How did we get into this?

by Don Aitkin

This essay was prompted by the recent thread ‘Understanding(?) the Conflict’. On this website, and elsewhere over the last few years, I have seen a great variety of explanations of how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world. I do not have a complete answer — at least, not a simple one — but I think that the question I have used as the title for this essay is an important one, and what follows is an attempt to respond to it.

Any plausible answer must inspect at least the last fifty or sixty years of our various societies. I do not think that the answer is something relatively immediate or short-term. It is not simply, for example, the failure of the Soviet system having driven those of a left persuasion into environmentalism, though there are bound to be examples that people could provide. Nor is it simply some kind of conspiracy, though there have been events that have a conspiratorial look to them. Nor is there simply some kind of drive for world governance on the part of a few highly-placed people, though posters like to name a few. Nor is it simply an example of corruption of some kind.

In my opinion what has occurred is a slow and essentially unplanned process over two generations that involves a substantial increase in the wealth of our societies, technological changes that have helped us communicate on a global level in an unprecedented way, a strong rise in the educational levels of the population, the rapid rise in the importance of science and research generally, a decline in the importance of organised religion (though not in the USA), an associated decline in the belief that materialism will suffice, the growth of an environmental movement that has some of the characteristics of a belief system, and the rise of lobbying organizations and especially of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that purport to speak for, or act for, what they claim to be unrepresented groups of people or poorly understood issues. All of these factors are connected. What follows is a short think-piece, not a properly referenced paper. I have written about these issues elsewhere and will be happy to provide copies if anyone is interested (donaitkin@grapevine.com.au). I would be most grateful if critics would point out glaring errors or omissions. By doing so I may be able to produce a longer and well-supported paper that can be — yes! – peer-reviewed.

Let us start with the ingredients, and then move to their combination and cooking.

 Wealth and Its Distribution

Where I have to use numbers I will use those for my own country, because that is easiest at the moment. If you think that Finland, say, is different in some way please let me know if you think that the difference is important, and why it is important.  Australia is simply one of a number of Western countries that have undergone the processes I will be talking about. Very generally, Australia is three times larger in population and three times wealthier per head of population than it was in 1950. Export income is now largely based on mining, agriculture and higher education. The workforce is overwhelmingly employed in what used to be called ‘service’ industries and retail. The population is now concentrated in large urban areas, and the wealth has been quite widely shared. A society that had a large working class and a small middle class now has a large middle class and a small working class. Trade-union membership has greatly declined. There is much more disposable income about in 2011 than there was in 1951. One of many accompaniments of the increased wealth of the society has been a shift from a view that the interests of all are most important, to the view that one’s own needs, wishes and capacity to act are most important — a shift from ‘we’ to ‘me’.

 Advances in Communication

The great increase in wealth helped to produce, and was also in time a consequence of, extraordinary technological advances that have enabled us to communicate both locally and at a global level more cheaply, more quickly and more effectively than has ever been the case in human history. The Boeing 707 and its successors, television, the computer, the mobile phone, the digital camera and the Internet have all played important parts. Dr Curry’s website is one consequence, just as the IPCC is another.

The Rise in Education

A rapidly growing economy, increasing wealth, the demand for skilled labour and the values expressed in the Atlantic Charter during the Second World War all encouraged and allowed the retention of children, including girls, at school past the minimum leaving age, and brought increasing proportions of women into the workforce. The great majority of Australian children today will attend school until the age of 18, and about 60 per cent will go on to post-secondary education of one kind or another. When I began as an undergraduate in 1954, less than 2 per cent of my age-group went on to post-secondary education. An educated population is relatively self-confident about its capacity to understand what is going on and to form opinions about issues and policy options. Moreover, there now exists an extraordinarily large literature about almost everything. Human knowledge, at least as measured by academic journals and their contents, has increased perhaps a hundred-fold since 1950.

The Growth of Research as an Industry/Profession 

Increasing wealth and the rapid expansion of universities allowed the emergence of the research activity, and on a large scale. The oldest continuing research-funding organization of which I am aware is the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, or German Research Foundation), which was founded in 1920. The Western world’s equivalents either have followed the DFG model or that of the US National Science Foundation, set up in 1950 by President Truman. Australia and the UK both established their own such bodies in 1964. The growth of the research profession since then has been striking. In Australia more than 120,000 people (based on person-years of effort) are now involved in R&D activities, and they include 55,000 people in universities. Gross expenditure on R&D now exceeds $21 billion. We are talking about research (and the Australian Bureau of Statistics so refers to it), as an ‘industry’, and also as a profession. In all Western countries governments supply a great deal of research funding, and this is especially the case in the field of climate science, which is virtually a government monopoly. Governments need supporting organizations that can discriminate between good/bad, useful/not useful research, and the learned academies have been co-opted into being supporters of government science programs, just as (in Australia, at least) well-established charities have been co-opted as supporting agencies in social welfare programs.

The Decline of Organized Religion 

The growth in wealth and education, and the movement of women into the workforce, seem to have accompanied, and perhaps helped to cause, a decline in the reach and importance of organised religion. The notable exception here is the USA, and I will have to deal with this exception in any further development of this essay. Here I simply notice it. Our societies are more secular, more open to evidence, more inclined to argue about everything, than was the case in 1951. In Australia at least the proportion of people who now go to church regularly seems to be much less than ten per cent. This shift has accompanied, and may have helped to cause, a greater permissiveness in all matters sexual, the nature of marriage and divorce, and so on.

The Waning Power of Materialism

In the first three decades after the Second World War the pent-up demands for material well-being occasioned by war and the preceding Depression made it seem that a decent and satisfying life could be had by simply fulfilling one’s demands, and increasing wealth, both public and private, made that seem plausible. At length it turned out not to be so. Maslow’s proposed higher-order needs — for self-esteem and the esteem of others, for developing our capacities and for the satisfaction of our spiritual needs — are not finally solvable with more money, because retail therapy is finally unsatisfying. Australia may be three times wealthier, but it is plainly not three times happier. Organised religion works for some, but not for most.

Enter Environmentalism

From the 1970s on, the view that human beings had some kind of ethical duty to care for their environment has taken steady hold in the rich countries. Some of it has been simple common sense, and is an extrapolation of making one’s immediate environment attractive. The rapid growth in the number and size of rubbish tips, and the concern that much of what was dumped could have been re-used (a reaction of anyone who had grown up during depression or war) caused a slow movement towards re-cycling, not because (the older view) materials were scarce but (the newer view) because they might in the future become scarce: what we dug out of the ground was in some since finite.

Green political movements developed in most Western countries, the earliest in Australia and New Zealand in the 1970s, then in Germany. Their success, though minor at first, steadily increased until they had become a third political force in many countries, though rarely with majority or even plurality support. They were linked to, were often supported by, and sometimes even helped to form, lobbying groups of a local and/or global kind. The ‘Gaian’ strand has some of the characteristics of a religion, and the language that environmentalists often use has echoes of much older beliefs in wood and river spirits: the environment is seen an entity that observes and reacts to us: it needs respect, if not worship.

And the Non-Government Organization

While the 20th century saw a great increase in the size of governments, especially national governments, it also saw the rise of non-government organizations, of which there are now millions. Those operating at the international or global level are estimated to exceed 40,000, and all developed countries possess scads of them. They have been particularly notable in the environmental domain, partly because the environment knows no human boundaries, partly because the United Nations has welcomed them, and partly because national governments (and regional or local governments) find environmental concerns difficult to deal with satisfactorily.

Cooking

How you combine these ingredient is up to you. My own recipe goes like this. The growth of the research industry, and the elevated status possessed by researchers and scientists, mean that narratives, ‘breakthroughs’ and scary stories that are about some aspect of science are now part of our daily news fare. But something else has happened: we are not as confident or as optimistic as we once were (for me, that time was the 1960s and early 1970s, when my own young career flourished, and everything seemed possible). Once the stories would have been about success. Now they are characteristically about doom, anxiety, and bad things to come. The glass is much more often half empty than it is half full.

It seems to me that environmentalism has moved in to take some of the spiritual role that organised Christianity once played, and it also offers a new political path for those who find things wrong, bad and unacceptable. Something is bad, and we must fix it! Democratically elected governments are sensitive to the fears and anxieties of the electorate, and a significant part of the electorate is worried about the ‘future of the planet’. So governments have asked the new priests, the scientists, to help. Since many countries seem to have these woes, the outcome has been a common one, helped by international organizations and the ease of global communication. No matter that climate affects us all locally, the outcome has been to find the villainy in our universal use of fossil fuels, leading to increases in temperature, leading to disaster scenarios. The villain is ourselves, and we require government action, more regulation and new taxes.

Not everyone believes all this, but it seems to fit the present mood. So much money has been funnelled to the climate priests that they have to support the orthodoxy, whatever the evidence, and in consequence the respect in which science and research were once held is slowly diminishing. Governments are reluctant to admit that they are ever wrong, so they rarely examine their own policies to see if they are actually doing any good. Budgetary problems may end government programs, but otherwise they tend to continue. The mainstream media do not possess independent science reporters, and of those known to me almost all support the orthodoxy. In any case, scary stories make news, and benign stories do not.

All the ingredients are in my recipe, but I put more weight than most cooks into the importance of the popular mood, which in my country’s case is much less confident than it once was. And that lack of confidence in our capacity to deal with our problems means that doomster stories have much more power to take hold than they once did. Kenneth Clark, in his magisterial survey of ‘Civilisation’, argued that civilisations look strong but are always potentially fragile. Their enemies are fear of the unknown and of the future, a loss of self-confidence in the society’s laws, philosophy and values, and a slow loss of vigour, energy and vitality — declines that lead in time to a loss of the prosperity that allowed the civilisation to grow. I think that he was spot on, though I ought to add that he felt that things were going bad — in the 1960s — when I thought things were most promising!

Eating

Human societies, like the climate itself, are never in equilibrium, and my present feeling is that the AGW scare is subsiding. But I think that Clark is right, and that we have — at least for the moment — passed the time of great confidence in the ‘West’ and in our capacity to solve the problems facing us. I remain personally optimistic about the human ability to adapt and solve technologically the problems that face us. I have a Turgot map of Paris in 1739 that shows a huge amount of urban land devoted to the storing of firewood. So great was the loss of forests for firewood that the head of the French Navy wrote to the King pleading that it stop, because there would soon be no timber for the Navy’s new ships. Within a generation the Western world had begun the move into the coal and iron age. I think we can and will cope with energy needs and apparent over-population, too. But nothing will happen overnight.

I would have to agree that I seem to be in a minority. But I plug along, reading, thinking and writing, inspecting new argument and evidence, prepared to be shown strong evidence that AGW is really real, but rather expecting that one day someone really important, not a little boy, will point out that the Emperor has no clothes, and that the science is perplexing, not settled. If we go into a prolonged cool period, as I posted recently, then the AGW scare will subside more rapidly. But I would expect to see some of the current scaremongers switch to the new scare, missing scarcely a beat.

737 responses to “How did we get into this?

  1. Did anyone elaborate on “more technology is not a solution” before Engels did?

    • More technology was the obvious solution to threats to our national security, after an A-bomb explosion vaporized Hiroshima in 1945 and decided the victors of World War II.

      A government monopoly was established over technology during the Eisenhower’s administration (1952-1960) to protect the USA’s national security during the “Cold War.”

      In his farewell address on 17 Jan, 1961 former President Eisenhower acknowledged and warned of the potential dangers to the basic values of our free society if a.) An “industrial-military complex,” and/or b.) A “scientific-technological elite” developed out of the government’s new monopoly over research.

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/ike.htm

      Finally, I congratulate Don Aitkin for this extremely thoughtful and well-written essay on society’s unplanned journey into this mess over “the last fifty or sixty years.” Like another well-known path, this one was also paved with good intentions.

      There are no villains to blame, and we will probably not get out of this mess until stop trying to identify some.

    • In his farewell speech, Ike also said …
      ” As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.”

      I see global warming deniers as “live only for today” people.

      • When Eisenhower peered into society’s future in 1961, he warned of two potential dangers to the basic values of our free society:

        a.) An “industrial-military complex,” and

        b.) A federal “scientific-technological elite.”

        The current AGW climate scandal is a product of the federal “scientific-technological elite.”

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

      • If you find any “deniers” let me know.

        The rest of us are perfectly on board with environmental concerns for completely different reasons..such as, oh, the Christianity referred to above which charges us with the task of stewarding this creation, or just the practical concern for our descendants – not leaving them with a filthy, overcrowded world.

      • M. carey,

        Thanks for noting that portion of Ike’s farewell speech.- “As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow.” I was aware of other portions of the speech which were rather insightful a well.

        I take it by your “live only for today” comment that you feel that the folks you classify as global warming deniers don’t consider the consequences, or is it effects, of their actions today on a future state. I am rather new to independently trying to get a handle on the science around global temperature and the factors that effect it. The discussions I have had with lukewarmers to skeptics on the details of the theory of global warming have been centered more on the future then today when it comes down to what actions an individual, group, community, state, country, or group of countries should (vs. could) do about CO2 levels. If you happen to have any specific references on why you feel the way you do could you please provide them- Thanks.

        From a practical perspective of what can a state- in my case CA- can do about CO2 loads we are moving forward with a requirement that 33% of our electrical energy be from renewable sources (we don’t get to count our large hydro facilities or our carbon neutral existing nuclear facilities) by 2020. The cost effectiveness of our approach was discussed rather well by a former chief of staff at the Public Utilities Commission that you might find of interest- (http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/13/2955810/state-should-look-before-it-leaps.html#none) . The danger we face out here in CA is that to keep our grid up and running we may end with the same amount of fossil fuels being burned when we get to 33% as we do now- this has to do with the details of how the grid works and the need for dispatchable sources of power- vs. intermittent ones- we either needs lots of energy storage or some idling fossil fuel plants for when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow………..

  2. AGW provides the perfect ‘common enemy’ all nations can unite against, instead of fighting each other. And the ‘enemy within’ is our own wicked desire to fly to nice holiday destinations, and keep our lightly built houses warm/cool by using generated power.

    Governments love messages with guilt attached. It makes the population easier to control. And co2 emission is taxable, whereas sunshine isn’t.

    • You are right, Rog.

      Earth’s changing climate was apparently identified as a “common enemy” that would unite the world and end the threat of a nuclear exchange that might destroy all mankind, including even the politicians and propaganda artists!

      That decision seems to have occurred almost four decades ago, about the time Henry Kissinger took President Richard Nixon to China to meet Chinese Chairman Mao. Sincer 1972, experimental data on the origin, composition and unsteady nature of Earth’s heat source (the Sun) started to be manipulated.

      The opera “Nixon in China” that was recently on PBS shows well the mood of that 1972 event, arranged a year earlier by Henry Kissinger’s secret trip to China.

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

      • Oliver,

        I concur with your timing of the movement- about the same time that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire yet again. From the back cover “The Environmental Handbook- Prepared for the first National Environmental Teach-In” edited by Garrett De Bell (1970)”:
        1) 1970’s- The Last Chance For a Future that Makes Ecological Sense
        2) The crisis of the environment cannot wait another decade for answers.

        My favorite section of the book was written by Garrett Hardin “The Tragedy of the Commons (originally published in Science)-
        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/162/3859/1243.full .

        It appears that we have missed the warning about corrective feedbacks that Hardin discusses in the “How to Legislate Temperance?” section of his paper- ” “The great challenge facing us now is how to invent the corrective feedbacks that are needed to keep the custodians honest. We must find ways to legitimate the needed authority of both the custodians and the corrective feedbacks.”

        Mark
        a former Ohioan

      • Thanks, Mark.

        A trial balloon of “Global Climate Cooling” propaganda was first floated as the world’s “common enemy” [“Another Ice Age?”, Time Magazine, 24 June 1974].

        http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

        The “Global Climate Warming” propaganda campaign came next.

        It also pinched off the tailpipe of the world’s most productive economic engines, sending the Western world into an economic nosedive.

        By a strange coincidence, Earth’s actual heat source – the ill-tempered neutron star at the core of the Sun – has defeated both propaganda campaigns.

      • Oliver,
        That’s a pretty good conspiracy theory, but my favorite was John Birch Society founder Robert Welch’s belief that Ike’s brain was being controlled from the Kremlin through his brother Milton.

        Say what you like about right-wingers, but you can’t fault them for being unimaginative.

      • No, M carey, it’s not a conspiracy theory,

        It’s a fact: Tailpipes of our once thriving Western economic engines were effectively pinched off by the AGW scare.

        Our collapsing economy is a fact, not a theory.

      • Just like during the Great Depression of the 1930’s when a real estate bubble burst in the tailpipe of our economy.

        Wait, I got mixed up. Back then a stock market bubble burst in the tail pipe of our economy.

      • Thanks for clearing that up, Oliver.

        I was under the impression that massive financial institutions leveraging their assets 40 to 1 to buy bundles of bad debt had some role to play in the collapsing economy.

        But now I realize that in fact it was all due to AGW theory.

        Oh, and Saul Alinsky, of course.

      • You are welcome, Joshua.

        If you meet anyone seeking employment, tell’em about all those new “green” jobs!

      • Oh, right. AGW theory, Saul Alinsky, and green jobs.

      • Politically, I am probably far to the left of M. carey.

        But we are not here to discuss politics.

        Briefly, let me try to explain the origin and evolution of the Earth and its atmosphere so that you may know the difference between weather and long-term climate.

        Earth’s WEATHER is largely determined by currents of heat, air and water in the insulating layer of volatile elements that protect the biosphere from abrupt changes in its unstable heat source – the Sun:

        a.) Atmosphere
        b.) Oceans

        These volatile elements were released from the upper mantle when it melted in the early history of the Earth [“The xenon record of extinct radioactivities in the Earth,” Science 174, 1334-1336 (1971); “The noble gas record of the terrestrial planets”, Geochemical Journal 15, 247-267 (1981)].

        Basic principles of thermodynamics show that Earth’s CLIMATE is, however, determined by:

        a.) Violent instabilities in the neutron star at the solar core
        b.) The rocky mantle (Fe, O, Si, Ni, S, Ca and Mg) that surrounds and moderates heat flow from the solar core
        c.) The solar atmosphere (91% H, 9% He) of waste products that surrounds the mantle and also moderates heat flow from the core
        d.) SIM-induced shifts in the position of the compact, energetic solar core inside the glowing ball of waste products, photosphere.

        Variations in Earth’s climate are explained here [ “Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate”, Journal of Fusion Energy 21, 193-198 (2002); “Earth’s Heat Source – The Sun”,
        Energy and Environment 20, 131-144 (2009); “Neutron Repulsion”, The
        APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011)].

        http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

        I hope that this message will help you understand the basic difference between weather and climate.

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel

      • Nice one.

    • Curious Canuck

      Hi Roger,

      Interesting comment and somewhat in keeping with a youtube discovery I made recently. The late Dr. Isaac Asimov discussed ideas on how to save humanity circa 1989.

      How to Save Civilization Part I –
      http://youtu.be./LO0sCs8jI4k (there is a Part II as well)

      It’s an interesting 20 mins and seems to touch on a lot of aspects of the climate debate and your own comment above. Not to mention one of only a handful of recorded discussions with one of humanity’s most (agree with him or not – on much here I don’t) brilliant and thoughtful minds.

      The conclusion in the second part, the ‘common cause’ (moreso than common enemy), seems a lot more inspiring than what worked out on the ground at NASA though.

      The Show More section describes it as follows.
      “Here are two 10 minute summations.
      Part 1: How humans threaten life on Earth.
      Part 2: How can we save the planet for life as we know it. This entertaining talk was given at the first annual meeting of The Humanist Institute, in the New York Society For Ethical Culture.” (Includes a link to the full speech off-youtube)

      With how it alludes to and speaks to many of the things discussed here I hope some of you get a chance to give it a whirl.

      • Hi CC. Watched the Asimov speech. I thought it was well considered, though now dated more than his fiction work.

        The problem as I see it is that ‘Federal World Government’ is a doomed concept.

        Maybe I’m too much of an individualist to want to ‘fit in’ as a happy citizen of the single party world state.

      • I think a single world government will be the beginning of the greatest period of oppression humanity has ever known. Imagine a world where there is nowhere left to escape the dictations of elite minorities.

      • Curious Canuck

        Hi Chip,
        It seems that if the allegations are true, there’s a brave young housekeeper in NYC doing her best to strike one blow against that future you fear. I know it wasn’t what you were directing your comment at, but your words sure brought Dominique Strauss-Kahn to mind – chillingly as a face too near being revealed by lightning breaking night’s darkness.

      • I just watched Too Big to Fail last night. Based upon how she was portrayed in the movie, I don’t know that his replacement is going to be much of an improvement.

      • Curious Canuck

        I’m with you on 100% on the world governance concept. I just wish our civil servants and the A, C and B BCs would give it rest

        The date jumped out at me, a year after Hansen’s famous congress picture and testimony and here’s a sci-fi/fact writer seeming to foreshadow the political battle to come. Interesting too that they each had strong connections with Carl Sagan.

        Not calling that a conspiracy or anything. It does seem an interesting insight into the context of how climate change and global governance was being considered by some key thinkers associated with Hansen in the wake of passage of the Montreal Protocol.

  3. You have been shown strong evidence that AGW is real, but rather than deal with this evidence you choose to depict scientists as corrupt “priests”. Smear the scientists all you want — it won’t change the physics of the atmosphere.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      The physics of the atmosphere shows that OLR is increasing proportional to surface temperature increase over the past 31 years and not decreasing proportional to an enhanced greenhouse effect; in simple terms the enhanced greenhouse effect never even actually existed so the entire AGW hypothesis is based on what atmospheric physics states never existed.
      If you want to see what it means to smear scientists look at http://www.desmogblog.com to see the real villians in all this and why this fraud is still in existence nine years after the world had already started to cool in spite of continued increase in CO2 emissions

    • Your statement could have possibly been true if anyone knew the physics of the atmosphere. Unhappily for you, even the IPCC 4ht AR agrees that we do not know that. Oh, and a model is not evidence.

    • Where are the “physics”???? Do you have a co2 equation??

      What we have are expert opinions closer to a history or an economics department. It’s typical distortion to reference math or “physics”. We shouldn’t hide behind abstract physics either like “string theory” which certainly a reasonable field but another without any real world evidence or policy consideration at this point.

      The is science around climate but broad conclusions and solutions are quackery. An oncologist can say he studies liver cancer, if says he’s cured all cancer in his next paper what you think?? What would you think if his peers didn’t proof his work and drive him out? This is a big problem in climate science, noted quacks are on the front page all the time.

    • Tim Lambert | June 24, 2011 at 6:54 am
      You have been shown strong evidence that AGW is real

      Wow, have I missed something? When did this get announced?

      • Tallbloke,

        It got announced in 1988 by James Hansen. You know, science by senate testimony. Strong evidence is relative. O brave new world! That has such people in it!

      • I’m a bit surprised that your’s is the only mention of Hansens 1988 testimony in the whole thread so far. It’s pretty germaine in regards to the question of how we got into this whole AGW scare.

        I trying to remember who it was who aided and abetted him by making sure the windows of the room where he testified were left open so the aircon wouldn’t work.

      • Then Senator Tim Wirth organized the stagecraft at Hansen’s testimony.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/planet-gore/17534/stagecraft/chris-horner

      • And as if by magic, an article about Tim Wirth appears on WUWT:
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/25/bring-it-mr-wirth-a-challenge/

        It seems Mr Wirth has been banging the ‘persecute the heretics’ drum again…

      • All AGW cultists are liars and fascists. (unless they personally apologize to skeptics for this outrageous statement)

        “Third, we have to, I think, again as I’ve suggested before, undertake an aggressive program to go after those who are among the deniers, who are putting out these mistruths, and really call them for what they’re doing and make a battle out of it. They’ve had pretty much of a free ride so far, and that time has got to stop.”
        — Tim Wirth

      • “The salesman told me it was the best car ever!”

        The original settled science.

    • Tim,
      Ignore the evidence that the AGW community is misunderstanding the physics of the atmospehre as much as eugenicists misunderstood the mechanisms of evolution all you want.
      It still does not make a CO2 caused catastrophe in the climate any more likely.

    • Evidence! Where is this evidence?

    • Tim: I know of no “strong evidence that AGW is real,” just a lot of ambiguous evidence. The problem is simply that AGW is competing with unknown mechanisms of natural variability. Until these known unknowns are resolved the debate remains a draw. Unfortunately the AGW response is to ignore these issues, and the research they require, so the draw continues. Happily a draw is a loss for those advocating radical action. Unhappily the reputation of science is suffering.

      • Really it isn’t a draw at all, a hypothesis needs evidence to become a theory. There are all kinds of other explainations about climate changes. You can’t just rattle off explainations and assign theory names to each; “the Sun Theory”, “The ocean theory”…..you have to have something.

        The Earth is an open system, co2 might have no impact at all. The further twist is when they conclude co2 is the cause of warming by “process of elimination” which is one of the most anti-science methods of all.

        CO2 was only the focus because of the big money implications of the eco-populist willingness to assign blame to industries that are deeply resented for many complex if not irrational reasons.

    • gcapologist

      I didn’t see where Mr. Aitkin referred to the scientific priests as “corrupt.”

      To think that he believes them to be corrupt is by your (Tim Lambert’s) inference.

      Perhaps Mr. Aitkin might elaborate on the character of these “priests” in his next draft.

    • Tim Lambert

      You have been shown strong evidence that AGW is real

      Is the following a strong evidence for “accelerated warming” by the IPCC?
      http://bit.ly/b9eKXz

      This IPCC figure compared the global mean temperature anomaly trend for the recent warming period with the trend for a combination of this warming and previous cooling periods and then declared global warming is accelerating.

      Tim, that is not evidence.

      Tim, that is SCIENTIFIC FRAUD.

      Genuine interpretation of the data shows there is no acceleration in the global mean temperature anomaly trend with increase in human emission of CO2 as shown in the following graph.
      http://bit.ly/lVkSkw

      There is no evidence for AGW!

      Tim, why have you banned me from your blog?

    • AGW is real. Some scientists behaved as badly as if they had been corrupted. When skeptic and consensus holder can say both sentences in the same breath we can move forward.

  4. Could an increase in spare time be added? I mean both spare time of politicians and of people. It might be spare time to spend in intellectual interests or it might be spare time for a hobby, like fishing is a hobby.

    If politicians and people have spare time they will try to occupy it with something. In politics the left and the right do not mean the same as before. The right won the argument. So in the absence of serious left/right debate politicians had to find another way to feel they are improving society. AGW is how they are achieving this.

    Similarly, people need a new politic. In the UK politics does not have a great left/right divide, it is about discussion on public services. This discussion doesn’t really get the blood going.

    People need new hobbies to fill free time created by improved living standards. Such a new hobby might be eating organic food, or becoming a vegetarian. A hobby can be something you discuss and share with friends, it is something that makes you interesting or individual. AGW is a hobby for people (it is for me).

    Free time also creates a moment of pause for us to look up and maybe consider some matters for the first time. Some matters might be the environment, something everyone should be concerned by. A discussion on the environment gets your blood going the way old left/right political discussions used to.

  5. tempterrain

    JC,

    “If we go into a prolonged cool period” ??? As if.

    Are you the same scientist who once said “[W]hether atmospheric gases such as CO2 (and H20, CH4, and others) warm the planet is not an issue where skepticism is plausible.”

    This is either a part of a the world’s greatest hoax or there is a problem to be fixed. You’re looking for some middle ground and I just can’t see there is any.

    • “[W]hether atmospheric gases such as CO2 (and H20, CH4, and others) warm the planet is not an issue where skepticism is plausible.”

      And I responded: “The issue is whether they warm by absorbing incident solar radiation, or by absorbing secondary LW radiation from the surface. I say the former…” (November 30, 2010)

      • andrew adams

        What evidence do you have that it is the former? And how do you explain the fact that we can measure outgoing LW radiation and we can see “troughs” at the frequencies at which GHGs are known to absord LW radiation?

    • tempterrain
      This article is not by Judith.

    • David L. Hagen

      tempterrain
      That’s a matter of perspective. Given a geologically proven history of ice ages, entering “a prolonged cool period” is just a matter of time (with 99.99% probability – if the “new beginning” does not come first.)

    • When in doubt, bet on the hoax.

      • “Hoax” implies a certain benevolent feature that really isn’t there at all. AGW is at the political level completely self-indulgent and mean spirited. It’s about a fascist solution and mad grab for state power over the individual and private rights.

        Fraud is a better term but even that glosses over it, as if money gains were the primary driver. It’s not, it’s about power over others and advancing and expanding it. Look at the food regulations in the works, they want to tax buy fat content and the calorie. Do you really think its about heathcare costs or social improvement? Again, it’s about power and the religion that the state is the central quality of importance.

    • tempterrain

      This is either a part of a the world’s greatest hoax or there is a problem to be fixed. You’re looking for some middle ground and I just can’t see there is any.

      Sure, there is a middle ground.

      Let me ‘splain:

      – GHGs absorb longwave radiation

      – CO2 is a GHG

      – Humans emit CO2

      – Although human CO2 emissions are only a very small %-age of the natural CO2 cycle, it is logical to assume that the human emissions have caused at least a significant portion of the observed increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, at least since measurements started at Mauna Loa

      – The globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly as recorded by HadCRUT since 1850 has shown warming in three essentially statistically indistinguishable 30-year periods of warming, with 30-year periods of slight cooling in between, with an underlying warming trend of 0.041C per decade

      – Statistically speaking, the temperature record is a random walk. There is no observed robust statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature; where there is no robust statistical correlation, the case for causation is weak.

      So the logical “middle ground” is this:

      Human CO2 may have caused a bit of the observed past warming, but there is no empirical evidence based on actual physical observations or reproducible experimentation, which demonstrates that it has caused most of the past warming. As a result, there is no empirical evidence for the postulation that it represents a serious potential threat to humanity or our environment. In fact, most recent lack of warming of both the surface atmosphere and the ocean despite increased CO2 to record levels seems to falsify the premise that CO2 is the main driver of our climate.

      IMO this seems to be a very logical “middle ground” position on AGW, which is pretty hard to refute.

      But go ahead and try, if you want to.

      Max

      • Indeed, Max. Scientifically AGW is not a hoax, it is just an honest hypothesis that did not hold up. Politically it may be a different matter, something of a bandwagon effect, but still not a hoax.

      • manacker ,

        Average global temperature is affected by both nature and man’s activities, and the warming influence from man can be moderated by periodic natural cooling (e.g., LaNina) or enhanced by periodic natural warming (e.g., El Nino).

        Given the warming trend that we have witnessed, if you have compelling evidence the natural influences, including changes in solar irradiance, were a net driver of the warming instead of man’s activities, the scientific community is waiting to hear from you.

      • Peter Wilson

        Max

        I agree totally with everything you say, and I suspect many of the commenters here would also.

        The problem is, this is NOT the middle ground. In the eyes of the mainstream consensus, the IPCC and the “Team” scientists, we are deniers. Acceptance of the AGW creed must be absolute.

  6. And there you have it, after only 5 comments: Division of viewpoints and beliefs. Not fear of the future, not “Waning of the West” per se. Dogmatism rules on every front, and especially so with “authorities” or “experts”. There are no experts at this moment in time, there are only competents and incompetents.

    • Everyone is ‘incompetent’. But some people are more ‘incompetent’ than others. (apologies to Orwell). The only hope for one to become truly expert is to acknowledge regularly one’s ignorance and capacity for error.

  7. The Heide Trask Drawbridge was stuck in the open position for about an hour on
    June 20 during Monday’s record-breaking heat, creating gridlock and stacking up traffic past Military Cutoff. An official at the North Carolina Department of Transportation blamed the problem on the hot weather, although major bridge repairs had already been scheduled to begin in October.

    “Just due to the extended high temperatures, the steel expanded in the heat,” said Amanda Glynn, Division 3 bridge program manager. Record-breaking temperatures on Monday exceeded 100 degrees. She said that the bridge wouldn’t close properly after it opened around 2:30 p.m.

    “The tolerances on these bridges are very small,” Glynn stated, explaining that once the span was hosed down with water, that made enough of a temperature difference to close the drawbridge. Most of the delay was due to the response time for the DOT crew to get through the traffic, she said.

    The temperature at Wilmington International Airport had hit 101 degrees by 2:30 p.m. That broke the previous record high of 99 degrees for June 20, which was set in 1924. …

    Bridge engineers detect global cooling signal after spraying bridge with water.

    • How big was Wilmington International Airport in 1924 when it set the old record? Probably a grassy field and not covered in runways.

  8. Steven Schuman

    I think of CAGW as another version of original sin. We know we’re bad and this proves it. Look at the end game solutions. Depopulation, fewer bad people. Deindustrialization, the harder life we deserve. We’ve not only left the Garden of Eden, we’ve destroyed it. Or at least are in the process.

  9. Don: Having studied (and fought) environmentalism since 1968 I tend to agree with most of what you say. The central point is that environmentalism is a major ideological and political movement. Much, perhaps most, of what you describe in detail follows from that simple fact. We don’t know why such movements occur, but they are nothing new.

    Environmentalism has always been based on semi-scientific scares, and it picked up AGW along the way. AGW only differs from Silent Spring or acid rain in its grand scope. Movements feed on issues and as they grow they seek out bigger issues. AGW is as big as it gets.

    However, I would point out that the 1970’s were also characterized by doomsday scenarios and global energy issues. Population bomb, Club of Rome, etc. It also saw the beginning of massive federal regulation, at least here in the US, including environmental, but much more as well.

    Moreover, I think a missing central element in your narrative may be that the 1960s saw a massive social upheaval, which we are still living out. Environmentalism may simply be a part of that broader upheaval. If so then it may finally be playing out, but it is too soon to tell. As Macaulay (I think it was) put it, every political movement ultimately expires from an excess of its own principles. AGW may well be such a case for environmentalism. On the other hand, a great many people do seem to be afraid of a great many things.

    • Moreover, I think a missing central element in your narrative may be that the 1960s saw a massive social upheaval, which we are still living out. Environmentalism may simply be a part of that broader upheaval.

      Indeed. The “Boomer” capacity for guilt (enabled by the wealth created by their parents) seems to play a big part in the radical social as well as environmental engineering that some seem to desire. A good deal of that change has been positive, but the “more is better” philosophy has its limits.

      • I am not sure about the guilt, but we were by golly going to change the world. You could feel the heat, out on the street.

      • “I am not sure about the guilt”

        David – preceding generations in the Anglosphere attributed the global hegemony they had achieved to their belief in, and obedience to God. The Boomer generation had repudiated God, so this recourse was not available to them. The void was filled with guilt. Meanwhile the Anglospheric hegemony had rearranged itself. The hardware of the British Empire was shed, leaving little in the way of an Aunt Sally for the guilt-afflicted. The institutional “software” of the Empire though, to a greater or lesser extent, persisted in its former possessions, and continued to propel its people to greater material prosperity. Most notable among those former British possessions was the USA, which in the second half of the century, in (and on) principle disowned imperial ambition and in practice found an imperium. Perhaps this is why the USA is such an exception in the generally secularised Anglosphere – that Americans now have the same need to believe in God’s grace that Britons of Kipling’s day had. Be that as it may, the rest of the Anglosphere is left with a disquieting sense that it is enjoying a pre-eminent material state which they does not entirely deserve, and without the traditional means of expiation.

        This is fertile ground, as we have seen over the last 50 years, for “expiation narratives”, and, starting with Silent Spring, they duly arrived. Notwithstanding the occasional wastage of resources (and in the case of DDT, human life) occasioned by this succession of narratives, Western society, and the Anglosphere continued to prosper to a greater extent than those countries which had acquired or retained less of the “software” of the British Empire. For all sorts of reasons, the internal combustion engine had become emblematic of this prosperity, and in the 60s it undoubtedly merited cleaning up. Environmental concern led to ever more stringent (in the West) abatement controls, accompanied by the confident assumption amongst the environmentally active that eventually it would face a constraint it could not meet.

        To an amazing extent, though, internal combustion did clean itself up, to the point where the only emission remaining that it could not abate, any more than any other device that burns carbon, and which it must emit in almost direct proportion to the benefit it delivers – was CO2. CO2 became the ultimate totem for the displaced guilt of the post-imperial generations of the West.

    • gcapologist

      I think there is a difference between true environmentalism (tangible personal/corporate stewardship actions that keep the envrionemnt clean or make it cleaner, and the environmental movement (advocacy aimed at making others/governments do something).

      IMO the “do something,” asked for (more often than not demanded) by advocates, whatever it is, usually does not result in tangible environmental improvements, or is really just simply unobtainable from the get go.

      • IMO the “do something,” asked for (more often than not demanded) by advocates, whatever it is, usually does not result in tangible environmental improvements…

        How do you quantify such a statement? For example, how do you measure the impact of something like the clean water act or other forms of toxic waste regulation to determine that in balance advocacy aimed at governmental action is negative in balance?

  10. How? Not enough theology and geometry.
    ===============

  11. How you combine these ingredient is up to you.

    You need to talk about the things happening in the physical world as well. I respect that you are trying to talk about the psychological and sociological elements of the global warming debate, and it is a topic that interests me too, and unlike some, I don’t think it is always wrong to look at the psychology that leads people to take the positions they do. But people’s beliefs are also shaped by events and observations.

    Even if you want to explicitly limit you topic to the psychology underlying the environmental movement, you still need to talk about the damage to the natural world caused by human activities, the damage to human health caused by unregulated industrial development, and the powerful empirical evidence for AGW. These need not take away from the points you want to make about environmentalism; but ignoring them will.

    Also, a minor typo: you meant “ingredients.”

    • Poewrful empirical evidence for AGW.

      PLease list.

    • Robert: As I told Tim, I know of no “powerful empirical evidence for AGW,” just a lot of ambiguous evidence. The problem is simply that AGW is competing with unknown mechanisms of natural variability. Until these known unknowns are resolved the debate remains an open draw. Unfortunately the AGW response is to ignore these issues, and the research they require, so the draw continues. Happily a draw is a loss for those advocating radical action. Unhappily the reputation of science is suffering from the impasse.

      It is not clear to me that the natural world (whatever that is) as a whole can be damaged. Was it damaged during the great extinctions? Did the rise of the mammals damage it? The loss of the dinosaurs? The end of the ice age?

      • “The problem is simply that AGW is competing with unknown mechanisms of natural variability.”

        I feel the same way about gravity. I suspect some unknown mechanism is pushing us down.

      • The difference is that we know these mechanisms exist, by their effects. These range from ice ages, big and little, to abrupt events and solar correlations. There are now known to be a host of natural oscillations and correlations, all with unknown mechanisms. Which of these mechanisms is operating today is also unknown. (Your responses are really rather silly. You are wasting our time.)

      • In his two previous post David Wojick said:

        “The problem is simply that AGW is competing with unknown mechanisms of natural variability.”

        “The difference is that we know these mechanisms exist, by their effects.”

        “Which of these mechanisms is operating today is also unknown.”
        ___________

        If it happened, we know somethings we don’t know made it happen, but we don’t know exactly which one of the unknown things is making it happen today.

        Science marches on ! Ha Ha !

        .

      • Latimer Alder

        Your point would have more force if today’s understanding of the climate’s mechanisms were such that it could explain all the known temperature.changes of the past (pre AGW) and uniquely attribute their causes. Something caused those changes and they are not at all well understood,

        Unless, of course, you are able to oblige me with some references.that show that they are indeed well understood. And that we know what caused the Ice Ages to begin and end, the changes in the Roman times,the MWP to start and stop, the LIA, the temperature increase in teh 1920s and 1930s and all the other well-documented climatic perturbations.

        Do you have such references? Or did the global climate only really start to change in the last 50 years?

      • Oh boy! It’s Logical fallacy time.

        Today’s scientists can’t explain with certainty all the reasons the earth’s climate underwent changes long before they were born, therefore they can’t explain why it’s been happening during their lifetimes.

        That’s the long-winded version of … if nature has changed the climate, man can’t.

      • Latimer Alder

        No logical fallacy here at all

        As I see it, the argument that supposedly clinches the deal for all recent warming to be down to CO2 is that the climatologists haven’t been able to think of anything else’.

        If there is some better evidence than that, please guide me to it. I haven’t seen it yet and I’ve been looking for a few years now.

        Well fine and dandy just so long as they can demonstrate that they have indeed thought of everything else and have such a good understanding of all the other factors that ‘we can’t think of anything else’; has some force. An excellent way of such a demonstration would be to show that they can actually explain all the other changes that we know about until the 1960s when a completely new and powerful factor comes into play.

        Of course, if there is better evidence than ‘we can’t think of anything else’ then the need for such a comprehensive understanding of all the other factors diminishes somewhat. But until there is, my case stands.

  12. It is so sad that the modern environmental movement has been hijacked by the CAGW alarmists. So many real world problems are being ignored or put on the rear burners as a result of the true believers religious like belief that essential plant food is somehow pollutant. So many other of the world’s problems are being left behind while the world governments throw good money after bad on the IPCC crowd and their junk science “research”.

    Overfishing of the oceans.
    Destruction of native habitats.
    Pollution of inland and coastal waters by agricultural and industrial run off.
    Poaching of endangered animals.
    Lack of clean water in much of the third world.
    Preventable diseases, especially among children.
    Under-education of girls.
    Enslavement of children.
    Systemic sexual abuse of children in some countries
    Widespread poverty in some parts of the world.
    Killing of innocent civilians in war.

    These are all real problems of today that suffer because the environmentally minded have been tricked into believing that global warming is due to human activity in the first place, a bad thing in the second and more important than all of these other, real and immediate problems. Shame on all of them.

    In a hundred years people will read about CAGW and shake their heads in disbelief that so many people were tricked by such a small group of scoundrels. They will put CAGW in the same scientific category as Geocentrics, Cold Fusion, Piltdown Man and The Fountain of Youth. In the future, the parallels between the IPCC and the Yakuza will be studied by PhD candidates in History and Sociology. Carbon emission reduction schemes will be likened to Medieval bleeding, papal indulgencies and witch burning.

    Meanwhile, as the CAGW alarmists become even more desperate and shrill, the real problems of the real world fester on and on. The truly environmentally minded find it all so sickening.

    • I agree. So many of the things you list could be attacked practically, and with an improvement in the standard of living of so many.

  13. Don – thank you for an excellent piece. In my view the “priestly” phenomenon you refer to goes back a lot further than your couple of generations – right back to when those evincing it were, in fact, priests. But they could not play that role without the appetite for catastrophe that seems to be perennial, and its counterpart, a sense of inchoate guilt felt by Westerners at having come out at the prosperous end of history.

    And while you are right about the extent of education, it does seem to me that science education has suffered a serious decline in rigour, allowing the perverse extension of uncontroversial physics which goes by the name of AGW to flourish uncriticised.

    • Any sufficiently advanced technology will appear to be magic – Arthur C. Clarke’s 2nd Law. Life has become exceptionally complicated and many people delegate the responsibility for thinking about technical matters to experts, the ‘priests’ you mention. Once burned by these priests, though, I believe the public will be very unlikely to ever delegate that responsibility again. In the case of AGW, I think the resistance to acceptance will now overwhelm any inclination remaining to believe.

      • Unfortunately, Chip, memories are short, we repeat the old mistakes over and over again. The devastating Brisbane flood of 2011 was largely due to developers and government finding about 15-20 years ago that the lessons of the 1974 flood were inconvenient, and acting in defiance of them.

      • You are right, Faustino. Inconvenience makes for powerful blinders.

      • “… and acting in defiance of them.”
        You might have added, “having been given ample encouragement to do so by the prevalence of a perverse CAGW narrative that ruled drought, and not flood, to be the real threat.”

  14. Don, I think
    “…in some since finite.” needs fixing

  15. I remain personally optimistic about the human ability to adapt and solve technologically the problems that face us. I have a Turgot map of Paris in 1739 that shows a huge amount of urban land devoted to the storing of firewood. So great was the loss of forests for firewood that the head of the French Navy wrote to the King pleading that it stop, because there would soon be no timber for the Navy’s new ships.

    I rather think you are missing the point of your own anecdote:

    * Environmental conservation is not a new problem.
    * It’s based in human needs.
    * It has always required government intervention to project society from the tragedy of the commons.
    * Recognizing a problem and advocating action to deal with that problem does not indicate a lack of faith in the human capacity to adapt; it is a function of the human capacity to adapt. Adaptation does not happen by magic; it is foolish to invoke the human capacity to deal with changing circumstances to argue against taking action to deal with changing circumstances.

    • Robert, I like ‘project’ very much. The unconscious ironic are the very, very best.
      ==============

    • Robert Thomson

      Governments – based on my perceptions and observations – are turning into the “tragedy of the commons” – they certainly seem to be the best current examples …………..?

  16. Don

    I think you get this mostly right. I for one am struck by the religious attributes of AGW.

    I also think we (humanity) have a tendency towards puritanism: that is moral righteousness and intolerance of “indulgent” enjoyment (sinning); plus a desire to impose this viewpoint on everyone else. In our secular society I think our sins have moved from the religious domain to the natural: health and environment. And these ideologies are backed up by “science”, that is scientific papers highlighting the dangers our modern society poses for health and environment. More disturbing some (much?) of this literature seems designed to support a pre-determined policy agenda.

    • gcapologist

      Gary:

      “More disturbing some (much?) of this literature seems designed to support a pre-determined policy agenda.”

      …. has been my reaction to a similar observation as well.

  17. David L. Hagen

    Well put Don.
    We have the choice of whom or what we will worship, not if we will.

  18. mactheknife

    I’ve long argued that the CAGW political groupthink is aimed at redistribution of wealth. In the UK when Gordon Brown was the Chancellor his “big idea” was to erradicate poverty in Africa. He called on the western governments to join forces and of course donate mountains of cash. Despite much hype it went nowhere and disappeared. Fast forward a couple of years to Copenhagen when Brown then Prime Minister called on western governments to repay “Climate Debt” to the third world, in the form of $100 Billion. Once again the guilt concept was being used to promote an agenda of redistribution. I also read an article which I can not find now unfortunatley, which suggested that monies pledged to the AGW cause by governments was being “skimmed” by the UN with 10% (I think) being handed over to them for their own “programs”. In my humble opinion this is clear evidence that AGW is seen as a new revenue stream to be exploited by governments through personal and business taxation.

    • I read an article about aid to a SE African country, I think Mozambique, which continues to be impoverished after decades of extensive aid payments. If all the aid had been invested in Swiss banks rather than disbursed to the country, the Mozambiqueans would now have an average income per head of about $20,000. Another hoax.

  19. randomengineer

    Bell Labs was at one point the research division of humanity. Apollo moon flights proved that R&D worked. Great respect for R&D ensued.

    However:

    Human IQ didn’t keep up with the advancement of knowledge. Half of us are still below average. Add to that the S curve of tech development — the stuff that was easy and straightforward to discover has been discovered. The current position on the curve says that it requires increasing specialisation to contribute. Even if you were clever enough to understand something you aren’t specialised enough.

    But we respect science.

    It doesn’t take a lot of slight twisting of technology to make it seem different than it is. Half of us aren’t clever enough to know much and the rest of us aren’t specialist enough. Silent Spring showed us this much.

    So now the respect of science is used as a political weapon.

    The same effect (knowledge vacuum) is easily seen in other forms, e.g. the TET offensive was a complete military disaster for the North but the net propaganda (“belief”) implied a win, and today most folks “know” that TET was a Northern military victory.

    • About easy and hard to discover and/or develop.
      What has been done is easy and what has not been done is hard.
      What is known is easy and what is not know is hard.
      That has always been true and always will be true.
      Once something hard gets discovered, it becomes easy.
      The biggest problem in this is that there is a big disconnect between what is believed to be known and what is known.

      • randomengineer

        I was referring specifically to the S curve of R&D and commentary (Feynmann?) re the speed of physics discoveries in the early 20th century vs the apparent snail’s pace of recent discovery. The S curve applies elsewhere; we have what are known as “mature” technologies where there is constant incremental improvement but few transformational discoveries. Automobiles come to mind. We are still using internal combustion after 120 years. ICE was transformational at the time of invention, incremental since. Graph it out and you get an S curve.

    • Well yes, half of us will always be below average. It sort of goes with the pretentious clap trap that gets posted here

      • Half of us will always be below average by definition – that’s where IQ = 100 is set.

      • Except in Lake Wobegon, where the men are good looking and the children are above average.

      • Good catch. Hmmmm. I know I’ve got some PowderMilk biscuit mix around here somewhere.

      • That’s wrong. Half of you will below the median. But your comment about pretentious clap trap was perfectly demonstrated.

  20. son of mulder

    There is a lot of money to be made from Faith Healing. That’s how we got here.

  21. The article is yet another of what I describe as Judith’s – “philosophy posts”- by which I mean nothing really related directly to the issue of what should be done regarding potential climate change. It is easy to write hypotheses about the evolution of human behavior and how that may (or may not) impact decision making today. Here are bottom line truths (imo)

    1. There has been a huge increase in the population of humans on planet earth in a short period of time
    2. There has been a large increase in the use of technology by humanity in a short period of time that has allowed those with access to the technology to greatly increase the quality of their lives
    3. The technology increase has resulted in a condition where those without full access to the technology; are now fully aware of that which they are not able to have the benefit of; and they demand that technology also.
    4. It also means that many people in the “higher technology societies” get more information about those “suffering” because they do not have this technology and feel guilty about it and want to improve the quality of life of people in the lower technology societies.
    5. Ultimately, planet earth is actually governed by over 200 independent nation states that make decisions based upon what is good for the constituents or leaders of those individual nation states. There are many in the “higher technology societies” that believe and hope that decisions by individual nation state leaders would be based upon the good to the overall population of planet earth, but that is simply NOT REALITY.

    Point #5 is the reality of the world despite point #4 being true

    • gcapologist

      Rob Starkey: I beg to differ. These kinds of posts mean a lot.
      I earned a doctorate studying past climate. I now work in a related field and have been targeted with nasty and unsupported allegations that aim to paint me as the devil incarnate.

      I found the climate blogs mostly by accident, seeking follow-up information after a testimony by R. Pielke Jr. at a Congressional hearing. I thought his insights on honest brokerage (a term I hadn’t heard before at that time) were refreshing.

      I still haven’t figured out why I think and reason so differently than those who consider me the other (evil) side. I may never figure that out.

      These kinds of posts, and especially the comment feedback, help me to at least learn about, and sometimes respond to, those individuals who have contrary thoughts and opinions to mine about science, environmentalism, and government regulation.

      I think these “philosophical” posts add much to the discussion about “what should be done regarding potential climate change.” In the end run, maybe those who objected to one action or another at least have the opportunity, in a collegial setting, to question and gain insight about some of the “psychological” motivations behind eventual policy actions.

      As a scientist, I regret the following term ever got coined: “Climate blog wars”.

  22. This from a man who stated in 2008 that there has been no warming since 1998. Most of whatever rise there has been seems to have
    occurred in two periods, one between 1910 and 1940 and the other from 1975 to 1998. There seems to have been no continued increase since 1998.
    See: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Don_Aitkin and click on Don Aitken, “A Cool Look at Global Warming”, Paper delivered to Planning Institute of Australia conference, Canberra, April 2, 2008.

    So we can consider the position of a person who cherry-picks a “noise” time frame instead of choosing a “signal” time frame vs. the position of virtually every publishing scientist and all international science academies who agree on AGW.

    Who else is concerned? Military and intelligence experts warn that climate-induced crises could topple governments, feed terrorist movements or destabilize entire regions. Health officials warn us that climate change could be the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. Climate change was recently listed as the greatest strategic risk currently facing the property/casualty insurance industry. Are these all “priests”?

    We need to reduce our emissions of carbon for the sake of our public health, national security, and economic competitiveness. Surely it is foolish to base our economic energy needs on sources that are dwindling in supply and increasing in price when, instead, we could move toward energy efficiency and cheaper-by-the-year, infinite sources such as the sun and wind. If we stay addicted to fossil fuels and do not begin investing in those technologies now, we will be buying them from China in the future instead of selling it to them.

    • Removing our reliance on fossil feuls (a good thing) is not the same as targetting CO2 (though it would have a similar effect).

      Don’t use one to justify the other.

    • We need to reduce our emissions of carbon for the sake of our public health, national security, and economic competitiveness.

      Okay (with caveats).

      Surely it is foolish to base our economic energy needs on sources that are dwindling in supply and increasing in price when, instead, we could move toward energy efficiency…

      Still okay.

      … and cheaper-by-the-year, infinite sources such as the sun and wind.

      Oh, that’s where it runs off the rails. Come back with a viable alternative instead of ones that are still more expensive and way less reliable.

    • Scott,
      The entire AGW enterprise is built on cherry picking.
      Using a particular set of selections as an excuse to dismiss a skeptic argument because you do not like the way those cherries are assemebled is only to make the AGW promoter’s selection appear even more cynical.

      That AGW is a social movement and can be understood by looking at the social factors influencing it has been observed by others before.

    • gcapologist

      If only we wouldn’t have to accuse each other of cherry picking……..

    • The military, etc. contingency plan absolutely everything. The fact that they have doesn’t indicate likelihood. The UN having a person dedicated to planning for meeting alien civilizations is this taken to its ultimate extreme.

  23. I think you need to address the problem that Professors Curry and Muller have begun to acknowledge — the past assumption of scientists that other scientists who were working in the area of climate were acting with competence and integrity. We now know that the instruments, the databases, the publication process, and computer models are riven with far more problems than anyone imagined.

    Of course, the biggest problem is that no one ever checks anyone else’s work. Findings are announced and never questioned by the mainstream. And science is no longer self-correcting.

    Without the breakdown in the scientific method, CAGW could never have happened. But once scientists stopped asking questions (perhaps we need more from Missouri?), the rush to CAGW was on.

    • randomengineer

      I spoke of the assumption problem above re the technology S curve and the increasing specialisation. Essentially the problem is that some of this stuff is so specialised that it takes a determined auditor with enough spare time on his/her hands aeons just to audit the statistics, much less have an opinion on the validity of the theoretical underpinnings.

      Re Mann’s reliance on forminefera (or whatever) in his new paper it takes a lot of specialised knowledge of the subject to know if he’s in the right ballpark, so we all (scientist and layman alike) need to assume he’s doing the science and math correctly. How many people worldwide are capable of having a well informed opinion? Not many. I *suspect* based on earlier issues that that Mann is using PCA improperly and deriving hockey sticks where there are none, but I don’t have the specialised knowledge to *know* this.

      Of course Dr Curry has to assume competence. She can’t do her own work *and* spend her existence auditing the work of others.

      • “Of course Dr Curry has to assume competence. She can’t do her own work *and* spend her existence auditing the work of others.”

        If a scientist tells society — “I’m an expert. I study the climate as a scientist. CAGW is real. The government needs to adopt extensive policy measures costing trillions and restricting the rights and freedom of the people.” — that scientist has deliberately placed his or her credibility on the line. If he does so, knowing that most of the science has never been audited or replicated, knowing that the models which are key to the findings have never been verified and validated, and knowing that a lack of transparency makes it impossible for much of the work to be checked, I think that scientist is being extremely reckless, even dishonest.

        You cannot honestly tell the public, “I know” when in fact you cannot possibly know. Dr. Curry’s look into uncertainty is a small baby step into the broader arena of examining the extent of ignorance.

      • Theo Goodwin

        You write:
        “If a scientist tells society — “I’m an expert. I study the climate as a scientist. CAGW is real. The government needs to adopt extensive policy measures costing trillions and restricting the rights and freedom of the people.” — that scientist has deliberately placed his or her credibility on the line.”

        There was a time when no scientist would make any such remark, at least not publicly. Such remarks began with the publication of “Silent Spring” and took an evolutionary leap with Paul Ehrlich on population. Such pronouncements from scientists, Al Gore too, should be labelled Ehrlichisms. OK, maybe “Gorisms,” for the younger folk. The pronouncement that “There is a consensus of scientists” falls into the same camp.

      • And if science as presently structured cannot provide society with the functions of audit and replication which quality science requires if it is to be sufficient for policymaking, than it isn’t suffient to base policy upon. Perhaps some of the billions society spends should pay for audit and replication. In any event, if no one bothers to check, the work isn’t of sufficient quality for society to use.

      • Judy,

        Here’s a topic for you to mull over — should climate scientists have a fiduciary duty to the public? Differently stated — does the concept of fiduciary responsibility have any parallel in science, especially in science which is being used to advocate for the total restructuring of society?

        Are there ethical standards which should be applied to scientists who receive government grants and produce work which policymakers employ to make substantial changes in the law?

      • Theo Goodwin

        Very interesting question. If they do have a fiduciary duty then the Sarbanes-Oxley Law applies to them. Sarbanes-Oxley requires organizations to create ethics committee that affirmatively seek to find areas of ethical risk and to eliminate them. In the US, both non-profits and for-profits toe the mark to Sarbanes-Oxley.

      • randomengineer

        I was saying that Dr Curry can’t possibly be an expert on every facet of climate science because there are highly specialised subfields. Even full scale auditing by interested parties is questionable in some areas due to a lack of specialisation.

        Maybe you think that crowdsourcing can fix all problems. I don’t, although some auditing by qualified outsiders will be able to turn up a few things (e.g. obvious junk science like hockey sticks.)

        Dr Curry has explored this subject asking what we know and how we know it in order to determine the extent of the specialty problem.

      • I don’t expect anyone to be an expert on every topic. I do expect professionals to engage in reasonable quality control measures. At the most basic level asking the simple question — has someone else without a conflict of interest thoroughly checked this out? Steve McIntyre has written about how a mining company prospectus requires an audit by an outside engineer to be included. Investors at least know that someone has done a little checking. Steve is right to wonder why some auditing is required to protect investors but none is required or expected in climate science despite the much larger stakes for the public.

        Note that the mining promoters have to foot the bill for the audit. If the govt has billions for research, why is there no effort to insure the most basic level of quality control? Spend a little of that cash to do some replication. After what we have seen from Mann, Rahmstorf, Jones, Steig, and the IPCC, I’m amazed that anyone trusts anything without replication.

      • randomengineer

        At the most basic level asking the simple question — has someone else without a conflict of interest thoroughly checked this out?

        You’re missing my point. Who’s qualified to do this? Sometimes there just aren’t enough experts on a specialty qualified to hold an opinion. Should all scientific effort and progress be artificially retarded so as to fulfill a feelgood commitment? What science disciplines ought to be affected? Are we talking climate here alone, or are you suggesting that archaeologists need to be reviewed by 29 outside auditors before they can write a paper on a new goblet found in Ur? What if a bible thumping version of Steve McIntyre doesn’t like the math used for the dating technique? Is it invalid?

        Where it comes to scientific inquiry that is used to make policy decisions or raise taxes or otherwise influence law, then HELL YES, you don’t do anything until the science is thoroughly reviewed by every available expert. And there are no outsiders and no such thing as no conflict of interest. I’d bet that you could host a get together of Dr Curry’s specialty — i.e. the people just as knowledgeable as her in what she is an expert in — and easily put them in a small ballroom at a Holiday Inn.

        The problem is specialisation and who has an opinion worth listening to.

      • I think it isn’t so much about every little pice of scientific research being audited. Rather, it is about about those areas like climate science which are supported by billions of government grants, the results of such research then being used by governments to formulate policies affecting their populations.
        Yes – some of those grants should be used for auditing. Saying that there are too few who’d know the subject can be rejected. Steve McIntyre is not a climate scientist – but he knows about statistics, as does Ross McKittrick, to name just two.
        Geologists and palaeontologists can audit climate science, as can environmental archaeologists, field biologists, mathematicians, IT specialists (‘models’) and physicists as well as astrophysicists.
        They all know about the scientific method as well.

        Btw – when, fifty or so years ago the first nuclear power stations were build, I’d imagine other scientists than just nuclear physicists were asked by governments to check and audit …

  24. Nothing quite like having a theory and then assembling a more or less randomly selected and only partially described social phenomena to justify that theory.

    Here’s one place to start – suppose you attempt to account for some other concurrent phenomena such as, oh, I don’t, perhaps the development of massive industry that pollute the environment to an unprecedented extent, or the development of earth-changing technical capabilities that never existed previously? Maybe, just perchance, those phenomena might have a slight influence on the growth of environmentalism?

    And as you search for factors that might have had a positive effect on the spread of environmentalism, perhaps you might just consider some potentially counter-balancing influences, like, oh, I don’t know, perhaps the growth of corporate power and its influence on governmental structures?

    And as you use comparisons of the 1950s to the present day to extrapolate clear societal trends on a massive scale over that time (without any quantification whatsoever), perhaps you might explain how those trends continued throughout even though some of the trends in social phenomena you describe have not, in fact, persisted over that entire time period. For example, if the growth of the middle class is at least partially causal for the increase in environmentalism, where is your evidence that a more recent decline in the middle class (along with less leisure time, less expendable income, etc.), has not caused a decline in environmentalism.

    This “analysis” is, indeed, an excellent exercise in confirmation bias.

    • gcapologist

      I suspect, a variable to study to get at your questions might be wealth.

      It’s easy to accuse “corporate power” for societal woes,but I think you’ll find as well, corporations benefit many people.

      • I’m not blaming corporate power for societal woes.

        I am suggesting that an analysis that purports to analyze the “authority” of environmentalism without making an even cursory attempt to quantify the countervailing influence of corporate power is stunningly incomplete.

        For god’s sake – he discusses the forces that have lead to a growth in environmentalism without even looking at potential growth in the impact that industry has had on the environment.

      • Absolutely Joshua — this is so patently one-sided. I kept waiting to read the other side of things, but alas, no.

      • Must be the hormones ;-)

  25. Don Aitkin – I will be blunt. I don’t find you credible. Two months ago, your comments in a different thread on this blog convinced me that you were seriously misinformed on basic principles underlying climate change and its potential consequences. The errors were numerous, and so I offered to reply in detail by email. You promised to accept the invitation within a few days You never did.

    That experience, and your continuing mischaracterization of the reasons underlying current climate science perspectives convinces me that your disarming, superficially rational, and occasionally eloquent rhetoric clothes an entrenched ideology impervious to true reason. You don’t understand the science, but you will never understand it if you are determined to disbelieve it. The philosophical excursions strike me as an excuse, but not an explanation for your false beliefs.

    I still have on my hard drive the email reply I intended to send you in April. It would take me about thirty seconds to email it to you if you provided an address. At this point, I’m not inclined to do that. Life is short. Why should I waste thirty seconds on someone who doesn’t intend to hear what I have to say?

    If some future Don Aitkin arrives with an open mind, I will mail him the content. I can usually recognize an open-mind when I encounter it.

    • Freed,
      Yet when you are confronted with the evidence that your stated concerns on OA, sea levels, and other AGW crisis talking points are dubious if not wrong, you simply ignore that and continue on in the fashion you calim Don is tkaing.
      We hear what you say and say and say. Yet as we see in this post by you, at the end of the day you are simply going to dismiss skeptics.

    • Fred Moolten

      Sounds like your feelings got hurt, Fred.

      Don’t take stuff so seriously.

      Our debate here is one of science, economics, policy and logic in a field full of great uncertainties (where we all may have slightly differing opinions), not an existential one of life and death.

      Max

      • Max – My feelings are unaffected by these issues, because I don’t see them as a form of personal combat. However, I don’t believe you really think my feelings were hurt, but rather that you could dismiss the points I made by attributing them to emotion rather than reason. I doubt that you fooled many readers, but one never knows.

      • Fred

        Would you agree that you believe that AGW is a dire problem and then tend find data and more readily accept data that seems to support your belief?

      • Rob – I believe anthropogenic climate change encompasses two phenomena with potentially serious adverse consequences – global warming (and its sequelae) and ocean acidification. Some of the consequences have already been experienced, but the more dangerous ones are still “potential” – lurking in the future and avertible.

        I try to scrutinize all relevant data and refine my beliefs accordingly. As a result, my beliefs evolve. However, I have enough familiarity with the evidence to perceive that incremental new data have not provided many reasons to change basic concepts except in small ways. If something transpires to dramatically change that perception toward one of less concern for the future, I will try to adjust my beliefs to fit the evidence.

        We generally have difficulty recognizing our own biases. I don’t believe I’m strongly biased on climate, and I hope my scientific commentary supports that perception, but this is a conclusion others must judge, based on their own ability to put bias aside.

      • Rob Starkey

        Fred

        And your reading and screening of available information leads you to believe that the percentage change that humans have made to atmospheric CO2 is a greater threat to the world’s oceans than say the massive dumping of chemicals and acid into those same oceans?

        Would you agree that the case of increased human released CO2 having damaged the oceans is weak at best?

      • Rob – As I read the evidence, the harm to marine life we have inflicted from warming and acidification is still modest, and probably less than the effects of overfiishing, polluting chemicals and discarded plastic. However, the trend, if continued, threatens considerable harm, based on both the current trajectory and evidence from earlier in the Earth’s history.

      • Latimer Alder

        The only things for which we have any direct measured data in the whole AGW scam are:

        An increase in CO2 concentration. In 1960 it represented 1 part in 3225 of the atmosphere. Now it is 1 part in 2564.

        A possible rise of +0.7C in over 100 years for global average atmospheric temperature

        A possible decrease of 0.03 pH units (8.12 to 8.09) in seawater in twenty years

        A continued rise in sealevel at about 2.5 mm//annum. A rate that has remained in recent times.

        And that is it. Everything else is hypothesis, modelling, speculation and scaremongering.

        I do not propose to lose a lot of sleep over these figures that are barely above the level of detectability.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Fred

        I have an example of your ‘unbiased’ writings on climate here

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/23/threatened-island-nations/#comment-79276. You make some sweeping assertions about imminent doom because of dissolved CO2 in the oceans, but when challenged can come up with no evidence to back then up.

    • For some reason, WordPress has attributed a URL to me above that isn’t mine. Fixed now, I hope.

      • Fred, what’s the difference between ‘fmoolten’ and ‘Fred Moolten’? Is one your ‘political’ handle and the other one your scientific name? Or is it a mood thing?

      • Rob – WordPress assigned a different name and URL to me for reasons I’m not sure of – it may have had something to do with temporarily blocking cookies. I had to correct it back to my correct URL and full name.

  26. It’s fun to build narratives in your head. Another possibility for how we got into this is that certain molecules which inhabit the atmosphere are opaque to certain wavelengths of radiation in the range emitted by the Earth after absorbing incoming radiation from the Sun. But maybe that’s just crazy talk.

    • Boy – talk about wild conspiracy theories!!

    • Paul S

      Another possibility for how we got into this is that certain molecules which inhabit the atmosphere are opaque to certain wavelengths of radiation in the range emitted by the Earth after absorbing incoming radiation from the Sun. But maybe that’s just crazy talk.

      No, Paul. The crazy talk is stating that this phenomenon has been the principal cause of past warming of our planet and, hence, represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment.

      The even crazier talk is claiming that we can willfully do something to change our planet’s climate.

      Max

      • The even crazier talk is claiming that we can willfully do something to change our planet’s climate.

        Max – are you in denial of the possibility of geoengineering?

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Probably not; the wisdom of it, possibly.
        IMO, each scheme should come with an undo button.

      • What do you mean by ‘principal cause of past warming of our planet’? The greenhouse effect – what we’re talking about here – currently warms the Earth by about 30 K. Other than the Sun I don’t know of any other phenomenon since the early Earth which has warmed the planet by more than 30 K, so in that regard it probably is the principle cause of warming.

        If you’re talking about the causes of changes in planetary temperature greenhouse gases have rarely been ‘the cause’. It would be very unusual for greenhouse gases to spontaneously congregate in the atmosphere. Plate tectonics and orbital mechanics appear to the main drivers of large climate changes, they are merely amplified by greenhouse gases. In this respect the greenhouse effect has not been the principle ’cause’ of past warming (or cooling) and I’d ask you to link to someone saying otherwise.

        In the current epoch, on the other hand, greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere without a natural cause. Unfortunately the same physics still applies.

      • PaulS –
        greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere without a natural cause.

        So…. you believe humans are not natural?

      • Cows spew GHGs. Of us and cows, which is moore natural?

      • JCH –
        Why do you think either one is less natural than the other?

        Or do you NOT believe in evolution? Thought that was supposed to be a “skeptic” characteristic?

      • Latimer Alder

        Read his exact written words very very carefully again, You might see his point. Mooving on rapidly….

      • Latimer –
        I got it the first time, but ignored the pun. My bad.

    • Funny how one can build straw men out of CO2 molecules

      • Where is the straw man? Don Aitkin has posited a long-winded socio-political narrative which he believes explains why people now think humans are affecting climate. I’m pointing out that there’s a simpler explanation. Occam’s Razor.

      • What led to thinking that? Clue – it wasn’t CO2.

      • If a starting point could be defined it would be Fourier and Tyndall’s experimentation with the absorption properties of various gases and the definition of an atmospheric property which would later becomes known as the greenhouse effect. Arrhenius built on their ideas in the late 19th century with a general idea of how climate could be forced by changes in the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere.

        Arrhenius was mostly concerned with glacial cycles but did recognise that human industry was emitting CO2 and that it would have an effect. He actually thought CO2 forced warming would be beneficial but then he also believed it would take about 3000 years to double atmospheric CO2 instead of 150 years as now appears to be the case.

        Actually I won’t go on. There’s a great historical review at this link: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

      • A perfect illustration of the straw man.
        The entire sceptical argument denies that CO2 molecules absorb and emit IR, and so there can be no debate, other than to ‘educate’ us about the greenhouse effect.

      • The author of this piece says he’s ‘prepared to be shown strong evidence that AGW is really real, but rather expecting that one day someone really important, not a little boy, will point out that the Emperor has no clothes’

        Since AGW is simply an application of that basic radiative physics to the clear evidence that human industry is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases are you saying you disagree with him? If so, my argument isn’t with you.

      • Paul S –
        Your first mistake – starting with Arrhenius and Tyndall. It started “at least” 2500 years ago with the start of Aristotelian science and continued up through the development of the “scientific method” which, in turn lasted until the advent of the IPCC. At which time the “scientific method” was abandoned i favor of “advocacy”. Which is how you got here.

        Since AGW is simply an application of that basic radiative physics to the clear evidence that human industry is increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases

        That’s your second error. “AGW” may be that simpleminded, but the planetary atmosphere isn’t. Nor is “climate”. You need to read ANYTHING written by the Chief Hydrologist.

      • 1) Sounds like he’s trying to keep an open mind.

        2) Do you really think that if it could be reduced to a simple argument of basic radiative physics and CO2 emissions that any reasonable person would be in disagreement?

      • Latimer Alder

        @paul s

        And if you apply the basic radiative physics model, what sort of a temperature increase do you get for doubling CO2?

        Hint: Arrhenius

      • andrew adams

        Paul S

        Indeed – I find it a bit strange that in a lengthy essay devoted to the question of how a particularly scientific “orthodoxy” got to a position of “authority” virtually no reference is made either to how our scientific understanding of the subject in question developed over the years or to the strength (or otherwise) of the actual evidence which underlies the “orthodoxy”. It’s a bit like discussing how evolution became the orthodoxy without mentioning Darwin or DNA.

        The article appears to be predicated on the assumption that the strength of the science behind AGW is not in itself sufficient either for it to have become the established consensus position or to persuade those in power or the wider populace that it is a potentially dangerous pnenomenon, and that anyone who considers AGW to be a real threat cannot have based this conclusion on the scientific arguments. As such it has no relevance to those who do not share this underlying assumption and therefore on the wider argument about AGW.

      • Nor is there even a cursory attempt to quantify the “authority” attributed to environmentalism.

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t quite see that “Greens” are exactly in possession of the reigns of worldwide power. Actually, I find the notion quite laughable.

      • andrew adams

        I’m guessing the argument would be that they have been so successful in sneakily inculcating their views into mainstream opinion, especially amongst policy makers, that they don’t have to actually be in power to wield their malign influence.
        In fact if you actually listen to the “green” rhetoric of many politicians you may well be inclined to believe that argument, until it comes to them actually taking action, when somehow they don’t quite live up to their impressive sounding words.
        This is doubly mystifying given that AGW is not only a plot by environmentalists to further their sinister agenda but by the politicians themselves* who are using it as a smokescreen to introduce all kinds of nasty authoritarian policies they would otherwise be unable to get away with.

        *I obviously exclude the Republican Party from this as it is almost uniquely possesed of both scientific acumen and benign intentions and so has adopted a purely objective and principled approach to the subject.

      • @Peter317 – You might be surprised how many ‘skeptics’ don’t buy into even the basic radiative physics. As noted by andrew adams below the original author writes a complete thesis on how AGW came into the public consciousness without any mention of the science, concluding that he thinks it most likely the whole thing will turn out to be constructed of nothing.

      • You mean the hopelessly overdone stuff which most people are sick to death of having forced down their throats?

      • Paul S,
        The ghg effects have no more to do with AGW than evolution did with eugenics.

  27. Don Aitkin

    A very good analysis.

    But I would quote H.L. Mencken (from the 1920s, I believe) to show that the use of scaremongering by politicians to gain and retain power is nothing basically new:

    ‘The urge to save humanity is almost always a front for the urge to rule’

    ‘The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’

    There could be a new wrinkle today, as you have pointed out: the use (or misuse) of scientists to create the “hobgoblins”.

    Max

    • Yeah – let’s quote H.L. Mencken. Here’s one of my favorite quotes:

      “[The union victory was] a victory of what we now call Babbitts over what used to be called gentlemen.” …”I am not arguing here, of course, that the whole Confederate army was composed of gentlemen; on the contrary, it was chiefly made up, like the Federal army, of innocent and unwashed peasants, and not a few of them got into its corps of officers. But the impulse behind it, as everyone knows, was essentially aristocratic, and that aristocratic impulse would have fashioned the Confederacy if the fortunes of war had run the other way.”

      Or perhaps this one?

      [The Old Confederacy was a land,] “with men of delicate fancy, urbane instinct and aristocratic manner — in brief, superior men. It was there, above all, that some attention was given to the art of living — a certain noble spaciousness was in the ancient southern scheme of things.”

      You just gotta love, and reverently quote, someone who described slave-holders as possessing a “noble spaciousness,” not don’t ya’?

      • Latimer Alder

        So you don’t have any reason to argue with the two actual quotes as cited by manacker then?

        ‘The urge to save humanity is almost always a front for the urge to rule’

        ‘The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an
        endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’

        And having no argument with them try a little bit of diversionary tactic? Like you think we’d never notice?

      • I think that the quotes I provided are instructive about the mindset of the man who made the statements manaker excerpted. Mencken was a big-time believer in the merits of the aristocracy as compared to the “unwashed peasants.”

        Personally, I view politics from a much less conspiratorial mindset than one that sees it as a process by which the public are so deliberately manipulated. A highly imperfect process, indeed, but it has some positive features when viewed against an aristocracy. You know, like allowing the majority to have some influence in the events that shape their lives.

        Crazy, I know, but I just roll that way.

      • Joshua

        I view politics from a much less conspiratorial mindset

        it has some positive features…like allowing the majority to have some influence in the events that shape their lives

        That is the beauty of the representative democracies in which we live. No one will argue this with you.

        That there are members of the political elite who abuse their power in order to retain it (until they are eventually voted out of office) happens to be a fact of life, today as it was in the 1920s, when Mencken made his very astute remarks.

        Max

      • manacker.

        Mencken’s “astute” remarks are a uniform characterization of the “whole aim of practical politics.” There is nothing in that the statement you excerpted that recognizes any “beauty” in representative democracies.

        The reason?

        Because he viewed (slave-holding) aristocrats as “superior men” with a
        “certain noble spaciousness,” and he viewed non-aristocrats as “unwashed peasants.”

        it’s all right there in his own words. It is etched by electrons on your computers screen.

        I would suggest that your reluctance to acknowledge the full context of his perspective lies in your own political orientation.

        But be careful, you are falling into my diversionary trap!!!!!!

      • Joshua –
        Because he viewed (slave-holding) aristocrats as “superior men” with a
        “certain noble spaciousness,” and he viewed non-aristocrats as “unwashed peasants.”

        So what? His attitude was product of the culture he lived in/with. Just as your attitudes are a product of the culture the you live in. And in 100 years, I’ll guarantee that some of your attitudes will be held in the same disdain that you accord Mencken.

        You judge without understanding what you judge.

        If your attitude had any validity then we’d have long ago thrown away the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. I know – the Democrats have done that, but not because the writers of those documents were slave holders. If they had had their way slavery would still be with us.

        So – what’s your opinion of Woodrow Wilson? There are those who practically worship him – and yet all your words wrt being a big-time believer in the merits of the aristocracy as compared to the “unwashed peasants.” also applied to Wilson.

        None of this means that his insights in other areas are necessarily wrong/stupid/whatever. If you’re incapable of recognizing essential truth – regardless of the source, then you’re also incapable or expressing truth because you lack the capacity to recognize it. .

      • Typical VA “gentlemen” wanna be

      • “certain noble spaciousness” “unwashed peasants”
        I wonder if there might have been a bit of irony in Mr. Mencken’s
        characterizations?

      • Joshua | June 24, 2011 at 11:45 am

        Crazy, I know, but I just [t]roll that way.

        Indeed.

      • Nicely done, tallbloke.

        Now about your applause for Monckton’s use of the swastika over at WUWT?

      • I don’t think you know much about Mencken.

      • And your defense of the term ‘denier’?

      • You asked me to correct you if you were wrong. You are, so I did:
        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/22/sea-level-hockey-stick/#comment-79111

        Apologise to all people who understand climate change in a different way to you when you are ready.

      • If you understood it Eli might

      • Ah, the wabbet has hopped by to cover the tracks of the [t]roll.

      • Tallbloke – allow me to refresh your memory:

        Listen to the Australian. He knows his country and his countrymen. Monckton is a skilled orator. He knows how to pitch his stuff to the audience.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/22/note-to-lord-monckton-this-isnt-helping/#comment-686905

        As well as your further justification for the Nazi analogies – without any mention of his apology.

        Just like Baa Humbug said, his offensive has put the Warmista on the spot, if they condemn him, they also have to condemn those in their own ranks who make over the top statements about deniers, death trains, tattoos and gassing, or prove thwmselves hypocrites.

        Also, it guarantees big audiences at his lecture tour and raises the profile of the fact that a well known public figure dares to oppose the holier than thou tax raisers.

        Clever tactics from Chris Monckton.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/22/note-to-lord-monckton-this-isnt-helping/#comment-687153

        Yes indeedeee. “Clever tactic,” that. Comparing people to Nazis. And so unusual and creative, also.

        Careful, tallbloke. Keep posting like that and someone might be forced to conclude that: (1) You’re a hypocrite and, (2) you lack accountability.

      • And having no argument with them try a little bit of diversionary tactic? Like you think we’d never notice?

        And you know, I just have to comment on this for a minute. First, if you think it is a diversion, then I suggest that you simply not respond to my posts. You will be less “diverted” in that way.

        Second, let’s break down your notion of “diversion” for a minute, shall we? manacker quotes Mencken to a certain effect, and I quote Mencken to a different effect. His quote is on point, but mine is a “diversion.” In other words, any quoting of Mencken that is consistent with manacker’s intent is OK, but quoting Mencken for a different purpose is only a distraction on my part, with the vain and pathetic hope that I might slow down your unrelenting march towards the truth?

        Seems a tad close-minded to me, but I have to admit, it is beautiful example of logic constructed to confirm a bias.

      • Latimer Alder

        Don’t be daft.

        The value of the quotes that Manacker gave were that they were germane to the topic of ‘How Did We Get Into This’? And gave a slightly cynical view, with I suspect a kernel of truth. That they were by Mencken is almost irrelevant. Standalone they would still be amusing and revealing.

        But – you may be an academic – who seem to place an inordinate importance on making sure that every source is correctly and fully quoted.

        Your diversion to Mencken’s views about aristocracy was just that. Irrelevant and diversionary.from the subject at hand.

        If we were discussing,say, the Second World War and you quoted Churchill, you would think it bizarre in the extreme if I followed up with a discussion about his bricklaying at his country house Chartwell. The analogy is exact.

      • Ah yes – and you continue to fall into my diversionary trap!!! Why are you so easily manipulated, Latimer?

        The quotes I excerpted provide context for Mencken’s views related to “How Did We Get Into This.” manacker’s quotes speak to a uniform and categorical “whole aim” of politics to keep “unwashed peasants” “clamor[ing] to be led to safety.” Such a view is indeed consistent with Mr. Atkin’s treatise. My point is that Mencken’s views about the “superiority” of the aristocracy are germane to the derivation of such a viewpoint.

        Anyway, it seems we have reached a stage often reached in blog discussions where there’s no point in discussing the issue further. And anyway, I have some stuff that needs to get done.

        (Of course, in reality I’m just running away to avoid my “weak argument.” I should have known that you were too smart to fall for my “diversionary tactics.”)

      • manacker quotes Mencken to a certain effect, and I quote Mencken to a different effect.

        Correct. Manacker quotes Mencken to illustrate that the tactic he perceives to be in use has a long history. It would appear that your quote was used to discredit Mencken (as opposed to the tactic Mencken describes). I believe there’s a latin term for that type of argument…

      • My quote provided context on Mencken’s views re: the role of politics in a representative democracy. When you view aristocrats as “superior” and non-aristocrats as “unwashed peasants” it tends to shape your outlook on politics. So much the better, I would imagine, if the aristocrats were slave-holders (who know how to keep the most unwashed of those unwashed peasants in place).

        I’m glad, however, that you agree that such a view is to Mencken’s discredit. That is a start.

        (Watching libertarians flail around in defense of Mencken’s views on politics is endlessly amusing.)

      • I’m glad, however, that you agree that such a view is to Mencken’s discredit.

        Belief in any type “superior” group is so hopelessly naive that I can’t imagine it not being to his discredit. That being said, it doesn’t make his observation about the usefulness of fear wrong. Another disreputable individual made a similar observation. That individual may be a monster, but the examples I gave on another comment show that he and Mencken had a point in this regard.

        Watching libertarians flail around in defense of Mencken’s views on politics is endlessly amusing.

        0 for 2 in the same sentence. You know what they say about assuming – they’re at least half right.

        I’m neither a libertarian nor a fan of Mencken’s. However, for the reason I noted above, I have to agree on that one observation. It would be dishonest of me to ignore facts based on my opinion of the messenger.

      • I agree with Mencken’s statement if you circumscribe it as you did. Fear is sometimes (malignantly) “useful” for those who have disproportionate power in politics. It is also, however, sometimes a very valuable and positive force in shaping political outcomes. The problem arises when people use blithe generalizations such as Mencken’s to explain larger a larger reality – as manacker did w.r.t. environmentalism. Certainly Mencken’s statement was made for rhetorical effect, and as such, his statements about politics (as opposed to his statements about slave-holding aristocrats) must be viewed in context. However, his statement does, in fact, also reflect his underlying mindset, and his overgeneralization is reflective of that mindset. My problem is less with Mencken, actually, than with the propensity of people to confuse the climate debate with political generalizations that obscure the real arguments.

        Apologies on my incorrect assumptions. As a “weak” defense, I have become conditioned by responding to extremist libertarians who just love them some Mencken. Actually, not a defense, really, but an explanation for my mistake.

        That said, I find it hard to understand how anyone who is not a libertarian could agree with Mencken’s categorical statement about the role of politics. It seems that the only way one could agree with that statement is with a categorical viewpoint that politics (as an extension of government) = evil.

      • This didn’t appear the first time, apologies if this is a duplicate.

        I agree with Mencken’s statement if you circumscribe it as you did. Fear is sometimes (malignantly) “useful” for those who have disproportionate power in politics.

        I wouldn’t agree that its usefulness is limited to those with disproportionate power. Those who sparked the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Mutiny) used it to great effect.

        It is also, however, sometimes a very valuable and positive force in shaping political outcomes.

        Examples? As a general rule I don’t see well considered outcomes resulting from reaction to fear. I can think of plenty of tragedies, however.

        Certainly Mencken’s statement was made for rhetorical effect, and as such, his statements about politics (as opposed to his statements about slave-holding aristocrats) must be viewed in context. However, his statement does, in fact, also reflect his underlying mindset, and his overgeneralization is reflective of that mindset.

        I will grant you that use of fear applying to “all politics” is a huge generalization, and as such, grossly suspect. In my opinion, a more accurate purpose for “all politics” would be the accretion of power. Whether that power is used for good or ill, political effort is somewhat useless if there is no potential for garnering the power to promote your cause.

        Simple explanations for human behavior, whether political philosophy or theory of history, tend to be sorely lacking (at least in my opinion). As such, I try to avoid vast generalizations and ascribing motives to adherents regardless of where they fall on the scale. I see the graph as one of two dimensions: left vs right and more vs less totalitarian. The first dimension doesn’t determine the second as there are examples of all points of the compass.

        That said, I find it hard to understand how anyone who is not a libertarian could agree with Mencken’s categorical statement about the role of politics. It seems that the only way one could agree with that statement is with a categorical viewpoint that politics (as an extension of government) = evil.

        As noted above, absolutes tend to be both naive and untrue. Government is neither good nor evil. The way in which it is exercised can be good or evil dependent on those wielding the power and the vigilance of the governed. And it should be noted that an evil exercise is not predicated on evil politicos – to wit the old saying re: the paving on the road to Hell.

      • Answered below.

      • Joshua,

        I’m not sure you had any credibility left. But if you did, it’s gone now.

      • Yet another victim of my “diversionary tactics.” Like shooting ducks in a barrel.

        It’s amazing how for such a smart bunch, you’re so easily manipulated into reading and responding to someone who completely lacks credibility.

        Anyway, I do thank you for reading, stan.

      • andrew adams

        The problem is that there is no actual evidence provided to show those claims are true other than the fact that H.L. Mencken said so.

      • Latimer Alder

        They were his opinion. Expressed with a certain panache. That;s all. Not a dissertation. Nor meant to be dissected by f…g acdemics.

        I expect that he didn’t even bother to get them pal-reviewed, the rascal! Neither did Oscar Wilde or Richard Pryor ..rapscallions both…….

      • andrew adams

        Latimer,

        Sure – I’m all in favour of using a witty and apposite quote to underline a point, but that only works if it is either self evidently true in itself or if it is accompanied by some information which actually substantiates the point being made.
        Mencken may or may not have been correct, but the fact that he made his remark does not in itself prove anything.

      • Latimer Alder

        On this I agree with you entirely.

        They are witty bon mots. No more, no less. They could have been made by you or me or Joe Sixpack or the man on the bus with the squint and it wouldn’t change the substance of them one iota.

        But I fear we are among academic nitpickers who would squeal like a stuck pig about plagiarism if the quotes had not been correctly acknowledged.

      • I’m assured that when Shakespeare wrote “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”, the taverns of Southwark positively rang to the sound of his peers reviewing it….

      • Latimer Alder

        Kit Marlowe was positively scathing in his condemnation of it. ‘Not fit to be published’ were his words.’Not up to the standard of my own well-acclaimed published work. Shakespeare must not be allowed to publish again without me and my pals approving’

        Francis Bacon claimed that it was all his work anyway.

        Horatio demanded a cut of the action for all future Shakepsearean royalties

        The professor of philosophy at Southwark Academy demanded that since WS had no formal qualifications in the subject he cease and desist to make any statements about it. . He would instead convene an InterTavernal Panel on Horatio;s Philosophy which would examine the nature of Horatio’s Philosophy and publish a report after five years. He reserved the right ot appoint anyo of his chums that he saw fit and answered to no earthly man for hos conduct.

        The Professor of Astronomy at St Paul’s Establishment for the Education of the Minor Toffery objected, claiming that since heaven and earth lay in his realm, he should be leading the effort. The Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral was deeply offended. Heaven and earth are religious matters he asserted, so he should be in pole position.

        A fight broke out in the Tavern. Kit Marlowe was killed, Nobody was caught. But eye-witness reports claim that the ,malefactors were a bunch of local thugs and bully boys provisionally named as Gavynne Smith, Robert Wardde, The Man Michael, Benjamin Sans Terre, This gang is known as Tenten and are believed to have links to Ye Piss of Green.

        So it was just another day in academic circles.

      • Yes, I suppose if one ignores outliers like witch hunts, several crusades, various heretic barbecues, a pogrom or two, expulsion of the Moriscos, race baiting here and there, along with some Red Scares, a few nativist movements, and the suppression of the Kulaks then one could say that there isn’t much evidence of populations being presented with boogeymen to divert their attention from other more inconvenient issues in society.

      • OK – now I get it.

        Somehow I missed the direct line that can be drawn between witch hunters and environmentalists.

        I can feel the scales falling from my eyes as I type.

      • No, the scales are still firmly in place, otherwise you would not have made the mistake of thinking that I had made that connection. I merely provided Andrew with his “actual evidence” that such tactics had been used in the past.

      • “I can feel the scales falling from my eyes as I type.”
        I have to ask- do you shed your skin very often?

      • AA asked for evidence of the phenomenon that Mencken described, whereby the “whole aim of practical politics” is to keep the populous clamoring for safety from imaginary hobgoblins. Leaving aside manackers use of that quote to second Mr. Atkins’ explanation for the growth of environmentalism, which of the examples you provided shows the “actual evidence” for the “whole aim of practical politics?”

      • I replied to this below.

      • Joshua

        Your Mencken quotes may be interesting, but they in no way make those I cited less appropriate WRT the role of politicians in todays’ climate hysteria.

        BTW Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder, but I’m sure he possessed a “noble spaciousness”.

        Max

      • They speak, very loudly, about his mindset about the superiority of the aristocracy. If you think that is irrelevant to his view of the sausage-making of politics in a democracy, well…

        more power to you.

      • Joshua

        Tell me about how Thomas Jefferson (a slave holder) had a mindset about the superiority of the aristocracy, which made it impossible for him to make politics in a democracy. Duh!

        Give up on this one Joshua. Your argument is weak.

        Max.

      • Oh, Ok, manacker, my bad.

        When Mencken wrote about the “superiority” of the slave-holding aristocracy, he wasn’t really writing about the “superiority” of the slave-holding aristocracy.

        Please excuse my “weak argument.” I’m just not very bright.

      • Latimer Alder

        At last! Something we can agree about.

      • Joshua,
        If
        1- quoting a random bit of Mencken that has nothing to do with the topic is your idea of wit, I would suggest you are closer to witless than witty.
        and
        2- if using that quote by Mencken is a rationale for not quoting Mencken aphorisms at all is your purpose, then you are sharing the existence of an illiterate, empty space filled with ignorance on your part that is likely quite large.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      I like this one:
      “For every complex problem there is a solution which is simple, neat and wrong”. –H. L. Mencken
      Or “elegant, easy to understand and wrong”.

  28. The author doesn’t understand the nature of the Green religion. The myth that primitive peoples live in harmony with nature and technology destroyed this utopia is just as bizarre as the Genesis or Cuban paradise myths. The non-stop predictions (80 years) of the environmental apocalypse are as bizarre as the Book of Revelation or the return of the 12th Imam. Greens are the religious fundamentalists of the western world, just as anti-science and deluded as traditional fundamentalist of mainstream religions.

    • Latimer Alder

      Amen to that, Brother!

      And the works of the IPCC are like those of Moses or Mohammad. Holy tracts, Unchallengeably perfect in every way. To be believed and adhered to by all the Chosen Ones.

      Smite the Backsliders, Punish the Apostates, Let Darkness and Plague fall upon Satan’s Spawn. Let the Deniers be Purged from the Earth.

      And so it is written.

      (IPCC, AR5, Chairman’s Opening Remarks (Draft -1 only))

      • Latimer,

        All science can be challenged. Science is challenged all the time. Most sensible people who don’t know enough on any particular topic would accept what they might read in the Scientific literature. For instance, I only have a hazy knowledge of nature of the DNA molecule and the part it plays in genetic science. I still think its all quite acceptable though. Anyone challenging any of it would either have to be a world expert or a complete idiot.

        Climate science is no different.

        How would you rate yourself in this regard?

      • Latimer Alder

        I don’t propose to answer your question about whether I have stopped beating your wife either.

    • So, you think the Bible is bizarre?

      • He didn’t say that, Eli – he said the Book of Revelations is bizarre. And that’s not an inappropriate word for it.

      • Kind of why it’s called “Revelations”…?

      • I think there was considerable controversy about whether to include Revelations at all at the council of Nicaea. My interpretation of it is that it already occurred and concerns the burning of the second temple by Titus. A major problem with it is that many people do not understand it was not written by the apostle John, but by John of Patmos (Ok, I understand the doubts about whether the apostle John wrote John or not (probably not), but I maintain my point). This confusion lends it a lot more credence than, in my opinion, it deserves.

      • TomFP,
        Just to be accurate it is ‘Revelation’…(Strong’s: Greek; #602, apokalypsis)
        1) laying bare, making naked

        2) a disclosure of truth, instruction

        a) concerning things before unknown

        b) used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all

        3) manifestation, appearance

        Please read the first 69 books before you try and understand Revelation. The answers for our time are in this book but the entire forward, provides the context for this book. Enjoy. Feel free to ask Jesus for understanding, see what happens to your understanding next…

  29. Theo Goodwin

    I am astounded that you do not mention Ideology. Your words on religion and Green religion treat them in a traditional way and do not address their role as ideologies. In the ordinary experience of an American during your lifetime, the over-whelming influences have been ideology. Rather than recapitulate history, I will cut to the chase. As a life long toiler in academia, I can report far more than I care to know about the decline of academia in America. The strongest indicators of decline are the failure to nurture a culture of criticism and the surrender to the forces of political correctness. I will be brief and blunt. Academia’s failure to nurture a culture of criticism has produced the bizarre circumstance that nine out of ten contributors to a first-rate science blog such as this one have no appreciation of scientific method whatsoever and, for that reason, are incapable of incisive criticism of what is presented to them as science. As regards political correctness, it reveals the hammer strength that has been used to suppress critical abilities and to divide the academic community into camps that compete for the favor of government and academic administrators. To be blunt, if you are going to create Feminist Studies Departments and you are going to tenure professors who publish only that science proves that maleness is the root of all evil then you must suppress the lively criticism that existed through the 1960s. You must put out the word that members of Feminist Studies Departments will be respected and not humiliated regardless of the arguments that they present publicly. Today every college in the US has a Diversity Dean who has the job of promoting a preferred ideology or, better, a preferred set of ideologies. The existence of such deans is no less offensive than would be an administrative office of religion that promotes religious ideology. Yet today one must absolutely salute the Diversity Dean no matter how ridiculous their proposals might be. To continue this analysis, it is only reasonable to look for the influence of the work of Saul Alinsky behind these phenomena. His program was to divide us into competing groups all of whom must compete for our resources by begging the state for its attention to our group’s needs. In the US today, the main driver of social change is ideological division and government support of it. Thanks.

    • Yeah – it always just gets back to Saul Alinsky, doesn’t it?

      Once you realize that fundamental truth, explaining 50 years of worldwide social development is just a walk in the park.

      • See how easy that is?

      • Theo Goodwin

        According to Alinsky, ridicule alone is a self-defeating tool because it invites ridicule in response and the contest will go to the more clever.

      • Good thing, then, that “deniers/skeptics” eschew ridicule with such uniformity. No wonder they’re winning the climate war.

      • Latimer Alder

        There are lots of good reasons why our arguments are being more widely accepted.

        But of course the paucity of real (compared with wishful or imaginary) hard evidence for AGW is the major major influence..

        And the seeming lack of any conception of integrity or ethics among many of the climatological community. Nor much beyond a passing acquintance with science or mathematics/statistics

        The reliance on models instead of observations fools nobody but themselves.

        The lack of ay verifiable or verified predictions.

        Their desire and actions to ignore or delete dissent rather than actively engage with critics.

        The IPCC’s complete failure of credibility as anything other than a haven for ‘green’ special interest groups to lobby for their wares under the cover of ‘science’

        Climategate and what it revealed about the internal machinations of the cult.

        And the snow in Copenhagen!

        Ridicule is a powerful weapon against self-important pomposity. And True Believers are not noted for their humility in that direction. Exactly the opposite.So I;m sure that some will continue to use it to good effect :-)

      • Alinsky didn’t invent the tactics – but he organized and published them. And practiced them. So he’s a name, a tag to hang it all on.

      • Theo Goodwin

        Where is this worldwide social development? Everywhere, I guess? Can you point to an example?

      • Not always.
        But Sal is a useful tool for lefty demagogues.

    • Thanks, Theo, for speaking so candidly about the view of the “Ivory Tower” from within.

      My observations certainly agree with your conclusion.

    • gcapologist

      Yes, I think concepts of ideology and ideologues are important aspects not discussed in Mr. Aitkin’s essay. I would also agree the “ivory towers” most definitely have cultural quirks that really aren’t very pretty.

      As a female scientist who once wondered the halls of academia, I submit there are definitely sexual biases there. (Hopefully these biases continue to decline as I experienced.) Nevertheless, I suspect sexual and probably other biases exist, although they are likely more subtle and less alarming than activist feminists or diversity deans might profess. I contend the biases are probably so subtle, that the best way to deal with them is “dog eat dog,” assuming the cannibal dog is not an ideologue.

      I’m very uncomfortable (in the case of climate and other environmental issues) that participants even consider subscribing to any playbooks. Truths should be “self evident.” (Thank you Tom Jefferson.)

      When truths are not fully known…. then I guess we have Judith’s blog :)

  30. How did we get into this?

    Oh what a tangled web we weave,
    When first we practice to deceive.

    It’s subconscious.

  31. Environmentalism can do harm when it is pursuing “good.” 30 years ago, Detroit built an incinerator to consume household waste, convert it to steam to be used to heat buildings and sell steam to Detroit Edison. The theory was that the waste stream had sufficient plastic, as refined petroleum, act as a fuel that all the other poorly combustibles would burn. The effluent from the smoke stack was a problem. Scrubbers were added and as a desperate move, powdered limestone was added to the effluent and behold, no more mercury, acidity, etc. However, the environmental movement had already gotten ahold of the issue involving Canadians to the East. The incinerator was shuttered and stands as a rusting monument to the success of the Environmental Movement. Now we have park benches made of discarded plastic milk jugs. Detroit landfills its waste. And guess what? Toronto for the last 30 years has been landfilling its waste in… Michigan. Literally burying its collective, egalitarian head in the ground. What would have happened if the Environmental Movement had not been “successful”? Co-generation from a waste stream. Yet another piece lost in the mixture of energy resources we all need.

  32. What would have happened if the Environmental Movement had not been “successful”?

    Yeah. Let’s generalize from one example, shall we?

    Here’s one.

    Cuyahoga River Fire
    On June 22, 1969, an oil slick and debris in the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to environmental problems in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States.

    This Cuyahoga River fire lasted just thirty minutes, but it did approximately fifty thousand dollars in damage — principally to some railroad bridges spanning the river. It is unclear what caused the fire, but most people believe sparks from a passing train ignited an oil slick in the Cuyahoga River. This was not the first time that the river had caught on fire. Fires occurred on the Cuyahoga River in 1868, 1883, 1887, 1912, 1922, 1936, 1941, 1948, and in 1952. The 1952 fire caused over 1.5 million dollars in damage.

    Just imagine how much better off we’d all be if it weren’t for that pernicious environmental ethos that has spread like a cancer throughout the world.

    • The River that Burned was caused by Standard Oil of Ohio’s refinery on the Cuyahoga River which released refined petroleum distillates into the River. The refinery was fined and, because the refinery was so old and it would cost too much to fix, it was closed and completely dismantled. The closure of SOHIO refinery was an economic decision and had nothing to do with environmentalism. In fact, the environmental movement was never involved in the beginning, only a johnny come lately, and add-on publicity and fund raising scheme.

      • So you’re saying that a growing environmental ethos is completely irrelevant to the ability of industries to release wastes into the environment?

      • No – he’s saying that the growing enviro movement twisted independent industry cleanup initiatives into supposed enviromental victories to inicrease their own influence and fund raising capacity.

      • gcapologist

        Joshua: There is evidence the impact of modern environmental activism in the US has actually delayed environmental protection. Lawsuits filed because the activists don’t think regulations are protective enough have actually delayed final regulation and postponed improvements.

        The environmental “ethos” of most corporations is to abide by the law, AND protect the environment.

        You may not believe it, but the corporate “mouthpieces” who say they live in the community and care about the environemt too, actually do live in the community AND hope that the pollution their company emits is not harmful to themselves or their kids.

      • Oh man…

        Environmentalism led to delayed environmental protection!

        Corporations are good stewards of the environment!

        Ignorance is Strength!

        War is Peace!

      • It’s pretty easy to demonstrate, Susan, that the Tour de Farce that environmentalism took to the Little House of Horrors in the Greenpeace Rain Forest has diverted immense energy from real and soluble environmental problems.

        I hope some environmentalists, among whom I place my self, have dropped seeds along the path to find the way back.

        Heh, my seeds are thorny.
        ==========

      • I note that you didn’t bother to demonstrate this thing that is so easy to do.

    • John Carpenter

      Joshua,

      The Time Magazine issue:

      http://www.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601690801,00.html

      had a big story about “The Mysteries of Chappaquiddick”, which was a huge story at that time because of Ted Kennedy. In addition to that, the issue had a huge science section about the moon, also a huge story at that time due to the moon landings. Because of the popularity of this issue of Time, the minor story about the burning of the Cuyahoga RIver got a huge viewership. As pointed out in the quote you posted, the river burned many times already. In fact, rivers had burned in all the major cities leading up to that time. It wasn’t really news, but it was the huge viewing audience that read the story because of the popularity of that particular issue, that helped ‘spark’ the movement.

  33. One can always expand on any treatise, even an excellent one.

    But in addition to the factors described by Aitkin, there was also the “Very Convenient Network” at play in creating the “climate hysteria”, as described here by Tony Newberry:
    http://ccgi.newbery1.plus.com/blog/?p=322

    The narrative demonstrates how a collusion of interests between powerful interest groups came to exist and how this symbiotic network drove forward an agenda that benefited all those concerned.

    Some defenders of the AGW hysteria have discounted this as a simple “conspiracy theory”, but they are missing the point here.

    There does not need to be a “conspiracy” at work for a symbiotic network to develop involving a collusion of interests.

    Peter Taylor describes this in his book “Chill”.

    Max

  34. It’s always tricky to tie specific cases to grand movements of history, even if the case is as big as AGW. So while I may agree with many of your characterizations of the last 50-60 years in the West (although I would take issue with “The Waning Power of Materialism”, and frankly I don’t see the relevance of much of what you’ve written for explaining the AGW orthodoxy) it does not follow for me that because of all this we “find the villainy in our universal use of fossil fuels, leading to increases in temperature, leading to disaster scenarios.”
    Climate and environmental science cannot be entirely separated from the environmental movement, widely-held narratives, and the habits of the media, but that does not mean they can be wedded to the same storyline either. Ideas about CO2 increasing temperature long precede the environmental movement, even if widespread concern about it does not. Much early research on AGW was carried out without public interest or NGO involvement. The various structural incentives scientists face are also often quite independent of public attitudes, and good, credible, scientific practice remains high on the list (though it’s still often compromised by others).

  35. A question for my Climate etc. brothers and sisters.

    I have read in these pages comparisons of environmentalists and/or members of the AGW cult/hoax to witch hunters, Eugenicists, Nazi, Stalinists, Maoists, and a very inclusive list of other murderers throughout history.

    This leads me to wonder: Are there any malicious murderers throughout history who you feel are, in fact, not analogous to environmentalists?

    • Yes

    • Before Plato?

    • Theo Goodwin

      For one, there is the historical figure that Count Dracula is based upon. I think his motives were entirely a matter of his personal pleasure. Greens seem to be obsessed with taking revenge for someone else’s suffering.

    • Joshua –
      On a more serious note than above –

      My wife and I were talking about this just this morning.

      Many of the deaths caused by environmental actions (DDT, for example) cannot be laid to maliciousness, but rather to what might be called a “do-gooder” impulse/attitude. IOW – they’re due to a lack of foresight, a lack of realization of consequences, a lack of just “thinking things through to logical end points” in pursuit of some supposedly idealistic goal. And of dismissal of the obvious consequences as being inconsequential.

      That is qualitatively different from gas chambers or gulags.

      However, at some point the results (“unforeseen” consequences) of their actions become visible and obvious. IOW – when the death rates from the “lack of DDT” become obvious – they’re also incapable of realizing and admitting that their actions have become reprehensible – and correcting the error. And at that point, the result of those “unforeseen consequences” converge with the gas chambers or gulags.

    • K Scott Denison

      Joshua, I think you are misinterpreting what is being said. Others can say this more eloquently, but here’s my take. The comparisons being made are based on groups’ who are advocating a position as way to gain power, not for murder. While not all, like Hitler, also added mass murder to their “charm”, they all have that one thing in common: they believe they know what is best for the “masses” and use campaigns of misinformation, personal attacks (yes, a la Alinsky), etc to further their cause. And they appear to feel no remorse, because, after all, they are the ONLY ones who know what is right. By the way, they also have (at least) one other common trait: they feel their position is such that they don’t have to follow the same rules as the “masses”. After all, they are saving the world and should be rewarded as such.

      • Scott – the list of examples is selective. It does not include abolitionists or civil rights activists, it does not include the Colonists, or the independence movement led by Ghandi. Nor for that matter does it include the Christian Right or Ron Paul’s followers. All of these groups were/are advocating a position as a way to gain power, they’re all groups who felt/feel that they had/have a more enlightened view into “right” and wrong vis a vis their opponents, and all of their advocacy contained an element of fear regarding potential future outcomes.

        The selection of some of history’s most heinous murderers to be held forward as examples – as compared to any other group that advocated for increased power by virtue of their ideological perspective – I would suggest, is not coincidental.

      • Sorry for a potential multiple-posting; it seems that the spam filter is acting irrationally again. I’ll have to break this into multiple posts to find the offending string of characters:

        Scott – the list of examples is selective. It does not include abolitionists or civil rights activists, it does not include the Colonists, or the independence movement in India led by Ghandi.

      • Johsua,
        Do not worry about the double postings.
        The blog software was not likely developed to handle the level of postings happening here.
        By the way, I did ask you about your beliefs at the other thread we were posting on.

      • In the post I replied to?

      • Yes.

      • Sorry for a potential multiple-posting; it seems that the spam filter is acting irrationally again. I’ll have to break this into multiple posts to find the offending string of characters:

        Scott – the list of examples is selective. It does not include abolitionists or civil rights activists, it does not include the American revolutionaries, or the independence movement in India led by Ghandi.

      • Nor for that matter does it include the Christian Right or Ron Paul’s followers. All of these groups were/are advocating a position as a way to gain power, they’re all groups who felt/feel that they had/have a more enlightened view into “right” and wrong vis a vis their opponents, and all of their advocacy contained an element of fear regarding potential future outcomes.

      • Nor for that matter does it include the Christian Right or Ron Paul’s followers.

      • Nor for that matter does it include the Religious Right or Paulians. All of these groups were/are advocating a position as a way to gain power, they’re all groups who felt/feel that they had/have a more enlightened view into “right” and wrong vis a vis their opponents, and all of their advocacy contained an element of fear regarding potential future outcomes.

        The selection of some of history’s most heinous murderers to be held forward as examples – as compared to any other group that advocated for increased power by virtue of their ideological perspective – I would suggest, is not coincidental.

      • K Scott Denison

        The difference, Joshua, is the examples you site are not of groups who succeeded in reaching power. The other examples illustrate what happens when ideological groups achieve power.

      • Come again?

        The civil rights groups didn’t achieve some measure of power? The American revolutionaries? The Indian independence movement? The Religious Right? (And if Gene has his way, the Paulians?) Shall I add some more?

      • Sorry – I meant if Gary has his way…

      • Jeff Norris

        Joshua
        Maybe I missed read you are you saying that abolitionists or civil rights activists, the American revolutionaries, or the independence movement in India led by Ghandi were all monolithic in desires and intentions?
        Like the American Revolutionaries, the Indian independence movement encompassed different sections of society with constant changes of ideology and goals. Also I think your are confusing influence with raw power. Environmentalists have influence the concern many of us have is their desire to have unfettered power to achieve thier goals.

    • Yes.
      Jack the Ripper.
      Lee Harvey Oswald.
      Off the cuff.
      Do you have more stupid mindless self-embarassing questions you would like to offer?

      • Thanks for answering, hunter. I knew you could come up with some if you gave it a shot. You may be redeemable just yet, and you’re off to a good start.

  36. The author says, “Let us start with the ingredients, and then move to their combination and cooking,” and then proceeds to a well considered analysis. I think I can simplify the matter, as follows:

    How has society come to this? The answer is clear: Hot World Syndrome.

    Hot World Syndrome is a phenomenon where the global warming apocalyptic content of mass media imbues viewers with the notion that the world is a hotter and more intimidating place to live than it actually is, and prompts a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. Hot World Syndrome is one of the main conclusions of the anti-humanism movement of the United Nations. Additionally, murderous examples of failed socialism — as witnessed by large segments of Leftist-lib society from the safety and comfort of Western civilization — has created a global psychosis, causing people to turn on the morals, principals and ethics that otherwise would sustain their spirits and prevent them from succumbing to moral decline and mental helplessness. Individuals who do not rely on the mainstream media and who understand the floccinaucinihilipilification of the cabinets and cabinets full of worthless global warming research, have a far more accurate view of the real world than those who do not, are able to more accurately assess their vulnerability to present and future weather conditions, and all the myriad vagaries of life over which they have no control. The global warming realists do not fear the hand of man and tend to be nicer people with a life and have a wider and healthier variety of beliefs, attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles. Towing a boat to the river with the family in the back of a SUV is not evil, no matter what the liberal fascists may wish to believe today.

  37. How did we get into this?
    The temperature data for the past ten thousand years, including the recent 130 years of instrumented data, is stable in an unprecedented narrow range. The current ten thousand year warm period is different and more stable than any before this. All the data is within plus or minus 2 degrees and most is within plus or minus 1 degree, as we are today. How did we get into believing that one molecule of manmade CO2 per ten thousand molecules of other gases in the atmosphere will cause unrestrained global warming? Plus or minus 1 or 2 is extreme, compared to what we have experienced in our lifetime, or even in the 130 year instrumented period, but it is in a narrow stable range compared to the rest of the temperature history of earth. The manmade CO2 influence is in the noise level of earth temperature changes. This stable period is different than anything earth has had and will continue until some major driver changes.
    How did we get into this? Human nature does not care much about stable and ok and not a problem. That does not make the news.
    People do believe in computers. You can take a theory, climate theory, if you wish, build a model, plug in initial data with a lot of uncertainty and made up numbers, add some unproven feedback parameters, tweak the parameters and coefficients until this model can match some data and now you have computer model output that the media presents to the world as the scary scientific fact of a looming disaster, unless we tax and spend a lot of money to stop this proven monster from ruining our earth.
    This all ignores the fact that the actual data is stable.

  38. Don,

    In the shift between the 1950’s to the 1970’s, at least in the US, there were valid and important environmental issues that needed attention that almost everyone could agree on: Our roadsides were covered in litter and trash, some industrial areas used our rivers as chemical sewers, landfills were anything but sanitary, raw sewage was pumped into rivers and near-shore in the oceans. Los Angeles residents could hardly breathe some days for the smog.
    Once the Viet Nam war was ended, a lot of people who had grown-up and lived all of their adult lives so far as anti-war activists needed a cause and segued over into environmentalism. Many of these were hard-core activists: willing and able to use any and all means to achieve their ‘righteous’ ends. Anti-war protests did not need science to back them up, they used political rhetoric and depended on the broader public’s laziness and lack of any inclination to fact-check anything. Thus, they were accustomed to getting away with compelling arguments that were based on ‘mostly made-up’ facts, innuendos, outrageous exaggeration, and pure finger-pointing and name-calling. We see these characters, or their understudies, running the anti-whaling campaigns, Greenpeace and its clones, etc. We also see them at international climate conferences: demanding this and demanding that, or else. There is also the ‘peace-and-love’ movement people, that make the same shift. These tend to form political action groups and local ‘green parties’.
    You need to factor in this social element.

  39. One more time…I’m not sure what’s triggering the spam filter, but this is in reply to this:

    I agree with Mencken’s statement if you circumscribe it as you did. Fear is sometimes (malignantly) “useful” for those who have disproportionate power in politics.

    I wouldn’t agree that its usefulness is limited to those with disproportionate power. Those who sparked the Indian Rebellion of 1857 (also known as the Sepoy Mutiny) used it to great effect.

    It is also, however, sometimes a very valuable and positive force in shaping political outcomes.

    Examples? As a general rule I don’t see well considered outcomes resulting from reaction to fear. I can think of plenty of tragedies, however.

    Certainly Mencken’s statement was made for rhetorical effect, and as such, his statements about politics (as opposed to his statements about slave-holding aristocrats) must be viewed in context. However, his statement does, in fact, also reflect his underlying mindset, and his overgeneralization is reflective of that mindset.

    I will grant you that use of fear applying to “all politics” is a huge generalization, and as such, grossly suspect. In my opinion, a more accurate purpose for “all politics” would be the accretion of power. Whether that power is used for good or ill, political effort is somewhat useless if there is no potential for garnering the power to promote your cause.

    Simple explanations for human behavior, whether political philosophy or theory of history, tend to be sorely lacking (at least in my opinion). As such, I try to avoid vast generalizations and ascribing motives to adherents regardless of where they fall on the scale. I see the graph as one of two dimensions: left vs right and more vs less totalitarian. The first dimension doesn’t determine the second as there are examples of all points of the compass.

    That said, I find it hard to understand how anyone who is not a libertarian could agree with Mencken’s categorical statement about the role of politics. It seems that the only way one could agree with that statement is with a categorical viewpoint that politics (as an extension of government) = evil.

    As noted above, absolutes tend to be both naive and untrue. Government is neither good nor evil. The way in which it is exercised can be good or evil dependent on those wielding the power and the vigilance of the governed. And it should be noted that an evil exercise is not predicated on evil politicos – to wit the old saying re: the paving on the road to hades.

    • See my reply to K Scott above – it seems that we are reaching an approximate point of agreement (even to the point where I also ran afoul of the spam filter).

      I might disagree as to whether social movements where fear was an element has never led to what might be considered desirable outcomes. I’d need to think about it more, and It may just be a difference of semantics and what constitutes a “reduction to fear.”

      I fully agree with your point about simple explanations for human behavior – which is in substance my objection to Mr. Atkins’ treatise.

      As you mentioned, as long as those two graphs you describe are not plotted exclusively to one another, I would also generally agree with your point there also, although the definitions of left vs. right and totalitarian vs. less so might get a bit tricky.

      • Joshua –
        I might disagree as to whether social movements where fear was an element has never led to what might be considered desirable outcomes

        I wouldn’t say never but there are fewer than you think. There’s some suspicion that the American Revolution had some positive effects.

        But for environmental movements, I’d suggest you find Aaron Wildavsky’s deconstruction of the environmental scares of the late 20th C – the title is “But Is It True?”

      • Jim,

        Could you expand on your characterization of the American Revolution being motivated by fear?

      • Gene –
        Do you remember the expression (paraphrased) – “We must hang together or we will certainly hang separately”?

        Do you realize that at the time the Declaration of Independence was written, some of those involved were being sought on charges of smuggling? And would have hung if caught. There was a great deal of “rabble rousing” involved in the Revolution.

        For “light” reading you might try Jeff Shaara’s books “Rise to Rebellion” and “The Glorious Cause”. They’re novels – but written directly from real- life history. If you want it straight from the “horses mouth” there are a LOT of good history books that deal specifically with the Revolution. And places that offer specific American Revolution courses. Note – there are also some PC versions of each out there that have “tortured” the history till it’s unrecognizable.

      • The Constitution was definitely written out of fear of the centralization of power. The creation of three separate and competing branches of government, the primacy of Congress in initiating and passing legislation, and the federalism that set the states up as a check on federal power (including the electoral college), are all examples of reactions to fear of a central government, and an executive with the power to run it, evolving into a monarchy.

      • Jim and Gary,

        I’ll beg your indulgence a bit…this is something of an emerging line of thought spurred by a discussion upthread of Mencken’s quote ‘The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary’. Andrew Adams asked for “evidence” and I pointed out a number of events and movements which used fear to manipulate the populace. After some back and forth, Joshua stated “Fear is sometimes (malignantly) “useful” for those who have disproportionate power in politics. It is also, however, sometimes a very valuable and positive force in shaping political outcomes.”, which I disputed.

        I think this is where things got murky. In this context, I’m talking about irrational fears being used to manipulate public opinion, which I differentiate from rational concerns and opposition. As such, I wouldn’t include any of the examples Gary gave, as these were responses to valid concerns as opposed to manufactured fears. Likewise Jim’s example doesn’t fall into what I was thinking of (if not necessarily communicating well) in that punishment for treason was a concern of the Founders, but not of the American public at large.

        I hope this makes my thought on this a little clearer.

      • Works for me. Add “irrational” before the word fear in this sentence of yours: “As a general rule I don’t see well considered outcomes resulting from reaction to fear,” and I’m on board.

      • Gene –
        No great arguments here. I would mention (again) Aaron Wildavsky’s book “But is it True” because it fits neatly into this conversation. He was a professor at UC Berkeley and at one time assigned his students to evaluate nearly 20 of the various “environmental scares” starting in the 50’s. They covered everything from Silent Spring and DDT to Global Warming and Environmental Science – including the Precautionary Principle. The bottom line was:

        The truth value of the environmental-cum-safety issues of our time is exceedingly low. With the exception of CFC’s thinning the ozone layer, the charges are false, mostly false, unproven or negligible.”

        EACH of those “scares” was, and still is, used by the environmental movement to generate “irrational fear” in order to build their own political and financial power. As I believe I told Joshua today, one of the organization leaders eventually admitted that without the scares there would be no environmental movement – and that they had to keep producing new scares in order to keep their membership, their funding and their power.

        wrt to the Revolution, the colonies did not fight to keep the heads of a few people out of a noose, but rather because they saw the British as oppressors. The Revolution, in fact, was as much a civil war as a revolution because many of the people did not see that at all. My wife’s family was partially Mayflower types – and when the revolution came, there was a split, with many of them ending up in Canada. My ancestors weren’t that high class – the earliest one I know of sailed with Henry Morgan.

        wrt Mencken – I said before – he was a product of his time and culture. Judging him or his words by today’s standards is ignorant. That is a lesson of history that some people have yet to learn.

      • My wife’s family was partially Mayflower types – and when the revolution came, there was a split, with many of them ending up in Canada.

        Interesting…I wonder if they were some of those evacuated from Boston when Washington forced the British to pull out.

        wrt Mencken – I said before – he was a product of his time and culture. Judging him or his words by today’s standards is ignorant. That is a lesson of history that some people have yet to learn.

        And as I pointed out, his views on one subject really didn’t invalidate his observation about the political use of fearmongering.

      • irrational fears
        rational concerns

        How do we determine the boundary between irrational and rational?

      • How do we determine the boundary between irrational and rational?

        That’s the million dollar question a priori that becomes blindingly obvious after the fact.

      • Jim.

        “The Revolution, in fact, was as much a civil war as a revolution because many of the people did not see that at all.”

        The Revolution was a revolution because we won. The Civil War was a civil war because the South lost. He who wins the war writes the history.

      • Jim,

        I do remember it well. Franklin, I believe. I know who Revere intended to warn and even know that he had an “accomplice”.

        I’ve spent the majority of my life studying history, with a fair amount spent on the Revolution. Bravo on the Jeff Shaara recommendation, I haven’t read his Revolutionary War novels, but loved “Gods and Generals” as well as his dad’s “The Killer Angels” (Civil War takes up a few shelves on the bookcases as well). What I like about both Shaaras is the humanity they bring to their subjects. If the human aspect of history was more often incorporated into its teaching (at least on the K-12 level), I think the subject would be more popular than it is.

        Anyhow, I replied to Gary’s comment below with a clarification on what I was thinking, if not expressing very well.

      • Gene –
        Shaara also has WWI, WWII and Mexican War novels – same format, same quality.

        I understand about history –

      • I’d heard about the WWI and WWII ones, but the Mexican War novel’s news to me. Yet another one to go on the reading list along with Ken Follett’s latest. Then there’s the non-fiction stuff…sigh. :-)

      • I’d definitely be interested in examples of positive political outcomes that were motivated by fear. As you say, it may just be a semantic issue.

        although the definitions of left vs. right and totalitarian vs. less so might get a bit tricky

        The left vs right axis can definitely bog down in angels and pinheads (relative definitions tends to be less acrimonious than absolute). More or less totalitarian should be easier to pin down. Another thing to consider is that in my experience, the left-right axis can be issue dependant. I’ve met many who are fairly leftist when it comes to “morality” issues, but hard right for things like crime.

      • We seem to be speaking past each other in the sense that I am talking about positive political outcomes where fear was a motivational element as opposed to political outcomes that were a “reduction to fear” or (singularly) “motivated by fear.”

        I’m not sure that I agree that environmentalism can be characterized – in comparison to other political movements – as singularly motivated by fear. There are considerable elements of hopefulness, of appreciation for nature, of a desire for equity, of a simple dislike of negative environmental effects. I disagree with a simplistic view that so complex a phenomenon can be described as a “reduction” to fear (if you have done that – I can’t quite tell).

        If we want to be imprecise, we might be able to characterize all political movements as a “reduction to fear,” in the sense that people are ultimately motivated by a “fear” of outcomes to which they are in opposition.

        On the other hand, I’m not inclined to characterize environmentalism as uniquely altruistic – as some environmentalists no doubt do. In that sense, the “skeptics/deniers” have a point. Unfortunately they pick up that football and run right out of the stadium with it.

        I guess that is what I meant by semantics.

      • We seem to be speaking past each other in the sense that I am talking about positive political outcomes where fear was a motivational element as opposed to political outcomes that were a “reduction to fear” or (singularly) “motivated by fear.”

        I’ll admit that it’s not a well defined concept. Some of the examples I gave earlier where leaders were playing on popular fears would be good examples of what I’m thinking of here.

        I’m not sure that I agree that environmentalism can be characterized – in comparison to other political movements – as singularly motivated by fear. There are considerable elements of hopefulness, of appreciation for nature, of a desire for equity, of a simple dislike of negative environmental effects. I disagree with a simplistic view that so complex a phenomenon can be described as a “reduction” to fear (if you have done that – I can’t quite tell).

        I agree. There is a wide range of positions that fall under that umbrella. To say that the entire movement is a “reduction to fear” would be overly broad. It could apply to some elements, but certainly not all.

      • Joshua –
        I’m not sure that I agree that environmentalism can be characterized – in comparison to other political movements – as singularly motivated by fear.

        It was several years ago that the leader of an environmental organization (in a fit of unusual honesty) admitted that the environmental organizations NEEDED continuing environmental scares in order to survive. No scares = no cash = no survival.

        And as Wildavsky said Global Warming is the mother of all environmental scares. Wildavsky, BTW was not known to be a conservative.

      • So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.

      • Some relatively recent positive political outcomes motivated by fear:

        The NATO Alliance, formed for fear of Soviet expansion further into Europe, kept the peace in Europe for decades and was central to defeating the Soviets in the cold war;

        The Common Market, formed in part out of fear of a return to German militarism, resulting in growing prosperity throughout the western portion of the continent until replaced by its successor (the EU which, with its ever greater centralization of power in an unelected bureaucracy, I would not count as a successful outcome);

        The Marshall Plan, financing the rebuilding of Europe and Japan in part out of fear of a renewal of totalitarianism that grew in the aftermath of economic devastation that followed WW I;

        Nuclear deterrence, the accumulation of stockpiles of nuclear weapons out of fear of the opponent’s first strike capabilities, which kept the cold war from becoming a hot war between the super powers (the success being limited by the degree to which they fought each other through proxies);

        And, with any luck, by 2012 we will be able to count the current conservative movement in the U.S., arisen as a response to the ever greater encroachment on liberty by the growing progressive government leviathan, as another example of a successful political movement motivated at least in part by fear. It has already stopped cap and trade and decarbonization in their tracks, but has a long way to go to role back the regulatory state currently going out of control, so the jury is still out on this one.

        Fear has in fact been a great motivator of positive political action, when the fear is a rational reaction to a genuine threat.

      • Again, Emerson,

        All the old abuses in society, the great and universal and the petty and particular, all unjust accumulations of property and power, are avenged in the same manner. Fear is an instructor of great sagacity and the herald of all revolutions. One thing he always teaches, that there is rottenness where he appears. He is a carrion crow, and though you see not well what he hovers for, there is death somewhere. Our property is timid, our laws are timid, our cultivated classes are timid. Fear for ages has boded and mowed and gibbered over government and property. That obscene bird is not there for nothing. He indicates great wrongs which must be revised.

  40. Clearly, the idea of explaining the rise of the current AGW alarm is pointless to those who find this alarm entirely reasonable. I respect that. But to anyone who, like myself, find it excessive, it’s worth exploring. So let me add some additional points that may or may not help explain it.

    * Michael Crichton’s “Aliens cause global warming” is interesting and original. http://www.s8int.com/crichton.html

    * Whereas the belief in universally benign technological progress has been largely abandoned, there remains a tendency to believe that science progresses steadily toward certainty. And a belief that environmental scares tend to be confirmed, based on some real examples and some that may not be. At least some toxic substances have seen a gradual lowering of the Lowest Observed Adverse Effect Level as detection methods have become more sensitive. This is natural, but does not prove that climate change also will prove more dangerous as research progresses.

    * A reaction against a conventional belief (say pre 1970) that in “scientific” decisions one must have conclusive evidence before acting. In my opinion it was useful to challenge this, but it has been taken to the opposite extreme with climate change.

  41. Interestingly, the US Supremes have chose to believe Freeman Dyson over James Hansen et al.:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/24/the-supremes-recommend-the-supreme-skeptic/

    Well, I would, too… Good on you, fellows!

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

    “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here — this is the War Room.”
    — Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick)

  42. The EPA’s demonizing CO2 as an evil pollutant is evidence of liberal fascist bureaucracy gunning down a sleepy marketplace while others look on.

  43. Don, you might consider a separate section on “the media” which range all the way from public broadcast science shows, to nightly national news, to magazines, to popular “sciencey” books, to talk radio, to tabloids, to advertising campaigns, to blogs, to …. You get the point — the burgeoning information industry has had a strong hand in shaping the current situation in the last half century. It’s the water we swim in and the air we breathe, not merely a fog we pass through. It’s own characteristics shape the history you are trying to synthesize and deserve some thought.

  44. An interesting article Don. While I agree with you that the 60s were optimistic times, the 70s weren’t. I think this reflected the economic background of the times.

    When times are good, people are more expansive and altruistic and the converse applies too; when times are hard, people’s concerns are focused closer to home.

    While climategate et al have had an impact on the credibility of the science, I think recessionary times have also contributed in no small measure.

    Pointman

  45. The author seems to ignore the obvious correlation between the decline of religion and the rise of AGW / Green policies; strongest in Germany, followed by the rest of the EU. This indicates to me that anti-industrialism as promoted by the Greens, using AGW as a means to an end, is the new substitute for christianity; an Ersatz religion; a political religion as described by Voegelin; in the tradition of / starting with German romanticism and later various other political religions originating in Germany. There seems to be in fact a regular recharge of this mechanism that gives birth to one political religion after the other every few decades; the Green/AGW movement being the latest – and again, we find Germans in key positions, like Rahmstorf, Teske, Gerd Leipold, Schellnhuber, Edenhofer. (I am German so don’t accuse me of prejudice)
    Or maybe it’s the same political religion every time and only changes its name.

  46. To all,

    I thank those who have commented, especially those who have suggested areas that I could include or develop further. Why didn’t I include the development of the AGW hypothesis? Because I figured that everyone reading my piece could put that in — it seemed to me a given. But for a wider audience, I guess that it would be necessary. I’m sorry that I have offended Fred Moolten. I was not intentional, and my email address is given in the essay. My life goes through relatively calm and relatively frenetic periods, and while I remember his offer, and my intention, I no longer remember what it was about, and I simply had too much to do at the time. By all means, let’s start again.

    Tim Lambert and others seem to see me as not a true agnostic because I won’t accept what they see as compelling evidence that AGW is real and dangerous. Well, I have written at length over the last four years about the problems with what seems to pass for evidence in this domain. Where should I start? The basic temperature data are dreadful, and far too dodgy, in the methodology used in gathering them, to support the notion that the earth has in the last century or so experienced unprecedented warming. That’s a bit of a stopper for me. I know others like to argue about different ways of arranging the data. I just think the data are awful, and why good scientists accept them I can’t understand. I agree that the satellite data are better, but they only have a short run.

  47. As the population and complexity of modern life have increased, some people feel powerless to affect events going on around them and this has amplified a growing sense of helplessness and insignificance. Political activism is a natural response to those feelings, and environmentalism is no different. It is reactionary and strikes out at the surrounding world. Man is always at fault for the planet’s woes and must be punished. Success is failure and better is worse. It is ultimately futile, but the sense of moral superiority makes the believers feel a bit better about their sorry lives for a little while. Climate wars will subside but there will be something else to replace it (he said bleakly).

  48. “Intellectual” histories of “how” we got to the place we are in are almost always less certain than the “thing” we are discussing. They do not answer the questions at hand, they side track the discussion, and they are not useful for answering the three vital questions.

    1. How much does C02 warm the earth? This science questions cares nothing about how we got here
    2. How will the benefits and damages play out? Again, how we got here doesnt matter, where we are going does.
    3. What, if anything, can and should we do about it. Again, how we got here is beside the point.

    There is nothing useful in a very tenuous discussion of “how” we got here. there is nothing scientific in that discussion, and not much that rational opponents could agree upon. It’s nice cocktail party talk

    • I disagree. If anything understanding the political situation is more important than understanding the endless controversial details of the science. Your vital scientific questions do not have answers at present so are largely irrelevant for present purposes. Discussion will not answer them. But the political issues are here and now and big. This is the “where we are going” that matters.

      • I disagree.

        There, settle that debate with an experiment.
        “Understanding” the political situation is not amenable to any sort of process I know that can come to conclusion.
        The scientific questions are far more amendable to answers or RANGES of answers than any pointless debates about politics. You say understanding politics is more important. I say it’s not. That is how all political debates and discussions end. gainsaying.

      • The “process that can come to a conclusion” on the political issue of CAGW is called an election. Keep your eyes open, there’s one due in about 17 months.

      • Steven –
        They’re both important – BUT the political debate is here and now (i.e. – the next election in the US) and if the political debate is lost, then the scientific debate is moot for the foreseeable future.

      • You seem to be claiming that science is the only form of rational discourse. If so then I disagree. Moreover, as GaryM points out, politics is the decision process of democracy. Science may resolve your issues in 30 years but we have rational decisions to make today. Agreement is not required, but debate is essential. And given the utter politicization of climate science I see no reason to expect a scientific conclusion.

      • I don’t see this discussion as a political debate.

        I see it as an exploration of our culture, a glimpse at the reasoning used in the human thought processes, a process that can result in opinion, which MAY eventually be part of political debate.

      • I would say it’s a bad thing if it makes people more arrogant, and a good thing if it makes them less arrogant. I am trying to be less arrogant by understanding how and why those who disagree with me think the way they think. And understanding the history help a little bit, even if there are no clear answers.

      • Yeah – I know – let’s vote on it.

      • Chief –
        In the US, we will – in about 17 months.

    • Jeff Norris

      The how and why we got here is in line with many current discussions of reframing the debate in terms of cultural values to overcome skeptical and unconvinced positions.
      http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0624/Don-t-ignore-climate-skeptics-talk-to-them-differently
      With the science stalemated it is now more about Hearts than Minds.

    • How we got here has nothing to do with those three questions? For those who have to make the policy decisions, there may not be a more important question.

      In deciding “how much does CO2 warm the Earth,” the average voter (who are the folks who will ultimately make the decision that counts), have to decide who to believe. Do they believe scientists who hide the decline, refuse to abide by FOIA law, but tell them “trust us, we need to control your economy because this is so serious?”

      In deciding “how will the benefits and damages play out,” should they listen to the politicians who find the answer to very problem is more government? Should they listen to the government functionaries who manipulate the unemployment, inflation and GDP figures with reckless abandon that would make Enron executives blush?

      In deciding “What, if anything, can and should we do about it,” (which to my mind is duplicative of question 2), should they ignore the confirmation bias and conflicts of interest that are so prominent in the climate community? Should they be concerned about just how much the scientists, bureaucrats and politicians pushing progressive solutions stand to gain themselves, in terms of both power and money?

      “How we got here” is key to the central issue in the debate for the average voter, credibility – who to believe.

      When the guy selling bottles of cancer cure on the corner was busted before for selling snake oil, you might want to know his history before buying.

      • how we got here will of course lead to a discussion of all the misinformation put out by oil companies.
        nice discussion. goes no where.

      • I have no problem with a discussion of where oil companies have spent their money. Funding is always relevant to credibility. It would be nice of those making the charges would actually back them up with facts once in a while though.

        And the discussion will necessarily go somewhere. Decarbonization either will or will not be implemented. Nuclear power either will or will not be developed again in the U.S. Oil companies will or will not be allowed to drill for oil in the continental U.S. and offshore.

        And over inflated “synthesis reports,” unverified, unvalidated climate models, and fudged paleo reconstructions will likely not decide that political debate because the scientists involved (and their political patrons) have lost their credibility.

        The policy issues of CAGW and/or AGW will not be decided in an environment marked by cerebral, impartial scientists engaging in a pristine scientific debate, free from politics, and free of control by the stupid masses. Luckily for mankind, since no such environment has ever existed.

    • steven mosher

      The “thing” we are debating here is basically whether or not AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of 20th century warming and, hence, represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment.

      You have worded this premise somewhat more generally: 1. How much does C02 warm the earth?

      Once one can agree on this premise, it is pretty easy to move to 2. and 3.

      But we are not there yet, Steven (as you know very well).

      But Aitkin is not asking this still open (primarily scientific) question.

      He is asking a sociopsychological question of how a significant part of humanity has gotten so riled up emotionally on such an obscure scientific question that it (along with your points 2 and 3) has become a topic of general public debate.

      And that is a valid question, for which he suggests a complex but well-reasoned.answer IMO.

      Max

    • Examining the path you have come down is crucial for evaluating whether it will take you where you need to go. On the level of an individual, it is a self-assessment that examines whether or not the decisions and conclusions you come to are not based self-destructive propensities. On the level of a society is guessing against repeating mistakes in history, of accepting and evaluating deep-seated and long evolved instincts that are no longer appropriate. We are not sufficiently evolved that we can discard this baggage. Keeping it in view is important for perspective.

  49. –> “It’s nice cocktail party talk”

    We need a substantive discussion about how to go about defunding the government scientists of the Education Industrial Complex.

    “The ‘radiative forcing constants’ used in climate simulation models have no physical meaning… such results are invalid and have no relationship to the physical reality of the Earth’s climate. Radiative forcing by CO2 is, by definition a self-fulfilling prophesy, since the outcome is predetermined by the empirical modeling assumptions… It is impossible to show that changes in CO2 concentration have caused any change to the Earth’s climate, at least since the current composition of the atmosphere was set by ocean photosynthesis about one billion years ago.”

    [See, page 196 – Clark R. A null hypothesis for CO2.EE 2010;21(4):171-200]

    • That paper is crap as is his paper on California and the PDO. waste of my time.

      • Do you really have any understanding of the ‘null hypothesis’ in science? “Akasofu calls the post-2000 warming trend hypothetical. His harshest words are reserved for advocates who give conjecture the authority of fact.” ~ Andrew Orlowski

        We must look at the psychological aspect of global waming alarmism. “Before anyone noticed, this hypothesis has been substituted for truth… The opinion that great disaster will really happen must be broken.” ~ Shunichi Akasofu

        Behavior psychology tells us that those in a position of power who should have known better–i.e., were supposed to understand the concept of the ‘null hypothesis’–instead, purposefully colluded to ngage the activity of substituting their opinion for fact.

        Those who knowingly deceive others are corrupt. “[The IPCC’s] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonic increase, should be perceived as an improvable hypothesis.” ~ Kanya Kusano

      • Does Steve Mosher “really have any understanding of the ‘null hypothesis’ in science?”

        Now, that’s funny.

  50. John from CA

    Thanks for posting the article Don, I really enjoyed reading it for all the memories and causalities it dredges up from the past.

    “…we are not as confident or as optimistic as we once were (for me, that time was the 1960s and early 1970s, when my own young career flourished, and everything seemed possible). Once the stories would have been about success. Now they are characteristically about doom, anxiety, and bad things to come. The glass is much more often half empty than it is half full.”

    How did we get here? My answer would be Newton and Descartes who managed to help us wrench Science from Religion. The struggle for freedoms has been an extended fight.

    Like Climate Science, I think the time frame you’re using in the article is to short. To truly understand the fun and inspiration of the ’60-70’s you need to understand the 1850s to 1950s and the transitions of world change.

    2060 should be a fun year if we can discard the Green Shirt Movement in favor of Science.

    btw, “…explanations of how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world.” This is incorrect, it doesn’t enjoy a position of authority because it has and continues to it best to destroy its own moral high ground.

    • John from CA

      sorry, last sentence should read:

      This is incorrect, it doesn’t enjoy a position of authority because it has and continues to do its best to destroy its own moral high ground.

  51. How did we get into this?

    By hiding the decline, doubt, data and corrupting peer review!

    i.e. hijacking science.

    THE OBSERVED TEMPERATURE DATA DOES NOT SUPPORT MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING.

    Here is the observed global mean temperature trend for 90-years from 1910 to 2000:

    http://bit.ly/bylFMq

    1) Global warming rate of 0.15 deg C per decade from 1910 to 1940, which gives a global warming of 0.45 deg C during the previous 30-years warming phase.

    2) Global warming rate of 0.16 deg C per decade from 1970 to 2000, which gives a global warming of 0.48 deg C during the recent 30-years warming phase.

    3) Slight global cooling from 1940 to 1970.

    As a result, the effect of 60 years of human emission of CO2 between the two warming phases on the global warming rate is nil.

    Also, the effect of 30 years of human emission of CO2 during the global cooling phase from 1940 to 1970 is obviously nil.

    The data above describes the global mean temperature trend for 90 years until year 2000.

    What is the global mean temperature trend since 2000?

    4) Since year 2000, the global mean temperature anomaly trend is nearly flat at 0.4 deg C as shown in the following plot:

    http://bit.ly/aDni90

    In conclusion, man-made global warming is not supported by the observed data.

    According to the data, according to the apolitical science, the effect of human emission of CO2 on global mean temperature is NIL.

  52. The question is if CO2 is causing a world wide climate crisis.
    We have been promised a crisis for over 20 years that was asserted to be only a few years away.
    It has failed to materialize.
    Nothing- not temperature, storms, heat content, OA, drought, slr, rain, snow, extreme weather, etc. etc. etc. has changed in any way that is a crisis.
    Can we move on now?

    • tempterrain

      No. The climate crisis doesn’t have anything as short as a 20 year time span. You may have heard the term “intergenerational equity” and concern from some scientists for the well being of their grandchildren and later generations.
      You yourself are unlikely to come to any harm from AGW during the course of your lifetime. If that’s all you care about, then your philosophical position isn’t without a certain logic.

      • tempterrain –
        I have children – and grandchildren – and will have great grandchildren before I die. My concern IS for them – it IS to do what I can to AVOID the future that you, the IPCC, the environmentalists, etc envision for them.

        Because I AM concerned for their future.

      • tempterrain

        That’s good you’re concerned. You might be interested to read David Archer’s book “The Long Thaw”
        http://www.amazon.com/Long-Thaw-Changing-Climate-Essentials/dp/0691136548

        One of the criticisms I would have of films like Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” is that there was insufficient explanation of the very slow moving pace of the problem. The general public do, like Hunter, expect to see a wolf after the scientists have cried “wolf” and if there’s no wolf in the immediate vicinity, rather than say the Arctic, an unwarranted scepticism can arise.

        David Archer does make the point that the year 2100 is like tomorrow in geological terms and unfortunately we seem incapable of looking beyond then.

      • Tempterrain –
        You live in fear of wolves – I’m a killer of wolves – or a tamer of wolves as circumstances allow.

        You’re a Believer. I am by nature, training and inclination, a skeptic. You believe a “science” that is uncertain, fragile, and under present management, unethical, blind, rigid and dictatorial.

        You believe in catastrophe while I believe in a future you can’t imagine, kick started by human ingenuity, technology, optimism and, someday, a leap to the stars. NONE of that would be possible under the political regime that you and your kind would saddle the future with.

        You live in fear of a future you’ll likely never see. I live without fear, for myself or for my family, wrt the future you fear. They will survive and prosper regardless of what that future is – UNLESS, they accept the future that you would give them. In which case, their lives will be poor, miserable, brutal – and short.

        You blieve in “fixing” the future when you have no idea what that future would be either with or without your “fix.” I believe that’s arrogance and hubris. If you’re over 30 I would ask – could you, 30 years ago, have foreseen the technology developments of the last 30 years? Could you have foreseen the descent into violence in places like Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan? Could you have foreseen the rise of China and India as rivals to the US in commerce, military power and other areas? You know as well as I that the answer to those questions is – NO. Then by what “magic” do you believe you can foretell the future of climate? And don’t tell me “science” – given the present state of “climate science”, that’s sheer grade AAA, gold-plated nonsense.

        So, when a man talks to me about the next 100,000 years – he’s either a fool or a con artist. No matter what the subject, but especially if he’s talking about climate. My wife and I lived for 5 years out of either a backpack or the back of a pickup truck. Even though they’re much better than 50 years ago, I KNOW how accurate the weather predictions are (NOT). And telling me that climate can be predicted more accurately …? I’ll let you guess what words I would use. They’re not acceptable on this blog.

      • I suspect your point is rather along the lines of “we can’t forecast the weather for next week so how can we forecast the climate for centuries to come?”.

        Which sounds good of course. I’m sure you could get a good round of applause if you used that line in a speech to a hall full of climate skeptic/deniers. Unfortunately they’d be moving their hands before they stopped to think about it. Maybe they’d be incapable of thinking about it, but if they could, they would appreciate that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is essentially creating a climate forcing in just the same way as, hypothetically, moving the Earth towards from the sun would create a climate forcing.

        So, if that were to happen, and Judith can correct me if I’m wrong, I’d say the climate of the Earth would get warmer and would stay warmer for as long as it were closer. Even if as long as 100,000 years.

        That’s not to say, of course, that we’d be any the wiser what the weather in London or NY would be, either before or after the change.

        That’s not such a difficult concept is it? Do you really have a problem understanding it?

      • tempterrain,

        I’m not sure where I read this, but I liked it as an explanation of why the simple facts that CO2 is a GHG, and is increasing in the atmosphere, does not necessarily mean that it is causing the Earth to warm as you suggest.

        In my living room, I have a lamp. If I turn it on, it puts out heat. A scientist can spend all kinds of time explaining to me how and why lamps discharge heat, and how heat to a room in that way must increase the average temperature in the room. He can lecture me on thermodynamics and physics for days. When I tell him the room has not gotten warmer when I leave the light on, he can find all kinds of reasons for explaining why the heating is just delayed, but is inevitable.

        However, if the scientist doesn’t know that the room is equipped with an air conditioner and a heater, both of which are controlled by a thermostat which responds to any changes in temperature., then his encyclopedic knowledge of the physics is useless in predicting the future temperature of the room.

        If climate scientists don’t know if there is a systemic “thermostat,” let alone how it works, or what all the phenomenon are that might act as air conditioners or heaters , it doesn’t matter how lengthy, learned and peer reviewed their dissertations are on radiative transfer, convection, and paleo climatology. As far as I am concerned, what they don’t know makes what they do know insufficient to make any valid long term predictions.

        Climate science can’t predict the future of global climate for the same reason economists can’t predict the future of the economy. It is one thing to outline basic principles, all other things being equal. But all other things are never equal in such a massive, chaotic, complex system.

      • tempterrain –
        I suspect your point is rather along the lines of “we can’t forecast the weather for next week so how can we forecast the climate for centuries to come?”.

        Yes – and nothing you’ve said has advanced even the flimsiest argument in support of long range climate forecasting. Nor have he GCM’s provided any real confidence in that direction.

        That’s not such a difficult concept is it? Do you really have a problem understanding it?

        You didn’t present a “concept” – only an assertion.

      • tempterrain,
        You are misrepresenting my argument.
        The AGW community claims that the crisis got here over 20 years ago.
        There is no crisis.
        The AGW community claims that every extreme weather event is proof of the need to curtail CO2.
        There is no change in the frequency or character of extreme weather.
        The AGW community pushes policies on CO2.
        Not one of those policies has worked or could work to significantly mitigate CO2or influence the climate.
        It seems I was possibly not clear before.
        I hope this helps you understand why you have been fooled by AGW fear mongers.

      • So we starve and impoverish ourselves today because someone made a prediction that someday, long after our grandchildren are dead, it may rain more in some places, rain less in others, and the sea level will keep rising.
        How effin’ stupid do you think other people are?

    • tempterrain,
      I make new points, and all you can do is say, “no”, and then proceed to repeat a false argument that was, with citations and facts, shown to false a long time ago.
      Your answer is non-responsive, non-relevant, and demonstrates a certain lack of ability on your part.
      Whining on with the phony argument that skeptics care nothing for their children or grandchildren, while asserting falsely that the only way to care about children and grandchildren is to agree with you implies that you really have no argument at all.

  53. The null hypothesis that all global warming is natural has never been rejected so the witchdoctors of academia proffer obiter dicta instead. A Leftist EPA wants to replace the teachings of ‘religion’ with a conformist population that worships fact based on consensus not science.

    Heedless of history and future ramifications the anti-business Leftists now wish to reinvent the culture through coalitions of convenience. EPA and anti-energy academics who refuse to admit global warming alarmism is a hoax are really preaching about how they have no conscience.

  54. I am pleased to see the decline of religion being discussed. I have wondered if part of the explanation is that humans have in inbuilt desire to do something for some overarching “greater good’ whether God or something else, combined with a fear that there is a catastrophe coming… the end of the world is nigh>

    In the past we have harnessed both of those through religion – in the case of christianity (I know less about other religions) turning the fear of a sticky end into a reason to conform to the tenets of the faith.

    Whatever else you think of this, it at least was less likely to undermine the welfare of others by demanding changes that were costly without benefit.

    • Good points.

      If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

      It is interesting that, though Dr. Curry suggests that better education and a better understanding of science has let to a decline in religion, here we are discussing how a relatively small bunch of charlatans has hijacked a branch of science and duped a large proportion of the population.

      My gut feeling is that the problem has it roots in the way in which there has been a definite move to supplant religion with science, effectively making “scientists” a surrogate for priests of old.

      The problem is that the label of scientist has been shown to be no more a guarantee of honesty and ethics than the robes of a priest or monk were in the middle ages. And the unquestioning acceptance that people have given to those labelled as scientists has, at times, been played upon by unscrupulous people.

      There are many startling parallels between the current situation around AGW and the state of pre reformation Europe under the Catholic Church.
      One of the most obvious being the similarity between ETS and Carbon trading schemes and the old indulgences.

      Thankfully science is not rotten to the core, and there are good, honest scientists, to whom ethics are important. In fact probably the majority would fall into that category, at least most of the time. There is a problem with a few bad apples tainting the barrel though.

      It would be interesting to see some figures on whether people with religious leanings are more or less inclined to take scientists at their word, and if this means they are more or less inclined to band wagon jump.

    • Margaret
      What an insightful comment you made. I have always felt that religion came about, first, as a means of controlling people (you must be good and do as I say) and, second, because it effectively preyed on people’s fears about death and the possibility of there being nothing afterwards. I am sure this second point is linked to this broader idea of impending catastrophe. The parallels with the CAGW mantra are striking. PS I apologise in advance if these remarks offend anyone with religious faith.

  55. Michael Larkin

    Don,

    What about consideration of a general trend in modern science to rely more on theory than empirical evidence? You find it in cosmology, Neo-Darwinism (I’m no creationist – the theory is shot full of holes from empirical evidence), as well as climate science.

    Theoretical constructs (including models), often backed up by mathematics that may be “beautiful”, but not supported by observation (and in some cases couldn’t be – e.g. dark matter), come to take on a dominant “reality” all of their own.

    I suppose on reflection that it isn’t an entirely modern phenomenon – look at the way we relied on the ancient Greeks for so many centuries in medicine, for example. However, the difference is, some science that was developed theoretically before it was well supported experimentally actually does work – such as Relativity. So you never know; maybe there are black holes and dark matter; maybe string theory is the real deal.

    Thing is, we’re a clever species and we want to know what’s going on in the universe. We can make theories that seem beautiful or convincing to us, and it’s quite boring to have to do the spadework, as well as humiliating when nature refuses to play ball.

    Avoiding humiliation, one way or another, has probably been responsible for much human misery throughout the ages.

    • Michael –
      Theoretical constructs (including models), often backed up by mathematics that may be “beautiful”, but not supported by observation (and in some cases couldn’t be – e.g. dark matter), come to take on a dominant “reality” all of their own.

      Remember that at one time neither relativity nor particle physics were supported by observation. But in both cases they were capable of “prediction” of physical effects that were later proven. Dark matter may or may not prove capable of that, but don’t discount it yet. Climate science, on the other hand, has made predictions – a constant string of them – that have all failed.

      Avoiding humiliation, one way or another, has probably been responsible for much human misery throughout the ages.

      Avoiding humiliation is the central guiding tenet of engineering. If it’s that important in climate science and it is), then climate science may be nothing more than another branch of engineering. :-)

      • Michael Larkin

        I specifically mentioned that in Relativity, theory preceded observation, and made that a part of my argument. The fact that you then went on to quote that tends to indicate you didn’t read carefully what I said.

        Engineers don’t try to avoid humiliation. They try to build things that work, thereby avoiding possible harm to people. Engineers adhere closely to empirical science. Imagining that climate scientists are remotely in the same category doesn’t inspire me with confidence that you have the faintest idea what you are talking about.

      • A little sensitive?

        I included relativity and particle science together for convenience – not to attack your comment.

        My Masters thesis was on “The Role of Failure in Engineering”. It starts with the statement that ancient engineers could pay with their lives if their work cost the lives of others. That penalty is no longer exacted for failure – but if you’ve never failed at anything on a major project, then you might not understand the embarrassment/humiliation that goes with major failure. The Challenger Shuttle incident was NOT an accident – it was an engineering failure. Do you believe it wasn’t humiliating?

        Engineers DO avoid humiliation because it specifically means failure. And failure CAN cost lives. I have an endless supply of narratives if you’re interested.

        I AM an engineer – I have had my failures, not always as a result of my own actions – I know what comes as a result and I KNOW that experienced engineers avoid humiliation by, as you say, building things that work. On that I will agree with you.

        As for the climate scientists – read that again. Carefully.

  56. Global warming is not a problem but fear of it is. Global warming alarmism and the politics of fear gives power to the wrong people: people who only wish to take power from others. “[A]t the heart of the IPCC is a cadre of scientists whose careers have been made by the IPCC. These scientists have used the IPCC to jump the normal meritocracy process by which scientists achieve influence over the politics of science and policy. Not only has this brought some relatively unknown, inexperienced and possibly dubious people into positions of influence, but these people become vested in protecting the IPCC, which has become central to their own career and legitimizes playing power politics with their expertise.” ~Judith Curry

  57. Environmentalism is inimical to man

    In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature has not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of animals. From the most primitive cultures to the most advanced civilizations, man has had to manufacture things; his well-being depends on his success at production. The lowest human tribe cannot survive without that alleged source of pollution: fire. It is not merely symbolic that fire was the property of the gods which Prometheus brought to man. The ecologists are the new vultures swarming to extinguish that fire.

    http://bit.ly/lC2hOf

  58. Don

    ” … the importance of the popular mood, which in my country’s case is much less confident than it once was”

    I have been working intermittently in China (PRC) since 2004. The underlying element I have became aware of most there is the sheer energy, confidence and power derived from these characteristics that permeates the country, despite problems of corruption, pollution etc

    So I ruefully admitted to myself that I had not seen these characteristics much in Australia since the late 70’s – early 80’s. The contrast is absolutely stark

  59. Below is a quote from the London School of Economics. It is worthwhile also to read the follow up 2010 Hartwell Paper – which provides some rational basis for moving forward on carbon reduction.

    ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.’ The Wrong Trousers: Radically Rethinking Climate Policy – Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner

    That there is a culture war is evident. My assessment is that most of the participants severely underestimate the complexity and variability of climate. They assemble fragments of science into a narrative that completely lacks any of the tentative, qualified, or provisional qualities that typify an honest scientific exposition of thesis, analysis and synthesis – a narrative that always agrees with the tenets of their self identification. I am not fussed by any of this – pissant climate warrior squabbles in the blogosphere.

    A practical problem is that there are potential problems with changing the composition of the atmosphere – yet the politics of carbon reduction seem destined to fall in a heap based on irrational, exaggerated and utterly misguided claims – and the failure of the world to go along with a limited theory.

    Don mentions the potential for an extended cool period. This is an aspect of natural climate variation that seems to be quite obvious. I was asked to provide support for a statement on no warming for another decade or 3 being supported in peer reviewed literature. There is lengthy post here –
    https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822

    The extended non warming is and will be a determining factor in public perceptions – and there is only so much that tedious repetition of nonsensical statistics can do to address an unfortunate disjunction of theory with reality. Hoping it will go away is an option. Natural climate variation, however, does not imply that there is no problem with ecological systems (stomata and pH) – and potentially with climate change (the dynamical complexity of climate) – from greenhouse gas emissions.

    There are solutions that don’t involve root and branch changes in economic systems – but these seem hardly on the radar of the left for reasons that seem ideologically based. It seems to me that the climate war is not an issue of science essentially – but a battle between the ideology of limits to growth and the humanitarian necessity of increasing food and energy supplies by 3%/year for the rest of the century.

  60. “If we go into a prolonged cool period, as I posted recently, then the AGW scare will subside more rapidly. But I would expect to see some of the current scaremongers switch to the new scare, missing scarcely a beat.”

    The notion that “they” can come up with a new beliefs, is something I worry a bit about. It’s much better when they were Christians- somewhat predictable and calmer beliefs.
    But I also believe that much of this “nonsense” is consequence of the Cold War- and as that “Terror” fades in time, we could enter a golden age of reason [and then hit the Singularity- and who knows what:)].

  61. If this blog was balanced, we would see a counterpoint essay given equal prominence. Such an essay would not just be the scientific basis for AGW, which goes like: the world is warming, data shows it is warming, science can explain why it is warming while fitting all the data, paleoclimatology supports the basic ideas, and science can therefore predict a future consequence for given scenarios.
    No, instead the essay would be on the growth of skepticism, which has many interesting facets and sub-cultures that have developed out of politics, fossil fuel lobbying, disbelief in basic physics, anti-(perceived)elitism, anti-government (perceived) plots for world control, perceived government-driven science, and is pushed forwards by the new phenomenon of blogosphere echochambers that can disseminate non-expert non-facts faster than they can be corrected. I think that essay would be very interesting, but somehow I don’t expect to see it here. I would certainly be glad to be surprised, however.

    • Jim, may I suggest you write it.
      You also might want to check the Talking past each other thread or Risk Perception thread in case you missed them. Hoffman’s been doing a lot on the Cultural Values of skeptics and how to talk to them as of late.

      • That is part of the point. To write something properly for a blog should take careful research of the facts and the history that can back up any sentence you put down. This does not happen enough, and I don’t plan to go into skeptic psychology/sociology as an expert subject area, so I would not post at length on things I am not qualified to, but that does not stop some people. I tend to post on science which does have clear answers and good places to access correct facts, and which is therefore much easier for me. But here I only wanted to point out an imbalance of views, highlighted by the one-sidedness of the original posting, and it seems the author is not aware that the other side is the skeptic (to use the poor traditional word for it) universe.

    • Instead we get the inability to process peer reviewed science that doesn’t accord with millennialist pre-dispositions, the true believer champion of scientific enlightenment battling the anti-science minions of the dark, the conspiracy of the libertarian and business versus the rational thought and action of the individual liberal, the idea of humanity as peak predator, pest or plague, odd notions of limits to growth based on a chessboard and grain, destructive theories of economics and society, the urge to control which is indistinguishable from the urge to power, the certainty and the simple minded faith in their facts, the smug and arrogant assumption of moral and intellectual superiority, groupthink, confirmation bias and ‘cognitive incompetence.’

      I don’t expect you to change – but you must agree that this is a culture war for the future of the planet and it’s by and large impoverished peoples. You should be on notice that:

      1. Natural climate variability – which happens according to the Royal Society because climate is an example of a chaotic system – makes mock of your simple and dangerously misguided ideas.

      2. Battle is joined and you have absolutely no way of prevailing against the tide of humanity. We offer low taxes, personal freedom, scientific progress and economic growth. You offer the bitter taste of fear.

      • Chief –
        Well said. Thank you.

      • Leaving aside those who don’t believe or understand how CO2 can do anything, there are those who have a hoped-for, but to-be-named-later, negative feedback effect. It is not science, but just hope (or maybe hype) until someone puts it in a credible theory that can also explain why paleoclimate shows such warm temperatures despite such negative feedbacks.

      • Jim,

        The planet appears to be not warming for another decade or 3 – the major recent changes seem to occur in the SW –

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822

        Attributing cause in paleoclimatic data is fraught with the same difficulties as modern data – just many times greater uncertainty. One of the things we know next to nothing about is how albedo changed. Albedo can change by about 0.25 – or about 85 W/m2 – blue green planet to snowball Earth.

        Climate is a dynamically complex system – it evolves in space and time and has control variables and multiple feedbacks. The feedbacks include ice, cloud, vegetation, thermohaline circulation, dust, phytoplankton.

        You put up an absurd straw man and then answer your own silly question with nonsense. Your problem is in thinking in one dimension – you just end up with a pointy head.

        Cheers

      • What you call a strawman is positive climate forcing. You answer with a list of natural variability items that have not in the past added to even a half degree when averaged over a decade, but you seem to hope for no good reason that they will do so in the future decades leading up to 2100, and in the negative direction when they can be equally positive. I would be very skeptical of such an idea for the obvious reason that it looks unlikely based on the historical record. How can anyone credibly rely on that as the future antidote to forcing?

      • Because ENSO is involved – on monthly temps the changes can be a degree or more in a few years. The multi-decadal changes phase change happened in 1976/1977 and 1998/2001. About half of the recent temperature change occurred in those periods – nothing to do with CO2 at all. And I remind you that my ‘list’ is of quotes mostly peer reviewed and authoritative sources – although I did include realclimate.

        The changes involve cloud radiative forcing – and from the ERBE, AIRS and ISCCP data as well as surface COAD observations – it would seem that cloud cover change accounted for the rest of the recent warming. The influence was to higher temps between 1976 and 1998 and cooler since – again nothing to do with CO2. My peer reviewed list suggests that the planet is not warming for another decade or 3. We are in a cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation – a term that is not used in the 4AR but is fundamental to decadal climate variability. Another decade or three of no warming will inform the public will.

        Beyond that climate is fundamentally unpredictable. ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

        You ignore the science that doesn’t fit preconceptions and invent a narrative to suit your purpose. I am not sure what your purpose is – I keep saying that there are other reasons to take pragmatic and practical action and your mistake is counter productive. Get over your delusion or not – it might just be too difficult for your pointy head.

        .

      • Given that we are 0.5 C warmer in the 2000’s than in the 1970’s (I only consider decadal averages for climate), I would not conclude that this is due to cloud cover or ocean variability, which you seem to want to imply, and you can’t account for more than a couple of tenths by stretching these ideas. Also those reverse themselves within decades, while CO2 doesn’t. If we are looking at long-term trends, CO2 is it, past and future plus some unpredictable solar variability that can’t offset much of the forcing. Yes, I agree that the ocean is chaotic, and as a result you would have to admit it has no regular cycles, but looking carefully at the scale on those famous 120-year detrended plots, you see it is only 0.2 C(!). Even Lindzen would laugh at that being the thickness of his lines the way he likes to plot temperature variation. You would see why I think it is stretching it to say this has any impact on climate change, because it is an order of magnitude less than even a weak-feedback CO2 response.

      • You haven’t read or perhaps haven’t understood any of the peer reviewed links and quotes I provided – or you would not be quite so certain.

        You invent an incoherent narrative. The ocean is chaotic? It is a chaotic system in the terms of chaos theory – and we have not cycles but chaotic bifurcation. We are in a cool mode of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – a term not mentioned in the AR4. Something to do with solar variability? If you look at the papers on UV variability – you will see there is complexity
        and variability everywhere.

        It is not due to clouds in the Pacific – which are observed form the surface and satellites.

        The planet is not cooling for another decade or 3 according to peer reviewed studies? You wish – which is a problem in itself.

      • randomengineer

        What you call a strawman is positive climate forcing.

        Jim, I submit that there is no forcing worthy of worry. What you have is observations and no understanding of relationships, so the concept of forcing is conjured up as a way to fit what few facts exist. The fascinating thing about forcings is that these are by definition closed system loops, and the edifice of dangerous AGW presumes man can alter one (or more) of these as part of the loop.

        I rather admire Svensmark’s work vector in that he postulates factors that effect the system but are in fact not a human controllable loop. This to me is intuituively correct — determine what all the factors are before conjuring up loops.

        Children watching a computer stop working could easily envision a notion that says that computers operate on smoke, since if one of the chips loses its smoke, the computer stops working. In the child’s mind s/he envisions a complex system of tubes and feedbacks and all manner of rube goldberg control gizmos, all of which are designed to control the substance that operates the computer. Clever children will invariably notice that some chips run hot — by golly they could lose their smoke! — and offer to beat up other kids for their lunch money so as to create temp control sinks. “Smokers” do not need to imagine their paradigm could be incorrect and the computer operates much differently than what they believe, that the operational elixer is electricity and not smoke.

        Svensmark and his fellow travelers investigating phenomenae outside the system are to be praised. They aren’t the types to imagine that the climate runs on a closed loop of smoke.

      • What factors do you suggest control the climate, if not the atmospheric composition? Doesn’t that account for the 33 C difference between the surface temperature we have, and that we would have with no GHGs. I would suggest that it is a primary factor along with solar strength and surface albedo, and it is the one that has been and will be changing predictably. You have to start with the big picture.

      • randomengineer

        Jim, I have no problem with the GHGs nor various musings regarding the fundamentals of anthropogenic alterations of the climate. Man changes his environment and this by definition will impact the climate. e.g. Deforestation (destruction of carbon sinks) as I see it probably plays a larger role in the big picture than mere SUV emissions. Rising CO2 correlates better to land clearing than automobiles.

        I am speaking solely about “forcings” which are attempts at explaining the workings of the atmosphere and not a gas column. It’s curious that there were a number of these conjured up long before Svensmark showed that the magnetosphere of the solar system seems to have more of an effect than imaginary forcings.

        As a lukewarmer my position is and has been to get a really good handle on the science first and then let the electorate decide policy after, and right now there are (via forcings and such) any number of people claiming to know the science well enough (despite missing Svensmark’s data!) and understand these imaginary forcings. They then try to invoke these to clobber the electorate with a club.

        GHG — yes
        AGW — yes, some.
        Full enough understanding to panic — no.

        My interest here is the dismantling of the club. What I’d like to see is some acknowledgement that we don’t have a handle on the climate well enough to show how things work. We invent forcings in lieu of data. I want to hear people admit that forcings are an invention, not empirical data.

      • That’s the difference. You assert “AGW – yes, some”. This is very vague, but I suspect you are not in the 2-4.5 C range for doubling CO2, which has backing in physics and paleoclimate, so your assertion is just that. Yes, there could be other random factors unrelated to CO2, but none have shown up as important in recent history while we have good measurements, so this is just speculation and not worthy of assertion.

      • We offer low taxes, personal freedom, scientific progress and economic growth. You offer the bitter taste of fear.

        Ah yes. Amazingly enough – you offer only good, while “we” offer only bad.

        Let’s take low taxes – clearly an unmitigated good, right? Well, as long as we ignore respective levels of economic growth during periods of low and high taxes in the U.S. And of course, let’s also ignore that polls show that that “tide of humanity” in the U.S. also favor higher taxes (on the rich) so as to preserve the social services that “you” feel are a worthwhile sacrifice.

        You really should stick to the science, Chief. Your political analysis is no better nor worse than that of anyone else here – but when you stagger into that arena you lower the high batting average you establish with your scientific contributions.

    • JimD,
      You mean like the balance over at Real Climate or Climate Progress?
      Believers depend on insulting the intelligence of skeptics to succeed.

  62. More Emerson today:

    These appearances indicate the fact that the universe is represented in every one of its particles. Every thing in nature contains all the powers of nature.

    Experienced men of the world know very well that it is best to pay scot and lot as they go along, and that a man often pays dear for a small frugality.

    How strange that modern environmentalist man desires so ardently to gain back control over his own circumstances, in one area – to grow his own grain and vegetables, free of fertilizer, for example, but yet unhesitantly cedes control over something so much more fundamental, in another area – i.e., over his overall fuel metabolism.

    For instance, the modern ‘mom’ desires and achieves control over so many of her environmental variables – what allergens her children will be exposed to, what epitopes their immune systems will react to, what fragrances her family will encounter at home. Her kitchen supplies have detailed listings of chemical ingredients. If she so desires, she can exclude the glutamates, the aspartames, the fructoses, an the polyunsaturated fatty acids. More information! She demands more information from companies, spreads her dislike by word-of-mouth.

    But she will freely cede all control over selected substances in her environment to faceless transnational corporations and government entities. ‘I’ll kill the weeds in my garden, with my organic pesticide, but you can control the constitution of the air I breathe. My garden is mine, the world outside, not.

    ‘Ma’am, you have to fill out this form and return it in three days. Your carbon credit swipe card will arrive within two weeks’ Ok. Two months later. ‘Ma’am. i’m afraid you’ll have to call us back with your carbon card number again. We are busy at this time, but your case number is logged on to the system queue’. Ok.

    In pre-independence India, the British exercised a monopoly over common salt production. The salt tax formed 8% of total British revenue. It is said that that a tax on salt formed more than half of the empire’s revenues in ancient China. A ‘tax’ on any chemical substance that cuts so close to the very bone of life, is no ‘tax’, it is clearly a shackles. Said MK Gandhi: “Next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life”. We should say: “Next to water and salt, air is perhaps the greatest neccesity of life”.

    Yet, it is the very environmentalists, who ought to tell us of the inter-connectedness of life’s chemical equations who lead us down the path of a ‘Carbon Tax’! How?

    As sure as the circle closes, and as Chrisopher Hitchens notes, radical environmental ‘leftists’, libertarians, and anarchists will find themselves running in parallel, toward the same goals, each asking the other: “What are you doing here?” That is because there are enough scribblers and hacks – give them a sum and they will do the math, draw the graph, write the equation, forge the keys and hand them over to the governor. An ammonia tax? Here is the model. A methane tax? Here is the table of the required cow cull figures, required to save Western civilization. Too many people on earth? Why not infect them with the Kirilov virus?

    Of what use is skepticism if it doesn’t inform the larger worldview? Skepticism is the ability to withold one’s final judgement the longest, even as evidence accumulates, one way or the other. The great Carl Sagan is attributed a quote: “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” Well, that is a problem with small minds, isn’t it? As soon as they open up just a bit, the brain tends to fall out, and so they must suppose it to be, with everyone else. ‘Lukewarmers’? Why do the lukewarmers’ skepticism and natural curiosity fail to inform their politics? The ‘climate sensitivity’ falls in the middle of the scale precisely in the eyes of those who wish to ‘separate the science from the politics’.

    Lukewarmer? ‘We are ready to bend over, as long as it doesn’t hurt’.

    So, how did we get here? No one group is more equipped to think about ‘everything’ than the others, let alone being entitled to do so. If environmentalists are trained to sniff for the ecologic consequenes of unintended large-scale human actions, why are they so afflicted with blindness to the large-scale consequences of intended human regulation? The coal-burners don’t wish to ‘pollute our atmosphere’, but the environmentalists wish to ‘clean our air’. Both stand at the same level of evolution. Both cause system-wide perturbations-one makes money in his bank account, the other drapes oneself in the rich robes of moral purity.

  63. With all due respect to Don Aitkin I’m not sure I follow his advice on AGW not really being a problem and that its all down to a “decline of organised religion”, “the waning power of materialism” , “falling trade union membership”, “greater permissiveness in all matters sexual” etc.

    These may be interesting topics in their own right but are they really relevant to the fundamental question of what will happen to the climate if CO2 atmospheric concentrations, and other GH gases, are allowed to increase out of all control?

    Where does Judith Curry get these people from? Surely she can line up more informed authors than this?

    • Having consulted Tim Palmer’s Lorenzian Meteorological Office. ‘The fundamental question of what will happen to the climate if CO2 atmospheric concentrations, and other GH gases, are allowed to increase out of all control’ – is not answerable with any certainty.

      ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

      Most people misunderstand essential elements of climate science. That hardly matters. What matters is if science is misrepresented to serve a revolutionary political and economic agenda. By all means – let’s address the greenhouse gas emissions in multiple ways and with multiple, including humanitarian, objectives.

      • But not lose sight of the critical humanitarian goal of increasing food and energy supplies by 3% per year for the rest of the decade. This will indeed require cheaper energy than possible even than coal.

      • tempterrain

        Never mind the rest of the decade, what about the rest of the century?
        A growth rate of 3% equates to a doubling every 23.3 years. So, in 23.3+23.3+23.3 = 70 years, or before the end of the century, this means a factor of 8 increase in energy. Achieving that without a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions is the challenge.

        Before anyone uses the name Malthus they might just like to check out my arithmetic on their calculator.

      • Latimer Alder

        Yep. Your sum is right.

        Given the basic limits of physics,any suggestions on how you propose we achieve this?

      • Yes I did mean the rest of the century – and your math is about right.

        How to do it? Hmmm.

      • tempterrain

        Never mind the rest of the decade, what about the rest of the century?
        A growth rate of 3% equates to a doubling every 23.3 years. So, in 23.3+23.3+23.3 = 70 years, or before the end of the century, this means a factor of 8 increase in energy. Achieving that without a corresponding increase in CO2 emissions is the challenge.

        Let me point out some basic flaws in your impending doomsday scenario.

        First of all, population has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% from 1960 to 2000. Over essentially this same period (1958 to 2000) atmospheric CO2 concentration grew at a CAGR of around 0.4% per year.

        The UN projects that human population growth will slow down dramatically over the 21st century to 0.3% CAGR, levelling off at around 9 billion toward the end of the century.

        If we assume that, despite this dramatic decrease in population growth, atmospheric CO2 will grow at essentially the same exponential rate as it has in the past (0.44% per year), we would arrive at a year 2100 level of 580 ppmv in the atmosphere (IPCC Scenario B1).

        Using the model-estimated IPCC 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C on average (incl. all feedbacks) this gives us a temperature increase of 1.8°C.

        IPCC further tells us that freezing atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 2000 levels would result in warming to year 2100 of 0.6°C.

        This tells us that the net mitigating impact on year 2100 global temperature of shutting down the world’s carbon economies in 2000 would be 1.8 – 0.6 = 1.2°C.

        That’s the upper limit of what we can get from “GHG mitigation”, tempterrain.

        And that estimate is based on IPCC assumptions on 2xCO2 climate sensitivity impact, which appear exaggerated in view of the actual past records of CO2 and temperature (around 0.7°C total observed warming with CO2 increasing from 280 to 390 ppmv), so the warming we can actually avert through CO2 mitigation is most likely only a fraction of this number.

        Max

      • Max,

        You are making the common mistake of confusing atmospheric CO2 concentrations with yearly emissions.

        These emissions rose by a factor of about 9 in the last 70 years which is consistent with just 2-3% annual increase.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emissions.svg

        And of course they will again in the next 70 years unless we get a grip on the problem.

      • Hey – Max – this is me remember. Since when does increasing food and energy by 3% a year become a disaster scenario. It is about what is required to cater for population growth and bring everyone to a reasonable level of development. This is really a quite important point – so.

        Changing the trajectory of population growth – through economic growth, health, education etc. 8 billion instead of 9 is possible.

        Second – we can do a hell of a lot better with conservation and restoration of ecosystems, restore soil carbon in agricultural soils and reduce black carbon and tropospheric ozone. Much, much better than anything that could practically be done with restricting carbon based energy.

        Third – we need technological innovation because nothing we have now meet the needs of people this century.

        It is not the typical mitigation scenario – all of which is nonsense because there is no simple cause and effect in a chaotic spatio-temporal climate system. It is more about heuristic policy evolution than taxes on CO2 as such.

  64. David L. Hagen

    tempterrain

    are they really relevant to the fundamental question of what will happen to the climate if CO2 . . .re allowed to increase out of all control?

    Yes, most definitely. This is a major cultural/emotional issue in addition to trying to sift out the science, such as the impact of CO2 being not linear but logarithmic. Don addresses the cultural motives for those who insist that we need to go to panic stations, versus others who see many other issues as having greater humanitarian priority.

    • David L Hagen,

      There are many engineering types on this blog who proclaim the superiority of engineering over science. However, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t engineering types supposed to be more conservative than most? As I remember from old Star Trek episodes, Scotty’s catch phrase was “But the engines just won’t take it captain!”. Of course the scriptwriters saw to it that the engines would just about take it.

      Meanwhile back on Earth now we have world scientists saying “But the climate just won’t take it, captain!”
      I hope the captain isn’t thinking “lets just stick at Warp factor 5. We’ll all be OK if we can just get Church attendance up a bit. Those extra few prayers might just make all the difference.”

      • The problem is the certainty which is misplaced, wild ambitions to change the nature of political and economic systems based on unsubstantiated claims of climate catastrophe and the refusal to countenance real and pragmatic solutions in a capitalist and democratic framework. If we can get past that – we may be all right.

        We do not all – and I think we could bring most sceptics over to practical solutions that alarmists almost always ignore – refuse to take prudent action. The pragmatic and practical solutions include conserving and restoring ecosystems – offset 25% or more of total global emissions. Restore carbon in agricultural soils – 20% of Australia’s emissions for 40 years. Reduce black carbon and tropospheric ozone – 40% and 10% of the radiative problem respectively – especially important in the Arctic. Providing safe water and sanitation, open markets, models of corporate governance and prudential oversight (from those economies that survived the GFC intact), ensuing to health services and education. The cost? About 0.7% of GDP – as agreed to by most developed countries in the Millennium Development Goals. These latter measures not only increase human dignity, wealth and resilience but reduce population growth.

        I’m not sure what you would advise – but hope it goes beyond an odd metaphor of climate scientists as warp drive engineers. Oh – and spasms of moral superiority over the almost universal impulse to religion from a secular humanist perspective is not terribly attractive or clever.

      • tempterrain

        “We do not all – and I think we could bring most sceptics over to practical solutions that alarmists almost always ignore – refuse to take prudent action.”

        Are you serious? “most sceptics” would countenance nothing of the sort. Even the argument that the USA, and Europe needs to become less reliant on Middle eastern oil seems to fall on deaf ears. Or, if they do take it up, they talk enthusiastically of developing oil from dirty sources of tar sands and shale, and how oil is of abiotic origin and constantly replenished in the Earth’s core.

        Never get between a dog and his bone, or between a climate change denier and his 4×4 !

      • Latimer Alder

        Since you are talking to a fair bunch of sceptics on this blog, how do you know what we think on these matters? AFAIK they have never been raised here.

      • There are lots of mad theories out there – abiotic oil is not one I am familiar with. But the sort of practical and pragmatic actions I am talking about don’t include taxing the SUV in any serious way There is a bit of a list above? With a few loose numbers taken from various places?

        It would include lifting energy R&D far beyond its current level as Bjorn Lomberg has been advocating for it seems like a millennia.

      • Peter Martin;
        You’re getting more arrogant and ignorant by the post. Prudence does not entail trashing the economy on the faint chance that a low-probability outcome of a weakly hypothesized causal chain will be negative in its effects this time, despite having been positive throughout history and pre-history.

        What that is, is special pleading for a handover of immense treasure and power to those whose claim to it is non-existent.

      • Your ability to pack such a large number of delusions into such a small space is really quite striking. Have you considered a career in radio?

        Notable denier memes invoked (by not supported) by Brian:

        *Mitigating climate change will “trash the economy.” Purely a faith-based, alarmist position.
        *Harm from climate change is a “low-probability outcome.” Again, a purely faith-based idea, this time characterized by wildly wishful thinking instead of convenient pessimism.
        *”a weakly hypothesized causal chain” This alludes to the denier’s belief that if they maintain ignorance of the science, that the science thereby ceases to exist; that the physics don’t work on us unless we believe in them.
        *”[D]espite having been positive throughout history and pre-history.” Alludes to the faith-based claim that warming is good for humans. Too simplistic to even be wrong, no evidence is provided, natch.
        *”[A] handover of immense treasure and power.” Invokes the denier’s paranoid belief that invisible forces have somehow magically faked the science in order to do what all politicians want to do — raise taxes (which in the conservative/libertarian religion, is the most evil thing ever.) The fact that we have the lowest tax rates in the last sixty years as a result of politicians repeatedly lowering taxes, even in the face of the record-high deficits we have as a result, is just one more uncomfortable reality the denier pushes out of his mind.

        Really, you could sticky this comment to every thread and ban half the deniers here and not lose a thing.

      • tempterrain,
        You have demonstrated no ability to understand skeptics before, and this post of yours continues that tradition.

      • David L. Hagen

        tempterrain

        Even the argument that the USA, and Europe needs to become less reliant on Middle eastern oil seems to fall on deaf ears.

        Primarily because the likes of you have been focusing all public attention on a minor climatic hiccup and claiming portends the end of the world.
        When economies decline directly in proportion to available transport fuels, that will concentrate attention. Many like Robert L. Hirsch are
        working to raise public awareness. See:
        The Impending World Energy Mess
        See ASPO Conferences in 2011 and 2010. See also The Oil Drum.com
        It would help if you also focus on what is our current rapidly developing catestrophe rather than possible balmy weather in the dim future with improved plant growth.

        There are numerous of us engineers on developing new/alternative fuels rather than castigating the fuels critical to your public speech as “dirty”.

        See Tad Patzek, “Exponential growth, energetic Hubbert cycles, and the advancement of technology”
        Archives of Mining Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2008
        Especially Fig. 13 for a multi-cycle Hubbert analysis of US oil production.
        See Fig 7. World oil use grew 6.6%/year from 1880 to 1970.
        See Fig. 11 US oil use grew 9%/year from 1880 to 1940.
        Now China has been growing at 9%/year.

        Engineers build on facts and proven models. Much of the current alarmism is based on wishful hockey stick projections that don’t stand up to scrutiny.
        The foundational solution to our fuel needs is making solar thermochemical fuels cheaper than petroleum.

      • David,

        Thanks for the “Impending…” reference.

      • tempterrain

        I would suggest that my comments on church attendance aren’t so much anti-religious as anti-idiot.

        By all means go into a church and pray for world peace, or whatever you like, should you feel the need, but the argument that governmental policy worldwide, on the AGW issue, should take into account such issues as church attendance or membership of trade unions is somewhat risible. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • Just so you know that Mama don’t like bad mouthin’ baby Jesus.

        I think that Don was suggesting that both materialism and religion was supplanted to a degree by environmentalism. The religious impulse directed to nature rather than a cathedral. I myself am a Slyvan Fundamentalist. We dance naked in forests and hug trees. Splinters are a problem.

      • Only if you’re taking an axe to said trees first. Not even the most aroused hugs will generate splinters.

      • Almost made a joke about the size of axes – but will refrain.

      • David L. Hagen

        Which will it be?

        4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
        or you yourself will be just like him.
        5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
        or he will be wise in his own eyes.

        Proverbs 26:4-5
        Are you teachable or not?

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘However, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t engineering types supposed to be more conservative than most?’

        Like the engineers who build bridges ten times stronger than they need be ‘just in case’? Who worry about the 1 in a million chance that something may go drastically wrong and take precautions against it? Who go out and test the theories to make sure that they really reflect the real world? And who put their professional judgement on the line every time they create something? If it stays together and works..fine. if it doesn’t, then the engineer;s name is mud…and he may also be in court om serious charges.

        Seems to me that the engineers are the guys to trust, not the noisy but slapdash climatologists.

  65. “…how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world.”

    I read your essay with interest. After reading your bio in the “denizens” page, I was expecting a tour de force. 2,500 words and not one citation or reference to any literature a reader can go to and explore further to see if you know what you’re talking about or are just good with words. In other words, not very scholarly. So this is an opinion piece and not one that would get a good grade in an undergraduate social science course.

    For an article purporting to uncover “…how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world” I note that there is absolutely no discussion of scientific theory, methods or scientific evidence. You’ve thrown in every social political and economic phenomenon but have not offered any analysis of the science or physical evidence, as if they have no bearing on why AGW is so dominant.

    Instead of doing a proper job, starting with the physics and chemistry and biology and geology and evidence and then predicting what might happen if there was a significant rise in atmospheric CO2 and other GHGs, comparing predictions to what has actually happened with climate, there is not much here except the musings of a retired professor who can’t be bothered to provide any evidence or support for his personal opinions. What we have here is a retired history PhD who feels quite comfortable with his own opinion that he feels comfortable writing off an entire field and its findings with a wave of a hand.

    Breathtaking.

    • Susan,
      from “…how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world.” you thought you were going to get physics and biology from a history expert?

      Your’e fast and easy with the misplaced put-downs but you really don’t clue-in easily to what you are reading, do you?

      • I would expect an expert in history to recognize that perhaps he’s out of his domain. Feynman wrote that “a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.” I’d revise that to this: “a non-scientist looking at scientific problems is just as dumb as the next non-scientist.”

        I was just, well, let down that there was nothing substantial here. Just more of the same contrarian imaginings — writing off the dominance of AGW as a “scare”, the product of non-science forces rather than the result of a century of physical theory and decades of empirical research.

      • OTOH, I would expect a historian to be somewhat of an expert on those who have a propensity to re-write history.

      • Susan, yours is the obvious alternative explanation, namely that AGW is dominant because it is sound science. I believe there is a history book to that effect, called The Discovery of Global Warming or some such. Those of us who do not believe that AGW is sound science (and can say why) are not persuaded by that explanation.

        Based on his bio Don is a political scientist and an expert in science policy, not history. I too do science policy research. One of the central issues in science policy is how to avoid throwing money at scientific fads, to the exclusion of alternative lines of research. This is a recurring problem in science, which is just as subject to bandwagon effects as any human endeavor.

        But the AGW case is unique in that an entire field has been captured by a policy bandwagon, exemplified by the 1992 UNFCCC. Understanding how this happened is extremely important. For example, It is my understanding that Al Gore played a major role in staffing the climate change program offices at the science funding agencies. But that is all I know about it. It would make a good science policy research project.

      • Based on his bio Don is a political scientist and an expert in science policy, not history. I too do science policy research. One of the central issues in science policy is how to avoid throwing money at scientific fads, to the exclusion of alternative lines of research. This is a recurring problem in science, which is just as subject to bandwagon effects as any human endeavor.

        I read your resume — interesting. You certainly have years of experience consulting with the electrical energy (coal) industry.

      • I read your resume — interesting. You certainly have years of experience consulting with the electrical energy (coal) industry.

        The last refuge of a Believer whose dogma has been proven false.

    • Rehashing the simple aspects of climate science – serves no purpose. We are all aware of the basics. There are a range of more complex issues which confound a simple narrative.

      I quoted Tim Palmer above – last time I looked he was head of the European centre for mid range forecasting.

      ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

      I quote half a dozen studies here –

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822

      The ‘entire field’ is not dismissed but is evolving beyond the simple and the obvious. There are some threshold concepts here that you need to understand to any real comprehension of the ‘entire field’. I suggest you go away and try to integrate these new concepts into your thinking – or not. It may be a little too difficult for you. Perhaps it is that you are just good at words.

    • So Susan. Why don’t you have a go at answering the key questions that us skeptics are concerned about?

      1. Can you show us the evidence/proof that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing potentially catastrophic global warming.

      2. Assuming that we agree to accept the presentations showing increasing warming (I don’t by the way, but that is a different discussion), are you sure that you can provide evidence that that warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions rather than natural causes or land-use factors as argued by Roger Pielke Sr.

      3. Assuming that CO2 is demonstrated to be the terrible problem that you clearly think it is, can you demonstrate how action taken by Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ will make the slightest difference?

      Seriously interested in your responses.

      • Why don’t you have a go at answering the key questions that us skeptics are concerned about?

        Maybe because they’ve been repeatedly answered for you, and you always manage to ignore or dismiss the evidence, and belittle the science that shows it to you? Just a guess.

        1. Read the peer-reviewed science. It’s all over the web.

        2a. “Assuming that we agree to accept the presentations showing increasing warming (I don’t by the way, but that is a different discussion)”

        No one cares if you accept or don’t accept science you know nothing about.

        2b. “are you sure that you can provide evidence that that warming is caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions rather than natural causes”

        Proven in the literature over and over. Do a Google search.

        2c. “land-use factors”

        Land use is an aspect of AGW, but CO2 is a larger influence. Land-use decisions can mitigate or accelerate global warming.

        3. “can you demonstrate how action taken by Europe, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ will make the slightest difference?”

        Easily. Between them they account for about 40% of CO2 emissions. If they cut those emissions in half, the world will have 20% fewer emissions. That’s a difference.

        Of course Russians, Indians, and Chinese people have to live on this planet too, so there is no reason to assume we can’t negotiate treaties with those countries in which they agree to cut emissions as well. (Japan, for its part, has a much better record on these issues than does the West.) Each of those countries depends on markets in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and/or NZ, so we would have a significant amount of leverage to press for an agreement or greenhouse gases if we chose to use it.

      • Robert,
        Your answer is bs and you know it.

      • John Carpenter

        Robert,

        Remember that calculation we started (never finished) on the ‘futility’ thread? When can we get back to that? The one where we were estimating the cost/benefit of strong mitigation and its affect on temperature? I have left at the bottom of the thread where Fred Moolten and I were to pick it back up, however Fred has been a no show as well. I would love to finish it and get an answer, you still game?

      • The issue is not me and my opinion — it is the essay and its merits. I see none other than one man’s opinion piece. It’s heavy on assertion and light on any evidence to show how these social forces might be related to scientific opinion. I see no evidence provided to back up these huge claims about the decline in religion, the increase in women working, sexuality, technology… just about every social phenomenon that has taken place is thrown in to explain why AGW is the dominant theory of global warming.

        I might add to the Aitken mix the claim that the AGW “scare” is the result of the rise in Marvel Comics and the fictional superhero. After all, they occurred at the same time temporally – they must be causally connected! Think of it: scientists are geeky boys, for the most part. Young geeky boys have a real inferiority complex when compared to jocks in getting the girls. These young geeky boys read about superman and batman and the green hornet, who save the world from massive threats and get the girl, and so they believed that if they could save the world with science, they’d be more powerful. Thus, this cadre of geeky boys grown up into scientists created a false threat (CAGW) that they could save the rest of us from and get laid…

        It’s all hormones, not CO2!

        Yeah, that’s the ticket!

      • John Carpenter

        Susan, I think your on to something here. You’re assertion that male climate scientists all suffer from inferiority complexes would explain some of their behavior quite well. ;)

      • It’s all ultimately about sex. Everything. ;)

        All joking aside, there are many social phenomenon that, in the hands of a well-schooled social scientist trained in groundless speculation, can be shown to be related to any other thing but most of the correlations are spurious. You don’t need to point to evidence or show an underlying physical basis for your claims. You can just assert with impunity. You’re playing to your audience’s biases and they have no interest in exploring whether what you claim has any basis in reality or is just you blowing smoke.

      • Susan –

        Have you considered the possibility that the causal factor behind the increased “authority” of AGW “orthodoxy” could be the growth since 1950 in Somali pirate activity?

        Of course, that would seem to be in contrast to the proven connection between a drop in pirate activity overall and increases in global temperature.

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

      • Joshua –
        Have you considered the possibility that the causal factor behind the increased “authority” of AGW “orthodoxy” could be the growth since 1950 in Somali pirate activity?

        Of course, that would seem to be in contrast to the proven connection between a drop in pirate activity overall and increases in global temperature.

        I think the drop in Somali pirate activity might be more related to this :

        http://crispynuggets.com/comedy/ultimate-cruise-adventure-through-pirate-infested-somalia

        Or, more likely, this:

        http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2009/04/somali_pirates

      • Personally, I think it’s the rise of television sitcoms with well-intentioned but buffoonish fathers. Once the father is no longer head of the household and primary breadwinner, a figure of respect and natural authority, and women take their place?

        Ragnarok.

        After Ward Cleaver in the 50’s, which was when all this envirofascist CAGW stuff got popular, it’s been downhill. Now we have Homer and Peter Griffin as role models. Where can young men find their role models if the only men they see are nose-picking obese simpletons? Women lose all respect for men when they see fathers like those because, after all, the father is the stand-in for The Father. So they get jobs, get all uppity, don’t save themselves for their one true love after marriage and have promiscuous sex and there goes Western Civilization. People turn to pseudoreligions like CAGW which I like to call Cargo Cult Religions and thus they create CO2 as the Devil and look to the High Priests of the Religion of CAGW to intercede on their behalf…

        Yeah, it’s what I call the Homer Simpson theory of Global Warming Catastrophism.

      • Yes, Susan, as somebody mentioned elsewhere, our perceptions are often moulded by our personal experiences even if they turn out to provide rather a narrow view of the world. I hope you find peace.

      • No one has any doubt you are an avid television addict and that has shaped your life and style of communication – void of substance, and full of one-liners that are only funny if there is an accompanying laugh track.

        Clearly, you have an adolescent distain for History so your point has been made. Move on if you have nothing meaningful to say.

      • John Carpenter

        “It’s all ultimately about sex. Everything.”

        You have correctly reduced all of humanity to its most common denominator.

        As for the other part, I did not reveal which scientists I was referring to, did I?

        Do you have a lighter?

      • but you don’t have to be a social scientist to see that the great majority of this climate talk comes from the West, specifically Northern and more specifically Anglo-cultures, and even more specifically than that old-white guys(I said majority not all). What gives?

      • I just reject skepticalscience.com. Why be picky about particular pieces?

      • tempterrain

        You reject everything about skepticalscience.com.? Like you say there is no reason to be “picky”!
        So, you must be saying there is something in the satellite microwave transmission theory.
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/satellite-microwave-transmissions.htm

      • tempterrain –
        You reject everything about skepticalscience.com.? Like you say there is no reason to be “picky”!

        I reject the website – while there “may” be some information of value there, I won’t waste my time trying to find it by sorting through the trash.

      • tempterrain

        Jim Owen,

        John Cook does an excellent job at Skepticalscience, which is an excellent source of information on the climate problem. When people like Hunter issue a challenge to show them evidence for this, or that, I often just post up a skepticalscience link. It all there with just a click.

        Maybe you’ve just rejected the website because you don’t understand it? If so I’m happy to do what I can to help out.

        The thing you’ll notice about the consensus position is that there is a coherent view. You deniers don’t have anything like that. Some say the warming is due to the sun. Others say its down to Cosmic rays. Some say it isn’t even warming and that the UHI distorts the record. Some don’t even agree that the 40% increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times is the result of human activity. Some don’t even agree with the GH effect.

        By all means be skeptical, but at least present an alternative coherent theory which you can all agree on. Even the creationists can manage to do that!

      • By all means be skeptical, but at least present an alternative coherent theory which you can all agree on. Even the creationists can manage to do that!

        Not really. They’re fragmented, just like the deniers. You have your strict Creationists (6,000-year folks), your Intelligent Design “lukewarmers,” your guided evolution folks.

        People whose view of reality is determined but their own ideological comfort level will inevitably fragment as they reinvent reality according to their personal emotional needs.

      • All mankind is divided into two classes, those who don’t understand climate, and those who don’t understand that they don’t understand climate.
        ==============

      • tempterrain –
        Several months ago I expressed my opinion of the site and was challenged to find the errors in a specific page. I found 6 errors in the first paragraph. I was not challenged again.

        Recently David Wojick wrote a good summary of the site –
        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/01/making-the-lukewarmer-case/#comment-72464

        I’d suggest you read it.

        The thing you’ll notice about the consensus position is that there is a coherent view.

        Not only coherent, but monolithic, monotonic and without error or uncertainty. Which is not science.

        Learn what science is – then come back.

        Clue – science without uncertainty is not science. Science without observational confirmation is not science. Settled science is not science. Science without skepticism is not science.

        Finally – the function of a skeptic is NOT to present alternate hypotheses – it is to point out the errors, inconsistencies and/or lack of completeness of the prevailing theory. Are all the skeptical ideas you listed “science”? No. Some of them are “opinion”, some are speculation, a few are foolishness. But some of them are, some of them are being investigated – by skeptical scientists – or by scientists who are not skeptical – take your pick. And some of them should be investigated. Which is precisely what the “consensus” should have done long ago, but didn’t. It’s your problem that you lump them all together and dismiss them on that (or any other) basis. That’s not science, either.

        One example – Solar influence is gradually being recognized as more than an insignificant effect. I’ve been told that it’s been recognized for years. Horse puckey – I’ve been around longer than that and I know what the story was 10 years ago.

        BTW – I said before that you know nothing about religion and certainly nothing about creationism. Your last sentence confirms that. If you talk about religion, you should learn something about it before opening your mouth cause that last sentence makes you look awfully foolish. And it engenders zero confidence that you know anything about GW either.

        Again – a clue – How many varieties of creationism are there? And what are the distinctions? The number is not unity.

        No, I’m not – but I know enough to not make foolish statements on the subject.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘When people like Hunter issue a challenge to show them evidence for this, or that, I often just post up a skepticalscience link. It all there with just a click’

        And being a sceptical sort of guy I tend to think that anybody who unquestioningly and unthinkingly relies on another website to explain something that they themsleves do not understand is no different from a True Believer who just points to Chapter and Verse in the bible or koran or The Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. And believes that is so doing they have said the last possible word on the topic.

        ‘Because It Is Written…….’

        It doesn’t show that the pointer has a deep understanding…just that they are very gullible

        PS Is SS peer-reviewed? :-)

    • Susan,
      And here I thought your reply would be relevant to the topic of the post.

  66. 1. “But I plug along, reading, thinking and writing, inspecting new argument and evidence, prepared to be shown strong evidence that AGW is really real ….”

    What is not real about the warming influence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? What is not real about man’s activities adding to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

    2. “When I began as an undergraduate in 1954, less than 2 per cent of my age-group went on to post-secondary education.”

    I’m guessing you are over 70 years of age. I have read that people who doubt AGW are as a group older than people who don’t doubt it. Have you any thoughts on why being older might affect how AGW is regarded?

    3. “If we go into a prolonged cool period, as I posted recently, then the AGW scare will subside more rapidly.”

    I accept the evidence AGW is real, but I’m too old to be scared about it at my age. if we don’t go into a prolonged cooling period, and the warming trend continues, do you think people would be motivated to do anything about the warming unless it was causing an immediate problem for them?

    4. “Australia may be three times wealthier, but it is plainly not three times happier.”

    Those opposed to undertaking steps to curb AGW and pollution in general say such actions will be costly, and therefore reduce our standard of living. If that’s true, do you think paying those costs will make us less happy?

    5. “retail therapy is finally unsatisfying”

    That’s catchy. I like it. I’m reminded of a couple of people I know, but I’m not sure they have discovered it’s “finally unsatisfying”

    • M. carey

      “Australia may be three times wealthier, but it is plainly not three times happier.”

      Those opposed to undertaking steps to curb AGW and pollution in general say such actions will be costly, and therefore reduce our standard of living. If that’s true, do you think paying those costs will make us less happy?

      Try a little common-sense psychology here, M. carey.

      The things you don’t have (and never had) do not necessarily make you “unhappy”

      The things you have don’t necessarily make you “happy”.

      But, in almost all cases, the things you once had but no longer have because they have been taken away from you do make you “unhappy”.

      Think about it a bit.

      Max

      • Happiness is a state of mind which comes not from getting what you want, but from wanting what you’ve got.
        If you accept that then you’ll also have to accept that Max is 100% right that losing what you’ve got makes you unhappy.

      • manacker , I wish you hadn’t brought that up. You got me pining for some lead paint chips and second-hand smoke.

      • And don’t forget those incandescent lightbulbs.

        Whenever I felt sad, I’d just fire one of those babies up.

      • M. carey

        Go for it, if it makes you happy.

        As the French say, “chacun à son gout”.

        Max

    • What is not real about pi**ing in the ocean?

    • randomengineer

      I have read that people who doubt AGW are as a group older than people who don’t doubt it. Have you any thoughts on why being older might affect how AGW is regarded?

      I ain’t Aitkin, but there’s a simple enough answer, which isn’t the “you haven’t been keeping up, you fossil” your sneering tone implies.

      For decades we have been screeched at. Coffee is bad for you. Oh wait; no, it’s good for you. Eggs are full of cholesterol and bad for you. Oh wait, they’re good for you. Carbs are good. Oh wait, they’re bad. Stomach ulcers are the result of stress. Oh wait, it’s H Pylori. Never mind. Acid rain’s gonna get us. Oh wait, maybe not. Your fridge is causing a hole in the ozone. Whoops. Guess not.

      Next scare du jour?

      Global warming’s gonna make us fry.

      Been there done that. Got the coffee mug. In the experience of those of us who ain’t 25, in all likelihood this scare will hit the bitbucket just as every other scare has done.

      I think the upcoming scare is “living by powerlines variant #12” i.e. cell phones melt your brain, let’s ban them — oh cool better yet let’s tax the snot out of them! We await with bated breath. Or not. After a while all of this luddite nonense gets old (like Aitkin) and boring (like you.)

      • Some other scares are:

        Sugar will rot your teeth.

        Ingesting lead is not good for your brain.

        Asbestos is bad for your lungs.

        Alcohol can damage your liver.

        Smoking is bad for your heath.

        Second-hand smoke is bad for your health.

        Undercooking beef can expose you to infection.

        Eating raw eggs can make you sick.

        Eating raw oysters and raw clams can make you sick.

        Not wearing a seat belt can be harmful.

      • Going outside must be a problem for you. Science tells us all these things are unsafe yet some of us get along fine. There was a Jehovas Witness here last week he was afraid for everyone too. Deja vu

      • randomengineer

        Another explanation is that with age comes wisdom…

        Max

    • Have you any thoughts on why being older might affect how AGW is regarded?

      The young, by circumstance of age, is less independent and has intense instinctive interest to belong to the group. As a result, the young easily accepts the current fad and the current dominant ideology. The older one is more independent and has more life experience. As a result, the old is affected less by current fads and ideologies. The young is very easy to brainwash to the point that it is even ready to sacrifice its own life for a given cause.

      • That’s true Girma. Most young people today grow up in a cushy environment and don’t see the really bad side of life. They tend to believe everything is peaches and cream and don’t have the life experience that would tell them not to believe something just because an authority figure says it is intended to save the Earth. They just go along with it believing themselves noble.

    • What is not real about the warming influence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? What is not real about man’s activities adding to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere?

      Because the data says human emission of CO2 has not accelerated the global mean temperature trend.

      http://bit.ly/lUQBhX

    • M.carey –
      Have you any thoughts on why being older might affect how AGW is regarded?

      More practical experience.
      Less brainwashing wrt GW.
      A better basic education.
      More common sense.

      • I think it’s mainly because the elderly know they won’t live long enough to be affected by global warming, and are more concerned about …

        Constipation

        Indigestion

        Bad breath

        Sagging skin

        Loss of hearing

        Failing eyesight

        Crankiness

        Loss of memory

        Senility

        Bitterness over never having amounted to much.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Bitterness over never having amounted to much’

        Freeman Dyson?

        Otherwise your post is remarkably revealing.

      • What’s to become of the young disrespectful, when they age?
        ==============

  67. The real world and human societies are complex enough to contain all kind of processes, among them those described by Don Aitkin. Unfortunately it’s of very little help to list such processes as they are just a few among a huge number of simultaneous and successive processes. In this respect the posting has the same basic weakness as most other guest postings on this site have had. They all are logical (at least in part), they (almost) all describe something that exists, they are written as if the issue described would be decisive and give an essential blow to the mainstream thinking. They are, however, never sufficient to prove that their issue is really of major significance. In most cases the issues are not that important, but often it’s not possible to give strong evidence in either direction.

    Thinking “how did we get into this” may be very useful as a source for ideas about, what may happen in the future. Will there be a continuing, if not monotonous, strengthening of environmental movements, or will there be a backlash that goes beyond the present difficulties in formulating internationally acceptable climate policies? This should be an issue that interests those worried about the climate change even more than those that believe that the AGW is not a serious threat.

    • Very thoughtful Pekka, but I don’t see any connection between you first and second paragraphs. I also object to the implied claim that AGW is “mainstream thinking.” There are clearly two streams running.

      On your first para, it is true that people tend to present their various cases as decisive, when they are not. They are however important arguments. Science, including the science of human action, is based on separating out important features. Don has identified some very important aspects of the situation.

      As and aside, one of the great confusions here is the alternation between discussing the science of climate and discussing the science of the climate debate. People present claims about the debate as though they should affect the debate itself. Generally this is not true. For example, that the science is settled or a hoax.

      As for environmentalism, I am prepared to believe that it has finally peaked, but only time will tell.

  68. James Evans

    Perhaps nuclear weapons are a good place to start, when looking at the causes of the present feelings of imminent doom. During the Cold War we understood that much of life on earth could be wiped out by the pressing of a few buttons. Man’s ability to destroy the planet was inescapable.

    This feeling of our awful potential for destruction was echoed in the idea of environmental sustainability – as a society we could destroy ourselves (and much else besides) unless we looked closely at how our current actions might have long-term consequences for our environment.

    The current obsession with global warming is just one symptom of this wider idea, which has been brewing for a long time:

    “What we need from scientists are estimates, presented with sufficient conservatism and plausibility but at the same time as free as possible from internal disagreements that can be exploited by political interests, that will allow us to start building a system of artificial but effective warnings, warnings which will parallel the instincts of animals who flee before the hurricane, pile up a larger store of nuts before a severe winter, or of caterpillars who respond to impending climatic changes by growing thicker coats.”
    Margaret Mead, 1975.

    As a species, we have been becoming more and more prosperous. But no amount of prosperity will change the fact that the future is uncertain, and that’s a scarey thought. (Particularly if you don’t belive in a god who will make everything all right for you.)

    My own belief is that we humans change what we do, and how we do it, at such an incredibly fast rate that peering into the future to check for sustainability is an activity that requires a great deal of caution (and humility.) What will our needs be in a hundred years? What will we be doing? What will we be producing?

    • “Perhaps nuclear weapons are a good place to start… ”
      Yes. But to understand the socio-psychological result of the nuclear standoff, I think it’s important to set the threat of instant annihilation against the Western reality, throughout the Cold War, of ever-increasing safety from disease and want. In my experience this tended to produce a sort of dissociation from reality.

      Humans seem to behave most sensibly when they can get to grips with the things that threaten them. When they can’t, they seem to resort to propitiation, whether of God, or of whatever gods they currently repose their faith in (cf Chesterton). This was true of the flagellants of the 14th c., who feared a threat – the Black Death, that was real, but whose cause they didn’t understand, and so attributed to divine displeasure. Those of us who lived through the Cold War feared a real threat that we did understand, but against which neither diplomacy nor war seemed to offer protection. Both cases produced a sort of hysteria in their time.

      By contrast, there is abundant evidence that wartime Britain (real threat, but one that could be got to grips with) was more than usually psychologically healthy.

      I think the origins of environmental catastrophism (as opposed to the quiet pursuit of sensible conservational ends) lie in this hysteria, in an unacknowledged propitiatory appeal, to an unacknowledged god, to take some of our prosperity in exchange for sparing our lives. By the time the real nuclear threat abated, the habit of deprecating material prosperity had become so ingrained that it took the place of church worship in earlier generations, and had become indispensable as a source of spiritual indulgence every bit as cherished as those bought from priests in the 14th century.

  69. Pekka Pirilä

    Will there be a continuing, if not monotonous, strengthening of environmental movements, or will there be a backlash that goes beyond the present difficulties in formulating internationally acceptable climate policies? This should be an issue that interests those worried about the climate change even more than those that believe that the AGW is not a serious threat.

    The “environmental movement” (i.e. human awareness of the problems associated with real pollution of the environment and waste of resources) will IMO continue to strengthen, whereas the dangerous AGW obsession (a phenomenon that is only loosely connected to the true environmental movement, but which it has partially and temporarily hijacked) will IMO most likely die out, as other doomsday fads have done.

    I would argue, however, that BOTH sides of the debate should be equally concerned about the dangerous AGW obsession (whether or not it really is a “threat”), in view of the draconian policy proposals that are being directly tied to it.

    Just my thoughts on this interesting point that you raised.

    Max

  70. Joe Lalonde

    Judith,

    The choice to ignore rather than investigate to save bad theories is usually what I hit into.

    Not a single physicist, scientist or researching expert has asked to see my research. Most ignore or send theories that are currently in place rather than looking into some mechanics I have created that can show how science took the wrong path in understanding this planet by way of generalized science.
    One formula wonders on a planet that is in constant change and has a shape that a single formula cannot comprehend by way of distance and circumference differences.

  71. blockquote>
    Increased antsiness about action on climate change can also be traced to the recession, the unedifying spectacle of last December’s climate-change summit in Copenhagen, the political realities of the American Senate and an abnormally cold winter in much of the northern hemisphere. The new doubts about the science, though, are clearly also a part of that story.

    http://econ.st/mHsLso

    Why the doubt in the science?

    The data does not show accelerated warming with increase in CO2 emission as shown in the following graph:

    http://bit.ly/lUQBhX

  72. According the Economist, believe the theory not the data:

    People often assume that data are simple, graspable and trustworthy, whereas theory is complex, recondite and slippery, and so give the former priority. In the case of climate change, as in much of science, the reverse is at least as fair a picture. Data are vexatious; theory is quite straightforward. Constructing a set of data that tells you about the temperature of the Earth over time is much harder than putting together the basic theoretical story of how the temperature should be changing, given what else is known about the universe in general.

    http://econ.st/mHsLso

  73. If I write an essay and people comment on it, I feel it is courteous to respond to them if I can and I have something useful to say. I did so twelve hours ago, and the list of posters has since doubled. Some of the objections to what I have written have been answered well by others. But I feel like responding to the following.

    Steven Mosher: With great respect, because I take great notice of what you say, the thing we are discussing on this thread is what the title says it is — it is not AGW, though of course were there no AGW hypothesis I would not have written the essay.

    A number have talked about the way in which theory and models have to an extent supplanted hypotheses and testing them. I agree, to the extent that I know about it, but I would await the advice of laboratory scientists generally, especially those of a decent age.

    Religion: Not every reader has remembered that I listed ingredients and then put forward my own recipe, saying that we were all entitled to use our own. I am interested in the other takes that people have on the ingredients, especially in the religious area, to which someone added ‘guilt’ as important. I agree. No one has mentioned Islam yet, and I think the Islam/West clash is also part of the current anxiety/despair/gloom in the West.

    Susan found the essay ‘breathtaking’, and I think I am right in saying that (with this name, at least) she is a newbie on this site. Susan needs to know that I have done all the science bits, many times, on other threads. I was focussing on different matters here. As for references, Susan was invited at the beginning to write to me and I’ll point out where I get material from. She hasn’t done so yet.

    Pekka raised a most interesting question, which nonetheless seemed to be in contradiction to what preceded it. If I have summarised him correctly, my essay added nothing that was useful about the past or the present, but might be very useful in thinking about the future. Setting aside the science for the moment, since there is real disagreement about what we know, think we know, and think we don’t know, thinking about how we got here, and where we might go hereafter is exactly why I wrote the essay.

    Finally, James Evans thinks that the threat of nuclear destruction (MAD) was an important factor in making us fearful of the future, and I can’t disagree about that. But I still think that the 1960s were time of great confidence. I lived in Australia, the UK, France and the USA in that decade, and I remember the temper of the times, and the leading political people, being of a very similar outlook.

    • Come on professor! . You are apparently so eminent that you must have a collection of dust on your shoulders…

      You can do much better than this

      First, you must admit that if one of your students handed this essay in for their term grade, you’d give them at the most a D- for at least being able to string sentences together in a coherent fashion and for being aware of the world outside their own small purview, but it deserves little else.

      So let’s pretend this was handed in by one of your senior students. For one, they haven’t defined their terms. They throw about the terms “orthodoxy” and “scare” but fail to define them and show in the literature where these terms arose and how they have been used, let alone whether there is any justification in using such terms to describe the phenomenon in question. All this is assumed apriori.

      Second — if one of my senior students had handed in this essay and when I pointed out the lack of references or bibliography, and they said, “Oh, just email me and I will let you know where all this came from” I’d fail them and send them to our essay writing workshop in the English Department. Proper references and citations showing evidence that you are using terms correctly is required to pass.

      Third, you show contempt for your audience when you deprive them of a clear description of the underlying assumptions that are at the foundation of this essay — in other words, your theory of how the world works and how that theory informs your conclusions. Just as a scientist is expected to situate the problem in a literature, describe methods, and results and account or sources of error and bias, so too are “essayists” expected to lay bare their own approach to the world. At least, if they want to be taken seriously as contributing to the scholarly understanding of a subject. You make huge assertions without clarifying that they are just that — assertions. There is no evidence presented to support these claims and connections between historical events and AGW dominance.

      So, sorry professor. I have to give you a D-. I expected a lot more from someone with your credentials. I’m sure you have it in you, but perhaps you are not quite taken enough with your subject to put in a good effort.

      • Susan,
        You seem to think you are in a position to judge Don,but that would appear to be an illusion on your part.

      • If Don posts his musings on the intertubes, he has to expect that people will comment.

      • Susan,
        That has nothing to do with your illusory ability to deconstruct what others say.

      • Susan, a blog post is not a scholarly essay, much less a senior term paper. Moreover, what you are calling for would add great length and it was long as is. Many of us were able to respond to Don’s post so we have not suffered the confusions you complain of. Why don’t you try questioning or discussing some specific point, instead of railing against the whole? Your diatribe is not useful.

      • I’m not confused at all. I think this is a piece of fluff.

      • John Carpenter

        Susan, a D-… well it’s not an F. So are we to assume you give it a ‘passing’ grade?

      • When you give a student a D-, it means that they should have failed but you are being generous.

      • John Carpenter

        Thank you for an honest reply.

      • Latimer Alder

        Susan’s criticism seems to be limited to the fact that Don’s essay does not adhere to the conventions of academic publishing.

        Maybe so. But so what? This is a forum for ‘climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface’

        It is not intended to be an academic journal, nor is it necessary for the writing to be done with that stylistic template in mind. Were it so it would gain far fewer contributors, far fewer readers and be a far duller and less diverse place.

        If you want purely academic stuff there are plenty of other places to go. But there is no point in turning up at a party where the dress code is advertised as smart casual then complaining bitterly that not everybody is wearing a tuxedo. Especially if you appear to be a gatecrasher.

      • Latimaer Alder

        Susan’s criticism seems to be limited to the fact that Don’s essay does not adhere to the conventions of academic publishing.

        Naw, Latimer. I think it;s more about the fact that Don’s essay does not agree with her personal viewpoint (and maybe because it did not mention “sex”).

        Max

        Let me point out some basic flaws in your impending doomsday scenario.

        First of all, population has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.7% from 1960 to 2000. Over essentially this same period (1958 to 2000) atmospheric CO2 concentration grew at a CAGR of around 0.4% per year.

        The UN projects that human population growth will slow down dramatically over the 21st century to 0.3% CAGR, levelling off at around 9 billion toward the end of the century.

        If we assume that, despite this dramatic decrease in population growth, atmospheric CO2 will grow at essentially the same exponential rate as it has in the past (0.44% per year), we would arrive at a year 2100 level of 580 ppmv in the atmosphere (IPCC Scenario B1).

        Using the model-estimated IPCC 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C on average (incl. all feedbacks) this gives us a temperature increase of 1.8°C.

        IPCC further tells us that freezing atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 2000 levels would result in warming to year 2100 of 0.6°C.

        This tells us that the net mitigating impact on year 2100 global temperature of shutting down the world’s carbon economies in 2000 would be 1.8 – 0.6 = 1.2°C.

        That’s the upper limit of what we can get from “GHG mitigation”, tempterrain.

        And that estimate is based on IPCC assumptions on 2xCO2 climate sensitivity impact, which appear exaggerated in view of the actual past records of CO2 and temperature (around 0.7°C total observed warming with CO2 increasing from 280 to 390 ppmv), so the warming we can actually avert through CO2 mitigation is most likely only a fraction of this number.

        Max

      • Did you read the essay? In fact, Don mentions sex directly:

        The growth in wealth and education, and the movement of women into the workforce, seem to have accompanied, and perhaps helped to cause, a decline in the reach and importance of organised religion….This shift has accompanied, and may have helped to cause, a greater permissiveness in all matters sexual, the nature of marriage and divorce, and so on.

        He clearly identifies the education of women with their entrance into the workforce and this is linked in a causal way to the decline in religion and the resulting permissiveness in all matters sexual…

        I think his thesis is laughable in its wrong-headedness on so many levels but esp. regarding his thesis on the relationship between education, gender, sex, and religion which is why I brought in Homer and the Green Lantern models because one needs a bit of comic relief.

      • Your interpretation of the sentence is incorrect.

      • Why don’t you enlighten me as to the correct interpretation of the sentence?

      • Susan,

        The growth in wealth and education, and the movement of women into the workforce, seem to have accompanied, and perhaps helped to cause….

        Take careful note of the order of precedence, as well as the grammatical structure of the above sentence, and then kindly explain how you managed to interpret it as:

        He clearly identifies the education of women with their entrance into the workforce and this is linked in a causal way to the decline in religion and the resulting permissiveness in all matters sexual…

        Having done that, you may also want to revise your own blog, in which you seem to Interpret Dr Aitken’s piece as being aimed at you personally.

    • Any thoughts on the blogosphere and its fact-free zones and its impact on the skeptic zoo?

  74. J Storrs Hall

    To understand how climate science can have produced Lysenkoism, consider how much like Soviet science our centralized, politicized funding structure is. Consider how many incentives in the structure are for gaining political power and how few are for discovering truth.

    The psychological ground for Gaianism may well be as fertile as you speculate, but in addition, we have built large, powerful, sowing and reaping machines.

  75. So ignorance really is bliss. Fantastic!

  76. The article mentioned religion. I would like to talk about Christians. I grew up an a Baptist church. It wasn’t the most extreme on the fundamentalist scale, but I do recall the preacher stating that man didn’t come from monkeys. I don’t remember anyone saying the Earth was 6,000 years old, but that could have happened. Also growing up, I read pretty much the entire World Book Encyclopedia as well as the Young Peoples Science Encyclopedia. I was and am kind of nuts about science and technology. Later in life, I got a BS Chem degree. I am commenting as one with a foot in both worlds.

    As a teenager, I began going to Bible study. I had serious problem reconciling my secular knowledge with the Bible. I eventually concluded that the Bible was more metaphorical than literal. I wasn’t the only teenager that felt that way and some adults did also. I stopped going to church in late teens. But the point here is that many Christians, even the ones in the more fundamentalist churches, don’t adhere to the party line and don’t necessarily hold the views frequently promulgated by the media. My wife attends an Episcopal church. Some members there admit even that they have trouble believing God exists as a ‘being,’ much less believing that evolution isn’t true or that the Earth is 6,000 years old. There is quite a range of beliefs within Christendom.

    The popular media tends to portray Christian’s belief in God as stupid, ignorant, somewhat irrational or just plain crazy. I would like make a case for the benefits of Christianity as I see them. These benefits manifest themselves on both a personal and societal-historical level.

    The personal benefits derive from a couple of sources. First, prayer is a form a meditation. I think the benefits of meditation are well known, so I won’t delve into that. Then there are the benefits derived from being an intimate member of a group that is continually exposed to positive moral principles, something that many modern people don’t have. If a member loses a loved one, a job, or gets sick; there is immediate assistance at hand. These are sources of strength and imbues the individual with a sense of belonging and well-being.

    The benefits to society are many. Christians by and large are a peaceful group, the members of which frequently have a mission to help others less fortunate.

    Christians have played many roles throughout history. For example, they were a key influence in the American Revolution. The Church of England during the revolution held that the Church was the communications channel to God for the common man. Preachers in the Colonies taught instead that the common man can discourse directly with God via prayer without the necessity of a third party. This allowed the colonists to be independent of the Church of England, as well as the King, and this spirit of independence enabled the colonists to entertain the idea of life without England more readily. One of these preachers was George Whitfield. More on that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Great_Awakening#American_colonies

    and http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel03.html

    Christians of today persist in their beliefs in spite of a continual barrage of negativity from the secular world. This demonstrates their stubborn independent streak. This characteristic makes them the target of those who insist the common man bow down to the government. Some socialist regimes have taken Christian land and even killed them becuase of this independence. Socialis Albania is an exmaple of this.

    http://www.americanambassadors.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Publications.article&articleid=209

    So I would say to libertarians, non-religious conservatives and anyone who values individual freedom, capitalism, and free markets, or anti-socialist might want reconsider their stance towards Christians.

    • Jim2,
      Excellent, thoughtful summary and description of your beliefs.
      Too bad your story and its insights are lost on those who it most.
      Regards,
      Ed

      • Quote by Dostoevsky: “The West has lost Christ and that is why it is dying; that is the only reason.”

    • I know some Christians who are nice people, and some who are not. If I was planing to have a life of crime, the first thing I would do is join a church.

      • OK Mr. C., I’ll play your silly game, how many criminals join a church before they go on their crime spree?

      • M.Carey,
        Then the chances are you would be as unsuccessful at crime as you are at discussing climate.

  77. I think my post got stuck in the spam filter.

  78. Joint Science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change

    Climate change is real

    There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean
    temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001)

    http://bit.ly/liVW7n

    With due respect to the world’s science academies, the data does not show ANY “accelerated warming” with increase in human emission of CO2 as shown in the following graph.

    http://bit.ly/lUQBhX

    With due respect, your statement is not supported by the data, by the observation.

  79. Several people commented on my comment of June 25, 2011 at 4:03 am. After the first chapter I started to write similar comments on the sources of bias as have written several times before, but then I decided to make the comment shorter. That may have lead to the gap between the two paragraphs noticed by David.

    Max appeared to agree on the logic, but our different views on the degree of evidence remain as they have been before.

    Don Aitkin presented a very brief interpretation of my message. I agree on qualitative level on his essay, but I do not believe that the basic ideas and the basic present understanding of climate change are so thoroughly controlled by the biasing factors. There are some problems of bias in the science itself, but the principal difficulties are in the use of incomplete and continuously evolving scientific knowledge in decision making. The stakes are higher than in any earlier environmental issue, and the uncertainties are large in many different ways.

    UNFCCC and IPCC are attempts to resolve these problems, but they are no up to the task. IPCC has done much valuable work, but it’s structure and approach are not appropriate to all issues included in it’s reports. Large part of the subject matter of WG2 and WG3 should be approached in a different way, and much more work of different nature should be put to the interface of science and decision making. UNFCCC has made attempts to agree on something. That resulted in the Kyoto Protocol that is not at all optimal, and whose approach will not be adopted by a sufficient number of countries. In my view the Kyoto approach was so problematic that it should have never been chosen. Failing to reach anything better in Kyoto should have led to new attempts rather than adopting a bad protocol doomed to failure sooner or later.

  80. One of many accompaniments of the increased wealth of the society has been a shift from a view that the interests of all are most important, to the view that one’s own needs, wishes and capacity to act are most important — a shift from ‘we’ to ‘me’.

    Sorry, but I don’t see any evidence that there has been a fundamental change in personal belief in collective action since the dawn of humanity.

    What has changed in the Developed world is demographics. The largest generation if the Post WWII baby boom, and they’ve ‘grown up’ for the most part.

    Youth always has and always will believe complex problems have simple solutions.

    My 80+ year old mother has a saying….A young man who is conservative has no heart, an old man who is liberal has no brain.

    Or as I would say…when I was 20 I was sure I had all the answers, when I was 30 I realized I didn’t have all the answers but was certain I knew all the questions. At 40 I realized I didn’t even know all the questions.

    What has changed is that the Post WWII baby boom, which is the largest demographic see’s the world thru a lens of life experience rather then youthful naivete. As every generation before it did and every generation after it will.

  81. Don,
    You have limited your historical and cultural brushstrokes to your own lived experience. I guess your age group and professional peers on this blog can enjoy it for what it is.

    While your perspective is based on the assumption that ‘orthodoxy’ must be challenged in order to understand what is going on and I appreciate the academic and societal duty to be critical and to challenge entrenched knowledge, the reality is that the emerging knowledge of climate science is challenging conventional wisdom on many fronts, including the concept of ‘progress’ that you and your generation were raised on.

    You like to appeal to the ideas of Feyerabend. Paul Feyerabend would not, in all likelihood, agree with you: like you, he had no systematic critique of science and made many historical and logical errors in order to establish the role of critique, but he did not deny that if you jump off of a balcony you are likely going down, not up.

    “there is evidence that suggests that if the earth is warming, it is doing so slowly after a long, cool period and that human activity is unlikely to be a major cause of any warming”

    Of course this is not what a scientist would say, but I take it that you wish to deny the basic well-established science (as opposed to what is speculative). What evidence from the preponderance of all the scientific evidence would you like to cite to back this up?

    • Calamity Martha,

      You write “You have limited your historical and cultural brushstrokes to your own lived experience”. whose experience are you supposed to use?

      Then there is your ageism comment “I guess your age group and professional peers on this blog can enjoy it for what it is.” that speaks for itself of your hypocrisy.

      Then in true hypocrite manner you end with broad brush strokes of your own lived experience “Of course this is not what a scientist would say, but I take it that you wish to deny the basic well-established science (as opposed to what is speculative). What evidence from the preponderance of all the scientific evidence would you like to cite to back this up?” . I am not sure how you become the spokesman for all scientist but there are many scientist would say exactly what you say they would not.

    • Martha,
      If Don is ‘limited’,then you are more of a neverwuzzer than ever.
      If Don is not up to speed, you have not left the gate.

  82. “I have seen a great variety of explanations of how AGW orthodoxy got to the position of authority that it now enjoys in the Western world.”

    Don Aitkin – You use words skillfully, but to what purpose? The pejoratively charged words in this introductory sentence are “orthodoxy” and “authority”. They imply conclusions based on social, political, and cultural values rather than those derived from scientific evidence. With those two words, you have already “explained” that current scientific thinking about climate change is unscientific. You have a right to that opinion, but less right in my view to slide it surreptitiously into our thinking by presenting it as a “given”, implying that the only uncertainty revolves around why it is true.

    You justify scant reference to the science on the grounds that we are already familiar with climate change science. I find that disingenuous. Without even a tacit acknowledgment that climate change may have a strong scientific foundation, slighting the science tells us that you think it does not. If that is your view, you owe it to us to tell us so. In that case, we could have judged your scientific qualifications to arrive at that opinion. Some of us, based on statements you have made, may judge you unqualified, while others may find you scientifically well informed.

    Perhaps you can rectify the omission now. Otherwise, despite the overtly academic nature of your essay, I don’t see it as primarily a treatise on sociology or culture. Rather, I read its underlying message as essentially the following: “The conclusion that our activities are warming the planet, with potentially serious adverse consequences, can’t possibly be justified on the basis of very inadequate scientific evidence, so the explanation must obviously reside elsewhere.” In subtle terms, it is statement of contempt for mainstream scientific views (“orthodoxy”) and the experts whose work has yielded them (“authority”).

    Given the views of most participants in this blog, that message will resonate widely. In fact, the contempt is often expressed openly by some, whose comments do little beyond imputing political motives to anyone who embraces mainstream scientific views. To a lesser extent here, and more on some other blogs, the reverse situation predominates, with those who comment quick to explain the reasons for skepticism regarding any issue on the basis of political or social biases.

    For all these reasons, I find your essay as it stands to be an exercise in misdirection. The political and cultural roots of environmentalism are a legitimate topic, but not as an means to impugn the scientific basis of conclusions about climate change. If you believe those conclusions are based on too flimsy a scientific foundation, you need to convince us that you understand the science well enough to be credible. Based on many statements you’ve made, I don’t think that’s true. If you want legitimacy in this area, I think you need to learn a great deal more about the science per se, and to correct important misconceptions you harbor. Once you do that, you may still remain as skeptical as you now appear to be, but there is some possibility that you will arrive at different conclusions.

    • Otherwise, despite the overtly academic nature of your essay, …

      Can you explain to me how you see that essay as being academic in nature? It provides no definition of terms, no quantification, no attempt to address countervailing influences to those he deems causal to a phenomenon he assembles through an entirely subjective lens.

      It is 100% an opinion piece. It may have value as such – but I fail to see how it is even remotely academic in nature.

    • Fred Moolten

      Without even a tacit acknowledgment that climate change may have a strong scientific foundation, slighting the science tells us that you think it does not. If that is your view, you owe it to us to tell us so.

      Strong scientific foundation?

      With out accelerated warming, AGW is without any foundation.

      There is no accelerated warming due to increase human emission of CO2.

      http://bit.ly/lUQBhX

      A claim that AGW has strong scientific foundation does not make it so.

      You have to support that by the data.

      The interpretation by the IPCC of accelerated warming is a fraud, as it compared the trend for one warming period with a trend for a longer period that has both warming and cooling phases and claimed accelerated warming.

      The AGW scare has no scientific foundation.

    • Fred,
      Why are you upset with Don for pointing out the obvious?
      AGW is a social movement, not really different from eugenics or the dutch tulip mania or Lysenkoism.
      That you are caught up in it is no reason to be mad at someone for pointing this out.

  83. The other perspective Is of course that the science has led us “here”, and that because of a combination of uncertainty, the long-term nature of climate change, the chaotic nature of weather and climate, and the natural tendency of humans to protect their interests, etc. we have come to the point where the majority of climate scientists would affirm the human fingerprint on global climate, but because of the uncertainty and other human tendencies, those who have taken a side in the debate have tended to overstate their case.

  84. “The AGW scare has no scientific foundation.”

    That would be why so few scientist express any concern about it. HA HA !

    I think the hysterics of those scared of the scare have no scientific foundation.

  85. “That would be why so few scientist express any concern about it.”

    How many are there then?

    There are a few that gather headlines but so does that guy who forecast the Rapture last month. Of the scientists I know, none of them have expressed any concern about it to me. There are organizations that make statements but they are just on the bandwagon and following standard CYA procedures.

  86. One more ingredient should go into the cooking pot.
    After the former colonies of some European Nations gained independence in the 1950s/1960, there were some devastating human catastrophies in the 1970s. The MSM then send harrowing reports – people donated to organisations like OXFAM, and have been giving ever since.
    A decade or so later, the western nations were blamed, not just for past colonialism but because it played heavily into the hands of the then evolving AGW ‘it is all our fault’ attitude of NGOs.
    Oddly enough, even today the role of the various wars and civil wars across the continent have been disregarded, and have now vanished from the gaze of the international MSM.

    I think the switch from helping the starving, be it in Africa or the subcontinent, to helping them against AGW is remarkable. It is as if a certain type of personality, common in the Western industrialised world, has a need to help people who are ‘far away’. It isn’t a simple need to help those who are deprived, else they would spend their time, energy and resources to help those in their own countries.

    I have no explanation for why this should be so – I just offer this observation as yet another piece for this puzzle.

  87. We wouldn’t have gotten into this if sceintific method was followed. That’s for sure.

    Warmists never tried to falsify anything about their silly hypothesis. All they did was confirm, confirm… That’s no science. That’s denial.

  88. The fundamental errors of the IPCC seem quite egregious – a leaping to conclusions based on inadequate information.

    1. Most warming in the past 50 years is the result of greenhouse gas emissions?

    About half of the warming occurred in 1976/1977 and 1998 as a result of ENSO specifically – a quite simple observation that has been made for instance by Kyle Swanson at realclimate.com.

    Much of the rest occurred because of a decrease in global cloud cover to the late 1990’s. ‘The overall slow decrease of upwelling SW flux from the mid-1980′s until the end of the 1990′s and subsequent increase from 2000 onwards appear to caused, primarily, by changes in global cloud cover.’ http://isccp.giss.nasa.gov/projects/browse_fc.html The latest increase in cloud cover after 2000 is confirmed by COADS observations in the Pacific and in Earthshine measurements from the Big Bear Solar Observatory.

    2. Warming will continue at 0.2 degrees C for the first few decades of the 21st century?

    The increase in cloud cover from 2000 – and the lack of warming – is likely to persist and for another decade or three in the cool mode of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO – not to be confused with the PDO). I was asked to provide peer reviewed references for this. I can and I have and it makes no difference to entrenched ideology.

    This year will be much cooler than last. It depends only on the intensity of La NIna over the year. The next decade will be cooler than the decade from 1998 as the cool mode of the IPO intensifies. This is the understanding that emerges from decadal variability of oceans. My forlorn hope is that a recognition will emerge of the complexity and variability of climate and that we can move beyond the delusional claims of scientific certitude – that come from both sides of the climate war.

    The essential truth – as Don suggests – is that the climate war is about social and cultural values. ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’ The Wrong Trousers: Radically Rethinking Climate Policy: Gwyn Prins & Steve Rayner

    This is a war I guess we must fight – although there seems little chance of the liberal left succeeding. After all, we promise lower taxes, personal freedom and technological optimism – and the world is after all not warming for another decade or three at least.

  89. Maybe, maybe not.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    Maybe, maybe not.

    Jan, 2011 – 17th warmest
    Jan thru Feb – 16th warmest
    Jan thru Mar – 14th warmest
    Jan thru Apr – 14th warmest
    Jan thru May – 12th warmest

    And June is not exactly heading your way.

    • I think I see – the year is the 12th warmest something to date and it is trending warmer? I suppose they must be periods.

      My fundamental statement survives without challenge. Month to month and
      year to year variability is overwhelmingly ENSO related. ENSO is a seasonal event – it tends to neutrality in the SH winter. The important thing is what happens next. There are a couple of clues. A 7 month SOI lag – the recent record positive SOI suggests a potential to a resurgent spring La Nina. The big ENSO events tend to last a couple of years. The other clue is in the IPO – La Nina are more frequent and more intense in a cool mode IPO so you safer in assuming cooler conditions than otherwise. There are probabilities but no certainties in ENSO – and it is very difficult. Predictions from initial conditions are no better than a random walk more than 3 months out.

      But the decadal persistence of some modes leads to decadal predictions of no warming for at least another decade in peer reviewed literature that I have described elsewhere. This is a fairly new area of science but unlike yourself – I don’t just make it up as I go along to suit an entrenched ideology. Your silly little cryptic comments are more akin to examining entrails than attaining a better understanding of climate dynamics.

  90. This will be my last response. Again,my thanks to all those who offered suggestions for improvement, new ingredients, altered recipes, and so on. I will develop the essay for print, and of course that will have references. I recognise that even such an improved version would still not satisfy some posters, but then that is the nature of debate.

    I will accept my D grade from Susan, but go back to my room to check if I had ever been enrolled in her unit.

    And Fred, what is making you so angry? AGW does have a position of authority in our society. We all know that. The authority is so strong that no government has allowed any kind of serious public debate about it. Is that because the science is comparably strong? I don’t think that is your position at all. I offered some thoughts about why the general populace had accepted this state of affairs, and you build what seems to me a strange account of my thinking, and in an unusually intemperate fashion for you.

    Jim D wanted a thread on scepticism, and I think that would be an excellent idea. It goes back to the Enlightenment, got a great boost in the 19th century, and is alive though not so well in our own times. Its basis is embodied in the motto of the Royal Society ‘nullius in verba’, which I like to translate as ‘test all statements’. This is the outlook of many of those who post here, though oddly enough, it does not seem to be the practice of the Royal, at least wrt AGW

    • Thanks for paying attention to my remarks. I would say skepticism was more powerful in the past when it was a religion-based skepticism of scientific ideas, but now it has become more politically-based (see Mooney item on Week in Review, where I posted an interpretation), it may be weaker in terms of what it can do, but it is at least as vocal given the Web voice.

    • Wait’ll you see the Royal Society’s latest, in a column at the Bish’s about Paul Nurse. Holland reports on his correspondence with the Royal Society about Boulton’s travesty with Holland’s report, and Briffa, and the UEA. The non-response he got was signed by the Society’s historian of science.

      Quite a history, there.
      ==========

    • D-.

      By publishing your “essay” on the internet, you enrolled in the unit of public opinion, and I qualify as the public and have an opinion and you asked for it.

      • maksimovich

        In his book “searching for certainty” in 1990 John Casti(Paradigms lost) examined the problem of climate science and awarded term marks of c+ for explanation and c for prediction for a very good reason.

        “Scientific explanation is explanation by law.Therefore the grades we assign for waether and climatic explantion is directly proportional to the degree to which we can feel confident that we know the laws governing these atmospheric processes(read equations)

        While there is some hazy understanding of the relation of these matters to things like ice ages,whats is currently known is very far from what scientists would call a law”

        The inability of this community to produce a single evolutionery law since is of some concern,and revision of the term grades may be quite in order.

      • yeah, thanks Susan, way to represent the peanut gallery part!

      • But is anyone else less than supremely disinterested in your appallingly superficial opinion and obnoxiously superior attitude?

      • The essay was appallingly superficial. I think I was highly specific in my criticism. My attitude is that someone with supremely superior credentials should do a far better job that this effort. That is what’s truly obnoxious.

      • Susan,

        What’s truly obnoxious is your belief. If you (and other believers) applied only 1 ppm of the scrutiny to AGW and its “findings”, we wouldn’t have gotten into this.

      • Susan,
        Your inability to understand something does not make it superficial.

    • “And Fred, what is making you so angry? “

      I’m not angry. I reread my comments to understand why you thought I was.
      I didn’t find what you interpret to be anger on my part. I did find strongly critical statements. One asserts that I don’t find you well qualified to judge the science, and a second perceives the underlying message of your essay to be that current views of climate change by the large majority of climate scientists must have a political or cultural origin because the science is inadequate to explain them – a view that I suggest you might change if you understood the science better.

      My interpretation may be wrong, but it’s based on what I inferred, not on anger.

      • Fred, yours is the same point that Susan made, namely that the alternative explanation for the dominance of AGW is it’s scientific strength. Don does not accept this and neither do I. Nor is our skepticism due to a lack of understanding of the science. Quite the opposite. Skepticism is not due to ignorance.

      • David – I think I’m familiar with your views and Don’s regarding the science.

      • tempterrain

        You say your “Skepticism is not due to ignorance.” I would say that a person’s level of knowledge is often quite irrelevant.

        Jim Cripwell was honest enough to admit on the denizens page:

        “When I first heard about CAGW, maybe 12 years ago, I knew it was wrong. In the intervening years, I have learned a great deal, and everything I have learned, confirms my initial reaction.”

        I think this is pretty typical. But Jim “knew” it was all wrong when he was quite ignorant about the science. It was just a “reaction” he says. A political reaction? So his skepticism is entirely one based on scientific ignorance – no matter how much he has read since.

        Jim, like most contributors to this blog, is never going to change his mind no matter how much scientific evidence there might be to suggest he’s wrong. That’s why many of us prefer the term denialism to skepticism.

      • Well tempterrain, I do not think Jim is typical. I initially started surfing blogs in order to counter a skeptical family member – a retired engineer. I firmly believed in CAGW (as presented to me by MSM and science journals I liked to read) and I was extremely concerned by it. But in my efforts to anticipate the counter-arguments I knew would be thrown at me, my confidence that my perception of the issue was correct started to wane. At first it was pretty hard to ignore the data and evidence as presented by scientist skeptics, and their objections to how the pro-AGW case had been made, but then my trust in the orthodoxy was further undermined by climategate and the shenanigans of the team. It has since been further eroded by the manner in which the debate is conducted.

        I was reading avidly as argument after argument posted (on various fora) in what was a completely reasonable way was passed over generally treated with scorn and not actually refuted. At the outset I googled and googled and jumped around from forum to forum trying to rebuttals and rebuttals of rebuttals.

        A very typical and patronizing position I read predominantly from the “pro” side is that skeptics don’t understand the science. This understandably put me off. I pour all over reasoned and objective analysis particularly of the pro-AGW case in order to find a reasonable explanation in support of it that I can have confidence in. I have even downloaded my own data sets and had a go at reconstructions of NH snow and ice extent and how they compared with the orthodox narrative.

        I could go on, but you must consider me to be a scientifically literate convert to skepticism, as much as it grates to concede that to my family member. At least for the time being. I would be quite willing to be ‘converted’ back if the evidence was compelling – although it might take some time given my current suspicions based on the way the debate has been conducted.

      • Agnostic,
        AGW is faith based, and in faith based rationalizations of problems, a disagreement is seldom a matter of honest difference of opinion.
        The disagreement is due to the wickedness or inability of the one disagreeing to ‘understand’ the object of the faith.

      • You may indeed be an exception, but I would imagine that you could agree that (as is consistent with a study linked by Judith in the weekly review thread) generally speaking, cultural/political identity trumps scientific knowledge for most participants in this debate.

        And since you were put off by patronizing statements about the scientific inferiority of the “anti” side, how do you feel about the constant stream of patronizing characterizations of “believers” and “the left” that you see littered throughout these threads? I am seriously wondering why your suspicions about how the debate is conducted seem (as least as far as you indicated in your post) to run in one direction only.

      • @ hunter, I do not think AGW is necessarily faith-based – at least not initially. The basic tenets of AGW are perfectly sound. The theory behind how it could be a serious problem is reasonable, and some civilizations in the past who were unable to adapt or identify problems with the viability of their society died out. However, I do see that a lot of the continued adherence to some of the ideas of CAGW in the face of the evidence has the hallmarks of faith.

        @ Joshua: Well in my admittedly limited experience, those skeptical that I know of came to it from a position of originally being a ‘believer’, if you pardon the quasi-religious overtone. It was in the course ‘checking for yourself’ that I/we came to the conclusion that skeptical arguments and objections held more water, and that the conviction held by pro-AGWers was not justified by the uncertainties, causing us/me to be suspicious of confirmation bias with respect to new arguments or evidence.

        And yes, I also see utter garbage wielded from the skeptical side as well – for sure. And there are many skeptical arguments I completely reject as well. For example, the economic argument. Arguing that mitigation is too expensive is utterly fallacious in my view. I also have deep reservations about the assertion that the ‘green’ economy will destroy jobs.

        But from the most serious skeptical commentators I do not see ‘a constant stream of patronizing comments’ unless it has been provoked in some way from the outset. Think too of the outrage there is about some of advocacy that science has been perverted to perform. This for me is the most shocking thing. If tit is then called for what it is, that can hardly be called patronizing – at last in the sense of being directed at anyone having the front to try and defend it.

        On my way to being ‘converted’, I would say I was predominantly convinced by the skeptical argument, and partly made suspicious by the manner of presumption coming from the orthodoxy supporters and scientists themselves. I did not get this level of presumption fro the skeptics I was reading. I came to this site last of all and it has become my go to, because very often the debate vastly more mature than anywhere else (not saying much I know). WUWT has some interesting things from time to time but I don’t like the tone derision. Steve MacIntyre (and Judith Curry as well) represents my idea of how scientific debate should be conducted; full examination of the evidence, full disclosure of uncertainties, everything backed up with references, as boring as possible. I have read some of the peer-reviewed literature, and read the rebuttals and the rebuttal of the rebuttals. All in the name of trying to find some support for the CAGW scenario. Alas, I just couldn’t in the end find an honest way to disagree with objections.

        But in the spirit of open-mindedness, I keep looking….

      • What do you think the “the CAGW scenario” is? I’m sure you’re aware that there’s no scientific theory by that name. In my experience, people usually refer to “CAGW” as a straw man position when they can raise no reasonable objections to the actual scientific theory, AGW.

      • Joshua,
        Good questions.
        How do you see your self in this?
        I am a skeptic, a luke warmer,

      • @ Robert, the scientific theory regarding AGW is fine, but the evidence suggests that the effect is not sufficient to justify the policy measures proposed to mitigate it, or that what additional warming there is that can be supported by evidence would not actually be beneficial.

      • @Agnostic: I agree with you that the scientific theory of AGW is well-supported. If you disagree with the policy options proposed to deal with the projected warming, I think it is better to say what policies to don’t like, or that you don’t think warming will be very harmful. The made-up term “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” is a red herring, because there is no such theory and hence can be no clear definition — as most people use the term,it is basically just an attempt to imply that people who believe in regular AGW are doomsayers.

        “[T]he evidence suggests that the effect is not sufficient to justify the policy measures proposed to mitigate it”

        a) To what evidence are you referring?
        b) How are you estimating harm and from what policies?

        “[T]hat what additional warming there is that can be supported by evidence would not actually be beneficial.”

        I’m aware of lots of evidence that warming will not be beneficial. I am not aware of any evidence that warming will be beneficial (net beneficial), nor of any evidence that can rigidly constrain temperature increases expected over the next century or two (Less than 15C? We hope?) I would be happy to review your sources.

        Finally, what is your degree of confidence in your prediction of benefits or modest harms from global warming? It seems to me one would need a very high degree of confidence in your prediction to make an argument for emitting enough greenhouse gases to make the world warmer than it has been since the first permanent human settlements. That seems to me like a radical experiment that must be presumed to be unsafe unless proven otherwise.

      • The made-up term “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” is a red herring, because there is no such theory and hence can be no clear definition

        It is an accurate description of the position held by the alarmist establishment. Were that not the case, sites like Climate Etc (that question it) and Realclimate (that promotes it) would not exist.

      • @Punksta: You do your credibility no favors when you justify one fictional straw man position (“CAGW”) with another (“alarmist establishment.”)

        You claim RealClimate “promotes” catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Why don’t you provide an example of them using the term? You can’t — because it’s not a real theory; it’s a made-up red herring.

      • Robert: You do your credibility no favors when you try and airbrush away the obviously widely held position of CAGW held by the alarmist establishment. Do you seriously deny that the climate establishment is overall not more alarmist than skeptical?

        And that RealClimate isn’t honest enough to use such an accurate terms does not prove they don’t subscribe to the substance of it.

      • @ Robert:
        “attempt to imply that people who believe in regular AGW are doomsayers.”
        With respect to the idea of CAGW, as in there is something that requires a Kyoto protocol or conference in Copenhagen, I don’t see how you can possibly simply describe it any other way. Why are Carbon trading schemes being established? I should add that I am not trying to imply anything, I am stating outright: those who believe in CAGW are doomsayers.

        “a) To what evidence are you referring?”
        The same evidence that has been collated in support of AGW.
        “b) How are you estimating harm and from what policies?”
        I am not estimating harm – I am referring to harm that has been estimated, such as rising sea levels, droughts, floods climate refugees etc.

        As far as net benefits versus harms, there is a lot of literature discussing this and if you are interested you could easily research it as I did. My intention here is to point out what convinced me, not what will convince you.

        You should also bear in mind where skeptics and ‘alarmists’ part company. Most skeptics will agree with a lot of the science, and while many have objections to the voracity of the data (which is entirely justified IMO), are generally more concerned about the conclusions drawn from it.

        Most especially, it is clear to me that there are a lot of other factors influencing climate that are not fully understood nor accounted for, particularly by the IPCC. I equate it with the idea of intelligent design. Proponents of intelligent design point to the extraordinary precision of certain biological mechanisms, the evolution of which cannot be explained. But biologists simply counter that just because they cannot explain it does not mean that an explanation does not exist, merely that they haven’t discovered it yet.

        I can’t personally reconcile the fact that man has produced around 20% of all the emissions it has ever emitted (since the industrial revolution) in the last decade and yet temperatures have not only not risen they have even fallen slightly. There are skeptics who will say that on the evidence, there is no human signal whatsoever in the warming, but even then they will concede that they suspect that some of it may be of anthropogenic origin, but near impossible to detect and certainly not worth worrying about.

        Finally, the reasoning and evidence suggesting the cyclic properties of natural variability and the indirect influence of the sun (not merely TSI), could be leading us to a period of cooling, is compelling and better fits the observations. We are reaching human population peak coinciding with a climate shift that could be cooling and considering that periods of cooling have generally coincided with bad times in our history, what little effect we might have had to warm the planet, and provide CO2 for plants may well be a very good thing indeed.

        I am a staunch environmentalist and conservationist, in that I hold these ideals very high. Many of the things proposed in order to protect our environment are good things. But I am also aware that unless we make decisions for the right reasons, we end up making decisions that are counter to our intended goal.

      • What you need to “pour” over the pro-AGW arguments is a huge dose of skepticism of group-think. It’s the only way such a shambolic Cargo Cult version of science could persist.
        See if you can get their DATA to pore over. Good luck with that; it’s shown only to the highest level of Initiates.

      • Fred,

        You know what part of my life has been for the past thirty years. What bits of the science don’t you think I understand?

        OK, you weren’t angry. But I read your two posts as unexpectedly intemperate. I agree with those who say that you conduct yourself in a most reasonable way on this site, and others besides myself noticed your vexation.

        Like you, I think, I try to understand what is happening, and to assess each new piece of information — those that I learn of, at least — in an accepting but critical way. That is what I would be doing if I were assessing the person and the project for funding. I have never been a laboratory bench scientist, but, with all respect, I don’t have to be one to do my work diligently and effectively.

        There is so much uncertainty in climate science that it is quite understandable that reasonable people will disagree. I hope that we can do so in the future, if that is necessary.

      • How is it “diligent” to write this kind of an essay without any attempt to quantify the phenomena you theorize about?

        Could you describe just a little bit of the research you did to substantiate your analysis – or perhaps it was based entirely on your anecdotal experiences and your personal interpretation of events?

      • Josh,
        Have you ever read a book on the history of science or even a biography? They don’t attempt to prove every scientific fact. It’s a description of the social phenomena. Its not a proof, you are allowed to disagree. If there is something in particular you don’t like then specify it. If it’s just blasphemy to you then that’s your opinion.

      • Don, Fred’s reaction should be a credit to your piece. The very first episode of Fawlty Towers has Basil, preoccupied with bringing “class” to the Towers, being duped by a conman pretending to be Lord Melbury. When he is finally forced by his irritatingly sceptical wife to open the briefcase supposedly containing Lord M’s priceless valuables, it contains two house bricks. Fawlty evinces all the reactions of a True Believer confronted by incontrovertible evidence that his prejudices and vanity have allowed him to fall prey to a counterfeit earl. Until he has to open the case, he treats Sybil’s scepticism about his “class” project in general, and his lionising of Lord M in particular, with all the contempt of a Susan, a Martha or a Robert dismissing disconfirmation of their cherished theory. On opening it, there is a moment of disbelief, and a longer one of denial, followed, at last, by fury. You have just made Fred (who is smarter than Susan, Martha or Robert), open up his briefcase. Basil, Sybil, and the police were all in the same room when reality struck. Fred’s at home with his demons. By my judgement we’re at about this stage:

      • On opening it, there is a moment of disbelief, and a longer one of denial, followed, at last, by fury.

        It is a characteristic feature of the crackpot that they see a negative response to their belief system not just as unwarranted, by actually as evidence that they are right. Hey, I make people angry! I must be on to something!

        Sadly, it’s not so. When you are whiny and insulting, raving about fascists and socialists and conspiracies and, as is the denier’s wont, pig-ignorant of science while piously invoking terms and concepts from science of which you have only a vague and distorted understanding, when you lie routinely while accusing others of dishonesty, and so on, yes, you will sometimes annoy people. But your ability to provoke people with your misbehavior does not indicate anything about the quality of your arguments, except, by implication, negatively: people with real arguments to make are not constantly trying to reduce the discussion to a shouting match and presenting it as an accomplishment if they can drag someone down to their level of emotionality.

      • By using the old ‘conspiracy’ strawman etc etc, you clearly identify yourself as one of the “crackpot .. whiny .. insulting … pious … pig-ignorant …routinely lying… drag someone down to their level of emotionality…” pissants you refer to. Standard alarmist fare.

      • The fact that Don’s post infuriates you and Fred is only one of the many good reasons for writing it, and not even the best one, however gratifying we may find the spectacle of your spluttering spleen.

        Keep looking in the briefcase, guys. They’re still bricks.
        :-)

      • Don,
        You touched a nerve and Fred’s mask slipped. No big deal.
        Ignore it and hope he puts it back in place.
        Remember:
        Fred is what passes for a reasonable true believer.

      • I’m not angry. I reread my comments to understand why you thought I was.

        The whole passage is calm and measured. The whole “angry” theme is just deniers making stuff up. It’s what they do.

        I notice nobody has offered any quotes from your post as evidence of your supposed “fury.”

  91. ‘The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’

    When delusions are challenged – it is confronting. I know that has spent a couple of years by his account riding his white horse as a champion of scientific enlightenment correcting the corruption and deep ignorance of the blogosphere. I know it is hard Fred for you to admit your egregious errors – and I really don’t care it is after all war.

    You invent narratives seemingly at random, from the small number of usually reviews you cite you freely interpret in bizarre ways, you refuse to acknowledge uncertainty, complexity and variability, you conveniently ignore anything that doesn’t accord with the Fredian world view, you routinely change the grounds of discussion as it suits (an annoyingly pointless logical fallacy), you refuse to admit error in the least thing and so on and so forth.

    Your whole idiom is massively misguided – I say more in sorrow than anger. Actually I think it’s pretty funny.

  92. I’d also like to comment on some vituperative responses by regular participants to comments by Susan and Martha. Each of the women has expressed strong views, well articulated, and strongly divergent from majority views in this blog. I agree with some of their remarks and disagree with others. More important, though, the intelligence behind these views, whether one agrees with the views themselves, is a welcome addition to this blog. Disagreements should be expressed by citing evidence and logic, not invective. Words like “hypocrite” and “obnoxiously” are invective. In contrast, David Wojick’s criticicism of Susan’s comment was not invective.

    I understand that invective is the norm in some quarters, and is shrugged off as simply the nature of Internet communication, particularly when the communicators shield their identities with pseudonyms. The fact that I’ve often been targeted troubles me not at all, because I’ve participated long enough to know that I’m judged more by what I say than what others say about me. The problem, though, is that those in the minority are already very much outnumbered. If this blog is to retain its stature as a venue for rational discourse, more rather than less minority participation should be encouraged. If Martha, Susan, and other, more regular dissenters from the skeptical orthodoxy decide that their participation is not worth the abuse it provokes, and simply leave, those who remain will be diminished as a result. I don’t see that as being in anyone’s best interest.

    • Sorry I failed to close the html for David’s Comment.

      • ‘In the end times the young shall see visions and the old dream dreams.’

        My name is well known Frederino – the non de plume as you well know is based on my specialist interests and a Simpsons character. I have grave suspicions that Susan and Martha are interested more in trolling and flaming in pursuit of a left liberal agenda than of any real and substantive engagement.

        My goal currently is to get below the surface of this superficially scientific narrative – the stories we tell other – and see revealed the underlying social and ethical motivations. You rely on your stories and resist revealing the intimate truth of the holistic being. What futures do we dream? What societies create? Is the fixation with apocalyptic scenarios pathological in the individual or some recurring bright future for the human race?

        As for having a go at you – well it is how I see it. In my assessment I replied in the same kind to the tone and content of your post. Your obsessive compulsion with some of the details of climate science – in a narrative and social form – has been shown to exclude the broader horizon. Plodding along hunched over and unable to look up. So much so that it is impossible to engage meaningfully. You persist endlessly in your chosen narrative – and steadfastly refuse to acknowledge the role of values and ethics in social decision making.

        Somehow it is enough that you insist that you are objectively correct at about 99% certainty (self assessed) about your chosen narrative – and where does this lead is what I want to know. Or not. I may have heard enough. Enough of the undeclared climate war. If it is a battle of values for the future of the world – then the gloves are off. We offer lower taxes, economic growth, technological optimism and a cooling world. You offer a superficially scientific narrative with intimations of the end times – which is I am happy to say is a lost cause.

      • whoops

        Is the fixation with apocalyptic scenarios pathological in the individual or some recurring madness of the crown? Is it possible to get past this to a bright future for the human race?

      • Wow!

        I’m curious, Chief – what is it with your fixation with Fred?

        I disagree with you characterization of his contributions to this blog, and I think it is pretty bizarre that you need to state your opinion about his contributions so repeatedly – but even if I agreed with your opinion and didn’t think your need to repeat it so often were bizarre, certainly the attributes you apply to Fred could much more easily be applied to any number of other commenters here – dare I say from both sides of the climate fence.

        Maybe you should be a bit self-introspective and ask yourself why you project on to Fred so much of your vitriol?”

      • I quite often insult both sides without obvious bias.

        ‘You invent narratives seemingly at random, from the small number of usually reviews you cite you freely interpret in bizarre ways, you refuse to acknowledge uncertainty, complexity and variability, you conveniently ignore anything that doesn’t accord with the Fredian world view, you routinely change the grounds of discussion as it suits (an annoyingly pointless logical fallacy), you refuse to admit error in the least thing and so on and so forth.’

        This is a salient characterisation and not vitriol. It is the problem of confirmation bias, tribalism and cognitive dissonance. It is a problem of the stories we tell each in the a superficial version of the language of science. The real science is complex and variable – something not often seen in the public discourse.

        ‘Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.49 Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are.’

        Both you and Fred are very wrong to pretend. We have practical and pragmatic policy options available. It is infuriating that idiots insist on nonsense and distract from getting onto a reasonable policy trajectory – all to the sound of the collapse of ill conceived and romantic notions – all without any signs of any success at all. Typical left liberal incompetence.

        Go peddle your tribalism elsewhere – any discussion on this basis is a pointless waste of my time.

      • “I quite often insult both sides without obvious bias.”
        Bloody Australians.

      • I’m not going to speak for Fred, but I have never “pretended” that choices will be made on the science alone – or that the debate doesn’t boil down to choices between competing values.

        This is what I mean by your foray into politics diminishing the quality of your input. From what I can tell, you don’t make such obvious errors when you stick to the science.

        And you’re cherry-picking again. Calling Fred “obsessive-compulsive, as one example of many, is clearly vitriolic.

        And clamoring about “typical left liberal nonsense” and claiming that your goal is singularly to “get below the surface of this superficially scientific narrative” is self-delusional as well as overtly hypocritical.

        And we can add your finger-pointing about “tribalism,” even as you talk about “we” and “you” with respect to economic policy to the examples of hypocrisy.

        I fully agree that there are practical and pragmatic policy options available, and I enjoy reading your contributions that are on point with respect to their viability and necessity – reading about your fixation with Fred, your self-delusions, and your weak political analysis, not so much.

      • Gee – and I thought obsessive compulsive was a term of endearment.

        Spare me your faux pious umbrage or least quote me correctly. The specific reference was to lefty liberal incompetence. This referred to the utter failure to make any progress at all. The lack of political imagination that has resulted in the stalemate of the moment.

        Your deconstruction of an obvious joke notwithstanding – it means what it says in the simplest interpretation. Oh I don’t know why I bother.

        Below the clamour of claims to the culturally potent high ground of science – much misused – are certain values of the left. Always to be denied when challenged and invariably ill conceived sociological musings by pissant would be intellectuals.

        I am trying hard to think of a nice finish – but today I am feeling that invariably the left is the most idiotic and useless rump appendage in the history of the universe. You are not convincing me otherwise.

      • Again we see why you’re better off sticking to the science, Chief.

        I don’t take “umbrage.” Truth told, your little rants are cute, as they are indeed a interesting specimen of an Australian species – kind of like a wombat.

        Now for your hypocrisy: If you are really so concerned about people making claims of the high moral ground, then why are you constantly doing so? Try rereading your posts sometime instead of cutting and pasting them as you’re do so frequently.

        And speaking of hypocrisy – when you wind yourself up into your political anger and resentments (as opposed to a “dispassionate” focus on the science), it suggests that despite your statements of concern about food for future generations, much of what drives you is also your animus towards “the left.” Interesting, isn’t it?

        Say it ain’t so, Chief.

      • And by the way – I’ll agree with you here, also:

        The lack of political imagination that has resulted in the stalemate of the moment.

        Unfortunately, what blocks the “political imagination,” are the legacies of tribal views on politics. Those tribal attitudes circumscribe the debate and essentially ensure that nothing will take place other than political bickering.

        Would that in reality you could bring yourself to rise above political bickering, as you so passionately say that you’re attempting to do.

      • ‘I believe it’s a war — a policy war. As such, there are allies and adversaries. There are strategies and tactics, weapons and intelligence. In this, if you’re not with me, you’re against me. It’s a very important war — perhaps one of the most significant. Scientists are not good at fighting wars. Honest and well-intentioned members of the public or media aren’t necessarily good at fighting wars.’ Susan

        You insist on misrepresenting my words – I said nothing about high moral ground but about claiming the high ground of culturally potent science. Clearly without admitting to a social and economic agenda born of the divergent views of the climate war. You add nothing to the mix but a stubborn defence of your political orientation. We are at war – and there is nothing personal or angry about it – just a clear headed recognition of who’s who. Know your enemy as Sun Tzu says below. If you are not an enemy of humanity – drop the defence and move to positive solutions.

        I am not driven by anything other than wanting a bright future for humanity. Part of that in an integrated way is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. What we have is the left insisting on their simple narrative in superficially scientific terms. The planet is not warming for a decade or 3 at least – as is explicit in peer reviewed science. The ongoing insistence on simple AGW – and the adherence to radical social and economic agendas – has the gravest potential to derail the public discourse for a generation.

      • Oh – and I am clearly not attempting to rise ‘above political bickering, as you so passionately say that you’re attempting to do.’

        We are at war and I am attempting to understand the enemy – so that I can use it in battle.

      • I am not driven by anything other than wanting a bright future for humanity.

        I fully believe that is part of what you want – but your politically-rooted animosity makes it clear that there are other drivers as well.

        When “skeptics/deniers” criticize environmentalists for claiming the high ground by virtue of a singular concern about a bright future – they have a point. Such simplistic claims of motivation are self-delusional, and cover over the tribalistic nature of us all. The problem, however, is that “skeptics/deniers” believe that environmentalists are exclusively prone to those self-delusions, or at least that the “skeptics/deniers” themselves aren’t prone to the same human foibles. Your simplistic attribution of your motivation is fine example of those human foibles.

        Another very fine example of how you fall prey to those same foibles is evident in our recent exchange – so I’ll repeat it.

        You made an assumption about what I do or don’t believe: Nothing I have every written in any of these threads in any way indicates that I “pretend” that choices will be made on the science alone, or that there aren’t a variety of practical and pragmatic policy options available.

        Your assumption was based on nothing other than your own political orientation, which causes knee-jerk reactions that expose ignorance and/or fantasies about anyone you identify as a leftist, liberal, pissant, with a radical social and economic agenda who wants to enact a root and branch transformation of society. The same type of knee-jerk political fantasizing is characteristic of your vitriol directed towards Fred – but in that case it’s even worse because Fred, to his credit, generally rises above the political pissing match that so often occurs here at Climate etc. At least on that level there is some reasonable basis for you to develop such misconceptions about me and then waste your time sharing them.

        Apologies about my “high moral ground” mistake – but your claim that I “misquoted” you w.r.t. your vitriol is off-base.

        I spoke about your vitriol, which to anyone whose vision isn’t blocked by obstacles such as your self-delusion – is abundantly evident in your remarks directed towards Fred. You “cherry-picked” a quote to claim that your vitriol wasn’t really vitriol, but only an accurate presentation of the facts. Well, even if it were true that your cherry-picked quote contained no vitriol (inaccurate as that might be), I gave you another example, in your own words, of obvious vitriol. My quote was directly on point to my original statement, whereas your “cherry-picked” quote was simply another example of your reluctance to hold yourself accountable. That isn’t misquoting, Chief.

      • Anyway – have a nice day, Chief.

        It’s a beautiful day out (quite cool for late June, I might add), and I am going to spend the rest of it with my family of pissants that has a radical social and economic agenda to transform the root and branch of society.

        Oh. Did I just give something away?

      • Joshua

        A long winded and pointless tirade – one of many and without any substantive revelation of the essential divide – of a practical and pragmatic agenda on which a negotiation for peace could take place. .

        My simple proposition is that the planet is not warming for a decade or 3 – based on the peer reviewed science of decadal forecasting. The failure to assimilate this – and to continue to insist on a simple narrative – will derail progress on reducing greenhouse gases for a generation more.

        Climate is complex and variable. I suggest a pragmatic re-evaluation framed by uncertainty and inclusive of hueristic responses. People incapable of that are not my problem.

      • I mean seriously, Chief – after this latest string of swings and misses, you’re approaching the Mendoza line. Keep it up and Judith you might get benched.

        Stick to the science – your on the starting team in that arena.

      • Are we finished yet – or are you simply going to continue with pointless inanities?

      • I quite often insult both sides without obvious bias.

        I have to say – that is really a particularly interesting statement.

        Let me see if I got this right: From your obviously biased perspective (we’re all biased with regard to our own perspective by definition), you have determined “objectively” that none of your biases are obvious in what you write?

      • I suggest a pragmatic re-evaluation framed by uncertainty and inclusive of hueristic responses.

        And I completely agree.

        With respect to warming vs. cooling in the coming decades, it seems to me that Latif’s statements express a sound and well-reasoned approach.

        It appears, Chief, that once again your tribalism has led you astray. Try reading what I write rather than listening to those pissant leftists in your head, Chief.

      • I will copy this here as well – just so it is simple for anyone to compare substance.

        This is the Latiff paper you misused without any detail. There are other references to decadal prediction listed with quotes here – https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822

        ‘Using this method, and by considering both internal natural climate variations and projected future anthropogenic forcing, we make the following forecast: over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged. Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.’

        ‘Keenlyside et al 2008- Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector – Nature 453, 84-88 8 May 2008

      • Perhaps you could explain, Chief – how referring to Latiff’s views on temps over the next couple of decades is “misusing” what Latiff says about temps over the next couple of decades?

        Apparently, you are mistaken once again in thinking that I wasn’t aware of Latiff’s opinion?

        You grow weaker by the post.

      • One more thing, Robert, based on your exchange with Susan at Comments. I strongly believe that each of us should be assigned a limited number of adjectives and adverbs at the beginning of each year, and once they are all used, that person must stick to nouns, verbs, and other necessary forms for the rest of the year.

        The substitution of adectives and adverbs for evidence doesn’t advance our understanding of the issues.

      • Fred –
        That would eliminate much of the best of life, as well as all fiction. Not to mention the alarming, unprecedented, accelerating descriptions of AGW by the media.

        I don’t think so.

      • “That would eliminate… all fiction.”

        I see what you mean.

      • Frederino,

        I am typically the soul of forbearance – although I have certainly run out of patience with you. You play games and make silly points without any substance. As was Susan. Nothing she or you have said in this thread shows any appreciation of the issues. Your and her position is all about claiming – with great dissimulation – the scientific high ground. It is about making claims about science to pursue a political agenda.

        Are you left, liberal or Social democrat? It is about values and only about values – how we value the present and the future – because there are always a multitude of policy trajectories possible.

      • Fred,
        You said:
        “I strongly believe that each of us should be assigned a limited number of adjectives and adverbs at the beginning of each year, and once they are all used, that person must stick to nouns, verbs, and other necessary forms for the rest of the year.”
        If this were the case, you and many others would have been silenced long ago.

      • Latimer Alder

        As you have touched on the matter of literary style. I feel able to say that I have rarely read anyone whose posts are so long-winded to say so little as your own.

        Brevity is a virtue you don’t seem to have yet acquired. Taking 300 words to say what might be said in ten is not a persuasive form of writing.

      • Is that, “you are the weakest link”, or is it, “you’re fired”? ;-)

      • ‘… the reality is that the emerging knowledge of climate science is challenging conventional wisdom on many fronts, including the concept of ‘progress’ that you and your generation were raised on.’

        From Martha here is the explicit link between a narrative of climate science and the future of society rehashed constantly. We leap straight from radiative physics to high taxes and negative economic growth with no intervening step. When challenged – values and ethics are dismissed as motivations and science cited as a supreme justification for what is quite an unpalatable agenda for most people.

      • ” science cited as a supreme justification for what is quite an unpalatable agenda for most people.”

        Well yes, some of do actually feel that scientific knowledge is our best guide and does trump all else. Unpalatable agenda regardless.

        Its an unpalatable agenda for many medical patients to be told the best scientific /medical advice is they need to radically change their ways. They can choose to deny it if they like, and take their chances with something more palatable. It may, or may not, work out for them but they’ll still be showing the trait of denialism if they don’t take the best advice available to them.

      • The typical nonsense of reductio ad absurdum. Climate scientists are the doctors advising lifestyle changes – eat less saturated fat and exercise more. .

        We have discussed earlier a range of policy options likely to be far more practical, pragmatic and effective than what – a failed Kyoto model?

        Climate science is likewise more complex and variable than is claimed in the public discourse. If you missed this post – https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822 – someone asked me to supply a single peer reviewed to the planet not warming for another decade at least.

        This seems to me to be far from a rejection of any science at all – merely that there is more to the problem than radiative physics. Some consequent implications seeming to be a complexity too far for many. I don’t know the reasons for this but I am assuming it to be a simple confirmation bias.

        As we offer solutions – canvassed for instance in the Hartwell 2010 paper from the London School of Economics that are seemingly not to the liking of true believers – I can only assume that there are other cultural or psychological factors in play – as Don suggests in his list.

        As decadal predictions in peer reviewed literature shows – no warming for a decade more? So sad – too bad. I am beyond caring or wishing to engage with the delusions of the climate warriors. If there is to be a cultural war – if I need to be a climate warrior because of a failure of the left to evolve intellectually and to find practical political and humanitarian solutions – then so be it. We offer lower taxes, economic growth, technological optimism an a cooler world. As opposed to what – the implosion of an ill conceived delusion of root and branch transformation of global societies and economies. I am very over your dishonesty and deception – and I am especially over the failures of the left agenda to have any success in anything at all. It is all such pointless posturing.

        I am very much afraid that if we follow your advice – that the operation will be a great success but the patient will die.

      • You earlier accused me of “playing” at science, or something equally facile, but I had read your post:

        “https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822 – ”

        and found it informative.

        It made more sense than the “failure of the left to evolve intellectually and to find practical political and humanitarian solutions” (your comment from above). I too find this posturing of the left tedious and have, as you have, long stopped caring about it

        Nonetheless, it persists as constant rude noise – both myself and my wife have long ago found the OFF button on the remote

        Succinctly, more posts like #78822, please

      • Hi,

        I was equally accusing myself – what I was saying was about the stories we tell ourselves and each other in an idiomatic and superficial language of science. Someone made a pun on idiot for idiom. Just a misunderstanding.

        Climate is complex and variable – and the simple stories we tell ourselves are likely to be a part of the problem at best and framed by uncertainty. The stories are less important than the recognition of the limits of understanding. Someone once defined science as exploration at the limits of knowledge – and this certainly applies to climate science.

        I must admit – I have been playing the role of a climate warrior in this thread to see what might shake loose. Clarity at least that it is less about science than politics.

        Cheers

      • Its an unpalatable agenda for many medical patients to be told the best scientific /medical advice is they need to radically change their ways

        Invalid analogy.

        Medical patients may or may not change their ways, but it’s their choice to do so or not.

        The cure you prescribe would leave no choice for anyone.

      • Fortunately, most of us do not believe the current theory de jour is justification for doing stupid things like starving the world of carbon.

    • Fred,
      Defending Susan and Martha will earn no more empathy than defending
      Lizzie Borden or Bonnie Parker.

    • Personally, I eschew anger and invective. If I find that a particular poster seems, over time, to contribute nothing of merit, I skip past the part of each thread involving dialogue with that person. General adoption of such restraint might shorten threads and increase their average quality.

      (Pompous? Moi?)

  93. Dear Fred,
    I am a lurker since the beginning of the blog but rarely comment. I am distressed, but understand why you have lost some of your gentlemanly characteristics. It’s exhausting to carry on a battle with many fronts. Lots of the skeptics do make snippy comments and make me, and I am sure many others, cringe when we read them. We don’t want to lose the other voices here.

    BUT I find neither Susan nor Martha’s comments to be strong or well articulated. Rather I find them to be chippy “You are apparently so eminent that you must have a collection of dust on your shoulders…” and consist mainly of snark – “you haven’t defined your terms..” and insinuating that Aitken is a poor (undergrad? high school?) student. But she never lists her bona fides so we might make more sense of her opinions. I don’t think I read one fact. (Martha at least mentions fact in between the bile). Merely opinions. Fine, but the best commentators IMHO such as Pekka, Manacker, Chief Hydrologist and you, Fred, are consistently specific and do not weaken your arguments with arrogance and condescension.

    I too wish to stick up for the dissenters from the “skeptical orthodoxy”. Yes this blog would be better if more commenters had your demeanour. I just wish that the dissenters wouldn’t use the d-word. It’s the moral equivalent of the n-word and has no place in civilised discussion.

    I hope other skeptics will try and restrain their language. Yeah spice is nice and amusing and entertaining…but too much and your tastebuds go numb.

    • Coniston -Thanks for a thoughtful response. I have to agree that some of the statements in this thread by Susan and Martha are over the top. I haven’t read many previous comments by Susan, but Martha often has had something to say that I thought was insightful and informative, based on content rather than mere rhetoric. Those comments deserved a more measured response that they received.

      As you say, restraint on all sides would be a good idea. I’m most troubled by remarks that seem designed to impugn someone’s character, and less by those that are excessive in their criticism of a participant’s statements. I just hope that the assaults on character don’t drive people away who could contribute to the dialog.

      • agree with you wholeheartedly. Impugning character is far more destructive of good debate than OOT rhetoric about ideas. I hope u agree that use of the d-word fits in that category.

      • I’ve been criticized for being blunt in my comments. I have too much respect for the value of human intellect and reason to soft-pedal my criticism of inferior analysis.

      • Your ageisms and Americanisms are not respectful of human intellect and reason. Your criticisms were just platitudes – “try harder” is not much of a criticism.

    • BlueIce2HotSea

      I have to agree with your comments about Fred. In terms of demeanor and on topic high quality comments, he is simply world class. I am glad that the early malevolent CAGW climate blogs were not been run by the likes of Fred, or I might not have spent much on the skeptics sites.

    • What do my bona fides have to do with anything? You can have a laundry list of degrees and be wrong. Address the points, not the person.

      “Denier” is entirely appropriate for those who would deny the preponderance of scientific evidence. It has nothing to do with Holocaust Denial and those who claim it does are shameful, using that tragedy in a cynical fashion to divert attention away from the poverty of their arguments.

      • Rejectionist is more accurate

      • Actually, I might be able to accept “rejectionist” as a compromise but I do think that the term “denial” carries more of a psychological connotation that I find is appropriate for some who reject AGW.

        From WIkipedia:

        Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

        [1] The subject may use:

        simple denial – deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether

        minimisation – admit the fact but deny its seriousness (a combination of denial and rationalization)

        projection – admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility.

        Denial as defined in this way just seems to fit so much of what I read in the contrarian blogs.

        I just refuse to use the term skeptic to describe most of what I see passed off as skepticism.

      • But when you use the term denier – you run the risk of offending those who are so very concerned about political correctness.

      • The self satisfied swapping of pjorative terms from the cryptic rabbit and the – of I forgot – I’m not supposed to insult the innocent purveyors of delusional claptrap.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Susan

        Here’s a deal.

        Since ‘AGW’ hides a multitude of interpretations,you tell me – in your own words – your understanding of what you believe AGW is and I’ll tell you whether I ‘deny’ it.

        You give your reasons for believing in your interpretation. I will give mine for my belief (or lack of).

        You were very keen earlier that Don Aitken should define his terms and give references. Here’s you opportunity to show him how it should be done.

        Look forward to your reply.

      • Correct point.
        It all comes down to the specifics under consideration. Do you “accept” or “deny” that the “case” has been made for some specific issue or point. In order to determine where you stand it is 1st necessary that someone define the point being evaluated.

      • simon abingdon

        Susan

        Why make an excursion into psychology to seek confirmation of your prejudice by making doubtful quotations from the long-since discredited Sigmund Freud?

        To deny means simply “to refuse to accept the truth (of something)”.

        I for one certainly refuse to accept the truth of CAGW. It has not by any means been convincingly demonstrated. Your apparently unshakable belief in its truth seems to me surprisingly overconfident and clearly begs many questions scientifically.
        .
        Call me a denier Susan. I fit the definition. (And I’m not offended because I don’t do PC).

      • Susan,
        If you think “denier” is okey-dokey, then I am sure you will not object when skeptics point out that your belief in AGW is similar to what certain Germans who ruled that nation and treated minorities rather badly also believed.

      • Address the points, not the person

        You would do well to heed your own advice, for example in: https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/24/how-did-we-get-into-this/#comment-79886

  94. HuffPost (left-wing outlet) shows Rick Santorum (Republican candidate) saying that there is no such thing as global warming to Glenn Beck this week on Fox News (right-wing outlet). However, Fox News seems to have buried this part of the interview rather than proclaim it to the world. It is true that Santorum was messing up his reasoning, and Beck politely rescued him by interrupting, but thanks to Huff Post for keeping it out there in public.

    • What is more dangerous to the public-
      To falsely claim there is a climate crisis, like Hansen or Gore or Wirth, or to correctly point our there is in fact no crisis of climate, but attribute the reason incorrectly?

      • The dangerous thing is when politicians don’t understand an issue well enough to make a rational decision.

      • I would contend that scientists don’t understand global warming well enough to make a rational decision. Most of them certainly don’t appear to understand the dangers of socialism.

      • The scientists have put error bounds on their work that reflect their uncertainty and consensus. You have seen the 2-4.5 degrees per doubling number countless times, which is supported by data of all types as well as the science. The science stops at the projected impacts, and the politics starts at that point. Socialism has nothing to do with the science, though many would like it to be tied together because it is easier to reject politics than science.

      • Jim D- I would not agree that 2-4.5 is the “accepted range” for a doubling of CO2.

      • And if you have come to this view by reading the IPCC AR4 WG1 report and disagreeing with it in some fundamental way, fair enough. At some point it would be good to debate specifics like what is in the IPCC report. That is where the debate should be first, and has been lacking.

      • From chapter 1: “The effects of galactic
        cosmic rays on the atmosphere (via cloud nucleation) and those
        due to shifts in the solar spectrum towards the ultraviolet (UV)
        range, at times of high solar activity, are largely unknown. ”

        This is a known uncertainty. There are possibly unknown factors that significantly affect the climate system.

      • Their range takes these uncertainties into account. GCRs should amplify the solar cycle, and maybe they do, and it makes their effect quantifiable with existing data.

      • Jim D

        You have suggested

        it would be good to debate specifics like what is in the IPCC report. That is where the debate should be first, and has been lacking.

        I have come to the conclusion that the 2.0-4.5C range for 2xCO2 with all feedbacks is most likely to be exaggerated based simply on reading IPCC AR4 WG1.as you recommend

        I read in Ch.8 (p.630)

        In AOGCMs, the water vapour feedback constitutes by far the strongest feedback, with a muli-model mean and standard deviation for the MMD at PCMDI of 1.80 ± 0.18 W m-2 °C-1, followed by the (negative) lapse rate feedback (-0.84 ± 0.26 W m-2 °C-1) and the surface albedo feedback (0.26 ± 0.08 W m-2 °C-1). The cloud feedback is 0.69 W m-2 °C-1 with a very large inter-model spread of ±0.38 W m-2 °C-1

        Then on p.633:

        it can be estimated that in the presence of water vapour, lapse rate and surface albedo feedbacks, but in the absence of cloud feedbacks, current GCMs would predict a climate sensitivity (±1 standard deviation) of roughly 1.9°C ± 0.15°C (ignoring spread from radiative forcing differences). The mean and standard deviation of climate sensitivity estimates derived from current GCMs are larger (3.2 ± 0.7°C essentially because the GCMs all predict a positive cloud feedback but strongly disagree on its magnitude.

        Then I read in AR4 WG1 SPM (p.12)

        Cloud feedbacks remain the largest source of uncertainty

        So here we have 40% of the model-based climate sensitivity based on large uncertainty?

        So to clear up this uncertainty, I check to see if there are any more recent studies, which have measured cloud feedbacks.

        Voila! I find Spencer + Braswell 2007. But this tells me that CERES satellite observations over the tropics show that the overall net cloud feedback is strongly negative, rather than positive (as assumed by all the IPCC models)

        I then look to see if there are any other recent studies that can clear up this large uncertainty.

        Bingo! I find Wyant et al. 2006, a model study, which estimates climate sensitivity and cloud response using superparameterization embedded within a conventional GCM.

        This study shows me that the cloud response with 2°C warming is:

        The global annual mean changes in shortwave cloud forcing (SWCF) and longwave cloud forcing (LWCF) and net cloud forcing for SP-CAM are -1.94 W m-2, 0.17 W m-2, and -1.77 W m-2, respectively.

        This figures out to half these values per °C, or a net negative cloud feedback of -0.87 W m-2 °C-1 (and, fortunately, this is a global value, rather than simply one for the tropics).

        Wow! The large uncertainty of IPCC seems to be clearing up.

        And it appears that the IPCC estimates of 2xCO2 climate sensitivity are way too high; correcting for the above would put it at well below 1°C.

        So you are right. One has to look very closely at the AR4 WG1 report, to see if and where there are major uncertainties. Then one should see if there have been any recent studies, which might help to clear up these uncertainties. If one is lucky (as I was) there are such studies and these then help to clear up the uncertainties in AR4 WG1.

        Then one can debate these specifics.

        Max

      • manacker, yes, you are asking the right questions for a good debate. Having obtained your 1 C per doubling sensitivity then you must take it back to the data. How much has CO2 increased in the last 30 years, and how much has it warmed? It turns out that for a 15% rise in CO2, the warming was 0.5 C. A 1 C sensitivity would predict 0.2 C. This leaves the other 0.3 C to explain by other means. Something is clearly wrong here. A sensitivity near 2.5 C per doubling would give you the 0.5 C.

      • Jim D. – At wood-for-tree, the UAH temp increase from 1980 to 2110 is exactly 0.2 degrees. Looks like the 1 degree sensitivity is right?

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/from:1980/to:2010

      • I can choose annual averages in 1979 and 2009 from UAH and get 0.5 C. You can get anything you want by choosing end-points of noisy data. What I did in fact was more robust. I took the GISS decade average 2001-2010 and subtracted 1971-1980 and got 0.5 C.

      • If you are referring to using radiative transfer models to determine the extra downwelling LW, then applying the adiabatic lapse rate to determine TOA radiative equilibrium; that has been beaten to death in one of the early posts here. It came up short, just like L&C’s simple approach doesn’t account for the reponse of the entire globe. That is why attempts are made to model the climate system.

      • “…the 2-4.5 degrees per doubling number”

        Speculation.

        Andrew

      • see my answer above

      • OK… still speculation.

        Andrew

      • The “error bounds” are suspect due to an incomplete understanding of effects secondary to the Tyndall gas effect due to CO2. They are merely guesses.

      • Yet they fit the global warming trend of recent decades.

      • And that proves nothing.

      • It proves that the one credible theory works.

      • It proves that arbitrary error bars can encompass a given trend.

      • Socialism has nothing to do with the science, though many would like it to be tied together because it is easier to reject politics than science.

        I think that the second clause there is a very nice way of describing the what lies at the root of many of the arguments of “skeptics/deniers” and the “believers/convinced” alike.

        However, I think that the first clause is a tad overstated. While the science itself rises above any aspect of politics, it is virtually inevitable that the way people interpret the science, on both sides, is politically and culturally influenced.

      • Science cannot ‘rise above any aspect of politics’ because much of scientists food, clothing, and shelter originates with politicians.

      • Jim2. Try reading what I wrote again, and then maybe you’ll realize how your response makes no sense?

      • We got it first time – he who pays the piper doesn’t call the tune.
        Get serious.

      • Joshua, yes, on the Week in Review thread, the Kahan paper reported by Mooney says this, and I commented there to this effect.

      • Socialism has nothing to do with the science, though many would like it to be tied together because it is easier to reject politics than science.

        Socialism has everything to do with the science, since it (the state) it funds almost all of it. The two are inseparately linked – for mutual benefit, at everyone else’s cost.

      • It also means that government funded science is at the greatest risk of defunding in the current economic climate. When governments have to either reduce spending by 35% or raise taxes by that amount, spending on issues like climate science studies become very attractive area to cut.

      • At what point in history did politics start to steer climate science, and did every government in the world get together to organize their climate funding, or just the socialist ones?

      • I think they are referring only the powerful countries where the “Socialists” have ruled with an iron-fist – you know, like the United States, particularly during the Bush administrations.

      • There are socialist components to the US system, and they are multiplying like rabbits.

      • Be careful, Jim2. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!!!!! Don’t forget to check under your bed.

        Grab the womenfolk and children and head for the hills.

      • Yes, climate science in the US persisted somewhat despite the Bush government, who we know were against its conclusions.

      • Good idea Joshua, let’s pretend the state doesn’t grab a huge and increasing proportion of citiziens’ wealth, and impose its decisions on them via countless agencies and regulations. We live in freedom, the totalitarian ‘welfare’ state is a myth.

      • That a handful of politicians like Bush didn’t like the alarmist propaganda the scientists it funded produced, yet the propaganda continued, is beside the point. The state is much larger than the president, and takes a lot longer than one or two administrations to change.

      • Politics started to steer climate science when it started to fund it.
        There was no need to get together to do this, various governments they just acted normally in their own self-interest.

      • It doesn’t make sense to me that a government’s self interest steers towards world government. I think I missed a step in that argument.

      • World government increases the power of politics over society, by stamping out political ‘competition’ from other, less politicized societies who may have lower taxes etc. It will thus be favoured by those seeking to force up the level of political interference around the world.

      • World government increases the power of politics over society, by stamping out political ‘competition’ from other, less politicized societies who may have lower taxes etc.

        Yes – other “less politicized” societies that may have lower taxes. You know, like Somalia, or maybe Bahrain?

        I just love this kind of argument. Across the board, (well, except for the aforementioned well-known libertarian country called Shangri-Las) countries with democratically-elected governments have higher taxes than what exists in totalitarian or autocratic states – yet for libertarian extremists, taxes = totalitarianism.

        This is the kind of logic, ladies and gentlemen, that underlies the analysis of some (and I emphasize some) “skeptics/deniers” in the climate debate.

        Punksta – if you don’t mind, I’m going to use your post on a few other blogs, and perhaps a few more times right here at Climate etc.?

      • Punksta, no, there is no worse thing for a government’s power over its own society than to defer to a “world” government. It just makes no sense to anyone, and no government, even the socialist ones, would think of doing that.

      • Good idea Joshua, let’s pretend the state doesn’t grab a huge and increasing proportion of citiziens’ wealth, and impose its decisions on them via countless agencies and regulations. We live in freedom, the totalitarian ‘welfare’ state is a myth

        Increasing? By comparison to when? As compared to long periods of American history when taxes were higher (an concurrent with unprecedented economic growth that led to American economic preeminence)? As compared to the vast majority of human history where “the state” took whatever it wanted from the vast majority of the people who lived in that state? Outside of that oft spoken about libertarian country of Shangri-La – where is it that people have been able to live under a less totalitarian state in human history?

        And just out of curiosity – I was under the impression that the electorate determines who comprises “the state.” Would you mind explaining to me how our “totalitarian state” was constructed?

        I just love it when some (and I emphasize some</strong) of our beloved "skeptics/deniers" show just how inextricably political extremism is infused throughout their perspective on the climate debate.

        One might even say that it is evidence of a great deal of "tribalism" on the "skeptic/denier" side of the debate –

        What do you think, Judith?

  95. I meant to post this on Week in Review, being a good example of the politics behind skepticism. Santorum’s view is not news of course. It is well known and entirely expected of him in his political position.

  96. “Denier” is entirely appropriate for those who would deny the preponderance of scientific evidence. It has nothing to do with Holocaust Denial and those who claim it does are shameful, using that tragedy in a cynical fashion to divert attention away from the poverty of their arguments.

    In that case “scientific cleanser” is entirely appropriate for those who would remain silent about the preponderance of data hiding (and general sabotage of the scientific process) on which the CAGW ‘consensus’ rests. It has nothing to do with Ethnic Cleansing and those who claim it does are shameful, using such tragedies in a cynical fashion to divert attention away from the poverty of their arguments.

  97. To the extent there may be a simple answer to “How did we get into this?”, I would say it is part and parcel of the general drift away from a free society into totalirianism/socialism – more and more state controls via taxes, regulations and agencies. Perhaps this is the new religion, as Don suggests.
    CAGW fits this totalitarian-drift bill absolutely perfectly, hence its popularity not only with the Left, but with some of the Right too. And it is surely no accident that the ‘science’ behind CAGW thinking is funded by the state, the very institution that stands to gain so much from an acceptance of it.

  98. Sceptics should not be too sensitive about being called deniers. I am 100% sceptical of CO2-GW and I don’t care. Let them project their denial. I love it.

  99. Looking back at some of the heated debate of this thread, it all comes back to the value of evidence provided by the science on issues related to AGW.

    Don is right that all kind of mechanisms have influenced the way this evidence has built up and the way it has been presented to us.

    Fred and Susan are right that political science and psychology cannot determine what is true about climate, climate science is the right field of study to tell about that. The fact that the climate science and the way the results of climate science have been presented to the public have been affected by biasing factors doesn’t change this. Climate science is not so throughly corrupt that it would not be the best source of knowledge on climate and climate change. The biases are, however, significant enough to make assessment of the reliability and accuracy of the results more difficult than necessary.

    While climate science is the best source of knowledge on climate, it’s not the only important factor influencing wise decision making and policy choices. When some climate scientists or people justifying their views by the results of climate science alone try to imply that they know, what is the right policy, they are wrong. The other factors related to present and future human well-being and to the effects of alternative policies and other choices are equally or perhaps more important. Furthermore the policies must be such that they can be realized in a democratic free market society, unless we are willing to forgo these rights.

    Environmentalism is now a strong political force that extends beyond green parties, but individual decisions in a democratic free market society are not always in line with declared ideologies. Assuming that the future really confirms the need of drastic changes in energy use and production, we may face serious difficulties in implementing policies that make the transition as smooth and painless as possible. In an authoritarian society the change might be easier, but free markets cannot necessarily (or even likely) initiate the transition early and efficiently enough. That’s not a good enough reason to forgo individual freedoms or to give the right of decision to some self-declared vanguard, but that’s a reason for concern and for thinking on better ways of analyzing the overall situation than the present bodies like IPCC and UNFCCC can do.

    • I think you are on the right track Pekka. I think, however, that the question of science is not the prime consideration in policy formulation. We know some things and these should inform policy – but it is ultimately a question of values and ethics. Science does not endorse any specific social policy.

      We know that there should be a decrease in pH in the open oceans. Ecologies and populations have delicate balances and complex trophic pathways. They are indeed examples of dynamically complex systems that exhibit abrupt and nonlinear change as a result of small changes in initial conditions – the catastrophes of dragon-kings (extreme events at points of bifurcation) and rapid changes in state to new and unpredictable conditions. We know that plants have responded to increased CO2 concentrations with a change in stomata size and density. As a hydrologist – I wonder what that does to the hydrological cycle and to terrestrial ecologies.

      I think that there is very little evidence that CO2 has had any obvious effect on surface temperature. Half of the recent warming happened in a couple of ENSO events – a very simple observation. The satellite data – ERBE, ISCCP and AIRS – all now agree and suggest that cloud radiative forcing is a very much neglected factor. However – climate is itself a system with control variables and multiple feedbacks subject to abrupt and nonlinear change as a result of small changes in control variables. Carbon dioxide qualifies as a change in a control variable.

      I don’t think climate science is notably corrupt – even the hacked emails seem to me to be relatively innocent. Although I did laugh at some of the revelations. But climate is in essence complex and variable and framed in uncertainty at this state of the game. Much of the public discourse surrounding this is both misguided and dishonest.

      The increase in carbon dioxide to levels not seen for 10 to 15 million years in a great atmospheric experiment – for which we have not the wit to determine the outcome – seems to me on its own to be sufficient cause to show prudence. There are multiple ways of doing this limited only by the political imagination – and the absolute lack of success of the Kyoto model says that we should go down these multiple policy pathways of solutions with multiple objectives – including and especially the humanitarian. There seems a stark choice between two values system – one leading to failure and one leading to practical and pragmatic action.

      • I think you are on the right track Pekka. I think, however, that the question of science is not the prime consideration in policy formulation. We know some things and these should inform policy – but it is ultimately a question of values and ethics. Science does not endorse any specific social policy.

        We agree on the above, but good policies are based on best available knowledge and the best available knowledge on climate is provided by the climate science. The knowledge is highly uncertain in many ways, but it’s not zero. Some of the outcomes that cannot be excluded are threatening. Therefore it’s worthwhile to study seriously, how much we can tell about their likelihood and about our possibilities to reduce these likelihoods or to mitigate seriousness of the consequences, if they occur. These considerations require very good understanding of the present state of climate science, but they require also good understanding of technology development, likely outcomes of alternative policies, national and global economies, social trends and political processes. I could add understanding of ethical questions like intergenerational equity.

        Almost all discussion skips most of these issues and replaces all the open questions by simplistic prejudices of that particular person, who is presenting his or her strong views on, how to proceed.

      • Having consulted Tim Palmer’s Lorenzian Meteorological Office – we may have completely divergent views on what can theoretically be known about the future of climate.

        ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space. Prognostic equations for ρ, the Liouville and Fokker-Plank equation are described by Ehrendorfer. In practice these equations are solved by ensemble techniques, as described in Buizza.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)’

        The sensible policy is heuristic – learning by doing – to build ecological, economic and social resilience using multiple paths with multiple objectives. Conserving and restoring ecosystems, R&D, restoring soil carbon stores, reducing black carbon and tropospheric ozone, providing models of good corporate governance and prudential oversight (which most of the west would do well to remember), allowing free trade and providing health services, education, safe water and sanitation. There is little here that anyone would object to.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Chief,

        I did something extraordinarily different due to too many clashes of what I created was not falling into the prescribed LAWS of science.
        Science based itself on perfect parameters in labs in perfect conditions to the time when very little technology existed. Too many opinions were also based on poor investigation or poor techniques.

        I went and dumped anything that did not have a physical basis to it which left very little actual science left. Mathematic formulas failed when brought to a different time frame of a faster rotating planet and different pressure and densities were applied. Stored energy and compression were never considered and motion played an extremely irrelevant part of science today.
        In doing this, it opened a whole world of following the physical evidence which gave me a whole different perspective of the planet and solar system.
        This perspective totally is in disagreement with the current science we created based mostly on generalized theories.

      • Joe – you are a bit scary when you just drop and tell us that the laws of the universe no longer apply. You need to break it to us gently and a bit at a time.

        Cheers
        .

      • Joe Lalonde

        Chief,

        Men created the laws of the universe. Not nature in the way they were suppose to be understood.
        In Newtons and Einsteins Laws, nothing is suppose to change, yet measurements tell us they do. From planetary slowdown to universe expansion, yet the laws never change.
        I can show that they do and have with motion of speed changes. Compression and centrifugal forces are understood in how they are major movers of energy and stored energy.

      • Latimer Alder

        @Joe

        ‘I can show that they do’

        Excellent!

        As requested a zillion times before, please describe your apparatus, method and findings so that we too can understand.

      • Joe Lalonde

        Latimer,

        See below in other reply to you.
        After 4.5 billion years, we still have gases escaping from under the planet surface through compressing gases into a mass(weighted) state.

      • Latimer Alder

        I repeat

        Please describe your apparatus, method and findings so that we too can understand.

      • Tomas Milanovic

        You need to break it to us gently and a bit at a time.

        How very right :)

        I admit that I have been wondering since this blog exists what actually IS the matter with all those compressions , rotating motions and the vaguely disquieting gaseous emissions that come from the Earth’s interior.

        Would you say , oh Chief , that we are doomed?

  100. Latimer Alder

    Joe

    Please describe you apparatus, experimental method and findings.

    Or give us the cell number of your dealer. It sounds like you are getting good stuff.

    • Joe Lalonde

      The number is 615-555-5555 and ask for President Obama.

      • Latimer Alder

        Ho Ho Ho. My sides are splitting. I must find me an Aisle so that I can Roll In It.

        Now how about the apparatus, method and findings?

      • Joe Lalonde

        Latimer,

        Take a compression spring, a weight and a spoked wheel on an axis.
        Now you do the experimentation and work.

      • Latimer Alder

        Nope.

        *You* made the claim. *You* describe your method and results.

        Otherwise I call BS on your claims.

  101. Oh – Susan has a blog?

    ‘I believe it’s a war — a policy war. As such, there are allies and adversaries. There are strategies and tactics, weapons and intelligence. In this, if you’re not with me, you’re against me. It’s a very important war — perhaps one of the most significant. Scientists are not good at fighting wars. Honest and well-intentioned members of the public or media aren’t necessarily good at fighting wars.’

    ‘It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.’ Sun Tzu

    I agree – enough of the undeclared climate war. If it is a battle of values for the future of the world – then battle is joined. We offer lower taxes, economic growth, technological optimism and a cooling world. You offer a superficially scientific narrative with intimations of the end times – good luck with that.

  102. Steve Milesworthy

    A lot of the same psychobabble arguments could be made against the Theory of Evolution, and the Standard Models for cosmology.

    Sometimes the simplest answers are the right answers.

    AGW is real.

    There is a well-founded risk of CAGW.

    • Sorry, Steve. The simplest answer is that CAWG is wrong. Attempts to prove it is right are very complex and nebulous.

    • That is to say, the simplest explanation for ‘climate change’ aka global warming is that it is natural.

    • Latimer Alder

      Show me.

      Let me make it easy for you

      Just for the moment, let’s assume that AGW has been proven to occur (a point that I do not at all concede outside of this particular discussion) and that there is a slight rise in temperature a la Arrhenius 1906..of about 1.5 degrees for a doubling in CO2.

      Fine so far. But you claim that there is a well-founded risk not of just this minor and largely beneficial warming, but of a Catastrophic Warming (CAGW)

      Please guide me through the steps (with evidence) that lead you from the former to the latter. And, if you can to a quantification of the risj you believe to be there (‘x%’ chance of ‘y’ warming).

      Thanks.

    • You misunderstand – the arguments are not about your simple narrative of AGW for or against. Most of the recent warming is not the result of CO2 – although there are some basic radiative physics. Nor is the planet warming for another decade or three according to peer reviewed decadal forecasts. .
      It is about the psychological aberrations of true believers – why do they believe such deluded nonsense. .

      • I should resist this, I know, but I can’t

        Sometimes your posts are worth a thousand Joshua trees :)

      • Steve Milesworthy

        You are wrong about peer reviewed decadal forecasts showing no warming. What is the psychological reason for your misreading of the literature?

        (NB My best guess is that you are recalling Keenleyside et al that predicted cooling to about 2015 then much more rapid warming up to 2030)

      • Latimer Alder

        @Steve Milesworthy

        While you are here, please could you answer my question about three above about what you claim is the ‘well-founded risk of CAGW’

        Thanks.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, an average 2-4.5C of warming is obviously risky. The trains in the UK stopped today at only 31C!

      • Do you not understand the difference between peak and average?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Yes. Do you not understand that that the peaks and averages are often related?

      • Except that the CO2 radiative forcing hypothesis, regardless of the magnitude of CS, predicts far less effect on low-latitude summer daytime maximum temperatures than on minimum night time winter temperatures at high latitudes

      • Steve Milesworthy

        So some places will warm less and some will warm even more. Why is that a good argument as to why 2-4.5C is not a serious issue?

      • You have first to show that there’s a ‘well-founded risk’ of a 2-4.5c increase.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        One minute you are arguing that 2-4.5C rise is not risky. When you are challenged you simply change your argument to 2-4.5C won’t happen. Like Latimer, it suggests you are uncertain about your position and are seeking to avoid evidence.

      • Besides which, trains regularly run in 40+ temperatures in other parts of the world. And even UK trains ran in ~38 temperatures a few years ago – why can’t they now?

      • Steve Milesworthy –
        The trains in the UK stopped today at only 31C!

        And there’s still 4 to 6 ft of snow in Montana. So what? :-)

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Risky’ is not ‘Catastrophic’. You have claimed Catastrophic. Please explain in detail.

        FYI I was on two trains yesterday (Surrey to Clapham, Clapham to Gatwick) and they ran to time, air-conditioned and without problems. The temperature when I left Surrey was a sticky 32C.

      • Latimer Alder

        Please provide a link to the news that

        ‘The trains in the UK stopped today at only 31C!’

        There is nothing in today’s news that I can find to back up your story,

        And, whle travelling yesterday I did not see any evidence of this, FYI there are approx 17,000 scheduled train services per day in UK. I have definite evidence from my eyeballs that at least a dozen continued to run, And aural evidence (my house is very close to the SWT main line) that they ran until at least 1330. I guess that’s about another 100.trouble free services in the hottest part of the country

      • Latimer Alder

        Like your focus on ‘Catastrophic’ Warming, uyou are exaggerating without any substance.

        No trains ‘stopped’. Some speed restrictions were applied to a particular line where the equipment is already being replaced.

        Here is the report

        ‘A Network Rail spokeswoman said speeds were reduced on the London to Norwich Great Eastern line from 90mph to 80mph and were cut to 60mph “in the hottest part of the day”.’

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Well if you are going to be pedantic please note that the story referenced cancellations. But really the point about the trains was to add a bit of relevant humour. The first sentence was more important.

        You have implicitly accepted that 2-4.5C will potentially be catastrophic by loading your question with the insistence that AGW=1.5C at most.

      • Steve Milesworthy –
        Pedantic? Really?

        No. You made a claim with no evidence. Latimer asked for evidence. And your claim was false. Not humorous.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        ‘You have implicitly accepted that 2-4.5C will potentially be catastrophic by loading your question with the insistence that AGW=1.5C at most’

        I don’t believe that I have ever, anywhere expressed n opinion about any future temperatures. Certainly not this on this thread. Neither explicitly nor implicitly.

        So I have ‘implicitly accepted’ nothing whatsoever. If you can find an example where i have made such an insistence, please guide me to it. Otherwise I suggest that you withdraw your remark.

        I fear that within a only few posts you have amply demonstrated but a scant connection between the facts and what you write. This is not a good reputation to establish.

        PS – you have still not answered my earlier question about the evidence that ‘Catastrophic Warming’ is a ‘well-founded risk’h

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, I think it is reasonable to be concerned about CAGW if one believes in the possibility of AGW of 2-4.5C.

        By insisting on a premise of only 1.5C warming, you appear to be avoiding a discussion of 4.5C.

        I think the distinction is relevant because there have been many environment-related catastrophe theories, but none with such a strong physics base. Personally I believe the basis for believing in AGW is reasonable, but I struggle to envisage CAGW, so I don’t think I’m infected with any psychological desires for catastrophe, even if it is easy to rationally demonstrate the risks (eg. number of deaths during the 2003 European heat wave – a less flippant response than slower trains).

      • Stecve Milesworthy –
        even if it is easy to rationally demonstrate the risks (eg. number of deaths during the 2003 European heat wave – a less flippant response than slower trains).

        You’re still spewing nonsense. That claim was debunked years ago. What rock have you been living under?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Jim Owen, there were 10s of thousands of excess deaths due to heat in Europe during the heatwave of 2003. If you have evidence that this is untrue, I’ll be delighted.

        I suspect your problem is that you don’t understand the difference between “The 2003 heatwave was caused by AGW” and “The 2003 heatwave caused many deaths. More such heatwaves will likely occur with 4.5C AGW, therefore 4.5C AGW is a risk”.

        “spewing”? You don’t have to be so offensive.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        ‘By insisting on a premise of only 1.5C warming, you appear to be avoiding a discussion of 4.5C.’

        I make no such insistence. As I wrote earlier, I have never to me recollection expressed any opinion about what any future temperatures may be.

        But you expressed the view that there is a well-founded risk of Catastrophic Warming. I have asked you to explain why you believe that.So far, you have made some clumsy attempts at diversion, but have avoided answering that question.

        Van you do so, or is your ‘well-founded belief in Catastrophic Warming; to be placed in the same category as my increasingly well-founded belief that you are all mouth but no trousers?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, the following is an opinion about future temperatures.

        “Just for the moment, let’s assume that AGW has been proven to occur (a point that I do not at all concede outside of this particular discussion) and that there is a slight rise in temperature a la Arrhenius 1906..of about 1.5 degrees for a doubling in CO2.”

        Now why did you say this when you know very well that 1.5C is at the lowest end of the scientific thinking (eg. Schwartz) whereas the catastrophic scenarios are more likely to be at the upper end (ie. 4.5C) or beyond.

        If I have misunderstood you then we can move on if you tell me whether you think 4.5C of globally averaged warming can be contemplated without being deeply concerned about the risks.

      • Steve Milesworthy –
        there were 10s of thousands of excess deaths due to heat in Europe during the heatwave of 2003. If you have evidence that this is untrue, I’ll be delighted.

        Of course it’s true – but you fail to ask “Why?”

        And the answer is not AGW. The temps were high – possibly record in some places, but due to extreme weather conditions – not AGW. If you look back on Climate, Etc you’ll find a thread on extreme weather events.

        Nor were the temps THAT high – 40 degC is not a killer temp if one is prepared. US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan live and fight in that kind of temp – and have for years.

        On a personal basis, I’ve hiked 20 mile days through desert in 35 – 40 degC for hundreds of miles.

        So why did 14,000 elderly French citizens die? And another 4,000 Italian elderly? And…….

        Answer – because it was holiday time in Europe and the elderly were left in closed apartments with no air conditioning while the younger folk went on holiday. Air conditioning is a wonderful invention – if it’s used. So is “proper clothing” – which is something some people apparently don’t understand.

        AGW didn’t kill those people – their own ignorance did. And I find it reprehensible that you would use their deaths to promote your own agenda.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Jim, yes ignorance caused the deaths – most of us are ignorant of things we’re not used to and that’s why change is risky.

        You reference troops in Afghanistan – there was a chap on the radio yesterday saying that the air conditioning bill in Afghanistan was an astonishing 20 billion dollars per year! I keep being asked to cite evidence, but there are a few stories if you google “air conditioning afghanistan”.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        Perhaps I was not clear. Just assume that Arrhenius was right and there will be some warming of about 1.5C. I don;t need to get into about a debate about radiative physics or anything. By quoting such a number I was merely tryign to exclude that discussion from the debate.

        But how – in your opinion – do we get from there to a ‘well-founded risk of Catastrophic Warming’. You must have some reason to believe that here is something in addition to Arrhenius’s work that is going on.

        What is it, how big is it and why do you believe it would be ‘Catastrophic’, not inconvenient or benign? And how do you know?

      • Steve –
        You reference troops in Afghanistan – there was a chap on the radio yesterday saying that the air conditioning bill in Afghanistan was an astonishing 20 billion dollars per year!

        Yup – could be. But nobody fights in air conditioning. And the boys who fight don’t live in it much, either.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        ‘Jim Owen, there were 10s of thousands of excess deaths due to heat in Europe during the heatwave of 2003. If you have evidence that this is untrue, I’ll be delighted.’

        Steve, That’s not the way it works. You made the assertion. It is for you to show that it is true, not for others to show that it is untrue.

        Less politely :Put up or shut up.

      • I do not make statements lightly.

        ‘Using this method, and by considering both internal natural climate variations and projected future anthropogenic forcing, we make the following forecast: over the next decade, the current Atlantic meridional overturning circulation will weaken to its long-term mean; moreover, North Atlantic SST and European and North American surface temperatures will cool slightly, whereas tropical Pacific SST will remain almost unchanged. Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.’

        ‘Keenlyside et al 2008- Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector – Nature 453, 84-88 8 May 2008

        But there are others here –

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/19/understanding-the-conflict/#comment-78822

        and here

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/25/dueling-grandchildren/#comment-80379

        Here is a response to Joshua.

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/06/25/dueling-grandchildren/#comment-80374

        We are in a cool mode of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – these persist for 20 to 40 years, are associated with a negative PDO and more frequent and intense La NIna. There are various feedbacks including low level cloud feedback – which we can see in Project Earthshine data, COADS surface observations and ERBE and ISCCP-FD satellite data.

        Keenleyside et al is merely one study and perhaps the least important. They use historic sea surface temperature directly without building even a conceptual model of the physical workings of what they were investigating.

        Tsonis comes closest to understanding the nature of the system. Climate shifted again in 1998/2002. ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’

        Indeterminate and roughly are probably the important terms. Expect a decade or 3 more of no warming at a minimum.

      • BTW – you haven’t actually read the Keenleyside et al study have you? Or anything else in the field. Merely relied on a media interview with a junior author.

        I have promised myself I will play nice today – or I would be so scathing. .

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Chief Hydrologist, why have you ignored Figure 4 in the Keenleyside paper which shows that their forecast shows rapid warming after 2015 which catches up with the IPCC A1B scenario radiative forcing runs?

        The Mochizuki paper which I’ve only scanned finds that temps are modulated by PDO but that otherwise the trend continues much the same, so I don’t see how you get your comfort from here.

        You’ve also ignored the Smith et al paper.

        So three instances where you are looking at evidence and taking a *very* favourable (ie. wrong) view of what the “peer reviewed decadal forecasts” say.

      • “….because of the long time scales involved in ocean, cryosphere and biosphere processes a first kind predictability component also arises. The slower components of the climate system (e.g. the ocean and biosphere) affect the statistics of climate variables (e.g. precipitation) and since they may feel the influence of their initial state at multi decadal time scales, it is possible that climate changes also depend on the initial state of the climate system (e.g. Collins, 2002; Pielke, 1998). For example, the evolution of the THC in response to GHG forcing can depend on the THC initial state, and this evolution will in general affect the full climate system. As a result, the climate change prediction problem has components of both first and second kind which are deeply intertwined.”

        F. Giorgi, 2005 : Climate Change Prediction: Climatic Change (2005) 73: 239. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-005-6857-4

        What I have taken form both the Keenleyside and Mochizuki papers is the prediction from initialised models of a decade of no warming – which is where I started. It is probably adventurous to extend this beyond a decade at most. As with ENSO predictions it is a problem of models diverging exponentially from observations as a result of the chaotic nature of both the climate system and the models.

        The Tsonis et al paper used oceanographic and atmospheric indices – it noted the potential for no warming for an indeterminate period as I quoted.

        We are in a cool phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation – a cool mode PDO and more frequent and intense La Nina with associated cloud feedbacks seen in surface and satellite observations. I could cite Clement et al 2009 and Norris 2010 – who noted cloud changes associated with the PDO and ENSO respectively. Burgmann et al 2008 – whom I quoted in one of the links observed the same in the central Pacific and Zhu et al – likewise quoted – who examined the nature and extent of the change in cloud with ENSO, Physical evidence as opposed to models showing cloud radiative forcing as the cause of the change in the trajectory in surface temperature since 1998. The same change in cloud since 2000 is seen in ISCCP, ERBE, AIRS and Project Earthshine data.

        The systems themselves have well known properties and multi-decadal periodicities – the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (not to be confused with the PDO) so phases of 20 to 40 years.with a similar periodicity in the Atlantic.

        It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        You take a very limited (i.e. wrong) view of complexity and variability.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I haven’t said what my view is on the science in any detail at all, so your assumption that I have a limited view of complexity and variability is based on a prejudice.

        You said:

        “Nor is the planet warming for another decade or three according to peer reviewed decadal forecasts.”

        Even if correct (which we have established is not the case) neither Keenlyside or Mochizuki undermine the longer term projections of warming. So what you “have taken” from these papers is only what you need to support your PDO theory, and you’ve ignored everything else.

      • ‘I haven’t said what my view is on the science in any detail at all, so your assumption that I have a limited view of complexity and variability is based on a prejudice.’

        Steve,

        I am sure I never mentioned – what – beyond a decade or three.precisely and this is clearly within the ambit of the phenomenon. One I might repeat that is a pan Pacific climate influence and not a PDO theory.

        Verdon and Franks (2006) used ‘proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the PDO and ENSO. During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’
        Verdon, D. and Franks, S. (2006), Long-term behaviour of ENSO: Interactions with the PDO over the past 400 years inferred from paleoclimate records, Geophysical Research Letters 33: 10.1029/2005GL025052.

        Now – I clearly have no agenda here other than the sacred hydrological truth. I believe and I have said this repeatedly that it is imprudent to continue increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The problem is political rather than scientific and it is very short sighted to continue to insist on certainty in midst of complexity. Your pissant word games speaks for itself.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        If you think it imprudent to increase greenhouse gases then you seem to be on the same page as me.

        But the article at the top of this page is an attempt, in my view, to suggest those concerned about AGW are suffering psychologically rather than accepting a simple truth.

        Your reference to “true believers” is more of the same.

        The phrase “true believer” is often used in a reprehensible way. Attempting to suggest your opponent is psychologically abherrant is a reprehensible tactic. Suggesting the article is rubbish because we true believers are only calling a spade a spade is not a pissant word game. It’s a display of irritation.

        Accepting a simple truth does not necessarily mean you think the truth is simple. It can mean that you’ve weighed all the evidence and voted a particular way. It doesn’t mean you won’t change your mind.

      • Steve Milesworthy –
        The phrase “true believer” is often used in a reprehensible way. Attempting to suggest your opponent is psychologically abherrant is a reprehensible tactic.

        Don’t be silly , Steve – the word you’re looking for is not “reprehensible” but “pejorative”. “true believer” is the informal form of “True Believer of the Church of CAGW” and it is pejorative, but nearly as much, or as slimy, as “denier”.

        “Reprehensible” is vividly illustrated by the 10:10 video that was posted on this blog several nights ago by a “true believer.” No, I won’t repost it.

        Suggesting the article is rubbish because we true believers are only calling a spade a spade is not a pissant word game. It’s a display of irritation.

        I have yet to find a true believer who can actually call a spade a spade. In fact, personal experience is that most of them appear, as you do, to have a reading comprehension problem and wouldn’t recognize a spade if it dropped on their head. Apparently the Chief is in the same position and has lost patience with looking. Or perhaps he’s lost his lamp.

        In any case, there are a lot of pissant word games being played here – by you and others.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Jim, with respect to the above, I think you are the one with reading comprehension difficulties.

        And a pejorative word or phrase is one that has an unpleasant connotation. Repeatedly using a pejorative is reprehensible. If you like word play I’m thereby calling a spade a blunt instrument.

      • Steve Milesworthy –
        Your talk of psychobabble and psychological reasons is pure fluff. As I recall you used to talk about data and “science”. What happened – did you find out that those weren’t valid arguments?

        Wrt no warming – when was the last time you looked at the data – 1998 maybe? ?

    • The AGW scare has no scientific foundation.

      http://bit.ly/kJsp7U

  103. How did we get into this?

    By beefed up claims!

    (WWW Australia) are worried that this may present a slightly more conservative approach to the risks than they are hearing from CSIRO. In particular, they would like to see the section on variability and extreme events beefed up if possible.

    http://bit.ly/l1Mzv2