Hiding the Decline: Part III

by Judith Curry

On the Part II thread, John Nielsen-Gammon summarized the constructive suggestions as follows.  I’ve edited this to intersperse additional comments from John N-G and also Steve Mosher’s comments on these suggestions:

Two hundred and eighty-eight comments later, I think it’s time to take a step back and assemble the constructive suggestions. (Any comments since I began writing this are ignored.) I count seven so far, for a constructive contribution rate of about 2% (but hey, it’s better than nothing). Counting duplicates, we have five ideas so far for moving forward. Full credit to those who have contributed them. My apologies if I have mischaracterized them.

1. Get the guilty parties to admit guilt. Richard Drake: “If the group you refer wants to take responsibility for the dishonesty, that would I think be an awesome step.” Luis Dias: “What is important is that these people acknowledge it and ‘move on’. That would be great. The fact that they won’t is even worse than the original offense.”  Mosher: “I think a much more achievable goal is to get a couple of people to clearly state that failing to be forthright about uncertainties and adverse results is not BEST PRACTICES. While some won’t settle for anything less than an admission of “guilt”, I think there are enough mitigating circumstances (especially with Ar4) to accept such an admission as a good step.

2. Get the rest of the scientific community to acknowledge the improper deeds. Luis Dias: “The whole process is doomed to degeneration…unless some people start clearing up the mess and call spade a spade”. GaryM: “A rational, respectful presentation of real science, admitting its real uncertainties and limitations, will find a receptive audience after the next election. A willingness to concede past errors (even by one’s colleagues), is a real step in the right direction.”  Mosher: “At this stage I think using a the term “improper” deeds is not required. There appears to be some genuine disagreement on what constitutes “improper” Again, I think we could hope that reasonable parties could agree and state that the “trick” and not showing the divergence was not “best practices.”  John N-G: “It’s not clear, exactly, what level of guilt admission would be satisfactory for numbers one and two, but it seems obvious so far that “could have been clearer” is wholly inadequate. The Muir Russell report called the WMO figure “misleading” (p. 60) but not reflecting an intent to deceive, but this has not been met with a cry of “at last!” either. I hate to say it, but I think the situation is at an impasse without an investigation that the general public can buy into.”

3. Improve oversight. Labmunkey: “Had the proper QC/QA procedures been in place, this issue would never have arisen.”  John N-G: Improved oversight is a great idea and it is, unfortunately, up to the organizations producing the reports to provide this oversight because it is in their best interest (I hope) to do so. It would be interesting to have a review panel of esteemed non-climate-scientists (people with no connections to the climate science community or a stake in global warming pro or con) critically evaluate the IPCC AR5. Where is the next Feynmann? I suppose it would be helpful for this purpose if all the major scientific organizations hadn’t already declared a position on climate change.”  Mosher: “Independent oversight and some method
of filing a protest is required.”

4. Reduce incentives that tilt science toward climate change. Oliver: “Until the Climate Change ‘funding narrative’ as Hulme puts it, is made less pervasive, continued public skepticism seems inevitable. The likely funding adjustments in coming years are probably a good thing in this regard.”  John N-G: I seriously hope that we keep the observations going (satellite, CRN, etc.). Everything else can be replaced, but there’s no real substitute for actual observations (as paleoclimate reconstructions have demonstrated).

5. Don’t present novel science as settled science. Saaad: “Perhaps the answer for now is to abandon paleoclimate reconstructions altogether until some form of universal calibration and verification procedure can be agreed upon. Frankly, whilst everyone is using different PCA methods and verification algorythms, the reconstructions will only serve to exacerbate the arguments without achieving anything positive. I favour the ‘start afresh’ possibility, perhaps using the new Berkeley temperature metric and Satellite measurements as the basis. Then we can get back to more genuine discussions about attribution and confidence.”  John N-G:  “Hear, hear! Let’s all avoid the temptation to focus on the latest and greatest results, because you can’t really tell if the latest results are “great” or “garbage” until two or three years down the road.”  Mosher: “In pragmatic terms this issue is hard to address. One issue that Journals can address is the problem of presenting novel results from unproven novel methods. In paleo for example there are ocassions where methods are created and applied without going through rigorous methodological review.”

Conflict resolution

I think “conflict resolution” would have been a more apt theme than “reconciliation” for the Lisbon Workshop.  A quick google provides many sites on this, I hope there is a conflict resolution person among the denizens.  A good overall site is here, a few relevant points:

  • Make sure that good relationships are the first priority: As far as possible, make sure that you treat the other calmly and that you try to build mutual respect. Do your best to be courteous to one-another and remain constructive under pressure.
  • Keep people and problems separate: Recognize that in many cases the other person is not just “being difficult” – real and valid differences can lie behind conflictive positions. By separating the problem from the person, real issues can be debated without damaging working relationships.
  • Pay attention to the interests that are being presented: By listening carefully you’ll most-likely understand why the person is adopting his or her position.
  • Listen first; talk second: To solve a problem effectively you have to understand where the other person is coming from before defending your own position.
  • Set out the “Facts”: Agree and establish the objective, observable elements that will have an impact on the decision.
  • Explore options together: Be open to the idea that a third position may exist, and that you can get to this idea jointly.

The key stumbling block IMO is Step 3:

Step Three: Agree the Problem

This sounds like an obvious step, but often different underlying needs, interests and goals can cause people to perceive problems very differently. You’ll need to agree the problems that you are trying to solve before you’ll find a mutually acceptable solution.

Sometimes different people will see different but interlocking problems – if you can’t reach a common perception of the problem, then at the very least, you need to understand what the other person sees as the problem.

The current conflict in context of conflict resolution strategies

Steve Mosher’s statement is in the spirit of conflict resolution:

The two side should be able to agree that what we saw in Hide the decline was not best practices. Skeptics may want more flesh than this, but both side should be able to at least agree to that modest proposal.

I would hope that both sides would agree to this, but I haven’t seen such agreement yet.  Can we go further than this?

Well first both sides  have to agree there is a problem.  As far as I can tell, the folks involved in the CRU emails don’t seem to think there is a problem, other than that they continue to be harassed.  Others disagree.  Keith Kloor weighs in on this dispute and infers the public sees no problem.  Please provide counter evidence to Kloor’s assertion; my main concern is other scientists and decision makers (I make no claim to understand public opinion).

Good relationships have long been shredded.  Ravetz et al. tried to restore civility with the reconciliation workshop, didn’t work since one side chose not to attend.

I have done my utmost to keep people and problems separated.  I have completely left out names, and I am prepared to believe that this is a problem created by a committee engendered by the IPCC behemoth.  Nevertheless, Gavin immediately infers that I am attacking Briffa personally (actually, among the CRU emailers, I have the most personal sympathy for Briffa).  I have no interest in #1 Getting the guilty parties to admit guilt (unless they have broken a law or committed research misconduct).  I am interested in identifying bad practices and putting a stop to them.

I have struggled for 15 months to understand where this group of scientists is coming from and what has caused this problem, I have written several essays. They blame deniers, and say trust us we’re the experts, the science is fine.  There is a fundamental failure to recognize the existence of the problem.

I am not seeing any hope of the scientists supporting the IPCC consensus to conduct the necessary self policing.  Improving oversight and reducing incentives for the pro-AGW narrative are important suggestions for the institutions (e.g. UN, funding agencies) are definitely needed.

Your further thoughts?

Moderation note: Lets keep this thread focused on constructive solutions, with discussion on the other two threads for the broader issues.

529 responses to “Hiding the Decline: Part III

  1. I also think both climate science and the climate debate would be improved with an easily accessible method for suggesting, posting and commenting on errata. A corrigenda section on IPCC reports (let alone journals) might be useful.

    • The problem lies, not with the pawns who follow orders, but those who give the orders, the “scientific-technological elite” that Eisenhower identified in his 1961 farewell address:

    • Oliver,

      I think what has happened in climatology, inevitably sets bells ringing in many people’s heads regarding other areas of potentially flawed science. I’m sure climategate is not the only instance of this malaise.

      The problem is that actually introducing another potential example of science going astray, doesn’t help too much, because hardly anyone has the time, expertise, or resources to explore yet another subject!

      I myself, tried to introduce climategate into another scientific debate, because I thought there were strong analogies to be made. In the end, I realised that this was not useful, because hardly anyone was going to poke under the surface AGW story, just in order to perceive that analogy!

      • Thanks, David, we would never have caught those who instigated the Watergate break-in if we spent all our time trying to prosecute each burglar!

        I happened to have spent the last 50+ years working in a multi-disciplinary area, nuclear-, geo-, cosmo-, planetary and space science.

        From that experience, I know that the practice of hiding and manipulating experimental data has been an increasing problem in astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar and space studies since ~ 1960.

        That is why the public had misleading information about:

        a.) The Sun’s origin,
        b.) The Sun’s composition,
        c.) The Sun’s source of energy, and
        d.) The Sun’s dominant control of Earth’s climate

        Prior to the Climategate scandal.

        For high quality space-age experimental data that refutes the SSM (Standard Solar Model), see “Neutron Repulsion” {The APEIRON Journal, in press (2011) 19 pages] and references cited there.


        and “Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun” [Energy and Environment, vol. 20
        (2009) pages 131-144]


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

      • Oliver,

        The problem with science today is that they have not learned how to tie in multiple areas of science together to get an overall understanding.
        Many theories have been arrived from individual areas of study that do not overlap into another science area.
        New technology is forgotten to be incorporated as some science is extremely old being held in a good science.
        This is why we still have very little understanding the mechanical workings of this planet.

      • Oliver, this is a climate blog.

      • Some folks wanted the public to focus only on the Watergate burglars!

    • Cant wait for your talk. Should be an interesting crowd there…

    • David L. Hagen

      Guaranteed Minority Report
      Extending#3), a “minority report” must be provided, not just allowing for “errata”. The biased gate-keeping documented by Steve McIntyreand others shows that issues raised in good faith have been ignored, hidden, and obfuscated etc.
      An example of such a “minority report” is the 880 p 2009 report:
      Climate Change Reconsidered by
      The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change

      To be credible, any further IPCC report must provide the equivalent of the NIPCC rebuttal, preferably chapter by chapter, to show the science hidden in AR4. This must allow competing graphs. If separate, it must be published together and made available together with the IPCC’s AR5.

      Given the current polarization and bias in climate science, such rigorous counterbalance measures are needed to address and understand the natural causes for climate change. e.g. the geological record showing major temperature changes leading CO2 changes, and not tied to CO2 variations.

      The challenges of separating causation from consequence need to be addressed, particularly where there are competing natural and anthropogenic impacts. See the discussions and research by Roy Spencer. e.g., consider clouds driven by solar/cosmic rays leading to cooling/warming, compared to radiant impacts of changing CO2 causing heating/cooling of oceans changing clouds.
      Scientific predictions with validation needs to be addressed, not just “scenarios” projecting unrealistic massive increases of oil or coal beyond economically available conventional resources.
      The numerous benefits of higher CO2 and of warming need to be compared to the higher deaths from increased colder periods.
      Probabilities of cooling trends need to be evaluated, not just claiming unrealistically high probabilities of very high warming. e.g., what are the realistic probabilities of global cooling due to another Dalton minimum or Mauder minimum before 2100? Nils-Axel Mörner
      Solar Minima, Earth’s rotation and Little Ice Ages in the past and in the future: The North Atlantic–European case

      A realistic assessment needs to be shown of the need for China, India and other developing countries to continue their rapid increased use of inexpensive energy and fossil fuel fuels – just as the USA increased fuel use 9%/year for 80 years. e.g. Tad Patzek Exponential growth, energetic Hubbert cycles, and the advancement of technology.

      A pragmatic view must be taken to seriously look at accommodation to whatever climate changes occur – with all natural and anthropogenic contributions. Mandating mitigation appears unrealistically expensive and futile.

      Such a minority report, may need to be mandated by governments, as the current IPCC management does not appear to be supportive of rigorous objective scientific evaluation rather than advancing a predetermined political agenda.

  2. Eisenhower identified the pending problem in his farewell address to the nation on 17 Jan 1961:

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.”


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

  3. So, in keeping with #1, all misleading charts are to be must be acknowledged. Well, that’s good.

    I’ve been trying to get That One acknowledged for quite some time now.

  4. The current body of IPCC endorsed client science cannot be salvaged, nor can anything published in the future by the same, corrupt, organization. No matter what its scientific quality, it is worthless (except to the skeptics) as a tool for public information.

    “Trust can be gained once and lost once. Once lost, it’s lost forever.”

  5. For what it’s worth, I agree with Mosh…asking for an admission of “guilt” is a bridge too far.

    In fact, the most constructive thing I’ve seen was a question asked on another thread over the past week or so (wish I’d responded to it then). Someone asked the question “so what are you convinced enough to go along with” (paraphrased, I’m working from memory). This seems like a commonsense way to move forward and would seem to dovetail nicely with the whole no-regrets policy options.

    • “so what are you convinced enough to go along with”

      I like this, a lot. Though it depends heavily on one thing- honesty from the climate scientists, something they’ve unfortunatley not demonstrated in spades.

      Personally (and probably rather unsuprisngly too) i’d go the audit route. Whatever survives the audit stays, whatever doesn’t goes.

      It’s brutal, it’ll be very hard work for those on the receiving end (as i bet few academics have ever faced an audit) but it will gaurantee one thing- what you have left will be good, sound science.

      AS a result i can gaurantee it will be the one thing that they never agree too.

    • In engineering we call it “the search for the guilty and punishment of the innocent”. There is no need to spend mental energy on getting people to back down who never will. In this case it has gotten personal, and careers are at stake.

      In my projects I could care less whose fault it is, it is all about finding the problems and fixing them. So simply FIX THE PROBLEM.

      There is perfect opportunity coming up in AR5. The hockey stick meme can disappear quietly and go die a nice quiet death. No need to string up anybody in the process or make them admit “guilt”.

      How AR5 is handled it critical to rebuilding trust.

      You can’t stop alarmist headline hunting by individual scientists, but they can “tidy up” things in Ar5. Specifically if they go down the route of it’s worse than we thought, the models are working great, there hasn’t been a drop-off in temps, etc. they will lose trust for an entire generation IMO.

      Imagine a world in which they effectively stated “we have learned that we don’t know as much about the climate as we previously thought”. Some trust regained, sounds like real science, and the vociferous climate blogs would dry up.

      The penalty here would be that any near term climate action would be sacrificed. But really is that in the cards anyway? No. A good long term plan would be to do an effective mea culpa in AR5 and look to getting substantive action in the 5 to 10 year time frame.

      The climate establishment has fired all the alarmism bullets they had, and none of them were silver. Time for a new plan.

      • That’s a really interesting proposition.

      • I second this

      • Clearly, credibility is in the eye of the beholder, and for most laypeople, the credibility is strongly dependent on the extent to which the scientific results conform their desired outcome. “the uncertainty means we don’t know anything, ergo there’s no problem” would mean that credibility amongst the skeptical public is restored and likewise, “everything is much worse than expected and life on earth will be wiped out by 2030 if we don’t do anything” would restore credibility with alarmists.

        Please excuse the scientists for not giving a rodents posterior to what outcome would be desired by the loudest critics and just go on with their work: Doing science, and assessing the science for assessment reports such as IPCC.

      • Bart, my experience with using the IPCC reports (specifically WG1 of TAR and AR4) as a source has been different from yours. The impression I have is that the IPCC has been ‘cherrypicking’ papers and conclusions. As a result it has provided a distorted and inadequate view of the relevant climate science literature. To get an objective, unbiassed, uncensored picture of of the current state of play in the study of climate change one has to search elsewhere.

        Tom Scharf: I too find your suggestion interesting. There’s something to be said for providing an escape route for those who may be starting to think about quietly disassociating themselves from the alarmist tendency.

      • Clearly, credibility is in the eye of the beholder, and for most laypeople, the credibility is strongly dependent on the extent to which the scientific results conform their desired outcome.


        You really need to develop a more realistic view of the ability of laypeople to judge credibility. “Too good to be true” is just as suspect as “the sky is falling” and uncertainty is usually taken as a signal to slow down and look closer, not blunder ahead blindly.

      • “uncertainty is usually taken as a signal to slow down and look closer, not blunder ahead blindly.”

        Exactly. In a snowstorm it’s advisable to reduce speed. Likewise, uncertainty in the face of knowing at least something about the general direction we’re going to would mean that it’s better to not go full speed ahead with emissions as usual.

      • A look below will clarify my views in that regard.

      • “for most laypeople, the credibility is strongly dependent on the extent to which the scientific results conform their desired outcome”

        Actually, I think not. People didn’t have a stance on global warming until global warming was perceived by the public as a problem (certainly “global warming” didn’t exist until recent history). A significant portion of people are swayed one way or the other by advertising and media campaigns – that’s why there are advertisements for goods and politicians, and anything else you can buy. There is also the “band wagon” effect – lots of people will just adopt what their social crowd thinks. I’ll agree there is a filtering process that everyone uses to deal with the myriads of day to day information inundation, opinion forming and decision making, which I think is what is behind your statement.

        Some of the AGW crowd made a major error in overstepping the limits of the research in their public pronouncements. Using an appeal to authority approach just won’t convince some people (like me), and it has identified the particular scientists (and journalists) as unreliable sources on the topic.

      • There is no need to spend mental energy on getting people to back down who never will.

        Yup…particularly when you risk alienating reasonable people in the process.

        In my projects I could care less whose fault it is, it is all about finding the problems and fixing them. So simply FIX THE PROBLEM.


        Some trust regained, sounds like real science, and the vociferous climate blogs would dry up.

        The penalty here would be that any near term climate action would be sacrificed.

        Here’s where I disagree. I think there is room for reasonable near term action, based on the “so what are you convinced enough to go along with” principle (I really wish I could find the comment so I could give credit to the one who deserves it). There are policies that people can get behind without going all in and that would have multiple benefits.

        Would these measures satisfy everyone? No.

        Would they be sufficient or even give us enough breathing room to learn more? I don’t know, but I do know they would likely do more than continuing to run around in circles.

      • Why do believe there would be a need for any action at all, whether you describe it as reasonable or not?

      • Reduction of black carbon: In addition to the danger it is reported to pose to glaciers, etc., it is a health risk. Seems like a win-win.

        Reducing methane leakage: Aside from the GHG issue, there’s the whole safety issue. Additionally, from an energy security standpoint, here’s a potential resource to look at.

        Energy efficiency measures: These can help from both a cost and energy security standpoint.

        Developing reliable cleaner energy sources: These also can help from both a cost and energy security standpoint.

        I’m not convinced that there’s a good reason to make drastic changes, but I can certainly see making some no regrets type moves while we learn more.

      • Safety issue re methane leakage?

        Is there some other new scare story that I am unaware of? Over an above schoolboys, farts and fag lighters?

        The big wide world is such a dangerous place its a miracle that anybody ever survives to puberty nowadays.

      • From here:

        Take methane, for example, which is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in causing warming. It is emitted by coal mines, landfills, rice paddies and livestock. And because it is the main ingredient in natural gas, it leaks from many older natural-gas pipelines. With relatively minor changes — for example, replacing old gas pipelines, better managing the water used in rice cultivation (so that less of the rice rots) and collecting the methane emitted by landfills — it would be possible to lower methane emissions by 40 percent. Since saved methane is a valuable fuel, some of this effort could pay for itself.

        Coal miners and those exposed to NG leaks can attest to the safety issues. This talks about methane issues re: landfills.

      • Fine.

        Set fire to methane and it goes bang.

        But this is not new news. Sir Humphrey Davy invented the Safety Lamp in 1815 to protect miners against the effects of such explosions.

        And keeping pipelines safe from going bang is good housekeeping – and good economics. It does not need to be linked to ‘climate change’ to be a sensible thing to do – and has been done for decades.

        Making such a link diminishes your case. The Sky is Not Falling because cows fart.

      • And keeping pipelines safe from going bang is good housekeeping – and good economics. It does not need to be linked to ‘climate change’ to be a sensible thing to do – and has been done for decades.

        Indeed? That seems to underline the whole “no regrets” aspect, does it not?

        The Sky is Not Falling because cows fart.

        I never said the sky was falling. And if it were, I’m such an incorrigible carnivore that I’d brave the flatulent bovines anyway. :-) But what’s the downside to hedging your bets on the cheap?

      • Nothing at all. It just has nothing whatsoever to do with climate change.

      • Question:

        You say, “A good long term plan would be to do an effective mea culpa in AR5 and look to getting substantive action in the 5 to 10 year time frame.”

        Substantive action to do what regarding “climate change”?

  6. I really enjoyed reading John NG’s and Mosher’s best points summarized above. I think that this summary gets it in the right direction. Unfortunately, you won’t have any “reconciliation” until all parties agree to it. We could be building here just another kind of echo-chamber, and while I suspect you would get the nods of WUWTs, CAs, tAV, Lubos’, etc. readers, I also suspect you will be accused of hypocrisy and bad faith from … ehhh… others, who will just use Gavin’s and Dhogazza’s words as battle cries “give’em hell Joe!”

    Still, this site warms me with optimism. Good luck.

  7. Keeping the issues and personalities separate appears to be more difficult that most of those admit, who tell that they aim at that. They get mixed and connected when the issues are presented at such level of detail and in such terms that the connection is either clear to most or at least many perceive an connection.

    Many comments by Steve Mosher have been excellent. They have emphasized formulations that leave a free zone to create a real separation not only on excuse that the commenter needs for being able to claim that the comment does not go to persons. It is necessary to think not only, what my comment formally states but also, how others are likely to perceive it.

  8. Speaking for the the great unwashed, the most serious consequence is loss of trust. How can these people regain our trust? Don’t see that its possible.

  9. Like others, I believe Steve Mosher’s formulation, “Best Practices”, is a sensible approach. The term implicitly reproves the offenders who engaged in less than best practices, while avoiding the unwarranted and counterproductive moralizing inherent in terms like “guilt”, “liar”, or even “dishonest” when used as a weapon aimed at destroying the credibility of individuals or groups within climate science.

    • I would add that a discussion on future best practices implies also, what was wrong in earlier practices, but it happens in a way that is much better acceptable also to those, who made in the past even severe misjudgments.

    • Let’s see. A surgeon amputates the wrong leg because he failed to completely follow the presurgical protocol required at his hospital. Was he incompetent? Of course not! Careless? Hardly! Unprofessional? No way! His action wasn’t consistent with best practices. Nothing much to fret about here. Move along.

      Weasel words aren’t the solution. Rebranding a shoplifter caught red handed by saying that he temporarily misappropriated property or failed to engage in best shopping practices is deplorable sophistry. Whose interest does it serve?

      • Couldn’t agree more ken!

      • Ken, I too agree with you. For the many of us here who work in the private sector, we know this behavior would cost us our jobs and possibly criminal charges. And I dare say none of us is trying to impose changes on societies anywhere near as disruptive as the climate scientists and their political allies are. Not a best practice??? Doesn’t even come close to what is needed in this situation.

      • Those of us who have held positions of responsibility in the private sector are acutely aware of the importance of trust. And that trust is the product of honesty, integrity and respectful treatment of others. If the RealClimate crowd ran a mid-sized business they would bankrupt it in a year.

      • I had surgery at the hospital where the infamous “cut the wrong foot off” surgery happened at in Tampa. They did take action:

        1. The doctor lost his license to practice medicine.
        2. When I had wrist surgery, they put a big black X on my other arm to make sure it didn’t happen again (kind of humorous).

        It is the response to the crisis that begins to allow trust to be recovered. Pretending there isn’t a problem just delays the inevitable.

    • There are best practices and their are bad practices. Is there anything in between such as fairly sound practices? Perhaps reasonably good practices or practices that aren’t all that bad?

      Good and bad are a dichotomy. Acceptable and unacceptable are a dichotomy. Sound and unsound are a dichotomy. Best and worst are not a dichotomy insofar as the terms imply a range of practices in between the extremes.

      What you propose is a semantic trick aimed at taking accountability off the table. However, climate science cannot heal its wounds until miscreants are held accountable and fear is driven out of the system.

      • Agree.
        Accountability is indeed what needs to go hand-in-and with good/bad practice, especially when the results of ‘bad’ practice are used by politicians to put more and more burdens on citizens.
        And I hope that nobody comes up with ‘they are scientists, how could they predict what politicians would do with their findings’ – this excuse hasn’t worked since the atom bomb.

  10. Science has to be self-correcting. That process has clearly broken down. The key is not really the parties to the/any particular dispute. The key is that the rest of the scientists take on the responsibility of acknowledging when a study is flawed. When a segment of society (including prominent scientists) says that the science (or some part thereof) is settled, and other scientists in the community know or believe that this incorrect, they have an obligation to speak up. The obligation flows from the way the science is being used to inform public policy.

    If such voices are being suppressed, the problem is a whole lot bigger.

    • stan

      The proof that science is “self-correcting” is this thread (and the two previous ones).

      Honest scientists, like Dr. Curry, are part of that “self-correction” process.

      (I am talking about “science” here – not the IPCC process, which has been shown to be politicized and corrupt.)

      And, while the public credibility of “climate science” may have suffered a blow that will take some time and effort to correct, I am convinced that this will all eventually blow over, even if IPCC itself does not survive.

      IMHO this will happen with an open analysis of what went wrong and why, rather than by whitewashing attempts or simple denial that there even was a problem.


      • It will not blow over within the next 20 years, and probably not in the 21st century. It will get much worse before it gets better, I guarantee it.

      • Ten years of cooling should see cAGW die away into well deserved obscurity. Then the science can proceed normally rather than post normally.

    • Stan, an admirable idea, but the big challenge is setting up a trustworthy process so people could register their doubt about a piece of research. I think we would end up with a large, inflexible, bureauocracy. It would be just as liable to being controlled by a particular belief system, or biased by the gatekeepers, as we see currently in climate (all?) science. Sadly, the hand of government on almost every endeavour leads to less than perfect results – eg IPCC.

  11. Keith Kloor weighs in on this dispute and infers the public sees no problem. Please provide counter evidence to Kloor’s assertion; my main concern is other scientists and decision makers (I make no claim to understand public opinion).

    Well, I suppose it depends on perspective. While I’ve seen several polls and the actual numbers vary wildly, all the ones I’ve seen show a marked decline in the public’s alarmism.

    Here’s a pertinent graph…..

    You can get the whole poll here……


    To the graph I pointed out. Being an unapologetic skeptic, I can only say that part of me wishes for the alarmist team to continue down their path. I see it as a victory for humanity when the public loses faith in them. Of course, there is the other part of me that can’t help but wonder how far we would have come if the team had just dealt with people in an upfront manner. But that is wistful. It didn’t happen.

    • I know that this is partially off-topic, but I wonder how much the decline in belief in anthropogenic warming among U.S. respondents in 2010 (but still a plurality) was due to loss of trust (the topic here), the cold of the preceding La Nina years, or the economic recession that placed current worries far ahead of future ones. My guess is that loss of trust played a role, but a subservient one to the previous cold winters and the continuing cold economic climate.

      • Well, the continued cold winters play in quite nicely with the “loss of trust” here, in other words, they reinforce each other. As we all know, though, we’ll have warmer winters again. Thankfully, the alarmists, by providing contradictory statements, yet again, have provided more fodder for such an occasion. For example, it was stated by more than a few, that snow would be expected to decrease in a warmer climate. This year, however, they’ve told us increasing amounts and frequency of snow is to be expected with a warmer climate. And, the cold temps felt this year is because of the warming in Greenland.(Something about a freezer door or some such) So, regardless of the outcome of the next few winters, they lose more trust points.

        The economic factor is more likely the main driver. People simply can’t afford to care about a 0.7 C rise in temps when they’re wondering how long their unemployment will hold out. But this, too, ties in quite well with what many skeptics have been saying for years. We can’t afford this stuff. There isn’t an increase in jobs with green tech, there is less. Energy from windmills isn’t free it is very costly…. and so on.

        Anyway, my point is, these all tie together. Maybe there should be an amendment to 5. Don’t present novel science as settled science.
        with something like quit overstating weather events. And quit making statements about climate dynamics that they clearly don’t understand. It would a great advancement if the alarmist would simply state they don’t know whether our future winters hold more or less snow. Or that they can’t possibly know that SW U.S. will receive less rainfall than what it “usually” does. All of this goes to the credibility of climate science. No credibility, no trust. Maybe this was a bit OT, but it would be impossible not to address it if the context of this discussion is to restore trust.

      • suyts – I’ve seen estimates of reduced overall cold from anthropogenic climate change (and the evidence seems to confirm this). I haven’t, however, seen estimates in the published scientific literature predicting a reduction in snowfall, but rather the opposite. If you know of such estimates, could you cite or link to the references?

      • Agreed. The timing of last few colder winters, combined with the drop in global temps in 2008, then the Climategate brou-ha-ha have had a devastating effect on opinions of the validity of the global warming theory. It’s hard to campaign for changes in lifestyle due to global warming when you’re freezing, and snow is forecast for San Fransisco and Fresno.


        There has, TTBOMK only been one peer reviewed paper suggesting more snow as a result of global warming. Real Climate only mentions This One, and even here they hedge mightily

        “I think that the scientific community will need some time to confirm this link, and there are some
        important caveats:…”

        I’ve not seen any other papers mentioned @ RC that have made the “more snow / global warming” link until this one. If you can, please point me to the ones you’ve seen.


      • I believe the RC article you linked to related to regional cold rather than snowfall. As for snowfall, here is one abstract regarding increased snowfall at latitudes where precipitation occurs as snow – Snowfall in Polar Regions. Without searching, I can’t cite other specific refrerences to snowfall per se, but there are many to the effect that a warming climate will lead to increased precipitation, which will occur as snow in cold regions or seasons.

        I haven’t seen any prediction of reduced snowfall, and so I can’t confirm suyts’s claim that the literature reports it both ways.

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Fred Moolten:
        I haven’t, however, seen estimates in the published scientific literature predicting a reduction in snowfall, but rather the opposite.

        I believe you and it adds to the mistrust issue when the public is initially told a different story.

        IPCC FAQ 4.1
        Is the Amount of Snow and Ice on the Earth Decreasing?

        “Observations show a global-scale decline of snow and ice over many years, especially since 1980 and increasing during the past decade, despite growth in some places and little change in others…”

        The message to the public: more evidence of global warming.

        And this 2000 article Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past either were misquoted or had no scientific basis for their claims:

        According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

        David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.

        According to you, Fred, there was no scientific justification for the researchers comments.

        Not unexpected that those without selective amnesia are pushed toward collective cynicism.

        Now, what to make of the weather forecaster in Minnesota who explained the recent record snowfalls in that state as the predictable result of a 30 year cyclical weather pattern. Unless times have changed, he, unlike the CRU/Hadley researchers, is under pressure to immediately retract his statements.

      • Thanks Blue. Last night was pool night and I didn’t have time drag all of that off of my old PC. This illustrates, in my mind, one of the biggest problems towards credibility. While there is very little literature (studies) that state we’ll have less snow, it was repeated often. When skeptics call the alarmists on it, we get a wide-eyed response and say “There isn’t any consensus on that, show me the studies that state that.” This is exactly what is occurring now with the increase of snow. We’ve been told this is what to expect with a warming world.(by alarmists) But, next winter when it may not snow much, they’ll say, “Show me the proof this was a consensus opinion!” And so it goes. Jim “Death Train” Hanson predicted that Manhattan would be underwater by now, but there isn’t anything that states that in the literature. It was simply an errant prediction by an alarmist that isn’t accountable for his statements. But, we’re suppose to believe them, because they are scientists.

      • And now, reconcile that with the dire predictions of all the droughts that are suppose to occur with CAGW. Is there no “water budget” anymore?………oh wait, the catastrophic melting……

        Sorry, if the cynical tone and tenor are offensive, but the tone and tenor is intentional. I’ve been following the climate debate for decades. It isn’t just CAGW that the populous is fatigued about. It is the constant drone of cataclysmic prognostications. But nothing out of the norm ever happens. Weather isn’t climate but weather events are touted as proof of CAGW or whatever misanthropist pseudonym it is parading as today. Floods in Pakistan? Proof of CAGW. Heat wave in Russia? Verification of CAGW. Record cold temps in Mexico? Just an example of weather……oh wait, now it’s more verification of Climate Change…………

        I need more coffee in me before I start posting…..

        Anyway, this is just one example of the exasperation of the people. No one can take the alarmists serious anymore. Sadly, this extends to climatologists and scientists in general. And, the blame lays solely at the feet of the general scientific community. Laymen, such as myself have been screaming for decades that this is sophistry and unwarranted. Our lonely eyes would dart to the general scientific community from time to time only to be met with silence. There have been very few but notable exceptions.

      • I stated above that as far as I know, there is no evidence published in the scientific literature predicting a decline in snowfall as global warming proceeds, and indeed, some data predict the opposite, a tendency toward an increase.

        In other words, a claim that the scientific literature predicts changes in both directions appears to be false, at least from my experience with the literature.

        On the other hand, it is clear that some regions will experience declines, and it is therefore no surprise when this is predicted (whether in a journal or some other source of information).

        One prediction that does appear to be realistic (and almost universally found in the literature) is that the global quantity of snow cover will decline as a consequence of the warming. It would be a serious error to confuse snow cover (which appear to be declining) with snowfall which appears not to be.

      • Sorry Fred, I had thought Blue provided links. As you can see, with the links provided, they didn’t put much it in the literature, they simply spewed it in interviews. I’ve written a couple posts here about this practice. But here’s a couple of links in literature……


        “A 25 percent loss of the winter snow season.”


        “Milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms but could…”

      • What I stated is that I know of no literature that predicts reduced snowfall globally from future warming. Clearly, regional snowfall may be affected if the involved regions are at the borderline between snow-prone and rain-prone precipitation, such that a milder winter will change the balance. Averaged globally, the only evidence I have seen suggests the likelihood of an increase rather than a reduction based on the expectation that in high latitude regions where snowfall is particularly abundant, increased atmospheric water vapor in a warming world will lead to even more snow.

        My point was, and remains, that I can’t find any support for the proposition that climate science is predicting snowfall changes in both directions.

      • Perhaps no reduction snowfall in total (measured in millimeters/year), but certainly in the cumulative sum of snow-covered area over a year. If this warming should happen, this is, and one actually believes we are able to predict these things with some accuracy.

        Bit ironically, in certain areas colder winter can translate into thinner snow cover; it is the warmer but more humid air that brings the snow. If a high pressure area pattern delivers cold but dry arctic air, it doesn’t snow, but e.g. in most of the Scandinavia we might have weeks of -10-30 temps but practically no snowfall during the period. And again, if we have 10-20 degrees warmer air flowing in from the Atlantic, perhaps temps around freezingt, it snows.

        A “our kids don’t get to know snow”-story: Climate activists arranged an event 2-3 years ago during warm winter called “Climate Ski Event” back here and they were wearing vests with text “Give us back the winters, gdammit!”. There was a photo distributed widely of the event. Well, the next year on the same day of the year, there were 50 centimeters of snow and -10C on the same spot; no activists carrying “Thank you” vests though.

      • Fred

        I agree that “loss of trust”, the global recession and a series of cold winters have caused fewer people in the US to “believe” in global warming. The problem, however, is that individual “belief” or “disbelief” doesn’t tell us what the public really feels about global warming, which, not to put too fine a point on it, is apathy. This is vividly illustrated in the Pew polls (http://people-press.org/report/584/policy-priorities-2010) which ask the public not whether they believe in global warming but where they rank it in a list of 20 or so national concerns, such as crime and health care. In 2007 global warming came in third from last and in every year since then it has come in dead last. In 2010 the US public was in fact more worried about immigration, lobbyists and moral decay than it was about the prospect of catastrophic climate change.

      • I don’t disagree, Roger. I would suggest, though, that if a proper perspective is that public sentiment is dominated by immediate concerns unrelated to climate, we shouldn’t overestimate the impact on public opinion of efforts to restore a perceived lack of trust in climate scientists.

      • Fred

        Quod erat demonstrandum!

      • Fred,

        I think this “wish it wasn’t so” attitude that things other than climate science are responsible for the drop off of public concern is counter-productive. Whether it is public apathy, climate alarmism fatigue, or legitimate science questions, it seems to be obvious that something needs to change.

        Business as usual is very unlikely to help things go forward, the definition of insanity…

      • Fred sed:
        I know that this is partially off-topic, but I wonder how much the decline in belief in anthropogenic warming among U.S. respondents in 2010 …

        Surely, Fred, you can have worded that better. Or at least offered a cite to support this. I doubt many informed Americans doubt global warming and that people have had an impact. I don’t doubt at all that many Americans, and they are growing in numbers, are unconvinced that the climate warming scientists have properly presented their case. That has nothing at all to do with a belief in or against AGW. The ‘Team’ likes to ignore this difference and pretend or inject the notion that we’re all a bunch of uninformed flat earthers. I find that offensive.

        The Team fiddled with the bits, got caught, are now seen in a bad light, faith has been lost, a populace that is subject to the policy consequences is demanding a second opinion. Time to bring in the B team because the A team has FAILed.

  12. Judith

    I think the ‘trick’ to achieve conciliation is to try to establish some common ground. The problem here is how far do we have to regress before we reach common ground. How far can we get down this list before we reach an impasse?
    1. We are all human beings and we all have the interests of our fellow man at heart.
    2. Public trust in science is of paramount importance especially where policy decisions depend on that science
    3. There have been certain disclosures over the last 18 months or so that have led to that public trust being undermined
    4. One specific example is the so-called ‘hide-the-decline’ affair
    5. To rebuild public trust, science that is now regarded by some within the established scientific community to be of dubious value (ie. the so-called ‘hide-the-decline affair) should be re-assessed and if appropriate abandoned
    6. Climate science can only be strengthened by being able to examine itself in an open and transparent way, admitting mistakes where they have been made, and giving public assurances that such mistakes will not be repeated in the future

    works for me

    • Gary Mirada “1. We are all human beings and we all have the interests of our fellow man at heart.”.
      Not sure I’m convinced of this. How does it apply to the authors of the 10-10 video and their friends? I don’t see much scope for common ground there. They seem rather selective about whose interests they have at heart. Frankly I have about as much as in common with such fundamentalists as I do with an Iraqi suicide bomber. I have no intention of shifting one centimetre in their direction. I look forward to their gradual extinction.

  13. @JudithCurry

    You write, “I have struggled for 15 months to understand where this group of scientists is coming from and what has caused this problem, I have written several essays. They blame deniers, and say trust us we’re the experts, the science is fine. There is a fundamental failure to recognize the existence of the problem.”

    I think you have been wasting your time. I would like to paint for you an analogy that I think strongly correlates with the form of your enquiry. Imagine that somebody has been staring at the full moon for a while, and that after some time they become convinced that they are seeing the face of a man in the moon’s surface. They ask others around them if they too have seen the man in the moon. If other people cannot see the man in the moon, this person insists that they check. The moon-man viewer then starts a campaign to tell everyone that there’s a man in the moon, and pretty soon they gather a coterie of people who also believe (or pretend to believe) that there is a man in the moon. Now you have the beginnings of a “debate” – although founded on a mistaken belief on one side.

    The most obvious answer is usually the correct one. This is Occam’s Razor and it is most helpful. Here’s an example : Phil Jones, amongst others, have admitted that they write poor e-mails. Official enquiries into the science of Climate Change at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia where Phil Jones works have found nothing amiss (apart from a few cases of poor documentation and a few cases of poor presentation/description). We can safely conclude that the science is fine (apart from a few cases of poor documentation and a few cases of poor presentation/description), and that scientists write poor e-mails, just like everybody else does from time to time (with a few cases of poor documentation and a few cases of poor presentation/description). Period.

    There really is no reason for you to waste 15 months on trying to find the man in the moon. He isn’t there.

    You write, “I am interested in identifying bad practices and putting a stop to them…I am not seeing any hope of the scientists supporting the IPCC consensus to conduct the necessary self policing.”

    One probable typographical error from transcription and a few possible cases of mistaken referencing do not overturn the confidence we have in the review work of the IPCC. There’s no “bad practice” there – just the usual probabilities of human error in such a vast field.

    You write, “Improving oversight and reducing incentives for the pro-AGW narrative are important suggestions for the institutions (e.g. UN, funding agencies) are definitely needed.”

    Are you suggesting that there is some kind of political divide in science ? That some people are “pro” some political agenda and some are against ? That the science itself is politicised ? What a leap of judgement ! What is your evidence that there is a non-factual basis for the division between peoples’ views ? In other words – what is your evidence that people are relying on wishful thinking and packaging it in socio-political science terms rather than trusting in numerical data ? Are you basically accusing the United Nations of being politically biased ?

    So I take observations of chickens in a hen house. I notice that eggs regularly appear in the straw of the perches, and I can correlate the presence of the chickens in the hen house and the appearance of the eggs. Can I safely conclude that one event affects the other ? Have I eliminated other potential variables ? Third parties ? Other environmental factors ? Mystery jokers putting eggs in my hen house for fun ? Read the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. It’s available online for free. Concentrate on the factual evidence from earth sciences – the wide range, the multiple lines of evidence. There’s no way that all the research of all the scientists whose work is reviewed by the IPCC is influenced by a political ideology. If you try to tell me that this data has a political bias, I will feel justified in dismissing your opinion.

    If anything, more funds need to be awarded to the United Nations to report on Climate Change, since the research that has so far been reviewed has not been sufficient to convince you of its neutrality and clarity and its significance and reality. If the IPCC had had more personnel working on the Fourth Assessment Report, it would probably would have avoided the minor problems that have been so widely criticised.

    So my constructive suggestions would be :-

    a. Stop looking for a “man in the moon”

    When hard-working people assure you they have not been tampering with data, do not have some imagined bias and that they do not have warped intentions, accept what they say. As Phil Jones says – he wants us to read his science rather than his e-mails.

    b. Make more funds and resources available for Climate Change science

    If there is a political agenda anywhere in all of this, it is to be seen in the punitive measures being enacted against science. Shall we go back to the Dark Ages of unknowing, Judith Curry, and will you be one of the people to offer to lead us there ?

    • Wow. Official enquiries said no one did anything except write poor e-mails. I’m sure glad that there are proper officials available to explain to me that my reading comprehension is so poor. Without proper officials to tell me what to think, I might have an improper thought or two and that would never do.

      • Yeah, stan, I especially liked ‘one probable typographical error from transcription and a few possible cases of mistaken referencing’. D’ya suppose the voodoo’s gotten into this one?

      • You gotta love this:

        “The UK Parliamentary Committee asked Muir Russell to investigate. Muir Russell refused. Muir Russell pointed out to the Committee in his evidence last fall that asking Jones about delete emails might result in the identification of an offence.”


      • Yes Jo, I can imagine the cortroom now ” it was a typographical error on my tax return your honour”
        Occam’s Razer dictates that the simplest explanation is probably the best as long as it is not contraindicated by the facts. However it also requires you to examine all explanations and not just those that suit your prejudices.

    • Nice to see that RealClimate and the Campaign against Climate Change are wheeling out the big guns… Just in case anyone is not clear where Jo’s feeling lie on this debate:

      Anyone for a Phil Jones devotional circle?

      Jo: “5.I would like to propose that we form a “Phil Jones Devotional Circle”, and put a nice logo on our personal and organisational websites, linking through to a page here at RealClimate (or elsewhere) that extols the virtues of said Phil Jones, and catalogues his many great achievements.

      That, at least, could warm Phil Jones’ heart, in letting him know how much we value and support him. If those suffering from septicaemia choose another target, we should have a “We Love…” page for them as well. I think it’s about time we had a page explaining just how much we venerate and adore Michael Mann, for example. And James Hansen. And Malte Meinshausen. And Tom Wigley… There’s such a long list…”

      A question for Jo Abbess.
      Has anyone (ie inquiries) actually asked Phil Jones – Not just did you ask people to delete emails about the IPCC process.

      But more importantly.

      Why did you feel the NEED to ask them to delete emails.

      One point worth noting. Jo Abbess stands head and shoulders above RealClimate in the intellectually honest stakes. Jo has NEVER deleted/blocked any of my comments at her blog.. (or anybody else, that is civil) Unlike RealClimate and Eric Steig in particular.

      • Barry

        you are yanking my chain – a Phil Jones Devotional Circle – please tell me I am dreaming.

        And is the same Jo Abbess who had to tell Richard Black(?) at the BBC how to write politically correct copy or have I got my wires crossed? It does happen in this dreamworld that I inhabit.

      • i stick to the facts .. the link i posted is to the comment at realclimate.. I was actually watching the comments appear realtime..

        Yes, to the other questions..

        Jo doesn’t delete my comments at her blog, so all credit to Jo
        unlike realclimate

      • Actually it was Roger Harrabin (BBC) and Jo Abbess – google both, you will find it.

      • A James Hansen Devotional Circle you say? Well, here’s one from the dustjacket of his latest tome:

        “Dr. James Hansen is Paul Revere to the foreboding tyranny of climate chaos—a modern-day hero who has braved criticism and censure and put his career and fortune at stake to issue the call to arms against the apocalyptic forces of ignorance and greed.”

        — Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

        “When the history of the climate crisis is written, Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet’s environment.”

        — Al Gore, Time Magazine

        “Jim Hansen is the planet’s great hero. He offered us the warning we needed twenty years ago, and has worked with enormous courage ever since to try and make sure we heeded it. We’ll know before long if that effort bears fruit—if it does, literally no one deserves more credit than Dr. Hansen.”

        — Bill McKibben, coordinator 350.org
        and author of The End of Nature

        “If you want to know the scientific consensus on global warming, read the reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. But if you want to know what the consensus will be ten years from now, read Jim Hansen’s work.”

        — Dr. Chuck Kutscher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and American Solar Energy Society (ASES), editor of ASES report “Tackling Climate Change in the U.S.


        “In Storms of My Grandchildren, James Hansen gives us the opportunity to watch a scientist who is sick of silence and compromise…offer up the fruits of four-plus decades of inquiry and ingenuity just in case he might change the course of history.”

        — L.A. Times


    • Wow – another Martha.

      And just as relentlessly clueless.

      What a waste of perfectly good words.

    • jo abess

      Denial is a wonderful thing.

      You can even conjure up “man in the moon” analogies in order to deny what is happening before your very eyes, namely that a few “insiders” have given all of climate science a black eye through their own zealousness to defend their “dogma”.

      This is pretty much general knowledge today, despite a few feeble insider efforts to whitewash the situation.

      And Dr. Curry is fully right in lamenting this whole chain of events, particularly as it impacts the public credibility of many climate scientists that were not involved in the malfeasance or of “science” in general.

      But lamenting, denouncing or analyzing what happened is quite a normal, rational reaction.

      Denying that it exists is irrational.


    • jo abbess

      I am mostly of the same opinion as you, with some caveats.

      1.) However honest the inquiries (and what evidence of dishonour is there across four nations and five disjoint administrations?), they have left a broad sense of dissatisfaction among a broad range of observers. Maybe that’s because of a propaganda war by agitators, well-meaning or otherwise. Maybe that’s because “Hide the decline” is such a provocative and powerful slogan that, like a tar-baby, few can resist diving upon and wrestling to their dismay. Maybe there’s something to this dissatisfaction that is reasonable and meaningful and true.

      Whatever it is, it has taken on a life of its own. This tar golem ought be faced before it sap the life out of the subject by distraction and distress.

      I recommend don’t repeat ‘inquiries.’ Repeat details of findings; be specific, be open-minded, be honest. They’re only inquiries, after all, not the Spanish Inquisition. Some, it seems, will not be happy until waterboarding is used. We ought do what we can to find better answers than that.

      2.) There is something wrong with science. There are many somethings.

      I’ve seen them. If you have not seen wrong, then you need not be moved as I am moved, and need take no action.

      I’ve seen whole institutions squirrel away data, some scientists refusing to allow their observations to be stored electronically, so paranoid that someone will ‘steal’ their publicly-funded, or persuasively-of-public-interest figures and use it before the researcher can publish and obtain maximum credit for original research.

      This inversion, this adverse reward, hurts all, flies in the face of sound practice, and opens research to many abuses and doubts. It is the backbone of many research institutions. Do you doubt it?

      So, yes, on this alone we must brush aside the findings of the inquiries as too narrow and too limited, because we know worse things happen.

      3.) There is far too much inertia in the framing of the questions; perhaps an intuition by the general skeptic audience is triggered by a dissonance between what is being discussed in that framework and the experiences and thoughts and knowledge and feelings of these skeptics.

      Reframed to the skeptic’s cases, the same questions and new researches will invariably find the same or better truths, and will illuminate disparities in point of view, and clarify obscurata.

      I do not say to stoop to poorer logic or poorer reasoning, the shoddy logic and bad understanding of experimental design and scientific method of the great unwashed, but to address the very few theories that do rise to the level of working within general principles and a framework of ideas, or rather I say to continue this effort, since I have yet to see a worthwhile skeptical idea exposed to the light of reasoning and logic, skeptical inquiry and experimental or direct and validated observation and not fail either against the null hypothesis (any conventional null hypothesis) or multi-hypothesis testing, or other verification methods of substance… EXCEPT.

      Except when the framing of the question by a skeptic has led to better and deeper understanding, and broadly agrees with the established conclusions or better places them in a more meaningful context.

      4.) Data management is appalling in institutions, and CRU was just one more example of this. That’s been affirmed by some of the inquiries, and is very obvious to data management professionals even a little conversant with the CRU emails.

      They’ve had 15 months.. Does anyone know what data management method CRU uses today?

      My own preference is for all data that may be FOI-able ought be from the start stored in folders with public Internet access, and all uses of this data to include working links to the data.

      I think this should apply to private companies for information that may be public-interest-compellable, too.

      • Improved data management and contract management was one of the suggestions I made to parliament as an answer to Climategate. I have no idea if they have instituted a formal document and data control protocal.

        The other suggestion would be to remove scientists from “gateway” functions. Phil Jones should not be deciding what data gets released and to whom. Not because he is Phil Jones, but because it puts him in a position to take actions that can be construed as obstructionist.

        For me at this point the focus is on conflict prevention

      • Agreed re conflict prevention

      • ya, I cant imagine sending a grad student forward in this kind of atmosphere. Those of us who have nothing personal to lose by continuing this blistering fight, might pause to think the battlefield the grad students will inherit.

        When we sat there and listened to Mann talk about his lessons learned about the climate wars. I hoped ( I can still do that) that he might recognize that fighting Mc was understandable but wrong headed. “learn from me, kids, share your data share your code, even if you think the guy is evil spawn of koch. truth will out” But no, ‘write an editorial.’ was his advise.

      • will do a thread tomorrow on the reference you provided, i like it.

      • Steve,

        There was an atmospheric science grad wou went by the name of “Jen” who got involved in the first of these threads. One of the most interesting things she had to say, IMO, is that she doesn’t think the paleo record is that important. Infact, without wishing to put words in her mouth, I got the impression that she would be most pleased if this whole endless hockey stick merry-go-round would just go away.
        Perhaps the upcoming generation of grad students are exactly the people who should be involved in any ‘new paradigm’. I don’t think the current academic environment is doing them, or anyone else, any favours.

      • steven mosher

        I think we can agree there are too many gateways at all.

        Why waste valuable resources preventing access to data?

        To what end?

        Some information, the sort of confidential personal employment and health and financial records of individuals, it of course makes good sense to safeguard.

        Temperature data? Windspeed? Humidity?

        How does that make sense to post guards on?

        How does it ever make sense to have any but a disinterested* guard on anything, anyway?

        Put it all into the cloud and open it up, unless it is a personal confidential record.

        *As opposed to uninterested.

      • It made sense in a pre-web 2.0 era, when data management and storage was very expensive and consumed human resources.

        It doesn’t make sense in a post 2010 era. We should strive for total openness in all sciences, full disclosures, etc. Storage is only getting cheaper and cheaper, it is almost zero by now, it’s ridiculous to insist otherwise.

    • Jo Abbess:

      If you can locate the missing tropospheric hotspot I will in the future regard your every utterance as gospel truth. Perhaps the missing hotspot can be found someplace on the moon along with that missing face.

    • jo abbess,
      Your analogy breaks down under any sort of reasonable scrutiny.
      It is the AGW calamity promoters who have stared at the moon, found a man in it and sold that vision.
      It is the skeptics who have pointed out the man ain’t there.
      You refer to ‘investigations’ by people who did not review what they claimed was fine, asked no questions to determine if in fact the explanations offered by the e-mail writers were accurate or truthful, and then declared everything pretty much OK- the man in the mmon (a CO2 caused calamity) is still there.

    • When I first started reading your analogy I thought you were talking about the warmers seeing the “man in the moon.” I soon realized that you were not talking about warmers because you didn’t mentioned that they were actually paid for finding the “man in the moon”……. and if they found him enough and presented it correctly they could even become quasi-famous…….. in many circles.

    • ‘Make more funds and resources available for Climate Change science’

      Wow. I wonder why I am not gobsmacked with surprise at this suggestion.

      In UK , this was the mantra of every public sector leader whenever their colleagues were found to have acted badly/unlawfully.

      ‘We don’t have enough resources to do a proper job’.

      ‘If we were better paid, we’d have noticed that the reason the baby was blue and had stopped breathing was because he’d been beaten to death by his parents, instead of sending him home with a couple of paracetamol and a hanky’

      And even better

      ‘We will have a full enquiry and lessons will be learnt’

      Sorry Jo, you are acting exactly like one of those dinosaurs. And with juts about the same relevance and future prospects. There IS a real problem with climatology’s trust and credibility. Pretending that there isn’t won’t make it go away.

      It is not the abstract Man in the Moon, but the Elephant in the Living Room that you need to worry about.

      PS – the chances of getting more money out of any government for climate change issues are zero for the forseeable future. Not being drastically reduced would be a major victory for your guys.

    • jo, you rascal you. I really thought you were referring to AGW with that man on the moon stuff.

      • Me too. But at least she didn’t start wailing about tobacco-deniers, Big Oil, or…shudder…. Rush Limbaugh.

    • One probable typographical error from transcription and a few possible cases of mistaken referencing do not overturn the confidence we have in the review work of the IPCC. There’s no “bad practice” there – just the usual probabilities of human error in such a vast field.

      I agree, as a massive Propaganda Operation, the IPCC CO2=CAGW “Climate Science” couldn’t have produced a much better effort, except, of course, for the component which will be corrected by increased funding.

    • The comments of Jo Abess demonstrate that reconciliation is impossible. This is not science, it is politics.

      The best response of good scientists to bad science is good science.

      How did the warmists take control of climate science? The answer to this question provides the answer to “good science”. The leaders of scientific associations started to endorse particular scientific positions (appeals to authority and consensus). The peer review process was corrupted by placing friendly editors in key positions to promote the party line. Funding directed all the money into pro AGW research. Control of the media is a political issue best left to political players.

      1) The left took control of the science institutions and used these groups to issue official statements endorsing AGW. The leaders of the American Physic Society are not related to the Pope. Alter the constitutions of the science organizations to ensure that the leaders are prohibited from pontificating on scientific issues.

      2) The National Academy of Science was corrupted by opening a back door to let the “political” scientists in. I don’t think it is possible but maybe all those let in thru the back door could be kicked out.

      3) The peer review process was corrupted; maybe it always was? There doesn’t seem to be any way to fix this since it involves freedom of the press.

      Better would be to require all “respectable” science journals to publish on the Internet i) the raw data ii) algorithms to massage the raw data (source code if necessary) iii) the massaged data iv) any algorithm used to calculate the result (including source code if necessary).

      The result will be that “experiments” become reproducible once more. That is the essence of good science. Anyone who hides their data or algorithms is not a scientist but a propagandizer arguing from authority. The hockey stick never would have happened if they had been required to publish their data and algorithms at the same time as their paper.

      4) Control of the funding process allowed them to drown out the sceptics in a blizzard of “research”. This is what Eisenhower was getting at. By controlling the grant process, they control the results.

      Gov’t bureaucrats should not be allowed to direct all these funds. It would be better if somehow real scientists from universities and industry were allowed to direct the grant process. I have no idea how to do this practically but it is essential to get back to good science since the government plays such a major role in funding the research.

      Perhaps block grants to universities who parcel the money out to professors. DARPA seems to have an effective means of funding successful research. Maybe the DARPA process could be spread to other areas of the government.

      5) IPCC is just the politicians co-opting scientists to their agenda. The sole purpose was to be able to claim that “thousands of the best scientists endorsed AGW”. Any process where the summary is written and then the detailed papers are altered so that they don’t conflict has nothing to do with science and everything to do with politics.

      Scientists just have to be careful about participating in these types of organizations. Best suggestion is to allow competing reports. Allow any group to form and produce a counter report to the official report. If their is only one official opposition group it will be co-opted.

      Make sure the next official report has to address issues raised in the other reports. It is still easy for the official report to ignore the other reports or to distort their arguments and attack strawmen. Over time this will become clear.


  14. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    “thank god realclimate doesn’t allow these comments”. Yeah that’s about right you coward. Go back to realclimate and hide behind your moderation screen where nobody is allowed to refute your garbage. Coward.

    • The Bore Hole is the best part of that site.

      • The Bore Hole is good, but most good comments don’t even make it there. They immediatley get posted somewhere in oblivion.

    • Have you wondered where all the dissenters have gone from WUWT and climate audit. Either threatened by watts, or binned into moderation. Look at the threads on audit, notice that the knife has removed posted to which others still refer. If you’re lucky you could use google cahe and see the removed items!!!
      Most blogs edit comments out.

      • Climate audit doens’t censor any comments, unless you are terribly annoying and named TCO. If you write something grossly off topic, too general, or full of curse words, you may be snipped; but you can certainly re-write the comment and have it posted. Don’t even TRY to compare CA to RC; RC is a joke.

      • You are just making this up, or did CA excise your even more paranoid posting concerning the invasion of blogs by gov’t sponsered “bots”?

  15. I don’t understand the idea of asking for an admission. And I don’t mind which one (guilt, no “best practice”, whatever). I even don’t see the need for conflict resolution.

    What if the team admits now, after all this surreal defense, that hide the decline is not best practice? Are we going to trust them in the next round, or are we going to look at them, and their tricks, with a magnifying glass?

    • Well said plazeme.

      I can’t think of anything more counter-productive than for the sceptical side to now reach out for some sort of reconciliation, with the entire hierarchy of the alarmist side, who were entirely responsible for this fiasco in the first place, still comfortably ensconced (if a little embarrassed).

      No. Reconciliation can come in a few years time, after real enquiries as to how so much of the climate science community got to run rogue for so long, unchallenged except for a few unpaid bloggers. Reconciliation can come after real blame for dishonest conduct has been allocated, AND meaningful corrective action has been taken.

      Reconciliation now would (rightly) just be dismissed as whitewash.

    • I agree. As I said in part 2, that ship has sailed. For anyone that has been watching for very long, “hide the decline” was only one of a litany offenses. For the people that run in the same skeptical circles as myself, I can’t see any of us come to the point where we’d believe anything the usual suspects would say. Possibly, if there were a regime change, maybe, but not likely.

      • I hate to say it, but i fear you’re both right.

        A climate scientist could tell me that the sky was blue and i’d want to go outside to check.

        I maintain the only way out of this mess is through full and independant audits. They’re impersonal, devoid of political aspects (use an established 3rd party company- industry has many good ones) and WILL sort the wheat from the chaff.

        You’ll then have a VERY sound base for moving this ‘science’ forward. But, for the current ‘guard’, it is hard to see how they can continue while still maintaining the credibility of the science post-audit.

    • As long as the RC Team, with its arrogance and dishonesty, remains in place, there can be no resolution and no trust in “climate science”. The stable has to be cleaned out and a fresh start made, with proper quality controls in place.

    • BlueIce2HotSea


      Yes. It’s going to be tricky.

      Thus far the Team stance has been:
      It is UNACCEPTABLE to exclude the analytic paradigm referred to as “Hide-the-Decline” from our scientific methodology.

      Perhaps one-day a compromise Team position will emerge:
      We don’t understand what your problem is, but in the interest of scientific progress we will agree to an easing off of Hide-the-Decline as a first choice best practice. However, in return for our good faith assurances, you must NEVER AGAIN MENTION HIDE-THE-DECLINE.

      This used to be referred to as Soviet style negotiation: an opponent holds fast to a ridiculously extreme position with the intention that, after lengthy negotiation and compromise, he will be “forced” to accept merely an extreme position in his favor.

      But our dilemma is that the brouhaha has decreased confidence in the science of climate change while simultaneously increasing uncertainty in the potential risks. Since bad science does not prove anything either way, de-funding climate science could be a big mistake; it must not be the outcome of our protests. In fact, responsible skeptics have more reason to push the reconciliation process than culpable warmists.

  16. Conflict resolution only has a chance of working if all necessary parties have a reason to participate. Whether it’s two countries fighting over boundaries, two companies fighting over a contract dispute, or two people fighting in a divorce, the principle is the same.

    The CAGW advocates have nothing to gain within their sphere. They already control the IPCC, all European governments and, until recently, had both Houses of Congress, the Presidency, and the Supreme Court (on climate) in the U.S.

    Conservative skeptics now control the House of Representatives, giving them an effective veto over virtually any large scale climate initiative. They appear poised to increase those gains, take control of the Senate, and maybe even the presidency in the next election.

    Where there are diametrically opposed positions, and both parties feel they are in a position to decisively win the conflict, alternative dispute resolution will almost certainly fail.

    It is no surprise to me that lukewarmers would like the consensus and the skeptics to reach a compromise of some kind, because that would almost certainly be an adoption of the “lukewarmist” position – more government action that skeptics would like, but less than the consensus sees as necessary. But absent a drastic change in the political climate, that does not seem likely to happen.

    Consensus advocates are convinced that concerted government action on a massive scale is necessary to save mankind. Conservative skeptics are convinced that the risk is not so severe, and that the real danger is the government action that the consensus believes is essential. This is not the type of dispute that will be settled in negotiation or mediation. It will be won by one side, and lost by the other. That’s what elections are about.

    • You’re thinking politically, not scientifically. You are well in your prerogative to do so, of course, but I think that these two kinds of modes of speech are not entirely compatible.

      While in one hand I do agree that in climate science, politics came first (I did believe otherwise, until I grew up and read more about the history of this thematic), with a particular vague ideology about how the ecossystem is being torn apart by the capitalist “forever growing” system, and then how this “torning apart” became more quantified and calculated throughout the various facets of the ecossystem (acid rain, DDT, nuclear waste, chemical waste, acid oceans, ozone hole, global warming, etc.,etc.), despite the almost ridiculous natural barriers to numerate these problems in a rigorous fashion, I have to admit that these are valid concerns that should be watched out.

      So while I do agree with Climate Resistance thesis that the politics is prior to the science, it’s perhaps not such “bad politics” to insist on knowing what are we doing to the planet. What is bad politics and science is to insist that (1) any change of the ecossystem is prima facie bad, (2) human wellbeing is / should be correlated with natural occurrences.

      This ideology is what drives current politics on CO2, that we should tame ourselves to the natural forces, and be “harmonized” with them.

      Nevertheless, the science method is unapologetic to ideologies of any kind. So if the standards of science get upholded and taken back from the barbaric situation it is currently in, we should expect frankness and fortitude about what we *really* can say about the planet, scientifically. And then we will weed out from any personal scientist’s speech what is actually established scientifically about it, and what is sheer speculation and / or full blown ideology (be it gaian ideology, be it neo-liberal “all will be fine” ideology).

      • Re: (undefined NaN NaN:NaN), L.D.;
        The terms “conflict resolution” and “reconciliation” are inherently political/social, and not scientific.

        Goals dominate. If it is the fact that Warmists want to maximize intergovernmental control of the planet’s economy to prevent any possible consequences of warming, while Skeptics want to minimize government intervention and deal with any untoward developments if and when they arise by free market adaptive means, then “reconciliation” is very unlikely.

        Because of the “ratchet” effect, government controls once implemented are almost impossible to back off, so even minimal enactment of them is unacceptable to skeptics because it likely forever precludes less drastic adaptations.

      • The problem with your schematics is that it is simplistic and doesn’t represent all viewpoints.

        What if I am all for “government intervention” but I find the science behind it lacking? Should I just endorse all the uproar behind global warming just because I agree with some political agendas?

        What if I am a conservative that nevertheless sees global warming as a serious issue? Should I ignore people as James Hansen just because I don’t “like” what he is saying?

        Why should I be limited to your polarizing 1 axis (left-right) schematics? Scepticism can be either about the physics involved, or about projections, or statistics, or even about the economic studies, or, lastly, the political choices we are given to deal with the situation.

        In physics, the problem with global warming is that it is either happening or not, and to what degree we are to blame, i.e., it’s a problem of fact, not politics. This ought to be slightly independent from politics, since the planet doesn’t stop warming just because I voted republican last fall, or vice-versa. What it may stop (gov intervention) is entirely independent from the ethical concerns we are discussing in this thread.

        I mean, I think I’m stating obviosities here, but your answers do not tell me that these points are getting across.

      • “What if I am all for “government intervention” but I find the science behind it lacking?”
        “What if I am a conservative that nevertheless sees global warming as a serious issue?”

        That is a false dichotomy. A liberal/progressive who favors central economic planning wants government control regardless of the science. If CAGW were proven to be an accurate hypothesis, this would inform HOW a progressive would tax and regulate the energy economy, not whether.

        To the contrary, a conservative who genuinely determined that the CAGW hypothesis were accurate would have to accept extensive government action that he would otherwise not countenance.

        As to: “Why should I be limited to your polarizing 1 axis (left-right) schematics?”

        The polarizing left-right, 1 axis schematic isn’t anyone’s creation. It is a description of the real world policy/political debate, not the science. There are a vocal minority of lukewarmer/moderates, but the actual resolution of the debate will be made in the political sphere where the majority rules. That majority was liberal for years, but appears to be shifting to conservative.

        I thought we had gotten away from the “can’t we forget the politics and just talk about the science” complaint. Absolutely, that’s what the science journals are supposedly for (although they have been politicized as well). Blogs like this have the traffic they do precisely because of the political implications. And “hide the decline” is the major source of contention that it is because of those same implications.

      • To the contrary, a conservative who genuinely determined that the CAGW hypothesis were accurate would have to accept extensive government action that he would otherwise not countenance.

        This is completely untrue. For instance, the CO2 carbon trading (awful) scheme is “based” on capitalistic premises, not governmental ones, although it’s so crappy I don’t think either side (public) really supports it (only the millionaires).

        For another, you may believe that despite it being a problem, the best way to tackle it is to stop taxing the people and let them find solutions “freely”, on their own, with their entrepeneury skills and lack of regulatory and bureaucratic nonsense.

        There are multiple ways to tackle a problem, unless you have a failure of imagination, which I concede that it is a problem in political circles.

        Politics do not end with science conclusions.

        The polarizing left-right, 1 axis schematic isn’t anyone’s creation. It is a description of the real world policy/political debate, not the science.

        It’s up to you to let yourself be dragged into simplistic schematics. Don’t count me in. Such a landscape spells doom for me, because instead of providing with answers towards solutions, we have simplistic links between facts and decisions, not based upon empiricism but upon ideology.

        I thought we had gotten away from the “can’t we forget the politics and just talk about the science” complaint. Absolutely, that’s what the science journals are supposedly for (although they have been politicized as well). Blogs like this have the traffic they do precisely because of the political implications. And “hide the decline” is the major source of contention that it is because of those same implications.

        “Hide the decline” is a problem precisely because it reveals a political agenda inside what ought to be a scientific one. To simply declare it thus “political” by definition is, paraphrasing Mosher, “bad practice”. We should clean science from politics, not the other way around.

      • “We should clean science from politics, not the other way around.” Perhaps if English is not native to you, you don’t see how ambiguous that is. Do you mean “We should clean politics out of science”? That’s not quite what it says.

        As for being “dragged into simplistic schematics”, one cannot refrain from being affected by reality by refusing to acknowledge it. However noble it may feel.

      • “Do you mean “We should clean politics out of science”?”

        Yes, thank you.

        As for being “dragged into simplistic schematics”, one cannot refrain from being affected by reality by refusing to acknowledge it. However noble it may feel.

        We should always strive not to be simple puppets of media outlet “pundits”.

      • Luis Diaz

        “For instance, the CO2 carbon trading (awful) scheme is “based” on capitalistic premises, not governmental ones”

        That’s some contorted thinking.

      • It’s based upon (bad) market ideas.

      • Then we agree.

      • You did notice my opening with “If”, didn’t you? Perhaps not.

        The other scenarios and combinations of views you describe are indeed possible. But I wonder if you’d find many real-world instances of them, as more than pro-forma poses.

      • Well, I can only speak for myself, I do not enter your stereotypes at all. And I don’t think I’m that special.

  17. Harold H Doiron

    Dr. Curry, et. al.,

    These recommended 5 Steps are excellent steps for the climate change community to take. They fit well with my previous suggestions on this site a couple of months ago that our nation needs a high-level independent review board like the one chaired by Dr. Richard Feynman for the Shuttle Challenger accident, to determine if current climate change models are suitable for use in guiding major public policy change decisions by the US Government. I strongly agree with your proposed Step 3 that before one can solve a problem (find the root cause of why a process isn’t behaving the way we want it to) there needs to be agreement that a problem to be solved exists, as well as agreement on a concise Problem Statement that decribes what is happening that we don’t want to happen. Another aspect of the problem definition is an agreement that the process has deviated too far from its desired or expected normal state, and that the precise time of when this deviation began to occur can be identified.

    The Problem Statement agreement is the first step and a fundamental requirement of the Kepner-Tregoe problem solving method ( see The New Rational Manager by Kepner and Tregoe) that I have used successfully for over 35 years after intense NASA training on the method in the 1970’s. I am encouraged by the self-regulating steps the climate change community is proposing here via the discussions on this website. As a climate change skeptic, I commend and very much appreciate Dr. Curry for her leadership in this area.

    • While Richard Feynman served on the Challenger review panel he did not chair it and as I recall he had to fight to get his dissenting view included in the final report that was widely viewed at the time as a whitewash of NASA’s risk assessment and risk management practices. I do not believe that more government oversight of government-funded research is the answer to the problem posed by politically motivated science. Perhaps what “Science” needs is less government involvement.

      • Harold H Doiron

        You are correct. Retired Sec of State (?) Rogers was the Chair of the Challenger review board also known as “The Rogers Commission”.

        I was not proposing government oversight of research. I agree there is too much politics in determining what research gets funded. I wanted an independent commission to determine if current Climate Change models predicting impending CAGW were sufficiently reliable and validated to use in extremely costly public policy decisions that will significantly affect quality of life and economic status US citizens. I don’t want government involved other than to authorize the review board and to choose board members who are technically qualified, diverse in their backgrounds, and free of conflicts of interest.

    • Harold H Doiron February 24, 2011
      Wow! A kindred spirit. I thought I had the only copy still in the wild. Combine that with Deming and you have a powerful method. Congratulations!

      • Harold H Doiron

        The original K-T book, The Rational Manager, is out of print but I have purchased several used copies through Amazon.com to give to special friends and/or students. It has different problem solving case histories (the ones I initially studied) than the revised text, The New Rational Manger, for which new copies are still available. I have Deming also.

        I think we should teach Junior High students the proven thought processes contained in Kepner-Tregoe and Deming. The concepts are simple enough, but Oh so powerful!

    • “…our nation needs a high-level independent review board like the one chaired by Dr. Richard Feynman for the Shuttle Challenger accident, to determine if current climate change models are suitable for use in guiding major public policy change decisions by the US Government.”

      Who would you say, among Climate Scientists, is a sufficiently “Feynman-esque” empiricist to be trusted to chair the panel?

      • Harold H Doiron

        I wouldn’t allow a climate change scientist to chair the panel. I would choose a concensus scientific leader from a basic underlying field of physics, oceanography, geophysics, etc. and most independent of any political or corporate influences, who can understand the various presentations and ask pertinent questions. I would want experts from all branches of science, statistical analysis, computer modeling, and engineering that climate scientists draw their specialty from on the review board with as much objectivity and independence of climate research as possible.

        My mistake in my original post above…retired Sec. of State (?) Rogers, non-techncal, was the Chair of the Challenger Review Board. Feynman was clearly the most active and famous scientist on the Board, and it was his intellect and complete independence of NASA, the US Gov’t or any NASA contractors that made him the most valuable member of that board. I don’t think there was anything that new or surprising about his personal experiments or findings during that investigation, but he was clearly independent of NASA and its contractors and he wasn’t afraid to ask the questions that needed to be asked. Some of his personal recollections of the post-Challenger investigation and recollections of those that worked with him on the Challenger Review Board can be found in the book, “No Ordinary Genius, The Illustrated Richard Feynman” by Christopher Sykes.

      • Harold H Doiron,

        ” I would choose a concensus scientific leader from a basic underlying field of physics, oceanography, geophysics, etc. and most independent of any political or corporate influences, who can understand the various presentations and ask pertinent questions. I would want experts from all branches of science, statistical analysis, computer modeling, and engineering that climate scientists draw their specialty from on the review board with as much objectivity and independence of climate research as possible. ”

        I agree and all papers and articles shall be review by them before publish, such as, K&T’s 1997 Global Annual Mean Energy Budget.

  18. “Keith Kloor weighs in on this dispute and infers the public sees no problem. Please provide counter evidence to Kloor’s assertion; my main concern is other scientists and decision makers (I make no claim to understand public opinion).”

    Perhaps Kloor isn’t very observant:


  19. I’m sorry to see that John ignored my proposal altogether. I wrote a blog post on it at WUWT and commented on it her at Climate Etc more than once. The most important step in conflict resolution is improved understanding. To gain this improved understanding requires some cooperation among people who have different viewpoints on the science but not differing viewpoints on the level of honesty required. A number of proponents of global warming have condemned the deceit behind “hide the decline.” Anyone who defends the indefensible is not worth trying to cooperate with.

    See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/13/a-modest-proposal-in-lieu-of-disbanding-the-ipcc/

    See also http://network.nature.com/groups/reassessing_climate_change/forum/topics/9025

    • Sorry, Ron, I only compiled suggestions from that one thread. Thanks for speaking up here.

    • Bruce Cunningham

      “A number of proponents of global warming have condemned the deceit behind “hide the decline.” Anyone who defends the indefensible is not worth trying to cooperate with.”

      Well stated!

  20. I think #2 most closely matches my main concern, which is that high profile scientists, who hold influential positions with regard to the wider scientific community and in terms of preparing reports for governments, cannot see that attempting to conceal adverse results from a wider audience goes against the grain of everything science should be about.

    I can understand fanatics and internet blowhards (Lambert and Deepclimate spring to mind) are always going to defend the likes of Jones no matter what he does. These people don’t matter. But when someone like Gavin Schmidt weighs in, defending such atrocious science as if it was perfectly fine and reasonable, something is seriously wrong.

    It reminds me a bit of Professor Ian Jolliffe’s contribution when Tamino invoked his work in the hockey stick debate. Mann’s analysis was simply terrible work, with a litany of problems. Yet high profile people (incl. Dr Schmidt once again) continued to defend what was obviously just bad work. Dr Jolliffe said of this:

    It therefore seems crazy that the MBH hockey stick has been given such prominence and that a group of influential climate scientists have doggedly defended a piece of dubious statistics.

    To me, this sums up the problems with hide-the-decline. It isn’t so much that it happened. It isn’t the need to find a scapegoat. It is the fact that certain influential climate scientists doggedly defend bad science. This is just astonishing, and must leave the impartial scientifically literate observer doubtful about their integrity.

    • It’s actual prominence is because MM05 attacked it. MBH98 is a work in paleo-climatology. Interesting, but minor. M&M’s attention is why it’s even discussed these days. It’s been superseded by other work and other work by Mann. The temperature reconstructions doggedly recreate a strikingly similar temperature record.

      • And doggedly re-use Bristlecone series and upside down varves. Woof, woof.

      • You trust M&M? Why?

        Why did they use the graph with the funky Y-axis (in hundredth of a degree) to compare to MBH (tenths of a degree)?

        And, in their allegedly random Monte Carlo routine, why did they pre-select for biggest movement with no negative numbers? Why did they illustrate the effect rather than explicate the mathematical processes.

        So, you trust M&M over Mann. Why?

        And other scientists do other proxies with nary a tree in sight. Guess what they find?

      • I think I’d trust Bernie Madoff over Michael Mann.

      • I know I shouldn’t feed the off-topic troll, but I just can’t resist… Dr Curry, feel free to snip if you feel this is too far from topic.

        Why did they use the graph with the funky Y-axis (in hundredth of a degree) to compare to MBH (tenths of a degree)?

        Jeffrey, you clearly have no idea how the MBH98 algorithm works. I assume you mean Figure 1 of MM05 in GRL. The Y-Axis of M&M’s graph is not in units of degrees C, and further it wouldn’t matter if it was. The PC’s generated are rescaled using weights determined by multivariate regression after this stage, so it wouldn’t matter if the PC units had a magnitude range of 10^-12 or 10^12, the result would be identical. Only the shape of this curve matters.

        I’m not sure what you mean by “pre-selecting for negative numbers”. I assume you mean the same aspect of the algorithm? Once again, the answer is it doesn’t matter which way up the hockey stick goes because the regression algorithm orients it. If you negate the curve, the final result from the MBH98 algorithm is identical.

        In short, the reason I think M&M’s results are right is not because I “trust” them, but because I’ve independently understood and assessed their claims, and found them to be accurate. But in order to do this, you have to understand the MBH98 algorithm first. Since your commentary shows you clearly don’t understand how it works, it suggests you are not in a position to effectively assess claims on either side.

        Having exposed your ignorance on the MBH98/MM05 work, can I suggest that you stop picking at this particular scab for now, and get the thread back on topic?

      • Well, size matters. If the curve is at the scale of noise in the other graph, size matters.

        Read the analysis of the Wegman Report that I linked to. The randomness of MM05 is in question. The data isn’t random if you only select for a certain responsiveness of the data.

      • Yes. I am not a statistician. But why did MM05 choose a graph to argue with? The numerical process has a sequence of identifiable operations that are performed upon data. The process to produce, from random data, a line that stays flat for 80% of its life and then gradually rises over the last 20% will have a sequence in which some values are artificially augmented. There will have to be tests to indicate which part of the data it currently is in.

        Or it will have a process in which the given data is augmented by a given rate depending upon how far along the iteration is. Like an exponential function.

        So, there will be code that will either trigger the augmentation depending upon the amount of code remaining or it will have code which will augment more, from undetectable to more , throughout the process.

        If the result is to appear to mirror the real world, it will augment more or less depending upon some aesthetic criterion which the coder decided resembles the way the real world looks. So, there will be an exotic function in there to introduce a semblance of authenticity.

        What part of the MBH’s code augmented the data that way? What part of MM05 did?

      • There are many ways of checking, whether the explanation that M&M proposed is capable of telling that the hockey stick is just an artifact of the methodology.

        One can, e.g., check whether the coefficients that each proxy time series receives in the principal component that is supposed to show the hockey stick. If there would not be any real significance in the result and everything would be just fitting red noise, the signs would be random. If all or almost all signs and in particular all signs, which correspond to a strong influence in the final result are as expected from the nature of the data, then there is certainly true content in the results. It is well known that one lake sediment proxy series from Finland got the wrong sign, but that is due to a documented contamination in later part of the time series. If there would be more examples, I am sure, we would have heard it, but I have not noticed such declarations. This appears to be a very strong argument to support Mann et al.

        An alternative study could be inverting the instrumental temperature series and repeating the analysis dropping all proxies that get the wrong sign compared to the expected temperature dependence. If he explanation of M&M holds, we should get an equally nice hockey stick, but with the end turning down. I bet that we would not get that, but again I do not know, whether somebody has tried this.

        The criticism of M&M was not without any merit, but neither was it accurate or fully justified. The basic shape of the hockey stick has been confirmed several times in other studies. All studies suffer, however, from the problem that the example of M&M may still be partially valid. It cannot be the full explanation for the result, but it may explain part of it. Estimating, how much is due to this influence is difficult to determine as we cannot separate from the proxy data cleanly the variations due to changes in the temperature and random fluctuations, which have a suitable autocorrelation. This is a problem that appears to leave still quite a lot of uncertainty in the estimation of past temperature variations, and the likely type of error is a reduction of earlier temperature variations.

      • Well, as I said, it’s alleged that MBH98 produced the hockey stick artificially. To do that, there needs to be a mathematical process to account for it. We may have 2 sets of code which produce that shape artificially, but the funny thing is that we know we have one, and that one wasn’t written by Michael Mann.

        It’s a simple question: what part of the math artificially imposes that shape on random data? It may be difficult to answer, but we’re all ears.

      • It is well known and has been well known years before the hockey stick was mentioned that an analysis of the general type used in the analysis of Mann et al will produce such a result from a sufficient set of random autocorrelated data (autocorrelated means essentially the same as “red” in red noise). There is nothing new in that and it was taken into account by Mann et al. This fact makes it more difficult to estimate the accuracy of the statistical analysis, but it does not automatically destroy possibilities for a statistical analysis.

        The tests that I mentioned are two ways of checking, whether the data contains real signal. The other alternative is that the result does not come from real signal, but totally from the effect demonstrated by M&M. These tests, if their results are those that I think them to be, prove that the signal is real and claiming that there is no signal in line with M&M demonstration is proven false. Still one may argue that the result is not as strong as Mann et al presented and this is actually, what is most likely in my present opinion.

      • Jeffrey,

        Do you understand that everyone – from the NAS panel, to the Wegman report, to Ian Jolliffe, and even Mann, Wahl and Ammann themselves have abandoned the claim that short-segment centring of the hockey stick was a bad idea? It is just you and a handful of statistically illiterate crazies still accepting it.

        You say sign and scale matters. You are wrong. If Mann’s analysis determined its output (y) from a series of proxies (x1, x2, x3 …) in the following form:

        y = x1 + x2 + x3 + …

        Then you would be correct, scale would matter. But it is not done that way. They determine it in the form:

        y = ax1 + bx2 + cx3 + …

        Where a, b, c etc. are regression coefficients. This step occurs after the step McIntyre was criticising. If you rescale x2 by a factor of -10^-10, to make it 10 orders of magnitude smaller than the other terms and flip it, the final result (y) will not change because all that will happen is the regression coefficient b will inflate (by -10^10) to correct for the change you made to the input. So your comment about the scale is just plain wrong.

        As for McIntyre fully developing a statistical analysis of the MBH98 algorithm, WTF? The time to properly analyse the MBH98 algorithm was BEFORE Mann applied it to temperature reconstructions. As it was, Mann had no clue how his own algorithm worked and needed McIntyre to explain the flaws to him. There is no value in further developing the statistical properties of the short segment centred PCA because it is a useless form of analysis. It produces garbage output. So why would anyone want that? A counterexample is enough to show how inappropriate the properties of it are.

        In terms of the maths behind it, it should be pretty obvious. I’m not a statistician either but I understand enough to see why the short segment centred PCA is a disaster. In conventional centred PCA, the eigenvalues of the SVD happen to drop out as the estimated variance explained by the matching eigenfunction of the decomposition. In short segment centred PCA, this is no longer true, and the variance explained is artificially inflated by the difference between the sample mean of the calibration period and the sample mean of rest of the series for any given component. The exact amount of the inflation varies, depending on the ratio between the difference of the sample means and the standard deviation of the series. This much should be pretty obvious to anyone that understands the algorithm, whether statistically trained or not. It’s just maths.

        I see Pekka has weighed in with further misunderstandings of the algorithm. Pekka, no, the algorithm chooses the sign of sediment series, not the person inputting the data. The incorrect sign selection shows a problem with the algorithm, not the way the data was input. Changing the sign makes no difference for the reasons explained above. To be blunt, making it patently obvious that you don’t understand the algorithm does not add much credibility to your assessment.

        Can I suggest rather than continuing this discussion here, we remove this off-topic discussion to somewhere more appropriate? Preferably after you’ve at least got a rough understanding on how paleoclimate reconstructions are performed, because explaining the basics to newbies who don’t listen is not my favourite weekend hobby.

      • Oh, great, another typo. First para, “… have abandoned the claim that short-segment centring of the hockey stick was a bad idea?” should read “was a good idea?”

        Must proof read posts more often…

      • You misunderstand my criticism.

        MM05 says that MBH98 artificially created the hockey stick. So, there needs to be a series of mathematical calculations which essentially ignores the provided data and just whimsically produces that shape from any data. What are the calculations that do that? That’s my question. What calculations work that magic? It doesn’t really cut it to bring in character witnesses (particularly Wegman), since there are other character witnesses on Mann’s side. As every math professor since Euclid has said, “Show your work.”

        MM05 is relevant to the question at hand. Judith has trotted out a McIntyre interpretation of the exchanges between Briffa, Jones, etc. to wring hands over. So, Judith has brought McIntyre into the discussion. 2 decks of code are alleged to produce a hockey stick from any data. The one that we know does that wasn’t written by Michael Mann.

      • Jeffrey,

        I misunderstand your criticism because the words you have used to describe it are nonsensical. McIntyre made a number of claims about shortcomings of MBH98, of which the graph you are talking about is just one (relatively minor) issue. The graph you refer to relates to the short segment centred PCA, which is no longer a big issue because everyone (well, nearly everyone) who understand simple mathematics – including Mann, Wahl and Ammann – have ceded ground to McIntyre on this point. The fact that you don’t understand why is frustrating but of little or no consequence.

        OK, let’s start with your statement:

        MM05 says that MBH98 artificially created the hockey stick.

        Right, I searched for this phrase in MM05, and it doesn’t exist. In fact, the single words “artificially” and “created” don’t exist anywhere in MM05. When you don’t understand the original nuanced claims in the paper, and rephrase them in your own words, you lose important aspects of the claim. In his paper, the closest I could find to your statement is summarised in his section 5.2. In this section he outlines exactly what he defines as hockey stick series, outlines exactly which conditions create them and with what frequency (99% > 1 sigma). What, exactly, do you disagree with there? McIntyre specifically addresses your false claim about “creating” hockey sticks, but makes it clear that trendless noise processes can be inflated to PC1 with a high explained variance. As I’ve already explained to you, this noise then gets inflated to dominate the reconstruction by the regression step.

        If you put trendless noise in, and 99% of the time get a hockey stick out, something isn’t right with the algorithm. Obviously.

        As for whether this is on topic or off topic, I’ll let Dr Curry decide. It seems quite off topic to me. If Dr Curry asks for this discussion to be stopped or taken elsewhere, I will agree to that.

      • “If you put trendless noise in, and 99% of the time get a hockey stick out, something isn’t right with the algorithm. Obviously.”

        Well, no. Not obviously. Algorithms get implemented with code. If the problem not with the stars but with ourselves, we should be able to point to the actual calculations which do that.

        Other studies have looked at the algorithm and haven’t had a problem with it, so there are two steps to winning the day here:

        1) Point to the code which produces that
        2) Show that such and such a series of calculations is necessary to the algorithm so that Mann must have performed them. (I’m assuming we don’t have Mann’s actual code. If we do, easier still: just point to the place in Mann’s code that do it.)

        Just don’t show us with graphs.

      • Jeffrey, I already outlined exactly the part of the algorithm in great detail in comment 48359. The para starting “in terms of the maths”. If you want to find this part of the code, although we have only parts of Mann’s code, this bit is included. It is easy to find the function “svd” which is the SVD being referred to in my earlier comment.

        However, your statement that scientists shouldn’t use graphs is hilarious in a blog post discussing misuse of graphs by climate scientists. The irony is not lost on me. Anyway, there is considerable text supporting the graph in MM05, the idea that there is just the graph and nothing else is absurd beyond reason.

        Also, you say “other people have looked at the code”. More vague unsupported hand waving. Who are these other people? Even Wahl and Ammann switched to full centred PCA for their analysis, implicitly accepting that the short segment centred PCA was wrong, as it is indefensible. That’s the point Ian Jolliffe was making. You are still defending the indefensible, yet you do not have the depth of understanding to appreciate it.

      • You did not read my comment carefully. otherwise you would have noticed many points which contradict totally your claim that I would not understand that the algorithm determines the sign. Actually most of what I wrote is based exactly on this fact.

      • OK, I re-read your comment and I did misread it. My apologies for that, I should not be letting my frustration with Jeremy affect the reading of your comment. Unfortunately reading it correctly doesn’t help clarify matters very much.

        When you stated you expected an inverted hockey stick shape, I jumped to the conclusion that you were inverting the input series. However, you do state that you wish to drop these series. There are two questions that follow from this:

        1. Why would you expect an inverted hockey stick if you drop the series? The final result is regressed against temperature, so any hockey stick (stick-up or stick-down) gets switched to stick-up during the regression phase. So this makes no sense in the context of the algorithm.

        2. Most series we do not know the correct orientation of; by chance, the Finnish lake sediment series we do know the correct orientation as it was defined by the authors of the original study. This makes it nigh on impossible to remove those incorrectly oriented. All we can really do at this time is observe the algorithm is not really capable of determining correct orientation.

      • My first approach is essentially checking, whether the coefficients from the statistical analysis turn out to have the right sign, where right means the sign considered correct based on the understanding of the underlying processes, e.g. more tree growth in warm years or a negative coefficient in some lake sediment measures of Tillander et al. If the signs turn to be almost always right, that is evidence for the method. In M&M demonstration they would be right only 50% of the time.

        The second test is made complicated by the fact that just inverting the instrumental data would invert all coefficients and the result is trivial. Therefore I proposed excluding data that goes against other knowledge on the sign. If the method would not be of value, that would not prevent getting the hockey stick shape in the wrong direction. If this fails, we have again evidence that the data had real signal from real temperature dependence.

        Both tests (when successful) confirm that proxies tell something in the right direction, but they are not sufficient for telling precisely, how effective the methods are in finding the full strength of those temperature variations that have influenced the time series.

        These tests are not applicable, if there is such prescreening of the proxy series which influences the test results. Many of the published analyses use data that has been selected by such screening. There are valid arguments also for that, but every additional steps makes it more difficult to be sure of the validity of the method.

        As I have written earlier, I have read several of the critical articles and found both valid points and significant weaknesses in them. I have also read many publications in support of the reconstructions and concluded that significants problems appear to remain. The authors have also admitted that each of their methods has significant problems. They have tried to add reliability by using multiple methods, but no method can give reliable results, if the data is not of sufficient quality but contains too much noise of unknown type and other uncertainties relative to the signal searched.

      • One addition.

        I do not believe that it is true that the correct sign is usually not known. On the contrary I think that there practically no proxy series taken to the analysis for which the expected sign would not be obvious. They may be missing from the data base where the time series are stored, but the empirical scientists who have created the series have certainly an idea of the most important mechanisms that link the time series to temperature.

        It is likely that most of them have checked that their results are not inverted in the analysis. If that didn’t happen before the error with Korttajärvi data was recognized then at least after this case came public.

      • Sprats,

        I never said scientists shouldn’t ever use graphs. You made that up. I thought eschewing graphs for this one would be a funny twist. Who will be skeptical of the skeptics, eh?

        I never said there was insufficient text. You just made that up. I asked for the math operations that would present a random series of data as a hockey stick. ~80-90% flat to randomly up but trending up at the end. It seemed like an easy thing to provide. Take 100 random numbers and trace them through the operations. You could see the point at which the long suppression would take place and then the elevation toward the end. “Just here thou ailest.”

        Other people? I’ve read Tamino’s defense. And I’ve read the dissection of the Wegman “examination” at Deep Climate. And, of course, at RealClimate, but they don’t count, do they? I don’t make a habit of it. I can take it or leave it alone.

        Regarding the PCAs, I’ve noticed that a lot of the people who attack MBH98 seem to act as if all of the PCAs were short centered instead of only 1. If you treat the short-centered PCA as McIntyre requested, it still shows a hockey stick though not as strongly. (Also, odd, how MBH98 code will show various kinds of hockey stick shapes depending upon the data if they’re in the data AND will still show a hockey stick shape regardless of the data. That’s one smart algorithm.)

      • Your words Jeffrey, not mine:

        Just don’t show us with graphs.

        That sounds to me like you don’t want graphs. Now you say you didn’t say that? Of course, my comment was a reductio ad absurdum because McIntyre didn’t just show a graph as you implied, he explained in detail his analysis, he provided code, and on top of this used a graph to help people understand what his analysis found. However, you keep insisting that you don’t want to see a graph but refuse to read and understand the evidence – you just pretend it isn’t there. What a silly game you are playing.

        It is ironic that you mention Tamino as your example of people who have looked at the problem and found differently. Of course, it was Tamino’s analysis that prompted the quote from Ian Jolliffe that started all of this. So we come full circle. Tamino’s analysis was so poor, that one of the claims he used (that Jolliffe’s work supported his views) required Jolliffe to weigh in and explicitly state Tamino was wrong. Of course, you can’t see this now because that post was conveniently deleted some time back. Luckily, a copy of Prof. Jolliffe’s comments were retained for posterity.

        RealClimate show no such analysis, no code, none of the stuff you’ve demanded from McIntyre (and which McIntyre has already provided, but you are too lazy to go and look at it).

        Removing the short segment centred PCA does not result in a hockey stick. To do this, you have to make other changes to the algorithm, including changing the PC retention roster. Of course, this requires a post hoc change – effectively demonstrating that the algorithm must be hand tuned to “get” the result wanted by the experimenters. This problem – which applies to almost all temperature reconstructions – was outlined in Burger and Cubasch’s 2005 paper, and has never been satisfactorily resolved to my knowledge. Basically making arbitrary changes to the algorithm can get you any answer you want.

        You are correct that the short segment centred PCA is only used in one place, curiously the only place where it is needed to promote hockey stick shaped series from noise to PC1.

        As is well known, the big problems with MBH98 are far wider than just the short segment centred PCA that you outline here. That the short segment centred PCA is flawed is accepted by pretty much all researchers in the field. Only a few people who do not understand statistics still argue about it. The key battle ground over the temperature reconstructions are now the following:

        1. Whether key hockey stick series which are severely contaminated by non-climatic influences (e.g. bristlecone pines, lake sediments) can fail to respond to local temperatures yet somehow inflate to dominate the entire reconstruction by “teleconnecting” to hemispherical temperature (MM05, MM09)

        2. Extreme sensitivity to seemingly trivial algorithm decisions for which no objective design criteria are specified (e.g. BC05)

        3. Failure to demonstrate skill beyond chance alone, failures of statistical significance, multiple failures of verification statistics (MM05)

        4. Incorrectly computed confidence intervals for inverse regression, (MM05, MM09)

        5. Lack of objective sampling criteria; further opportunity for experimenter bias to (subconciously or conciously) influence the results as in 2. (MM09)

        6. A tendency for these algorithms to suppress past variability (VsZ04)

        7. Serial problems with modifications made by Mann to the RegEM algorithm (several papers by Smerdon et al)

        8. A tendency for the algorithms of common methods to impose the final shape (MW10).

        9. Statistics estimated from various reconstructions have non-overlapping confidence intervals, demonstrating statistically significant differences between reconstructions (K06)

        Of course, by framing the argument as if it was just the short segment centred PCA that was the problem, you can ignore the nine elephants in the room that I’ve listed above. Furthermore, the list also includes ten different scientists, all showing serious problems with the temperature reconstructions.

        And in response to your final point, no, an algorithm that generates hockey stick shaped output from trendless noise is not a “smart” algorithm, it is a useless algorithm, for obvious reasons.

      • Oh and Jeffrey, as I’ve told you twice already, and I’m telling you for the third time, the math operations that cause hockey stick shapes to be pulled out of trendless noise are outlined in my comment 48359 above. That’s the third time of asking. Code is downloadable from McIntyre’s site that can be run using the free R statistics software that generates the graph.

        How many times will I have to answer this question? Five times? Six times? And yet you keep asking over and over again. This is definitely trolling level behaviour.

      • Your reference was to an explanation of why scale doesn’t matter.

      • Spence,

        Believe it or not, I think I finally understood what you were saying.

        If, in the step you pointed to, the a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4 etc then MM05’s graph would be of a line from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. If it started at a high level consecutively down to some lower value. you’d get a straight line going in the other direction.


      • I’d hate to be wrong, but isn’t MBH98 the percursor to what is behind John Houghton in his presentation of the IPCC report in 2001? Isn’t this particular “minor” piece of science portrayed 7 times in the IPCC? What makes you think that Jollife’s point was only valid in MBH98?

        Well, are you telling me that MBH98 is so much qualitatively different in its approach than MBH99? (Apart from the different timespans involved, that is)

      • And McIntyre has repeatedly kicked over Mann’s work as well as the other reconstructions that have followed in his wake. Mainly because they use the same bad statistical techniques and the same proxies.

      • Jeffrey, Ian Jolliffe’s comments are nothing to do with the “prominence” or otherwise of the papers. It is all to do with defending what is clearly bad science. From your strange reply I can only assume you either do not understand the point being made or you are trying to deliberately derail the thread.

      • Oops, my comment above is not what I intended it to be (sorry)

        Ian Jolliffe clearly was referring to the prominence of the hockey stick, but that is not the important thing with regard to “hide the decline”. The important thing is the inability of a group of senior scientists to objectively recognise bad science in their own backyard.

        Others have addressed the prominence issue for me :)

      • Derry MCCarthy

        Its prominence is best explained by Iain Stewart imo, in the BBC documentary Climate wars

        Michael Mann put all the numbers together and used it to create a very special graph

        [Presenter walks in front of 12 foot graph]

        And here it is, it is basically a graph of temperature over the last one thousand years, and the first thing that hits you, is there is virtually no sign of the medi-evil warm period, I mean the skeptics would have a big bump in temperature, just here when the world got warmer.

        [presenter motions to approx 1 foot bump in graph, 8 feet below where modern temperatures are on the graph]

        Instead it looks like at least for nine hundred years, give or take a few ups or downs it is incredibly flat, it is not until you get to the twenty century and BANG

        [Presenter ascends ladder towards the top of graph]

        Temperatures shoot up and away, unlike anything we have seen for at least, a millennia, now this graph tells a very different story to the skeptics they say present temperatures are nothing special – this graph says the opposite

        The Climate stick was central in framing the narrative of Anthropogenic Climate Change in the public consciousness, therein lies its importance.

      • Jeffrey Davis,
        If you do the same thing the same way you pretty much get the same results.
        since we know the starting study by Mann was junk, it can be safely concluded that the studies reaching the same conclusion are junk as well.

      • “since we know the starting study by Mann was junk,”

        You know nothing of the sort. Have you read the dissection of the Wegman study? The one that was supposed to audit MM05?


        “Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”

      • Come on. Deepclimate doesn’t care about the science. The Wegman report was found to have plagiarized stuff. Does it matter? Well of course it matters. Does it matter for the actual conclusions that they make? NO. Period. The PNAS reached the same conclusions, that Mann’s reconstruction was statistically invalid prior to 1600, which is exactly what McIntyre always defended. McShane & Wyner 2010, even taking Mann’s data as “perfect” reached entirely different conclusions than he did, blaming the former Hockey stick as bad statistics.

        The hockey stick is as surrounded as Ghadaffi. We just have to question ourselves how much will they continue to insist against the obviousness of it all..

      • “Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.”

        … no, it isn’t.

      • Jeffery.

        Regardless of the history which you get wrong, by the time Chapter 6 of Ar4 was in the planning stages, the Review editor of that document has clear directions for the lead author:

        “Lastly, we wanted you to know that we can probably win another page
        or two (total, including figs and refs) if you end up needing it.
        Susan didn’t promise this, but she gave us the feeling that we could
        get it if we ask – but probably only for your section, and maybe an
        extra page for general refs (although we’re not going to mention this
        to the others, since we’re not sure we can get it). Note that some of
        the methodological parts of your sections should go into supplemental
        material – this has to be written just as carefully, but it gives you
        another space buffer. All this means you can do a good job on
        figures, rather than the bare minimum. We’re hoping you guys can
        generate something compelling enough for the TS and SPM – something
        that will replace the hockey-stick with something even more

        The stated directive by the review editor in May of 2005 was to create a graphic that was more compelling that the HS. The expressed purpose was to get something into the TS and SPM. So the audience is clear.

        The negotiations with Susan Solomon will be an interesting set of documents to look at. It appears that the OIG has determined that these documents ( which Mcintyre and I FIOAed) are subject to FIOA. And NOAA will have to cough them up, almost two years after we requested them. stay tuned

      • And you find that quote … what exactly?

      • I cannot understand things for you

      • this response has an “all your base are belong to us” quality

      • Well, let’s see, we can imagine a giant conspiracy of science fraud, which is Mosher’s belief (despite his “I’m a lukewarmer” bullshit).

        Or, you can take it at face value:

        “We’re hoping you guys can generate something compelling enough for the TS and SPM – something that will replace the hockey-stick with something even more compelling.”

        It’s like … it’s like … more compelling evidence is EVIL!

        More evidence of FRAUD!

      • Dehog, you don’t believe a single word you wrote about me.

        (psst, a graph isnt evidence)

      • Somehow ‘generating something more compelling’ doesn’t have the ring of scientific objectivity about it.

        More like the instruction from an account director to his ‘creatives’ on Madison Avenue. Who senses that the client maybe looking elsewhere for his next year’s advertising spend.

        ‘Best assessment of the available science’ …my left buttock!

      • Forgot to add that this mindset is quite in line with Houghton’s earlier comment to the effect that

        ‘We have to announce a disaster or nobody will listen……’

        which is pure PR spin thinking and nothing to do with science.

        Alastair Campbell, who was Prime Minister Blair’s very effective chief spin doctor – and not noted for his addiction to ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ – would have approved mightily.

      • Sorry. I was trying to write like people talk. The voice of the previous quote was supposed to be a leading question. As in “You find that quote [pause] compelling? intriguing? insulting? corrupt? whatever? ”

        The ellipsis was my restraint from putting words in your mouth.

      • It’s far more difficult to not make a hockey stick than to make one.

      • I think a more accurate statement would be

        The temperature reconstructors doggedly recreate a strikingly similar temperature record.

        MBH98 may be minor, but it has been shown to be the product of dubious statistics.

        So, if other reconstructions show similar patterns there can be three conclusions.

        1: The original one was right by a fluke.
        2: The old one was wrong but happens to match the new ones.
        3: They are all wrong.

        Personally, if a process that I know to be flawed produces a similar result to another process, then that is enough to make me suspicious of the second process.

        If the same person is involved in creating the original and the new, then that increases my suspicions.

        As for positive suggestions.

        A clean sheet is the only real solution for credibility.
        An admission of failing to meet best practices would have possibly sufficed within the first month of the emails being released. As for now? Too little too late IMO. The behaviour since and the attempts at diversion and self justification negate any credibility that an admission would seek to restore.

        OK. I’m a programmer and I.T. manager not a scientist, but anyone who behaved the way that ‘The Team’ has in my field of work would find regaining my trust a rather large task.

        I don’t mind people making mistakes. But resolution comes by answering the following questions truthfully.

        1: What went wrong.
        2: How did it happen.
        3: How do you fix it.
        4: How do you prevent it happening again.

        So solving things, for me would probably require-

        Let some scientists collate the actual data (raw data no adjusted)- pretty much a start from scratch.

        Then get some true statistics specialists to design the analysis algorithms.

        Get some database specialists to design the storage and retrieval mechanisms.

        And get some properly qualified programmers to write the modelling software.

        Judith, I have read quite a bit about and by you since the Climategate story surfaced. I admire the integrity you have displayed, and the determination to fight for the integrity of science.

        Thanks for being brave enough to pick the scab off the festering sore that this subject represents.

      • Hear, Hear!

        It is noteworthy, as implicitly highlighted by your terminology (‘specialists’, ‘properly qualified’, etc.) that the Hokey Team is adamantly DIY. There are numerous documented instances of people being “expelled” from the process when they objected that their professional standards were not being met.

      • Peter,

        I think your suggestions are spot on. I’m hoping that perhaps, if enough scientists take on board the “best practice” idea for a paper then a set of guidelines such as yours could eventually produce something of a “gold standard” for peer review. This would be especially effective in the paleo field, where it is desperately needed, as these reconstructions have proved so addictive for policy makers.

        Until and unless such rigors become the norm, I see no merit in the continued use of paleo climatology in future assessment reports.

  21. Gunnar Strandell

    My contribution is the basics of conflict theory and its communication form:
    1: Conflicts of values cannot be resolved. Communcation form is debate.
    2: Conflicts of goals can be solved if the goals are revealed. Communication form is discussion.
    3: Conflicts of interest can always be solved with a compromise. Communcation form is dialogue.

    A “pure” scientist have a different set of values to one that is driven by “effectiveness” and I think we have to live with that.
    When you argue with someone that has other values, it is impossible to distinguish between thing and person.

    People used to talk about the weather when they occasionally met, but nowadays few dare. Climate and weather has become ideology and can no longer be an neutral opening of communication.

  22. The new “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society”, January, 2011, p. 36, referring to “Climategate,:

    “The fact that the British and American climate scientists at the center of the controversy have since been cleared off all charges of wrongdoing would suggest that the impact of the story is likely to attenuate.”

    “Cleared of all charges”?? This is the problem in a nutshell. They do not believe they did anything improper.

  23. You are all kidding right? Conflict resolution? What the hell is this, a dispute between 2 neighbours over a fence line?
    Would you contemplate conflict resolution with the person who broke into your house and stole from you?

    Get out of your academic temples and smell the frigging coffee in the real world…THIS IS POLITICS AND NOTHING BUT POLITICS.

    This is about a handfull of handpicked activist ecotard scientists who have done anything and everything they can to please the wants of their political masters at the UN via the UNEP WMO and the IPCC.

    They needed to bend, shape, fix, torture, fudge data? They did.
    They needed to carefully word summaries to fit a narrative? They did.
    They needed to make sure dissenting views were cast aside? They did.
    They needed to “better” visualise a graphic? Sure why not, just snip and paste.

    Conflict resolution my ar$e.
    Wake up. There are many interest groups who want a price on CO2. If they could have identified a better substance than CO2, we’d be discussing that substance now.

    This is politics and no amount of you beaut neuvo PC action like conflict resolution will change that. You wont make a skerrick of difference, go back and read Gavin $hitheads comments defending to the hilt the indefensible.

    • lol, well, dang and I was trying to dance around and say it nicely, but perhaps the blunt force of …….. well, bluntness conveys it better.

    • I think there is much to commend this comment. It’s hard to engage honestly with processes (or people) who have generated, promoted and defended dishonest output. There is certainly an almost pervasive political aspect to this, and while there may be a very few participants who aren’t already predisposed to one side or the other, everything this small minority may do will still be only part of a larger context which is unconcerned with fully documented, replicable, falsifiable scientific truth.

      I think that Dr. Curry may be one of those rare people who can still see both sides. As such, I think it’s productive and worthwhile for her to pursue finding common ground. It may be a lost cause but no one that believes there is ultimately a single objective reality should fault her for trying. After all, science is the quest for truth.

      I’m fond of saying “The scientific method is the single greatest achievement of mankind because it enabled so many other achievements”. That’s why this whole climate debacle is so painful. I have always been a deeply “pro-science” person which in turn led me to also being a Feynman-inspired skeptic. Whether the subject was spoon-benders, ghosts or homeopaths; science and skepticism went together like peanut butter and jelly.

      Then came AGW. The problem isn’t AGW itself. It’s a perfectly acceptable hypothesis to investigate. The problem is with this “science is settled” mentality, grossly over-exaggerated claims, unsupportable confidence in extreme predictions, science by press release, suppression of alternate viewpoints in the “consensus”, the perversion of the peer-review process and now, this current episode of pathologically defending the obviously indefensible.

      Yes, there have been other dark periods where science was perverted by ideology (eugenics, lysenkoism, etc) and they were eventually corrected but that doesn’t make going through this any less difficult. When history judges this sad episode I think there will be three groups identified. The ringleaders driving alarmism, the leading skeptics and “the silent majority of scientists”. History will ask, “where were the other climate scientists and scientists from related fields?” Why did so many of them continue to remain silent as the public narrative spiraled farther and farther away from what any of the science could support?

      In that context, I think Dr. Curry is emerging as one of the voices of reason from “the rest of the scientists”. There may be an important role for her to play as the AGW debacle moves into its end phase.

    • Right to the point and correct on all points. My greatest hope is that more people will wake up and soon.

    • There are many interest groups who want a price on CO2. If they could have identified a better substance than CO2, we’d be discussing that substance now.

      Ha. This is the most concise statement of these issues I have ever seen. Well done sir.

      • There is no better substance than CO2. CO2 can be priced, taxed, restricted, allocated and exempted. Further, there is no allowed substitute. What is not to like?

    • Brilliantly (if somewhat brutally) said.

      Another reason that conflict resolution is precisely NOT what is called for now, or anytime soon, might be illustrated by my current predicament.

      I work in a research institution (the name will remain unsaid). I am surrounded by very bright people, a majority of whom have PhDs, with quite a few of them in hard sciences. While we are not directly connected with climate modelling, the output and prognostications of climate scientists does have a strong impact on the direction of our work.

      Amongst these people, for whom I have a generally high regard, I have not heard a term like “sceptic” or “luke-warmer” used at all. The unanimous term of choice, is “denier”. If I have any fellow sceptics in this organization, they have obviously made the same decision that I have in that to try and currently challenge this orthodoxy would be both pointless, and career poison.

      It will take an extended and very public exposure and shaming of the most culpable of the activist climate scientists, and their political facilitators, along with ongoing ridicule and rehashing of their most egregious acts, before any sort of environment for open and honest debate could be re-established here. Perhaps my organization is an extreme case, but I suspect not.

      • Jimbo,

        Your organisation is not an extreme case, just like you suspect. This cAGW hysteria infiltrated almost all organisations. It is a dogma.

      • AnyColourYouLike

        In the blogosphere there’s a strong danger of a “phoney war” perspective, imagining that concilliation and raproachment among two “sides” is meaningful in any wider public sense.

        Having deliberately avoided the blogs for a few weeks, I can tell you that, in the UK media at least, it’s very much business as usual. The underlying premise of dangerous AGW remains unchallenged, being a “denier” is still a stigma and career suicide (see Johnny Ball’s case), the general public still remain blissfully unaware of the details of these controversies. etc

        In the face of this, calling each other nicer names on blogs seems to me wholly insignificant, in terms of informing the public whether the science is actually right or wrong.

    • Spot on Baa.

    • Baa

      Your analysis is bleak but sadly compelling and likely correct. However, a couple of points:

      When Judith talks about reconciliation, it is important to identify the protagonists. Are we talking about a reconciliation between Judith and her colleagues in the Team? Or between climate scientists generally? Between the opposing denizens in the blogosphere? The public? Opposing politicians? You get my point; there are loads of players in the game and not one set of solutions will address the different aspects of the conflict.

      I agree that in the political sphere, there is zero chance of reconciliation and it is pointless to even try. Let rip. Within ‘politicized’ science there is also little prospect of uniting the opposing views. The Team will be laughing at Judith’s efforts in my opinion. That said, there are some steps that could be taken in an attempt to de-politicize the science and whilst that would not result in a reconciliation, it might improve the situation and restore some public confidence. Those measures are covered elsewhere in this thread so I won’t detail them now, but key, to my mind, is that the science regulates itself and prevents a small cabal from dominating opinion and research. This will require a more open arena and more open minds. It will also require changes to formal mechanisms such as peer review, funding and perhaps the IPCC. Most important is to foster an atmosphere where all climate scientists can speak out when they recognize that scientific analysis has been infected by political excess. That’s the tricky one.

      On the whole though, I agree with your dismal prognosis.

    • On yer, Baa. The time for conflict resolution was long ago, and in any case the last few days have made it clear the Proxymorons are prepared to bunker it out, so the question of whether some form of group-hug conflict resolution technique from the 80s would do the trick is probably moot. Meanwhile, vast sums, some of which used to belong to me, have been squandered on this preposterous scam, and I want to a halt. But Success has a thousand fathers, while Failure is an orphan. I can only see this lunacy halted if the perpetrators are publicly shamed and loudly repudiated by the true scientific community. Anything less, and it’ll just dribble into the sand, leaving wealth-impairing legislation blighting the world’s statute books for decades.

  24. The two side should be able to agree that what we saw in Hide the decline was not best practices. Skeptics may want more flesh than this, but both side should be able to at least agree to that modest proposal.

    Hell would be freezing over first. Any move from the Team into the opposite direction would be considered a defeat to the deniers and especially to Him-who-shall-not-be-named. The hardcore alarmists will never, ever give in. Read the last 3 blogs. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”.

  25. In all seriousness – if “Hide the Decline” was truly fraudulent, why have multiple independent panels cleared it as just a poor choice of words? Short of a conspiracy theory as an answer to my question – isn’t this beating a dead horse over one paper published a few years ago where all wrong-doing was cleared? Why hold on to this tiny tiny little thing when there are so many bigger fish to fry?

    • The dead horse we are beating is out of the barn, prancing all over the pasture and neighing nonsense near and far.

    • Steve, which multiple inquiries are you referring to? Of the UK inquiries, only one inquiry (the Muir-Russell inquiry) actually looked at the “hide the decline” e-mail, and they clearly stated that it was misleading. Specifically, which inquiries are you referring to?

    • “In all seriousness” ?!

      Read the e-mails. Read the panel reports. Read the criticisms of the reports. Read the defenses of the reports. Use whatever logic and rational ability you have. Then we’ll have a nice serious chat.

      Things to look for :

      — Our wonderful scientist couldn’t have done anything wrong because he brings in big bucks.
      — The other panel looked at the science. Other panel — “no we didn’t.”
      — we didn’t ask the uncomfortable questions because we didn’t want to find out if someone broke the law
      — we didn’t ask questions of anyone but the scientists under investigation. They said they didn’t do anything wrong. We believed them.
      — we talked to some people one afternoon, wrote the report the next morning and adjourned for a very nice lunch.
      — our blinder was very well played

    • It’s a house of cards Steve. These people are so amped up on their own supply no one seems to notice that motive is something of a problem for this version of events. And forget motive- try to pin them down even on intent regarding the hide the decline hobby-horse. If you’re lucky you’ll get something about ‘distorting the message’, notwithstanding that email snipped applied to a separate context entirely. More plausible is an abusive tirade. Speaking reason on this blog = whistling in gale force winds.

      Speaking of which, according to our esteemed host, the IPCC was using the hockey stick to “market” anthropogenic climate change. This of course is the kind of language one might choose if they were describing a pump and dump stock scam. So it goes without saying that, notwithstanding that slimy innuendo, not a smidgeon of evidence as to any motive whatsoever is presented, let alone a monetary one, as per the usual practice here.

      Meanwhile, and more importantly, of course it doesn’t occur to our ostensibly honest brokers here that if the hockey stick was an effective ‘marketing’ tool, that might explain why the industry funded denial community were so interested in discrediting it from the get go. Hence this and this and this and this and this, etc. Those guys are the good guys, not like the climate scientists that stood to profit when their marketing campaign took off. The bizaro world of denialism ladies and gentlemen.

      It likewise doesn’t occur to the ostensibly honest brokers here that the CRU hack, which gave them this brilliant opportunity to bask in the glow of their own hard won triumph over science and our collective interests looked a remarkably a lot like some of the slides in this presentation. You would think that the naturally curious might see those clear parallels and wonder to themselves whether someone was out there actively attempting to deceive the public utilizing a state of the art bare knuckle smear campaign that would make Willy Hurst blush.

      If you had, however, you would have badly miscalculated the zeitgeist, not to mention the craven myopia of the charlatans that are profiting from it. Ehem. Alas, social euphoria like that which this anti-science jihad feeds on never ends with a climb-down, apology or otherwise whimper. The red guard didn’t just see the error of their ways and go home. These things end with bangs. So, watch this space and its downward trajectory as Judy continues to lead the charge into the abyss.

      • DeepClimate? How can I take you seriously when you bring that kind of stuff up here?

        Specially when the .. ahhh… anonymous posting there starts off ranting on and on and on and when he gets to the chase, I read this:

        McIntyre averred:

        “I’m pretty sure that the first time I ever thought about climate change was in late 2002 when the Canadian Government was promoting acceptance of the Kyoto Protocol. The slogan for their campaign was that the 20th century was the warmest century, the 1990s the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year in the past millennium – a slogan that got repeated in speech after speech and presentation after presentation. [Emphasis added]”

        Leaving aside McIntyre’s slightly foggy recollection (“pretty sure”?), even the, um, cherrypicked quotes about the 1990s from then environment minister David Anderson do not support the claim, since they clearly refer to the instrumental record and don’t even compare those years to pre-20th century temperatures:

        “The 20th century was the warmest in the Northern Hemisphere in the past 1000 years. The 1990s was the warmest decade on record and 1998 was the warmest year – in Canada and internationally. – David Anderson, April 5, 2002. [Emphasis added]”

        So if this is the kind of … ahhhh…. collection of words that deepclimate produces… I’m not… how shall I put it nicely, impressed.

        A huge conspiracy theory then “unfolds”, without ever pausing for thought about whether if the criticism is meaningful or not. Such trivialities do not matter, of course, truth is just a political narrative (haven’t we heard the comic line, “truth has a liberal bias?” Perhaps people take it too literally, idk).

        What matters is not the faulty methods of MBH, but that McKittrick received 1000$ (really? wow, now that’s a scandal!) for appearing in washington. If this is an argument, what am I to do with the half a million that Hansen received by John Kerry’s wife’s foundation?

        And then he cites William Connolley in wikipedia (the same dude who was banned for abuse? roflmao) and I just had to stop. It could have affected my brain patterns if I didn’t.

      • Citing Deep Climate’s blog is absurd because, what, you say so? And you are?… *sigh* Hearing this type of thing from a crowd that counts WUWT and Climate Audit as their own is truly something. Does this mean the skepticism is settled then?

        The fact that the McIntyre/McKitrick criticisms are not meaningful (at least regarding the science) was not the subject of that blog post. That’s ok by the way. It’s not required that one always talks about a single aspect of a given issue. And the science has hardly been neglected. Deep Climate amongst many others have not covered that ground, including in the links I provided above. In fact it’s been beat into submission, and well beyond any scientific requirement. The fact that copious quantities of google era novices can now reel off talking points about principal components and validation statistics says all that needs to be on that score.

        What that blog post is about, apropos of my comment above and more important to the broader issue of the denialist circus, is establishing the credibility (or in M&M’s case, lack thereof) of the principals, and critically demonstrating the coordination of their efforts with the moneyed interests that have orchestrated the disinformation/smear campaign against science and scientists (the one this crowd perceives nearly as a fish does water).

        This by the way isn’t a conspiracy theory, at least in the way in which the theory part of that term is generally understood. This is an established fact thanks in large part to the documents tobacco companies were forced to divulge as part of their losing efforts to delude the public into believing there were no addition risks of smoking or risks to the health of third parties. I imagine you went for that bit as well. That is not to undersell the evidence however- there is plenty more where that came from. You should pick up a copy of Merchants of Doubt for more details if you’re interested to know more. Ehem.

        If you are interested though in a good example of a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory, look to the one that animates this fun house of a blog, wherein thousands of scientists across decades have colluded to hoodwink the world into believing that adding energy to the global environment causes warming and … ??? …. profit!! I always love that cite. Lets the ignorant such as yourself realize just how large a pill they’ve been asked to swallow. Or is that a suppository?

        PS see if you can’t work out the difference between a grant and speaking fees, and further between the Heinz foundation and industry. Give you a hint: yeah, it’s that obvious.

      • Oreskes is so last century. Tobacco tar causes cancer but CO2 doesn’t cause Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming.

        You note the pennies in the skeptics’s eyes and miss the bullion in the believers’ eyes. Is that why you are so selectively blind?

      • Hearing this type of thing from a crowd that counts WUWT and Climate Audit as their own

        You know nothing about me, don’t pretend to. And don’t compare Climate Audit with Deep CLimate. There’s simply no comparison. Next will you do what? Bring Climate Progress to the mess? For chrissakes.

        The fact that the McIntyre/McKitrick criticisms are not meaningful


        ..was not the subject of that blog post.

        I understand that perfectly, and yet this is a pretty much more fundamental question to me than the anonymous shenanigan coonspiracy theory about a thousand dollars being sent to this fellow and that. So what if the “skeptic” propaganda machine used McIntyre’s piece? It should be only obvious that such a thing would always happen if such critiques would blossom in the literature. This does not reflect upon McIntyre’s paper in any meaningful way, but in completely different things.

        What that blog post is about, apropos of my comment above and more important to the broader issue of the denialist circus, is establishing the credibility (or in M&M’s case, lack thereof) of the principals

        Translation, what the blog is about is to throw those people under the mud, so that no one believes in a word they’ve written, regardless of the value of what’s actually said. McKittrick received 1000 dollars from someone of the oil industry, therefore he’s wrong. No mention of the millions received by climatologists by the same oil industry for their own studies if such studies do not go against the party line.

        Now ponder about that for a moment, think. Isn’t it a rigged game? Everyone gets their money from someone, and a lot of climatologists do receive from the oil industry (this was even corroborated in the climategate emails). If they toe the party line, it’s not mentioned, all ok. If they don’t, it’s immediately mentioned as refutation.

        This by the way isn’t a conspiracy theory (…) This is an established fact…

        Your linkage of tobbaco company strategies to debunk the validity of M&M’s points is sheer paranoia. There are simpler ways to see if M&M is right or not: just evaluate what they have said by its merits alone. You know, the scientific method? You’re so lost on your conspiracy theories that you forgot the obvious.

        I imagine you went for that bit as well

        No I didn’t. The science was utterly clear on that one.

        Lets the ignorant such as yourself realize just how large a pill they’ve been asked to swallow. Or is that a suppository?

        Great argumentation there. I’m bought by your superior knowledge and writing skill. Let me bow down now.

        PS see if you can’t work out the difference between a grant and speaking fees, and further between the Heinz foundation and industry. Give you a hint: yeah, it’s that obvious.

        Wow, tremendous reasoning. Last time I checked a dollar is a dollar. Guess not for you, a dollar is good when comes from sources you “like”, but bad when it comes from the ev1l capital1st1c oil industry.

      • don’t compare Climate Audit with Deep Climate. There’s simply no comparison

        Oh I couldn’t agree more friend. I just can’t help noting your average self-styled skeptic’s infamous capacity for prejudice in determining which information gets past the filter. Item #1,237,861 in putting the lie to the label. Apropos of the little game you lot like to play where nothing is settled except any inquiry related to the despicable behavior of the Dear Leaders, after which it’s all righteous indignation all the time. Sorry, my bemusement is showing.

        I note with something far short of interest that you’ve not understood the arguments advanced. Updike was I believe unintentionally narrow is his framing of how this dynamic work. I’ll state it plainly and withhold my disbelief in the utter futility of doing so:

        Fossil fuel sponsorship does not speak to the merit, or in this case lack thereof, of MM05 or any other work. It speaks to the broader picture, which is why the incessant and ultimately insignificant criticisms (and thinly veiled innuendo cum smears) that have emanated from the denialosphere have been elevated in so many people’s minds to have overturned 200 years of science (see adjacent comments of your brethren for more details on that little ‘trick’).

        You, for example, don’t even seem to be aware that the only criticisms of Mann et al that have made it into the literature have been shown to be entirely inconsequential, when they haven’t been upended themselves. Not that this has stopped the music. If the PCA hobby horse which accounts for the substance of M&M 05 and the Wegman Report, such as that was, falls by the wayside, what’s a good auditor to do?

        When the auditor is sufficiently shameless, the answer is to move on to the next and likewise meaningless and/or baseless criticism by which fraud and deception can be inferred, (see e.g. this thread), as these will likewise be given a ridiculous profile in the mainstream media, and thus will punch many orders of magnitude above their weight while having the additional effect of covering the tracks of the former nonsense which was proven to be inconsequential when it wasn’t engineered to show the results the ostensibly earnest ‘auditors’ wished to show.

        The effect on the science of course is nothing, but the effect for the interests that marketed the doubt and smears, to borrow a phrase from our esteemed host, was anything but. They have very successfully planted seeds in many minds and created thousands of blog warriors to carry on the message and fight hard for ignorance. This provides cover for their client politicians to do their bidding, as they have in spades. In so many words, they have served effectively the ends of those that want climate science to go away, and climate scientists to be discredited.

        Which brings us to the documents that of course you dismiss without even contemplating. It seems you don’t realize that the tobacco documents explicitly reference the plot by industry to discredit climate science. Indeed some of the most well known ‘scientists’ that were the earliest ‘skeptics’- Seitz and Singer- were also at the forefront of the campaign to delude the public into believing that scientists were full of it, and second hand smoke had health implications.

        And, as is indisputably documented, it was not lost on the tobacco executives and their slimy consultants that discrediting environmentalists in one arena accrued to the other. Hence Africa Fighting Malaria, which I am to understand has never actually spent one cent actually fighting malaria in Africa or anywhere else. Create the narrative that their all full of it, sow doubt everywhere, and profit by emasculating the basis of environmental policy that impacts the bottom line.

        These same slime balls are very much players to this very day: Singer is still a climate ‘skeptic’ in good standing as was Seitz until his death. As is another second hand smoke crusader, Stephen Milloy, who carries on his anti-science jihad at a ‘news’ outlet people here hold dear, Fox News. CEI and the George C. Marshall Institute are still pounding away with their propaganda, heartily swallowed down by the massif hear and in other denizens you apparently hold dear. The Heartland Institute, which skeptic hero McIntyre has no problem affiliating himself with, is nothing more than a mouthpiece of the dirty energy industry.

        I mean, what does all that say to you? Nothing? Are you really so naïve as to believe that the interests that control these groups would let anything pass under their banner that advocated for policies that would reduce the consumption of dirty energy? Have you not read anything about the corporate corruption of our politics and media that has arisen over the past 15 years? The evidence of its extent is legion. Does this not matter? Just how credulous does one have to be to be a ‘skeptic’ anyway?

      • I couldn’t resist reading further. I hope it doesn’t bring me brain damage, but this part is just too funny to skip:

        ” That article covered much of the same ground as GRL, including the PCA and data criticisms, but also contained a non-scientific critique, taking up the recurring themes of disclosure and “quality control”.

        Finally, we comment on several policy issues arising from this controversy: the lack of consistent requirements for disclosure of data and methods in paleoclimate journals, and the need to recognize the limitations of journal peer review as a quality control standard when scientific studies are used for public policy.

        The fact that deepclimate laughs these concerns off is the most clear assertion that the anonymous dude simply doesn’t give a damn about science in general.

        “In a devastating critique for Environmental Science and Technology, Paul D. Thacker noted:

        Decades of research have created a massive body of scientific literature on climate change, and thousands of new studies on the subject appear every year in different science journals. Yet, within weeks of publishing his first peer-reviewed study, McIntyre was profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal…

        Couldn’t we have said the exact same thing about Michael Mann? What? Is McIntyre different because he’s a “contrarian” now? Should we censor contrary evidence or maths to the status quo narrative because we already agreed that this is the “consensus” narrative? So it shouldn’t ever be questioned? What the hell is this but “bad practice”?

        This guy is so bad that I think it is rather good he’s anonymous. He prevents himself of the embarrassment of writing such waste.

      • Couldn’t we have said the exact same thing about Michael Mann?

        No. Does that help?

        This is the part where I realize to something less than my surprise I’m arguing with a dining room table:

        Should we censor contrary evidence or maths to the status quo narrative because we already agreed that this is the “consensus” narrative?

        You do get that there’s some space between censorship and being promoted to the front page of one of the largest and highest profile broadsheets in the world after your first scientific paper…. don’t you? Hay de mi. This is why God gave us two palms I guess.

      • Heh, McIntyre had groundbreaking news which stood a well established paradigm on its head. Double Heh, so did the Piltdown Mann.

      • Heh? McIntyre had ‘groundbreaking’ ‘paradigm upending’ news about decentered PCA and signal-laden ‘red noise’? It goes without saying then that you would be qualified to pontificate about delusion.

      • Whether you’ve realized it or not, Majorajam, Steve broke irretrievably the single most powerful icon of CAGW, the icon that the Piltdown Mann had used to overturn the previous understanding about paleological temperatures.

        Nor all the King’s Horses nor all your delusions can put that Hockey Stick back up in its shrine on the wall.

      • Irretrievably? I guess the science is settled afterall. Thanks for clearing that up. Also, this word, ‘paradigm’. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        Try not to hurt yourself sport.

      • Yep, the science of Mann’s original and subsequent hockey sticks has been settled, and most recently by no less than Gavin Schmidt himself. You’ve just failed to get the memo. Haven’t you heard him mention that the reconstructions don’t validate longer than a few hundred years, or that temperatures a thousand years ago don’t matter?

      • Actually, I hadn’t heard that the science was settled. Nor had I heard that Gavin possessed the power to settle it. In fact I’ve even read public statements of his that poured scorn on the idea. Perhaps you are saying that it’s the skeptics job to say when enough inquiry is enough? That at least would be in keeping with the level of self-awareness here.

      • Mann’s reconstructions are insupportable, and Schmidt has stopped supporting them. Check it out.

      • No. Does that help?

        In fact, it helps me understand where you come from, not actually changing my opinion on the matter, since Mann was completely unknown before he made his work on this paleoclimate disaster.

        You do get that there’s some space between censorship and being promoted to the front page of one of the largest and highest profile broadsheets in the world after your first scientific paper…. don’t you?

        Apart from his finding be of good public interest? I’ll take that anyday from, for instance, Nature’s choice of putting a red Antarctica all over its front page by a study of Eric Steig that has been…. ahhh… shown to be filled with bad practices. Facepalm all you want, you’re only producing extra heat for the planet.

      • Mann was completely unknown until he and his colleagues were laid siege to by the smear merchants. That you don’t realize this says all that needs to be said about where you are coming from.

      • I think you;ll find he went from unheard of pHd student to IPCC Lead Author in about three months flat following his firts hockey stick attempt. And before the errors were uncovered – maybe five years later.

        Hardly ‘completely unknown’. But while you may be wrong about the timing. you’re right about the general trajectory of his ‘scientific career’.

        Zero to hero and back again in fifteen years.

      • Aside from the fact that Mann was the lead author with several other established scientists that innovated a promising technique to better our understanding of past climates, not to mention the fact that involvement in the IPCC does not exactly constitute fame (had to stifle a chuckle there), I’d be interested to hear you actually articulate what it is you’ve implied by ‘zero to hero’. It’s very easy for you lot to drop smarmy innuendo, but it seems you have serious trouble with straight forward English.

      • I think ‘zero to hero’ is a well known phrase in most of the English speaking world. It is a straightforward and graphic ‘image’, difficult to misunderstand.

        I’m sure that you can construe it as meant without my help.

      • Perhaps, but then so is the word innuendo ‘well known’- it can even be found in the dictionary I’m told- and you appear to need help there. So allow me: your smarmy statement insinuated that Mann’s ostensible rise to ‘hero-hood’ was not based on merit. Is this what you meant to imply or can you’ve asked to do more than smear by inference?

        If that is your baseless acusation, what is your theory for why the community decided to make him a rock star, as apparently that’s what lead authorship of an IPCC chapter makes you? Again, I’m not asking for evidence, as I know you haven’t the slightest, I’m just trying to elevate your level of commentary from the sewer to the toilet.

        That clear enough for you?

      • Kill the messengers, would you? Set up a straw man argument or two to flesh things out? Add a conspiracy theory to season the stew? Ridicule “denialists” whatever those are? The ghost of Saul Alinsky has materialized in this thread.

      • lol, he’s got it down pretty good. Except reality betrays him. Industry funded conspiracy…….


        It is worth the time to peruse the membership of that community.
        Realize that as of Feb 2010 BP, Conoco and Caterpillar were part of the same group. BP and UCal, Berkley teamed up to form EBI. $500, 000,000.00 worth of that “industry funded” conspiracy.
        http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/02/01_ebi.shtml <————must read!!! Pictures are worth a thousand words.


        Conoco has been instrumental in setting up EU’s carbon trading schemes………… and the beat goes on.

  26. A simple but important step toward conflict resolution would be for AGW believers to stop conflating climate change with anthropogenic/man-made climate change.

    It is a standard tactic of AGW believers to dredge up temperature graphs “proving” that skeptics are wrong. Every notch up the thermometer, every unexpected climate event, any change in the weather is used to “prove” AGW.

    But most informed skeptics doubt not the fact of climate change. The questions are about the causes, forcings, uncertainties and consequences of climate change. Painting skeptics as “deniers” of climate change deliberately misrepresents the facts, obfuscates the issues, and makes conflict resolution more difficult than necessary.

    • “A simple but important step toward conflict resolution would be for AGW believers to stop conflating climate change with anthropogenic/man-made climate change.”


      Conflating CC with ACC is pure Orwelian speak.

      Another important step would be to stop stating any warming/cooling/change without specifying time scale.

      • the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (UK) definition of climate change – EXCLUDES – ANY natural forcing

        so by their strict definition me saying have you accounted for the null hypothesis, ie agw may be small and all or the majority of observed climate may be natural..

        by the DECC definition, I would be a denier!

        from the Glossary:
        “Climate Change
        The process of changing weather patterns caused by the increased number of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere as a result of human activity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”

        The fact that this is from a government document advising the State sector how to buy carbon offsets (not obliged to yet!) carbon offsetss, just makes it clear how bad things are in the UK


    • …And conflating (supposed) cause with (supposed) effect

  27. My first suggestion for restoring public trust in climate science is to disband WUWT and Fox News. Lets go for the low hanging fruit. Hockey sticks are so esoteric.

    My second suggestion for restoring public trust is to universally and publicly denounce Monckton and make sure the likes of him being asked to testify in from of congress never happens again.

    My third suggestion is to shame, rather than celebrate, those who undermine trust in science by feeding the public such things as “Only 4% of CO2 is produced by humans”, “the greenhouse effect is a sky dragon myth”, “CO2 was higher in the 1940s but scientists faked the data”.

    If there is a public trust issue in climate science, the three solutions I have outlined above will go a long way to sorting that. Certainly more than talking about a graph from a report 10 years ago which none of the public remember, let alone hold to their hearts, and which has subsequently been superseded by other studies anyway.

    • My first suggestion for restoring public trust in climate science is to disband WUWT and Fox News

      Yeah that’s the shot cthulhu, disband individuals rights to free speech. Spoken like a true watermelon.
      What’s next when some people protest at mitigation and adaptation proposals? Shut them up as well? THEN WHAT??????

      Half the world is protesting and dying in the streets for free speech and democracy, and here we have cthulhu with his/her groundbreaking suggestion.
      Way to go Einstein

      • disbanding fox news and WUWT would of course be voluntary.

        But a necessary step for reckonsillyation

      • So what you are saying, in practice, is: “when hell freezes over”.

      • Given the air mass over Canada descending into the U.S. (ditto Europe), that may seem to happen sooner than later. :-)

      • Us Canuks resemble that! Our air is not going anywhere near Yerp. That’s Rooshan.

      • You would do as well to argue that red herring’s population increase (thanks to ACG) is bleaching the coral.

        Disbanding WUWT and Fox News would leave a vacuum. Do we need peer reviewed articles on how nature feels about that?

    • So any wacko conspiracy theory that you spot on the internetz should be put down, before any of the actual scientists being paid by our governments – who we hold to the highest standards possible – should consider starting marginalizing bad scientific practices and instead choosing best practices?

      Yeah, that’ll do it.

      • If your objective is to *restore public trust in climate science*, your best bet would be to go after those things which damage public trust in climate science the most: pseudo-scientific misinformation and smears about CO2 and the greenhouse effect, etc.

        You can try and make climate science and scientists more perfect all you want, but if you ignore the pseudo-scientific agenda you are missing the biggest contributor.

      • Wrong answer. You don’t get better science and more trust with lack of contrarian “propaganda”. You also don’t get better science with more propaganda.

        You get better science with less handwaving, more honesty, more transparency, less “Team-esque” shenanigans, and way less ideology-driven science.

        And that’s what I want here. Better science. And when you get actual better science and less chicanery from what was supposed to be the “good guys”, you’ll see WUWT fading to black.

      • Excellent statement.

      • > [W]hen you get actual better science and less chicanery from what was supposed to be the “good guys”, you’ll see WUWT fading to black.

        Without any example to support it, this remains a metaphysical claim. If we consider the way mainstream media operates, this claim is false. If we consider the way Fox News operates, this claim is misleading.

        But let’s not digress from the main message. Science is corrupt.

      • Why, do you see Fox News challenging that the earth is spinning round the sun?

      • Chtulhu,

        Before you pass judgement on Fox News, take a look at this:


        Fox News knows how to represent information.

        Their Science is not Corrupt.

        That this information has no bearings on reality is irrelevant, as we all know how reality has a liberal bias.

      • Chtulhu: Let me recommend some readings about what you appear to be asking for, lest you get what you appear to want.

        Various. 2009a. Totalitarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Encyclopedia? Wikipedia. March 14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism
        ———. 2009b. Authoritarianism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Encyclopedia? Wikipedia. March 14. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism
        Virkkala, Wirkman. n.d. Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism: A Distinction Refined. Blog. Instead of a Blog. http://www.insteadofablog.com/2006.10.28.shtml

    • We’ll check with you in a few years, anonymous expert Cthulhu, and see how that worked out for you.
      Is it just me? I’m getting really tired of cowardly anonymous experts handing down the fruits of their wisdom from on high.
      It would be interesting to know the percentage of anonymous warmists as compared to the percentage of anonymous skeptics.

    • Marlowe Johnson


    • My first suggestion for restoring public trust in climate science is to disband WUWT…
      My third suggestion is to shame, rather than celebrate, those who undermine trust in science by feeding the public such things as “Only 4% of CO2 is produced by humans”, “the greenhouse effect is a sky dragon myth”, “CO2 was higher in the 1940s but scientists faked the data”.

      Why would you disband WUWT? It gives a lot of room for debate, including pro and contra your third suggestion. If you make a search, you will find my name several times, including a series of guest articles which argues counter the points you want to eradicate in your third suggestion. There are some articles which are scientifically questionable (on which is reacted in the comments), but far more which are scientifically sound. Especially those written by Willis Eschenbach. And if you don’t like their critique against some questionable scientific practices, please do something on these practices, not against the people which expose them…

  28. Anonymous Climate Guy

    I think constructive suggestions #1 and #2 are asking a little too much. There is much poison in the well. The concepts of ‘vindication’ and ‘admission of guilt’ are hard to compel (and perhaps are simply not ours to ‘get’ rather than freely receive). Leave it to others; it will eat you up from the inside. Those particular pursuits do not just nag in the professional world. They exist in many facets of life, and are often just as ungraspable if they are not freely given.

    #3. In light of 1 and 2…this one is critical. I think you will get cooperation here. Some scientists will request the ‘long-hallowed’ permission to speak frankly behind closed doors, but the oversight that’s needed just might be in the open doors of journals. (more below).

    #4. Not sure that matters. Obviously I think climate is important :-) and I think it’s fair to say that everyone agrees that climate change is occuring…thus it’s probably also fair to say that it’s worth exploring in case regional adaptability requires more prior planning than we give it.

    #5. This goes together with part #3 …. In MANY other science fields, rote, abject, intense disagreement is often permitted to co-exist within the high-standard peer-review literature. Take economics for instance…You don’t see as many editors rejecting Friedman papers because they’re not Keynesian. They both exist. It is a good thing that editors rigorously evaluate and peer-review submissions, but in the end, simply dismissing some work because of a ‘fatal flaw’ that it disagrees with the prevailing ‘understanding’ is ‘not helpful’ and ‘not optimal’. There’s a pushback against a post-normal stance of multiple truths within the science field (especially climate science), but because of the elements of uncertainty and the lack of ‘spare Earths’ on which to run control experiments, there simply needs to be more thought that is allowed to see the light of day in peer-review. There should be a separation between a misuse of the science and a disagreement of understanding.

    There are some climate scientists that are considering boycotting the review of papers of certain authors, and boycotting the citation of papers within certain journals…both measures antithetical to the free-flow of thoughts and ideas, especially in such a frontier science as climate change. If other fields can permit ‘untidy’ pictures, than so can we. The result is only MORE research, not less.

    • ACG
      Your final comment regarding ‘untidy’ science is well made – the rest of Earth Science has no problem with an untidyness of ideas, and indeed it is these conflicting theories that have to be tested to see which provide the best fit for the observational or quantified evidence.

      Having seen the various extracts of the Climategate e-mails, particularly the ‘hide the decline’ message, it is clear that there are some scientists within the palaeoclimate field (Briffa being one) who were keen to follow normal scientific methods of data collection and interpretation, and if the data pointed somewhere different from their pre-conceptions, to attempt to follow that route and find where the problems lay. Others appeared (at least in the context of the IPCC report, which may not be frontline science, but is the boundary between the science and the political policy) to be advocating a pre-determined narrative even when apparently contradictory data existed.

      One of the first things I was told when I started doing analytical geochemistry (I think it was my Masters course rather than the PhD), was that there is no such thing as ‘bad’ data, just bad interpretation. In the ‘hide the decline’ story, this appears to have been disregarded, and means sought to remove the disagreeable data so that the interpretation appears to carry more weight.

      • “One of the first things I was told when I started doing analytical geochemistry (I think it was my Masters course rather than the PhD), was that there is no such thing as ‘bad’ data, just bad interpretation.”
        Just so!
        and we were told that there’s no such thing as a ‘failed’ experiment – provided we went back through everything with a fine tooth comb (that’s why you keep lab or field notes, boys and girls!) to find out why where and how things went wrong.
        Well, I suppose if one only has computer models that get further and further removed from observational data, things may be a bit more difficult …

  29. One single advice to any organisation that want to be a source of scientific information, and benefit of the aura of objectivity that is (was?) associated with this role:

    The mission is to inform people, NOT to educate people.

    Imho, informing is the only thing you can decently do when speaking to intelligent adults.
    Education should be limited to children, or people that have been convinced to represent a danger for other, with the probable excuse of having insufficient education when young (and this must be a small percentage of the adult population: Such people are usually not free, as a result of a trial).
    Education goal is to produce people thinking in one specific way. Information goal is exposing the facts (Data and derived theori(es)) as clearly and as objectively as possible, trusting the intelligent adult to forge his own opinion about relevance, sorting through the possible outcomes and solutions, and acting as his own interest and moral sense tell him to.

    Unfortunately, Education material abound from everywhere nowadays. Information, on the other hand, seems in short supply, and one is forced to extract as best as one can information by removing all the endoctrinement part of the educative material constantly broadcasted for every interest group and their dogs. Any organisation aiming at education can not be objective. It is antinomic.

    Frankly, as I get older, I found more and more irritating…well, insulting to be “educated”. I don’t need education, I want information.

    If the IPCC can redempt itself from an another educative organisation (and one targeted at policy makers, which is doubly insulting because then education is called lobying) to an information source, great!
    I don’t hold my breath, though, because such a feat is extremely uncommon, it is difficult enough for information source not to fall into the educative trap….

  30. I love best practises – i use this phrase more or less every day – whilst this is more or less never put into practise – as if we human beings were quite unable to (re)use best practises, in particular from learning the lessons

    is it just a consultant word ? who would afterwards make an offer for a PMO service.

    Process management in climate ?

    IMHO, one of the actual key point of the climate scene for the next months & years is the drafting of AR5 – how would our conflict resolution best practises apply ?

    How should a pacified Climate Etc. community behave in this forthcoming exercise ?

    a nice topic for a forthcoming thread ?

  31. Here’s my problem with agreeing that Hide the Decline is not best practices.

    It can be.

    Computer graphics use hidden-line algorithms all the time to make graphic representations more pleasing. You couldn’t watch Toy Story without them.

    Some extraneous information is just that, extraneous. In some narrow cases.

    Where appropriate and detailed explanations of how a graphic representation has been assembled are set out, where every effort has been made, then hide the decline is quite appropriate.

    Sort of.

    In the narrow context where everyone is expected to have fully made themselves conversant with the limits of the data presentation, this remains true, within those limits.

    But we see, over and over, media and politicians, inquiries and bloggers, people who one knows wouldn’t read past the first line of a scientific report with the least understanding if all the lottery winning numbers for the next decade were buried within, are conversing with the authors, and the authors do not caution, “The graph is true, except it’s not for you.”

    The graph is true.

    Except for how it was used in these far more commonplace (by virtue of how often seen) situations.

    The hockey stick is ‘true.’

    Except for most of the ways it has been used.

    So, given this problem, this bifurcation of target, of the caution with which the target audiences will receive the data and the precautions the target audiences will take to discount it appropriately and frame it to a level of uncertainty and context suitable, what is the best practice?

    To never hide the decline, and be hamstrung forever in analyses by extraneity?

    To never release to those who have not signed waivers indicating they will be held responsible for their own failed interpretations?

    To gloss over the fact that there will be many perfectly capable to read and understand the warnings, but for whom the extraneous data is not extraneous, but necessary?

    You have a best practice for that?

    • BartR: “To never hide the decline, and be hamstrung forever in analyses by extraneity [sic]?”

      Or perhaps sooner understand that trees make bad thermometers, and that current temperatures are perhaps not “unprecedented”.

      • P, D


        If one can’t make up words on the Intertubes, then where?

        By current temperatures, do you mean current anomalies?

        Because, let’s face it, thermometers read twice a day make bad thermometers too.

        What people make of anomaly, or proxy reconstruction, or precedent, in a spatiotemporal thermal chaos, pretty much meaningless one way or the other for some scales of time and some hypotheses.

        To my way of thinking, all of the terms “precedented”, “unprecedented” and not “unprecedented” are, absent better framing of the Chaos of the system, no more meaningful than to say ‘pretty’, ‘unpretty’ or not ‘unpretty’.

        Precedence in global temperature requires a framework we cannot supply ourselves to such a degree as to be very certain of.

        The progress in establishing conditions whereby precedence might be meaningful has advanced to a degree that startles me, in the past quarter century. Maybe one day it will mean something.

        We won’t get to that day if we just sit on our hands and measure nothing, analyze no measurements of nothing, and draw no conclusions of these not nothings we aren’t unmeasuring.

        Is this what your “perhaps” postulates?

  32. Let me clarify and raise the bar a little bit.
    For skeptics, if you think its fraud, of course you agree that it’s not best practices. So, agreeing that’s not best practices, at the very least, should not be a problem. For other’s I dont think quibbling about the definition of best practices works. look at it this way. Would you argue that it is the best practice? On what basis? Did it convey more information? more clearly?

    WWTD: what would Tufte do


    • Anonymous Climate Guy

      There are a lot of ‘admissions’ to various practices and occurences made by many climate scientists in question that say things like “Yes, that was not optimal” and “Yes, this was unhelpful”. These could probably be akin to agreeing to something not being a ‘best practice’. However, there are many folks out there that were/are thoroughly unsatisfied by this turn of events.

      Perhaps this means that agreeing that something isn’t (or wasn’t) a best practice isn’t enough..? Or, does it mean that some folks are overreaching in their quest for a pound of flesh?

      • I look at it this way. You can accept that it was bad practice and argue that it was more than that. If the other side won’t even accept that this is bad practice, then we have no where to go. Its like people who wont accept the tyndall gas effect.

        Put another way. If both sides agree that its not best practice, then we can begin to agree upon how to improve the practice. When it comes to the “prosecution ” of individuals for past deeds??? Well, we can never have that discussion if we first cannot agree on the best practices question.

      • I don’t see a need for prosecution. I do see a need for the removal from scientific influence of the main actors. Maybe that’s why Mann got a couple of mil to go study mosquito vectors.

    • steve mosher: would that I worked in a world where deliberately hiding inconvenient data had no consequence to it save having to admit it “wasn’t a best practice”.

      On the other hand, no. You know why? Because I love the world Iwork in where INTEGRITY is THE ticket to play. No INTEGRITY, no PLAY .

      As amny keep saying: the academic world could sure learn a lesson from industry on this point.

      Without INTEGRITY one has nothing.

      • I’m not asking you to LIMIT your concerns. I’m asking to to say that
        “it’s at least bad practice” so, if its fraud, then you believe that its bad practice. It may be more than bad practice, but it is at least bad practice.
        Meaning, yu would not recommend it. You can agree to that because its what you believe

    • Re the IPCC hockey stick. It’s not best practices in presenting objective information.

      It might be considered best practices if you are advocating a position. The way the temperature record was presented using the hide the decline method of splicing, imo, summarizes the advocacy message, not an objective one.

      Technically it’s not false (since somewhere in the (IPCC) mice type the issues surrounding the presentation are briefly explained). As a summary of the objective science for policy makers, it is surely not honest brokering.

    • Steve McIntyre

      Here were some comments along this line that I made in a speech last May to the Heartland conference:

      Academics seem unoffended by the trick. But there’s a price for not being offended, because the public expects more. If climate scientists are unoffended by the failure to disclose adverse data, unoffended by the trick and not committed to the principles of full, true and plain disclosure, the public will react, as it has, by placing less reliance on pronouncements from the entire field – thus diminishing the coin of scientists who were never involved as well as those who were. This is obviously not a happy situation at a time when climate scientists are trying to influence the public and many have lashed out by blaming everyone but themselves, using the supposed exonerations by these ineffectual inquiries as an additional pretext.

      To the extent that things like the trick were sharp practice, the practices needed to be disavowed. The scientists do not need to be drummed out, but there has to be some commitment to avoiding these sorts of sharp practice in the future. George Monbiot suggested early on perceived that
      apologies were necessary on the part of the climate scientists involved both to the targets and to the wider community – something that, in my opinion, would go a long way to achieving some sort of truth and reconciliation in a difficult situation. Right now, this seems less likely to happen than ever.

      • Steve McIntyre

        I read this and I bury my face in my hands and I feel a twinge of despair, after all of Dr. Curry’s herculean labours.

        I know that long before November of 2009, I saw one such offending graph as is in question.

        I know it was published along with a report by the authors in question.

        I know the report contained detailed descriptions of declines and treatments for handling declines, including a clear statement that the graph contained data that had been manipulated to show not tree ring proxy-reconstruction, but anomaly data, and which data and which part of the graph this technique had been applied to.

        Am I imagining this report?

        Did it never exist?

        Did you never before November 2009 comment on it, with words to the effect that if insensitive to temperature rise now, how do we know the proxy was not insensitive to such rise in the past?

        How could this statement have ever been made by yourself, were you unaware of this adverse data, of this trick, of this method as applied to hide the decline?

        And yet now, you act as if all that disclosure never happened.

        If I’m wrong, if I’m imagining it all, I apologize for my mistake of memory. It just doesn’t feel like I’m misremembering it all at all.

        If I am recalling mainly correctly, then you exaggerate the fault in others, as you coyly call for apologies, and assert sharp practice with such sharp rhetoric.

        Sure, there’s fault regardless of my own faults of memory, but here we see needless magnification and inflation of fault, distortion of memory, manipulation of the continuum of facts so what happened after November 2009 is causes replacement of what was before that date with actions that never happened; we see Steve McIntyre dialectically hide the decline between the actual record and the agenda he champions.

        And we’d heard so much better, and had so much hope to expect better, of the man.

        Is my memory so wrong, and what I see here regardless of memory so mistaken, or do you sir blame everyone but yourself, and use supposed exonerations by these ineffectual obfuscations not gathered under any fair and impartial process, but only under your own aegis as additional pretext?

        This passage, this course, is simple agitation. Even if my memory is wrong.

        However true, or truly felt, or compelling, or compelled, it is on its face moving that long way to reconciliation into more difficult situation, not less.

        Do.. you feel you have anything to apologize for?

      • Bart

        I have tried to read and understand your post. But I can’t actually see a point. Please be specific about what you are saying.

        If there is something you feel McIntyre should apologise for, come out and state what it is. Instead of your usual circumlocution and obscurantism.

        Just to help you, here is a template for such a complaint

        Dear Mr McIntyre

        On date xxx , you publicly stated/wrote the following.

        evidence 1
        evidence 2
        evidence 3

        I believe that these are wrong because

        opinion 1
        opinion 2
        opinion 3

        and I believe that you should apologise because

        opinion 4
        opinion 5.

        I look forward to your reply

        Supporting evidence:

        link 1, link 2, link 3 etc etc

        Simples! But no need for the profuse thanks I know you are tempted to give. I’m just off for an early lunch. Ciao

      • Latimer

        One is profoundly thankful for this lesson in how to go about seeking to persecute and hound.

        If one wishes further instruction in the art, one knows one will not be disappointed.

        However, as we’re on a blog, and not conspiring with quill pen, we may observe a few redundancies in your proffered advice.

        To whit, Steve McIntyre’s blog post here came dated automatically courtesy the good graces of WordPress, so your xxx is replicative of mere software, which one may construe as an attempt to patronize so august, accomplished, and intelligent a correspondent as the good gentleman in question.

        Further, on February 25th, 2011 at 4:00 am blogtime, you stated/wrote .. huh, you want me to quote a man who has dedicated years of his life in public service to himself, as if to put him on the spot by cunning devices and puerile word games?

        Why would I do that to someone who has done so much to deserve better respect?

        “I believe that these are wrong because..” wow. Such powerful word choice. One bets your Valentines Day cards scintilate. Ah. Forgot. You’re Welsh. St. David’s Day cards?

        Do I believe Steve McIntyre ought apologise?

        Clearly, I do not seek such, or would have asked such outright.

        I’ve spent enough time among Canadians to know they’re infinitely better versed in the subject of apology than I ever heard while kicking about twixt Ullapool and Blackpool in my vagrant youth, and so will not pretend to school one on my beliefs about his apologies. Come to think of it, they’re better at knowing when thanks are proper, too.

        Did you learn nothing of Canadians and manners watching Paul Gross’ misadventures in Chicago? Tch.

      • @BartR

        ‘One is profoundly thankful for this lesson’

        Always happy to be of service.

        Lunch was tasty btw.

      • L A

        It’s not my business if you dine at Steve McIntyre’s expense, but I’m glad you dine well.

      • Bart, I’m afraid I can’t make any sense of anything you’re saying either. Just a heads up.

      • Hear, hear

        If you’ve got something to say, Bart, why not just say it so that everyone reading here can understand it? No need to spend so much time proving how clever you undoubtedly are.

      • Ceri

        Minor correction:

        ‘No need to spend so much time proving how clever you undoubtedly are’

        should read

        ‘No need to spend so much time proving how clever you undoubtedly think you are’.

      • If one counts the reading level challenge scores of Steve McIntyre’s post and my reply, one does not observe a large disparity.

        Perhaps the reading comprehension difficulty has another explanation.

        What particularly do you have questions about?

        I will make answers to all questions so clear, detailed and precise as the questions themselves where it can be done.

      • The difference between your posting and Steve McIntyre’s is that his attempts to explain something to the reader. Yours however does not.

        Reading level challenge scores look at stuff like the frequency of long words and the length of sentences. They do not assess ‘comprehensibility’

        It is entirely possible to write complete garbage that could be read by a 12 year old. It seems that you have elevated such an endeavour into an art form.

      • Latimer Alder

        It appears more likely that we have run into a group of readers whose schemata are incapable of accommodating the view of a contrary position to anything Steve McIntyre proposes.


        You’ll want small words for that.

        It means, “learn to think for yourself.”

        Here, take Tufte’s method, which one supposes you endorse based on your participation in the Beautiful Evidence discusion:

        Effects without Causes and the Evasion of Responsibility

        “..there has to be some commitment to avoiding these sorts of sharp practice in the future.”

        Commitment just by ‘the scientists’ and ‘academics’ or by ‘the public’?

        Clearly, there is blame-laying and responsibility evasion throughout Steve McIntyre’s attempt to “explain something to the reader.”

        No indication of McIntyre’s role, or the context, or the consideration entertained of responsibility on the part of anyone but the accused academic world of scientists.

        Does for McIntyre the public have no responsibility to READ HARDER?

        Does McIntyre have no answer to his own responsibilities as auditor on the many points made to him in that span of years before November 2009, asking him to seek the data at its source and develop his own original analyses?

        Tufte scores on McIntyre.

        Cherry-picking, Evidence Selection, Culled Data

        Does this really need expansion?

        Steve McIntyre does not produce all or most of or balancing contrary evidence, or anything that can be vaguely quantified (unusual, for an able statistician).

        This is a skewed and unproven charge, and one that relies on the reader to forget everything that happened and was known in public before November 16, 2009 in the Hockey Stick debate* to even credit as anything but outright falsehood.

        *Here is the offending graph: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/briffa2001/plate3.gif

        and here the source article: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/briffa2001/briffa2001.html

        The black line, labeled “Observations” is the infamous Hidden Decline of the clearly visible and distinct lines of all other colors.

        How is _that_ dishonesty in proportion to what Steve McIntyre claims, or perpetrates?

        McIntyre’s Tufte corruption score equals CRU in this; though we can see in other matters, McIntyre would not be entirely wrong to assert CRU may be challenged on its Tufte corruption metric, the way he does it here is hypocritical.

        Sure, the CRU very likely did wrong, with regard to the FOIA, and were clearly not acting in the best moral traditions and precepts of science.

        Why not tell _that_ story?

      • A small improvement. It’s approaching comprehensibility in some parts.

        If you want to open up a thread discussing the ‘crimes’ that you believe Steve McIntyre has committed. perhaps you should comment over at his blog (climate audit) or ask Judith to start one here. Or even send him an e-mail.

        But I’d wait until clean and sober before doing so.

      • Latimer

        Why is everything with you a slag and unsolicited bad advice?

        You want to insinuate Steve McIntyre committed crimes, that the CRU employs wife abusers, that the war dead in Iraq are in the same league as drug dealers?

        These dark fantasies and dictations of yours add nothing.

        No one benefits from your very repetitious and unfounded claims.

        Your qualitative judgements are not reliable.

        I have seen you spiral down this dim path, and can do nothing to help you.

        This barely matters, as you are not a voice leading, an icon spearheading, an influential patron and figurehead for a movement that could mean something better and more in the broader world of science at this keystone moment in the development of information technologies. Nor am I.

        Steve McIntyre is.

        And here he is, practicing sore winnerism instead.

      • Another of your fantastical posts that doesn’t merit a reply.

      • Ceri Reid & Latimer Alder,

        Why feed the irrational?

      • Shorter Steve McIntyre: Just because multiple inquiries found no evidence of wrong-doing and the broader community of their peers share that conclusion doesn’t mean my opinion as a non-scientist with close ties to industry doesn’t matter more. I mean who’s got the fossil fuel furnished megaphone here, and who’s been the target of the best smear campaign money can buy? I rest my case. Ergo, the scientists whose persecution I’ve made my business for years should grovel at my feet and beg forgiveness. My sophist nonsense to say nothing of my vanity demands it. Alas, while public opinion polls say otherwise, I will carry on as if I’m Moses and the climate scientists are Pharaoh. Thank you for reveling in my delusion.

      • The manner of misunderstanding someone often tells more about the one misunderstanding than the one misunderstood.

      • You are Michael Mann and I claim my fifty quid!

      • Latimer Alder,

        How do you know Majorajam is Michael Mann? 2MMs in both? Lol.

      • Textual and contextual analysis. Here’s some evidence

        1. Sounds just like a lecture from Mann, full of bile and hatred.

        2. Concentration on ‘fossil fuel’ funded (MM= Big Oil).

        3. Remarks about vanity and ego (projection).

        4. ‘Persecution ‘ of scientists (an MM giveaway)

        5. ‘Targets of smear campaign’ = ditto.

        It may not be conclusive, but good enough for the IPCC to rate it as better than 95% confidence IMO.

        And if it’s not authentic Mann, it’s what the art critics would call ‘from the school of Mann’. Does he have any fresh acolytes desperate to show the master how well they have learnt their lessons?

      • Latimer Alder,

        OK. I see. You may now claim your 50 quid bet from MM now, lol.

      • Shorter Alder: just because there is irrefutable evidence of the fossil fuel industry’s intimate involvement in and sponsorship of the charge of the climate ‘skeptics’, doesn’t mean I can’t laugh it off and in the next breath talk of the collusion to mislead of thousands of scientists across decades. Next thing you know, they’ll be fancying a plot by corporations against unions and wikileaks!!!

      • I’d love for them to sponsor me!

        Please can you send me the address where I can apply. I need a bit more cash after Christmas.

        And I am as sceptical as anyone could wish. Tx.

      • The distinction between the pipers and the rubes was implied. The latter receive only their own private self-satisfaction, by which measure you are a rich man indeed.

      • So which sceptics are they paying then? I’d imagine that the last few days have attracted a fair few here already. Somebody here must be rolling in the greasy lolly.

        As you know all about the funding, surely you feel able to back up your assertions and expose the ‘posters for hire’.

        Because if they ain’t here or hereabouts, where are they?

      • Good lord, Majorajam, by your reasoning a bus driver has ties to the fossil fuel industry.

      • My goodness, they do leave the dirtiest of the dirty work for you Jeff. I guess you take a long view. Will be sure to check in at a later date to see how that works out for you.

  33. I like Mosher’s framing of the matter as agreeing upon and then upgrading to “best practices”.

    That puts the most positive spin on the whole matter moving forward, and allows you to go where you need to go.

    Also it does not require the kind of auto-da-fe that the most severe critics wish devoutly for, but are highly unlikely to ever get. Demanding it puts what might be an insurmountable roadblock in the way of future progress.

    Or as Winston Churchill said to the House of Commons in June of 1940, “If the present tries to sit in judgment on the past, it will lose the future.”

    He said it at a very dark hour in British history. France had just fallen, Britain was alone. He was talking about the desire of some in the Commons to hold a witch hunt for the failures of 1933-1939, which are well documented. No one knew better, or had more right, than Churchill himself to be demanding an accounting right then.

    But he knew that wasn’t the way forward. We should know it too.

  34. You’ll need to agree the problems that you are trying to solve before you’ll find a mutually acceptable solution.

    Sorry Dr Curry.
    Agreeing the problem isn’t a necessary prerequisite for agreeing a solution.
    In fact it comonly a hindrance.


    Wife : We need to go to Sears to shop for ladies underthings.
    Me: We need to go to Sears and shop for tools.
    Solution: Go to Sears.

    or we could try this

    Wife: We need to go shopping at Victoria’s Secret for ladies underthings.
    Me: Whats wrong with the underthings you have, everything at Victoria’s Secret is overpriced, there are no tools at Victoria’s secrets, you’re not expecting that I’ll pay are you?

  35. I find it gratifying that at least a modicum of responses here see Steve Mosher’s “best practices” paradigm as a constructive step. Unsurprisingly, that step has also been resisted by a few who are more focused on assigning blame, with a consequent tendency to inflate the presumed infractions by those they blame.

    I would add only one suggestion to complement Steve’s approach. When adversaries try to resolve conflicts, it rarely helps for each to start by explaining how the other side should reform – that provokes a defensive response that often escalates rather than reduces conflict. What we have not yet seen here, even among the best-intentioned, is the opposite approach – a willingness on anyone’s part to begin the process by saying, “Here’s how I should change. Do you have any thoughts about how to reciprocate?”

    Of course, that can only happen if someone concedes the possibility that he or she might need to take that initiative. Anyone convinced that only the other side needs to change will remain part of the problem rather than the solution.

    • “Anyone convinced that only the other side needs to change will remain part of the problem rather than the solution.”

      The solution to what? The whole point of the debate is what public policy to enact, or not enact. Compromise is a “solution” only if it achieves the right result. This is not a debate between competing interests, where you can split the difference. It is about what is the truth.

      If the CAGW proponents are correct about the science and the catastrophe to come, the only rational position for them to have would be that the other side has to change. If skeptics are correct that there is not sufficient evidence to justify government action, and that the proposed taxes and regulation would destroy the economy, why should they compromise?

      Compromise should not be a goal in itself. Enacting (or not) the right policy is the only rational goal.

      Conservatives, who are gaining power and are already in position to stop the worst excesses in their view, have no reason to compromise at all? CAGW liberals who believe government action on climate is essential to avoid catastrophe similarly have nothing to gain from compromise?

      Cleaning up the science, changing the tone of the debate, these are laudable goals. But if this discussion becomes code for moving policy to the lukewarmer position, it isn’t going to go very far with either side of the debate.

      • Gary – The change that is needed is a change in the way adversaries deal with the perceived faults of each other, not a change in the scientific conclusions they draw – they can still agree to disagree. Currently, one side is saying, “we did nothing inappropriate”, and the other is saying, “you’re a bunch of liars”.

        Both of those positions are too intransigent. Neither matches reality. Both should change.

      • I don’t want the warmists to change. I want to defund them. I want to de-fang them. They can promote their activism with a private sector paycheck–they can shout their message from a soapbox on the corner of Nowhere Street and Who Cares Avenue like the rest of us.

      • I agree with you, Ken.

        The problem is not the pawns who follow orders to deceive. The problem lies with those who gave the orders.

        The “scientific-technological elite” that former President President Eisenhower warned about in his farewell address.

        The Big Brother described in George Orwell’s book, “1984”

      • Agree with you Ken

      • Fred,

        Perhaps I have misunderstood. If all you are talking about is the tone of the debate, then I have no problem in agreeing that both sides should moderate their tones. I don’t think that is going to happen, nor do I see it as essential, but it would be nice.

        The theme of this thread is conflict resolution, and was built on your description of what you found to be five constructive ideas on the prior thread. I took your comment in that larger context of the general climate debate, and responded accordingly.

        Given your clarification, in the words of the immortal Emily Litella….”Never mind.”

      • Gary – I was trying to focus on the theme of this post regarding how to avoid future “hiding the decline” episodes, which is probably not a trivial concern.

        Some suggest that the solution is for the IPCC authors to admit they were dishonest and promise never to do it again. That isn’t going to happen.

        Others suggest that the “climate deniers” should stop smearing legitimate scientists who did nothing wrong. That isn’t going to happen either.

        Steve Mosher suggests that we agree on a set of principles comprising “best practices”. That could actually increase the probability that future reporting of scientific data will conform to best practices.

        It is a consummation devoutly to be wished.

      • The attempt to hide the decline, and the failure to use best practices, seems to be a unilateral problem. I wasn’t aware that skeptics disagreed on what best practices should be.

        I understood Steve Mosher’s suggestion to be, in the context of the hide the decline debate, merely that climate scientists should agree to adopt best practices (which they would deny they have ever not followed), and skeptics should be satisfied with that. The hockey team should be more honest, and skeptics should be more polite. No problem there. I’m game. But you should have told Dr. Curry before she started using words like dishonest and corrupted.

        And if I see any climate deniers, I will be sure to tell them to stop denying climate and smearing innocent scientists.

      • “I’m game. But you should have told Dr. Curry before she started using words like dishonest and corrupted.

        And if I see any climate deniers, I will be sure to tell them to stop denying climate and smearing innocent scientists.”

        Regarding the second point, my use of the term was facetious – intended to reflect the polarization of the issue.

        Your first sentence is more important, because I think Dr. Curry should have avoided the term “dishonest”. However, I don’t consider her description a serious fault, because she used it out of a desire to preserve the credibility of climate science. My greater disapproval applies to those who wield “dishonest” as weapon designed to destroy the credibility of the science or groups within it because they oppose the policy implications of what those scientists conclude.

      • Destroying the dishonest scientists of the Hokey Team is not the same as destroying the science. If it is, so much the worse for the science; it was a house of soggy, limp cards in the first place.

      • I couldn’t disagree more. The clear labeling of the conduct (if not the actors) as dishonest is what made the post noteworthy.

        I think the $64,000 question is whether Dr. Curry regrets using the term.

      • Fred, this is actually a very simple thing to avoid; make it prosecutable, as it is in industry.

      • My reasons for disagreeing with this and with Gary on a similar same point are outlined in more detail in part IV of this series, along with interesting commentary by others on the same point –

      • Here is the URL – Comment 48513

      • My conclusion from this comment is that you don’t think compromise is a good thing for either side. I disagree. Consider the policy option extremes for each extreme position. The “AGW is a scam position” could say let the market decide what fuels to use with no consideration of long-term potential impacts and no subsidies for renewable energy. The “CAGW is the greatest environmental threat” position could say reduce GHG emissions 80% from the 1990 levels by 2050 whatever it takes.

        I propose compromise alternatives. Maybe the compromise goal for the “it is all a scam” crowd is that there are benefits to reducing carbon use (less reliance on unfriendly foreign governments and the likelihood that fossil resources will be increasingly more difficult to acquire) that make an energy policy that takes a long-term precautionary approach that also happens to reduce GHG emissions palatable even if it includes a focus on making renewable energy technology less expensive. For the alarmist side I would like to think that a focus on the enormous challenge of converting society to a low-carbon future would make an energy policy that includes a focus on innovative technology palatable even if it does not include ambitious goals. I would throw in for good measure a bone to both sides that a focus on the energy future and not on “hiding the decline” might prevent the debacle of using food for fuel, aka corn ethanol, that both sides likely agree is bad policy.

      • Roger,

        Your conclusion is correct. This is where I thought Fred Moolten was heading. If the CAGW proponents are right, their policy suggestions should probably be implemented in some form (thought they would probably be insufficient). If not, they should not be.

        The devil is in the details. “Reducing carbon use” as you suggest sounds so innocuous. But what exactly would “an energy policy that takes a long-term precautionary approach that also happens to reduce GHG emissions palatable even if it includes a focus on making renewable energy technology less expensive” to reduce the use of carbon look like?

        My suspicion is that your “energy policy” would consist of modified cap and trade, and government subsidies of alternative energy, which conservatives see as destructive at worst and boondoggles as best. If and when the time comes that fossil fuels become scarce, the industrial economy of the U.S, and Europe if it is still around, will do a much better job of developing new technologies than any government ever could.

        The conservative solution to reliance on foreign governments would be (and will be if the elections trends continue) development of domestic energy resources, including ANWR, coal, shale oil, off shore drilling, nuclear, etc., in the U.S. As for fossil fuels being increasingly difficult to find, the arguments for peak oil are as favored among conservatives as CAGW.

        Your proposed compromise is insufficient to protect the environment if the CAGWers are correct, and will do significant unnecessary damage to the economy if they are not.

        More to the point, I still do not see why conservative skeptics should compromise now, when they are already capable of stopping implementation of the CAGW agenda, and may well be able to implement real conservative energy policies in the near future?

      • GaryM,

        This is a good example of the importance of listening and where we should be going with the debate because I think we are more in agreement than either of us originally thought. We are in complete agreement that the devil is in the details.

        My preference for energy policy is one that has a small carbon tax that funds energy technology but not specific energy subsidies, looks at all the costs and benefits of options and provides funds for energy efficiency and conservation. I am very familiar with cap and trade programs and am completely opposed to any form of that scam for carbon control. The RGGI states have a “cap and auction” scheme that is really a carbon tax of $2 a ton that is about the scale of what I think is appropriate.

        Where we may disagree is on the need for the energy technology research. While I understand that “Peak Oil” turns out to always be in a few years I still wonder if we will always be able to find alternatives that don’t shock the system too much. Therefore, I think hedging bets by looking at carbon alternatives is worthwhile. While I admit that the difficulty is setting up something that is open to all innovation, I think that research beyond the free market is necessary to get where we need to go. I have heard much about thorium reactors and would like to see that explored. I am convinced that the closer you look at wind energy the more hidden costs and fewer benefits you will find which makes looking at solar energy a better long-term bet.

        In conclusion I want to see some progress on a long-term energy policy because I think that is what is needed. Yet another deadlock could prevent some worthwhile “no regrets” policies so I am willing to compromise to get there.

      • All presumes the conclusion: CO2 is harmful.

        What if it’s a scarce resource that should be maximized? Taxing anything reduces it. Perhaps CO2 production should be subsidized!

        “End the CO2 famine Now! Free coal-generated electricity for all! ”

        So, how’s that for a compromise?

      • Brian,
        Unfortunately the court has ruled that CO2 is a pollutant and that it “endangers” society. Please don’t think that my blood pressure doesn’t rise whenever I am reminded of that fact. But the fact of the matter is that we are stuck with CO2 is “harmful”.

      • Roger,

        I am not sure we agree as much as you think. First I have several problems with your “cap and auction” tax. Any politician who votes for a $2.00 a ton tax will eventually vote to raise that tax. Also, the tax receipts might first be allocated to research to sell the program, but look at what happens to Social Security tax receipts. They are spent like general revenue as soon as they are collected. You have much more faith in the self control of politicians than I do.

        Second, how do you “fund[] energy technology but not specific energy subsidies?” If you fund research, you have to cut a check to a particular party. I do not think much of the ability of the government to pick winners and losers, particularly in seeking innovation.

        I look at it this way, if 1000 free market capitalists invest in 1000 different types of energy innovation, and 1000 of the smartest central planners in the country get in a room and all decide on 1 particular line of innovation to pursue, which group has the better chance of success? If you want thorium reactor research, allow energy companies to build nuclear plants now so they can invest some of the profits into new research. Trial and error on the scale of the U.S. industrial economy will beat central planning every time. Ask the Soviets.

        If solar can be made profitable (ie. functional on a national scale), then free market entrepreneurs will find the way there much faster than the Department of Energy. Most conservatives I know have no problem with government funding of pure academic research (to an extent). And the government as a customer can spur multiple firms to seek innovation in an industry like military weapons systems. But by and large government bureaucrats are only good at expanding their budgets, workforce and power. They suck at innovation.

      • GaryM,
        My perspective is that there is so much political pressure to do “something” that there will be some kind of action. While all the points you make are valid I think my approach will have fewer negative impacts than alternatives other than the complete free market approach.

      • Roger –
        is there really so much political pressure ‘to do something’ – or hasn’t this pressure been created by those who have been screaming for the last 30 years that ‘something must be done now or the planet will fry’, using ‘evidence’ like the hockey stick?

      • I agree that it is cumulative pressure. The pressure to do something is from groups and individuals that have ulterior motives – primarily the coal is evil crowd. They are the ones that have been screaming for the last 30 years that something must be done now or we will fry, die from the pollution or be buried beneath the mountain top removal. There are enough agency folks and politicians willing to cater to that loud demographic that once they have such clear “evidence” as the hockey stick it just adds to the fire.

      • Viv,

        I agree that it is cumulative pressure from groups and individuals that have an agenda beyond global warming. This is just a great sound byte to further their agenda to ban the use of coal, stop suburban sprawl, etc.

  36. I have said this elsewhere but believe it bears repeating here in the context of a constructive solution to development of appropriate policy. I believe that all scientists involved in this issue, especially as it pertains to the policy recommendations based on the science, should comport with certain ethical guidelines which are well exemplified by the code of ethics of the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (http://www.orafs.org/pdfdocs/ORAFS_codeofethics.pdf). This code notes that professionals are “obligated to provide clear, accurate, and timely information; to encourage open discourse, both professional and public; and to participate in the debate that results in informed choices by the public. “

    From my standpoint in a position that deals with policy implementation, my biggest concern is blurring straight forward scientific results with personal opinions. The Code of Ethics address that point as follows: “I recognize that my deeply held, professional convictions may conflict with the interests and convictions of others. I am obligated to be clear and honest in distinguishing between reports of results from rigorous study and my professional opinions based on observations or intuition. My professional opinions clearly so identified have value, but must not be put forward as fact. In addition, the temporal, spatial, and contextual limits of my facts and their confidence limits must be clearly acknowledged.” All of the constructive solution recommendations would improve if the limits of the facts and clear identification of opinions were acknowledged.

  37. I think it would help 5 “Don’t present novel science as settled science” if the reviews and responses related to the published article were published. I think the reviewers names should also be disclosed.

    Full transparency would allow the readership to evaluate novel methods and novel results in the context of whether the review was softball or whether they did a good job, and how well defended the criticisms were in the response.

    Whether this made the paper seem stronger or weaker – it will make for better papers.

    This process shed a lot of light on OD10.

  38. Wife : We need to go to Sears to shop for ladies underthings.
    Me: We need to go to Sears and shop for tools.
    Solution: Go to Sears.

    Actually that is agreeing to two different problems that are both valid with one solution – and thats provided the wife does not believe the husband has enough tools (or vice versa).

    In the “Global Warming” debate the primary argument is whether we by release of CO2 will cause CAGW and therefore need to curb emmissions – it is the crux of the IPCC reports and why here in Australia Ju-liar Gillard is now pushing for a Carbon Price.

    If reducing emissions was relatively simple and provided many benefits then I would be in support of this goal – and by doing so whether I believed there was a problem or not, I would support (and in principle still do) the movement away from fossil fuels towards cheaper and more economical long term power supplies. Unfortunately, the emmissions reductions suggested as required to reduce levels to what some “Scientists” consder safe, is neither economical nor does it currently have many benefits other than some twisted feeling of being happier we are not “destroying the environment”.

    Consequently it is not currently possible to have “have your cake and eat it too”.

    If I reverse the analogy you used, it would only fit the current situation if we both agreed on a solution but the kicker is the “solution/s” to the CAGW ARE the actual problem.

    In relation to suggestions on how to proceed and move forward there unfortunately needs to be an attitude adjustment – and I mean thus primarily on those that are calling for the reductions. There are certainly sceptics that would need to change as well but I have to honestly say that I have met far less condescending sceptics than pro-warmers. Television discussions relating to Climate Change always have the “reducing CO2 emissions expert” talking down on every question raised as though the person asking should be drawn and quartered. Invariably however all this does is increase the divide between the two sides.

    There is not really going to be any going forward until questions can be answered simply and effectively and WITHOUT pointing to peer reviewed research as the answer.

    Understand I do not mean peer reviewed literature plays no role. It is the scientists position to effectively comunicate, in easy to understand language and terms (and not like you are talking to a 5 year old) what the evidence is. Sceptics have repeatedly brought up issues relating to aspects of CAGW and the response is invariably some form of “You are not a scientists so we don’t care what you say” or ” read this peer reviewed article and then debate” – only most articles relating to the intricices of Climate Change are virtually indecipherable to the laymen.

    Unfortunately I think the direction I am heading here is an attitude adjustment for the human race as a whole which is just naive, but at the end of the day many many people have valid fears about doubling electricity prices, rising cost of living and associated issues with reducing CO2. Should those people see a problem somewhere and ask about it, they should at least have the courtesy of a proper answer and not be subjected to ridicule especially when in many peoples’ mind there is too much at stake (on both sides).

    Myself, I would like to know the answer to one question – and I guaruntee a Labor representative would not answer this directly:

    First taking the following:

    Currently, very few countries are having success with Carbon Pricing schemes/Carbon Trading. CO2 emissions from Australia make up ~ 1.7% of the worlds Human made CO2 emissions. At current rising levels of CO2 they are supposed to double by 2050 (so I make that ~760ppm?). Of the extra ~380ppm, Australia would contribute to 3.8ppm over the next 30 years. Reducing levels of CO2 by 20% would ctually be more like 3.04ppm.
    So, we would save the world 0.76 ppm of CO2 or less than 1 ppm.

    Now, someone please tell me why my electricity bill needs to rise 30% in the next two years, along with the carry on costs of fuel which will inflate the costs of living, to save the world 1ppm of CO2 when we CAN’T EVEN ALL AGREE IT IS A PROBLEM. ?

    • Last I checked the price of 5500kcal/kg steam coal at the port of New Castle is about $120/tonne( it’ll go higher as soon as the Indonesians restrict steam coal exports in order to meet domestic demand, which will leave Australia as the only substantial asian exporter, then coal is going to be worth it’s weight in gold).

      This gives Australians a ‘fuel only price’ for electricity produced by coal of about 6 cents/KWh. (If the domestic price is less then the export price then someone is paying for the loss of export profits).

      At 6 cents/KWh there are energy options that are reasonably price competitive with coal that will emit less CO2 then coal. (Hint – the wholesale price of French Nuclear power is 5.3 cents/KWh)

      I would note that in the US Southeast, where the price thermal coal is running at about $4/mbtu(as opposed to $6/mbtu in the port of New castle), with the help of loan guarantees, they are building nuclear power plants.

      Of course the ‘N’ word is forbidden in Australia. Maybe if the ‘N’ word wasn’t forbidden in Australia then a discussion about which source of energy was ‘cheapest’ might take place.

  39. to Gary M.
    On the contrary, lack of tools may well be his problem.

  40. Keith Kloor weighs in on this dispute and infers the public sees no problem. Please provide counter evidence to Kloor’s assertion;

    Going to Kloor’s claim about credibility in the US, I see that he supports it with a quote from Science Daily which ultimately refers to a Yale paper, Climategate, Public Opinion, and the Loss of Trust, which is not nearly so sanguine. The first line of the abstract:

    Nationally representative surveys conducted in 2008 and 2009 found significant declines in Americans’ climate change beliefs, risk perceptions, and trust in scientists.

    The credibility of climate science might not be in tatters, but it isn’t healthy and it’s not improving. IMO climate change advocates are whistling past the graveyard on this via selective use of statistics.

  41. “I am not seeing any hope of the scientists supporting the IPCC consensus to conduct the necessary self policing. Improving oversight and reducing incentives for the pro-AGW narrative are important suggestions for the institutions (e.g. UN, funding agencies) are definitely needed.”

    This is a case where the policy got out ahead of good science rather than being informed by it. To fix the problem you have to break the policy to science vector, which means braking the policy. Which means changing the dominant ideological narrative which drives the policy. Which means breaking the power of those who drive the IPCC. And this doesn’t even begin to address the ideological forces within different nations that drive climate change research agendas.

  42. I agree with Mr. Mosher, it’s really only important that the processes are improved. Emotive Language, whilst possibly cathartic is self defeating, it doesn’t move the process on and it doesn’t improve the science. It just continues to feed the fires that are burning on both sides of the debate.
    In industry we have strong QA/QC procedures and there’s a lot of oversight of what we do and as has been said, rather more eloquently by others, I think that the IPCC could benefit from implementing some of these good/best practices.

    Our QC processes are self improving as, as any poor approaches/techniques or any errors/omissions are identified we change our processes, so as to hopefully make them less likely in future. Obviously, this sort of approach is predicated on the individuals and teams in question acknowledging these sorts of things ;-)

    It’s not a sin to make an error, but it is a sin to cover one up/bend the world out of shape trying to defend one.

  43. Dr Curry I can’t help feeling that there is something wrong with the structure that allows a situation like this to arise. I know this might sound daft for this thread but I am not talking about the science or who has done what or not.

    We are told that AGW is the greatest threat to mankind, but I cannot see an overall direction upon which to solve the issue.

    I will probably be corrected, but my view is that the IPCC collects and assess what is available? Who actually decides/controls what is needed?

    Who knows where the uncertainties lie and who is “commissioning/directing” the most appropriate research? In my hardnosed business world it would go out to tender/appraisal and there would be at least 3 totally independent commissions.

    If we have to have a worldwide authority (cringe) and I cannot see another way then it must stand or fall by being proactive, not by following the present “in vogue” line of research.

    I realise that these musings probably go against the way that research is presently done but in this particular very (quite correctly) emotive subject the structure appears to be either nonexistent or is best described as uncontrolled confrontational.

    If the major presently know issue (for example) to be resolved is “forcings” one of the mysteries to this particular Philistine, then who decides what to do to get mankind some guidance? Who sets off 3 or 4 independent teams on a strict budget/timetable double aim project, one to answer the questions we know we need answers to, and secondly to present the questions that they think we should now be asking?

    Who then gets them together to discuss/argue out their findings? If their independent research produces answers that are poles apart, then at least the findings are there for all to see and it is then up to the politicians to decide policy on the weight of evidence. This way the “world” knows what the research is based on; instead of waiting for a report and having no idea what work will be featured which is somehow inherently wrong for this subject.

    Every day that goes by I see more and more press releases of the potential implications AGW, some of which are quite frankly bizarre or inconsequential, surely we need a system of priority, because some are very pertinent and just get lost in the noise.

    I baulk and shudder at any thought of worldwide control, but I am at a loss with the present situation.

  44. I suggest considering how this would be handled in the private sector. There would not be endless hashing over who to blame, why to blame, how much to blame, how to word the blame, or whether there is any blame.

    There would be a recognition that the project had been mishandled and wasn’t moving forward. The management of the project would removed, possibly fired, and replaced with new management with new strategy. The project would start again from an earlier point.

    Personally I don’t see much hope for climate science as a trustworthy guide to policy planning until the Climategate scientists are replaced with fresh blood dedicated to openness and transparency.

  45. My grandfather and I stood on the bank of a once meandering creek as it had become a raging torrent from a Spring downpour. “That’s a gully wash and trash mover. Cleans out the dead wood, and makes the earth fresh for new growth.” Its hard to argue with Gramp’s.
    Rebranding bad behavior into best practice means that “consequences” are left out of the algebra. Now that may be alright with people whose career was not damaged too much from the verbal beatings and disrespect, but it sure leaves a bad taste in one’s mouth. Getting over it usually means swallowing one’s pride, a part of one’s self-respect, and changing career paths. But consequences are inevitable and they might just as well be met out during the gully wash and trash mover. That is, removing those who demonstrate bad behavior, “hiding the decline,” by “kicking them upstairs and out of the way.” Attempting to rehabilitate established researchers is well…nye on impossible; too much baggage and “dead wood.” Better to find a tiny lab, no overhead money, no grad assistants and let them drift out with the other flotsam and jetsam. Now all we need is a “Spring (financial) Storm.”

  46. Judith, I don’t see any hope for this at all.

    The group that would have to admit guilt, is the most prominent group in all of climate science. The so called experts.

    If the experts admit that they cheated, lied, presented it to governments and influenced policy, defended it knowing it was a lie, etc etc

    If the non-experts try to claim that they were only relying on the experts word and were lead around by the nose, believing it…

    If the media tries to claim they didn’t know any better and they are not climate scientists….

    If the teachers try to claim they were only teaching what they were told…..

    If the universities try to claim that they were only basing their teachings on the experts……..

    There’s goes the whole house of cards……

    • I forgot the biggest elephant in the room…

      Politicians…..when the experts admit they were lying, what are politicians going to do

      • Don’t be silly latitude… a politician admit they were lying?

        We’ll see pink cliffs of dover before that ;-)

  47. ” I am interested in identifying bad practices and putting a stop to them.”

    Easier to get practices ranked from best to worst. This could be done pretty quickly with a survey. Survey could be done with climate scientists as well as other disciplines.

  48. One problem I see is that certain individuals have the ear of the media. Between them, Mann and Hansen have given thousands of interviews, many spread around the world. They are accountable to no-one and no fact checking is done on their extreme statements (which go way beyond what is supportable by data or even by the IPCC). This is not internal to science but at the interface with politics/media. Who appointed them to represent all scientists? no-one. Who can stop them from claiming divine and perfect insight? No-one. Do they build trust in science and enhance transparency and auditing? Hah.

    • Indeed – science by sensational press release with the MSM irresponsibly whooping it up is THE issue here. Since this has worked very well for the advocates so far, there is no hope or way of changing this

      That’s why the decline was hidden from general public view – Gore’s film worked way too well to allow informed questioning

    • Yep, that’s a very good point. Some of the statements that have been made by certain members of the Climate Gliterati, bear little resemblence to what’s directly supportable. A certain coal train hater is IMHO the worst and most serial offender and what one does about that, I’ve got no idea….. As soon as one suggests gagging them in some way, then one becomes them, we can only hope than rationality holds sway.

    • Craig: “Who appointed them to represent all scientists?”
      If it bleeds, it leads.

    • “One problem I see is that certain individuals have the ear of the media.”

      So far, so good…

      “Between them, Mann and Hansen…”

      Oh dear, fell at the first hurdle.


      • Well that’s a knockout blow! A link to a blog by somebody anonymous that discusses ‘the anti-science crowd’ in their first para. Clearly the absolute pinnacle of objectivity and neutrality. The ‘creme de la creme’ of media commentators.

        JB – this isn’t ‘Komment Macht Frei’ at the Guardian. You need to make better arguments here where there is no willing moderator to delete any replies that fail to show due adherence to the party line.

  49. Best Practices?

    Reasonably acceptable practices would be welcome. Wasn’t this to be addressed by the climate science community? Statistical review, data archiving, improved peer review were just some of the points to be addressed last year and this year and be standardized. What was the name of the project? Sorry, I lost the link. How is that coming along?

    The points are wonderful but wishful. Both camps are dug in. Arbitration by a third party will be needed to determine the quality of the practices, value of the evidence and the validity of creative statistical methods, all of which impact the skill of the models.

    The Berkley Project is one step. There needs to be more. Best of luck, but I don’t see a coming to terms in the near future.

  50. Grammarnasty note: Where did this “Agreeing the problem” come from? Do you have something against the noble preposition “on”?

    “Agreeing on the problem” is fluent, idiomatic English. “Agreeing the problem”, not so much.

    There’s an archaic or Irish transitive use of “agree”:

    (transitive, UK, Irish) To yield assent to; to approve.  [quotations:]
    1666, Samuel Pepys, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, page 88:
    … and there, after a good while in discourse, we did agree a bargain of £5,000 with Sir Roger Cuttance for my Lord Sandwich for silk, cinnamon, …
    2005, Paddy McNutt, Law, economics and antitrust: towards a new perspective, page 59:
    The essential idea is that parties should enter the market, choose their contractors, set their own terms and agree a bargain.

    But it just sounds akk-word.

    • Addendum:

      Usage notesThis is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
      The transitive usage could be considered as just an omission of to or upon.
      US and Canadian English do not use the “transitive” form. Thus “they agreed on a price” or “they agreed to the conditions” are used in North America but not “they agreed a price” or “they agreed the conditions”.

  51. For me the real question is: can I trust the judgment of the climate science community when it comes to sifting through the mountains of ambiguous data and interpreting their meaning?

    The unacceptable defense of ‘hide the decline’ suggests that I cannot.

    Mosher’s compromise of admitting ‘failure to follow best practices’ does nothing to address that concern because what matters is why did they fail to follow best practices. I feel they failed because their judgment is compromised by their belief in a cause and such an admission does not do anything to address that problem.

    • Simply, If gavin [for example] cannot come here and do one the following, we are in trouble.

      A. defend “hide the decline” as best practices and detail why it is the best way to present data.
      B. stipulate that it is not best practices.

      If and when people agree that it is not best practices, then one MIGHT be able to inquire what kinds of circumstances led to less than best practices:

      1. Time constraints
      2. page limits
      3. pressure from others
      4. etc
      5. etc

      I would address these in general and not in the specific instance of AR4.

      The point of this exercise would be to FIRST and foremost fix things going forward.

      But, again, if gavin [for example] cannot come here and do A or B, then this discussion goes nowhere. It swirls around the same old toilet bowl.

      • Gavin is a self-appointed spokesman for the scientific community. I am not that interested in his opinion since his ego will constrain what he will do. What I want to see is evidence of that broader scientific community is able to police itself and repudiate individuals who act badly. The problem is this is not happening. People holding positions of authority or influence are either remaining silent or actually endorsing the excuses of the team.

        IOW. I am looking for unequivocal statements from the leadership of agencies like the IPCC and the WMO that acknowledge that the trick is unacceptable because it is deceptive and gives the reader the wrong impression of the data.

        Face saving weasel words from the agencies are not helpful at this point because they suggest that the agencies do not really believe there is a problem and have no interest in ensuring the same thing does not happen again in the future.

      • Im just using “gavin” as an example.. I should have been clearer. I dont mean him in particular I mean people of his stature, his importance, his intelligence

  52. The problem is not with the Team. They simply took advantage of the rules that were in place. This happens in all walks of life. It isn’t right, it isn’t ethical, it is simply a matter of fact.

    You can try and change the rules retroactively, but it is unlikely to work. The better solution is to change the rules going forward, to minimize the risk of mistakes/errors/fraud in science. For example:

    1) require scientific publications to be open source. If you want to publish, then you must publish the data and methods sufficient to recreate your results.
    2) names of reviewers must be made public by the publishing journal at time of publication, but not before.
    3) recognition by the scientific community that any result that has not been independently recreated is of minimal value. Only after it has been repeatedly verified over time can it be used with some confidence.

    • for example, if the IPCC required a publication to be independently verified 2 times over a minimum period of 10 years before consideration, with no significant contradiction, that would lend some confidence to the claim of “settled” or “concensus” science. the hockey stick would not have made it into the ipcc, there would have been no climategate, al gore would not have made his movie and everyone reading this would be out having much more fun.

      • But think of the administrative load on the poor IPCC guys!!

        They can’t even manage to abide by their own existing rules for citations. How on earth would they manage if they had to check that they had been reproduced too?

        These guys are only climatologits. They aren’t trained for attention to detail, checking references, writing good code or looking after data properly or any of that ‘professional’ stuff that the contrarians do all day every day. You ask too much of them.

  53. I must admit I really like the idea of an establishment (or re-establishment perhaps) of a set of “best practices”, which must be adhered to when presenting science, especially in the context of summaries for use in public policy.
    Also I think that there has to be a starting point for this, a new line in the sand that puts past examples of ‘dubious practice’ behind us. Even in this thread, although there is in general a lot more civility and constructiveness around, the bitter arguments about the hockey stick still have a tendency to dominate.
    This is why I think it would be a great idea for AR5 to be a ‘paleo-free’ zone. This would address the concern of Jo Abbess, for instance, by removing something which one side of the debate clearly see as ‘man in the Moon’ territory. It would also mean that future discussions between members of the community can focus on attribution and confidence (and other facets) rather than ethics.
    Although there is still heated debate about modern temperature records, it seems to me that there is broad agreement that temps have trended upwards over the last 120 years or so. This provides the entire community with a useful first premise, based upon instrumental data observations. Evidence, or otherwise, for the significance of a human signal within the record, can then be the focus of attention without the continual distraction of the hockey stick.
    The next assessment report is the key to this, although perhaps if a ‘best practices’ paper could be published in the interim this could perhaps form the basis of an interim report for policy makers.

    Idea #4 seems very important to me as well. Science is always improved by a diversity of approaches to a problem and this has been a major weakness of the current situation. An overhaul of peer review, together with a more sceptical Congress in the US, should help to fix this. The sooner the better, I think.

    Finally, I think Keith Kloor is wrong that the public remain unmoved by this whole affair. I (relatively)recently attended a public meeting to discuss the idea of an missions trading scheme with a minister from the (then) Rudd government here in Australia. The first thing to note was that the room was absolutely packed. The second surprising thing was the bombardment the hapless minister was subjected to regarding the “science is settled” meme. The hockey stick was front and centre, along with the MWP, attribution and confidence levels. The public had a far greater breadth of knowledge than the minister, who was left completely flummoxed I have to say. The blogosphere has definitely led to a much more sophisticated general knowledge of the science than many in politics and the press have realised.

  54. This is the best section of the experiment yet!

    La Curry tries to recast herself as the ‘truth seeker’. The bringer of light.

    And this …not five minutes after she was chumming the waters to see the sharks fight! And bragging about it on WUWT. (And incapable of answering Gavin’s questions but hey, that is not unusual)

    Dr Curry – after so specatularly burning all your bridges, its time for your take the first step – admit guilt. Admit you are now officially part of the problem, not part of the solution. That you are not a neutral observer. That through a number of ill-considered and frankly distorted posts, you are now firmly seen as part fo the denialist propoganda machine. That your name is mud and that reputable scientists will be running miles and miles from you and GIT.

    I actually feel sorry for the graduate students working for you.

    • Ianash, if you have a mirror in your cave, I would advise you to look into it.

      • As JC implied elsewhere, ianash is cruisin’ for a bruisin’ bannin’, and will likely wear it as a badge of merit (amongst its low-life friends).

      • JC…OK, now I get it…JC…..it all fits together now.

        She is the Denialist’s Saviour!

        When does the beatification occur?

    • ianash,
      You have sunk your own battleship.

    • Why should one answer into logical fallacies? If you argue with a fool… he will draw you into his level and then win with experience.

      • “If you argue with a fool… he will draw you into his level and then win with experience”

        Quote of the week

    • ianash, you persist in sounding like a playground queen bitch trying to get her gang to scrag some poor girl, please grow up.
      In most other professions climategate and the hockey debacle would constitute fraud and cover-ups have brought down Presidents.
      Anything short of full and frank disclosure of the truth and the culpable being held responsible will give us the measure of how untrustworthy the pronouncements of Climate Science are. Thus “We promise not to do it again” from the main perpetrators and their continuing their careers in Climate Science will show clearly how unreliable the whole discipline is.
      Unfortunately other disciplines that endorse these practices will be similarly tarred.

  55. the results of the last election in the US should have removed any doubts that the public was moved. the house passed cap and trade and paid a heavy price. the senate did not pass the motion, and escaped relatively lightly in comparison. folks can spin this any way they want but the message from the public is quite clear.

    there is a HUGE leadership problem in science right now because the collective science bodies have not gotten together to restore credibility. most have tried to sweep the problem under the rug. the public sees this – they may not understand science but they do understand human nature – and they are losing faith. lose the faith of the public and you lose your funding.

    • Fred,

      You are right. There is a HUGE leadership problem in science.

      Science leadership in this country is the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and its President, Dr.Ralph Cicerone, a climatologist.

      NAS controls federal research agencies by exercising budget review for Congress. Since NAS controls the federal research agencies that provided funds for essentially all those caught in the Climategate scandal.

      Dr.Ralph Cicerone should be addressing the Climategate issue.

      It is a waste of time trying to corner and get a confession from each of the pawns who followed the instructions (written or implied) that came with their research funds.

  56. Judith,

    Jerome Ravetz has a great piece over at WUWT, which is very pertinent to this discussion: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/24/more-from-jerome-ravetz-response-to-willis/

    I hope this is the shape of things to come, at least in terms of civility!

    • Saaad, I deeply appreciate your link to Jerome Ravetz at WUWT.

      One paragraph in particular resonates with me:

      “Of course there will be people at the extremes, and they make the most noise. But what is so precious about the blogosphere is that they are brought out into debate (as Gavin now on Judith’s blog), and so those with all sorts of concerns and reservations can witness and assess the arguments. Three things are then in play. First, the ‘demeanour of the witness’ is used as evidence for the quality of their case. Those who bluster and accuse are interpreted as doing so to make up for the lack of good arguments. Then, equally important, those who are perplexed can watch it all, and use the debates as materials for their own reflections. And finally, even those who are deeply committed have a space where they can confront their doubts and reservations, and work their way towards a resolution. ”

      Regarding demeanor, Gavin’s responses here gave me a lot to ponder his judgment. Certainly my initial response was one of lowered trust. Being perceptive to a greater degree than judgmental (I’m an ENFP per Myers-Briggs) my mind then goes to wanting to understand his behavior and words. Apart from his demeanor, what are the merits of his words?

      More so, I am perplexed as Jerome Ravetz goes on to expound in his next sentence. Some have shared their personal narrative here of being liberal yet (paradoxically) becoming dubious of climate science’s mainstream. I’m a conservative who has move the other way over the last six years.

      Two of the three scientists who informed my ‘sea change’ are Dr. Pielke Sr. and Dr. Curry here. The third is an ‘internet friend’ I have known many years who recently got his doctorate in geology.

      Perhaps I am an outlier of one. I.e. going from being a total denialist to what cAGW folk would call lukewarm. Indeed getting warmer the more I am able to inform myself here (for the most part) lurking.

      Since it seems to matter here to some, I apologize for being anonymous. There was a time when it was a professional necessity and old habits die hard.


  57. Gerald Browning


    I am not a fan of Gavin, but the logic in your defense of your manuscript
    based on the letter of agreement between hurricane scientists (?) is flawed.
    The letter only states that living on the gulf coast is dangerous (trivial conclusion) and nothing about the accuracy of the conclusions in your manuscript.


  58. I get a real headache reading comments about “reconciliation,” “meeting of the minds,” and other kumbayah baloney here. Typical post-modern “progressive” bullshit. Liars are liars and until they admit, they are still liars! “Reconciliation” doesn’t make it different! That’s the bottom line. All efforts to sugar-coat and excuse the absolutely disgusting, non-scientific, amoral shennanigans of the “Team” is a total waste of time and a travesty (go ahead on this path and just see where it leads…) When the sinner repents, he can be forgiven, otherwise he’s, well, in trouble!

    • This is not a matter of ‘excusing’ or ‘sugar coating’ anything. It’s simply an attempt to move the debate forward.

  59. Judith
    To a large extent I agree with your analysis. My hesitation is because I think it somehow doesn’t capture the magnitude of what has been done as a result of the behaviour. It seems to me you are approaching it as “how do we deal with poor academic behaviour” but this was beyond that.

    How many people in the third world have died because of the rising cost of food due to the adoption of biofuels to combat the global warming shown by the hockey stick?
    How many people in the first world are going without adequate heating, light, or have had to limit their lives to reduce fossil fuel use because of rising energy prices as new and expensive energy sources (including wind) are subsidised to combat the hockey stick predictions?
    How many people are out of a job because their industry had to “green” itself to meet requirements?

    This was not an academic exercise. That graph has cost lives, health, wealth and happiness. For me that changes it from “poor academic research” to something much more.

    • Margaret,

      I agree strongly with what you have written. It is so easy to miss the big picture and forget that deliberately misleading politicians (even if they find your advice politically convenient) about a subject of this sort, ultimately costs lives.

      There is another cost. I used to belong to Green Peace. The environmental movement used to be about real issues – nuclear weapons, destruction of forests, depletion of resources, etc. I find it deeply deplorable that so many well-meaning people have been duped into downplaying all those real issues, to concentrate on something that is probably illusory.

      • Agree, David – and it is saddening that some of them are advocating policies which lead to the destruction of environments and thus endangering species already under threat, like the Orang Utangs (Oil Palm plantations in Indonesia).
        Also, the more money is being spent on propaganda exercises, the less there is for local projects, which remain undone.

    • Thank you, Margaret, for bringing this bigger picture back into play.

      It is important to keep remembering it, because this is something we can only resolve if the scientists get their house in order. That is what dr Curry attempts, and I do understand why she would balk at taking on board something which she cannot resolve as scientist,because it is for us all, as citizens, to resolve.

      • Viv Evans,

        “… she cannot resolve as scientist,because it is for us all, as citizens, to resolve”

        I am a general citizen. I cannot understand K&T’s 1997 Global Annual Mean Energy Budget of 324W/m2 back radiation and no body in the Climate Community can account for that 324W/m2. How would you and the citizens capable of resolving this number when the climate community is unable to explain it for over a decade ago. Sad.

  60. JC says: “Your further thoughts?”

    JC says: “Lets keep this thread focused on constructive solutions, with discussion on the other two threads for the broader issues.”

    – – – – – –


    Any constructive solution necessarily would require some amount of de-construction of current processes and institutions. The deconstruction possibilities range from minor to total. I think the amount of deconstruction needed is toward the total end of the spectrum.

    There exists the possibility of some room for reconstruction of current processes and institutions. But anything short of almost complete reconstruction will just merely extend the current situation. I do not see reconstruction as a real solution.

    First deconstruction needed is the IPCC must exit as the major evaluator of climate science and as an authoritative advisor to governments. Nothing should replace it. Modern academia and private research institutes just need to carry on their roles of the past 200 years. That is sufficient. The acceptance of this and its implementation are not even close to being within the scientific community’s control. Science community is just one of many voices.

    Second deconstruction needed is the US government funding process for climate research. It is fundamentally politicized and therefore must be by its very nature biased. There are profound issues with the idea of funding science in a free society. These are becoming apparent as we wrestle with the problematic consensus climate science which starkly highlight funding process issues. The acceptance of this and its implementation are not within the scientific community’s control, nor should it be.

    The last deconstruction needed is the most important. It is the deconstruction of authoritarianism within the scientific community. Only the scientific community can do this. It cannot be done from the outside. It is totally within the scientific community’s control.

    The scientific community should clean-up its own house, which should be within its total control. Society is watching. My recommendation is voluntary oaths by scientists to a voluntary scientific code of honor. Sort of like the Hypocratic oath in medicine.


  61. A little more cognitive dissonance for the climategate conspiracy theorists:

    Inspector General’s Review of Stolen Emails Confirms No Evidence of Wrong-Doing by NOAA Climate Scientists
    Report is the latest independent analysis to clear climate scientists of allegations of mishandling of climate information

    February 24, 2011

    At the request of U.S. Sen. Inhofe, the Department of Commerce Inspector General conducted an independent review of the emails stolen in November 2009 from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, and found no evidence of impropriety or reason to doubt NOAA’s handling of its climate data. The Inspector General was asked to look into how NOAA reacted to the leak and to determine if there was evidence of improper manipulation of data, failure to adhere to appropriate peer review procedures, or failure to comply with Information Quality Act and Freedom of Information Act guidelines.

    “We welcome the Inspector General’s report, which is the latest independent analysis to clear climate scientists of allegations of mishandling of climate information,” said Mary Glackin, NOAA’s deputy under secretary for operations. “None of the investigations have found any evidence to question the ethics of our scientists or raise doubts about NOAA’s understanding of climate change science.”

    The Inspector General’s report states specifically:

    •“We found no evidence in the CRU emails that NOAA inappropriately manipulated data comprising the [Global Historical Climatology Network – monthly] GHCN-M dataset.” (Page 11)
    •“We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA failed to adhere to its peer review procedures prior to its dissemination of information.” (Page 11)
    •“We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA violated its obligations under the IQA.” (Page 12)
    •“We found no evidence in the CRU emails to suggest that NOAA violated its obligations under the Shelby Amendment.” (Page 16)
    The report notes a careful review of eight e-mails that it said “warranted further examination to clarify any possible issues involving the scientific integrity of particular NOAA scientists or NOAA’s data,” that was completed and did not reveal reason to doubt the scientific integrity of NOAA scientists or data.

    The report questions the way NOAA handled a response to four FOIA requests in 2007. The FOIA requests sought documents related to the review and comments of part of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. NOAA scientists were given legal advice that IPCC work done by scientists were records of the IPCC, not NOAA. The requesters were directed to the IPCC, which subsequently made available the review, comments and responses which are online at IPCC and http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/exit.html?http%3A%2F%2Fhcl.harvard.edu%2Fcollections%2Fipcc%2Findex.html.

    “The NOAA scientists responded in good faith to the FOIA requests based on their understanding of the request and in accordance with the legal guidance provided in 2007,” Glackin said. “NOAA’s policies, practices, and the integrity and commitment of our scientists have resulted in NOAA’s climate records being the gold-standard that our nation and the world has come to rely on for authoritative information about the climate.”

    The findings in the Inspector General’s investigation are similar to the conclusions reached in a number of other independent investigations into climate data stewardship and research that were conducted by the UK House of Commons, Penn State University, the InterAcademy Council, and the National Research Council, after the release of the stolen emails All of the reports exonerated climate scientists from allegations of wrong-doing.

    The report also asks NOAA to review two instances in which it transferred funds to CRU. NOAA is conducting a review of funding to the University of East Anglia and as recommended by Mr. Zinser’s letter, will be providing a report to his office. NOAA’s review to date indicates that the funding supported workshops in 2002 and 2003 that helped the governments of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam improve their climate forecasting abilities.

    The report further provides information about the review NOAA undertook of the emails, and notes that NOAA did not conduct a review of its data set as a result of the emails because it too determined that the emails did not indicated any impropriety and because its data sets and techniques are already regularly reviewed as part of ongoing quality control measures and are subject to formal peer review.

    NOAA’s national and global climate data are available to the public in raw and adjusted form. The algorithms used to adjust the data sets to ensure high quality, useful records, are peer-reviewed and available to the public.

    NOAA is committed to quality, scientific excellence and transparency and strives to provide the most authoritative and accurate information about the Earth’s climate, oceanic and atmospheric conditions. In the face of ongoing climate variability and climate change, this information is critical to businesses and people in all industries and communities as they plan for the future. NOAA is working to provide ever-improving regional and industry-specific climate information to meet the growing demand for this information.

    The Inspector General report is available online.

    NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook.

  62. AR5 is already in the making. A good start for restoring credibility would be that their report (and also the SPM) includes something like the following:
    1. In TAR it was suggested that recent warming was unprecedented in the latest millennium, based on paleo proxy reconstructions. These results have been the object of intense debate, not yet resolved, and we no longer can say that recent warming is likely to be unprecedented.
    2. The instrumental series of mean global temperature since 1850 seems to have been affected by several problems concerning the choice of stations, especially in China, and the fact that many stations have grown increasingly surrounded by heat-retaining materials such as tin roofs, concrete, asphalt and others, and by heat-emitting devices such as cars, factories and airplanes. Even if consensus appears to exist that some warming has existed in the second half of the 20th century, the global mean temperature series is now under revision. This would mandate new calibration of Global Circulation Models, which will affect future projections of future climate.
    3. Since the role of clouds is not yet properly understood, the estimated value for climate sensitivity is affected by higher uncertainty than thout at the time of TAR and AR4

  63. Correction to my latest:
    “…than thought at the time of TAR and AR4.”
    Other suggestions welcome.

  64. Ianash, for the Inspector General report, it is best to read the IG report, rather than the summary prepared by NOAA for press release. At Climate Audit, in a post this Wednesday or Thursday, several discrepancies have been noted. Interesting discrepancies, should I add.

    • Hector

      Lets be straight here OK? Climateaudit’s job is to deny the reality of global warming. They are fluff, belly button filling goop. If you read their rubbish, you will turn into a climate zombie like them.

      • Erm… (i know i shouldn’t engage but this comment deserves some recognition)…

        Would you be so kind as to expand on why you think ClimateAudit is a poor site?

        Further- are you trying to suggest that ‘they’ deny global warming or catastrophic global warming or man-made-global warming? there are distinctions here.

      • Or do they analyse and audit the work of ‘climate scientists’ and show it to be sloppily done and the conclusions drawn to be unsupported by the data?

      • Ianash, whattya doin’, guy? First that “lubrication” quip on the last post and now (and I quote) “…belly button filling goop.” What is this? Trash-talk by committee? Some random word generator program for jerk-offs you’re horsing around with?

        Ianash. Ianash. These dumb-ass drive-by’s you’ve been offering up, lately, just aren’t gettin’ it. At most, there’s the discomfort of your comments’ inadvertent self-revelations to remind us of the old ianash. But that’s just not enough. I’ll say it right out: I’m embarrassed for you, guy.

        Maybe that obscene, high-carbon, neo-colonialist, ego-trip you’ll be taking to Sri Lanka will give you a needed break and help you recover your former troll-glories. I hope so.

      • Ianash,
        Thank you for your reading advice. I should have known, from your illuminating comments, that your mind had not been contaminated by any improper reading. I will be careful in the future. I repent. Climate Audit will be put in my Index Librorum Prohibitorum. A pity, though, that the Catholic Church abolished its index of forbidden books about five decades ago. At least they should put a warning in the site: “Reading this may be dangerous for your orthodoxy”.

  65. Dr. Curry, et al:

    A number of years ago, at Slashdot, I wrote that as scientists we had better be right about global warming because if we are wrong, science will be the ultimate casualty. I still believe that. “Science” as seen by those who are not scientists, has told us that the world is warming quickly, that we are the cause and that drastic action is needed. “Science” has told us that this is an absolute certainty. “Science” has made an absolute statement about a field that is inherently uncertain. Indeed the very definition of chaos.

    I will repeat this again, particularly to Gavin.

    You’d better be right.

    Because if you are wrong, some idiot will point to you and demand creationism be taught as equal to evolution, that homeopathy is real medicine, that plate tectonics is a conspiracy theory, that any number of idiocies be equated to science. And I for one will hold you accountable. And a hundred years from now, if science recovers from the damage done, scientists will look at this period in history in shame.

    If sea levels start to decline, there will be hell to pay in “Science”. Because that is one thing that has NEVER been posited as an outcome of global warming. That is Trenberth’s reverse falsification.


    • …as scientists we had better be right about global warming because if we are wrong, science will be the ultimate casualty.

      John Eggert: Amen. This is a possibility that I find quite worrisome and I see almost no sign that climate scientists or scientists in general appreciate the risk.

      • Oh on the contrary- scientists seperate from the climate field are all TOO aware of the potential backlash that ALL science will receive should the cAGW theory turn out to be bunk.

      • Except for Judith Curry and now Professor Jonathon Jones (allbeit in a comment at Bishop Hill)
        where are they, their silence is damming, ALL science will suffer, the politicians and media will see to it, lest they be held to account themselves.

      • Labmunkey: Say more.

        Like Barry W. I’ve noticed no outcry or demurral from other scientists, save for mavericks like Freeman Dyson or Hal Lewis. Quite a lot of scientists, it seems, perform the requisite harrumphing about skeptics and the overblown business about the stolen Climategate emails.

    • You have no idea. There is such a thing as new knowledge, and scientific revolution, even now. Think of this as Galileo speaking to you, across the centuries. The future is set — Gavin et al. ARE wrong — and scientists WILL one day look back on this period in shame (as they should already be doing). And your soul will look down and regret your use of the term “idiot” with respect to the critics of evolution and plate tectonics, and your contribution to the general shamefulness. We are not witnessing the work of just a few incompetent scientists here, we are caught in a continuing moral play that has lasted for well over a century, whose theme is the inexorable unrolling of dogmatism in science, like an inbred, recessive gene coming to the fore, ever wider and deeper from one generation to the next. It causes the body of science to break out in suppurating lesions, that ooze “consensus” and “settled science” until the inevitable crisis, the breaking of the fever, and the chance for science to regain something more than the mere semblance of true health, of robust understanding.

      • Harry:

        This is not a place for a debate on creationism versus evolution or the relative merits of plate tectonics. Suffice it to say that I’m an empiricist, a hard core cynic and a skeptic. I stand by my description of creationism and in particular, doubts about plate tectonics. I place the views of the creationists on par with the views I see at realclimate. All faith and no amount of evidence can convince.

        Also, I have no everlasting soul. When I die, I’ll be gone.

        In deference to keeping the discussion on track, I’ll leave this as my final comment regarding creationism etc.

  66. Judith,
    I do quite a bit of work in arenas of conflict resolution, conflict of interest, and more.

    A first challenge not noted in the posted list: all of the stated ideas assume, for all pertinent parties, a certain level of mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is a false assumption in the present case. One group realistically is “king of the hill” with tremendous access to resources of various kinds, and is fully aware of that fact. The imbalance is so lopsided that the one group tried for the longest time to deny that the other group even existed.

    A significant resource in this regard is the (infamous?) IPPR report, “Warm Words.”. For example (p. 25):

    Treating climate change as beyond argument

    Much of the noise in the climate change discourse comes from argument and counter-argument, and it is
    our recommendation that, at least for popular communications, interested agencies now need to treat the
    argument as having been won. This means simply behaving as if climate change exists and is real, and that
    individual actions are effective. This must be done by stepping away from the ‘advocates debate’ described
    earlier, rather than by stating and re-stating these things as fact.
    The ‘facts’ need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken. The certainty of
    the Government’s new climate-change slogan – ‘Together this generation will tackle climate change’ (Defra
    2006) – gives an example of this approach. It constructs, rather than claims, its own factuality.

    Where science is invoked, it now needs to be as ‘lay science’ – offering lay explanations for what is being
    treated as a simple established scientific fact, just as the earth’s rotation or the water cycle are considered.

    This kind of PR influence has clearly infected a great deal of scientific communication, to the detriment of honest science. Cleansing science of this kind of thing is going to be incredibly painful, if it is possible at all.

    A second thought: there are helpful tools for communication among parties that even have little respect for one another. These are found in the arena of diplomatic negotiations. Even a terrorist can be understood to a certain extent. I have found materials by Fisher and Ury quite helpful, such as Getting To Yes.

    Among the diplomatic tools most useful in my work over the years is the BATNA concept: Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement. In essence, all parties have the “best” thing they can achieve without ever agreeing with others. Any agreement that exceeds this is a Good Thing. Understanding the other party’s BATNA can be incredibly helpful when working through difficult issues. (The above link is for a book summary that covers this and other helpful topics, such as what to do when one party is intractable.)

    Third thought. I believe much of what we’re dealing with here is a serious infection of Conflict Of Interest, both real and apparent, in various elements of the scientific community and its communication and support structures. Few people appear to have a strong grasp of COI. When a person has special access to resources (including even something as ethereal as good will) and opportunity to take advantage of that access to accomplish something other than the intended purpose for those resources, they in in a conflicted situation.

    Avoiding all opportunity for COI is not the solution. Full disclosure far beyond what is “necessary” is helpful, together with serious commitment on the part of all parties to run away from taking advantage of COI opportunities. This requires a fundamental commitment to honesty and ethics. We are miles away from good COI practice in the scientific, policy and political communities.

    Finally, I would also have brought up Tufte but he’s been highlighted already (thanks Mosh :) ).

    Enough. Time for sleep.

    • Thanks pete.

    • Thanks for the “getting to yes” link. I am Belgian, and this is even more related to our political problem than to climate change :-)

    • Thanks MrPete, very helpful

    • The same IPPR that adviced politicians that 1500,000 deaths ARE caused by climate change (man made presumably) in the executive summary of:

      The Institute of Public Policy Research document – ‘Positive Energy’ -2007,

      has it’s second sentence, to frame the entire document with an urgent ‘climate change’ message: (my caps)

      “Behind the stories, real people are allready being hit, with climate change NOW killing 150,ooo people a year (1)”

      The IPPR is a major ’progressive’, UK think tank that has adviced the UK Government over the last decade. Here it is reported as a proven fact to politicians – now killing – designed to give an explicit urgent message to governments and policy makers

      I had to buy the report to find the reference, which was not included in the Executive Summary, (no politician usually gets beyond even the first couple of pages of an executive summary)

      (1)World Health Organisation: Climate and Health – 2005 factsheet

      I tracked this IPPR referenced factsheet down and this is presumably where the definite 150,000 ‘climate change’ deaths ‘facts’ for that report came from.

      “Measurement of health effects from climate change can only be very approximate. Nevertheless, a WHO quantitative assessment, taking into account only a subset of the possible health impacts, concluded that the effects of the climate change that has occurred since the mid-1970s may have caused over 150,000 deaths in 2000. It also concluded that these impacts are likely to increase in the future.”

      The WHO factsheet also says 600,000 deaths annually due to natural extreme weather related events – of which 95% in poor countries. Thus the biggest killer is being poor, not ‘climate change’, yet the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change have even defined ‘climate change’ to only mean man made, excluding ALL natural climate forcings…

      Thus again, uncertaintity, may, likely, maybe, gets changed into a definite now KILLING for political advocacy amd media attention(climate change, for ,can also be natural) but in reality these deaths should be described as weather.



      from the Glossary of:
      ’A guide to carbon offsetting for the public sector’ – Department of Energy and Climate Change.

      “Climate Change
      The process of changing weather patterns caused by the increased number of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere as a result of human activity since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.”


  67. John N-G

    All 5 points assume only the climate scientists are in the wrong that’s not going to go down well with the other side. Should we hold the sceptics to the same level of scutiny? When the sceptics make misleading comments should they be held to account, be expected to admit guilty? If a scientist admits best practise wasn’t followed and this is reproduced in the media as “scientist admits climate science is flawed” is there any way to get redress?

    Sometimes things have to be resolved by victory and defeat. Reconciliation isn’t necessarily possible.

    • Nope, not parallel. The CS lot have access to and are being used to justify massive expenditures and drastic distortions of the planet’s economy. Their accountability is total. Skeptics have little or no access to public funds, and are trying to brake the pell-mell waste of same.

      And never forget the fine print in the “projections” and “mitigations”: it’s all pointless, very little (<1°C) effect of even severe cutbacks will be even be felt for a century, and that's just a taste of the massive "uncertainties" the Alarmists want to blow past on the basis of the outrageous "Precautionary Principle". For which they are quite prepared to sacrifice many millions of lives.

      A wee bit unbalanced, to say the least.

      • JFK’s paraphrase: “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.”
        Collection time.

      • I’m skeptical of some of the science myself but I also suffer empathy, I can put myself in their shoes. I’m just suggesting people shouldn’t fool themselves this isn’t anything other than a fizzing stick of dynamite even in it’s most benign form.

        BTW skeptics don’t need funding they just need the media reporting the science is flawed.

    • HR,
      Do you actually think that skeptics have not been attacked or deconstructed enough?
      And do you think doing more will somehow make the climate science consensus less wrong?

  68. I have always attempted to maintain curiosity rather than judgment when facing those of differing views. This of course can be exceptionally difficult. But it shouldn’t be a hidden truth of rhetorical persuasion or human psychology that insulting people will pretty much guarantee that they will furiously resist whatever case it is you are making.

    • In the UK we call it a ‘level playing field’. The suggestion is the climate scientists play by the rules, this can be enforced through professional bodies and public funding scrutiny. There is no possibility to regulate skeptical citizens in such a way, they are free to do as they like (as it should be).

  69. Short version
    1. Put them in the stockades; conflict resolution and reconciliation is a waste.
    2. Then get back to the business of doing the science.

    Long version
    In my view (from the perspective of the great unwashed), the primary reconciliation needed here is between individuals and the shamefulness of their actions, not immediate reconciliation between our opposing groups. So conflict resolution isn’t the right model, but the Medieval Stockade once served the purpose.

    Where maintaining institutional trust is the goal, misbehaving scientists, just like misbehaving politicians, need to be discredited. It need not be personal or vindictive. ‘It’s just business!’

    With many gains in an intense struggle for dominance, AGWers have long been erecting metaphorical stockades for everyone who dares question their consensus. And they have done so with a not so disinterested display high dudgeon. Even if they were careless in the application and vindictive in the use of the stockade, they were right in concept. Those among them who have misbehaved belong in the stockade, not for personal reasons or vindictiveness but for the sake of the business.

    This way of looking at ‘the problem’ portends a further split, not any immediate route to tribal reconciliation. The triumph of honest scientists overcoming the barriers to doing good science through the strength of the method is what the general ‘we’ shall have to ultimately rely on for reconciling with each other.

    What I want from the scientists who are interested in the climate is to heartily put those you think have misbehaved in the metaphorical stockade and then redouble your efforts for the triumph of the science. I don’t find my reason for hope here in conflict resolution or tribal reconciliation. My hope arises from the courage of honest scientists such as Dr. Curry who may yet resolve the science.

  70. The ever insightful Nullius in Verba has posted this on the collide-a-scape thread

    Nullius in Verba Says:
    February 24th, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Regarding ‘bridges’, I think Judith’s original position after Climategate broke was that there was a small amount of bad science in amongst the large amounts of good science everyone knew was there but hadn’t got across to the public, and what the scientific community needed to do was to acknowledge, identify, and correct the bad science, and do a much better job of explaining the good science that would prove the danger, and all would be happy and bright with the world. What Judith was trying to do was build a bridge from the sinking sand castle the climate scientists were stood on to her ‘only a few bad eggs’ island in the middle of the debate.

    (Clearly, after Climategate, it was the climate scientists she thought needed rescuing with her bridge, not the sceptics.)

    The problem is that the hardline climate scientists regard such a position as ‘denier central’. She has built a bridge to a place they simply don’t want to go, and they have no intention of conceding an inch. It is obvious, in a sense, that crossing a bridge between believer and sceptic would mean them walking partway into scepticland. Climate scientists can only accept bridges if they lead between orthodox believer lands. ‘Why would anyone want to build a bridge to the sceptics?’

    They still can’t understand how much trouble they’re in, and think if they can just bluster it out long enough, it will all go away and everyone will forget Climategate, and they can go back to the good old days of everybody believing in them. They haven’t quite realised that we’re in that uneasy stage between the public saying “hey, hang on a sec…” and figuring out what the trick is. Most people, outside hardcore scepticland, simply don’t know what just happened. If/when they do, it’s going to get ugly.

    Judith was sincerely trying to help, by offering a dignified road back to what she saw as honest science. But climate science is not ready yet, and Judith, I think, is losing patience. She is starting to wonder if the sceptics were right all along – wondering if perhaps there is more wrong than she thought. In that sense, the sceptics are simply winning the argument.

    If you can’t admit that there was ever anything wrong with the way climate science was conducted, then the bridges are useless. You’ll stand firm on your sandcastles until the tide comes in.

    • ” She is starting to wonder if the sceptics were right all along – wondering if perhaps there is more wrong than she thought.”

      Would this be an accurate representation Dr Curry (one would assume so as you posted it without any qualifiers).

      If so it’s certainly an encouraging sign that the sceptics were on to something after all.

      • I don’t know if she will say, but she has shown a willingness to go wherever the evidence takes her, even uncomfortable places. Eventually, we know she will look at:

        * the serious siting issues which were ignored for decades and wonder about the competence of those in charge
        * all the demonstrated quality control problems with the databases and wonder about the competence of those in charge
        * investigations of the strange and bizarre adjustment algorithms
        * realize that the lack of transparency and lack of interest in audit or replication means that there are likely to be many more instances of badly flawed studies such as Mann’s, Steig’s, Rahmstorf’s and Jones’ still considered authoritative in the literature
        * read the assessments by statistics experts that scienctific studies in general. and climate studies in particular, routinely butcher their stats
        * hear from more and more of her colleagues that they applaud what she is doing, but don’t wish to come public

        And she will continue to experience the full wrath of the backlash for her failure to toe the line without question. This will raise even more questions in her mind.

        I predict that she will eventually conclude that the field needs to start over and vigorously audit and replicate every key study before moving on.

      • To be fair it’s the only way i can see out of this mess. A case of ‘science tidying up it’s house’ process.

        Ironically, the audits work both ways- the good science in climate science will gain serious credibility if it survives the audit.

        Were i 100% convinced that my position were right, as they seem to be, i’d welcome an audit.

  71. If I am not completely mistaken, I’d interpret the first two points on this list as getting some of the individuals admit they have behaved unprofessionally? E.g. hidden data or cherry picked data, misrepresented their results? For the persons involved I hardly see any good way out. Admitting these things might (and at least in my profession, like so many have written in these gigantic threads before, most certainly would ) end their careers and even result in legal percussions, withdrawal of articles etc. Most certainly they are not going to do anything like this.

    And there is no external pressure to do such admission: there is just too much political capital invested in “science is settled”-meme, at least outside the US, so even a slight admittal of uncertainty is too hard to swallow right now. Quite the contantry, the carbon this, carbon that-type of government programs, news headlines etc are being created on daily basis with little or no sceptical handling whether the entire catastrophy is all that likely. It is taken for granted that it is – “Science is Settled”.

    Perhaps for the rest of the climate research community, which is probably quite heterogenous and mostly just OK, it would be better just to stop citing these researchers and continue doing better research. Public and widespread condemnation would be ok, but I think many think such thing would also call their own work into question and even compromise the credibility of the entire field of research. Which is not very good anyway as we speak, at least if looked at with _healthy_ sceptisism.

    At least for the IPCC to remain credible, the persons involved in this “hide the decline” and related events must be excluded completely.

  72. When I commented on this initially, I wrote “All sound and fury signifying nothing”. I still think that this is right; on this issue the two sides will not come together in the immediate future.

    However, I feel there is a wider issue. Judith, you had a thread on Sir John Beddington, who accuses us skeptics/deniers of being charlatans or worse; people who cherry pick the data, and thoroughly misrepresent the science while being in the pay of the big oil companies.

    I would dearly like to see Sir John comment his ideas on this blog, on this issue.

  73. I always think it’s a mistake to subtract information from the sum of human knowledge.

    Losing a language, a culture, even a single ancient and faded book or frayed and brittle frame of cellulose film, or the words to a song passed down by the oral tradition and sung no more, to me, is a great sadness.

    Still, I don’t generally shed tears over legitimate data management, the secure and appropriate disposition of data accumulated but no longer current to the private running of business due to the greater cost of maintaining it to no profit.

    I’m more than a little perturbed by the silliness of people emailing, “delete this email,” knowing full well that all email is like shouting across a public street if the public are but attuned to listen, except a very few, very limited types of email — far fewer than their authors generally expect — and/or that these broadcasts may be recorded haphazardly or intentionally beyond the scope of the recipients or senders to affect.

    I’m even more suspicious of those agencies and institutions, mainly corporations, who have standard practices to delete all records more than a few months old.

    There are many such companies.

    I’ve worked for some.

    To what end?

    The legal department calls it a custodial policy, I’ve heard.

    These companies, if they wish it, can make their emails disappear internally, with great efficiency.

    So on the scale of serious attempts to destroy records, the CRU one is.. really tiny, as an example of its species.

    Yet it warrants an order of magnitude more investigation than Watergate?


    What will happen when people investigate the relationship between Libya and the British government over Lockerbie?

    Wonder what deleted emails happened then.

    Or the US government and the private companies caught up in WikiLeaks?

    Which the tempest? Which the teapot?

    • Your argument, at best, comes down to:

      ‘But look at those guys over there, they did it too. And they’re corporations so they’re really bad people’

      If a guy were to strangle his wife, should he get a free pass because there was a couple of shootings among drug dealers elsewhere?

      Playground Excuse. Fail

      • Gee Latimer, just how many people died in Lockerbie(270), or in Iraq (almost 4,000 Americans and in the neighborhood of 100,000 civilians)?

        Look, the rest of our tiny fracas are all fun and games, but now you’re belittling the war dead, and victims of terror, and I’d appreciate it if you demonstrated the modicum of respect for them to turn your sad satirical inversions and jokes elsewhere.

      • Care to explain the relevance of your intemperate comments to our discussion here.

        And to point out how you conclude that I am ‘belittling the war dead and victims of terror’.

        Even by your often bizarre methods of ‘thought’, that one is a bit of a stretch.

      • Latimer Adler

        It’s difficult to know where to start.

        Were you not by your very specific choice of analogies linking the victims of Lockerbie and the war dead in Iraq to drug dealers?

        How can there be any other reading of what you chose to say?

        Did you not just diminish the suffering of victims of domestic violence and domestic murder to equate it with ten out of over 1,000 emails that lead to suspicion of collusion to tamper with FOI’s by bureaucrats whose noses were out of joint because they’d been called bad names on some blog?

        Do you really, seriously, in your Westborough Baptist way not get that you have grossly insulted people with this comparison?

        Or do you intend it the way it sounds, and stand behind the plain meaning of your words?

        Sure, your seven scab siblings told you what to say about the coal strike to make it sound all fun and games.

        Me, I have family who serve, and served, and many who did not survive service in the defense of country and cause of justice, and they inform me of more respect for commitment and honor than your sneering little simile.

      • ‘Were you not by your very specific choice of analogies linking the victims of Lockerbie and the war dead in Iraq to drug dealers?’

        No. I said nothing whatsoever about Lockerbie or drug dealers.

        ‘Did you not just diminish the suffering of victims of domestic violence and domestic murder to equate it with ten out of over 1,000 emails that lead to suspicion of collusion to tamper with FOI’s by bureaucrats whose noses were out of joint because they’d been called bad names on some blog?’


        ‘Do you really, seriously, in your Westborough Baptist way not get that you have grossly insulted people with this comparison?’

        I have no idea what ‘Westborough Baptist’ means. I imagine it is an American church. As an atheist, I do not go to any church – to the regret of my RC partner. I also do not see a queue of people other than yourself itching to say how insulted they have been.

        ‘Sure, your seven scab siblings told you what to say about the coal strike to make it sound all fun and games’

        I do not have seven siblings of any sort. And I did not make any remarks about the activities of my many second cousins during the strike. Merely that it was still a topic of conversation in South Wales. Some may have supported the strike, some may not.

        But whatever their inclination, none of them would remotely describe what happened as ‘fun and games’. And neither did I. It was not.

      • Latimer Alder


        You don’t weasel out of this.

        “If a guy were to strangle his wife, should he get a free pass because there was a couple of shootings among drug dealers elsewhere? “

        These are your words about the CRU and Lockerbie and Iraq.

        You don’t get to boldly make such statements and then slip off the hook that easily.

        Look, you’re not the first Welshman to eat my lunch. While a young traveler in Wales post-Lawson, I was often panhandled by your countrymen and moved by pity gave what I could to these displaced by ex-miners. Some may even have been cousins of yours.

        But you know, and I know, the strike wasn’t in Wales. You know, and I know, the only Welsh miners with inside knowledge of the strike were strikebreakers.

        Sure, I let it by because I am fond of the Welsh people and have deep empathy for their suffering, when you pretended to be a disinterested commentator.

        But this is different, Latimer.

        You’re going after soldiers and abused wives to support your case about less than a dozen bits of email about some bureaucrats in a tizzy.

        That is just over the line.

      • I don’t think this fantastic nonsense merits a reply.

  74. IMO, all these discussions about what is the best course forward are only happening on unconvinced, skeptic or denier blogs, while the consensus, team, alarmist one show no such activity. As if both sides realize that the former are barbarians at the gate.

  75. “Don’t present novel science as settled science” is a very interesting comment/suggestion. The subtext is that consensus has not been reached, but is presented as though it has been reached; however, I think that the IPCC have been very careful in giving a clear overview of the science in just such a way as to make this distinction clear. The irony being to erode the credibility of the IPCC would be to remove the one organisation able to clarify this distinction.

    A missing suggestion from the list is to ensure symmetry between different research claims – the claims of climate sceptics should be scrutinised to the same degree as we would wish to scrutinise all other aspects of climate science. I have seen very clever people on this forum demand levels of proof from climate science, yet accept dogmatically the views which confirm their views, which in my view are not based on robust evidence. Illustrating the strengths and weaknesses of arguments wherever they come from will strengthen climate science as a whole and take away barriers to the funding of alternative views (i.e. removing incentive to fund just once approach to climate science, as another suggestion listed above states). Any thoughts on this?


    • paul,
      Do you think the critic of play or novel or opera is required to write an alternative play or novel or opera for the criticism to be valid?

    • 1. We’re all here because of the hockey-stick graph. Remember? That was published in an IPCC report, I think … probably only you and ianash believe that ‘the IPCC have been very careful in giving a clear overview of the science’.

      2. You’re missing the point when you talk about ‘symmetry between different research claims’. If this were only about research, fine. It’s about policy – how we spend money, who lives, who dies. If the climate science consensus requires that we enact a bunch of policies that restrict growth, create energy poverty and limit options for the third world, they have to be right in every detail. Their confidence about how much the world will warm, how much is anthropogenic and whether we can or should do anything about it – all these have to be spot on. I don’t give a toss what some drongo sceptic blogger writes – I care that the establishment science, on which policy ends up being based, is correct.

      • Thank you for your response, Ceri. As always, challenging and interesting points made. Firstly, I am here to learn from people who are experts in something I am not, and to find out information and hear another side of a debate that I wouldn’t normally hear – this is not a forum for one viewpoint. Secondly, I don’t think everyone would disagree that ‘the IPCC have been very careful in giving a clear overview of the science’ (although, true, some here would) – the questions people here have on what the IPCC do is 1) the degree to which the overview is only PART of the story AND 2) the policy suggestions that follow from this overview (in short many people here think the IPCC is not neutral in which science they select, that they are not critical of the research itself, about how they frame the debate, about how certainty is represented and about which policies they lean towards – but if you read the IPCC reports, the science they cover is explained very well and I say this as a non scientist working with scientists who know their stuff).

        When I say ‘symmetry between different research claims’ I’m talking just about the science and related research not policy.

        On policy, my view is (also) that we need to get the policies right on, for example, energy. We need to assess the policies in terms of their effects and leave politicians and other decision makers to act on the choices. Your point about “restrict growth, create energy poverty and limit options for the third world” is ideological, but fair – there are other issues we need to get right such as the consequences of oil dependence in unstable countries, the effects of poverty reduction through a clean development mechanism, Chinese dominance in certain technologies, green technology opportunities etc. and this means the science should be right, the policies should be right and we should be strategic in how international collaboration is supported. Waiting for 100% certainty is never acting, which serves some ideological interests, and some short term political interests. Doing nothing isn’t neutral.

        Hunter – I think that this is a false analogy, but here goes. I think to judge a novel as good we need to look at the defects of ALL types of novels, not just the ones that are, for example, the novels that support our world view – I don’t share the viewpoint of George Orwell BUT 1984 is a great story. For a left wing author (or right wing) to have to do more to be considered a good writer, rather than judged on the content of their imagination, prose and eye for a good story would, in my view, be rather unfair. Judge a book by the same standards, whoever writes it, whatever their perspective. That to me is the correct analogy.


  76. “Lets keep this thread focused on constructive solutions”

    This is incredibly hard when AGW skeptics are routinely portrayed as gullible pawns of big oil! Politicians seem incredibly good at meddling with things that are working pretty well, and wrecking them! They certainly seem to have done that to science – because I’d bet a lot that this malaise is much broader than climatology.

    If I can make two constructive suggestions.

    1) I’d say that science needs a mechanism to reject certain questions as being insoluble. Determining the contribution of CO2 to a temperature record that is obviously fluctuating on various timescales, and for a variety of poorly understood reasons (quite apart from any contribution from CO2), must be one example!

    Likewise, you obviously can’t reconstruct past global temperatures from a few tree rings, taken from one or two spots on the earth (a tree can at best only record local temperature variations), and without regard to everything else that could affect tree growth.

    If you let people work on insoluble problems of this sort, some of them will find a way to persuade themselves that they can solve it using some combination of deception and self deception. Others will recognise the problem and move on to something else – so their insight will never be recorded!

    2) Large projects should be required to use the services of professional statisticians.

    Imagine if a statistician associated with climatology had been expected to write a paper entitled, “Novel statistical techniques for climatology”, and published it in a “The Annals of Statistics”, or wherever. Would Mann’s ‘algorithm’ have ever seen the light of day?

    • One of the primary lessons to be learned in the present debacle is that physical data that is so bad that only professional statisticians can interpret it, is simply bad data. You don’t need a Stephen MacIntyre to note that the modellers merely tweeked their models to fit the data after 1970, thus pretending something else ruled the temperatures before, and only CO2 after. The idea that statistics can pluck the physical truth from any data is one of those “the science is settled” unquestioned assumptions that everyone and his father seems to be making even now, and it is, in a few words, an incompetent assumption. I realize this is not likely to be accepted by most, particularly in a discussion on “hide the decline”, but I would insist that statistics should never be allowed to drive the physics, but precisely the other way around. Future generations will look at the noisy data now considered sacrosanct in climate science, and will swear mightily at its unwarranted effect upon climate science and the world.

      • Even though we may seem to be saying the opposite here, I think we are actually agreeing!

        Someone whose core competence was statistics, would have put a brake on a lot of what went on.

        He/she might also have pointed out that much of the raw data has error bars that are wider than the ‘signal’ that is supposed to be being detected. There is a piece at WUWT about the intrinsic errors associated with the fairly basic methods that are used to collect much of the temperature data.

      • “You don’t need a Stephen MacIntyre to note that the modellers merely tweeked their models …..” You need the professional statistician to provide the authority to call foul on questionable handling of data. For example, his professional competence would be directly on the line if he sanctioned a procedure that produced a ‘signal’ out of pure noise!

        Unfortunately a lot of real world data is very noisy, and it isn’t always practical to obtain high quality data (though I suspect the quality of the temperature data is unnecessarily poor given the money that has been poured into climate science), but given that, someone needs to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable deductions.

  77. While it may not seem constructive on first sight, the solution might be to exclude these scientists from climate science. I’m not sure how that could be done, but it might be the best solution for climate science and science in general if these guys were out.

    • The remarks from Prof. Jonathan Jones (Physics, Oxford) originally posted at Bishop Hill, suggest to me that there might be quite a lot of people who would breathe a sigh of relief. And be prepared to poke their heads above the parapet if the chief attack dogs were silenced in some way.

      Here is what he said:

      ‘People have asked why mainstream scientists are keeping silent on these issues. As a scientist who has largely kept silent, at least in public, I have more sympathy for silence than most people here. It’s not for the obvious reason, that speaking out leads to immediate attacks, not just from Gavin and friends, but also from some of the more excitable commentators here. Far more importantly most scientists are reluctant to speak out on topics which are not their field. We tend to trust our colleagues, perhaps unreasonably so, and are also well aware that most scientific questions are considerably more complex than outsiders think, and that it is entirely possible that we have missed some subtle but critical point.

      However, “hide the decline” is an entirely different matter. This is not a complicated technical matter on which reasonable people can disagree: it is a straightforward and blatant breach of the fundamental principles of honesty and self-criticism that lie at the heart of all true science. The significance of the divergence problem is immediately obvious, and seeking to hide it is quite simply wrong. The recent public statements by supposed leaders of UK science, declaring that hiding the decline is standard scientific practice are on a par with declarations that black is white and up is down. I don’t know who they think they are speaking for, but they certainly aren’t speaking for me.

      I have watched Judy Curry with considerable interest since she first went public on her doubts about some aspects of climate science, an area where she is far more qualified than I am to have an opinion. Her latest post has clearly kicked up a remarkable furore, but she was right to make it. The decision to hide the decline, and the dogged refusal to admit that this was an error, has endangered the credibility of the whole of climate science. If the rot is not stopped then the credibility of the whole of science will eventually come into question.

      Judy’s decision to try to call a halt to this mess before it’s too late is brave and good. So please cut her some slack; she has more than enough problems to deal with at the moment.

      If you’re wondering who I am, then you can find me at the Physics Department at Oxford University’

      The original remarks are here:


      and his bio is here:


      It is good to know that there is at least one academic Jones in the UK whom it is worth trying to keep up with. Recent events suggested to me that that cause was long lost.

      • It seems to me that these guys are already a black eye for Nature. I wonder when Nature and other journals will have enough of them, even though Nature and some others are in the global warming bag.

    • Clearly a number of climatologists should suffer the fate of Jan Hendrik Schön, who was forced out of academic physics after he was caught cheating. The problem was originally detected when someone noticed that he had used the same graph – with the same experimental noise – in more than one paper, supposedly representing more than one experiment:


  78. Dr Curry

    “I am not seeing any hope of the scientists supporting the IPCC consensus to conduct the necessary self policing. Improving oversight and reducing incentives for the pro-AGW narrative are important suggestions for the institutions (e.g. UN, funding agencies) are definitely needed.”

    I’ll give a perspective perhaps no one else here can. I was a manager in a research and development consortia for a number of years. Each of the member companies had their own research “best practices” (or lack of them). They each had their own culture. On top of it, it’s natural for researchers to want to conduct their research in the manner they see fit. There were cultural differences on how research should be done and individual differences on how research should be done internal to the company, since assignees from multiple companies conducted much of the research. “Good” and “Bad” are value judgments. The same could be said for “error”, “misconduct”, etc. The research reports had a definite set of standards that they had to meet. After a number of problems, the best answer found was to have very knowledgeable, experienced managers positioned as matrixed support for these managers, as well as very experienced managers heading up a given research division. The added problem is there is a tendency to do the least possible to meet standards of acceptability. The desired quality was really higher. A series of recognition awards was implemented to give some personal motivation to the researchers to achieve high research quality. When controlling isn’t very practical, influence must be relied upon.

    Identifying best practices is the rough equivalent of having matrixed management support.

    The university research contracts had the same flavor. Universities didn’t want the research to be done under the contracts to be specified very tightly, they wanted a lot of room to define the effort and conduct it. For this reason, very little of near term importance was contracted to a university – the results may be informative and interesting, but it was unlikely to provide an answer needed for development purposes.

    As for the UN’s funding of the IPCC and bias toward AGW, the UN charter for the IPCC builds this into the IPCC charge, so I think this is the first place to start.

  79. Judith,

    You can’t fire the lot, so a different approach has to be looked into.
    The main problem is pride and honor of the scientific researcher.
    Politics is a bad partner in science with people who have political power in a system that does not want to change. Many political decision were drawn from the bad science backing it up.

    Problem is any new area of science has no experts.
    I have come across many hardcore scientist and researchers that”if it ain’t got math, it ain’t science” attitude.

    I have new science on the many differing energies and form of centrifugal force. It steps on many toes of the curent locked in laws and theories.
    This area is backed by mechanical recreation of changing energy and storing energy.
    So, in current science, where would I go?
    Certainly not peer review as this area has no peers.

  80. ThinkingScientist

    For me one of the fundamental problems is the idea that peer reviewed papers represent accepted science. I think this is the big lie that has been promoted by the IPCC and the Team and adopted by the MSM. Hence Steig 09 appears on the front cover of Time.
    For it to become science, after publication a paper needs other independent authors to confirm the findings. Regarding independence Wegman made a great point about this when asked by Congress to review the MBH98 and MM affair (The Hockey Stick), pointing out all the key papers were authored or co-authored by a very small group of people. For a more recent example, 3 of the co-authors of Steig 09 are on the Wegman relationship diagram.
    A further issue is that many of the climate and paleo reconstruction papers try to do everything in one go. They present both a novel method and a “reconstruction.” The maps made by RyanO during the blog spat show clearly the absurdity of the Steig 09 model – these tests/sensitivities show why the Steig 09 model cannot be relied upon. The Steig 09 reconstruction is shown to be invalid by these tests – which means it should never have been presented as a valid “reconstruction”. With the Hockey Stick, it was the simple demonstration by MM that stationary red noise produced Hockey Stick’s from the Mann algorithm 99% of the time. The method used by MBH98 failed to pass basic validity tests.
    Papers need to be written up as two parts – the first is demonstration of a possible method. All the maths/statistics and all the data needs to be presented in electronic form, including the sensitivity tests. Only after this has been accepted, published and critiqued by the wider community can a paper then be presented offering “reconstructions” based on that method. And again they need to include all the code and all the data in electronic form to ensure it is completely reproducible.
    Any paper reviewed by the IPCC that cannot be fully reproduced using the published archive by an independent person should not be used to inform public policy. And to those who argue for climate activism and still want to keep their data and methods hoarded to themselves – if you really believe the future of the planet is in peril then you wouldn’t be so selfish.

    • “For it to become science, after publication a paper needs other independent authors to confirm the findings. “

      Nail On Head!

      • Steve Milesworthy

        realclimate regularly say that peer review is a necessary but not sufficient condition for accepting a result. So nail on thumb sounds about right.[/i]

    • “And to those who argue for climate activism and still want to keep their data and methods hoarded to themselves – if you really believe the future of the planet is in peril then you wouldn’t be so selfish.”

      And they might even work towards showing their sincerity by running their PCs, phones, their whole labs, by solar and wind generated power only, walked to and from work, never went on IPCC jaunts … ok, I won’t go as far as making them wear only clothes made from home-spun wool from their own sheep … but you get my drift.

    • TS,

      Please close your HTML tags if you use them, like “ (spaces inserted)
      Otherwise it affects the rest of the thread.

  81. We have a big problem with Noble Cause Corruption in our policy discourse. It is hard to convince people that your personal values should take priority, especially if you have a special interest or issue. The tack often taken is to try to use FACTS to force VALUE CHOICES, and if the facts are not there, make them up or spin the ones you have. So it is “ok” to exaggerate the number of homeless by a factor of 10 or 100 because it is for a good cause. It is ok to not mention that your figure for sea level rise is for 1000 years from now, not 100. It pervades all areas of policy discussion. How does this happen? Journalists are “just quoting” a person who makes outlandish statements and rarely have resources for fact checking, and writings in other outlets have no checks and balances. This is outside the hands of scientists, BUT they can avoid doing it themselves. I would suggest that the public have very good bs detectors, being surrounded by it all the time, and when you claim that the record snows and cold of recent years are due to global warming, you lose any shred of credibility.

  82. Judith,

    “They blame deniers, and say trust us we’re the experts, the science is fine. There is a fundamental failure to recognize the existence of the problem”

    I’m going to be honest with you. You have just violated almost every principle you laid out. :-(

    e.g. problem identification is shared ( you don’t identify ‘the problem’, all by yourself); ‘they’ this and that… ‘fundamental failure’… (you just framed your relationships with others negatively, not positively). And generally, you cannot have really listened if you do not see how frequently those you are in conflict with have ‘recognized’ the problem.

    The significance of the public communication climate pre-post emails incident, is that those who did not ‘believe in climate change’ before the emails incident, still don’t. A renewed focus on the communication climate with other scientists, might be good. You need to decide who the disputants are, and what role you wish to take or can realistically take.

    Again, keeping it real… I think you have blown most of what might have been your good intentions and anything productive, at this point.

    However, one thing I would like you to consider is that aspects of this ‘conflict’ are cyclical. You should separate recycled non-issues, from recycled important unresolved issues. There is a tendency to post on both, and to expect people in the climate science community to continue to address a wide range of ‘issues’. This reduces motivation to keep talking with you: it is too much, tires everybody, and overlooks all the discussions that took place before you became interested in alot of it.

    Also, I want to encourage you to always take time to reflect. You are pulled in many different directions. It shows.

    • So if it weren’t for those pesky awkward people asking difficult questions and not shutting up and going away when they’re told to, your opinion is that everything in the AGW garden would be rosy?

      No problems, no difficulties and the SS AG Warming sailing smoothly along on calm seas?

      What do they know about anything anyway? They aren’t ‘climate scientists’ so their thought sare of no value.

    • Martha,
      Your judgment against Dr. Curry is a badge of honor.
      If you dislike or disapprove of her, it is a strong indicator she is doing something good.

    • I’m sorry, but that is one of the most patronizing comments I have ever read on a blog.

      Martha: our resident psychologist whose opinion of herself surpasses everything apart from, perhaps, her conviction in the righteousness of the AGW mantra. You sound just like some of those advocate scientists that you support so much. BTW, if you are getting tired, feel free not to come back; you won’t be missed.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Excluding alternative opinions is one of the allegations against the IPCC, so you are learning some good lessons from them, Rob.

      • Steve
        It’s not the content of her remarks, which is fair comment if that’s her opinion, it’s the tone I object to. It just does not need to be that way.

      • RobB:

        “… it’s the tone I object to. It just does not need to be that way.”

        I find myself reacting viscerally to Martha’s posts too. Still, I find heartfelt sincerity if not good will in her harsh words. I was taught “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.”

        Whatever we may feel in response to Martha’s words here does she not express concern for Dr. Curry’s well being? On reflection (which I doubt I’d have engaged if not for attacks here on her AND her post) Martha makes a worthwhile point for all of us to separate between recycled non-issues from those which remain unresolved.

        Martha, If I may ask, is it your position that the main issue in this series of posts is that “Hiding the Decline” is a recycled non-issue?


  83. James Griffiths

    I don’t think this problem will be addressed by anyone “admitting guilt”, or “building bridges”, the “community” acknowledging wrongdoing, or changing how conclusions of speculative science are presented.Welcome as all that may be, it is unnecessary, and unless my experience of humanity thus far is wrong, won’t be forthcoming anyway.

    The fact is, and a surprise it may be to many academically oriented research scientists, is that most other scientific and engineering disciplines addressed these problems long ago.

    I say addressed advisedly. I could say solved, but all of the problems we have seen in climate science recently exist in more, ahem, professional environments too. The difference is they don’t tend to persist for long, as procedure and accountability mean that bad practice can be eliminated, or at the very least, identified when things go wrong.

    I will attempt to relate from my experience. I work with advanced materials, attempting to provide unique solutions to various problems. Despite my experience, many times I have no idea if a solution will work. Even more often, I can’t be certain my customer can accurately describe the exact dynamics of their process well enough to allow me to make an educated enough guess. I could tell a lie, tell them if will definitely work. If it does, great. If it doesn’t, they’ll never work with me again. Equally, saying “I have no idea” doesn’t inspire confidence.

    What I can (and do) do, is try and quantify my uncertainty, and show them that the job is done to the highest standard and using the best avilable techniques and knowledge.

    I can give them material datasheets, but that works better if I can show them case studies and reports that put the numbers in context.
    If I am working with, say, pressure vessels, I can provide them with details of the welding codes used and the weldor who did the job along with evidence of the MPI/radiography testing and the pressure testing procedure and evidence it was carried out.
    If there is stress, I can show them the actual calculations I used (show your working out kids!!) to specify a part.
    I can provide a job diary, listing the staff, procedures and timeline of any particular order I get.
    The list could go on and on….

    None of that will make a job doomed to failure work, but it will insure that a job that could work won’t fail because of bad practice. It will also mean that if a job does fail, there will be no (or at least less) bad feeling from the customer. In fact, if I can identify an improvement after failure, they may let me have another go at solving it! Pertinently, even identifying the cause of a failure isn’t always easy. It is always easier though, if you can eliminate as many possibilities through good procedure and documentation.

    Reading that, you may think I spend a lot of time disappointing my customers!

    Usually not, but the point is, out here is the real world, your failures are often more significant than your successes. It won’t take you long to realise that the guys who do things properly do things the right way. They know why they got something right and they know what went wrong when they get things wrong. You begin to get VERY suspicious of people who refuse to document their work.

    And that’s it. If you want to do a proper job, do the job properly. The rest is a window dressing. Arguing and sniping never ends, but if you have it all in black and white, it’s hard to put the case against you. If they can, you change your procedures and don’t make the same mistake again.

    I sometimes think that an alien who visited us tomorrow might decide that the scientific method was imposed upon scientists because they are feckless chancers who are incapable of doing a proper job without supervision, rather than a method devised by scientists of the highest integrity as an example to the rest of us. The truth is neither, the scientific method is a reminder that how you get to the answer is just as important as the answer itself.

    • Best methods, transparency, correctly setting customer expectations, attention to detail and details readily available – all lead people to believe the results have integrity and the source is reliable. as an aside, I don’t generally inject trust in the equation – the customer doesn’t trust blindly. In my view, they make a judgment on integrity of the results and reliability of the source.

      Chances are we would agree on a lot of procedural approaches.

      • James Griffiths

        Harold, I’m sure we would agree!

        Your point about trust it well taken too. Any effective set of procedures should operate separate of human intangibles, specifically to eliminate the reliance of trust, assumption of integrity or similar.

        Their purpose is to see through the mist of human error and bias, which is why the currency of reputation in science is so worrying to me.

        Any method which sets out to protect an intangible, rather than eliminate it seems perverse and contrary (to the point of being harmful) to the process of getting reliable results, swiftly and efficiently.

      • “faster, better, cheaper” is my motto, especially when it comes to research. Never reinvent the wheel if there are plenty of wheels around. In a sense, climate science is inventing itself as people watch, but there are plenty of disciplines they could model themselves on or learn from. It’s a pity – they could be identifying potentially answerable questions and doing high integrity research with less money and time in each research learning cycle. Being from the semiconductor industry, where time to complete a learning cycle with low risk of being wrong is a key factor in planning research, I obviously think that an area where there is a push for immediate action would focus on this better.

        Why preserve a human intangible? My guess is the people who argue that trust is important don’t understand that the element of trust applies to the process of producing reults, not who is doing the work or the actual results. By seeing the plan and having the steps explained, what the best practices are, what the issues along the way are, they trust that the plan has the best chance of providing them with what they need. The integrity of the plan and execution gives them a basis for believing the results have integrity. That you give them full, truthful, and non-misleading information gives them a basis for believing you are a reliable information source.

      • James,

        Why should you be worry at all. The climate community had planted their seeds with their reputation, they have to eat them eventually. No body forced them to take side and completely ignored/trashed their areas of science reputation gain from their pioneers.

  84. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    You know, an explanation would be nice as to why you simply delete every comment I make. Fine, you don’t want to comment on Al Gore firing Dr. Happer. At least give a reason why you won’t comment on it.

  85. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.


    I encourage you to reflect. You are pulled in one direction and it is wrong and shameful.

  86. Verification

    My suggestion is to use any change in global mean temperature pattern to test man-made global warming until the uncertainty regarding climate sensitivity is reduced or removed.

    For the global mean temperature data of hadcrut & gistemp, I have developed the following pattern:


    Clearly, the above data shows a cyclic pattern.

    My suggestion is, if the global warming trend for the period from 2000 to 2030, when plotted in the above chart, gives similar pattern ( decreasing temperature) as the periods from 1880 to 1910 or 1940 to 1970, then the effect of human emission of CO2 is negligible. However, if the pattern is different, then human emission affects global mean temperature. I believe, the scientific community must come up with some validation that is clearly stated in advance and independently verified in order to reduce the number of skeptics.

    In the climategate emails given below, there is evidence for global warming at the end of the 19th century and in the 1940s.

    The verification period, the biggest “miss” was an apparently very warm year in the late 19th century that we did not get right at all. This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”).


    I’ve chosen 0.15 here deliberately. This still leaves an ocean blip, and i think one needs to have some form of ocean blip to explain the land blip (via either some common forcing, or ocean forcing land, or vice versa, or all of these). When you look at other blips, the land blips are 1.5 to 2 times (roughly) the ocean blips — higher sensitivity plus thermal inertia effects. My 0.15 adjustment leaves things consistent with this, so you can see where I am coming from.


  87. ‘The subject of climate change is complex and important topic; the public is counting on scientists to provide the best available information. When the public saw in climategate, with “hide the decline” being its slogan, there was a substantial loss of public trust.’

    Indeed. The public sees partiality at work and detests it. And the problem isn’t restricted to the duplicitous manipulations of one man, it is systemic in the science, the IPCC-led politics and the reporting.

    For an extensive analysis see ‘The Search for Impartiality’ at eadavison.com/?p=11

  88. I’ll point out that there is still an elephant in the room, no matter how many times the walls are repainted and the carpet is changed. The UN charter for the IPCC specifically assumes a significant risk the world is getting warmer, and implies that CO2 is the cause, and requests possible political solutions. In this framework, the panel’s only realistic set of possible recommendations are to either restrict CO2 emissions or not restrict CO2 emissions. The UN had to know this at the time, and since “do nothing” is rarely a reason for creating a charter and spending funds, the only obvious recommendation is to limit CO2 emissions. Creating a panel with a foregone conclusion isn’t my idea how to go about identifying and solving problems, and it indicates to me that any of the information coming out of the panel should be considered to be from an unreliable source. Bad charters can be expected to produce bad results.

  89. As a non scientist, I was drawn to skepticism by who was proclaiming doom. My instincts were spot on. The only way climate scientist will ever have credibility again is if all data is truly pier reviewed by real scientist and all data made available to anyone who wants to investigate. Right now I no longer trust any scientist. Its up to people who care about science (scientist) to clean these people out. “Judith Curry” If you truly care about science the arm wavers should be investigated and prosecuted if fraud is found. I don’t believe for a second that man has no impact on the environment but I don’t believe government regulation or taxes will fix a thing. Everyday NASA employ’s James Hansen is another day I believe NASA should be defunded.

  90. As a member of the great unwashed I consider that loss of trust to be serious. But I’m also concerned about the discouragement of work on alternative hypotheses. I mean all this talk about CO2 being the only game in town is hardly surprising if studies on other drivers receive such hostile treatment not to mention the difficulty of publishing critiques of high profile papers.

  91. May I suggest that the largest problems are not with the select people involved within the ‘system’; rather, the system itself. There is no critical review and evaluation of those who are hired to find evidence that effects the entire world. Having their history of performance made available in any other system, public or private, they simply would be removed from their position. Their individual futures are relatively unimportant. So much time wasted. The rest of the world deserves better. This statement is not meant to reflect any personal scientific belief.
    The warnings of former President come to the forefront again. We should be very wary of the dovetail (including money made available) between politicians and the scientific community. Scientists will naturally learn to protect their domain and be encouraged to be sales people and solicitors.
    And, shame on all of us who form scientific conclusions based on political preference.

    Also, Dr. Curry, I am not sure how you prefer to be addressed, but thank you so much for taking a giant and bold step which I am sure could be making your life overwhelming.

  92. Given the high degree of politicization and polarization with respect to climate change topics, I am surprised to see no proposals on this thread for red team/blue team competitive research mechanisms. That is a commonly used tool for trying to validate or invalidate approaches when the gaps are too large for common ground to be found between proponents of opposing approaches. Such a mechanism requires, inter alia, transparency to persons relying on the results, expertise on the part of members of all teams, common terms of reference, and neutrality in selecting team members and overseeing the competitive process. The red team/blue team approach does not promote collegiality, because it is competitive and transparent to decision-makers. It does, however, produce greater legitimacy for any position that survives the process.

    I hope this is useful.


  93. Dr. Curry,

    You have made excellent posts here and I commend you for that. I’ve tried to ask questions on Real Climate but my questions never get posted and I’m being extremely polite. Keep up the work of questioning for us.

    • You are not alone in your experiences with Real Climate. Either Gavin edits the posting to interject his own opinions, or it gets deleted. What I find really amazing is the replies to my deleted posting that appear in RC. Amazing, they can see my postings but I can’t. If that is how debate takes place in “Real” Climate Science, it isn’t science at all.
      Totalitarianism (or totalitarian rule) is a political system where the state, usually under the control of a single political person, faction, or class, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.[2] Totalitarianism is generally characterized by the coincidence of authoritarianism (where ordinary citizens have less significant share in state decision-making) and ideology (a pervasive scheme of values promulgated by institutional means to direct most if not all aspects of public and private life).[3]
      Totalitarian regimes or movements stay in political power through an all-encompassing propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that is often marked by personality cultism, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of speech, mass surveillance, and widespread use of state terrorism.

  94. A few illustrations to make a point
    Radioactive bananas
    Gore melting ice.
    pirates vs temperature (unfortunately now destroyed by a massive increse in pirates and just about the hottest year on record)

    Then we have
    No retraction but the wind generators performed well during the power outages caused because the coal froze!
    Freezing CO2
    (now it seems changed from a statement to a learning exercis!!)

    I’m sure Watts did not intend to scare people off bananas but if you were to apply the same standards to wuwt as you seem to apply to hide the decline ( a graph seen by far fewer people than watts bananas) then you should be accusing Watts of lies.

    Does Watts retract unscience articles (the CO2 freezing out of the air over antarctic is still there for all to see!) so the answer must be no
    Does Watts photoshop pictures for impact (bananas, gore) the answer must be yes
    Does watts use blatent untruths in his headlines (pirates) so the answer is yes.
    Looking at the graphic on the WMO pamphlet
    No one disagrees with the data plotted for the instrumental record.
    No one disagrees with the tree ring data just that it may not represent temperature.
    So the contentious point is the marrying of the two sets.
    One can imagine the WMO asking “the team” for a hard hitting graphic for the front of their brochure. It is not a peer reviewed brochure – it is a call to people to take note of a possible catastrophy. The front graphic is little more than Watts bananas. And you are still talking about it 12 years later!

    If we suggest that proxy data is poxy data and cannot be relied on then throw it out. However you must then throw out the MWP and LIA an that wonderful graphic showing 7000ppm an low temperatures a few million years ago ( http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image277.gif
    ) created from 2 different sources the co2 being derived from a model Geocarb III.

    So now we know only the instrumental record back to the 1600s. Isn’t this the period that has shown the most incline? Isn’t this therfore worthy of note. Remember you have no proof of a MWP or RWP pure speculation as only proxies will tell you of the temperatures and you do not believe them.

    • Really, OFP, there is no comparison between the articles published on a blog and those by the IPCC. You seem to be trying to muddy the waters. And what is this obsession with WUWT that you and other proponents seem to have? Does he scare you?

    • The difference between WUWT and the Team is that WUWT allows comments and responses and publishes articles which contradict the previous ones. Including the retraction of CO2 freezing out of the air in the reference you gave.
      The problem with the team is that they don’t allow any opposite opinion, or even slightly deviating opinion. Own experience: I did give up commenting there when over half of my comments were deleted, even when always on topic.

      The difference between WUWT and the Team is that WUWT is not a scientific blog, although it is about science and many articles are very good, scientifically speaking. Some wrtiters and commenters are scientists, most are not. One can’t (and nobody) expect that all articles and comments are accurate. But when a team of scientists make a report illustrated by a graph, one expects that that is made with the highest standards of science. That means without hiding adverse results, which are even more important than lots of good results, as that may be an indication of problems of some proxy as a good proxy for temperature.

      In any other discipline, that would be regarded as a serious breach of credibility. In my area of (former) expertise (process engineering), hiding reverse results would be good to be sacked. And in financial matters, some in my country were hiding the decline of the gains their firm was making for their shareholders. They were sent to prison for several years…

      • Firstly I believe as you that no data should be hidden. I have never done so. I have always tried to explain the innaccuracy. howeverI have never had to produce a cover graphic using data from different sources for someone elses document. If the data correlation was reasonable during over half the overlap period would I for the sake of a simple graphic delete the deviated portion and put a comment in the text telling interested parties to look up the problem. I honestly do not know.
        The graphic was not put forward as the sole proof of AGW. It was a headline picture much like Watts’ bananas. An illustration.
        It is very instructive to realize that this graphic only hit the headlines when that magic phrase about hiding was discovered.

        Just how important was that WMO document
        search google for this:
        “wmo913.pdf” -decline -cru -realclimate -pdfchaser -“pdf-finder” -tvo -edocfind -pdfcari.
        Brings only 18 results some of these are still hide the decline type sites.
        google “wmo913.pdf” and set the date range from 1998 to 2008
        bring up just one result
        searching over the same time range for the title of the document brings 5 valid results. None of the documents mention the front page graphic. just the pamphlet.

        So it was not until the likes of McIntyre came on the scene that this document became influential. Certainly no-one queried the graphic.

        So we have a non-event really the pamphlet was ignored until it suited the anti AGW crowd to make mountains out of molehilss to further their destruction of climate science.

  95. John N-G: I seriously hope that we keep the observations going (satellite, CRN, etc.). Everything else can be replaced, but there’s no real substitute for actual observations (as paleoclimate reconstructions have demonstrated).

    Definitely agree with this sentiment. On a related note, out of curiosity I did a search for ‘model’ vs. ‘observation’ in AR4 a year or so ago and I think it was something like a 3:1 ratio in favor of ‘model’ w/respect to the number of search terms found. Not that such a simplistic metric necessarily means anything! In fact, it’s so unscientific I really shouldn’t even be bringing it up! :)

  96. With respect to Judith’s constructive suggestions #2 (Get the rest of the scientific community to acknowledge the improper deeds) and #3 (Improve oversight) and with respect to “best practices”, I have a few questions.

    Why is it called ‘Science’ when the authors don’t make their data and methods available to be checked; that is to say, why is it still called ‘Science’ when authors decline to ‘show their work’?

    This may be standard practice for a private company for trade-secret reasons, but it seems to be antithetical to what is commonly called ‘Science’.

    At best shouldn’t it be called something like ‘peri-science’ (while at worst aren’t there people who would reasonably call it a ‘sales pitch’ for the author’s career)?

    What does one call it when a ‘peer-reviewed’ paper’s ‘replicability’ doesn’t seem to be in the cards (irrespective of the prestige of the journal or conference proceedings in which it is published)?

    And as to the oft-mentioned excuse, “We used proprietary data”, doesn’t it seem that such use should automatically mark the paper as this ‘peri-science’; shouldn’t it just be a clue that real Science (something actually checkable) might merely lie in that paper’s particular direction?

    And as to the occasionally mentioned “The data has been inadvertently lost”, doesn’t it seem that such a situation should also automatically move (if ‘demote’ seems too strong) the paper from Science to the category of this ‘peri-science’?

    And if the ‘data and methods’ turn out not to be available, doesn’t it seem that this should also automatically downgrade the paper to this ‘peri-science’?

    All this is to say, Why shouldn’t these non-checkable papers merely be relegated to ‘peri-science’ by those not privy to the inner circle?

    And by the same token, if the data and methods are eventually made available (perhaps delayed for a time so that the authors’ get their head-start in career-making priority), then couldn’t the paper only then be moved up to the category of real Science?

    Or, perhaps, would it be the case that making such a distinction between Science and ‘peri-science’ would stigmatize far too many ‘peer-reviewed’ papers? Maybe making data and methods available (regardless of lip-service paid by prominent journals) as a prerequisite to a paper being called ‘Science’ is a bridge too far?

    If so, if the distinction (and by this I mean a very public distinction) is too ‘costly’ for the scientific community to make publicly about published papers, if it is just too inappropriate that a full, true and plain disclosure of data and methods be a requirement to enroll the paper in the halls of Science, then doesn’t the scientific community risk being identified as just another elite-driven belief-system among the many already out there?

    (My apologies if people don’t think that ‘replicable’ is the equivalent of ‘checkable’ when discussing scientific work.)

    • Qwer,

      “Why is it called ‘Science’ when the authors don’t make their data and methods available to be checked; that is to say, why is it still called ‘Science’ when authors decline to ‘show their work’?”

      Yes, they cannot be regarded as science. They have to hide and cheating the public funding. The government agencies still pour money/funds to them are beyond me. These agencies should be accountable for our hard earned tax money.

  97. Robert of Ottawa

    I admire you bringing this to the fore, Judith. In your first post, you basically called a spade a spade (indirectly). I was gob-smacked.

    On the suggestions front, no oversight of the IPCC is possible; the politics will simply move to the oversight committee. The IPCC is irredemable; it’s founding purpose was political and it always will be.

  98. Its too late.
    Its not some bad apples. Its not Climate Science. Its the entire academy.

    This is open lying to the public, on a $47 trillion dollar issue, condoned by the NAS, the Royal Society, the NSF, all the gatekeepers. Its beyond reform.