article was even published see:

        http://rabett.blogspot.com/2011/02/that-ol-devil-rabett.html

        The only one (conveniently) confused about the timeline of events is you.

        “Seems you have a disagreement with Gavin to sort out.”

        The level of honesty I’m willing to attribute you in this matter is dropping like a rock. I’ve outlined the difference and anyone engaging in an honest discussion can see there’s no conflict between what I said and Gavin’s words.

        If you’re going to insist on the opposite and double down instead of acknowledging a mistake then you’re welcome to.

      • I’m not going on something else Gavin said a year ago that I never saw, I’m going on what he said in response to the invite to Lisbon which is what I summarized as him saying that the science is settled, and what you say. I think your attempt to judge me on something else Gavin said which I never saw is unreasonable.

        Sharper00 says:
        “Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? Yes and this is acknowledged by everyone.”

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

      • “I think your attempt to judge me on something else Gavin said which I never saw is unreasonable.”

        As I’ve stated I can see how you came to that conclusion at the time but I cannot see how you’ve continued to defend the conclusion or how you could claim that the email in your possession would contradict anything Gavin had said in public.

        Instead of saying “Oops, you know what I read the email quickly and thought that’s what he said. I didn’t realise people were going to publish it in Scientific American or I’d have put a lot more thought into it. Now that I’ve seen the other things Gavin wrote I can see why he’s annoyed” you’re instead deciding to defend your original interpretation.

        “Gavin said:”

        Gavin said none of the “seemingly important”, “conflicts” are genuine scientific controversies and he’s right. Temperature data is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict. Sea ice is is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict. Paleo climate is not controversial nor is there a scientific conflict.

        Those “conflicts” all live on in the blogosphere not the scientific literature.

      • “I cannot see how you’ve continued to defend the conclusion”

        I haven’t. I’ve just let it stand.

        “or how you could claim that the email in your possession would contradict anything Gavin had said in public.”

        I haven’t made any such claim.

        “Instead of saying “Oops, you know what I read the email quickly and thought that’s what he said. I didn’t realise people were going to publish it in Scientific American or I’d have put a lot more thought into it. Now that I’ve seen the other things Gavin wrote I can see why he’s annoyed” you’re instead deciding to defend your original interpretation.”

        I haven’t seen the other things that Gavin wrote. I see no need to defend my original interpretation because i think Gavin’s response to the invite confirm it.

        “Gavin said none of the “seemingly important”, “conflicts” are genuine scientific controversies and he’s right. ”

        I disagree, and anyway, that’s not what he said. This is what he said:

        Gavin said:
        “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”

      • Sharper00 summarized the difference well when (he/she) said The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. Gavin Schmidt stated in his letter to the New Scientist that the stated topics – Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data – were not held to be in any significant dispute in the scientific community.

        You may feel that they should be in dispute, but the fact remains that they are not.

      • “Gavin Schmidt stated in his letter to the New Scientist that the stated topics – Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data – were not held to be in any significant dispute in the scientific community“.

        As in settled?

      • Are there valid differences of opinion in the scientific community? …

        I would add there is no apparent need for a reconciliation between those with these differences of opinion.

      • Tallbloke has already addressed some of this, so I’ll just hit the remainder.

        The “conflict” around topics like temperature data in the blogosphere is almost entirely non-scientific in nature. I suggest reading WUWT any day of the week for yet another “proof” the temperature data is all fraud or wrong. If you think these analyses are valuable then you need to research the topic more and learn why they’re not instead of agreeing with anything that produces an answer you like.

        Interesting…I bring up McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster and you comment about unscientific conflicts in the blogosphere. Are you linking them or is this just a coincidence? And for what it’s worth, I’m neither a denizen of WUWT nor do I consider the instrument record a “fraud”.

      • “Interesting…I bring up McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster and you comment about unscientific conflicts in the blogosphere. “

        Is the “conflict” the Lisbon conference was seeking to address between “McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster” and the climate science community?

        I bring up unscientific comments in the blogosphere because that is what is what dominates the “conflict”.

        If you’re going to say “But if you ignore the unscientific parts of the debate, leaving only the scientific parts then Gavin’s statement means there’s no conflict in the scientific parts!” then you’re torturing the context in order to produce the answer you want.

        It’s pretty clear that Gavin is talking about the unscientific aspects of the debate which is precisely why he felt a scientific conference to resolve them was pointless.

      • Is the “conflict” the Lisbon conference was seeking to address between “McShane and Wyner, Spencer, Curry, and Webster” and the climate science community?

        Here’s the list of example conflicts from the invitation:
        “Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data”.

        McShane and Wyner’s work touches on the MWP. Curry’s brought up questions around climate sensitivity. Webster has questioned the attribution of early 20th century warming. Sorry, I can’t think of anyone for “ice”, but I think you should be getting the picture.

        It’s pretty clear that Gavin is talking about the unscientific aspects of the debate which is precisely why he felt a scientific conference to resolve them was pointless.

        No, he’s claiming that the scientific aspects don’t exist other than as a proxy for political positions.

      • “McShane and Wyner’s work touches on the MWP. Curry’s brought up questions around climate sensitivity. Webster has questioned the attribution of early 20th century warming. Sorry, I can’t think of anyone for “ice”, but I think you should be getting the picture.”

        As scientific controversies go a single paper, a hurricane specialist asking questions about climate sensitivity on her blog and a post on the same blog by Webster (assuming this is what you’re referring to) is some mighty weak sauce.

        To go further and characterise these as the “conflict” in the climate debate is nothing other than ridiculous.

        “No, he’s claiming that the scientific aspects don’t exist other than as a proxy for political positions.”

        Specifically on those topics and specifically in relation to the “conflict”.

      • To go further and characterise these as the “conflict” in the climate debate is nothing other than ridiculous.

        I’d explain the concept of an example, but I’m afraid it’s pointless.

      • Tallbloke is not to blame here. He is just some nobody blogger bigging up what he thinks he read in an email.

        Pearce should have approached the person who reputation he was about to trash and gotten an actual quote or reaction.

        No one would expect skeptical thinking or benefit of the doubt from a skeptic blogger at a skeptic bloggers party, well no one other than Pearce it seems.

      • And you need to take something to quell your bilious distemper.

      • I doubt anything exists that would bring dorlomin back from the edge. Such fanaticism extremism is absolute.

      • Tallbloke, you’ve done nothing but throw burly in the water and watched the sharks feed. But that’s how this forum works doesnt it? Judith says, ‘I wonder about the fascist leanings of mainstream climate scientists – any comments’. and then she sits back and whats the feeding frenzy but the right wing chumosphere. And when people complain about her sleazy tactics she goes all coy “who me? I just asked a question”. Sure..

        And now you are doing it. Well done!

  29. The only way to clarify what happened on the way to Pearce is if the full chain is made public, précis included, preferably by Gavin and tallbloke

  30. I just googled the phrase “The Science Is Settled”. Dishonest and banned Wiki-contributor William Connolley and politician Al Gore get a lot of initial hits. If I’m going to attribute the phrase to anyone, it has to be Al Gore. He’s said it so many times that, when I read the phrase, his voice saying it echo’s in my head (and yes, it hurts). The press of course has run with it over the years. Here is just one headline:

    Copenhagen: The Science Is Settled; The Policy And Politics Aren’t

    “The Science Is Settled”!!! Why not! It’s short, pithy, it’s what the politicians who “care” about the environment have been saying since forever, and is clear in meaning, even though the truth is more complicated than that. But the press doesn’t like complicated. Yes, Gavin IS on record dismissing that phrase. You may argue his actions bely his dismissal of the term, but I would counter that he is just defending he and his colleagues work. It’s what more scientists should do, regardless of whether they are proven right or wrong in the end.

    Now… question, did the press ever report his commentary on “The Science Is Settled”?

    No. This flew way under the radar. It’s too complicated!

    In closing I would say that it may not be the fault of climate scientists that this phrase is so commonly bandied about when discussing climate change. But their actions, in labeling anyone who questioned the certainty of any detail as “deniers” doesn’t help the case that the DO think the science IS settled.

    • From Gavin’s heart to your ears:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

      Google:
      “science is settled” site:realclimate.org

      • Yet the post quotes Mike Hulme who says:

        “S]cience has clearly revealed”

        Clearly Revealed vs. Unsettled

        Cage match comin’ soon! ;)

        Andrew

      • There seems to be a disconnect between what Dr. Schmidt claims about science and what he practices in his profession and his blog.

      • dp… Did you miss the part where I said “Yes, Gavin IS on record dismissing that phrase. “?

      • I posted the earliest known specific evidence of the point stated from Gavin himself to help hammer home your point. Something you failed to do. Now we know your statement is right and where we can find evidence of that. You’re welcome.

      • Have you missed the volumes of writing where he explains exactly that the science is settled and that anyone who questions his apocalyptic claptrap is a denier?

      • Yes, I have missed that. Perhaps you could point to some of them?

      • I for one don’t recall seeing Gavin’s name on statements like this
        http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/141453-scientists-put-aside-politics-and-focus-on-climate-science

        I have had arguments with Gavin that have pointed out big differences between us regarding how we each reason about uncertainty. And I agree that his style on the blog often comes across as arrogant and authoritarian (some people like it, others don’t). But I do not regard Gavin as one of the ringleaders of “the science is settled” crowd. (whereas several people on the latest letter have made such public statements).

        Also, I seem to recall Gavin mostly using the word “contrarian” and not denier (I may be wrong about this).

        So if you want to tar and feather someone over “the science is settled,” pick somebody else.

        The statement made by Fred Pearce is puzzling, and I’m surprised he didn’t contact Gavin about it, to see exactly what he said and why (would have made for a more interesting not to mention accurate story).

      • It appears that Gavin S. is a reasonable person after all. My friend (radun) posted one of my links on his blog, and his answer was perfectly reasonable and civilised as you can see here , acknowledging natural variation.
        Talking of natural variation, this one should be of some interest:
        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/PDO-ENSO.htm

      • “Authoritarian” !?

        Do you know what the word means?

        You have a way with the English language….and it’s not good.

      • Dr. Curry, I don’t understand your defense of Gavin. I read his email and it is clear he was saying the science was settled even though he did not use those words.

        Gavin wrote: “None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions.”

        In every possible sense, his statement is not true. Conflicts in the science are real and not just “perceived.” The fact Gavin is unwilling to admit they exist is the very same thing as saying “the science is settled.”

        Gavin also wrote: “No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.”

        Again, this is completely wrong. Gavin has no evidence skeptics are “picking through” evidence to “support a pre-determined policy position.” McIntyre has no predetermined policy position in mind. Neither do many of the other attendees. McIntyre and others have found errors which have advanced the science and increased understanding. McKitrick has published studies which have increased understanding. But here’s the problem: Gavin does not like where these advances in our knowledge lead and so he is unwilling to give these researchers any credit or even be civil in their presence.

        No, Gavin gets does not get a pass here. He clearly wrote the science is settled even though he did not use those words.

      • As far as AGW is concerned he basically used the words in the document he references to New Scientist to distance himself from “settled science” http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/04/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-iv/#comment-38689

      • HAS, exactly. Gavin is clearly a “the science is settled” kind of guy. I don’t see the point of pretending he is not.

      • Once only on the horns of the dilemma, but now gored.
        ====================

      • Yes hunter, we are all quite well acquainted with your dogmatic beliefs on how awful climate scientists are.

      • Interesting read, I agree with the begining, start to think “wait a moment” in the middle and disagree at the end. I fact you can almost scale yourself on a denier-skeptic-lukewarmer-warmist-alarmist scale based on where you start to disagree : from the “at the moment I saw the author’s name” to “oh my Gaia, Gavin has been bought by big oil”;-)

        But, whatever your degree of skepticism/denial and hence your appreciation of Gavin piece, having been written in decembre 2009, it comes just a tad too late….

    • I did a bit of digging into the settled science quote last year. Even Al Gore is hard to pin down as ever having made this statement. I think I’ve tracked down one example from him but this may not be a direct quote. Politicians, activists, and organizational spokespersons (for UNEP or the EPA) have however used very similar language, or made references to AGW being as settled as anything can be in science (gravity is a favored comparison). Climate scientists, Gavin Schmidt included, have been more careful and nuanced, though we can argue about what all the talk of consensus is saying “in effect”.
      In sum, “the science is settled” is a strawman, even if you can dig up examples of someone saying it from time to time. But as a strawman it often bears a close resemblance to the real thing.

      • This being said, I really do dislike strawmen. Even if Al Gore can be caught using this language somewhere I still consider it incorrect to proclaim “Al Gore says the science is settled”, because in the vast majority of cases he talks instead about the (Oreskes) consensus. It’s even worse when someone leaves the subject undefined in a statement like “they say the science is settled”. Focus on the actual language used and address that. As for Pearce in this case, maybe he was referencing an email but I’m not even sure if that would be appropriate. I would agree that he probably deserves a bit of a yellow card here.

    • I suspect it’s important to distinguish between a policymaker and a scientist. Someone’s done the homework on “the science is settled” already.

      The science is settled

      • Connelly also put nicely why there is such vehement resistance to give up the “settled” strawman:

        It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is.

  31. The USA EPA seems to know that The Science is Settled. And, as we are strictly on a Science-Based Policy trajectory, there’s got to be some scientists behind this knowledge somewhere, don’t you think?

    EPA Chief Goes Toe-To-Toe With Senate GOP Over Climate Science.

    U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson today defended the science underpinning pending climate regulations despite Senate Republicans’ claims that global warming data has been thrown into doubt.

    “The science behind climate change is settled, and human activity is responsible for global warming,” Jackson told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

    • The EPA based their finding on the IPCC FAR conclusions (many of which have been discredited) and model results (which are NOT data).

    • The Science is Settled, it says so on the EPA Web site:

      Statement on Litigation on EPA Endangerment Finding.

      The question of the science is settled.

      And, of course, the EPA relies solely on Climate Science.

      • The EPA must be some of the ‘contrarians’ Gavin was talking about then ;-)

      • What the EPA is doing is an example of STUPID policy implementation in the US. The EPA’s actions will result in no measureable change in climate, and billions in additional costs. Hopefully it will be ultimately be stopped

      • Uh huh – just like the “Polar Bear” finding that was based on the same models and completely avoided the actual data that contradicted both the models and the finding.

    • Gingrich is putting his seat on the line and should bear in mind that the EPA was the creation of the GOP.

      Results of ORC International Gallup poll (PDF) (February 2, 2011)

      * Americans want the EPA to do more, not less. Almost two thirds of Americans (63 percent) say “the EPA needs to do more to hold polluters accountable and protect the air and water,”…

      * Americans do not want Congress to kill the EPA’s anti-pollution updates…

      * The majority of Republicans – and all Americans – oppose the former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s plan to dismantle the EPA…

      • Regretfully, I agree with Gingrich.

        The decision by EPA’s chief – to ignore science and declare CO2 a dangerous pollutant anyway – suggests that the EPA chief is simply an “agent of the apparatus” commonly called “apparatchik” in the old USSR.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparatchik

        Closing down agencies (NAS, EPA, NASA, DOE) that have been converted into “agents of the apparatus” may be the only way left to resolve the climate scandal and restore constitutional government.

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

      • Frankly I wish you were either silent or on the other side of this issue.

  32. Judith

    If “leaders of mainstream climate science” accept man made global warming is “unsettled science”, why advocate for policy based on “unsettled science”?

    • OK, why do people like you advocate a policy of doing nothing when the science is unsettled, and sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 may be higher than the IPCC “most likely” range of say 2-4.5C?

      Hmmm?

      That knife cuts both ways, buddy.

      • Nope, that knife is dull on one side and sharp on the other. I looked and felt.
        ===================

      • Where’s your proof?

        There’s a body of evidence that the sensitivity may well be much lower than the IPCC range. Including the continuing “lack of warming” for the last 10-15 years (depending on which data set you use). Your contention has neither validity nor credibility.

      • So you’re saying the science is settled?

        Or not?

        Again, that knife cuts both ways.

      • Feel it! Sharp on low sensitivity, dull on high sensitivity. Trust your senses, not your imagination.
        ==========

      • No, your knife is dull. History is a bitch – especially if you don’t know it. And the history of science says the science is NEVER settled. That’s the nature of the beast. Anyone who uses the expression simply labels themselves as ignorant of what science is and what it does – and how it does what it does.

      • Jim; isn’t it reasonable to ask what “science” you are talking about here? The existence of electricity can be proven, alien life cannot. All “science” is not the same.

      • Not to open an argument, but do you really believe that the “science is settled” wrt electricity? That there’s nothing new to learn? That there are no open questions?

        There was a recent comment that implied the solidity of the theory of relativity – and yet I know of at least two serious challenges to that “solidity”.

        If it’s “science” then it’s NEVER settled – at least in my lifetime or yours. And probably not for the next 10,000 – or more likely, 100,000 years. Climate science is still in it’s infancy. It’s no more an exception than “electricity” or relativity.

      • Because the cost of doing nothing is not well established, and the price of doing what the AGW community wants is crazy high, while the benefits of those policies are at best marginal.

  33. > some public report of the proceedings.
    Still to be anticipated, or is this it?

    • Well, the workshop organizers are preparing a summary report for the Gulbenkian foundation. I assume that it will be distributed to the participants, at which time I will post (and presumably others that participated will post on their blogs as well.) I have no idea when to expect the summary report.

      • If you told Eli who was writing it, the Bunny could do a pretty fair job telling you what will be in it.

      • Well Angela Pereira seems to be the main person coordinating this, good luck figuring out what will be in it.

      • Allow Eli a wild guess:
        ——————————————–
        One of the major shames about what seems to be a climate change sham is really about the work some governmental and non-governmental organisations have done and citizenry commitment etc. to help with reducing our footprint in the planet. Probably, the major issue that forces us as individuals to take action is health and in so far, no socio-environmental issue like climate change has given rise to such international political and institutional movement, and societal initiatives, including governmental and non-governmental ones, devising strategies in sectors like Energy and so on – for instance, biodiversity maintenance does not have that power! So, Climate Change was often used as the pragmatic and moral justification to do something about sectors that anyway needed a boost to be revamped! We still need to clarify, how instrumental this was for those involved.

        In the recent past, climate change was THE argument to improve our relations with the planet, with nature; with each other. This whole charade regarding the science that underpins it is a major frustration for those who had embraced a battle about the most needed change of gestures, values and perceptions about the use of natural resources, justifying such change with that science! This issue is not about uncertainty or about ignorance in science. It is about framing and instrumentalisation of science.

        I ask, after this example of credibility, what do we do now? Probably, it would have been better to use knowledge that are more congenial with human nature after all, intuition, wisdom, common sense, responsibility and above all respect for each others.
        ———————–

        Wanna bet?

      • The above was posted by Angela Pereira almost exactly one year ago – good find, Eli.

      • Can’t a bunny have any fun???

      • A sham is, indeed, a shame.

  34. I’ve just read Pearce’s anecdotal piece at NS (a site I normally avoid) and I suspect based on what I read and what I know, Pearce has watered his article well with snippets of mental energy and a little bit of fact. The mental effort dominates.

    It is hard to know what the significance of his article is, who is audience is, and what his message is. My take is it is a backdrop for larger shadows to fall upon and nothing more. I fervently hope it is true that God does not take from one’s life those moments spent reading drivel.

  35. Gavin

    The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established

    Gavin is the warming “over the last 50 years” unprecedented or anomalous?
    Here is the global warming for the most recent warming compared to the previous warming.

    http://bit.ly/9lp8q3

    In both warming phases, the global warming was about 0.45 deg C in 30 years.

    The second phase is nearly identical to the first one both in magnitude and duration.

    As the recent warming is not anomalous because the current record is similar the the previous one, why the alarm?

  36. From RC:

    The phrase “the science is settled” is associated almost 100% with contrarian comments on climate and is usually a paraphrase of what ‘some scientists’ are supposed to have said.

    I have heard that phrase more times than I can remember, but, as far as I recall, never from a ‘contrarian’.
    One person I can definitely remember having uttered those words is John Prescott – the ex Deputy PM of Britain.

  37. David Suzuki boldly declared that “politicians who never see beyond the next election, are committing a criminal act by ignoring science.” He went on to suggest that today’s youth should find a way to jail these politicians since, as we all know, global warming is “settled science” and anyone who doesn’t fall in line is a heretic who deserves jailing.

    http://www.bloggingcanadians.ca/ConservativeBlogs/David_Suzuki_Politicians_Who_Ignore_Global_Warming_Should_Be_Jailed/

    He’s used the “settled” on more than one occation.

  38. “the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’ ”

    Sounds like Gavin is saying there are no issues to debate about the science related to these issues. “Settled” would be a reasonable way to characterize his position. Instead of the ridiculous semantic gymnastics over whether he has actually used that term or not, simply focus on what he wrote. His own communication “settles” this silly debate. He doesn’t think there is anything to debate about these scientific issues.

    • No, he’s saying in current science there is no need for a reconciliation on those things. New science on the MWP, climate sensitivity or ice is being done all the time. He’s probably one of the scientists actually doing that science; and if not actually doing the science, one who is closely following new developments. On his blog he has posted articles about new developments in the science on ice and sensitivities many times. I remember reading several of them. He would not do that if he thought the “science was settled.” What would be the point?

      • Gavin is fishing looking for “evidence”, something to twist into claiming our CO2 is responsible. It is clear, these guys are saying the default position, the null hypothesis, is we are causing the climate to change. That means in their view the science is settled. Ask Gavin if that basic premise is settled or not.

      • Nope, I think he is just trying to skip over the mess he and Mann stepped into in disappearing the MWP to push the HS.
        Move on, nothing to see……..

  39. Pielke Sr. has an interesting and relevant post on his blog, rebutting a recent letter to Congress by the usual GHG-based AGW alarmist authors — Mann, Santer, Oppenheimer, Trenberth, Sommerville, Manabe, Washington, etc.
    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/comments-on-the-hills-post-scientists-ask-congress-to-put-aside-politics-take-fresh-look-at-climate-data/

    Ironically the alarmists are asking for a “fresh look.” Hypocrisy personified.

    • If Congress took a fresh look, they would be less convinced than ever of the dangers of global warming. This is false bravado on their part.

  40. Just want to jump into the fray here and say that while I too am looking forward to seeing the email response from Gavin (you got the greenlight, tallbloke, so let’s have it), it’s a bit immaterial to the larger flub by Fred (whose work I admire). And that is that any second-hand interpretation should have been confirmed in a call/email to Gavin. Even a paraphrase of something that was supposedly said or written.

    So if Fred took Tallbloke’s word at face value, that’s a major flub. But I have to say that part of me thinks (as I wrote in my post) that Fred was trying to be cute in that throwaway line. That said, as Bart discusses in his own post today at his site, Fred should have known that the “science is settled” phrase has a lot of baggage, and that maybe not everyone would get the dig, if in fact, he was writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

    Anyway, I look forward to Fred’s response to all this.

    • Yes, TallBloke…please do post the email as you were threatening to do earlier.

      Keith Kloor, I agree. Can you spot the other flubs in Fred’s piece? You are focused on the most egregious one, which makes sense, but there are more. And why the delay? Fred has very known about his flub since Thursday evening UK time, Friday morning at the latest. NewScientist had an entire day to take action, they have done nothing. Unacceptable.

      And under no circumstances should JC be considered an “honest broker” to whom Schmidt and TallBloke should send the email in question as some are suggest8ing here– content of this site is ample evidence that JC has no interest in being an “honest broker”, all she has succeeded in doing the last while is burning bridges, not building them. If you are looking for a legitimate honest broker try Bart Verheggen.

      Wtill waiting Tallbloke…..

      • None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community

        If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a quack duck. Gavin fits. Sure looks like another way of saying “settled” to me.

      • Well yes, that’s the sentence which jumped out at me, and stuck in my mind when I characterised Gavin’s response. I notice that’s the part he didn’t recapitulate in his complaint to New Scientist.

      • Pity this sentance didn’t ‘jump out at you’;

        “the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding” – Gavin.

        Confirmation bias at work.

      • Gavin’s ‘scince community’ which by denying the real conflicts in data and interpretation excludes dissenting scientists will only increase its confirmation bias induced by its consensus.

        Which is why we have got to where we are.

      • The actual dissenting scientists – lindzen, spencer, etc – aren’t excluded. They regularly publish, and while they’re frequently shot down when subjected to analysis by their peers, they’re treated as serious attempts.

        I think you meant to say “dissenting blogscientists” …

      • dho, you fail to appreciate the brilliance of blog-science.

        Disagreeeing means that you are right!

    • steven mosher

      Funny,

      At the Q&A I asked fred why the IPCC doesnt just publish errata for some of the blunders like newspapers do. His answer was that newspapers dont like to do that.

      Heck we all make mistakes.

      • It’s possible that since the IPCC authors are volunteers, with there being a minimum level of funding for administrative support, and that this funding and effort centers around the periodic publishing schedule for reports, that there’s no money for on-going publishing of official errata.

        What you have, though, is a lot of people involved who, when problems are uncovered, saying “oh yeah, 2035 was a boo-boo”.

        Nice to see that you agree that these widely-denounced bits of various IPCC reports are simply *blunders* that could be easily dealt with by the publication of *errata*, which implies that overall they’re unimportant and not the “proof” of “science fraud” that the noisome denialsphere make them out to be.

      • An errata is on the list of future tweaks to the IPCC process. Participants have requested it.

  41. From that “Fresh Look” letter:

    “The debate about climate change has become increasingly ideological and partisan. But climate change is not the product of a belief system or ideology. Instead, it is based on scientific fact, and no amount of argument, coercion, or debate among talking heads in the media can alter the physics of climate change. “…

    “Major international scientific organizations in disciplines ranging from geophysics to geology, atmospheric sciences to biology, and physics to human health – as well as every one of the leading national scientific academies worldwide – have concluded that human activity is changing the climate. This is not a “belief.” Instead, it is an objective evaluation of the scientific evidence. “

    Is that not, my friends, saying “The science is settled”??????

    PS. I love this nugget:

    As an open letter from 255 NAS members noted in the May 2010 Science magazine, no research results have produced any evidence that challenges the overall scientific understanding of what is happening to our planet’s climate and why.

    Pielke of course produces peer reviewed science that CLEARLY falls outside this rubric! He writes:

    First, two excerpts separated by a few paragraphs illustrates an inconstant claim of the above individuals. They write

    “It is not our role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change. That is a policy matter and rightly must be left to our elected leaders in discussion with all Americans. But, as scientists, we have an obligation to evaluate, report, and explain the science behind climate change.”

    but then later state

    “We and our colleagues are prepared to assist you as you work to develop a rational and practical national policy to address this important issue.”

    My Comment

    It’s actually hard to find a more self-contradictory statement!

    Man… This is fun!

  42. TallBloke has posted the messages to and from Dr. Gavin Schmidt here:

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/gavin-schmidt-response-to-lisbon-invitation/

  43. Sonicfrog,

    You and Pielke Snr are clearly distorting. To the rational reader at least, the scientists are saying that they wish to assist the policy makers in making informed decisions about the science so that they can develop the appropriate policy. Policy makers cannot do that of they are not informed about the science– and right now there is a huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying. That knowledge gap needs to be bridged and that is where the scientists can help.

    And Pielke Snr should not cast stones, to my knowledge, he has tried several times to influence policy. Hmm, still no comments allowed on PielkeSnr’s blog….so no one can question or challenge his assertions and rhetoric.

    “…have concluded that human activity is changing the climate.”

    Yes, that part of the science is settled…read the recent scientific literature, also read Chapter 9 in AR4. And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet. Now if you wanted to argue exactly how much we have changes the climate and how much more we are likely to change it in the future, then you might have had a point. Too late now.

    “Man… This is fun!”
    I wish that I could say playing whack-a-mole against contrarian spin and distortion and quote mining is fun, it is not. And just so that you know, this is not a game Frog…sad that you seem to think it is.

    Now I best be off before Judith permits one or more of her rabid followers make veiled threats again, besides no use trying to argue ideology using facts and reason.

    • MapleLeaf, the problem is that there is not a “huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying.” What there is is a huge debate and a lot of uncertainty. Your so-called “facts and reason” are in fact also an ideological position. The weight of evidence is in the eye of the beholder. I look at the same evidence you do and come to an opposite conclusion. Facts and reason are like that.

    • Mapleleaf –
      Your assumption of rationality is misplaced. There are no rational humans – including you.

      That letter was a naked attempt at intrusion into policy the making process under the guise of benevolent scientific leadership.

      As for Pielke’s site – to my knowledge, he’s never opened comments. So he can’t be accused of being partisan in that respect.

      Now if you wanted to argue exactly how much we have changes the climate and how much more we are likely to change it in the future, then you might have had a point.

      That is only one of the points – you seem to have missed the others.

    • “Policy makers cannot do that of they are not informed about the science”

      Yeah, right!

      “And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet.”

      Lindzen, for one, is on record as saying that adding CO2 is more likely to lead to warming than cooling – a position I happen to agree with.

      Who’s distorting and spinning now?

    • “…have concluded that human activity is changing the climate.”

      Yes, that part of the science is settled…read the recent scientific literature, also read Chapter 9 in AR4. And even Lindzen, Spencer and (FWIW) Curry would agree that adding CO2 will warm the planet.

      Saying humans are changing the climate and then blaminng CO2 for that change is false. The biggest changes in the climate from humans is from deforestation and human encroachment. (huge dams, river diversions for irrigation, etc.). Blaming CO2 as the only source of that change diverts attention from these other, far more serious, issues. Whether you meant to imply that or not, that’s the meaning of your post.

      No one even knows if “warming the planet” is even bad? That’s just an ASSUMPTION on the part of the alarmists. Summer not changing, no increases in heatwaves, not as cold winters, longer growing seasons looks quite good to me.

    • Well, yes, human activity is changing the climate. As a skeptic, I am 100% ready to accept it this as settled.

      Problem is, even if we had cold fusion in 1900 and never exceeded pe-industrial CO2 level, human activity would still be changing the climate. Such quasi-tautology is maybe true beyond doubt, but is also useless for the debate at hand.

      What is relevant is if CO2 coming from fossil fuels change the climate more than other human activities (urbanisation, agriculture, deforestation, hydrological engineering), more than incontrolable natural events that are happening or are expected to happen in the time frame considered for CO2 policies, and even more important, if the expected consequences from CO2 induced climate change are expected to be worst than the policies proposed.

      I hope that nobody is saying that those questions are settled, but, as a skeptic, I go much further than not settled: I think that the uncertainty around those questions is so high that the only policies defendable are the no-regret one, the one that could be defended without even raising CO2 issue. in fact, at this stage, imho, climatology is an interesting science, but is almost useless in the context of policy-making….except as way to shape public opinion…

      • well, useless is wrong: I agree that CO2 has been identified as a possible problem. What is lacking is “easy”solution which would allow the use of the precautionary principle (without easy solution, precautionary principle is a terrible trap), so imho the logical conclusion is no-regret policies and further study – certainly not guilt-relieving policies and economic redistribution, which seems to be the current approach…

    • Let’s look at the exact wording of the 12 scientists:

      “It is not our role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change. That is a policy matter and rightly must be left to our elected leaders in discussion with all Americans. But, as scientists, we have an obligation to evaluate, report, and explain the science behind climate change.”

      “You and Pielke Snr are clearly distorting

      Are we???? If it is not their role as scientists to determine how to deal with problems like climate change, then why are they trying to get involved? I mean, do the 12 scientists on the list think most of the Republicans haven’t already heard and seen the evidence that they would present???? They are “Deniers” after all! What, suddenly they are going to listen? A few of those on the list have, MANY TIMES already testified to Congress and the Senate about the urgency of the problem, and that action must be taken NOW!!!

      And here is the second part of the statement:

      “We and our colleagues are prepared to assist you as you work to develop a rational and practical national policy to address this important issue.”

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they shouldn’t participate in the debate and in the formulation of policy. That is their call, not mine. I simply think it’s stupid and unconvincing to pretend that they are not trying to have policy shaped to combat climate change.

      PS. And yes, it IS fun to watch people make the same mistakes, including labeling people as “deniers” and “contrarians”, as it only make you look a bit petty and confrontational.

      PS. And Pielke Snr should not cast stones, to my knowledge, he has tried several times to influence policy.

      To my knowledge, he has never claimed NOT to have done so, whereas, the group of 12 do. So, your stone just missed the mark… badly.

    • huge gap between the Republican’s ideological and partisan impression of climate science and what the scientific literature and data/observations are actually saying.

      The real problem is almost the exact opposite of what you describe. The said ‘science’ is politically funded, and thus ideological and partisan to start out with. Being state-funded, it is inherently biased towards producing conclusions favouring state control.
      It would require an angelic conpiracy of immense proportions for this to not be the case.

  44. Well, if someone says something to the effect of, “The only remaining source of conflict concerns what to do about emissions, not the science”, one might be forgiven for construing that as, “there is nothing in the science left to discuss”, and it doesn’t require a great leap from there to, “the science is settled”.

  45. Tallbloke, you got some ‘splaining to do, based on the email response from Gavin that you posted at your site.

    But like I said earlier, Fred ought to have gotten this straight from the horse’s mouth. Like Ronald Reagan said, Trust, but verify. :)

    • It seems to me that Gavin’s response is a far better example of conflict resolution than the workshop proposed or managed to accomplish.

      Personally, I’d much rather have him working on solving more climate related questions that finding his old emails.

  46. As a lifelong Democrat, it is with deep regret that I conclude that this endless debate over CO2-induced global warming will not be resolved unless the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives has the courage to close agencies (NAS, EPA, NASA, DOE) that ignored their mandate and became “agents of the apparatus.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparatchik

    Constitutional government cannot survive if government agencies are allowed to participate in hiding or manipulating experimental data.

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

  47. For reference, my full email response was as follows:

    Thanks for the invitation. However, I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.

    You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

    (The last line may not have been seen by ‘tallbloke’). I am at a complete loss to see how this email could be interpreted as implying that ‘the science was settled and there was nothing to discuss’.

    The game of telephone (or ‘chinese whispers’ in the UK) is lots of fun at parties, but it’s a dumb game to be playing in the politicised sandpit of the climate change ‘debate’.

    • Spin, Spin Spin. Gavin spins the wheels. Lets see.

      None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community

      code talk for “the science is settled”

      than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

      code talk for “the science is settled”

      Want to to try and explain yourself again Gavin?

      • “code talk”

        Ah! Gavin is actually speaking in a secret code understood by you! Naturally when Gavin’s claims about what he said contradict your understanding of his “code” then Gavin is the one putting a “spin” on things.

      • His claim that “irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.” applies to AGW means skeptic questions or challenges to make controversy is “irrelevant”. Do you know of any other science which proclaims that controversy and skepticism is “irrelevant”? People say that only when they don’t want their faith under a microscope. Same as “settled”.

      • What skepticism and controversy would that be then? The kind that claims that there is no information content in climate proxies and in the next breath thata thousands of studies show the MWP was warmer than current temps? The kind that claims there’s been no warming since 1998 and simultaneously that the temperature data is fraudulent? The kind that claims that GCMs are rubbish and that all the recent warming has been due to the sun? The kind that believes utter nonsense like that the sun is made out of iron, volcanoes emit more C02 than humans, there is no greenhouse effect, that the ocean is cooling, sea-level isn’t rising, and that legitimate papers that contradict their wild claims actually support them? The kind that has the vast majority of scientists contributing to the literature in the field from every corner of the globe shaking their head in disbelief? That?

        Sorry, but if that’s ‘skepticism’ and ‘controversy’ I’d hate to see what hacks throwing mud against the wall would look like. Reputable scientists are as right not to dignify such silliness with responses no less than biologists are right not to debate creationists. The ‘skepticism’ in question is rooted in belief, rather than evidence, and therefore scientific responses are incommensurate.

        Note that this does not mean that evolutionary biology is ‘settled science’ whatever that’s supposed to mean. Very far far from it. Just that the questions of the real truth seekers do not align closely with the closely held hopes of ideologues (or desires of moneyed special interests for that matter)

      • No, this kind of challenge to AGW:

        https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/publications/2008GL037022_all.pdf

        Scientific theories rise or fall on discriminatory evidence. That is, what is happening must have only one explanation which fits the theory. AGW is not the only possible mechanism for the changes we see (which are no different than changes in the past before our use of FF). Gaven et al are claiming that this warm tend can ONLY be explained because of our emissions of CO2. They are unwilling to look at any natural alternatives because the IPCC is clear, a priori the IPCC has proclaimed that 90% of the temperature increase is because of our CO2 emissions. That’s where the “settled” come from and ingrained in their thinking.

      • “The kind that believes utter nonsense like …that legitimate papers that contradict their wild claims actually support them?”

        Do share with us the way in which this paper/letter undermines the mainstream understanding of anthropogenic forcing on the climate jrwakefield. Surely that petard of yours can be hoisted the more vertical?

    • Thank you for posting this.
      For those many of us watching this play out, the real issue is whether or not CO2 is going to cause a climate catastrophe.
      There seems to be a wide range of diverse opinions on this from scientists.
      – Do you see this question from your perspective?
      -Do you see it as a valid scientific question?
      -Are you satisfied that all your community is trying to do is to prove if humans influence climate by way of CO2?

    • Gavin, quoting his own email:
      None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are *perceived* in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community…
      …irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.

      Note esp the scare-quotes – ‘conflicts’, ‘controversies’.
      So Gavin doesn’t understand how this is read as him saying there is a consensus, that science is settled on the ‘A’ in (C)AGW ??

      This is such garbled communique from ‘Gavin’, I cannot but wonder: was that really RC’s Gavin Schmidt, or just some trolling prankster? Note too his later use of the word “politicised” (ie British spelling).

    • Here, dear reader, you see what happens when one engages in the fallacy of begging the question.

      Misunderstandings abound.

  48. I have to admit I was quite surprised by Fred’ comment anyway.. and other comments about ‘cranks’ – what were the rules again..

    Neither were of any great help with respect to ‘reconciliation.

  49. Well, if there is one thing that is clear in climate science, its that numbers and meanings of words can always be adjusted after the fact to obtain the desired result.

    Andrew

  50. Based on what I have read here, the meeting was finally closer to what Gavin hoped it to be than what the original invitation led to expect.

    Another point is that Gavin’s statement “rather they are proxy arguments for political positions” is in many cases true, but it should not be taken to imply that arguments made on this basis would be of little value. In reality opinions presented by people are often much more valuable and justified than the arguments they choose to present in their support. In particular non-scientists are often much more capable in forming general views and conclusions than in analyzing systematically the factors affecting these views.

    This statement has in my thinking a strong connection to the analysis of Jerome van der Sluijts on the limitations of the linear model of interaction between science and society.

    • That is a very perceptive comment. Because this sort of meeting hadn’t been attempted before, the organisers allowed some flexibility in the lines of discussion, and this was fruitful as the tables tended to become filled with people interested in specific aspects; science, standards, policy etc. This created an air of covering broad ground, and as a first ‘getting to know you’ kind of meeting, it was successful.

      • One reason a meeting such as this one hasn’t been attempted before is that its fundamental premise is one of argumentum ad temperantiam. It is indeed curious to see how many posters here themselves fall victim to this logical fallacy.

        That this is the case is reflected in the incessant chatter that has followed on the heels of Pearce’s attribution to Gavin of the line that “the science is settled”. From this meme arises the notion that all science is always wrong, and that somehow the truth lies between a consensus position and a maverick one.

        This is rarely the case.

        Oh, there are many scientific ideas that are incomplete, or that might shift in understanding from a current position, but these facts in no way can be taken to mean that there is any validity in every opposing theory, or to mean that the basic fundamentals of a field are not well understand for all practicable purposes.

        That these simple facts seem to fly over the heads of so many here illustrates the high level of scientific illiteracy of many on this blog.

    • steven mosher

      Here is a run down on the meeting.

      DAY ONE:
      1.self introductions took half the day.
      2. Introduction to non violent communication.
      DAY TWO.
      Practice sessions with 5 tables of people. We selected 2 topics to discuss
      amongst ourselves and report back to the group.
      My table picked these topics at random from a long list generated
      by the whole group
      A. Data Standards and Transparency.
      B. Natural variability.

      Day 3. First half. The tables tried to prepare one paragraph that they thought
      could be a common ground of sorts. These statements were read to the group as a whole, debate ensued. Nice and civil. No “agreed” upon statements were issued. one of the things people had issues with was
      “agreed upon statements” like scientists signing letters saying
      “we all agree to this”

      Gavin could actually have picked a policy issue to discuss. would have been interesting

      • Gavin could actually have picked a policy issue to discuss. would have been interesting

        Perhaps, but not necessarily something he’d consider to be good use of his time.

        There seems to be some sense that Gavin should’ve felt *obligated* to attend the conference. Those who agreed to go seem to think that the conference was Terribly Important … and I do have to wonder if this feeling on tallbloke’s part was a contributing factor to his misinterpreting Gavin’s e-mail explaining why he didn’t feel the conference would be a good use of his time.

      • As I understand Gavin’s response, it appears the invitation he received actually included a restriction against policy discussions.

      • Not at all. The organizing committee were all social scientists.

      • Judith, the invite letter clearly stated;
        “We would try to stay off the policy issues”.

        That is the point Gavin specifically disagreed with and he said so with extreme clarity.

      • That is an unfortunate mis communication; the policy process (specifically the decision-analytic framework and decision making under uncertainty) was a big topic of discussion (which is a central topic in post normal science); specific policy solutions (e.g. carbon sequestration, whatever) were not. The organizers did not do a great job of framing the invitation, and the workshop evolved in a different way from the invitations that were made. The workshop should have been framed as challenges and reconciliation at the science-policy interface, which is what the organizers are expert in.

      • Gavin’s reply should then have alerted them to this issue.

        He then gave them an unambiguous pointer to where he thought productive discussion lay;

        “You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’. ” – Gavin Schmidt.

      • “You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’. ”

        It’s beyond me how Gavin could have been so naive as to imagine that statement could not possibly be misconstrued as suggesting that there’s nothing left to discuss in the science.

      • Yes, Gavin should fine-tune his mind-reading skills particualrly in relation to those who may mis-represent or mis-understand anything and everything he says.

        Given that he is such a nice patient guy who does an enormous amount of outreach work (gratis, mind you), why are some so keen to give him a good kicking on the flimsiest of pretexts?????

      • Taxpayers resent your ‘gratis’. And the partisanship is illegal.
        ========

      • Thanks for your obscure response kim.

      • My specialty. Often, the message only gets through encoded.
        =============

      • I like to think of myself as being a nice guy, who has the interests and well-being of others at heart.
        As, I’m sure, do you.
        As, I’m sure, does Gavin.
        But how’s that relevant to this discussion?

      • I meant to add: something about ‘stand’, ‘heat’ and ‘kitchen’ – I forget how it goes exactly.

      • You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.”
        > It’s beyond me how Gavin could have been so naive as to imagine that statement could not possibly be misconstrued as suggesting that there’s nothing left to discuss in the science.

        I imagine he’s not naive at all.
        And nor was he misconstrued – ie does think the CAGW argument for political action is settled, and is disinclined to discuss that with dissenters. He is just angry at being correctly reported on this, so takes refuge in setting fire to the strawman that had him claiming every last detail of CAGW science is settled.

      • I agree, I’m surprised they didn’t try to engage Gavin in some sort of dialogue.

      • Dikran Marsupial

        Oh, the delicious irony! ;o)

      • Judith,
        I think that, what happened is symptomatic of the present situation. People who know little about the science want to lead the discussion to science instead of being happy to discuss on issues they understand as well as scientists.

        We are seeing that on your blogs all the time.

      • Or yet another example of social scientists blundering into the physical sciences and making a right cock-up of it.

      • Pekka,

        Yes, quite a few people come here with quite a few misconceptions.
        For example, who mistakenly think that the concept of ‘back-radiation’ somehow violates the 2nd law, or who confuse absorption and emission with absorptivity and emissivity or heat-content with temperature, and not necessarily the same individuals.
        Some of these people learn something when these things are pointed out to them – unfortunately some don’t, and just continue to make a lot of noise.
        The thing is, these are not restricted to just one side of the debate.

  51. I’ve been struggling with this post for a good portion of the day. My understanding was that the workshop in Lisbon was intended as a meet and greet and to see if a “low key” meeting between those who support the IPCC consensus and those who are Skeptical of the IPCC consensus could have a civil exchange in an open forum.

    Pretty simple stuff, can we agree to be civil.

    Hans von Storch, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and James Risbey of CSIRO made the effort to attend but the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt.

    Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.

    This begs a few questions:
    • Is there anyone left who supports the IPCC consensus?
    • Is the IPCC and Climate Science community so inbred that they don’t care?
    • Was the planning for the meeting staged in a way that encouraged lopsided attendance?
    • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

    I stated long ago, the only way to fix this situation is to admit to every citizen in the world that the IPCC and the UNFCC have miserably failed and, in the face of it, they are being disbanded until future notice.

    When one considers, this is the first time in human history that all countries have focused on a single issue we all share. The IPCC and UNFCC failure is this regard is an abomination. They need to be disbanded, countries need a “time-out” and then need to gather again to see if they can get it right the next time.

    Probability of second chance success is about 50% but it beats what we’ve got.

    These issues are simply to immense and potentially beneficial to be wasted on fools. Enough is enough!

    • I’m fairly sure those organizations who are using the Tobacco Strategy to delay action would be more than pleased with your suggestion!

      I would also note that the main failure of the IPCC and UNFCC is due to the conflicts caused by the inability for countries to agree on what to do about emissions.

      • No. The IPCC failed to make its case because it didn’t have one. Every government with any sense realized that cutting CO2 emissions was a death sentence for their economies. That’s why they have paid lip service to the AGW community. The last Canadian Liberal government gave great fanfare signing Kyoto, and then did absolutely NOTHING about it. Why? Because they did not want to distrupt the economy.

        Now we have stupid governments, like the Liberals here in Ontario, who think they are doing the ‘right thing’ attempting to curb emissions with the Green Energy Act, erecting windturbines and solar panels all over the place with the direct consequences of killing the economy, driving up electricity prices to unaffordable levels, and not one molecule of CO2 has been reduced. Falures abound in AGW.

      • Again, you point to issues with the approach to solving the issue of emissions.

        The IPCC did indeed make their point, according to virtually every national science council.

      • Doesn’t mean they are right, just good a con job.

      • Good post.

        “Cutting CO2 emissions” sounds great.

        But there have been no actionable proposals to accomplish this that would even theoretically result in any measurable change in global temperature, even when using the 2xCO2 climate sensitivity estimates of the models cited by IPCC.

        Certainly direct or indirect carbon taxes will have no impact on our climate – no tax ever did.

        A politician’s pledge to hold AGW to “2 degrees C maximum” by reducing CO2 emissions is also not an actionable proposal, but simply an absurd statement, because it is neither actionable nor realizable.

        The dilemma here is: we are not able to change our climate at will, no matter what we do.

        So we had better get ready to adapt to anything nature is going to throw at us rather than fretting about our GHG emissions.

        At the same time we should reduce waste, eliminate true pollution, increase energy efficiency, decrease our dependence on imported fossil fuels, etc. – because these all make sense, and can be achieved through “actionable” proposals.

        Max

    • Nice post, AGREED!

    • I agree, John. Enough is enough.

      It is time for Congress to stop funding only one side of the debate.

    • A “time-out”would be so beneficial from my perspective and they are using my tax dollars to pay for this foolishness.

      For instance:
      • why do we need 40+ climate models when the point is to create one good one for the benefit of the world?
      • why isn’t the programming done by competent programmers who know the benefit of modular programming?
      • what current structure needs to be changed so we don’t end up with the lame results?
      • what segments of the climate system need to be prioritized for study and what is the best way to approach the research in an international way?
      • what discipline of Science does Climate Science relate to and what Scientific body is oversight to the Peer Review process; Standards?

      The list of needed changes is nearly endless — add some points from your perspective

      • • why isn’t the programming done by competent programmers who know the benefit of modular programming?

        Likely the costs, it would drive up the costs to build the models. But it certainly is a major issue in my view. It would be benificial if the source code was made public. They would likely get FREE debugging from the public (Microsoft has used that approach for decades to debug their code) .

        I can only imagine how much spaghetti code there is. It’s so easy to happen when changes happen over a long period of time, and new code is added, but you have to keep old code in place for fear of making something stop working. It’s an unfortunate consequence of changes to logic and added features and little time to go back and do it from scratch. But at some point the code gets unreadable, and convoluted, and a rewrite is required to move ahead. Something as complex as climate must be a nightmare to write and debug, and frustrating when it doesn’t work as it should.

      • …It would be beneficial if the source code was made public.

        Yes indeed. They’re publicly funded, hence they’re public property. So what excuse couldthere be for continuing to hide them?

      • Oops – comment above refers to the source code for climate models.

      • Another argument from ignorance. The source code for many models is freely available, for example the Community Climate Earth System Model and the GISS model. Google is your friend.

      • Is that code debugged by interested people outside the climate community?

      • Point taken, thanks. But only most ?
        And view from easterbrook not all that rosy.

  52. though I am inclined to think it was a rather an attempt at a rather lame joke, on paraphrased on Fred’s part rather than any great fault by Tallbloke… ie by the Chatham House rules should anything have been attributed to anybody

    • Hi Barry,
      My take on the results from Miller which were confirmed by Galaev in 2003 is that they were measuring something real. What it is, we don’t know. Please don’t try to characterize me as a ‘crank’, I’m a qualified engineer with a degree in the history and philosophy of science.

      Einstein said this of Miller’s experiment:
      “My opinion about Miller’s experiments is the following. … Should the positive result be confirmed, then the special theory of relativity and with it the general theory of relativity, in its current form, would be invalid. Experimentum summus judex. Only the equivalence of inertia and gravitation would remain, however, they would have to lead to a significantly different theory.”

      — Albert Einstein, in a letter to Edwin E. Slosson, July 1925

      Given that our best instrumentation confirms general and special relativity, we are left with the puzzle of what Miller and Galaev were measuring. I simply post about interesting puzzles and don’t worry overmuch about how they contradict each other. It’s all good stuff we can learn from, and any of these theories may be revived by some unexpected experimental result.
      http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/confirmation-of-transmissive-medium-pervading-space/

    • Since Gavin did not attend, the rules do not apply. That’s the way I see it at least.

      Gavin was invited to an event exploring the possibility of civil discourse. Gavin’s refusal was a refusal to attempt to be civil. As you can read from Gavin’s response, it was clearly “The science is settled. I can’t learn anything from them. I’m not coming unless we talk about policy.” This is clearly a cop-out. Gavin knows full well the science is unsettled and that they have been losing the climate debate in the peer-reviewed literature.

      • What planet are you from?
        Name your three best examples of the mainstream climate consensus (eg IPCC) losing in the peer-reviewed literature.

  53. • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

    How do you bridge a divide with attendees like Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing), or Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real), etc etc?

    Some things just aren’t possible.

    • “Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing)”

      And that Venus’s temperature is a actually result of atmospheric pressure rather than the greenhouse effect.

    • “Some things just aren’t possible.”

      All things are possible, its Science ; )

      My point was in relation to the simple idea of agreeing to a civil dialogue as stated.

      Assuming there are a number of Scientists who are willing to openly support the IPCC consensus in public (which I doubt but I could be wrong), have they openly demonstrated their unwillingness to resolve a scientific debate? If yes, why would any Scientist in their right mind choose that path?

      Individuals are routinely dismissed by the scientific community but the community rarely ducks a scientific debate!

    • steven mosher

      Very simply. I have in the past called tallbloke a ‘sun nut’, Nostradamus, etc.

      When we met I Found some way we could find common ground.
      First was an offer by me to stop calling him names.
      Second was an offer by me to help him express his ideas in graphics.

      When It came to his “theories” I repeated by desire to see his data
      and his methods. And I suggested that he lay out clear grounds for falsifying his ideas. he agreed that these were reasonable requests.

      Very easy to find common ground.

      • When I met Mosh I immediately liked his depth of knowledge on technical subjects and his willingness to listen. He still makes stuff up sometimes (like saying alternative hypotheses got discussed at Lisbon), but we are on a much better footing than we were before.

        I’m working on the quantification Mosh. Looking good. ;)

      • steven mosher

        alternative hypothesis were discussed, you took the time to explain your stuff to me. Maybe I mispoke and you took me to mean at group level. We also ( at my table) discussed natural variability..

        I think many people dont get that these discussions were just a form of TRAINING in conflict resolution and not INTENDED to actually answer anything or resolve any conflict.

        The goal As I saw it was to instruct people in Non violent communication.

        It worked. I did not strangle the instructor in non violent communication and I left you-know-who alone

      • Ah, ok, with you now. Yes I meant in the formal sessions, and yes, we did discuss natural variability there. It’s just that I don’t regard natural variability as an ‘alternative hypothesis’ but an obvious reality which should be fully integrated into models anyway.

      • steven mosher

        OMG And here after listing to dhog, the arbitor of rationality, I thought you were irrational. go figure.

      • Heh,
        Dhog is such a fun guy once you get to know him. Or so I’ve heard.

      • Tallbloke’s statement about natural variability is no different than the position of mainstream science, so I’ll concede his request is rational.

        What’s not rational is his implication that natural variability is “an alternative hypothesis”. It’s an observation, and the observed range of natural variation in response to (say) solar cycles are incorporated into modern climate models.

        Natural variation due to redistribution of heat through mechanisms such as ENSO show up as emergent properties of at least some of the models (GISS Model E, for instance).

        So, exactly what is tallbloke suggesting that isn’t part of the mainstream science that’s being done?

        Now, if he’s suggesting that natural variability is an “obvious reality” as in “all observed warming is due to natural variability, and rising levels of CO2 have nothing to do with it”, that’s *not* rational, and it’s also something that Mosher knows to be false.

      • What’s not rational is his implication that natural variability is “an alternative hypothesis”

        No. That’s what Mosh implied not me.

        “Now, if he’s suggesting that natural variability is an “obvious reality” as in “all observed warming is due to natural variability, and rising levels of CO2 have nothing to do with it”, that’s *not* rational”

        No, I’m not suggesting that either. Or at least, not the natral variability you have in mind. I concede that the error bands are so wide and uncertainty so great that any of several factors could be predominant, including co2, although for many reasons I doubt that.

        My rationality is that since natural variation before man set fire to coal was able to swing temperature up and down a lot, it probably still can.

    • Sorry, dhogaza, you missed the point.

      The question was: “Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?”

      I believe the facts show that the answer is “NO”.

      And I believe that their behavior shows that the reason for this is that they truly believe “the science is settled” (even though they now waffle around making such a statement, because it is so silly).

      Or could it be that they are, in fact, not really so sure that “the science is settled” and afraid this might be exposed in the process of “fixing the divide”?

      Do you have any real ideas why the so-called “mainstream” group do not want to try some sort of reconciliation with those that are rationally skeptical of their position?

      If so, let’s hear them.

      Max

      • Do you have any real ideas why the so-called “mainstream” group do not want to try some sort of reconciliation with those that are rationally skeptical of their position?

        I see no evidence that folks like Tallbloke or Goddard are rational. See the problem?

        Now, if you want to research an example of *real* reconciliation of rational skepticism with mainstream science, spend some time googling for information on the UAH vs. RSS satellite temperature reconstruction fight that went on about 10 years ago.

        Remember, when UAH said their reconstruction showed that there was no warming and that the surface station record was wrong, while RSS, having found errors in the UAH analysis, put forward their own reconstruction showing broad agreement with the surface station record?

        There was a conference to hash it out, near the beginning of W’s administration, among other things.

        And, at the end, there was reconciliation in regard to Christy and Spencer’s errors. When a five-person NAS committee was formed to investigate the various temperature records, Christy, on the committee, signed on to the finding that the surface station record was broadly as accurate as the satellite reconstructions.

        Now, I think everyone knows that Christy and Spencer haven’t changed their *political* opinions regarding policy as a result of this reconciliation of temperature records. Nor have they dropped their non-mainstream views regarding things like negative feedbacks and other stuff that will save us from the mainstream view that climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is about 3C.

        Anyway, treat yourself to a history lesson. You’ll learn something about what “reconciliation” means to scientists …

        It’s not about throwing out everything known about physics and agreeing that the sun’s made of iron (for instance), just to be nice.

      • dhogaza

        Afraid you have not answered the question that was raised, but only skirted around it.

        The fact that Christy/Spencer did accept the criticism of the UAH record (errors resulting from satellite drift) showed that they were, indeed, ready for “reconciliation” on this topic (possibly after some nudging). The satellite/surface records did get a bit closer to one another after UAH made the corrections, but the satellite record still shows a slower rate of warming than the surface record, after this correction was made (despite IPCC claims to the contrary). This despite the fact that GH warming in the troposphere should be greater than at the surface.

        Now to the “other side”. There have been many studies showing that there has been a spurious warming signal in the surface record, especially in the latter part of the 20th century, due to the UHI effect and other factors. Yet the defenders of the surface record are not looking toward solving this problem or any sort of “reconciliation”. Instead they simply deny that it exists and make token adjustments which have no real impact.

        That’s the “history lesson”.

        Now to the question that was raised.

        Can you answer it?

        Max

      • The question was: “Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?”

        Define “the divide”. As far as I can tell the attendees at Lisbon didn’t even get that far.

      • Apparently there is about to be a civil war between combative ice scientists. Without a reconciliation, they’re going to start throwing snowballs at one another.

      • Since I proposed the statement above I’ll explain what I meant by the following:

        Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.

        This begs a few questions:
        • Is there anyone left who supports the IPCC consensus?
        • Is the IPCC and Climate Science community so inbred that they don’t care?
        • Was the planning for the meeting staged in a way that encouraged lopsided attendance?
        • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        “Personally, I could care less about Gavin Schmidt but to the point, the supporters of IPCC consensus didn’t show.”

        Actually, I do care if Dr. Schmidt is not treated in a respectful way but my comment was intended to allude to a bigger issue — why wasn’t there a bigger attendance from those who support the IPCC consensus.

        • Do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        The object is understanding and Scientists rarely have issues with dialogue related to scientific principals and conclusions. The divide in Climate Science is the inability to openly address the principals in relation to the conclusions. Unfortunately, this divide has been a tenant of the debate since Jones basically said, he refuses
        to give the data to people because they will just find something wrong with it.

        This fundamental divide is in fact unscientific and largely unsupportable. The inability to address this and the foolish name calling on the blogs and in the news separates those who support from those who are skeptical about the “settled science”.

        So, I’ll ask again, do the supporters of the IPCC consensus want to fix the divide?

        IMO, the answer is No but I’d love to know what they specifically mean by “settled science”.

      • note: I should have included a h/t to Dr. Curry who has devoting an extraordinary effort to turn this into a rational discussion. I’m very disappointed Lisbon wasn’t a resounding success!

      • note: I’m also very disappointed with my spelling, grammar, and proofing today.

    • “Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real)”

      Why don’t you read his blog again – properly this time?
      Or do you actually enjoy the thrill of jumping to the wrong conclusions after having read one or two lines?

      • Tallbloke also loves Miles Mathis, who has “proved” that in certain circumstances, pi = 4 …

        Where do you think I’m getting this stuff, if not from his blog?

      • You can’t be getting much sleep

      • I bought Miles’ book, it’s a blast! :)

        Perhaps Dhogaza needs to realize that it’s possible for a philosopher of science to derive interest and enjoyment from someones work without being committed to all its propositions.

      • Which suggests you’re committed to *some* of its propositions, which in itself is enough to put you in the science crank category.

        Not to mention various other things you subscribe too, some of which another poster kindly listed some posts back …

      • Fine, you stay busy with your closed mind categorisation of people and I’ll get on with my stuff. Some people do it, others talk about it.

      • He’s crazy. The true value of pi is the ice cream.

      • Some people do it, some see right through it
        Some wear pi-jamas, if only they knew it.

        -zappa-

      • Sorry. No. You’re plain wrong. The true value of pi is in the cherries therein!

      • My Daddy always asked the waitress what color the pi was.
        ========================

      • Latimer Alder

        Would it be quicker for you just to publish the (rather short) list of things that you do actually approve of?

        Then we can be sure not to mention anything else that may upset you while you are making one of your occasional visits to this blog to point out the errors of our ways.

        We seem to have manged perfectly well without an authorised list of topics and views so far, but maybe that’s just our innate liberalism and curiosity showing through.

      • Tallbloke rides a Matchless. Nobody who does that can be a bad guy. I’m a Harley guy myself but I used to race a Matchless about 45 years ago. Marvelous old machine!

      • Excellent, which model did you race? I have some great pictures of a G50 that came to Montlhery a few years back. Made your chest shudder with the noise as it flew past the fencing 5 feet away.

      • It was a G80 as I recall. It was heavily stripped down for desert racing – anything that could fall off was removed (except me). Being a 4-stroke it had a very low carbon footprint and while it would shake the earth it did very little damage to the climate (tortured attempt to remain on topic!). Here’s a picture of Malcolm Smith on a similar one http://www.motohistory.net/images/MalcolmonMatchless.jpg

        Back to Fred – do you know if he ever saw a copy of the original post you got a copy of? Is it likely he used your quip as the basis of his depiction of events?

        I’m curious to see, not that it matters a rip, if Gavin shows up in the fjords of Norway. I’m also curious why these various clan gatherings are not held in places where climate is considered a serious problem: The Kingdom of Tonga, Myanmar, Seychelles, Maldives… All good examples of what is at stake if we spend trillions the wrong way.

      • Nice photo!
        Here’s mine
        http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/image_117.jpg
        The G80
        80 mph
        80 mpg

      • This is the first I’ve heard of Miles Mathis. I have no idea whether Tallbloke subscribes to any of his mathematical ideas. The whole thing is a side issue in any case.

        But I will say that I think Mr. Mathis ought to stick to painting. Googling discloses him to be a young man and a decent artist — as well as a native of Texas. I’m not saying any of these facts is connected to his views on mathematics. But when I think of the state most often associated with deficiencies in education…

    • steven mosher

      Actually brdiging a divide with Steven is also easy.

      If you ask around you will see that Steven and I have fought on WUWT.
      every time he posted.

      What did steve talk about at the conference?

      The common ground. He talked about his green lifestyle and how he thought that both sides could find some common ground there.

      As to science?? On the last day he asked a question that was science related.

      It was easy to find common ground with Steven. he talked about his work as a programmer. He’s working on GPU code, so we chatted about programming 3D ( I started in 3D back in 1985 and shipped the first 3D graphics board for the PC) We also chatted about his days in The valley when he worked at racer graphics.

      So finding common ground was easy.

      extending that common ground to something more substantial? I’m not sure either way.

      Heck even you and I could find common ground, we both believe in AGW.
      You’d think that was a start

      • The common ground. He talked about his green lifestyle and how he thought that both sides could find some common ground there.

        As to science?? On the last day he asked a question that was science related.

        Doesn’t sound like a particularly efficient way to make progress on figuring out how to make progress on settling the debate on climate *science*, on bridging the divide regarding the *science*, which was the supposed goal of the conference.

      • It was stated from the start that it was likely we would have ‘talks about talks’ rather than solve substantive issues. In a three-legged race, you have to practice walking before you can run.

        The conference was a success on many fronts and I don’t feel time was wasted. Those who weren’t there can make their own judgements if they wish, but should recognise they are seeing the event filtered through a glass darkly by the milieu in which they are embedded.

      • the debate on climate *science*, on bridging the divide regarding the *science*

        This makes it sound like the *science* is some disinterested, sincere and honest process, rather than the politically-funded and hence politically motivated activity that it largely is, riddled with deception, secrecy and dirty tricks, as clearly showed by Climategate – which, far from drawing criticism from the climate establishment, has elicited only whitewash after whitewash from them.

    • How do you bridge a divide with attendees like Steven Goddard (who believes that it snows dry ice in antarctica therefore proving all textbooks on physical chemistry wrong, and that arctic sea ice volume is drastically increasing), or Tallbloke (who rejects the last 90-ish years of physics, starting with Einstein, and insists that the ether is real), etc etc?
      Some things just aren’t possible.

      Subtext : anyone who thinks CAGW is not settled science is a nutter/immature/etc, so we are justified in ignoring them. We need only talk to consensusing adults.

  54. Barry Woods – if you don’t attend the meeting, you are not covered by the Chatham House rules

    Dhogaza – conflict resolution is useful only when people have seemingly irreconcilable differences. Otherwise there is no need for “conflict resolution”. By not attending, Gavin has demonstrated that there really is a lot of need for conflict resolution, unless he or you or anybody else is actually capable to explain whose interests are better served by perpetrating the conflict any further. Those are the interests that have been given an advantage by Gavin refusing to go to Lisbon.

    • He has no irreconcilable differences with the scientists who do work on ice, climate sensitivity and temperature reconstructions. So why would he attend? Better to leave his seat at the table to a scientist who thinks they have irreconcilable differences with the scientists who do work on those three.

  55. Re : Gavin Schmidt, tallbloke, Pierce, Dr. Curry and all other contributors:
    Talk-shops seldom resolve anything.

    As the old Galileo said some 400 years ago: In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.

    Mind you, many start their reasoning with a wrong premise, and that equally applies to the ones at the top of the ladder as the NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, all the way down to the basement of science, where I usually find myself.
    Note to Dr. Schmidt in case he comes across this post:
    If you have no doubt that your science is correct, do not compromise!
    If you have even slightest doubt than ‘flexibility’ may do a bit less of a lasting damage to your carrier.

  56. I agree with what Gavin wrote, and esp his last paragraph seems important, and I thought that that would have been an important part of this meeting.

    His words have nothing to do with the egregious “science is settled” strawman.

    • Why does it not surpise me that you would consider skepticism of AGW to be “irrelevant.” You are just reenforcing that the “science is settled.”

  57. Correction : career.

  58. Correction to above: career.

  59. I posted this over at the Rabbett site in reference to a comment there:

    Regarding tallbloke’s credibility: take a look on his website for a plug for the book by Miles Mathis titles, “The Un-Unified Field and other problems. Why Einstein’s and String Theory’s quests for unification were doomed: the fields were already unified, and have been since 1687.”

    I admit that I have not read a single page of this book. I decided it was not worth the time after I clicked around on Mr. Mathis’ website where his home page has the article, “THE GREATEST STANDING ERRORS IN PHYSICS AND MATHEMATICS”.

    Intrigued, I scrolled down to see that Mr. Mathis has corrected the standard theories and explanations in the fields of:

    Relativity,
    Calculus,
    Quantum Physics,
    Electromagnetics,
    Gravity,
    QED and QCD,
    and Other Mistakes.

    I was particularly interested in seeing that the true value of pi is 4!

    Dr. Curry, if you happen to read this, would you mind explaining how anything that tallbloke has said or “brought to the table” is worth considering for reply.

    How would you respond if one of you Georgia Tech students was a proponent of someone who has discovered the true value of pi?

    Stu

    • I don’t make it a habit to judge people based on a book they mention on their website, particularly without knowing why they mentioned this book (note Tallbloke has a degree in the history and philosophy of science, so I imagine that he reads books about the history and philosophy of science.)

      • I would tend to agree with you if we’re talking about preferences of fiction to read. But, when somebody is making statements of a technical or scientific nature, especially when they are at odds with accepted understanding, then I would like to know if they are naive, ignorant, inquiring, playing devil’s advocate, are possibly the next Einstein.

        No, there is no direct reference on tallbloke’s website stating that he accepts that pi = 4. But, the following is his recommendation regarding Mathis’ book:

        “I did consider the hardback but as there is no index, and kindle e-books are searchable, I went the high tech route. My fiancee kindly downloaded it to the Kindle e-book reader I bought her for Christmas. Now I just have to prize it from her fingers long enough to read Mles’ (sic) highly entertaining and thought provoking material.

        The first edition of the paperback is on back-order from Amazon UK here.
        There are only two copies of the hardback left, an astute investment at £24.22 if you ask me.

        Most of the material is out there for free at milesmathis.com too, but I think Miles deserves a bit of our cash, for writing things like this:”

        So, I don’t see why Dr. Schmidt or any other credible scientist, engineer, or thinking person would waste their time to attend a conference that invited someone like that.

        I’m afraid that the science is settled: pi = 3.1415…..

      • I found Miles’ work on Bodes Law very interesting. From a philosophy of science perspective, I find it helps if you are able to suspend the inner chatter of the mind which agrees/disagrees with specific points and allow someone else’s unconventional thought develop its thesis across a broader spectrum of subjects within a framework. Sometimes you find a consistency arises which makes you more thoughtful before dismissing someone as a crank.

      • Case in point – I find Feynman’s bongos to be a large influence on why I enjoy reading his material. It makes if far more interesting to me to have abstractions interleaved with otherwise dry content. I have no interest in learning to play or to advocate bongos and Feynman’s fascination with them has not been on influence. I have to say the same about Romm and Tamino. Crazy talk, but you have to read it to try to understand the writer’s position.

      • Would you say the mechanisms of how gravity works is “settled”? There is a big difference between a mathematical fact and a theory.

      • I guess we’re close to seeing if Bode’s Law is actual science or just numerology based on the recent announcement of the Kepler observatory results.

        But, that does not give a pass to the totally erroneous proof that pi = 4. Or, much, if not all, of the other insights that are in the book.

        As to gravity, I’d say yes that the science of gravity is settled given sizes and masses not too near the extremes. Observation agrees with theory to well within experimental error. Predictions can be made that agree with experiment.

        So, does pi = 4 matter?

        Yes, it means that I don’t need to pay any attention to whatever else comes from that source. There is a very high likelihood that it is bogus. And, when one is seen trying to defend the bogus, …

      • Nullius in Verba

        I found myself intrigued enough to look it up. Not because I think there’s any serious possibility that pi is 4, but because I’m interested in examples of how reasoning can go wrong, and lead to alternative world views based on different assumptions. They can be enlightening about the assumptions we ourselves make in the ‘correct’ derivation.

        In fact, while there’s a lot of stuff in there that’s argued by analogy or handwaving, and which therefore isn’t useful, the pi=4 thing is based on a geometrical argument already known to mathematicians. Lebesgue spaces and p-norms are well known, and his construction effectively assumes an L^1 space leading to the taxicab geometry, rather than the more usual L^2 space that gives Euclidean geometry. He also seems to have problems with velocities being contained within a tangent space that doesn’t fit inside the space of the curved trajectory, which I would agree is a bit counter-intuitive.

        What he has done is to recognise some rather deep (and valid) mathematical questions about the way calculus and dynamics are derived, and apparently in the absence of anyone filling in the gaps for him, and without the appropriate background training in mathematical methods, has invented his own answers.

        I don’t propose that anyone take his answers seriously, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to be learned here. There’s a problem with the way he’s been taught, and glib dismissals fail to recognise and deal with the issues he has problems with. Was it just luck that we passed over the same gap in the explanation without stumbling? Can we learn anything about our own blindness to such crevasses by studying those that fall into them?

        And when it is a public policy issue on which we propose to force a solution on people who don’t agree, is it right that we steam-roll over their concerns in the firm conviction that their opinions don’t matter because *we* know we’re right?

      • No, science is not settled on anything. Wenn will dogmatists understand that?

        The only damage to science is dogma, not “cranks”. Cranks, even when being completely wrong, are not doing any damage.

      • Cranks only do damage if you are trying to do a “truth to power.” Get rid of the “truth to power” strategy and cranks become irrelevant, and skeptical arguments and uncertainty become important pieces of information in developing robust and resilient policies.

  60. Hey Stu,

    Has Tallbloke questioned the value of pi?

    If so, can you point me to the quotation?

    Thanks.

    Max

  61. My reaction to Tallbloke’s posting of Gavin’s email:

    It is not irrational to interpret that sentence in Gavin’s email as implying that the “science is settled.” But looking at the whole statement, it seems that Gavin is trying to figure out what this meeting is about, and why it would make any sense to go. I also found the original invitation to be somewhat strange, but I decided to go since I had been reading the papers of Ravetz, Funtowicz, van der Sluijs et al. and wanted to meet them. I guess i would have expected the Workshop organizers to write back and try to establish some sort of dialogue about this with Gavin, but apparently this did not happen.

    The main issue remains Fred Pearce attributing a “science is settled ” statement to Schmidt. Even if Pearce saw the email, and thought it appropriate to paraphrase it as “science is settled,” a journalist should know better, especially since that it is a highly politicized phrase.

    So, a tempest in a teapot. But it raises the broader issues of how the climate establishment reconciles the “science is NOT settled” with a consensus that is tied to a specific emissions target to avoid a 2C temperature increase. Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? If you are claiming it is sufficient, your statements about science being settled or not are ambiguous and misleading (don’t be surprised when people misinterpret them).

    If the science isn’t sufficiently settled (and it isn’t), this kind of decision analytic framework is exactly the wrong approach to be taking. Robustness and resilience are the appropriate decision analytic frameworks for the level and type of uncertainty that we have. Using these analytic frameworks would produce much more sensible polices and reduce the perceived necessity for fighting this particular battle with climate science as the proxy. Note this topic was the subject of my recent AGU talk. http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/17/agu-fall-meeting-part-ii/

    • You’re right. It was not irrational; it was quite rational. That’s why the irrationality defense usually fails.

    • It seems to me that it all depends on what is really meant by “science”, and also, what is actually meant by “settled”. . . . And then there is the question of what the real meaning of the word “is” is.

      • Yes, that’s an excellent suggestion – let’s have some definitions here.

      • As my old philosophy of mind tutor said:

        “The study of the philosophy of language is a bit like going to a good restaurant…. and eating the menu.”

      • On the other hand, in my doctoral thesis I formulated a new theory of scientific language, which I use to diagnose confusions in the climate debate. Debate, unlike climate, is a language intensive process.

      • Excuse my flippant parlour jokes David. It’s important, and the use of language forms to set terms of debate is a large part of the climate dispute.

      • Given your empty-minded defense of style against substance it is not surprising that you think form is all. As has been discussed, you find things “interesting” that are obviously completely bonkers. If cows were horses pigs would fly is the sort of thing that is not worth wasting time on (but as the thread on the Greenhouse Dragon shows, given the least encouragement the Black Knights of the Blogs can waste a lot of everyone’s time on stupidities)

      • Eli, how much do you know about the logic of complex issues? I have a textbook if you are interested: http://www.stemed.info/reports/Wojick_Issue_Analysis_txt.pdf The dragon issue is obviously complex, no matter who is right. I would love to see an issue tree of the discussion going on here, as we are now into posting 2 & 3. Of course all the prior stuff on radiative physics also fits in. It is a hell of an issue.

        Also, “stupidities” is not a counter argument.

      • Enough to know that reality is a sword that cuts through marshmallow logic.

      • Your joke has merit, Tallbloke. Analytical philosophy (my Ph.D. field) is based on what is called the “linguistic turn,” which is the idea that philosophical problems are conceptual confusions. What I found is that there are lots of conceptual confusions in the policy world, where I basically practice applied analytical philosophy. See http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html
        A philosopher making money! Imagine that.

      • steven mosher

        I think another part of the issue was posing the opposition as “merchants of doubt”. If the skeptics sell doubt, what do we sell?

        They are more like merchants of confusion

      • No Mosh,
        Some things we are sure are uncertain, and so are you.
        Other things we find interesting and speculate about.
        Yet other things we accept as well understood.

        It only looks like confusion as you leaf through posts waiting in the moderation queue. The conversational threads are reasonably coherent. Apart from the merchants of salt of course. But if you choose to single out the ‘unconventional’ views on either side you can make it all look pretty bad. So what’s your point?

      • What does that make of people like Sir Paul Nurse, Sir David King and many other scientists, not to mention non-scientists like Gore and Pachauri, whose very public and very blatantly wrong pronouncements on the science must be very toe-curlingly embarrassing to the cause?

        Aren’t they more like merchants of confusion?

        Why aren’t you distancing yourselves from them?

      • “If the skeptics sell doubt, what do we sell?”

        Global Warming, Mr. Holmes.

        Andrew

    • “If you are claiming it is sufficient, your statements about science being settled or not are ambiguous and misleading”

      Only for those willing to present it as misleading because it supports their argument.

      Firstly we have the problem that whenever any climate science makes a reference to denialists or the existence of bought-for opinion within the debate this interpreted broadly (by you and others) as applying to everyone expressing any contrary opinion.

      Secondly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses something with confidence in a particular context they’re attacked for failing to provide the level of detail and confidence associated with another confidence e.g. a scientist makes a statement which appears in the media but they’re also expected to somehow both speak clearly and capture the degree of precision found in a large scientific publication.

      Thirdly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses anything other than sure-fire certainty in any context they’re attacked for pushing policies dependent on something which lacks sure-fire certainty (where naturally “pushing policies” is yet another type of poorly supported attack)

      I see these as adding nothing to the debate.

      • Sharperoo: the problem that whenever any climate science makes a reference to denialists or the existence of bought-for opinion within the debate this interpreted broadly (by you and others) as applying to everyone expressing any contrary opinion.

        By far the biggest and and most obvious bought-for opinion is the ‘consensus’, paid for as it is by the state, the organisation that stands to benefit most from a widespread belief in CAGW.

      • “Secondly we have the problem that if a scientist expresses something with confidence in a particular context they’re attacked for failing to provide the level of detail and confidence associated with another confidence e.g. a scientist makes a statement which appears in the media but they’re also expected to somehow both speak clearly and capture the degree of precision found in a large scientific publication.”

        Yes, this is wrong.
        Just like when a scientist is pitted against someone who is well-versed in political debate, it’s not difficult to figure out who’s going to come off second-best.
        Like Lindzen vs Dessler: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Sh1B-rV60

    • > So, a tempest in a teapot.

      Who could have guessed?

    • “But it raises the broader issues of how the climate establishment reconciles the “science is NOT settled” with a consensus that is tied to a specific emissions target to avoid a 2C temperature increase. Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? ”

      Since no scientist in almost any field will ever say the science in the field is settled, we can now see you are arguing that we should never set policy based on science.

      Either we set policy on still improving science or we never set policy.

      You are being a bit too blatant with your goals here. Try again.

      • Try learning something about the policy process and decision making under uncertainty. Then come back and we can talk about it.

      • “Is the science settled “enough” to justify this emission target aimed at not exceeding this specific temperature increase? ”
        Its a great line. An excellent example of begging the question, especially the quote marks.

        You take doctor Schmidts almost tautological position that there is more to learn and turn it into more doubt fodder. But in a way, like everything since the November elections, in vain.

        The decision has been taken, there will be no substantive action on climate this congress. 4 years, 2 ppm per year so about 8ppm maneuver room has been removed.

        We are now leaving the era when small steps taken with limited pain would buy time and prepare so that if we needed to take bigger actions we had time and space to make them less painfully. Now we are becoming responsible for actions taken and actions not taken.

        The voices calling for delay on action have now assumed responsibility for those calls. We will now all sit and wait on the data as it comes in.

        Oh we will argue on the internet because, well because its what we all do, all of us climate nerds, pro and anti. We will shout, call each other names, point to papers, declare ourselves good people and cast aspersions on the other side never reflecting on the ironies therein.

        But we will wait and the data will continue to come in.

        And eventually decisions will have to be made.

        Its not 2001 anymore, our decisions matter now.

      • “Its not 2001 anymore”

        True, the winters are rapidly heading back to the 60’s

      • Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s while snowstorms dropped their own precipitation in different places up North, and was the Hudson Bay freezeover a month late back then as well?

      • Latimer Alder

        Point of order – there was a ginormous flood in Brisbane in 1974. Some say it was even worse than the recent one. So the answer to your first question

        ‘Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s?’.. is ‘yes’…assuming that you will allow the 60s to stretch as far as 1974.

        There were plenty of bad floods beforehand as well. In this case, Google is your friend. Brisbane has a history of bad floods. No especial reason to believe that recent events signify anything unsual.

        http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

      • The Wyvenhoe Dam was built when, and in response to what, exactly? Did the southern hemisphere experience such widespread extreme floods in the 1960s?
        A reminder; “the winters are rapidly heading back to the 60′s”. Thanks in advance.

      • Latimer Alder

        I have no idea.

        You asked a question. I supplied the answer. Which didn’t seem to be the one you wanted.

        As to your two new questions, I’m sure that you are dying to tell us all what the answers are. Perhaps you have done a comparative survey of all the Southern Hemisphere (big place !!) and the rate of flooding between the 1960s and now. And are just bursting to share it with us? No doubt it is just a preliminary to your magnum opus which covers the NH as well.

        Your quotation is without a source, so I have no idea of its relevance to anything. Just saying ‘a reminder’ is of no help to me. Please be more specific about what you are attempting to remind me of and why? It is certainly not a quotation I recognise or endorse. Telepathy may exist at The Grauniiad but hasn’t arrived here yet.

      • The Brisbane flood level was higher in 74. The one in 1893 dwarfed both.

        Lives have been lost, so the coroner will be taking an interest in such questions as whether last month’s event was:

        a/ unpredicted
        b/ unpredictable
        c/ unusually severe

        before looking at whether the dam was managed appropriately in all the circumstances. The string of warnings from pre-AGW hydrologists that the Wivenhoe was kept too full in light of the major event they expected to recur about 35 years after the last one will no doubt be assessed against the dam managers’ (and their political masters’) decision not to release until it was too late.

        Warmists latching on to these events to give life to their moribund myth would be well advised to wait for the coroner’s report.

      • The Brisbane flood level was higher in 74.

        What was the name of that dam they built in response to the 1974 flood, again?

      • Wivenhoe. Why?

      • In general, one builds a dam that has a flood-mitigation component with an expectation that it just might, given historic rainfall and flood data, result in lower levels on the darn flood gauge.

      • JCH it’s not clear if you are replying to me or to dhogaza. If to me, can you be clearer about your point?

      • You.

      • To understand the effectiveness of the flood-mitigation system, you have to actually compare the flood events.

        You have not done that.

        The inquiry will do that.

      • I’m still not clear who is replying to whom. dhogaza asked the name of the Wivenhhoe dam. I supplied it, but imagined there was more to the question than a simple request for information. So far it seems there wasn’t. The name of the Wivenhoe is common currency, as one would expect for a dam which was massively vented at the height of a major precipitation event in which several people died. So I still can’t understand why I was asked to name it, but I did.

        Now, is there a point to all this?

      • In 1974 there was one big dam in that catchment, the Somerset. Its mitigation effect was withheld from the 1974 flood. The floodwater it withheld did not reach the city flood gauge. That was one of the big reasons they built the Somerset Dam: to achieve a lower level on the city flood gauge so as to protect property and lives.

        So in terms of the dam’s performance, you need to compare the 1974 flood and its relevant rainfall with previous floods and their relevant rainfalls. It is a complex analysis, and Australian engineers and meteorologists and hydrologists have done it many times.

        They will do it again for this inquiry. They are not going to look at the BOM graph and simply conclude the 1974 flood was higher than recent the mid-January food.

      • Did the southern hemisphere see such flooding in the 60s while snowstorms dropped their own precipitation in different places up North, and was the Hudson Bay freezeover a month late back then as well?

        And CO2 did all that? You can make that connection?

      • We are now leaving the era when small steps taken with limited pain would buy time and prepare so that if we needed to take bigger actions we had time and space to make them less painfully. Now we are becoming responsible for actions taken and actions not taken.

        Alarmist nonsense. There isn’t even any evidence that changes in the climate coming in the next 100 years will be bad. Unless, that is, we head back into a Little Ice Age again. Now that would indeed be bad.

      • “Unless, that is, we head back into a Little Ice Age again.”
        Not alarmist at all.
        And full of skepticism.

        Lol.

      • And just as likely as any “hot” future. We know that cold kills.

      • Here’s a guy who tried to bet Richard Lindzen that global temps would not be cooler 20 years in the future, after hearing about this: “Richard Lindzen says he’s willing to take bets that global average temperatures in 20 years will in fact be lower than they are now.”

        Lindzen said, “sure, I’ll make that bet – at 100:1 odds in my favor”. Later, he said he’d go as low as 50:1 in his favor … hardly a strong statement of faith that temps would actually drop over the following 20 years, or a particularly strong statement supporting his claim that he was willing to take bets.

        So, jrwakefield, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Will you propose an even-odds bet to the guy who tried to bet Lindzen?

      • I already have such an even-odds bet running from 2005-2020 for $1000

        Looking good at the moment.

      • 2005-2020. Okay.

        I’ll bet even odds on the period starting in 2005 vs the period ending in 2020, minimum 5 year period.

        For instance the average of 2005-2009 vs 2016-2020 (average over 5 year period). Or if you prefer, 2005-2012 vs 2013-2020 (average over 8 year period).

        GISS and HadCRUT average, using the versions active in 2020 (I’m assuming the HadCRUT Arctic problem will be fixed by then). Major volcano cancels bet (unless it doesn’t affect the outcome i.e. the period with the volcano is warmer than the other one).

      • I’ll bet on warming. $10k. Even money. Deep Climate’s rules. Any denialist takers?

      • So, jrwakefield, here’s your chance to put your money where your mouth is. Will you propose an even-odds bet to the guy who tried to bet Lindzen?

        Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I make no claim of what WILL happen, unlike proponants of AGW predicting what WILL happen in 100 years. They are the ones who should be betting their own money, not ours with their destructive policies.

      • All these “bets” on what is going to happen with the adjusted, variance-corrected and otherwise manipulated “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” are interesting but slightly silly IMO.

        This index has shown an increase of 0.04C per decade since it started in 1850, so a general increase is probably what we are going to continue to see over the long term.

        Looked at more closely however, it has warmed and then cooled slightly in a cyclical fashion roughly like a sine curve on a tilted axis, with a total warming/cooling cycle time of about 60 years and an amplitude of plus/minus 0.2C.

        So, if it continues this pattern, it will continue to show a “lack of warming” for the next 20 years and then start warming again for the next 30 years.

        But, long term, I’d put my money on slight warming (as we’ve seen since 1850).

        “Farmers’ Almanac”, anyone?

        Max

      • The Cheshire Cat grins ‘cuz he likes your odds, Manacker.
        ==================

      • That statement is just silly!

      • We have no policy anywhere to move people from active tectonic zones, yet we know the real threat and lives lost.

        Policy is not a blanket that automatically gets implemented on ANY threat. The DEGREE of threat must be weighed, and not just the direct consequences of the threat, but the economic and social consequences.

        AGW has not shown to have ANY viable threat, it’s not even been shown to be a threat at all. It’s been all pure speculation. Speculation has no probability value.

      • I’ve been involved in emergency planning for my organization and my province. A prudent organization / government plans for both the low-impact high probability threats as well as the high-impact low probability threats and those in between. A saying of those involved in emergency planning is: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.”

        As to AGW being a viable threat, even the DoD Quadrennial Defense Review Report of 2010 lists global warming as an official threat to US national security.

        From the 2010 report:

        The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 federal agencies, reported in 2009 that climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.

        Based on this threat, the DoD is planning how to respond.

        You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?

      • shewonk

        How is that you spew your bile freely at your blog about Judith and yet, nonchalantly appear here to comment as well?

        Your mere appearance itself does not disturb anyone, but does it not disturb you, your dissonance? After all, the ‘cadre’ here are just a bunch of ‘climate dunces’ and ‘deniers’ and the ‘denialist chums of Curry’?

        What can be gained in interacting with such inferior beings at all?

        You come here and offer your serious opinions and expect them to be taken for their worth, but yet, your own posts dehumanize and delegitimize skeptical ideas and skeptics, day in and day out. In fact, this constitutes fodder for many posts.

        I love the cynical but I would love to watch you turn on your own brothers for a while as well. Otherwise your participation in blogs such as this, smacks of hypocrisy.

      • One-sided bile is one thing. But Shewonk does something far worse : she completely censors posters she does not like but has no answer for, a la Gav & Co over UnrealClimate.

        And as to You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?, my guess is that, being a state flunkey and apologist for untrammeled political controls over society, you value the opinion of those ‘experts’ with whom you share a paymaster.

      • I was not aware that shewonk was censoring posts.

        That is ironic, considering how bitterly she complained that her posts were being knocked off at CA, to begin with.

      • Punk, the truth is that you are the only poster I have ever moderated. The only one. Even Mosher gets free rein to post whatever he wants at my place. :) I just had it up to my craw with your continual unsubstantiated smears and besides, you were starting to really bother my usual and most favoured commenters.

      • Oh, hankie, hankie.

      • shewonk has diagnosed Judith Curry’s politics, she has even figured out Curry’s motives. Curry’s posts are an “act”, designed to attack climate scientists of the consensus.

        This is all a part of something apparently called ‘dog whistle politics’, implying obviously that commenters participating at this blog are like dogs.

        Why does she think then, that this is a credible platform for debate to offer her learned opinions in? Quite surprising that shewonk should think it credible to offer her thoughts to unthinking mutts.

        She starts the entire discussion off with clear and unequivocal references to climate scientists. Now, after people discuss individual scientists like Mann, she tries to rein them in. Dogwhistle then retreat, chum then retreat.

        Quite the act.

      • Shewonk hasn’t said things about me that are any more negative than Michael Tobis’ statements about me. Both are welcome to comment here, provided they abide by blog rules. If Shewonk behaves better over here than at her own blog, well that is a good thing; other commenters are of course free to interpret her comments in the context of what she writes on her blog.

      • My dog doesn’t know how to whistle. He is a standard Dachshund, but can do a passable purr when contented.

        Is the ability to whistle breed specific?

      • Doesn’t the owner whistle to the dog?

      • Any particular tune?

      • No, I think most dogs will whistle if they run off the edge of a high enough cliff ;-)

      • Shub, not surprised to find you here. I try to substantiate everything I write about participants in this climate war, quoting their writing and words for the record and providing examples to back up my opinion. If you think that dehumanizes “skeptics”, so be it.

      • I checked out your blog, shewonk. Quite a preoccupation with Dr. Curry, you seem to have. One catty comment after another directed at Dr. Curry either by yourself or one or another of that klatch of old-biddies that are attracted to your site. My estimate?–bunch of Queen Wanna-Bees jealous that Dr. Curry’s site is getting all the “buzz.”

      • Hey Mike, great comment! Do you understand what ironic means?

      • “Ironic”? Hmmm… I think I know what the word means, shewonk. Isn’t that a term used to refer to those, in certain thermorrhoid climate-polyp circles, who use the Orwellian term “denier” for cheap propaganda purposes and then pretend the term has no subliminal associations with the term “holocaust denier?” At least, that’s how I’ve always used the word “ironic.” It’s worked for me, shewonk.

      • I am surprised to find you here.

        Maybe because I have some standards.

        I don’t think you say anything unsubstantiated. Your attacks are personal and arise as a result of assumption of bad faith. Maybe you can snap out of it someday.

        You aim to critique McIntyre. But that degenerates to personal attack. I admit, it is not an easy thing to do, to attack a single person, for his ideas. But it can be done.

      • What about the increased snowfall and freezing temperatures? Don’t forget them!

      • You may disagree with the DoD’s assessment of the risk of AGW. You have a right to your own opinion. The expert opinion differs. Guess whose opinion I value more?

        You are assuming that all these changes are because of our CO2 emissions. Change happens, the error is your ASSUMPTION, with no evidence, that these changes are anything other than normal variation.

        The FACTS are sea level rise has not accelerated, it’s 1.74mm/year over all since 1900, that’s 6 inches in 100 years, just as it has done for the past 10,000 years of human history. There is no increase in heat waves, that record is still in the mid 1930’s, and a longer growing seasons is good.

        The issue isnt planing for this or that, it’s the spculative nature of the EXTREME claims by the AGW community, generally for political reasons. Is there a plan in case we plunge into a new ice age? Just as likely to happen.

    • I will have to disagree that his comments is a tempest in a tea pot. It’s to the core of the entire controversy. If the “gatekeepers” didn’t have this view that the science is settled there would be no “deniers” and skepticism would be welcome with open arms, and you would not even have a need to blog on the topic.

      • “there would be no “deniers” ”
        Yeah right.

        Cause other sciences dont have there hidebound contrarians.

        You really think that if every i was dotted and t was crossed there would still not be people out there with conspiracy theories and arguments?

      • We arn’t refering to the normal fringe groups who think 2012 is the end of the world. Please do NOT lump me, or people like me, in with those nutcases. I’m refering to normal science. If it were not for the gatekeepers and The Team hording information, making pronouncements through the IPCC, and outlandish unverifiable speculative claims of future climate, pronounements that the science was settled, 90% certainty (a number pulled out of the air), there would not be this environment we find ourselves in now. The warmists started this (for political reasons), we skeptics are trying to keep some kind of science in climate science.

      • “We arn’t refering to the normal fringe groups”
        Really.
        “If the “gatekeepers” didn’t have this view that the science is settled there would be no “deniers” ”
        This statement is actually poppycock. All science has its fringe elements. But then again accuracy is not needed for so noble a cause as the ‘climate skeptics’. Its also interesting how your post is one long whining argumentum ad hominem. Its all about how wronged you are and why science is all about personality.

        Kind of like you dont have a point beyond being disgruntled and hitting well hashed out memes.
        A vague mushy attack on ideas about science rather than a firm clear rebuttal by posting clearly stated physics.
        Reread your post, do you realise that anyone from 9/11 troofers, creationsists to UFOs built the pyramids people could have written it practically word for word (just a few small changes).
        Conspiracies are easy ;-)

      • So no attempt to show that JRW is wrong then? Just some stuff about conspiracies and ‘memes’.

        I honestly thought we had left that word behind among the few remaining CiFers, but now it pops up here again – whatever it is supposed to mean. Perhaps it’ll go away again soon.

      • Prove what wrong, that there is a nefarious group of ‘gatekeepers’ holding out all the brilliant science?
        I cant prove there is no alien lizards controling the US congress either.

      • The gatekeepers were exposed in the climategate emails. Gavins email is just more of the same, keep skeptics at bay and keep the faith protected.

      • “keep skeptics at bay and keep the faith protected.”
        Its a lovely mental get out clause. In an age when any scientist can publish online if something of worth gets rejected you succor yourself with the imagined host of wondrous science that is being kept out, bit like the internet argument ‘the lurkers are with me’.
        CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
        There is more of it getting into the atmosphere.
        We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect and we have other measures such as Harries 2001 that are consistent with this.
        All the conspiracy theories, all the begging, all the pleading, all the squealing about evil cabals of scientists are not going to change this. They may make you feel on an emotional level that you are doing something to make the bad news go away, but they are not changing the science.
        All that is left is to debate the scale of what the changes are likely to be and take actions.
        Temper tantrums and conspiracy theories are not really part of that debate. Nor are people who believe they are over turning the theory of relativity, people who belief in CO2 snow and people who believe blogs about their pet nit picks are game changing.

        Now the real sceptics, the people who have hard questions about specific aspects that they can frame in a scientific manner and place bounds round the impact of their assertions, they are not only welcome but indispensable part of the real debate. Sadly some of them seem to be drowning out the signal in noise. Se la vie, that is not my look out.

      • Dolormin, you say, “We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect and we have other measures such as Harries 2001 that are consistent with this?. Why don’t you enlighten us with the data that supports your statement. Now, be careful with your references.

      • We are observing an increase of surface temperature that is consistent with increased greenhouse effect

        Nope. There has been no increase in Summer TMax, nor an increase in heatwaves. In Canada, Summer TMax has in fact been DROPPING. Heat waves here were more numerious in the mid 1930’s.

        What has changed is winters are getting less cold.

        So explain how our emissions of CO2 is not increasing TMax.

        And here we have this paper questioning the sensitivity of CO2
        http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/pubs/BNL-90903-2010-JA.pdf

      • PS – forgot to add that it is good to see you admitting that scepticism is a ‘noble cause’.

      • Yes. The conspiracy you CAGW troofers often advance is that politically-funded climate science doesn’t have a pro-politics bias, because scientists are just so damn disinterested, objective and honest. Like we saw in Climategate.

    • It’s a little distracting, when we should be discussing what should be done to limit the temperature increase to 2C. If it is even possible considering the enertia in the production of electricity worldwide, simply too many coal and natural gas fired plants to replace overnight.

      You have been pretty good about arguing that there is a greenhouse effect, but you have let a lot of other nonsense go unchallenged.

  62. How many people are going die of cancer before the science is settled enough?

    Oh, sorry, time warp there.

    How long are people willing to wait to take actions that while limiting carbon dioxide emissions would also help to reduce consumption of finite resources and reduce emissions of other pollutants?

    • How many people are going die of cancer before the science is settled enough?

      We know for a fact people die of cancer, there is no evidence anyone has died from CO2 emissions.

      • How long are people willing to wait to take actions

        Tell you what, you stop using anything that comes from fossil fuels, that includes power, heating your home, driving or transit anywhere, no food except what you grow with no fertilizers, no clothing, no medical treatment, no plastics of any kinds (which means your computer). Do that for a year and tell us how your life was.

      • I hope you are not suggesting that no action be taken to reduce fossil fuel usage until everyone has stopped using fossil fuel for any purpose?

      • And you are going to set policy forcing people to reduce? To what economic and social damage? Or is that not considered, everyone is just collateral damage in the goal to “save the planet”? Go ahead and be the first to test your consequences. Show us how it can be done before you preach to everyone else.