Nature on Heartland

by Judith Curry

Nature has just published an editorial on the Heartland Conference entitled “Heart of the Matter” with subtitle “The Heartland Institute’s climate conference reveals the motives of global warming skeptics.”

Heart of the matter

Nature, 475, 423–424 (28 July 2011) doi:10.1038/475423b

Published online 27 July 2011 [link]


Some excerpts:

It would be easy for scientists to ignore the Heartland Institute’s climate conferences. They are curious affairs designed to gather and share contrarian views, in which science is secondary to wild accusations and political propaganda. They are easy to lampoon — delegates at the latest meeting of the Chicago-based institute in Washington DC earlier this month could pick up primers on the libertarian writings of Russian–American novelist Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophical theory of objectivism, and postcards depicting former US vice-president Al Gore as a fire-breathing demon. And they are predictable, with environmentalists often portrayed as the latest incarnation of a persistent communist plot. “Green on the outside, red on the inside,” said one display. “Smash the watermelons!”

So why does Nature this week devote two pages to such absurdities? We now have more than two decades of evidence that closing our eyes will not make the climate sceptics go away. Instead, in the United States at least, they have cemented their propaganda into a broader agenda that pits conservatives of various stripes against almost any form of government regulation. The sceptics like to present the battlefield as science, but, as the News Feature on page 440 makes clear, the fight is, in fact, a violent collision of world views.

Does the following sound familiar? “They distort science, ignore reality and will not tolerate opinions or facts that conflict with their beliefs.” “Cynical manipulators or simple pawns, their purpose is only to keep funds flowing to a corrupt few who profit from the status quo.” Those are the kinds of words scientists use, often correctly, to describe the sceptics, many of whom would have the financial interests of today continue their dominance tomorrow. Yet this is also how sceptics characterize climate scientists, whose careers and reputations they claim are intertwined with protecting the science of anthropogenic global warming.

Scientists can only carry on with their work, addressing legitimate questions as they arise and challenging misinformation. Many climate scientists have already tried to engage with their critics, as they did at the Heartland event. The difference, of course, is motive. Scientists work to fill the gaps in human knowledge and to build a theory that can explain observations of the world. Climate sceptics revel in such gaps, sometimes long after they have been filled.

It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own. And far from quashing dissent, it is the scientists, not the sceptics, who do most to acknowledge gaps in their studies and point out the limitations of their data — which is where sceptics get much of the mud they fling at the scientists. By contrast, the Heartland Institute and its ilk are not trying to build a theory of anything. They have set the bar much lower, and are happy muddying the waters.

I know that many of you will yawn, this is the same old, same old stuff.  But I have an interesting angle on this article.  On Jul 8, I received an email query from the person who wrote this article, I asked him to email me some questions, to which I replied to.  I thought the questions were quite good, and I spent some time on this to provide a thoughtful reply.

JC’s  response to Nature reporter’s query:

What do you think about Heartland? Have you been to one of their conferences?

I have not attended any of their conferences.  I was invited to present at the 2009 conference but I declined. However, I have spent a considerable amount of time going through the videos and powerpoint presentations of several of the Heartland climate conferences. The Heartland Institute has become a focal point for organized climate change skepticism, although I will add that much climate change skepticism does not associate in any way with the Heartland Institute.

How does the NIPCC fair in summarizing the science? They are reviewing the same scientific literature as everybody else, so what is it that differs? My assumption is that most scientists would disagree with most of the overarching conclusions, but many might less to argue about in the minutia. If that’s true, what does that say about the scientific literature/community?

There is an enormous body of scientific literature related to climate change and its impacts.  A comparison between table of contents of the IPCC and NIPCC assessment reports shows a substantial difference in emphasis and selection of topics.  The NIPCC chapters 1 and 2 are quite weak, and provide the source for most of the criticism that the report has received.  However there are several chapters in the NIPCC Report that are substantially more thorough and comprehensive than the IPCC treatment, including

5.  Solar variability and climate cycles

7.  Biological effects of carbon dioxide enrichment

8.  Species extinction

9.  Human health effects.

Further, the NIPCC’s regional approach to analyzing extreme events and historical and paleo records of temperature, rainfall, streamflow, glaciers, sea ice, and sea level rise is commendable and frankly more informative than the global analyses provided by the IPCC.

While there is much good material in the latter chapters of the NIPCC report, the report suffers from drawing sweeping conclusions that don’t seem supported by their analysis.  This is particularly evident in the Executive Summary, but also in the summary paragraphs for each subsection.  The IPCC is more careful in drawing conclusions from its analysis, but also tends to be overconfident in many of its conclusions.

The existence of two assessment reports that draw conclusions that are diametrically opposite from each other and selects reference lists that are nearly mutually exclusive provides evidence of both disagreement and uncertainty in the climate debate.  Not just over specific details, but in how to frame and analyze the overall problem.

There has been talk – and even legislation, I believe – about using this red team-blue team approach to analyze the science, and that’s essentially what these guys are doing. In this case, this document is largely ignored by people like me but probably very influential in certain small circles. But from a more theoretical standpoint, could this exercise be useful if the two sides actually paid attention to each other? Roger Pielke Jr. says would we be better off with a more comprehensive assessment from the IPCC that doesn’t try to draw conclusions but instead summarizes the evidence/debate in its entirety.

I have argued in several venues for parallel evidenced-based analyses for the competing hypotheses of anthropogenic versus natural variability as the cause for recent climate change.  Because of the complexity of the climate change problem, reasoning about uncertainty in the context of evidence-based analyses is not at all straightforward.

How to implement something like this in a practical way is not at all straightforward.  One strategy would be to use a legal model, whereby the IPCC bears the burden of proof, and the opposition is more in the manner of critiquing the IPCC’s report and articulating reasonable doubts.  Another strategy would be to have two separate teams in red team/blue team approach.  Particularly for the latter strategy, it is difficult to establish a level playing field.  Richard Tol has argued that the IPCC has established itself as a knowledge monopoly, and it is very difficult for competitors to become established without encouragement from policy makers. Some excerpts from Richard Tol’s paper:

While it would be hard for a single organization to compete with the entirety of the IPCC, competition on specific aspects is much easier. The World Meteorological Organization could review atmospheric science, the World Health Organization the health impacts of climate change. The World Bank and the OECD could review the emission reduction policies and their costs, while national institutions could assess the impacts of climate change. While such activities are ongoing, they often draw on the same people as the IPCC and are frequently not even intended to be independent.

Self-organization is the third, potential new entrant that could threaten the IPCC’s monopoly. Wikipedia is the best known example, and it already covers all the topics that the IPCC does. Wikipedia, however, lacks focus and it does not have the credibility and legitimacy of the IPCC. . . Wikify AR4 and a few good textbooks. By way of experiment, this should be done by an IPCC-controlled wiki, a quality-controlled wiki (e.g., Scholarpedia), and an open wiki (e.g., Wikipedia).

You’ve advocated more engagement with the skeptical community, but I guess I wonder what that means in this context. Exchange of scientific ideas? Just being less antagonistic? Does the NIPCC/heartland represent an opportunity for real exchange? And is it in anybody’s interest to do so? Or is this a case where both sides are perfectly happy pointing the finger? I was amazed at the extent to which everything the skeptics said about mainstream science I’ve heard mainstream science saying about the skeptics.

In the context of science, skeptics should be regarded as legitimate or even vital partners in the search for scientific truth, exercising their right to remain unconvinced and require more information, point out perceived contradictions and flawed reasoning, and emphasize alternative hypotheses.

Unlike the group of scientists that comprise and support the IPCC consensus, the skeptics are very diverse collection of individuals that for the most part are unorganized, with the blogosphere supporting substantial diversity.  For example, one group of skeptics, called the Skydragons, are mostly rejected by the broader community of skeptics because they reject the existence of the atmospheric greenhouse effect.  Individual skeptics may focus on a particular element of the IPCC’s argument, rather that on the argument in its entirety.  The problem with Heartland as an organizing group for this is that Heartland is an advocacy group identified with a particular political agenda.   In my opinion there are two different ways to go:  a government sanctioned and organized group (perhaps parallel to the IPCC), or an open knowledge initiative in blogosphere.  The latter is already happening at some level with the technical climate blogs auditing aspects of the IPCC reports (e.g. Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit, the Blackboard, The Air Vent, and more recently my blog Climate Etc.)

In terms of getting both sides to interact with each other, that is indeed a challenge, see my discussion on talking past each other.  The skeptics want to debate the science, while the convinced, consensus scientists want to discuss solutions, and think that debating science with the skeptics is a waste of time.  And I continue to see examples where skeptical scientists have substantial difficulty in getting their papers published.

For a comprehensive discussion on the issues you raise, see my blog post on the Lisbon workshop on climate reconciliation,  some excerpts:

The first issue is what exactly is meant by reconciliation, and who actually wants it?  Reconciliation is defined (wikipedia) as re-establishing normal relations between belligerents: re-establish dialogue, reinstate balance,  restore civility.  It is not clear that there has ever been normal relations between, say, the mainstream IPCC researchers and  the skeptical climate blogosphere. Consensus building was not seen as having any part in a reconciliation.  Rather there was a desire to conduct impassioned debates nonviolently, and to create an arena where we can fight a more honest fight over the science and the policy options.

So who actually wants some sort of reconciliation or an increase in civility?  One perspective was that the alarmists shooting at the deniers, and deniers shooting at the alarmists, with a big group in the middle, with both the deniers and the alarmists ruining the situation for reasoned debate about the science and the policy options.  Another perspective described the fight as entertaining theater.  One perspective was that there is no incentive for conciliation by either side; both sides like the “war.”  In the context of the “war,” the hope was expressed that more moderate voices would emerge in the public debate.

And this leads me into the issue of “consensus.” We tend to talk about it as a black and white issue, and maybe it is on the most basic questions (are humans influencing the climate). But obviously there many shades of gray once you start digging into details. Do we need to rethink how we redefine consensus? Or is the very fact that we are talking about consensus the problem? I know you’ve gotten some flack for your positions. Have things settled down?

I wrote an essay entitled “no consensus on consensus”  which addresses  these issues.  Yes, talking about consensus is a big a part of the problem.  Consensus isn’t necessary, and isn’t desirable on topics where there is substantial disagreement and uncertainty.

I have taken plenty of flack from a segment of the community that supports the IPCC consensus, but I hope that my arguments are being increasingly discussed by the mainstream consensus community.

Here is an excerpt from an in press paper:

Here I argue that the IPCC’s consensus approach enforces overconfidence, marginalization of skeptical arguments, and belief polarization.

The consensus approach being used by the IPCC has failed to produce a thorough portrayal of the complexities of the problem and the associated uncertainties in our understanding. While the public may not understand the complexity of the science or be culturally predisposed to accept the consensus, they can certainly understand the vociferous arguments over the science portrayed by the media.  Better characterization of uncertainty and ignorance and a more realistic portrayal of confidence levels could go a long way towards reducing the “noise” and animosity portrayed in the media that fuels the public distrust of climate science and acts to stymie the policy process.  An improved characterization of uncertainty and ignorance would promote better overall understanding of the science and how to best target resources to improve understanding.  Further, improved understanding and characterization of uncertainty is critical information for the development of robust policy options.

Scott Denning on Heartland

The Yale Forum has a very interesting post entitled “Atmospheric Scientist Scott Denning Shares Lessons from Dialog with Skeptics”  that provides Denning’s reflections on the two Heartland Conferences that he has attended.  Some excerpts:

“I didn’t pull punches” in pointing out the “gravity” of climate challenges, a Colorado State professor says of his exchanges with a Heartland Institute conference of climate doubters. He would do it all over again and hopes his “like-minded” colleagues will do so too, and he offers lessons-learned.

“I was treated with respect and even warmth despite my vehement disagreement with most of the other presenters,” Denning wrote, expressing thanks for prominent platforms he was provided during the conference, including an hour-long keynote debate with contrarian Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville.

Asked if he had accepted the Heartland Institute speech invitation with the idea of “changing some minds,” Denning paused before responding, “Yeh. I guess I did. I hoped to change some minds,” but he added that “a lot of people” at the conference were “not so open-minded.” At the same time, he said he was gratified by the number of conferees who later told him that his remarks “really made me think.” He pointed to a long dinner discussion he had with a former New Zealand environmental minister and “hard-core climate denier” who asked “really insightful questions.”

“These were not a bunch of brain-washed idiots,” Denning said of the conferees, rebutting an impression many in the science community might have. He said his real goal in making his remarks, rather than changing minds, was more along the lines of “diffusing the angry rhetoric on both sides” through, for instance, what he called the “rhetorical tricks” of beginning on “common ground” and of emphasizing facts “that are not in dispute.”

Prior to making his remarks at the Heartland meeting, Denning said he had been getting a ratio of three-to-one comments from fellow scientists that his planned presentation to such an audience would likely backfire. Since posting his UCAR Magazine piece, he said, comments from his “like-minded” science peers have been overwhelmingly favorable and upbeat.

Denning in his article dismissed claims of many scientists that avoiding such head-to-heads with committed climate contrarians amounts to the “high road.” Citing polling showing increased public uncertainties about climate change, he wrote that he fears “the high road to ruin.”

Dozens of participants “told me they’d needed to hear this ‘other side’ of the story of climate change.”

An example of “what doesn’t work” in speaking with audiences such as those at the Heartland conference, Denning wrote, “is the condescending argument from authority that presumes that the Earth’s climate is too complicated for ordinary people to understand, so that they have to trust the opinions of experts.”

“Appeals to ‘overwhelming scientific consensus’ are more likely to confirm the audience’s suspicions of some kind of nefarious conspiracy than to change minds,” Denning wrote, and “even the concept of peer review can sound sinister.”

Kudos to Scott Denning.

401 responses to “Nature on Heartland

  1. Dr. Curry,
    Good answers.
    It will be interesting to see where this goes.
    Nature has fallen far from its days of credibility when John Royden Maddox was in charge.
    He knew fear promotion when he saw it, and wrote a pretty good book on the topic:
    “The Doomsday Syndrome”

    • Thanks hunter. Yes, Nature joined the effort to use science as a tool of propaganda tool.

      Nature published many important discoveries before joining forces with world leaders to save the world from nuclear annihilation.

      Today, Nature publishes false information on the composition and origin of the Sun and the nature of the energy source that heats it and planet Earth.

      Nature will not even allow me to comment on the garbage Nature now publishes as science.

      To get to the root of this issue, let the editor of Nature publish this eight-page summary of the events that produced the current economic and social collapse:

      Then Nature can use all the skills of its army of consensus reviewers to try to refute the conclusion of these documents.

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

      • Unfortunately, Heartland now publishes more credible scientific reports than Nature. What a sad, sad state of affairs!

        The editorial board of The APEIRON Journal is also more credible than Nature’s.

        Unless Nature responds to a paper in press summarizes experimental data and observations on Earth’s heat source that Nature editors have ignored or manipulated for decades:

        I subscribe to Nature so I registered again today and received the same message: “You are currently not allowed to comment owing to misuse.”

        About a year ago (Aug 11, 2010) I sent an open request for the resignation of Dr. Philip Campbell as editor of Nature. It began,

        “Dear Dr. Campbell,

        This is an open request for your resignation as Editor of Nature.

        I make the request at this time because of your refusal to follow Nature’s own Mission Statement of 1869: ” . . . to place before the general public the grand results of scientific work and scientific discovery; . . . to aid scientific men . . . by giving early information of all advances made in any branch of natural knowledge throughout the world, and by affording them an opportunity of discussing the various scientific questions which arise from time to time.”

        As I explained in recent correspondence with Mr. Gerald Chopin, Head of Customer Services for the Nature Publishing Group:

        a.) Customer Services sells subscriptions to the Nature described above.

        b.) Nature Editors deliver a different product – namely your propaganda.

        Under your leadership, Nature has deceived and continues to mislead the general public and the scientific community about the formation of the solar system, the Sun’s origin, chemical composition, source of energy, and influence on changes in Earth’s climate.

        Under your leadership, Nature routinely eliminates comments from subscribers who try to point out these errors.

        etc., etc.,

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

  2. Why is it, do you think, that the Nature author chose to ignore your well-considered comments, and instead depicted a caricature of skeptics as “absurd”, motivated to “muddy the waters” rather than to advance understanding? There are certainly some who answer to that description, and, not having attended the conference, I wouldn’t dare speculate on the fraction of attendees who might be so characterized. From Dr. Denning’s comments, it appears they did not comprise a majority.

    And flipping it around, one could as easily point to scientists who glibly paper over the weaknesses of their hypotheses. Or allow grand press releases which overstate the certainty of a paper’s conclusions, or otherwise slant its results.

    The dichotomy presented in the Nature article — of pure knowledge-seeking scientists vs. raving politically-motivated skeptics — is not accurate; I thought Dr. Denning was much more on-target.

    • I thought the Nature author asked really good questions. But somewhere along the way, he decided to take a different approach to his article (presumably based on responses from other scientists).

      • Perhaps he was concerned that giving you a few lines would constitute the dreaded “false balance”. Lambert never did get back with a definition of what actually entails.

      • I agree, they were good questions (& answers too). Perhaps it was the editors that changed the focus from how the questions were.

      • You are far more diplomatic than the “journalist’s” actions deserve.
        He put himself in the mudpit as a Chris Mooney.

      • I agree, they were good questions. The nature piece is pure propoganda, simply printing your interview with excerpts from the heatland (and commentary) would have been a far better article.

        While i do feel that many skeptics are their won worst enemy, and further that we risk falling into the same trap the some accuse the ‘warmists’ of (i.e. being hijacked by vested interests), i do think it’s sad that we’re clearly at a stage where equal weight of ideas (at least in this context) no longer exists.

      • Consider a Venn diagram, with Sceptics and Scientists as sub-populations within the whole. Is it not Nature’s implicit, perhaps explicit, view that the two have no overlap?

    • HaroldW | July 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Reply
      Why is it, do you think, that the Nature author …. depict[s] a caricature of skeptics as “absurd”, motivated to “muddy the waters” rather than to advance understanding?

      –Great Question! I suspect the motives are very similar to religious fundamentalists over the centuries, who oppose all kinds of challenges to their meme.

  3. Dr. Curry, I find it interesting that the chapters of the NIPCC are mainly in the “fit for use” category, or as the skeptics pointed out, the areas that the use by the IPCC of mainly repeating alarmism by NGO’s was not fit for use. In fact, I think that most of the skeptic comments and ideas that are worth noting, including the scientific criticisms, are about the “fit for use” claim. It is not just the overconfidence, but rather, that the preconceived ideas such overconfidence tends to give that influences the rationale for response from skeptics; a response system that by accentuating alarmism is found not fit for use.

    So, I propose a modern system other than the red/blue team concept. I propose the continuous improvement model, where the intended product is designed, improved, and maximized for the purpose of fit for use. An example for considering is Santer et al’s statement that the results of a flat temperature response in an ever increasing CO2 input was not inconsistent with climate models begs the question: Are models fit for the purpose for which they were purported? In this way your Italian flag can be used as well. As in the questions and criticisms in the white and red sections are used to help determine fit for use.

    One of the critical comments of the IPCC, expressed well and often, is that climate change took on the attributes that if it was a good idea, it was good to be shoe-horned into the CC strategy or the WG recommendations. I think that the fit for use paradigm would be more likely to help than a red/blue team due to the already existing polarization. The other benefit would be to take away the self fulfilling defensive positions of both scientists and skeptics that in being science it is a sacred truth, or cow to be gored, depending on point of view.

    Also, the flag method could be used as the staging ground for what should be considered. As Scott Denning indicated a simplistic view of skeptics, what they are saying, or what they believe is not correct. Assuming the voice of god and appeal to authority will not work and does not answer legitimate questions. Using the Italian flag should work. However, there is a real problem, both scientists and skeptics complaints would have to be fit for use and continuous improvement paradigm. This cuts both ways, as in your criticism is valid, but is it fit for use or shows something is not fit for use. The goal of course is to improve the science and the dialogue.

  4. It would be interesting to know if the sceptics views on Heartland are coloured by nationality.

    As a Brit I think of Heartland as being rather more right wing than I feel comfortable with, combined with a rather strident tone at times, and, in part, a lack of professionalism.

    A shame, as individually some of the papers presented are very good, although some also appear rather poor and probably should not be included in a report from an organisation that sets itself up as an alternative to the IPCC. A very mixed bag from a group that could do with more quality control and less politics/advocacy.

    • That’s a bit rich Sir. Given the IAC review of IPCC how on earth can you claim (by inference) IPCC is professional? It is precisely the LACK of professionalism on the part of IPCC and its supporters which leads me to favour the sceptic side of the debate (which many AGW proponents still deny with the mantra that ‘the science is settled’.) Anyone who has training in real science can immediately recognise the extreme, blatant selection bias in AR4 and the mere fact that NIPCC can muster such a wealth of peer-reviewed literature in conflict with the IPCC position speaks volumes as does the fact that IPCC ignores/excludes such material from any serious consideration.
      Sceptics, unfortunately are not unfified or organised and certainly have no major funding sources to compete with the billions of dollars dished out to the IPCC by participating governments.

    • It hard to figure out if Heartland is just being opportunistic but Nature should not be writing articles that use Anne Rand as (either as a negative or a positive) a point of argument or proof of motivation. There are just as many motivation as there are beliefs. Some motivations may be odd to some but what purpose does it do Nature to come out against certain groups.

    • Tony, the ‘right-wing’ reputation of the Heartland was one thing I was nervous of before attending last year’s Heartland, despite my own politics being decidedly NOT left-leaning. However, I found very little which made me uncomfortable and much with which to agree. I suspect that working for industry does give you a different perspective.

    • Tony, one way to look at it is that adherence to climate catastrophism has been a criterion for social acceptance in progressive circles for so long, and orthodoxy has been so ruthlessly enforced, that the sceptical argument could find no other voice than that of organisations which were forthrightly conservative. They and their members already enjoyed, and had learned to live with, a pariah status among the bien-pensants, and therefore had no social capital to lose by asking awkward questions about the science.
      Scott Denning was obviously impressed by the difference between what he had been led to believe about Heartland and what he actually experienced when he ventured into their den. Others are likely to follow, as the warmist limb on which they presently huddle is sawn steadily through at the trunk by the weight of evidence and the passage of time. Some may conclude that there is nothing axiomatically correct about the progressive mindset, and nothing axiomatically toxic about conservatism. This will be a very good thing for western politics, but a very bad thing for the progressive bandwagon. I suspect that history will reveal CAGW to have been as much a failure of the progressive mindset as of the science itself.

      • Insightful observation. AGW is a battle in the war of the memes.

      • “Scott Denning was obviously impressed by the difference between what he had been led to believe about Heartland and what he actually experienced when he ventured into their den.”

        Yes, he clearly exposes himself and his associates for having been close-minded provincial rubes. One can almost picture the shock and wonder going on in his brain as he realizes that there’s a great big world out there and it’s not anything at all like he was led to believe back home in his cloistered cocoon.

  5. “It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own”

    Hmmm? Ah.


    • Yeah, apparently i’m a scientist AND a skeptic (although i’m probably more of a lukewarmer now). Surely that cannot be allowed?

  6. Nature and the mainstream science media has been obviously warmist over years, so it is no surprise the article maintains that stance, which must come from higher up.

    One suspects a quiet mass of scientists would agree with Judith’s position, but scientists are not generally renowned as activists or lobbyists or protesters. Good scientists do science.

    Where will the pro-AGW scientists go when the science eventually proves them wrong. At present, they are riding the anti-climategate circle the wagons defense. At some point in the future, legitimate scientists will have to desert.

  7. “Kudos to Scott Denning”
    Indeed Judy.
    If there were more like him, and you, in the Arena then I may have placed my bets differently.
    But, sadly. you are as rare as Hen’s teeth!

  8. I don’t see any author attribution with the editorial. Should I assume the editorial represents a joint effort of the editorial staff at Nature? If not, who should get credit for the editorial?

    • Probably this is the product of Dr. Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of Nature and Nature Publishing Group.

      I responded to him by submitting my concise, four-page historical review of Climategate and the current economic crisis from 1945 to 2011 for publication in Nature (with four pages of references and links).

      I agreed “to allow you and/or the NPG Executive Committee to select your favorite reviewers to try to discredit publicly the accusation that the current crisis results from corruption of government-sponsored science and journals since February 1972.”

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo.
      Environmentalist, and
      Greenpeace Supporter

  9. Dr. Curry,

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. So this reporter, he goes to the conference, but doesn’t write or even presumably looks to the content of the science discussed? He has to ask you about it? Isn’t this a journalist of a science magazine? Then, she asks you about skeptics themselves? What is she afraid of, that if she directly interacts she will be exposed to some sort of skeptical infection? Does the person in question know how to turn on a computer and find a blog? Is she that socially inept or insecure she doesn’t know how to interact with the others?

    Do they wonder why many of us derisively sneer at their willful ignorance? I’ve got a deal for this “journalist”. There is an open invitation to my blog where she can ask any scientific questions she’d like of a bonafide skeptic and if she stays on topic, I won’t point out the fact that watermelon is indeed a very apt description for many alarmists.

    James Sexton

  10. Dear Dr. Curry,

    Thank you for your answers.

    However, the major suspicion that so called “skeptics” have with journals like Nature and Science is that the editors themselves of those journals have apparently systematically filtered out papers critical of the anthropogenic GHG IPCC theory of climate change, while facilitating the pubblication of works supporting the anthropogenic GHG IPCC theory. Essentially, the editors apparently immediately reject papers addressing the limits of the anthropogenic GHG IPCC theory, without sending such papers to the referees.

    It is evident that the editors of Nature have a major duty to remain as much as neutral in a scientific debate by also favoring works proposed by a minority view even if only to check the solidity of the majority view on a specific topic.

    Because this pre-filtering behavior has lasted several years, the journal has probably significantly skewed a proper debate on the topic and contributed to fabricate a fake consensus around the AGWT. This, in turn, has also contributed to the polarization of the arguments favoring extremisms from both parts.

    I believe that the best way to try to fix this anomalous situation is to strongly invite Nature to truly welcome scientific debates on these climate issues on his own pages. For example, by publishing invited debated arguments about climate science advocated by both sides without an improper editorial pre-filtering that systematically damage only one side of the debate, so that readers may better evaluate the situation by having the possibility to listen the two bells.

    In fact, it is evident that society has a right of not being artificially mislead on a topic so important for them. Moreover, what would happen to Nature and Science if the anthropogenic GHG IPCC theory of climate change they have advocated so strongly would be found wrong with the papers disproving it being published on minor journals because of improper editorial pre-filtering and censorship? It is evident that the prestige of Nature and other similar journals will be seriously questioned by the society with serious consequences for them.

    • Thank you Nicola for exposing yet another form of selection bias, aka cherry-picking, which covertly adds a new dimension to publication bias and ‘pal review’.

  11. suyts & Bob Koss,

    Dr. C clearly stated “him” and I’ll assume for the time being that “him” is;

    until told otherwise by Dr. C.

    The first link (with the author’s name even) is in the Nature editorial itself, but you may need to sign-up for free access to see the two page write-up (also available as a PDF file).

    • Oh? Well, EFS, thanks for the clarification! I was engaged in an assumption! My bad. I believed the person in question was of the fairer gender by the obvious lack of…..what’s the word? Juevos?

    • Yes, Jeff Tollefson was the person that emailed me the questions

  12. ormondotvos

    Dr Curry, you write:

    “Further, the NIPCC’s regional approach to analyzing extreme events and historical and paleo records of temperature, rainfall, streamflow, glaciers, sea ice, and sea level rise is commendable and frankly more informative than the global analyses provided by the IPCC.”

    I don’t understand. I thought climate was global, and weather was temporal and local. I’ve noted that snowfall and heat waves get the attention, but the real problems are interactions between regions, such as moisture from entire warms oceans ending up drowning land areas. Perhaps you could further elucidate.

  13. Thanks Judy for your careful evaluation and considered response to the Nature reporter’s questions. You observed:

    The existence of two assessment reports that draw conclusions that are diametrically opposite from each other and selects reference lists that are nearly mutually exclusive provides evidence of both disagreement and uncertainty in the climate debate.

    This difference was an intentional difference but based on different reasons. With very limited resources, the NIPCC chose to focus on material ignored by or published since the IPCC’s AR4, and to comment on how that differed from the IPCC’s report. I.e. See: the Preface to the 2009 NIPCC Report Climate Change Reconsidered ISBN-13: 978-1934791288.

    It is a time-honored tradition in science to set up a “Team B,” which examines the same original evidence but may reach a different conclusion. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) was set up to examine the same climate data used by the United Nations-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). . . .
    We have reviewed the materials presented in the first two volumes of the Fourth Assessment—The Physical Science Basis and Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability—and we find them to be highly selective and controversial with regard to making future projections of climate change and discerning a significant human-induced influence on current and past climatic trends. . . .
    In many instances conclusions have been seriously exaggerated, relevant facts have been distorted, and key scientific studies have been omitted or ignored. We present support for this thesis in the body of this volume, where we describe and reference thousands of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles that document scientific or historical facts that contradict the IPCC’s central claims, that global warming is man-made and that its effects will be catastrophic. Some of this research became available after the AR4’s self-imposed deadline of May 2006, but much of it was in the scientific record that was available to, and should have been familiar to, the IPCC’s editors.

    I have Viking “ancestors” who migrated to “Greenland”, while wine grown in Britain. Then the Little Ice Age gripped Europe with fairs held on the frozen Thames and the Hudson freezing over in New England. For the IPCC to dismiss such evidence and highlight Mann’s “hockey stick” is a crime against science. Furthermore, the IPCC emphasized health dangers of “warming”, directly contradicting well established evidence of greater harm from colder weather and agricultural benefits of CO2. Consequently, I see the IPCC’s conclusions as an argument from Ignorance (Argumentum ad Ignorantiam). E.g. the major portions of Loehle and Scafetta on Climate Change Attribution of 20 year cycle and 60 year cycle on top of long term temperature rise is a prime example of what IPCC has missed. I helped review solar impacts for NIPCC because of IPCC’s dismissing major solar climate impacts and ignoring most of such natural cycles/oscillations/variations. (I wished we had more time to include evidence on the impact of solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays.)
    Thanks for emphasizing the uncertainties that IPCC systemically understated. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for Nature to return to objective journalism and address the full range of scientific evidence versus just emphasizing IPCC’s alarmist focus with dismissive rhetoric.

    • Sid Perkins reports on Greenland migrations track temperature trends
      In Nature Climate Change July 2011 Vol 1 No 4, (citing “Abrupt Holocene climate change as an important factor for human migration in West Greenland“, Proc. Natl. Acad. sci. USA doi:10.1073/pnas.1101708108; 2011)

      average mid-summer temperatures near Kangerlussuaq varied overall by as much as 5.5 deg C over the past 5,600 years. . .
      Greenland was in the midst of a long-term warming trend when the Saqqaq . . .arrived about 4,500 years ago. That culture persisted until about 2,800 years ago, when the record shows that mid-summer temperatures dropped about 4 deg C over 200 years to about 5 deg C . . .
      between 1,150 and 850 years ago, which coincides with when the Norse people migrated to Greenland and established farms, summers were a balmier 6-8 deg C. Then came a sharp downturn in mid-summer temperatures – a drop of about 4 deg C in just 80 years – that persisted for several centuries. The Farming Norsemen finally left the region around 1350.

      The authors summarize:

      We find that major temperature changes in the past 4,500 y occurred abruptly (within decades), and were coeval in timing with the archaeological records of settlement and abandonment of the Saqqaq, Dorset, and Norse cultures, which suggests that abrupt temperature changes profoundly impacted human civilization in the region. Temperature variations in West Greenland display an antiphased relationship to temperature changes in Ireland over centennial to millennial timescales, resembling the interannual to multidecadal temperature seesaw associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation.

      Compliments to the authors for publishing their data.

      Twice this shows a 4 deg C DROP in temperature ended human settlement while warming supported human settlement. This issue highlights “Tell-tale signs of climate tipping”! Why did Nature not put on its cover the graph of these temperatures showing this clear evidence of COOLING causing major harm, reported in this issue?
      Will the IPCC have the courage and integrity to highlight these major drops in temperature on its front page report as it did Mann’s “hockey stick”? Or is this just an “inconvenient truth” about regional temperature?

  14. Dr. Martin Hertzberg

    Prof Denning is to be praised for his willingness to engage the community of skeptics, but in his presentation the Heartland Conference, he made two glaring errors and was never challenged on them.
    First he stated as one of his unchallengeable statements that “CO2 produces heat”. That is utter nonsence. I have had many CO2 cylinders in my laboratory and not one of them ever produced any heat. They were no warmer than any other gas cylinders. Not only can it not produce heat but it like any other gas cannot retain heat.
    Either purposely, or in an honest mistake, he stated that the mixing time of CO2 dissolved in ocean surface waters to mix with the deeper waters was thousands of years, and then indicated that the Carbon 14 decay measurements from Sovied above ground testing confirmed that decay time.
    He then implied that the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere was the same thousands of years. Actually that decay time in the atmosphere has been directly measured, and reported by Tom Segalstadt to be about 5 years.
    Dozens of measurements by a variety of authors using a variety of methods confirm that.
    Anthropogenic global warming huckters keep repeating that thousand year lifetime lie ad nausium even though it is completely false.
    The theory that human emission of CO2 is causing global warming is one of the greatest frauds in the history of science, and the fact that Nature magazine has been a party to that fraud is tragic beyond belief.
    For more details than can be provided in this comment read “Slaying the Sky Dragon – Death of the Greenhouse Gas Theory”, published this year by Stairway Press and coauthored by myself and 8 other scientists.
    Dr. Martin Hertzberg

    • There is clearly more than five years worth of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. That would be 10 ppm, so equating the rates we would be staying around 290 ppm now instead of at 390 ppm.

      • 10 PPM assuming no other mechanisms for trace CO2 concentration changes. Volcanism, deforestation, seawater temperature changes, among others, known and unknown, are also possibilities.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      In support of your comment:
      CO2 Residence Time (Soloman vs Segalstad) « Reply #7 on Aug 8, 2009, 2:52am » Magellan

      Of course, [name redacted] fails to mention the references using by Segalstad to determine atmospheric residence time of CO2. Once again, like so many other things, IPCC found their Golden Child and ran with it, ignoring all other sources.

      The atmospheric residence time (i.e. lifetime; turnover time) of CO2 has been quantified based on measurements of natural radiocarbon (carbon-14) levels in the atmosphere and the ocean surface; the changes in those levels caused by anthropogenic effects, like “bomb carbon-14” added to the atmosphere by nuclear explosions; and the “Suess Effect” caused by the addition of old carbon-14-free CO2 from combustion of fossil fuels; and the application of gas exchange theory to rates determined for the inert radioactive gas radon-222. The results from these measurements are shown in Table 2, mainly based on the compilation by Sundquist (1985), in addition to the solubility data of Murray (1992), and the carbon-13/carbon-12 mass-balance calculation of Segalstad (1992). Both of the last two recent methods happened to give a lifetime of 5.4 years based on completely different methods.

      A table of Authors [publication year] and Residence time (years) follows in this post.

      • So if that is true, why doesn’t the ocean suck all the CO2 out of the atmosphere over a few decades? Henry’s Law says that the ocean is not a good sink of CO2 when it is already in equilibrium with the CO2 in the atmosphere. The five years only says that Henry’s Law is quick to act, which means the oceans acidify at the same rate as the atmosphere gains CO2, but both have to rise together since we have a net source of CO2.

      • If the above represents Segelstad, he is confused between the turnover time of CO2 and the residence time of excess atmospheric CO2. The former relates to the average time a CO2 molecule spends in the atmosphere before disappearing into an oceanic or terrestrial sink as part of an exchange process whereby CO2 in those reservoirs in turn enters the atmosphere. Five years sounds about right.

        Excess CO2 concentrations decline much more slowly via a series of different curves that involve equilibration with the upper ocean, with the entire ocean, ocean buffering from carbonate sediments to restore some uptake capacity, and weathering of silicate rocks to return CO2 (as bicarbonate) to the oceans. The curves involve timescales from decades to centuries, to millennia, to hundreds of thousands of years. There is no meaningful single average residence time, but about 100 years might be a reasonable although very rough approximation for a half life.

      • K Scott Denison

        At what level does one consider CO2 concentrations to be excess? Excess as referenced to what?

      • David Wojick

        The people who are confused are those who claim a residence time of centuries. They are actually referring to an AGW modeling concept, namely how long would it take for CO2 levels to return to the assumed normal level. This is a mythical number, because it assumes an unconfirmed hypothesis regarding the mechanism of CO2 concentration.

      • The uncertainties become very large for long residence times. It’s simple book keeping and logic to conclude that any addition of CO2 originating from burning fossil fuels will add first to the CO2 in the atmosphere, then be split between atmosphere and several other storages of carbon – called compartments. First it’s divided among compartments that exchange carbon directly with the atmosphere, i.e. surface water, biosphere and continental surface layers. Reaching the equilibrium proceeds with different rates with each of these and most of the compartments that exchange carbon directly with atmosphere will also exchange carbon with further compartments like deeper layers of the oceans.

        Empirical observations related to volcanic activity tell directly about the short term processes. Comparing anthropogenic releases with the overall increase of the CO2 concentration provides some constraints. Studies based on isotope ratios tell a bit more about individual pathways. Various theoretical arguments help in building an overall picture of all this.

        What can be concluded is most reliable for relatively short periods and for concentrations not very different from the present or historical levels. Thus the estimates are likely to be precise enough from practical point of view for periods up to 100 years or so and for concentrations less than 50% above present.

        The estimates given in some papers for periods of several hundred years or even thousands of years are less convincing. For those long periods the carbon exchange with deep ocean becomes very important, but papers discussing specifically that issue don’t give the impression that they could provide even reasonably accurate estimates for the rate of approach to equilibrium. My own impression is that the share of the very long tail has been overstated to an essential extent in some recent highly publicized papers as the role of deep ocean is not given the significance it should have, but my impression can certainly be wrong.

  15. tempterrain

    It can’t be five years when you think about it. Approximately half the CO2 emitted from the burning of fossil fuels is absorbed by the oceans and biosphere

    but even so the rise currently is ~2-3ppmv per year. Say 2.5ppmv per year. If none was absorbed it would be ~5ppmv per year and if it was all absorbed it would of course be zero.

    So, if no CO2 were emitted next year ( that’s a thought experiment I know) then the net take up by the Earth would be just about the same as it was this year. The Earth’s oceans and bio systems wouldn’t “know’ that emissions had stopped. Therefore the fall would be 2.5ppmv per year instead of a rise of 2.5ppmv per year. So, on this line of reasoning, anthropogenic CO2 emissions were to suddenly cease, the rate of fall would be approximately the same as the rate of rise, assuming that the biosphere hadn’t been damaged in the meantime by such acts as mass deforestation and ocean acidification.

    That’s possibly not a good assumption, and if it isn’t, it would mean that CO2 levels would never fall back to pre-industrial levels, except perhaps on a timescale of many centuries.

    It also follows from the above that to stabilise atmospheric CO2 concentrations, currently, emissions need to be halved.

    • tempterrain

      It is true that the study by Tom Segalstad showed that the short-term residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 5 years.

      It is also true that the amount of CO2 emitted by humans shows no year-to-year correlation with the observed increase in atmospheric concentration, but that over a period of several years slightly less than half of the CO2 emitted by humans has “remained” in the atmosphere. The rest is “missing” (although there are hypotheses as to where this is going).

      Since the overall carbon cycle is so much greater than the human emissions, it is hard to “find” this “missing” CO2.

      IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) in their first assessment report (Houghton et al., 1990) gives a long-term CO2 residence time (lifetime in our atmosphere system) of 50-200 years [as a “rough estimate”]

      Table 1 of the IPCC TAR WG1 report says that the CO2 lifetime in the atmosphere before being removed is somewhere between 5 and 200 years with the footnote: No single lifetime can be defined for CO2 because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes

      Zeke Hausfather presented data at a recent Yale Conference, which pointed to a long-term “half life” of CO2 in our climate system of around 120-150 years, which fits roughly with the high end of the IPCC estimate.

      Other studies seem to confirm this.

      Removal processes are photosynthesis from terrestrial vegetation, absorption by soils, chemical buffering by oceans, photosynthesis by phytoplankton in the oceans, entering the food chain and ending as carbonates sinking to the ocean floor, weathering, etc.

      A “half life” of 150 years would mean that annually an amount equal to 0.58% of the concentration is permanently leaving the climate system (see Wiki for formula).

      At today’s 390 ppmv this equals 2.3 ppmv, which happens to be roughly equivalent to the amount of “missing” CO2.

      So has this solved the mystery of the “missing CO2”?

      Who knows?

      As far as “halving current emissions to achieve stabilization”, this theoretically seems correct (if the above half life estimate is right).

      From a practical viewpoint, however, this is not anything that will be realized over the next 100 years IMO unless basically new lower cost technologies are developed that replace the use of fossil fuels.

      It seems more likely that human CO2 emissions will continue to grow and atmospheric CO2 levels will continue to increase at the same CAGR they have over the past 5 or 50 years (around 0.4% per year), reaching around 580 ppmv by 2100 (as IPCC has assumed for Scenario B1).

      According to IPCC AR4, this would result in a “best estimate” warming by 2100 over today of 1.2C more than what we would see if all CO2 emissions had been stopped in 2000.

      So it does not appear that we can really achieve much in the way of reducing global warming by curtailing CO2 emissions.

      Do you see this differently and, if so, how?


      • Pooh, Dixie

        “According to IPCC AR4, this would result in a “best estimate” warming by 2100 over today of 1.2C more than what we would see if all CO2 emissions had been stopped in 2000.”

        That is not a problem. It is the difference in average temperatures between Boston and New York. If and when it happens, adapt.

      • tempterrain

        “It is true that the study by Tom Segalstad showed that the short-term residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is around 5 years.”

        Is it? Do you have a credible reference for this claim?

      • “Do you have a credible reference for this claim?” Credible to me, with the caveat I stated above (atmospheric CO2). However, note the range of 2 to 15 years in the table at the original link: .

        Segalstad, Tom V. 1997. Carbon cycle modelling and the residence time of natural and anthropogenic atmospheric CO2: on the construction of the “Greenhouse Effect Global Warming” dogma. Study. Mineralogical-Geological Museum: University of Oslo, July.

      • “According to IPCC AR4, this would result in a “best estimate” warming by 2100 over today of 1.2C more than what we would see if all CO2 emissions had been stopped in 2000.”

        Source, Max? Chapter and page number.

      • Here is what Susan Solomon told Congress in her written testimony about how long excess CO2 remains in the atmosphere:

        “It is well understood that a substantial portion of the carbon dioxide remains in our atmosphere for a very long time even after emissions stop: about 20% of today’s emitted carbon will remain present in the atmosphere for more than a thousand years and will therefore alter the Earth’s climate for many human generations.” Bottom of page 2,

        About half of current emissions disappear into sinks about as fast as they are emitted, so Dr. Solomon is telling us that the average residence time for the remainder is nearly 1000 years.

      • “About half of current emissions disappear into sinks about as fast as they are emitted”

        Frank – you are probably confusing two concepts. The first is the rate at which a CO2 concentration above equilibrium declines toward baseline – here, the fastest part of the curve operates over a few decades and the slower and slower functions operate over centuries to many thousands of years (the slowest part being due to weathering of silicate and carbonate rocks).

        The second concept involves the balance between emissions and declines. Currently, only about half of an annual emission of 1-2 ppm ends up in the atmosphere. The reason is that the disappearance rate as a function of .total atmospheric CO2 concentration (e.g., 390 ppm) reduces the atmospheric concentration at about half the rate it is being added, so that, for example, if 1 ppm is added, 0.5 ppm will disappear during the same interval. Note, however, that the disappearance of the 0.5 ppm reflects the rate at which 390 ppm will decline.

        The two concepts are not in conflict, and Solomon’s analysis involving the multiple decay rates (with the longest being very slow) is accurate.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      Actually, the time frame is for atmospheric residence. That is actually all that matters if one is concerned with CO2 as a greenhouse gas.
      If you want a longer time, you have to trace through oceanic absorption, sea critters, sedimentation, mud, limestone (~100,000 years, followed by portland cement)

      • Yes, the average “residence time” of excess CO2 is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 years or slightly more, even though it can’t be described by a single exponential decay curve. As I pointed out above, Segelstad apparently confused that concept with the average time a CO2 molecule spends in the atmosphere. This relates to the rate at which molecules exchange between the atmosphere, ocean, and land, but not the rate at which an elevated concentration declines toward baseline, which is much slower.

      • K Scott Denison

        Again, Fred, you reference “excess CO2”. At what level does one consider CO2 to be excess? Excess as referenced to what?

      • What I mean is any elevation of CO2 above the equilibrium concentration at which the rate it which it enters the climate system from volcanoes, mid-ocean ridges, and subduction zones is equal to the rate at which it leaves the climate system through the process by which ocean floor carbonates are subducted into the Earth’s mantle. That level is probably around 280 ppm at current climate temperatures, but less during glaciations, when a larger fraction is dissolved in the oceans and less remains airborne.

        If we assume a “half-life” of about 100 years (although it’s not a real half life in the exponential decay sense), and if we stopped adding any CO2 to the atmosphere, the current 390 ppm would drop to about 335 ppm in 100 years, and would return close to 280 ppm after many centuries.

      • In a more general sense, “excess” could refer to any concentration above an equilibrium level. For example, if we reduced CO2 emissions partially but not completely, so that the equilibrium concentration at that reduced level turned out to be 340 ppm, then the concentration would drop to 365 ppm in about 100 years and approach 340 ppm over many centuries.

      • K Scott Denison

        And exactly during which period of the Earth’s history has there been equilibrium? Doesn’t it strike you that equilibrium in the complex system that is the Earth, including her climate, is an absurd concept?

      • That is a bit of a straw man, Scott. In an equilibrium condition for CO2 entering and leaving the climate system, the CO2 will vary slightly around 280 ppm – e.g., up and down a few ppm – without trending in any direction.. The variation would increase for transient forcings (e.g., from solar variations), but would still average out around 280. You can appropriately use 280 as an average that would be approached over the course of centuries if all our CO2 emissions ceased.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Interesting point, Fred, which I think I acknowledged above. How do you address the situation in which a molecule (or molecules) of CO2 ceases to be a greenhouse gas once it enters the ocean (or a tree, for that matter).

      • A CO2 molecule that leaves the atmosphere ceases to exert “greenhouse effects”, but the important point in this regard is that this is part of an exchange whereby CO2 enters the atmosphere from the land or ocean to replace the molecule that departed. As a result, greenhouse forcing is maintained, and it is only the much slower decline in CO2 concentrations that will alter that phenomenon.

  16. Appeals to ‘overwhelming scientific consensus’ are more likely to confirm the audience’s suspicions of some kind of nefarious conspiracy than to change minds,” Denning wrote, and “even the concept of peer review can sound sinister.”

    Thank you Scott Denning.

    I have now concluded that AGW is baseless theory for the following two reasons.

    1) A straight line can be drawn through the three global mean temperature (GMT) peaks of the last 120 years as shown in the following graph.

    This result is important, as data on a straight line demonstrates no acceleration in the GMT.

    2) As shown in the above graph, the straight line that passes through the three GMT peaks is parallel to the 0.05 deg C per decade global warming trend line for the 120 years period.

    This result is important, as this demonstrate no change in the oscillating GMT of about 0.25 deg C, which is the magnitude of the GMT peaks relative to the long term warming trend line.

    I am dumbfounded why 21st century science avoids making the above conclusion regarding the GMT.

  17. Dr Curry,
    As a daily reader of your blog I wish to congratulate you on your courage(in starting the blog) and willingness to address, through various postings not only the uncertainties attributable to climate measurement and statistics, but also recently, by putting an historical perspective on climate. The latter is something we humans seem incapable of, as our short term memory seems no better than about five years. This latter symptom has allowed some commentators to get away with attributing recent catastrophic events such as flooding in my own country, Australia, heat waves in Russia and tornados in your country as clearly being due to climate change. As a petroleum geologist with a slightly different perspective on time (but not in the pay of Exxon!), I seem to recall that the last time that there was a significant La Nina event in the Pacific combined with a negative Indian Ocean oscillation index, in 1974-1975, there were, dare I say, catastrophic floods in Australia, heatwaves in Russia and devastating tornados in the USA.
    In my profession it is critical to assess and quantify the uncertainties relating to the presence or absence of petroleum in any prospect that I propose to my clients for drilling so that they can balance their risk portfolio prior to committing funds. In the past decade advances in the seismic imaging of the earth have vastly improved the ability of the industry to reduce pre-drill risk or to subsequently model petroleum recovery from deposits once found and therefore make for more cost-efficient reserves management. Notwithstanding the former, every petroleum geoscientist worth his salt knows the pitfalls of being too reliant on sophisticated modeling where the mathematical algorithms involved say, in processing seismic data, or constructing reservoir models are just approximations of what is actually occurring in the earth. Anyone that doesn’t recognize and quantify these pitfalls will drill “dry holes” and be soon out of a job.
    Climatology is no different to petroleum except it has more variables and therefore more pitfalls that have to be recognised.
    I first became interested in the climate wars when the hockey stick began to be widely used and it went against all my knowledge of palaeo-climate, particularly in its suppression of the medieval warm period and the LIA, both of which had been well documented historically and in the geological record. I stumbled across Climate Audit and was appalled to learn of the egregious statistics that were being applied to tweak, what we in the petroleum profession would call very low signal to noise data, into the hockey stick. Further research showed me that people were also torturing very inaccurate temperature or sea level data to produce “peer reviewed” papers that, in the case of temperature data say, were proclaiming 0.01 Degree C trends from instrumentation that, until recently, had an accuracy of about 0.5 degree or were projecting temperature data up to 1000km which is meaningless. I was also appalled by the deliberate choice of either colour scales on maps or vertical axes on graphs that amplified the tweaked trends to make them look much worse than they are. (Note I am equally appalled at skeptics who use the same approach)
    Climategate was, for me, the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak. Like many other non-climatologists who had respect for the scientific method I lost complete respect for the “elite” climatological fraternity and their post modernist approach to science. Unfortunately their ideology has now totally infiltrated the bureaucracies and institutions of the western world such that policy making (eg the Carbon Tax in my own country) is totally dominated by advocacy. I see no solution to this unless the earth proves them wrong in the next few years.
    Man is ever adaptable. We should not lose sight of the fact that low sea levels 40,000 years ago during the last glaciations enabled man to colonize all the continents on earth by walking between them and we seem to have coped pretty well with the 100m rise in sea level since that time
    Greg Smith

    • tempterrain

      Greg Smith,

      And if the human population was as low now as it was 10-20k years ago we’d cope equally well with a rise of several metres in sea level. I don’t think anyone is arguing on that point.

      • tt,
        Most skeptics are arguing that the present population and capability of humanity is much more able to adapt to the environment than it was 10-20K ya.

    • Greg Smith

      Thanks for your excellent post.

  18. Dr Curry

    On/in the MSM in my country (Australia) we so often hear of “The Science” on Climate Change/Global Warming – as if there is but one, settled and monolithic theory of how our climate works, with virtually no uncertainties. By repeating this term, over and over, our MSM (and, unfortunately, some scientists) are communicating a falsehood to the general population.

    The average person has no idea that the area of agreement is so shallow and that there are many areas of detail where differences exist even between CAGW-supporting scientists .

    It is only by informing people of these differing theories and their attached uncertainties that any action plans to address the situation can achieve support from a significant majority of the population.

    However, so many (scientists and MSM and politicians and green advocates and business people profiting from CAGW and …) are now so well dug into their positions in this topic that they do not want to hear about alternative theories or uncertainties and certianly do not want such matters to be discussed before the general population.

    Nevertheless, those who are open will continually push for an opening up of the discussion. Your blog is a very useful contribution in that respect.

    • tempterrain

      Peter Pond,

      Australia has a world respected scientific organisation called the CSIRO. Your tax $$ help fund their work. You might want to get your money’s worth and take a look at what they have to say on the topic of AGW.

      • Except that the CSIRO stopped being a “scientific organisation” when they started canvassing government policies. When you start asking people their preferred policy, you become a political organisation.

      • The CSIRO said the same thing under the last Liberal government which was climate sceptic as they are currently saying under the present Labour government.

        So, if the ask “people their preferred policy”, as you claim, why haven’t they changed their line?

        The obvious explanation is that they don’t but those, like yourself, who don’t want to hear what they have to say, try by whatever means possible to discredit their advice.

      • Let’s face facts. CSIRO has been well and truly politicised and can no longer be regarded as independent of Government. Their most recent contribution is a document on future energy in Australia which totally omits ANY mention of nuclear power which is the only economically viable alternative capable of meeting base load requirements. CSIRO is now a mouthpiece for Government.

      • For those who don’t believe the conflict of interest story

      • tt
        CSIRO has done alot of great work. See CSIRO Publications.
        They just managed to get their drought predictions backwards based on AGW global climate models! See:
        David RB Stockwell, Critique of Drought Models in the Australian Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report (DECR) Energy & Environment Volume 21, Number 5 / September 2010 pp 425-436 DOI 10.1260/0958-305X.21.5.425
        (Available at Niche Modeling [PDF] (when the ISP finishes migrating).
        Which would not be so bad, except that the current Gillard government has imposed a carbon tax based on such advice.

      • Energy and Environment eh? Well they would say that, wouldn’t they!

      • Rather than an ad hominem attack, how about a professional response that shows you at least understand the issues and the statistics?

  19. Bill Hunter

    “It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own”

    Somebody may be misconstruing mouth movements here.

  20. Judy,

    The last two posts are a delight. Recently I read Booker’s Real Climate Disaster and followed up with Pielke Jr’s Climate Fix. The first really apalled me with on the politics of AGW, so much so that I was pleased to see Pielke Jr’s comments against alarmism about AGW. I’m from Oz (Melbourne) and I’m not happy about the current carbon tax debate nor the possibility of seeing lots of money flow out of the country to support “Green” technologies and permit theory. Is it a fantasy for a more balanced (and apolitical) assessment of climate mechanisms to come out of global debates?

  21. In the words of Anders Breivik

    “Green is the new Red — Stop Enviro-Communism!”

    “The neo-communist agenda uses politicised science to propagate the global warming scam in order to implement their true agenda; global Marxism.

    “You might know them as environmentalists, enviro-communists, eco-Marxists, neo-Communists or eco-fanatics. They all claim they want to save the world from global warming but their true agenda is to contribute to create a world government lead by the UN or in other ways increase the transfer of resources (redistribute resources) from the developed Western world to the third world.

    “They are using our trust and faith in science to spread lies and hysteria that will allow Marxists to implement socialist — solutions to a problem that never actually existed.”

    You can read similar nonsense every day on this blog.

    • Yes Eli, well said. It was just heartbreaking looking at those photographs of young kids who were gunned down at a Norwegian Labor party summer camp.

      No doubt there will be howls of outrage from those, who write similar prose, but who would claim that Anders Breveik went too far and therefore they shouldn’t be associated with this sort of madness. Just like there were claims from the extreme right in the USA that Timothy McVeigh went to far in Oklahoma City in 1995.

      But every comment along these lines makes it more, not less, likely that some nutter like Breivik will take their words to heart and decide that the world does indeed need saving from “Enviro-Communism”. Everyone who has ever posted this sort of nonsense on the net, or has ever used these kind of terms in any way needs to accept their share of the responsibility for what’s just happened in Norway.

      • tempterrain, as demonstrated by Nature’s above editorial, ipcc style “Climate Science” is failing quite successfully on its own [lack of] scientific merit, thank you.

      • tt and eli

        Yes, it was “heartbreaking”.

        And it had absolutely NOTHING to do with what we are discussing here.


      • What a disgusting post, people die in horror in Norway and the first inclination of many in the left is to create a false talking point for the agenda.

        It’s an example of who is really radical and beyond the pale in political debate.

      • telling people that the “debate is over” signals them that they have to use other methods to be heard. It’s a dangerous thing to tell people that debate is over. I think I warned people about this some years ago. Pity they didnt listen. You see how easy it is to spread responsibility ?

      • “The debate is over” is simply code for “We realise we have no argument worth anything. Now just do as we say.”

      • tempterrain


        You would have been right if you’d said that politics should have nothing to do with what we are discussing here.

        But you’ve only got to look at Judith’s chosen excerpt:

        “Delegates at the latest meeting of the Chicago-based institute {Heartland} in Washington DC earlier this month could pick up primers on the libertarian writings of Russian–American novelist Ayn Rand, who developed the philosophical theory of objectivism, and postcards depicting former US vice-president Al Gore as a fire-breathing demon”

        to realise that it does.

        Religion is sometimes criticised for being divisive, and I’ve certainly said that too, but I do have to say that its not as divisive as politics.

        I’m certainly more sanguine about political division that I used to be. In fact I would say it’s a sign of a healthy democracy that some should choose to argue from the left and others from the right.

        However, lets keep politics out of science and let’s not get so irrational that we compare our opponents with demons, or suggest that anyone on the left is a supporter of North Korea or anyone to the right a closet fascist.

      • tempterrain

        The ravings of a homicidal madman is not “politics” – it is the ravings of a homicidal madman.

        And that has absolutely nothing to do with our topic here.


      • However, lets keep politics out of science….

        Then maybe you should have followed your own rule? Perhaps next you should try to convince the Nature editorial board, and then even the whole body of practice comprising ipcc CO2 = CAGW “Climate Science”, because all it has come to amount to is a gigantic propaganda
        operation. Therefore, no, I am not bound by your rule, because the latter is where “Climate Science” has made the game, which obviously includes rebuttals based upon the principles of real science. I’m going to call a spade a spade and have no obligation to shut up just because you don’t like it or think you can try to transfer Breivik’s personal responsibility for his acts to me. I don’t think he’s even
        going to try to do it.

      • tempterrain,

        Everything you say is about a political agenda. The idea that you have a more sactimonious hold on “science” is just another critical but false narrative ingrained in alarmist talking points. It’s related to another age old leftist debating tactic about being generally better educated and informed while presenting a political agenda. It’s bogus arrogance and there isn’t any evidence to support these debating assumptions.

        Once you objectively explore the nature of the IPCC and settled science it isn’t hard to figure out it’s a bully strong arm tactic that has little to do with the science method.

      • “However, lets keep politics out of science and let’s not get so irrational that we compare our opponents with demons”

        I love being lectured to by the anonymous about personal responsibility and character

      • tempterrain


        If your any good at crossword puzzles you can work out my real name! I’m not that anonymous :-)

      • Years ago I said I hoped this whole mess would end in ridicule and not in anger. It looks like it’s gotten big enough for us to have a heapin’ helpin’ of both.

    • Eli it is disgusting that you would use the deaths of those poor people for your own political grandstanding. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. You are no better than the people you decry.

    • @ Eli and TT,

      So, an admitted wealth redistribution scheme isn’t a neo-Communist agenda item? The problem with alamists is that they’re not honest. They are not honest in debate and they are not honest to the public.

      What’s is nonsense is people like you folks. I can respect a difference of opinion regarding economics, as long as we’re honest about what is occurring. At least Herr Edenhofer had the fortitude to be honest.

      Its pretty low to attempt to capitalize on the human death and suffering by making such comparisons. I’m fairly certain most rational people can distinguish madmen to people that wish for integrity to return to science.

      Please, continue to show the public what being an alarmist is all about. It seems every time you guys type something so vapid, you score big points for the skeptic side.


      • tempterrain

        So, an admitted wealth redistribution scheme isn’t a neo-Communist agenda item?

        Providing that wealth redistribution has the support of the democratic majority then I can’t see there can be any objection to it.

        On a personal level, I am the first member of my family to have ever received a university education. I’m not from a wealthy background and if it hadn’t been for the State offering that for free, with even a contribution towards my living expenses that it just wouldn’t have been possible. On a business level I’d say it was a smart move. I’ve paid heaps of tax back over the years!

        So what’s wrong with that then?

      • tempterrain

        Providing that wealth redistribution has the support of the democratic majority then I can’t see there can be any objection to it.

        It only has that support when a majority of the voters benefit from the scheme.

        This is rarely the case in real life.

        In some rare cases a majority of the voters can be fooled into thinking that they will benefit from a wealth distribution scheme, but they soon find out that this is not the case, and the pendulum swings back the other way.

        When a significant majority are the persistent benefactors of such a scheme, it becomes institutionalized. The redistribution becomes an “entitlement”.

        But in all cases it is the government (politicians, bureaucrats, government employees) that benefit most from such schemes, not the voting public.

        But back to a (direct or indirect) “carbon tax”.

        Can you name a country in which a majority of the population has voted for such a tax?


      • Ah, you mean a wealth redistribution scheme like the tax rate changes in the US in the first years of this century. They do appear to have redistributed wealth.

      • Redistribution schemes never work. They only impoverish everyone.

      • S. Basinger

        First thing Eli has written here that I am in complete agreement with.

      • It was due to an efficient fossil fuel energy driven economy. Why do you want to deny university educations to future generations?

      • tempterrain

        Not necessarily. France which drives its economy by nuclear power still, unlike the UK and US, upholds the principle of free university education.

      • lol, they use nuclear power for their automobiles and goods transport? Interesting.

      • Nice try but the TGV isn’t for goods transport. They drive the same cars as everyone else in Europe.

      • K Scott Denison

        “France which drives its economy by nuclear power still, unlike the UK and US, upholds the principle of free university education.”

        Yet a higher percentage of US high school graduates attend college/university than their French counterparts. Hmmmmm….

      • TT, you’re confusing a political idea with an economic one. The reason why democratically mandated wealth redistribution(see communism) fails is because there will always be a minority. In this particular instance, it is exactly as Franklin stated, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb discussing what is for dinner.” In this country, it is the individual that matters……even more so than the collective. There is no liberty when the majority rules over the minority. I would have thought they would have taught that in your college, but perhaps not anymore.

        And, TT, I’m glad you got a sheepskin! Congrats! I’m very glad to know that the taxes I paid while struggling at the factory help put you through school! BTW, I got mine while working, feeding a family, mostly taking night and online classes. I don’t believe it wouldn’t have been possible for you to accomplish a degree, it just wouldn’t have been as convenient.

        And that, my friend, is what is wrong with that. Democracy dictated that me and mine suffer hardships to acquiesce to your desires. Here’s an idea, and I know its radical, let’s have people go out and earn what they want instead of taking it from others that have already earned what they needed. It means a bit more when they do.

      • tempterrain

        Politics and economics are so closely related that I just wouldn’t want to get into any sort of dispute into where one ended and the other started.

        One of your greatest Presidents Franklin Roosevelt rightly described WW2 as “Democracy’s fight against world conquest”.

        Looks like Democracy still has a bit of a struggle on its hands to achieve a US conquest.

      • The cops that get sent on the world beat, and the reps sent on their global sales routes, generally come from a coalition of the functioning democracies, which are generally constitutionally governed, not by mobs.

      • tempterrain

        Yes of course. Like Germany, the UK, France etc. These are functioning democracies.

        But it strikes me that the US Republican right, certainly the Tea Party faction, are desperate that the US shouldn’t go down the same road as them with their State supported health care schemes, free education , welfare for the old, sick and unemployed etc.

        Now that the USSR has faded into history, the Western European democracies have themselves become the ‘bad guys’. The EU is the new ‘Evil Empire’ – so to speak.

        Well I must say that taxes may be higher in France than the the US but if I had to chose one or the other as a place to live, I’d have to say it wouldn’t be a difficult choice.

      • Adam Gallon

        tt, you obviously don’t know the whole picture regarding the welfare system in the UK.
        Allow me to enlighten you.
        We do get “free” (ie tax payer funded) education upto the age of 18. After that, one does have to pay, there is an amount of money from the state, towards tuition fees, but there is an expectation that this will be paid back, once the student gains employment with a renumeration rate above a certain figure.
        There’s little in the way of bursaries, to allow students to gain a university education, certainly nothing like the ones that the athletically inclined in the USA can get.
        We do get “free” (ie tax payer funded) healthcare, but is is rationed, no chance of getting expensive drugs (as judged by NICE) in some areas, but perhaps in others. Different policies apply in Scotland & Wales, because they are subsidised financially from English tax receipts.
        Welfare for the old? Again, a contribution is mandated from those who have assets above a certain level, which may entail having to sell their house to pay for this.
        Unemployment benefits vary and for most, end after 6 months.
        It isn’t the land of milk & honey you believe, nor is it as democratic, as 80% of our laws are now handed down from the European Union and cannot be altered by our parliaments.
        Our taxes are indeed higher,but if you’re rich, try living in Italy or Greece, as tax evasion is a highly successful national hobby there!

      • Again, TT, you are confused. the countries you listed are republican forms of government. And, just so you know, the country has welfare for the old, its called Social Security. We have free education…., what’s medicare and medicaide? I seem to pay into it every paycheck….. don’t we have unemployment?

        It seems history revision by the left isn’t confined to tree rings.

      • andrew adams

        It isn’t the land of milk & honey you believe, nor is it as democratic, as 80% of our laws are now handed down from the European Union and cannot be altered by our parliaments.

        This is not true – it’s a myth put around by UKIP which has no basis in reality.

      • Yes, its only most of the high-impact laws that are handed down by the EU.

      • andrew adams

        Not really, both our current government and the last have managed to do plenty of pretty stupid things without any assistance from the EU

      • The difference is that EVERTHING the EU does is wrong.
        It central evil is its fundamenatal purpose : to stamp out political competition.

      • Seems tempterrain is quite happy that CAGW is a wealth redistribition scam, put out by government’s stooge scientists using taxpayer money. All that matters is if the majority of those taxpayers vote for it. The principle is the majority has the right to plunder and oppress minorities – majoritarian tyranny, the essential left/totalitarian position. I do hope his political heroes don’t decide to say execute red-heads or Jews or something.

      • tempterrain


        You may not like it but its called democracy. Most of your compatriots seem to think they live in one. You need to accept they are probably right. Get over it.

      • What’s funny is they seem to appalled at the thought that people would call them a watermelon, when at least in TT’s case, it is exactly his points of advocacy. I’m guessing he never read Lord of the Flies or Animal Farm.

      • tempterrain

        Yes of course I’ve read both, and 1984. Can you name any other George Orwell novels? Ever read them?

        GO was a passionate advocate of democracy. That’s what he fought for. He didn’t fight in the Spanish Civil War for, and whatever it might mean, “representative Republicanism”.

        Its quite a dangerous development that the US extreme right are now distancing themselves from the principle of democracy and it started just after the US elected its first black President. Is that a co-incidence?

      • It was the authoritarianism that appalled him, not the socialism. He took the hard slog to the pier, but Stalin was off it into the water.

      • That’s a race baiting comment and again disgusting. Do you seriously think Al Gore would have earned less hostility?

        The divide is political not race based. It’s sad that race becomes a political enclave but I don’t see how people of european backgrounds should have this fall on them. Many of them are leftist by self-identification. Why 90% or more of African Americans vote cronically for one party that I and many could argue haven’t served their own interests is interesting but usually ends in race slander (you’re a racist! etc.).

        This is the way the left likes to operate, eliminate discussion by whatever bully tactics might exist on a topic. Sadly the opposition backs down for fear of being called names or being labeled as condescending.

        You’re views are extreme, where does this get us?

      • We note the race card generally comes from the sleeve and is a desperate losing strategem.

      • tempterrain

        If advocacy of democracy is extremist then of course I have to plead guilty. I would agree that the majority of opposition to Obama is political rather than race based but, from my experience of the US, I’d have to say there is always the minority too who are influential.

        Still, I don’t remember any US mutterings of “we are a representative republic not a democracy ” prior to November 2008.

        Were there any? If not, why would that be, do you think?

      • If advocacy of democracy is extremist then of course I have to plead guilty

        Advocacy of extreme (unlimited) democracy is extremist – majoritarian tyranny, ie where the majority can do anything it likes to minorities; a rejection of the notion that there are some things that may be not done to others, no matter how many people vote for it.

      • andrew adams

        Absolutely, which is why democratic states generally have things like a constitution and/or a bill of rights and an independent judiciary in order to guard against the tyranny of the majority.

        Of course that doesn’t mean that everyone will always get their own way or will agree with all, or even most, of their government’s policies. There is no system of government on earth which can achieve that.

      • The fact is the West is now in the hand totalitarian welfare states – high tax, high regulation – systems, so the constitutional checks on government power have proved ineffective.

      • andrew adams

        Or maybe things such as the levels of taxes and the extent of regulations are questions on which there is legitimate disagreement so should be decided at the ballot box.

      • So if there is legitimate disagreement over whether group A to screw over group B, it should be voted on?
        An answer of YES means your extreme/unlimited democracy, with safeguards of abuse by the state thrown out the window.

      • andrew adams

        You can’t simply reduce arguments about taxation (and the stuff that it pays for) and regulation to “one group screwing over another”.

      • If the GOP wants Black votes, why has the Party alienated Blacks?

      • Holy crap TT!!! Go read a history book! The U.S.’ embracing of republicanism has been since the begging! That is, btw, the form of government we’re still living under. Get a grip. And, the extreme left used to champion republicanism. It is, the only way to ensure the freedoms of the minorities. It is also, the reason the senate is the upper house. Again, get a grip and quit thinking time started yesterday.

      • Ten points for the third sentence:)

      • lol, thanks Eli…..Freudian slip of the fingers?


      • “right are now distancing themselves from the principle of democracy and it started just after the US elected its first black President. Is that a co-incidence?”

        Sick. tempterrain. Just disgusting.

      • simon abingdon

        Having followed tempterrain’s repeated drubbing by Manacker on Harmless Sky during their long-running AGW “debate”, I had him down as just a scientifically ignorant helpless buffoon. But now we see another tempterrain. Scary.

      • I love the way the anonymous lecture people about the responsibility they have for the acts of a mad man, while simultaneously refusing to take responsibility for their own words.

      • See my other comment if you do really need to know who I am!

      • Well I’m just asking the question!

        The reason I ask is that the attitude of the new Right at the moment in the US is very reminiscent of the Whites in South Africa under Apartheid. As a minority they had the same concerns and arguments.

        Demographically the US is changing too and I’m just wondering how much of an effect this is having. If I google images of the US Tea party meetings I don’t see too many none white faces.

      • K Scott Denison

        You would be best to stop posting on subjects which you know very little, if anything at all. You ignorance is now clearly showing.

      • tempterrain


        I’m not an expert on US politics. I agree. That’s why I tend to ask questions rather than make bold uncorroborated statements.

      • ‘The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies “something not desirable.” The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.’

        Politics and the English Language

        By George Orwell, May 1945

      • tempterrain

        Often, it is about choosing the better of two imperfect options:

        Again this is George Orwell:

        “Whichever way you took it it was a depressing outlook [in Spain 1938]. But it did not follow that the [Spanish Republican] Government was not worth fighting for as against the more naked and developed Fascism of Franco and Hitler. Whatever faults the post-war Government might have, Franco’s regime would certainly be worse.”

      • S. Basinger

        “Its quite a dangerous development that the US extreme right are now distancing themselves from the principle of democracy and it started just after the US elected its first black President. Is that a co-incidence?”

        Wow, did you seriously just write that?

      • So TT, you accept that what you are advocating is majority tyranny, but recommend that there is another one of these ‘consensus’ things in place to again hide the truth, in this case by calling it ‘democracy’. And it is this blatant and conscious falsehood you urge we ‘get over’.

      • tempterrain

        I’m advocating majority rule. I don’t like the idea of Mr Tony Abbott becoming the next Australian PM. But if he gets more votes than the opposition that’s exactly what I agree should happen.

        Once again, its called democracy.

      • Mobs don’t want their bread and circuses capped and traded. One side in this partisan battle has a set of strange bedfellows, belief in mobs and in elite mad scientists. When the mob takes up torches and pitchforks, well, that’s democracy, but it ain’t constitutional republicanism.

      • Once again call majoritarian tyranny ‘democracy’, and invite others to adopt the delusion.

      • Democracy: the freedom to choose which tyranny you’d prefer to suffer under for the next 5 years…

      • I’ve suffered from the tryranny of the majority all of my life.

        I could have had a happy life if the majority’s governments hadn’t kept me from doing all the things I wanted to do.

        For example, our tryannical goverments have kept me from …..

        kept me from …

        OK, kept me from …

        I know, kept me from …

        and then there’s …

        What was the question?


      • tempterrain


        I can show you links to Trotskyite groups who dismiss democracy in a similar fashion. Yes, it can be argued that democracy should mean more than placing a cross on a ballot paper every 4 or 5 years and shouldn’t be just at representative level. For example, there’s lots of evidence to show that people are happier working in organisations where they do have a democratic say in how it is run.

        But’s that an argument for more democracy, not less.

    • James Evans

      I didn’t think you could go down in my estimation.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘ The Australian Greens want:
      8. a society which lives within the ecological and resource limits of the planet;
      9. a curtailing of the use of natural resources so sufficient resources are left for future generations;
      10. an equitable distribution of global resources that delivers sustainable and meaningful prosperity for all current and future generations.’

      This is the reality of green thinking – which is based on a limits to growth philosphy. The central way of achieving an economic decline in the west and redistributing that to the developing world appears to be through cap and trade – it seems hopelessly muddled otherwise. The thinking has its origins in Marx and Malthus. The chess board analogy is ubiquitous. A single grain is placed on a square – the next day two and so on until there is not enough grain in the world. But the grain never accumulates – swept into hungry mouths.

      They claim to be democratic socialists – but deny to our faces that this has anything to do with socialism. We are, however, inured to the dissimulation. They create economic schemes that are not in accord with rational economics. Economies crumble under the accumulated weight of debt. Productivity tumbles as governments grow well past an optimum balance with the private sector. Interest rates are reduced to nothing and asset prices bubble out of control. Economies are ‘chaotic’ and they play merrily with the knobs while a billion lives are blighted.

      The meaningful alternative is where economic growth is the linchpin of development and environmental management – requiring harmonised global markets. The energy problem is seen as one dimension of a problem involving development, agriculture, health, education, population and the environment. The humanitarian cost of not achieving massive increases in food and energy resources this century is unthinkable – but we are battling in a war over values and our central value is the rule of law and democracy. We fight with words and at the ballot box – not with bullets. The right has been remiss in surrendering the high ground – but no more.

      There have been many mass murderers. ‘Initially considered more a suicide risk, Cho was ordered to undergo outpatient counseling, but apparently no one followed up. His anger and feelings of isolation festered until April 16, 2007, when the self-described “boy named LOSER” went on a campus killing spree that left 33 dead — including himself. In a recorded manifesto mailed to the media after he killed his first two victims, Cho lashed out at the “brats” and “snobs” with their trust funds, fancy cars, jewelry and cognac. Like Columbine (Colo.) High School killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, to whom he dedicated his slaughter, Cho declared that he was wreaking revenge for countless slights and indignations — real or imagined.

      “You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today,” the 23-year-old snarled into the camera lens. “But you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours.”

      In many cases, there are warning signs of impending attacks that go unrecognized or ignored. But often, Levin said, it is virtually impossible to know that someone bent on suicide has decided to take others with them.

      Like Wong, hundreds of thousands of Americans have been laid off in recent months. And Stewart, who was taken alive, is not the first man whose wife has left him.

      Many other people “have all these symptoms, but they never get the disease,” Levin said. “They may blame other people for their problems. They may be isolated so they have no support systems in place. And, yet, they don’t hurt anybody.”

      To conflate a madman with political conservatism and rational economics is laughable opportunism – but let’s bring it back to the real battleground. You babble on with your insensible claims of catastrophic futures. We offer solutions – but they are scorned. There are immediate ways forward for which there is broad consensus – and that are neglected in the obsession with energy and carbon dioxide. Black carbon and tropospheric ozone reduction, ecosystem conservation and restoration, economic development and consequent reduction in population pressures, restoring carbon to agricultural soils are amongst the range of cost-effective actions possible. These actions have indeed multiple benefits.

      As powerful as science is – it has become a distraction. Climate change was formulated as an environmental problem – a pollution problem to be solved by science. It is amusing to me – as an engineer and environmental scientist – that neither engineering nor environmental problems are solved outside the multi-dimensional realm of culture, economics, biology, etc. Pollution problems are not solved in simple fashion. In the same way – the real, practical and pragmatic ways of reducing carbon emissions is not the imposing of a limited, and frankly ineffective, cap. The answer is to embrace a multitude of competing and sometimes paths with multiple objectives. I wish that we as a global community could move beyond the divisions to create greater resilience in human societies to the grim realities of famine, contagion, and disaster and to the vagaries of weather and climate.

      But there are many ways to slice a watermelon – and I suspect the green and socialist agenda prevails in insisting there is only one way. So Eli – by all means let loose the dogs of the climate war – but don’t expect not to be ridiculed when you’re weapons are sanctimoniousness absurdities and sententiousness lies.

    • It’s not nonsense and you can also read it her

      from someone who has firsthand experience of communist excesses.

    • Anders Breivik is small potatoes compared to uber-environut Pol Pot.

    • Yes, every day.

    • Not funny, bunny.

  22. tempterrain

    In developing the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory, an organization called the Inter GOVERNMENT Panel on Climate change was formed by GOVERNMENTS to summarize the so called “peer reviewed” papers in AGW theory written and reviewed by people whose projects are all funded by GOVERNMENTS to come up with results that give GOVERNMENTS more economic power and revenue.

    The above statement is a perfectly TRUE one.

    Now, would you believe the summary in any topic if I replaced GOVERNMENT in the above sentence with BUSINESS?


    • Business does fund some scientific research and if it there are no strings attached to the outcome, and the normal scientific process is followed, with peer review of published results etc then I can’t see how there could be any objection. I’m not anti-business. In fact I run my own , if that comment is relevant to this discussion.

      On questions of climate change, I certainly would welcome business involvement in the funding of climate research. Maybe the big mining companies, the big oil companies and corporations, could fund a trust which could operate in a totally transparent manner.

      I’d just make the point that until 2008, and still at Congressional level, the government in the USA was/is quite hostile to the the idea that climate change is a problem. So to say that groups like NASA, NOAA, NSIDC etc were somehow beholden to their own funding source doesn’t really stand up as an argument.

      • tt,
        Your ignorance on the the position of the US govt regarding AGW and climate research is breath taking.
        Your implication that somehow industry funded science is dirty while government funding is clean is contradicted by your ridiculous claim about science prior to 2008.
        Why do you spew up such rubbish when it is so transparently wrong?

      • This is an example of how circular the agw debate is essentially. Neither side trusts the others basic motives or “experts” of the other. The basic advantage of alarmism was during the “growing phase” was most people who are not scientifically oriented would have little reason to doubt collective government structures that bought and paid for the “consensus”. The more people look at the statist agenda the more they catch on.

        Even today I doubt that half the population could define what “cap and trade” means. Even among people who don’t understand would still split on party lines in many cases. Regardless a lesson of 20th century authority is to control the highground of academia and “experts”. The 50 year or more trend of capturing trade associations, unionizing educational tiers, massive growth of federal funding and debt extension in “science” are basic building blocks of the eco-left establishment. The “consensus” before the first paper was ever published.

        Dr, Lindzen was 100% correct on this point. You can find similar patterns in economic studies, phychology departments, legal enclaves etc. Our political polarization is no highly refined and traditional. It even dictates what super markets or vacation locations people might choose. What books, newspapers, websites people accept as “legitimate”. Of course there are left and right (or somewhat tolerant) Ivy league schools and they can break down on specific fields of study. None of this is new but clearly we have escalated and the age of the internet reveals just how deep seated the cultural and intense this divide really is. The claim that “science” trumps this divide is MSM media myth for a purpose as well. The main media is in fact a partisan enclave and a key part of false consensus making.

      • …….”concensus”……

        is actually


      • The divide is the problem. The “ruling class” needs it in order to rule.

        Divide et impera.

      • tempterrain

        I didn’t say that industry funded science was necessarily “dirty”. There has been a mix over the years. In my own field of electronics, Bell Labs used to produce excellent work in the post war years. Sadly that has all stopped now, as companies are now much more concerned with protecting their IP at all costs.

        I was simply making the point that if people like Jim Hansen wanted to please their paymasters they wouldn’t have said quite what they have in fact said over the years.

      • yes, IP is dirty.
        Tell that to CRU who have tried to refuse the release of data on the grounds that their is IP to protect

      • andrew adams

        Luckily where public bodies are concerned we have an information commissioner to whom you can appeal and can rule on such questions and has a pretty good record of finding in favour of those submitting FoI requests. Presumably you did appeal to the ICO?

        Of course where private companies are concerned there is no such process for obtaining information about their research.

      • hence the word “private”. Go figure.

      • andrew adams

        But I thought that being open with your data was an essential part of the scentific method? Does the scientific method differ according to whether science is carried out by public or private bodies?

      • tempterrain


        I meant IP in the wider term. The problem, these days, is that working for an industrial company isn’t much different from working in a top secret military establishment. The company just doesn’t want its engineers and scientists writing up their work, in any meaningful way, in scientific journals.

        If you go to any an international conference on any scientific/engineering topic, you’ll find that well over 90% of the papers are from Universities and publicly owned scientific bodies. The few that do come from industry tend to be written as a marketing exercise.

        So, yes, I would welcome industrial and private involvement in climate research, but they’d have to be prepared to give a prior undertaking that they agreed to the publication of the work regardless of what it showed.

      • The industrial folks generally prefer to do their publishing at the Patent Office. My experience is that properly written patent “teaches” the invention much more carefully and thoroughly than the typical academic publication. Patents that fail to do so are much more difficult to defend if they are challenged.

        Please note that I am not making the claim that a majority of patents are “properly written” in this sense. Rather, this is a property of patents that are likely to be economically significant (in the estimation of the company or inventor filing for the patent, that is).

      • andrew adams


        The Bush administration did come round to accepting the science on AGW in the end, there is only so long you can resist the weight of scientific evidence I guess. But it was certainly hostile to the idea for much of its time in power, to the extent that it doctored scientific reports to play down the threat of AGW. Are you really disputing this – it’s pretty uncontentious stuff? Yet, as TT correctly points out, scientists did not compromise their research in order to appease their political paymasters and have been consistent in their views before, during and after the changes in the stance of their government.

      • Bush is a “slow thinker”. He needed a bit more time to realize what a cash cow AGW is.

      • lol, what color is the sky in your world? Climate scientists, such as Hansen, have cashed in on this alarmism. But, I don’t think you’re understanding the dynamics properly. Any administration, of either party would find the usurpation of individual, local and state authority too enticing to walk away from. The promise of additional money to spend seals the deal. There is no government which will entirely reject the CAGW hypothesis, unless mandated by the populace. Its simply too tempting for them.

      • andrew adams

        This is just anti-government dogma. If it’s true then why have governments been so reluctant to take any meaningful action on AGW?

      • aa,
        The position of the Administration made no difference at all in the funding or publication policies.
        Hansen and gang rolled Bush brilliantly on this, and Mooney of course was there with his pile of rubbish about wars on science.
        In the end, Hansen used his non-censorship to sell books and make more money, and Mooney got to pretend he is a science genius.
        Meanwhile the AGW promoters turned climate science into a multi-billions per year industry.
        If you find where any climate catastrophist got defunded by Bush please let us know.

      • Yet, as TT correctly points out, scientists did not compromise their research in order to appease their political paymasters

        What nonsense. They were chosen by government, and consistently produce results favourable to government. The passing of this or that Administation has neglieble effect on the career bureaucrats controlling funding.

      • andrew adams

        NASA had its earth sciences budget cut when Hansen refused to toe the administration’s line.

      • So to say that groups like NASA, NOAA, NSIDC etc were somehow beholden to their own funding source doesn’t really stand up as an argument.

        Given that Bush, enc., were unable to even stop Freddie Mac and Fannie May from engineering a gigantic financial and economic meltdown, I’d say there’s something missing from your argument. What were they supposed to do, know that the scientific community was incapable of policing its self and “insist” that the entrenched bureaucratic grantors of the funds for those agencies fund only real science or only “science” equal and opposite to ipcc style “Climate Science”? I don’t think control like that would have been procedurally or politically possible, especially at that time, although Obama, enc., are trying to prove me wrong.

    • Hey Girma,

      Let’s go a step further for tempterrain.

      How about if the “American Petroleum Institute” organized an “inter-petroleum industry panel on climate change” specifically charged with investigating whether a continued and growing use of petroleum products would lead to a potential serious threat to humanity and our environment or whether it would result in largely beneficial impacts for plant and animal life world-wide, with the idea (in the first case) of levying higher taxes on the petroleum industry and eliminating depletion allowances but (in the second case) of granting greater tax loopholes and depletion allowances to the very petroleum companies, who are members.

      How much trust would tempterrain place such an organization?


      • tempterrain

        I think I have already answered that question. Yes I’d welcome their involvement.

        The ideal way would be to donate the money anonymously. Failing that I would just say that the scientific community would need to be assured there were no strings attached.

        I’m not sure how many scientists you do know but from my experience they are a very mixed bunch politically. They aren’t all closet reds by any means!

        However, they are nearly all independent spirits and any attempt to influence their findings, regardless of who is providing the funding, is likely to fail spectacularly. Herding cats would be straightforward by comparison.

        Maybe Judith would like to correct me if she thinks I’m wrong in saying that.

      • I’m not sure how many scientists you do know but from my experience they are a very mixed bunch politically. They aren’t all closet reds by any means!

        Nonsense – we heard in an earlier thread they are mostly Democrats. Exactly as you would expect from a goverment-controlled selection and funding process.

      • tempterrain

        I thought the Republicans were the Reds in the US. That’s what I meant of course ! :-)

    • I get it. To increase their power, Governments have thought of …





      Fuel economy standards

      E Coli

      Mad Cow Disease

      Hazards of asbestos and lead

      Truth in lending

      Truth in packaging

      Truth in advertising

      And a whole bunch of other things

      • Heavens no, governments are not self-interested at all. They are populated by angelic altruists, and would never abuse use their hugely privileged position in society – the monoply of proactive legal violence, and the taxes thery seize from us – to advance their own cause.

        That CAGW justifies increased power for government, and that government is the sole funder of CAGW theory, is pure coincidence. Like Gore they are all saints, so we must believe their bidding.

      • tempterrain

        There’ll always be governments. Except perhaps if if Marx ever gets proved right and Socialism leads to pure Communism which in turn leads to the withering away of the State!

        I think it was a topic of much amusement in countries like the DDR. They were always taught that their State would “wither away” but it never quite did. At least not in the way that Marx and Engels had in mind.

      • Why wait ? – let us start withering the state here and now.

      • andrew adams

        Just maybe the truth is somewhere in between the two extremes

      • People choose their governments. If you don’t like governments, then you will never be in agreement with the majorities who elect governments. You may be a dissatisfied anti-government ideologue for the rest of your life. But if you like to whine, that may not be so bad.

      • Apart from AGW I don’t see any of the other items on your list contributing massive amounts of money to Government coffers and the UN. AGW, however, has been used as the pretext for ripping off all Australians, damaging our economic growth, exporting jobs, increasing inflation and unemployment, and increasing the cost of living.
        As for Treasury’s modeling? I don’t trust that any more than I trust the IPCC’s unvalidated models. Can anyone tell me what assumptions have been made by Treasury? How realistic are those assumptions? How likely are the assumptions to be realised in practice?
        As the IAC reported on IPCC’s Working Group III (mitigations) models, these are based on many assumptions and uncertainties (with the inference being that they are next to useless and cannot be expected to provide any useful forecasts). Suggest you read the IAC report if you have not already done so.

      • lmao….. you should research the issues you’ve listed…. might as well have thrown in acid rain….. you do realize the alarmism presented by many of the issues came no where close to the reality of the situation. Mad Cow disease being a great example! They don’t “think of” these issues, they exploit them.

      • Sounds like you are saying if you stop a threat from becoming a problem, then there never was a threat to begin with.

      • MCarey, Have a look at Booker and North on “Scared to Death” which paints a frightening picture of over-regulation from scares with little scientific basis including mad cow, misunderstanding the hazards from one of the three forms of asbestos and our favourite, AGW.

  23. I think you must begin with the fact that Al Gore, a lifetime Leftist popularized global warming politics by stabbing Roger Revelle in the back. Do you really believe Gore’s supporters care about the truth?

  24. So essentially, Nature – an archetypal blinkered political advocacy-skewed publication whose authors and editors are in the pocket of big government – is lamenting that Hearland is not unthinkingly swallowing Nature’s propaganda, and lacksNature’s political-correctness/totalitarian world-view and motives.

  25. “It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own.”

    According to the normal meaning of “being sceptical”, the above statement is self-contradictory: “Scientists are not sceptics, but they are the most sceptical.” Apparently Nature’s peer or editiorial review process has failed again.

    But if the people Nature wants to call scientists had stuck to practicing real scientific method and principle science – where applied scepticism is at the heart of science’s demand for transparency and wide review of the “materials and methods” which are a study’s science, and even in relation to a scientist’s responsibility to try to find out and see what is wrong with his or her own hypothesis to begin with, including making it falsifiable – Nature’s editorial would never have made such a basic mistake, that is, by instead trying to disparge the “sceptics”, at the obvious expense of discrediting its own publication.

    • tempterrain

      Are scientists sceptical? Well, yes they are. Every new theory is met with the full force of scientific scepticism. Every scientist proposing a new theory would expect that, not so much because of any personal hostility or hostility to new ideas but because, naturally, everyone would like to be the one to spot a flaw in any new idea. Its a bit of a game but nevertheless if no flaw is identified and the new idea is accepted ,then it can then rapidly be described as a being part of a new general consensus.

  26. Nature is a shallow parody of its former credible reputation.

    • True –nothing more than a circle jerk klatch of of self-gratifying sycophants like the Heavens Gate that forsook Earth for their Utopia on the dark side of the comet Hale-Bopp.

  27. Judith

    Interesting Nature article and excellent answers from you to the questions, IMO.

    As far as “Kudos to Scott Denning” is concerned, though….

    Yeah. He did mingle with “the unwashed” (and that is good, in itself).

    But he went there NOT to see what others were saying to find out if he might learn something new, but “to change minds” (by his own admission).

    This is sort of like the mission of an evangelical preacher when he “mixes” with “non-believers”, so I wouldn’t give him too many “kudos” for that.


  28. John Kannarr

    “The problem with Heartland as an organizing group for this is that Heartland is an advocacy group identified with a particular political agenda.”

    It seems to be, based on what I’ve read, that the political agenda of the Heartland is preserving freedom. What a despicable thing to advocate!

    “The skeptics want to debate the science, while the convinced, consensus scientists want to discuss solutions, and think that debating science with the skeptics is a waste of time.”

    I would like to see occasional solutions proposed by the supporters of the “convinced, consensus scientists” that are genuinely based on the free market, and not faux-market rent-seeking solutions like Gore’s carbon credits, or worse. Then I would be more likely to believe that their “consensus science” wasn’t driven by a political agenda of pushing for totalitarian controls on economic activity.

    • The Heartland Institute wants freedom for businesses to do whatever businesses want to do, including polluting our air and water, and outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries.

      • tempterrain

        “American {or even Australian} jobs”? Not sure about that concept? But its interesting that the French Revolution had the concepts of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality, whereas it was just the first with Americans.

        Liberty is fine but it does strike me to be defined as the freedom for the rich and powerful to do what they like.

        You’d be better to temper liberty with a measure of equality and fraternity too , IMO !

      • The Heartland Institute doesn’t care about that.

      • tempterrain

        It might be worth pointing out to you guys that die hard Marxists don’t like the idea of a benevolent capitalist State either. They hate people like Obama with just as much intensity as you guys.

        The way they see it, the Democrats, especially the progressive wing, in the US are just as much part of big business as the Republicans, except that they do understand that the working and disadvantaged classes do need to be kept onside by a measure of Government support. Education, health care, welfare, unemployment benefits etc etc.

        They’d like it if the Tea Party crowd had their way. That would bring about the start of a general class war, and they may well be right about that. Is that what you really want too?

      • tempterrain

        PS By “you guys” I don’t mean everyone on this blog, or even all Americans, just those of a more right wing persuasion, who incidentally are all climate deniers, sorry sceptics, too.

      • lol, TT, try educating yourself on people you obviously know nothing about. And quit generalizing. It is true, most tea party members are skeptics, but skepticism goes well beyond the confines of political or fiscal persuasion. And, it would have never been a political football had the climatologist stayed out of the policy making venture. They need to present, not advocate. When they move to advocacy, they stop being scientists. Understand, that is the issue for most.

      • andrew adams

        The way they see it, the Democrats, especially the progressive wing, in the US are just as much part of big business as the Republicans, except that they do understand that the working and disadvantaged classes do need to be kept onside by a measure of Government support. Education, health care, welfare, unemployment benefits etc etc.

        To be fair I don’t think that oen has to be a die hard Marxist to believe this.

      • Buying the votes of some – in the form of education, health care,etc – using taxes seized from from others, is effectively the definition of socialism/Marxism/whatever you prefer to call it.

      • so basically you would prefer no government at all?

      • The absolute minimum possible, erring on the low side.

      • No, just no exploitative government.

      • andrew adams

        Buying the votes of some – in the form of education, health care,etc – using taxes seized from from others, is effectively the definition of socialism/Marxism/whatever you prefer to call it.

        These things are pretty mainstream in Western democracies outside the US., even in countries where the governments are considered “right wing”. Your views would certainly be perceived as fringe ones in most of them. The point I was making is that the Democrats in the US are actually rather right wing compared to most mainstream parties in those countries and are certainly not above bening corrupted by business interests.

      • Nothing dropping a few heads wouldn’t do to make you happy, I am sure.
        Stick to snarking about the science, tt. You last longer that way.

      • Liberty is fine but it does strike me to be defined as the freedom for the rich and powerful to do what they like

        No, liberty is equal freedom for anyone to do what they like, but only with their own lives and property – not anyone else’s.

        This in no way prevents fraternity. And attempts to dilute this with bogus equality, are simply efforts to have some people do what they like with other people’s lives and property – the totalitarian approach to life.

      • I can’t sleep at night for thinking some of my taxes may be helping someone less fortunate than me.

      • The horror… the horror

      • How ’bout this idea… you can spend your money fighting Global Warming, and I’ll spend mine on something else.


      • Luis

        How about you stop making broad prejudicial generalizations and actually discuss specifics that you believe make sense to implement in the USA regarding the issue of climate change. I am not arguing that some climate change is not going to happen. I would argue that adaption through construction of proper infrastructure is the best possible response for individual nations to take and that most mitigation strategies are both ineffective and expensive (a really bad combination).
        So what is your suggested policies?

      • i’m not luis, and my question is also only laterally related to your questions, but…

        let’s assume, some adaptation measures are going to be commonly accepted in the us, the eu, china, india, brazil. what about those states in the so called third world, who have not the financial means to take the necessary steps?

      • How about you first define “necessary steps”. Then please define “afford”. Then show that the States you mentioned can actually “afford” to take the “necessary steps”? And then stop assuming that the third world must take our “help”.

      • Anyone in free to donate their own money to those less fortunate than themselves. Taxing is for some thuggish people to donate other people’s money, to causes that may or may not help the less fortunate. Certainlly CAGW taxes will only compound the plight of the less fortunate.

      • …and here we see how far the Murdocks of this world have achieved their goals of brainwashing the people into accepting mad ideas about the society at large.

      • Yes, letting mobs vote themselves other people’s money always ends so well.

      • Hmmm… a Warmer declares someone other than himself has been brainwashed. Lemme ponder that one a moment.


      • that’s one of the problems. both sides see the other as brainwashed. are both correct, are only the non-warmers correct or only the warmers?

      • ob, I’d say the person who believes in an idea (that supposed correspond with some reality), let’s say AGW, without ever personally perceiving any evidence of such, is the brainwashed one.


      • Hmmmm… a denier jumping into conclusions to what others believe or not. Lemme ponder that one for a moment.

        Yeah makes sense!

      • Hmmmm….a true beleiver rejecting any evidence that does not support their faith.
        Why are you believers so predictable?

      • Set me straight, Luis… what DO you believe?


      • Adam Gallon

        In the UK, the various climate acts have caused an outsourcing of UK jobs, virtually all our steel production has gone to India, after the UK plants were bought by TATA. BTW, by a strange coincidence, they’re the employers of one Dr R.Pachauri.

      • andrew adams

        You have evidence of a link between TATA buying Corus and climate legislation?

        The fact is that a lot of stuff has been outsourced to India and elsewhere because costs are lower there. There are various reasons for this but it has little to do with climate acts.

      • You mean like the Koch interests controlling skeptics?

      • andrew adams


        No, that has nothing to do with it.

      • Andrew, that’s true. But then again, manufacturers are already paying 12% more on their energy bills, just to cover the various “green taxes”, and it will get even more expensive over the coming years as the full force of the act is employed. In today’s cut-throat manufacturing sector, what do you think that’s going to do to their margins? And what do you think the likely outcome will be?

      • M Carey: “outsourcing American jobs to foreign countries”

        I thought that was the green plan? Move all the jobs to China and India and their coal economies?

        Chosing to block all new coal power stations has repercussions. Choosing to make electricity from unreliable and costly wind has consequences. Blocking shale gas has consequences.

        Companies can move. Jobs can be transferred.

      • A carbon tax could be used to subsidize our exports to make them more competitive and a carbon tax on imports could make goods from China and other countries less competitive.

        The Heartland Institute would strongly oppose such measures, as it is committed to a Laissez-faire (government hands-off) economic model, which says everything works out best when the market is free of government interference and regulation. Unfortunately for Heartland, things are working out best for China and its state-directed capitalism. Pragmatism is trumping ideology.

      • A carbon tax would make all products that need energy for production and/or transportation more expensive. Which means they would be even less likely to be sold outside the US.

        Cheap coal is trumping expensive EPA energy.

        And carbon taxes imposed by other countries will kill US jobs.

        “The trade group that represents the nation’s airlines predicts that a new European Union emissions tax could cost U.S. carriers at least $3 billion through 2020.”

        But don’t worry … the US will be bankrupt soon making all this a moot point. No jobs at all. Therefore no carbon taxes to pay.

        I suggest everyone who can buy a wood stove. Wood is renewable and will be cheaper than overtaxed alternatives. Maybe grow your own food. The deindustrialization of the US has been going on for some time. Ad will get worse.

      • I suspect you have the illusion tax revenue is money that disappears from the world’s economy, and the concept of using some carbon tax revenue to subsidize American exports is too abstract for you.

        Individuals can go bankrupt, businesses can go bankrupt, but the U.S. Government cannot go bankrupt. People who talk about the government going bankrupt don’t understand the meaning of bankrupt.

        The Tea Party nutters in Congress are trying their best to destroy the American economy and blame it on the President, but the public isn’t fooled.

      • The US debt is 98.5% of GDP. The Tea Party did not do that.

        Raising the debt ceiling with zero cuts just mean the US will owe 100% of GDP by the end of the year as it closes in on Ireland/Portugese GDP/debt ratio territory.

        None of that had anything to do with the Tea Party.

        Stop squandering … but its too late.

      • If the Tea Party types in Congress can’t get their way, it looks like they are willing to make the U.S. default on it’s obligations. Default would very likely cause a rise in interest rates on new government bonds, which would add to the national debt and reduce the value of existing bonds, both at the expense of Americans who pay taxes and have bond holdings. I am one of those Americans. Why is the Tea Party not concerned about taking money out of my pocket?

      • M. carey –
        Why is the Tea Party not concerned about taking money out of my pocket?

        Why should they worry about your pocket? You’ve never worried about theirs. And the effects you worry about would be far less expensive than allowing the continuation of the policies you apparently approve of.

      • Getting th US government to default is likely to reduce government spending in the longer term, thereby sparing taxpayers.

      • Let’s see now. You impose a carbon tax on manufacturers, making the goods more expensive to produce and therefore uncompetitive on the export market, and then you use the carbon tax as a subsidy to make the exports competitive – effectively giving the carbon tax back to the manufacturer.
        So what good was the carbon tax in the first place? It didn’t cut the amount of carbon, did it?

      • Its the rakeoff for corrupt cronies that is important.

        Carbon taxes allow corrupt speculators to just print pieces of paper and claim the credits. Or make money of trades.

        The European carbon trading scheme has lost 100s of billions to corruption.

      • Trade carbon taxes?


        “In its first year, 362 million tonnes of CO2 were traded on the market for a sum of €7.2 billion, and a large number of futures and options.[21] The price of allowances increased more or less steadily to a peak level in April 2006 of about €30 per tonne CO2,[22] but fell in May 2006 to under €10/ton on news that some countries were likely to give their industries such generous emission caps that there was no need for them to reduce emissions. Lack of scarcity under the first phase of the scheme continued through 2006 resulting in a trading price of €1.2 a tonne in March 2007, declining to €0.10 in September 2007.”

        “On January 19, 2011, the EU emissions spot market for pollution permits was closed after computer hackers stole 28 to 30 million euros ($41.12 million) worth of emissions allowances from the national registries of several European countries within a few day time period. “

  29. However, lets keep politics out of science

    Impossible when 99.999’% of it is funded politically, heavily slanting it in a pro-political direction.

  30. Solar power shut down in far north SA
    Nicola Gage

    A multi-million-dollar solar generator is no longer operating in the far north Aboriginal lands of South Australia.

    The $2.5 million state- and federally-funded sun farm was built at Umuwa in 2003.

    Another $1 million was spent upgrading it in 2008, but it has not been running for the past year.

    SA Opposition Aboriginal affairs spokesman Terry Stephens says there have been frequent power outages on the APY Lands this year and it is disappointing the sun farm is not in use.

    “Given that we’ve spent millions and millions of dollars on this solar energy farm, I just think that a little more follow through we might actually get an outcome, but at this stage it just seems to be a glaring failure and we’ve got State and Federal Government who’ve spent an enormous amount of money just ducking for cover on the issue,” he said.

    Energy Minister Michael O’Brien said the solar technology was flawed and is no longer economically viable.

    “We did look at trying to resuscitate the project but at the moment we believe that the best thing to do is to mothball it,” he said.

    “But the battery technology is coming ahead in leaps and bounds so it may well be that at a later date we give up on the existing battery system and pretty much start from scratch.”

  31. I felt it necessary to bother registering over at Nature to repond to a confused and derogatory comment made by Chris Colose. It didn’t immediately appear. Don’t know if it will be censored, so I’m reposting it here.
    Chris Colose was formerly an Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences student at UW-Madison but now is a student in the University at Albany’s Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences Dept.

    I find it troubling but unremarkable Chris would feel it appropriate to attack retired chemist Vincent Gray thinking he is William Gray, Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU), and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at CSU’s Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

    I find it truly sad that Chris doesn’t even know the name of one of the pioneers in the science of forecasting hurricanes and one of the world’s leading experts on tropical storms, yet he is willing to pass judgement on Dr Gray’s lifetime of insights and observations.

    I’m sure Chris will go far in climate science, perhaps even becoming well known for the same level of punctilious attention to detail exhibited by Michael Mann in numerous papers.

    • He seems intent on making himself ridiculous, which was not Mann’s intent.

      • But that seems to have been Mann’s result.

      • Hmm.

        Nature is now showing no comments on their Heatland editorial. Is it a temporary thing or permanent?

      • Ha. Comments are back.

        I see Chris Colose comment where he confused Vincent Gray with William Gray has been remove from the thread. I wonder if the editing was done by some named Winston.

        It seems day by day and almost minute by minute the past is brought up to date.

      • Oops. Someone named Winston.

    • OUCH, that must have hurt! :P

      • Chris is making more and more rooky mistakes.
        Who was that guy who dressed up in the jester outfit and melted down in the AGU meeting trying to get a piece of Mooney’s gig?

      • I think they see their crusade to save the world crumbling before their eyes as reality slowly sets in.

        Greg Craven was his name.

      • That’s an exageration. He just made a terribad (and funny) mistake.

      • Luis,
        Craven melted down like a cheap candle in the sun.
        It was sad, not funny.

  32. According to the Heartland Institute’s web site …

    “The scientists who spoke at this conference, and the hundreds more who are expected to attend, are committed to restoring the scientific method. This means abandoning the failed hypothesis of man-made climate change, and using real science and sound economics to improve our understanding of the planet’s ever-changing climate.”

    If that’s true, it was a denier conference, not a skeptic conference. If it’s not true, well, that’s Heartland for you.

    • How so? The cAGW theory isn’t exactly robust.

      I agree the planets warmed, i agree co2 has a role, but i do not see evidence to support the IPCC’s main (catastrophic) conclusions. Certainly nothing empirical (i’ll dismiss the models until they learn what validation means).

      I DO view the theory as failed- it can be modified (and still point in the SAME direction- cAGW is still possible), but it is untennable in it’s current guise.

      Though i am of course making a LARGE assumption that that is what they meant….

      • I think it’s pretty clear what Heartland means.

        Given that you allow “cAGW is still possible.” I doubt Heartland would consider you committed to restoring the scientific method and using real science.

    • Yes there are many who deny that IPCC observed due diligence in their compilation of AR4 and that is confirmed by the IAC Review. AR4 is nothing more than an advocacy document in the guise of pseudo-science. The IPCC literature review is a fine example of blatant selection bias which excludes any serious consideration of evidence which does ‘not fit the pre-conceived conclusions’ supporting the agendas of the sponsor governments.

      • It may be so that the IPCC literature review is biased, but to call man-made climate change as a “failed hypothesis” is just ludicrous.

      • It will be with continuous failure of 0.2 deg C per decade warming of the IPCC shown below.

        At the moment AGW is under a serious question mark. One more decade of little warming, AGW is dead.

        What I fail to understand is why has not the CRU published data that support the 0.2 deg C per decade warming of the IPCC?

      • Not nearly as ludicrous as your attitude that it is settled science.

      • Climate obviously changes from CO2 variations. Obvious truths are obvious and anyone who denies the obvious is just being silly. “How much” is the stuff that many skeptic blogs (and some very few papers) are debating. I find the former much more settled than the second.

      • Luis,
        Except for the AGW believers, the question has not been about CO2 influencing the cliamte. For the AGW community CO2 is causing a cliamte catastrophe.
        Baiting and switching to confuse ‘change’ with ‘crisis’ is rather shoddy for someone like yourself.

      • Here I am jumping to conclusions again… ;) I think that since Luis believes the bait and switch, that he thinks other people should as well. It’s not as embarassing that way.


      • But then Luis did say, “I find the former much more settled than the second.”
        If he means the distinction between CO2 as a ghg in the first, and a climate crisis in the second, then he is really close to a reasonable position.
        It will be interesting to see which way he ends up going.

      • “Climate obviously changes from CO2 variations”

        Can you give an example, Luis, of where and when this has happened?


      • Last 50 years, Earth.

      • Luis,

        And the climate changed from what to what, during that time?


      • There is nothing obvious here.

      • to quote you, “the horror! the horror!”

      • to call man-made climate change a “failed hypothesis” is just ludicrous.

        Well it’s failed in the sense of nowhere near being proven. But then nor it is disproven. What word would you suggest?

      • Good question. A “challenged hypothesis”? There is good evidence for the effect, so it cannot be “failed” in any means whatsoever. What strikes me as being more contentious is its amplitude.

        But if people stopped playing tribal wars and just checked the science without the fuss, they would *at least* reach the conclusions of Lindzen, Motl, etc., while being open minded to “worse” case scenarios. If you check these people, the last thing they will tell you is that the CO2 effect is non-existent.

      • Just because some thing happened is not evidence to support a theory. Determining and proving causation can be very tricky. Mine is the sun. What’s yours?

      • Anyone can believe anything. I’m not opposed to that. The problem is that there isn’t a known mechanism that explains the connection between the observed warming and the sun in a satisfactory manner. You might say that we “don’t know enough, many things may be found out, for instance, in the CLOUD experiment, etc.”. Sure. But I’m talking about the present, not the future. Right now, CO2 is the best candidate for a very good chunk of the observed warming.

        Future theories about alternatives are like vaporware. over-promised, underdelivered.

      • You obviously have not caught up with Roy Spencer’s latest publication which uses NASA data and demonstrates that the assumptions in IPCC’s general circulation models are wrong and IPCC has overestimated climate sensitivity. The ‘heat trapping’ as per the measured data is far less than calculated by IPCC.
        Two other points are
        (a) the solar physicists are telling us that the sun is entering a ‘quiet’ phase which may last for decades thereby cooling the planet quite markedly. Another ‘Maunder Minimum’ would be a disaster – think crop failres and higher death rates.
        (b) CO2 is actually plant food necessary for crops. IF atmospheric CO2 were substantially reduced we may find crop yields diminishing to the point of a crisis in food production.
        Given the state of things at present we may need all the CO2 we can get.

      • I have seen his paper. It’s an interesting hypothesis, but I wouldn’t be so quickly to judge it positively as you are. Unless you believe that peer-review is the only process that an hypothesis must go through to be accepted as “truth” by the community. I thought that was a contentious point around here.

      • so basically, you think there is more certainty that human produced CO2 emissions is the driver of recent warming. I don’t think the certainty is anywhere near as compelling or complete as you think it is. I think the certainty that Solar activity is the primary driver of climate is far more compelling. I think the next decade will put the debate to rest. That’s if the previous one hasn’t already – not withstanding any reference to ridiculous patch up jobs blaming Chinese aerosols. Give me a break.

      • Rob Starkey

        Luis– it is the amount of the effect in the real world that matters and not the theory. So far, the real world impact has been far less than those promoting fear had claimed would happen by now….correct???

      • Two things to say about this. First, if your criteria is the “average global temperature” number, then yes, it has been thus far good news that the observed numbers are below expectations.

        Second, “climate change” is not only about the “average temperature” number. Even if we were to admit that the feedbacks that really exist in the atmosphere were small or even, gasp, negative, the climate would still be forced to alter in many significant ways. That is, for the global average temperature not change much, many variables will have to change (in different numbers) inevitably. We will live in a more moisturous planet, storms will be different (better? worse?), the arctic may well disappear altogether, rain and wind patterns will change, the seasons will change, etc.

        Will it be a catastrophe? I don’t know. Some people seem to think so, others not so worried. But we are all definitely speaking about climate changes.

      • But you would be willing to usher in a brave new world that upturns all of the gains the western world (and others) have brought to the human adventure. All this you would overturn in the pursuit of some chimera, some phantasm, some unknown of the unknowns? Pure madness.

      • Unfalsifiable. and therefore Junk Science.

        I’d be happy to be proved wrong on this, but no warmist I’ve spoken to has been willing to say how, and how long it will take to falsify this chameleon called AGW, the theory of global warming, climate change, climate disruption anthropogenic badness.

      • bill collinge

        Tallbloke I disagree. My inner warmist responds that it’s unfalsifiable at present but could be shown to be false in the future. As has been stated you can never completely “prove” a hypothesis or theory. And I won’t take your bet, because I will be dead by the time I would consider you’d have enough data to falsify it (barring black swan events such as we discover that CO2 doesn’t really exist etc.).

        Give me a tightly defined set of parameters to wager. For instance, you can have $100 US if Roy Spencer’s data does not show an additional 0.1 degree of warming from 1998 to 2020 (assuming Roy is still doing it by then or someone of near equal skeptic stature has taken it over).

        I have already stricken the C from my AGW beliefs; but I have replaced it with PPAGW (potentially problematic AGW). If the above scenario happens, you get your $100 and I will strike the PP, but even then, I believe there will be AGW.

      • Yes the basic Tyndal CO2-effect is not in question. But that is not the issue, it’s the other factors and the feedbacks and levels of confidence, on which present CAGW theory is indeed said to have “failed”.

    • Good catch, Yes, that kind of statement doesn’t leave much room for actual scientific skepticism…

  33. New paper on UHI in east China:

    0.4 °C/decade for metropolis areas. The most substantial UHI after the early 2000s. There’s more cooling in reality than the temperature records show.

  34. TT, you speak about Marxism, ‘class war’ etc etc, as if it isn’t unadulterated drivel from start to finish. Are you still at college or what?

  35. A person without any knowledge of the climate wars and only a basic understanding of science could simply read the Nature editorial and the statement from Denning to immediately realize that whatever the supposed “consensus” people believed was no longer a matter of traditional science practice.

    Real Scientists don’t act or think like these alarmists. Denning’s damning description of the close-mindedness of his fellow religionists is striking.

  36. This attack on Heartland is a desperate attempt by Nature to save itself from responsibility for having mislead the public for decades about :

    a.) Earth’s unstable heat source – a pulsar inside an iron-rich mantle inside the glowing ball of waste-products called the photosphere;

    b.) CO2-induced global warming; and

    c.) Impending collapse of the the Western social and economic systems.

    Here is a summary of the sordid past that Nature desperately seeks to avoid:

    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  37. Judith,

    I pick on issue from your post as that is in my view an important point where views may differ based on differing framing of the issues

    I have argued in several venues for parallel evidenced-based analyses for the competing hypotheses of anthropogenic versus natural variability as the cause for recent climate change. Because of the complexity of the climate change problem, reasoning about uncertainty in the context of evidence-based analyses is not at all straightforward.

    How to implement something like this in a practical way is not at all straightforward. One strategy would be to use a legal model, whereby the IPCC bears the burden of proof, and the opposition is more in the manner of critiquing the IPCC’s report and articulating reasonable doubts. Another strategy would be to have two separate teams in red team/blue team approach. Particularly for the latter strategy, it is difficult to establish a level playing field.

    The issue is presented above from the point of view of accepting as starting point that the climate has warmed and presenting it then as a search of explanation for this warming. That’s one valid way of forming a research question, but this is not the historical way the issue has come up. The historical way originates rather from the observation that the simplistic models of the influence of CO2 predict warming at a non-negligible level. The research question is then, how strong that warming is going to be, and what are it’s effects. This way of framing the question became a subject of increasing research in 1970’s before the recent period of warming had even started, but results from Mauna Loa on the CO2 concentration were already available.

    While the two ways of framing the question are both valid and related, they are still different, and this difference comes up in the way that it’s most appropriate to discuss the uncertainties. The two paragraphs above are not in an equally obvious way relevant, when the second and historical way of framing the question is chosen.

    • The research question is then, how strong that warming is going to be, and what are it’s effects.

      Pekka, it seems to me that one of the major thrusts of Dr Curry’s objections to the “consensus” model of climate change is entirely down to the framing of the question. To my mind, you have illustrated that quite well here. If you start with a research question that seeks a specific cause for a general effect within such a complex system, you are endanger of kick starting confirmation bias.

      If you start with your first example and search for possible influences on warming, accounting for feedbacks, CO2 should simply be part of the ensemble. Within that ensemble should be an assumption of ignorance – unknown unknowns, allowing a little wiggle room for things you have yet to discover.

      The way that the case for CO2 has been made has been a process of elimination – an energy budget for which CO2 has to account for a great deal. What I have read in the literature amounts to saying that other influences on climate are accounted for so the rise in global temperature must be due to CO2. Research is often finding ways to confirm this, or anecdotally support concern by demonstrating the deleterious effects of warming (coral bleaching, extreme weather etc).

      In my view, this is wrong. The research should be directed at identifying every possible direct or indirect influence on climate before attempting to quantify them. The reasons given for pre-CO2 driven warming, or the periods of cooling that intercede them don’t always sound terribly convincing to me and don’t seem to discussed with much urgency.

      Framing the question as “How much did CO2 warm us?” is inherently giving less weight to other “Things that have warmed us”. I would argue it’s too easy to slip into finding results that fit a conclusion if you frame your question the first way.

      • andrew adams

        The way that the case for CO2 has been made has been a process of elimination – an energy budget for which CO2 has to account for a great deal. What I have read in the literature amounts to saying that other influences on climate are accounted for so the rise in global temperature must be due to CO2.

        Not really, the case for CO2 causing the recent warming can be made entirely based on the known radiative properties if CO2 and our best estimates of climate sensitivity. The fact that there are no other known factors which could account for the warming adds additional strength to the case but even if a plausible alternative cause of warming were found the case for warming caused by CO2 would not go away.

      • andrew adams

        Sorry, first paragraph above is Agnostic’s, the second is mine.

      • From the point of view of science both questions are of good in my view, and I cannot see any reason to prefer one over the other. (They have still their historical order based to the fact that the clear increase in CO2 was observed before the recent warming phase started.)

        But then we have the argument that comes from outside the science. We have the claim that CO2 may cause warming to the point, where the resulting damage is severe, some say even catastrophic. When this claim has been made and a superficial check of the scientific knowledge tells that it cannot be ruled out as impossible, there is the request from outside for the scientists: “Please, tell whether this threat is real, and if it is, how serious it can be.”

        Now the scientists have been asked to answer a question. They were not asked to answer, what are the reasons of the recent increase in the global temperature, but they were asked: “What are the consequences of the increasing emissions of CO2?” Answering that question doesn’t logically require an answer to the question of appropriation of the observed temperature changes, but it may be that studying this appropriation is one of the most useful steps in answering the question on AGW. These questions are thus strongly linked, but they are still different, and it’s still possible that either one can be answered much more accurately than the other.

        The controversy is almost totally due to the fact that the scientists have been asked a difficult question of major policy relevance. The scientists cannot give clearcut and precise answers to this questions, but many of them do still believe that their knowledge is sufficient for recommending strong action, and even a sufficient reason for turning to an activist advocate.

      • Again, Pekka, you actually state the very reason it is unwise to frame the question this way exactly because it leads to…”but many of them do still believe that their knowledge is sufficient for recommending strong action, and even a sufficient reason for turning to an activist advocate.”

        You start by saying; “From the point of view of science both questions are of good in my view, and I cannot see any reason to prefer one over the other.”
        ….but the reason is that it leads to confirmation bias of the sort that inflame skeptics.

        You would be better arguing to frame the question in two ways:

        1) What are the anthropogenic effects on the environment, both regionally and globally, both positive and negative?

        2) What are the direct and indirect influences on climate (within which anthropogenic effects must be included)?

        If you start answering “What is the effect of increasing emissions?” you start a cycle of looking for possible effects already manifest, such as global warming, focussing attention on possible effects in the future which is highly speculative, and then confirming these with other studies of far-too-narrow focus in defence against the inevitable criticism.

        Ultimately, the policy question is one of sustainability. Can you continue as you are indefinitely (whether emissions or any other mining of the environment? I would suggest 98% of serious skeptics would suggest “no” for many of our effects such as fossil fuel use. But since the “alarmist” argument is to do with the rate of change to our climate due primarily to emissions, the evidence supporting that is drawn from a far too narrow focus on science focussed on a poorly-framed self-confirming investigation. For example, “…more evidence suggests….”, “…something is happening/changing faster than previously thought….” etc etc. If you look for something specific in such a complex system you are bound to find something to confirm your hypotheses (aka cherry-picking). What a broader view gives is better perspective and looks at the rate of change needed in the way humans do things.

      • You are going to details that I didn’t address. Of course it’s true that scientist should avoid biasing influences from the reasons that led to the research. It varies, however, how well they succeed in that, and unfortunately often also, how strongly they even try to be free of the biases, when the results may influence their future research prospects, when funding sources are biased.

        Sometimes it may be in the interest of the scientist to put as much bias to the conclusions as he can do without the risk of being caught of outright falsehoods. This bias may be large, when there is much space for subjective judgment, but smaller, when the issue is a straightforward empirical or theoretical result of physical science. The climate science includes both kinds of situations.

  38. Judith;
    Your “Nature reporter” can’t spell:
    “How does the NIPCC fair in” …

  39. Here is one of Nature’s poster boy scientists at work:

    • Well, isn’t it rather “harassment of scientists” at work?

      • And since it is clear the scientists’s career is at risk of dying, this will soon be reported as yet another death threat from a skeptic.
        After all, scientists are not skeptics, and they cannot be investigated.
        So if something threatens their career, it is obviously a result of a Koch conspiracy to kill scientists.

  40. Keen as I am to gird my loins (think Mel Gibson in Braveheart) for the climate wars – I think we should ensure that science is not a casualty. A particular paper may be wrong – but it certainly doesn’t mean it is deliberately part of some conspiracy to rule the world. For example, here is a study by Judith Lean – – using a perfectly adequate ,multiple linear regression model of greenhouse gases, volcanic aerosols, TSI and ENSO against surface temperature. You will note that the temperature rise attributed to greenhouse gases is not 0.2 degrees C/decade. A result that is obvious from a number of studies and observations – this one discussed at realclimate for instance –

    It is simple – if you wish to dispute Lean’s result you need to have an alternative mechanism for changing the radiative imbalance at TOA, explain it in a peer reviewed study and publish it in a journal.
    There is of course this one that shows that clouds are by far the biggest factor in climate change in the satellite era – Reexamination of the Observed Decadal Variability of the Earth Radiation Budget –

    It is echoed by NASA at –

    There is more evidence of a change in albedo after 1998 here – So really the model lacks at least one factor in the change in cloud cover after 1998.- and that clouds most probably changed before that. A decrease in low level cloud in the Pacific in the 1970’s and an increase in the late 1990’s. ( and

    We know that clouds are negatively correlated with SST which change most obviously with ENSO and the PD0 – especially from CERES. But what does this mean for the future. At least another 10 years of no warming –

    Lean’s linear regression model shows warming after 2010. So there is a disconnect between the model and expectations based on physical oceanography. What happens after that is unknown – the variability of multi-decadal phenomenon cannot be statistically determined from the short instrumental record – and any other record contains far to many ambiguities and errors. There is every indication that these are not cycles at all – but climate shifts from one ‘strange attractor’ to another. We cannot assume that variability in the 21st century will be the same as that of the 20th century. .

    Science is evolving in a patchwork way past simplistic explanations of climate change. This is how science works. But science has been sorely misused in ways that lead to a loss of confidence – just when we need it most. It is the fault of climate warriors with little wit – it is political in essence and appears Marxist in intent – who have taken to dropping in and littering the blogoscape with inane nonsense. Personally – I think we should rescue science from green politics rather than get politics out of what they smugly imagine is science.

    My preference is to move on with the ‘no-regrets’ policy options of the 2010 Hartwell Paper – but it seems more likely that we will see the policy impasse persist for another generation at least.

    I got to thinking about beautiful warriors playing war games on the beach – nothing to do with science at all but everything to do with politics

    The Americans capture the beach at Shoalwater Bay.
    Young and beautiful warriors who are in their way
    As sweet as a love-heart candy and as sharp as light
    Glancing of steel spit polished for the looming fight.

    Great exuberance and confidence, the will to risk all.
    The trepidation of those who love them lest they fall
    Alone and where we cannot lift them up, shield them,
    Wipe the tears, kiss it better, then bring them home.

    Honour is a sad and cold substitute for a warm smile
    And a laugh shared and lingering on lips for a while.
    A memory pale as a ghost at a wedding of grief and
    Disenchantment and no more bright eyes at the end.
    The guns reverberation echoing the trembling sorrow
    That is lodged in the soul for an eternity of tomorrows.

    • Chief I find you weird but generally cogent. You suggest publishing in journals. But how do you answer the defending of journals against unorthodoxy?

  41. Great poetry!

    But Western economies face disaster today, and the myth of CO2-induced global warming contributed to this demise.

    Editors of Nature, Science, PNAS and leaders of science in the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society foolishly joined forces with politicians who controlled research funds instead of defending the basic principles of science.

    Many “beautiful warriors” of the climate game will be innocent victims.

    What a sad, sad day for science!

    • Western economies suffer because they have neglected the fundamental principles of economic management – it has nothing to do with CO2.

      Science has not been essentially compromised – and to continue an attack on science and scientists is the surest way to cultural decline. Where there is dispute and disagreement in science it is merely the process through which progress is made. Both sides of the climate wars are at fault for trivialising science. I think you should show more respect rather than posturing about legitimate disagreement.

      ‘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.’

      It is the discourse of the climate warriors that is ‘superficially in the language of science’ that is the core of the problem. It is a misuse of science to fight cultural wars.

  42. Since when in science has a straight line indicates acceleration?

    That is what the IPCC concluded regarding its “accelerating warming” of GMT claim.

    The GMT maximums for 1880s 1940s & 2000s all pass through a straight line as shown below

    Also, this line is parallel to the long-term warming trend line.

    At the beginning 21st century, we have come to sad situation that we are told a data that lie on a straight line (upper GMT boundary line) is accelerating.

    At the beginning 21st century, we have come to sad situation that we are told a data that spans to straight lines (upper & lower GMT boundary lines) is accelerating.

    How sad

    How very sad.

    How extremely sad.

  43. Since when in science has a straight line indicates acceleration?

    That is what the IPCC concluded regarding its “accelerating warming” of GMT claim.

    The GMT maximums for 1880s 1940s & 2000s all pass through a straight line as shown below

    Also, this line is parallel to the long-term warming trend line.

    At the beginning 21st century, we have come to sad situation that we are told the GMT maximum data that lie on a straight line (upper GMT boundary line) is accelerating.

    At the beginning 21st century, we have come to sad situation that we are told the maximum oscillating GMT data that spans two straight lines (upper & lower GMT boundary lines) is accelerating.

    How sad

    How very sad.

    How extremely sad.

  44. The Medium is the Message:

    –e.g., what does it tell us when Nature magazine — a product of Western civilization — takes sides against science and becomes a fascilitator for Leftist dogma that is supported by nothing more than superstition, ignorance, hubris, deception and outright fraud?

    It tells us that AGW theory is just a symptom of a far more serious problem: the bankruptcy of morals and ethics.

    In his own way Dostoevsky told us what the problem is: “The West has lost Christ and that is why it is dying; that is the only reason.”

    Secular, socialist big government has failed society. We in the West have lost that, “human sense of right and wrong, which evolved over millions of years, precedes our conscious judgments and emotions, providing a hidden engine of moral intuition that’s shared by people around the world.”

    In practice, Lefist ideology is no better than acting through blind instinct.

    Humanity over all of 1,000s of years has aspired to something more–something better than, e.g., commandments explicitly articulated and handed down by either big government or big religeon.

    To my understanding, instinct and blind obedience to innate compulsion is by definition without conscience. There is at least the possibility of some elevation above the herds of animals that populate the Earth that there has been some religious and governmental moralizing over time–concerning a millennia of appraising the results of unfettered and unguided blind instinct–by those with the aim of how best to change bad conduct to good, even when no one else may be watching?

    • This attitude of Nature is just part of the spectrum of thought that permits allegedly serious journalists to pretend that ignoring skeptics is a legitimate way to report on climate.
      Perhaps a lesson of Orwell is that the features of his dystopia are not grown from large disruptions, but are rather a result of an incremental deterioration?

  45. Judy – excellent post, as usual!

    One substantive comment – Regarding the view of “competing hypotheses of anthropogenic versus natural variability as the cause for recent climate change”, there needs to be a breakdown of anthropogenic effects on climate change as we presented in the article
    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union.

    There are actually three distinct hypotheses. As we wrote in our paper

    “Hypothesis 1: Human influence on climate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influencewill continue to be minimal.

    Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.

    Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.

    These hypotheses are mutually exclusive.

    Thus, the accumulated evidence can only provide support for one of these hypotheses. The question is which one? Hypotheses 2a and 2b are two different oppositional views to hypothesis 1. Hypotheses 2a and 2b both agree that human impacts on climate variations and changes are significant. They differ, however, with respect to which human climate forcings are important.”

    These are the three hypotheses that should be examined, in my view.

    There actually are three hypotheses:

    • Roger, while your three hypotheses are roughly correct, I question your claim that “the accumulated evidence can only provide support for one of these hypotheses.” The concept of “accumulated evidence” has no scientific basis, would that it did. What we have are bits and pieces of evidence for each hypothesis. Accumulation is in the eye of the beholder. Hence the debate. There is no known science of observer independent evidence accumulation.

      It is important to understand that arguments about accumulated evidence are very different from arguments about climate. No one wants to admit that epistemology exists, but there it is lying, and waiting, in the road.

      • David,

        Can you delineate the borders between each of the 3 ‘roughly correct’ hypotheses? Do you know what measurements or values would cause a finding in favor of each?

        If someone does, it would be nice of them to share. Because the 3 all sound like value-laden, policy preference determinations. At what value of what measurable variable do we go from minimal to significant?

      • Stan, I do not share your concern (or confusion). The world is full of concepts that do not have well defined borders. That is the general nature of concepts. Trees versus bushes for example. What matters is that the core meanings of these three hypotheses are discernibly different. That is all we need to have a genuine scientific debate.

      • David,

        Roger said that the evidence is sufficient to reject 2 of the hypotheses. I’m not interested in whether we can have a debate to which people can bring all their value-laden assumptions and policy prescriptions. I’m interested in someone telling me what the hypotheses were (in terms of concrete measurements) and how the evidence was measured so as to reject them. When did we figure out they were rejected? How was the determination made? What were the numbers? Where is the science?

      • Not interested in whether there is an argument. There is. The question is what are the numbers? What observations rejected the hypotheses? Where is the science?

    • Roger – Regarding hypothesis 2a, which human influences in addtion to CO2 emissions do you think are likely to be important over the entire range of timescales where CO2 operates – essentially millennia? Among the possibilities, permanent land use changes affecting albedo might be a candidate, although its magnitude may be relatively small compared with influences such as aerosols that operate over shorter intervals. It is hard to think of other important candidates.

      Admittedly, if CO2 emissions were to stop, their consequences would dwindle fairly quickly, but if emission rates were merely kept constant, the CO2 effects would be very long lasting. Even if emissions were reduced, without absolute cessation, to the point of constant CO2 concentrations, we would be experiencing some effect for centuries. In a practical sense of real world expectations, all of those scenarios are less likely than both rising emission rates and rising CO2 concentrations.

      I don’t see 2a and 2b as mutually exclusive, but rather as varying in emphasis.

      • Fred Moolten

        It is hard to think of other important candidates.

        How about known (but not yet fully understood) “natural forcing factors”?

        How about unknown “natural forcing factors”?

        An “argument from ignorance” remains just that until it can be corroborated according to the scientific method with an “argument from evidence” (which is still lacking today).

        That’s the “root cause” of the uncertainty whether or not AGW is really a serious potential problem or not, Fred, and the entire ongoing scientific debate today..


      • My question was to Roger Pielke, and I’m pleased that he read it, understood it correctly, and addressed it.

    • “These hypotheses are mutually exclusive”

      Actually, these hypotheses are so vague and undefined as to be untestable.

      What is the scientific measurement of what variable that will result in a scientific finding of “important”? Or minimal, or significant, or ‘of concern’?

      How does one go about measuring the quantity of natural causes of change?

    • Hypothesis 2a seems the most likely. For a well mixed gas, CO2 is not producing a uniform response. Black carbon, land use and water use appear to be as or more responsible than CO2. Also natural variability seems to be a bit more important than estimated in the models.

      I do not think that believing hypothesis 2a is most likely should cause anyone to be labeled as anything other than rational.

  46. “sceptic” – Late Latin scepticus – thoughtful, inquiring (in plural Scepticī the Skeptics) or Greek skeptikós, equivalent to sképt ( esthai ) to consider, examine (akin to skopeîn to look; see -scope).

    So “skeptic” is a more general form of the more specific “scientist” from which one could imply that a scientist is a more directed or focused form of skepticism. How does Nature magazine manage to mangle such a simple definition? Or maybe they are intentionally trying to obfuscate. Dr Curry, I think you are being far too generous of your time, patience and eloquence in replying to that corrupted screed (please forgive me my over indulgence in emotive).

  47. The global mean temperature (GMT) oscillates between two parallel boundary lines, and the GMT trend line is in the middle of these two boundary lines. How on earth does this show acceleration of GMT?

    How does this 0.06 deg C per decade warming suddenly change to 0.2 deg C per decade warming?

    How sad.

  48. David Wojick – Thank you for your feedback. Another way to phrase our conclusion is that Hypothesis #1 and Hypothesis #2b have been rejected.

    This is the scientific method as we discuss in the post

    Short Circuiting The Scientific Process – A Serious Problem In The Climate Science Community

    Regarding your comment

     “Regarding hypothesis 2a, which human influences in addtion to CO2 emissions do you think are likely to be important over the entire range of timescales where CO2 operates – essentially millennia? Among the possibilities, permanent land use changes affecting albedo might be a candidate, although its magnitude may be relatively small compared with influences such as aerosols that operate over shorter intervals. It is hard to think of other important candidates.”

    Land use is one, as you note, but it is much more than albedo and effects all aspects of the surface energy budget including the portioning into sensible and latent heat flux, as discussed, for example, in

    Pielke Sr., R.A., 2001: Influence of the spatial distribution of vegetation and soils on the prediction of cumulus convective rainfall. Rev. Geophys., 39, 151-177.


    National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp.

    Other forcings, however, have long time scales of effects, also. This includes, for example, nitrogen deposition which, while it has a small residence time in the atmosphere, it affects land and ocean biota for much longer periods. Other aerosols and gas deposition can similarly have long time effects. It is also important to realize that anthropogenic aerosol and gas emissions would continue even if we went to 100% non-fossil fuels, as a result of biomass burning (e.g. for agriculture) and dust from degraded landscapes. The human effect on the climate issue is much more than that due to the human input of CO2 and a few other greenhouse gases. Thus the two hypotheses are quite distinct. Both accept the importance of CO2, but the one that has not been refuted accepts that other human climate forcings are of at least as much importance in terms of their impact on climate that directly effects society the environment (i.e. regional and local climate).

    • Roger

      ‘The water cycle is among the most significant components of the climate system and involves, for example, cloud radiation, ice albedo, and land use feedbacks [NRC, 2003]. Regional and local variations in water availability, water quality, and hydrologic extremes (floods and droughts) affect humans most directly.

      If communities are to become more resilient to the entire spectrum of possible environmental and social variability and change [Vörösmarty et al., 2000], scientists must properly assess the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the choices made by modern society and anticipate the demands for resources several decades into the future.

      Moreover, since the climate, as a complex nonlinear system, is subject to abrupt changes and driven by competing positive and negative feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds [Rial et al., 2004], scientists’ ability to make skillful multidecadal climate predictions becomes much more complicated, if not impractical.’

      My compliments on a concise summary of the problem. I would include ENSO as the most significant source of global hydrological variation. ENSO varies at all timescales essentially as a function of upwelling of frigid and nutrient rich water in the eastern Pacific. An 11,000 year reconstruction is provided by Tsonis et al (2010) here – – it discusses an ENSO related demise of the Minoan Civilisation after 1450 BC and mentions the shift to El Niño dominant conditions 5000 years ago that is implicated in the drying of the Sahel.

      As other work by Tsonis shows – ENSO is a dynamic and complex subset of a dynamic and complex Earth system. The term cycle seems a misnomer – instead the variability involves climate shifts and climate ‘strange attractors’.

      ENSO is associated with cloud changes – low level cloud negatively correlated with SST (e.g. Zhu et al 2007 [], and even Dessler 2010 [] – which involved the use of CERES to analyse cloud associated with ENSO)

      ENSO and cloud varies decadally (Burgmann et al 2008 [], Clement et al 2009 [[]). The surface observations in the Pacific would seem to give substance to satellite observations (Wong et al 2006 []), and ‘Earthshine’ measurements ( after 1998.

      The biological observations of declining plant stomatal size and density with increasing CO2 has hydrological implications. ‘Reduction of stomatal aperture is a common response of plants exposed to elevated CO2 concentrations (Morison and Gifford 1984). In canopies well-coupled to the atmosphere, such reductions in stomatal conductance (gs) result in a corresponding decrease in leaf transpiration.’ (

      Transpiration and evaporation = precipitation – so a reduction in transpiration is a reduction in rainfall. The significance of the issue is not known – but it is something that nags at the back of my brain.

      But you are wrong in the second paragraph – very little certainty will emerge from science any time soon – and building resilience in human societies does not depend on a resolution of the climate debate. Perhaps you should talk this over with your son?

      ‘Politics is not about maximising rationality. It is about finding compromises that enough people can tolerate to allow society to take steps in the right direction. So, contrary to all our modern instincts, political progress on climate change simply cannot be solved by injecting more scientific information into politics. More information does not automatically reduce uncertainty and increase public confidence, which is the common politicians’ assumption. But, in consequence of that assumption being present and potent in this (or any) politically hot field, there is a constant temptation for experts to overstate and to oversimplify: something that is plainly revealed in the recent history of climate issues.’ (A new direction for climate policy after the crash of 2009 – London School of Economics 2010 Hartwell Paper)

      I am not sceptical of climate science – it is simply that the versions insisted on (by climate warriors of the blogosphere) bear little resemblance to the reality of climate uncertainty and complexity. Policywise we are stuck in the no man’s land between ‘the science’ – which seems to be an activist shorthand for the need for cap and trade or worse – and ‘the sceptical discourse’ – which seems to conclude reactively that CO2 is not a problem at all.

      Between these two obsessive compulsive disorders is a view of the energy problem as one dimension of a problem involving development, agriculture, health, education, population and the environment. It recognises the need to increase massively energy resources and food supplies in this century – while at the same time conserving and restoring ecosystems. And the fact is that to do this will require the availability of cheaper energy supplies. It suggests on this ground alone that great changes in energy development investments are required.

      But there are immediate ways forward for which there is broad consensus – and that are neglected in the obsession with energy and carbon dioxide. Black carbon and tropospheric ozone reduction, ecosystem conservation and restoration, economic development and consequent reduction in population pressures, restoring carbon to agricultural soils are amongst the range of cost-effective actions possible. These actions have indeed multiple benefits.

      As powerful as science is – it has become a distraction. Climate change was formulated as an environmental problem – a pollution problem to be solved by science. It is amusing to me – as an engineer and environmental scientist – that neither engineering nor environmental problems are solved outside the multi-dimensional realm of culture, economics, biology, etc. Pollution problems are not solved in simple fashion. In the same way – the real, practical and pragmatic ways of reducing carbon emissions is not the imposing of a limited, and frankly ineffective, cap. The answer is to embrace a multitude of competing and sometimes conflicting paths with multiple objectives. My heartfelt wish is that we as a global community can move beyond the divisions to create greater resilience in human societies to the grim realities of famine, contagion, and disaster and to the vagaries of weather and climate.

    • David Wojick

      Roger, you seem to have missed my point. When you say Hypothesis 1 has been rejected I must ask by whom? I prefer Hypothesis 1 at this point. That is the debate.

      • Apparently Roger has left the building. What people do not seem to understand is that the debate is very complex. The concept of the “weight of evidence” is not simple, if anything it is a complex as the climate itself. This is why Dr. Curry has so many posts on logic and decision theory. The basic issue is not scientific so much as it is epistemic.

  49. P.S. My comments were for both David Wojick and Fred Moolten’s posts.

    • Roger – Thanks. I can’t disagree that multiple anthropogenic forcings could operate over long intervals as long as we continue to create them. My additional concern about CO2 relates fairly specifically to the question of what happens if we stabilize or slightly reduce emission rates of all the relevant moieties – a modest goal but one that might be reachable. Under those circumstances, aerosol concentrations should stabilize or decline promptly, but atmospheric CO2 and its forcing will continue to rise,and so over time, it will account for an increasing share of anthropogenic effects – or at least those due to emissions. Your point about other aspects of land use changes is well taken..

  50. Pooh, Dixie

    Dr. Curry raises a significant issue: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” (Who shall watch the watchmen?)

    “I have argued in several venues for parallel evidenced-based analyses for the competing hypotheses of anthropogenic versus natural variability as the cause for recent climate change.”
    “How to implement something like this in a practical way is not at all straightforward….
    “One strategy would be to use a legal model, whereby the IPCC bears the burden of proof” (but who is the judge and jury?)
    “Another strategy would be to have two separate teams in red team/blue team approach … It is difficult to establish a level playing field.
    “In my opinion there are two different ways to go: a government sanctioned and organized group (perhaps parallel to the IPCC), or an open knowledge initiative in blogosphere.”

    If both teams are sanctioned, organized, funded by government, we repeat failure at twice the price. Governments have too much skin in the game: taxes, control and allocation to favorites. Trust has been breached. Dissenters were sanctioned (Alan Carlin was retired.)
    The best option is openness, transparency, availability of raw data and the blogosphere. Perhaps some folks could maintain a database of third party reviews.

  51. I just received word of an important news story on Physics World,
    “Elusive Sun waves come into focus”

    What they call the “Sun” is actually the brightly glowing globe of waste products that surrounds the unstable pulsar at the core of the Sun – Earth’s heat source.

    It will be of interest to climatologists that new study concerns how energy is transferred from the photosphere to the Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, before being released into the heliosphere that surrounds planet Earth.

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

    • In his article, Joe Bast observes:

      . . .(Nature’s) articles are surely a sign that the debate is not over regarding the causes and consequences of climate change and what, if anything, should be done to alter the human influence on climate. . . .
      I’ve thanked Mr. Tollefson for an article that is, by and large, fair and accurate. He accurately summarizes my position, saying “he does not necessarily deny that humans are having an influence on the climate, but he does question the forecasts of catastrophic impacts and the rationale for curbing carbon emissions.”. . .
      . . .Climate Change Reconsidered has (I am told) 4,235 source citations. How many examples do we need of scientists writing in peer-reviewed journals admitting that the science doesn’t support claims of man-made catastrophic warming before we can conclude that skepticism, not alarmism, is the real position of most scientists?

      Bast further exploresYou Call This ‘Consensus’ on Climate Change? July 7, 2011

      (1) The latest international survey of climate scientists by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch found (quoting my own interpretation of their results) that “for two-thirds of the questions asked, scientific opinion is DEEPLY DIVIDED, and in half of those cases, most scientists DISAGREE with positions that are at the foundation of the alarmist case.” . . .
      (4) Another 2010 survey of meteorologists, this one published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, found only one in four American Meteorological Society broadcast meteorologists agrees with United Nations’ claims that humans are primarily responsible for recent global warming.. . .

      • It is an interesting exercise to answer to answer these questions yourself.

        Most of the answers from scientists cluster around the medium. Models are useless – but we all knew that already.

        But there is strong support for mitigation and a concern about the issue in the face of uncertainty – which Bast characterises as a delusion. It is biased reporting.

        I suggest that it is a fallacy instead to neglect the changes occurring in the atmosphere without understanding in any depth the scope for climate and ecological changes.

      • Chief Hydrologist Thanks for the link
        It cites: Bray, D., 2010: Consensus among climate scientists revisited.– Environmental Science and Policy. Environmental Science and Policy 13 (2010) 340 – 350.

        Results also suggest rather than a single group proclaiming the IPCC does not represent consensus, there are now two groups, one claiming the IPCC makes overestimations (a group previously labeled skeptics, deniers, etc.) and a relatively new formation of a group (many of whom have participated in the IPCC process) proclaiming that IPCC tends to underestimate some climate related phenomena.

        12D Clouds only 2.7/7
        16C Model temperature for 10 years
        – Though mean is 4.2/7, 3.6% say very poor versus 1.6% say very good.
        16D Model temperature for 50 years
        Now mean is only 3.7, with 8.7% saying very poor and only 0.5% saying very good.

        29 Mitigation vs Adaptation is interesting
        3.7% mean – ie no strong mitigation or adaptation
        Yet 36 Best approach to mitigation at 5.4 emphases enforced regulation

        52 scientists scientists present extreme events to alert public –
        27.3% do not agree at all.

        Judith – this raises interesting data on “uncertainty”

    • tempterrain

      So, we have a contest between:

      The Heartland Institute: Al Gore is dragon, Its all a hoax, a UN conspiracy to bring about World government, a liberal conspiracy to increase taxation of honest folks, James Hansen is the antichrist etc .. and who have been on just about the losing side in every scientific dispute in the last 40 years on topics such as Smoking, acid rain, CFC’s and the ozone layer etc. In fact, they only do seem to be interested in science when they can choose the losing side!

      and the other:

      Nature: Probably the most prestigious and most cited interdisciplinary science journal and with history going back to 1867. The one that every scientist would like to have an article accepted , at least once in their lifetime.

      So who to believe? Well it’s a tough one isn’t it ?

      • I think what you mean, TT, is Nature – all of whose members take government money and so quite predictably act as governement stooges, who champion pal-review, and who cannot bring themseleves to criticise the blatant science fraud and secrecy revealed in Climategate.
        Nature – the epitome of advocasy masquerading as science (as far as climate is concerned).

      • tempterrain
        Sorry, that’s logical fallacy of an appeal to authority., as falacious as the Aristotelians against Galileo.
        Try some evidence for a change.

      • tt,
        So Nature could never change or get caught up in social manias?
        Are they, as you apparently believe are scientists, immune from getting caught up in silly ideas?
        You should read what Nature’s most famous editor, the late John Maddox, wrote regarding the history of science making vast predictions about doom:
        “The Doomsday Syndrome”
        Here is a comment from a review of the book:
        “Not long ago, such cosmic thrills, chills, and spills were confined to comic books, sci-fi movies, and the Book of Revelation. Lately, though, they’ve seeped into a broader arena, filling not only late-night talk radio, where such topics don’t seem particularly out of place, but also earnest TV documentaries, slick mass-market magazines, newspapers, and a growing number of purportedly nonfiction books. Everywhere you turn, pundits are predicting biblical-scale disaster. In many scenarios, mankind is the culprit, unleashing atmospheric carbon dioxide, genetically engineered organisms, or runaway nanobots to exact a bitter revenge for scientific meddling. But even if human deployment of technology proves benign, Mother Nature will assert her primacy through virulent pathogens, killer asteroids, marauding comets, exploding supernovas, and other such happenstances of mass destruction.
        Fringe thinking? Hardly. Sober PhDs are behind these thoughts.”
        There is small hope that you or any true believer can actually read and learn from serious critiques of your faith. it is as small as the hope that believers in AGW can deal honestly with the data or the fact that skeptics are trying to help you.
        But when your social mania finishes running into the ditch that it headed, do not say you were surprised except by your own ignorance.

    • “The article implies that we rely on a 1999 NASA study to argue for the existence of a natural “heat vent” over the tropics that cools the Earth as ocean temperatures rise. ”

      And guess what came out today …

      “HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (July 26, 2011) — Data from NASA’s Terra satellite shows that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy to space than models used to forecast climate change have been programmed to “believe.””

    • If Roger Pielke Jr. characterized Heartland’s Climate Change Reconsidered report as “a big fat bowl of cherries,” it must be pretty dishonest.

      • Advocacy is not dishonest. Neither the prosecution nor the defense is dishonest in a trial. They are just making their case. Both the IPCC and NIPCC are advocacy groups, on opposite sides. Policy debates, like trials, are conducted by advocates.

      • I would agree that Heartland approaches science the way lawyers defend clients.

      • If Roger Pielke Jr. characterized Heartland’s Climate Change Reconsidered report as “a big fat bowl of cherries,” it must be pretty dishonest.
        If M.carey says it’s dishonest, it must be pretty honest.

      • IMO. cherry-picking is dishonest because it doesn’t tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. You may have a different standard.

      • Policy debates, like trials, are conducted by advocates.

        As is science, to some degree. A great degree, in the case of climate scientists.

      • Cherry picking is allowed in politics, always has been always will be. That is why this debate is so funny. Scientists have to stick to the science if they want to maintain a good reputation. Politicians have to not get caught in too compromising of a position to maintain their constituency.

        Pielke Jr. is a political scientist last I checked. The climate change scientists are not happy with his analysis because they are thinking like scientists while acting like advocates. Many of the climate scientists are quite outspoken about political issues delaying their idea of needed action. That’s politics not science and that is the rub.

        Judith realizes that and is trying to find common ground while keeping her science hat on. That is not an easy task. I find it funny that so many educated people have trouble understanding the situation.

      • Pielke Jr. didn’t say he found just a few cherries in Heartland’s report, he said the report was a big fat bowl of cherries. I won’t be surprised if some resident deniers and pseudo skeptics feed at the bowl and spit up on future threads.

      • mc,
        As long as you persist n your bigoted attitude you will be a loser.

  52. This can not be resolved at all as long as scientific publishing is in the hands of diehard global warming advocates. They have infiltrated scientific societies and have clamped censorship on what scientific journals can publish about climate. They not only prevent publication of differing views but they also publish ad hominem attacks against their opponents. This extends to publishing details of their private lives on web sites set up specifically to demonize them. If alternative views can not be expressed in print scientific literature will only contain views that agree with the establishment dogma. As a result, truth is denied to the public. This combination is fully as effective and vicious as Lysenko-ism was in Stalin’s time. It is also a stealth process that has been going on much longer than we have noticed or have known about. How else can you explain the fact that when Naomi Oreskes looked at over 900 papers in the climate field she could not find one opposed to AGW. To her that was consensus for global warming. What it proves is the strength of the iron hand of censorship that has descended upon all our scientific publications. From my personal experience, the end is not yet in sight. The worst part is that the leadership of our scientific societies supports this insanity. The Royal Society, The National Academies of Science, and numerous other societies have indicated approval of the warming activist agenda. They have not been more wrong since phlogiston was the latest warming sensation. It did not last and ended up in the dustbin of history. That is where global warming theory belongs.

    • The worst part is that the leadership of our scientific societies supports this insanity.

      When are the IPCC and AGW advocates going to acknowledge the persistent global warming is only 0.06 deg C per century, not 0.2 deg C per decade?

      As shown in the data above, the global mean temperature (GMT) oscillates between two parallel lines 0.5 deg C apart. The GMT does this in 30 years [from 1880 to 1910, from 1910 to 1940, from 1940 to 1970 & from 1970 to 2000]. As a result, a global warming or cooling rate of 0.5 deg C/3 decade =0.17 deg C per decade is NATURAL.

      For the last 130 years, the GMT has a warming trend of 0.06 deg C per decade. The reason for this warming could be natural or due to increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. But this warming rate is only 0.06 deg C per decade, not IPCC’s 0.2 deg C per decade. The actual persistent warming is only 30% of the IPCC projection.

      When are the IPCC and AGW are going to acknowledge this?


      • Girma,

        Looking at temperature trends by itself has very little meaning without looking at attribution. This is best done in the satellite era from 1979. Judith Lean has a simple multiple regression model here – – that is nonetheless very informative.

        Much surface temperature variability observed in the recent past appears to arise from causes that can be identified and their impacts quantified using auxiliary observations. Solar irradiance cycles, for example, produce warming of “0.1 degree C during epochs of high-solar activity whereas a large volcanic eruption cools the globe by as much as “0.3 to 0.4 degrees C. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) atmosphere–ocean
        coupling in the tropical Pacific Ocean is a source of continual temperature fluctuations, a ‘super’ El Nino ˜ episode such as in 1997–98 producing global warming of 0.2 degrees C.’

        Global warming will probably not proceed at a constant rate in the immediate future. As the anthropogenic influence continues and solar
        irradiance increases from the onset to the maximum of cycle 24, global surface temperatures are projected to increase 0.14 degrees C in the five years from 2009 to 2014 (at an average rate of 0.3 degrees C per decade).

        It is not an example of either bad or corrupted science. Can anyone prove her wrong?


      • Chief

        Thanks for the link.

      • Can anyone prove her wrong?

        Since she predicts .2C by 2014 and Smith el al 2007 predict .3C, Smith et al 2007 are in a position to give an indication as her rightness or wrongness, theirs too, as of the end of 2014, which is why that’s my date.

        Smith et al indicated warming would resume in 2009. It may have.

      • ‘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.’ Keenleyside et al 2008

        ‘A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise.’

        ‘A near-term climate prediction requires not only good performance from the models in simulating major climate processes but also realistic estimates of initial climate states using observational data, while physics of internal variations itself and the stochastic forcing can also contribute to limiting predictability. In particular, the climate prediction community faces a major difficulty in obtaining good atmospheric and oceanic initial conditions that are compatible with both the model and the observations. Even in recent studies using coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (GCMs), the El Niño southern oscillation, which is a dominant internal fluctuation on interannual timescales, seems only to be predictable up to at most 1 year in advance.’ Mochizukia et al 2010.

        These initial condition studies of decadal variability – which includes that of Smith – are in their infancy. I suggest that Mochizukia et al are being optimistic on estimating ENSO a year out using initial condition models. The models here for instance – – show projections out to March next year. But you would very mistaken if you took this as evidence of anything at all. Far better at this stage to listen to the world’s leading ENSO expert. ‘Stay tuned for the next update (by August 6th, or earlier) to see where the MEI will be heading next. La Niña conditions have at least briefly expired in the MEI sense, making ENSO-neutral conditions the safest bet for the next few months. However, a relapse into La Niña conditions is not at all off the table, based on the reasoning I gave in September 2010 – big La Niña events have a strong tendency to re-emerge after ‘taking time off’ during northern hemispheric summer, as last seen in 2008. I believe the odds for this are still better than 50/50.’

        There is a description of decadal varibility here –

        My question for you is what state is the Pacific Decadal Variation in and what are the implications for ENSO frequency?

        So 2 out 3 initial condition models suggest subdued warming. I, frankly, believe none of them for the reason that the ‘physics of internal variations itself and the stochastic forcing’ are little understood. The ‘stochastic forcing’ emerges from the behaviour which ‘as a complex nonlinear system, is subject to abrupt changes and driven by competing positive and negative feedbacks with largely unknown thresholds.’

        Lean’s paper is of a different order. A simple multiple linear regression model – in which if she has identified the major forcings – can be projected into the near term – on the theory that these simple radiative forcings are predictable at least a short way into the future. .

        Since no-one disprove Lean – I must assume that the world is strongly warming. .

      • maksimovich

        We are at solar maximum for sc 24 eg Svalgaard


        Well – we may be at or near solar max for the cycle but it such a minor factor. As is the stratospheric sulphate.

        Interestingly – the Chinese tropospheric sulphate may lead to warming.
        ‘Compiling all the data, we show that solar-absorption efficiency was
        positively correlated with the ratio of black carbon to sulphate. Furthermore, we show that fossil-fuel-dominated black-carbon plumes were approximately 100% more efficient warming agents than biomass-burning-dominated plumes.We suggest that climate-change-mitigation policies should aim at reducing fossil-fuel black-carbon emissions, together with the atmospheric ratio of black carbon to sulphate.’

      • JCH

        Smith et al indicated warming would resume in 2009. It may have.

        Looks like Smith et al. were wrong. when they “indicated warming would resume in 2009”.

        Just look at the HadCRUT3 record and you will see than from January 2009 to June 2011 it has cooled by a linear monthly rate of -0.03C, equivalent to -0.36C per decade.

        Hardly looks like warming resumed in 2009, JCH.


      • That linear monthly rate should be -0.003C (but the decadal rate is correct). Sorry for typo.


      • G’day Max,

        If you look at the new Spencer and Brasswell paper using and CERES and surface temperature – the essential conclusion was that ‘sensitivity’ (and the urility of the concept eludes me) was not calculable because of ENSO cloud radiative feedbacks especially – a null result. Non-radiative effects of ENSO should be included as well – energy transfer between the oceans and atmosphere. From a warm ocean in an El Nino and to a cold ocean in a La Nina.

        Certainly JCH may have been optimistic in identifying a warming. What we have is very large (2W/m^2) variability – ENSO related – in radiative flux in 2009 to 2010. See Fig 2 –

        That’s the answer to my question on Judith Lean. She doesn’t include cloud radiative ENSO feedback – so can’t possibly be right. Still doesn’t make it corrupt science. .


  53. What we see with the example Nature magazine is an example of the cognitive dissonance that Philip Stott told us about years ago and it brings to mind what is meant by ‘fish-warp.’

    We know that global warming is not proven science. We know that climate change is not unusual. It’s not even unusually rapid. We also know that the myth of a scientific consensus belies the actual fact of an ideologically-driven consensus supported by fraud and corruption.

    We know that the global warming alarmists have become further and further removed from the kind of rationalism that a dispassionate search for truth requires.

    We see the failure of academia and note its precipitous decline in a sense of truthfulness among AGW scientists in proportion to the reality-inspired cognitive dissonance of the confused Climatology belief system.

    Now we see global cooling. And, we see all of the other completely natural explanations for climate change that global warming alarmists ignore.

    We know now about all of the errors in historical land measurements, and how NASA is the next CRU; and, we know how more accurate evidence from satellite data does not show any dangerous global warming at all.

    We have learned that the atmospheric CO2 levels as measured at Mauna Loa is totally erroneous — the mere product of a cottage industry of fabricating data by a father and then his son.

    We all smelled the carcass of stinking fish in Copenhagen. The Leftist-lib agenda is all too clear to ignore: the real truth about the global warming is that it is a hoax.

    Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk. ~Henry David Thoreau

  54. We learn nothing of the sort. You are watering the milk of honest debate.

    • The “milk of honest debate” flowing from Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”?

      • The Thoreau quote was about watering down the milk from the local stream – hence the fish as evidence..

        Al Gore is not scientist – and we are entitled to not see the film or read the book as I have certainly not done. So I can freely admit to absolute ignorance.

        Real science is another thing – and science is not fraud and corruption. It may be incomplete, ‘if not completely wrong but yet unacceptable’ (Albert Einstein on Maxwell-Lorentz), it may be eventually overturned – but it is not usually fraud.

        To allow such rhetorical and utterly misguided attacks on science to go unchallenged is the real risk to culture and the future.

      • From the beginning, the use of a modeling technique by the global warming alarmists to justify all manner of climate porn fearmongering to con the public has been a fraud. BUT WHAT REALLY OUTS THE GLOBAL WARMING ALARMISTS AS DECEIVERS AND NOT SIMPLY UNCONSCIOUS INCOMPETENTS IS THE ABSOLUTE LOSS OF THE ‘OFFICIAL’ RAW DATA UPON WHICH THE AGW TRUE BELIEVERS’ FAKED SNAPSHOT OF THE WORLD RESTS. The original data has gone missing. The best examples of the missing data can be seen in the foi2009.pdf CRUgate disclosures and the information contained in the ‘Harry Read Me’ File. But, it doesn’t stop there. NASA dropped the number of ‘approved’ temperature stations altogether. Surely it is misguided to ignore Dr. Ball who has challenged the atmospheric CO2 levels as measured at Mauna Loa that everyone seems to take as gospel despite the fact they are completely erroneous — the mere product of a cottage industry of fabricating data by a father and then his son.


  55. An honest debate infers a sense of honor on both sides.

  56. tempterrain


    I think KSD is saying that CO2 concentrations, temperatures, and sea levels, have all been much higher in the past so what’s wrong with them being much higher again?

  57. Science and advocacy are mutually exclusive. The former is about open-mindedness, the latter about close-mindedness.
    Different people embrace these qualities in different proportions, 40-60, 60-40, etc, but probably nobody 100-0 or 0-100.

  58. “It is scientists, not sceptics, who are most willing to consider explanations that conflict with their own. And far from quashing dissent, it is the scientists, not the sceptics, who do most to acknowledge gaps in their studies and point out the limitations of their data — which is where sceptics get much of the mud they fling at the scientists. ”

    There is a very much a self congratulatory undertone in this. “Look at us, we are scientist and therefore we are immune to human vices.” Well, other disciplines of science are slowly getting to get into the idea that even with the scientific method being applied rigorously bias can influence results. Take for instance John Ioaniddes critique on the ways things go in medical science.

    I think that the very idea that people that are thought to promote “propaganda into a broader agenda that pits conservatives of various stripes against almost any form of government regulation“, people that are believed to consider “science secondary to wild accusations and political propaganda” are right in their assessment of climate risks and the IPCC are not, is simply unthinkable for the majority of academics. And that alone is a colossal bias and may influence scientific outcome.

    • It would be nothing short of miraculous if the source of funding for science did not affect its outcome. Funders quite naturally select and sponsor those people and projects they believe will most likely deliver the outcome the funder wants.

    • tempterrain


      If you want to argue that the funding of science affects the outcome, then how about acknowledging that scientists who are employed by governments and universities know perfectly well that their salaries are largely paid by their fellow citizens through the taxation system.

      So naturally, they do feel an obligation to tell it as they see it. Not just in the form of scientific publications, but elsewhere too. Even on blogs like this one.

    • Government scientists feel an obligation to tell it as it is, says TT, in gratitude to their forced benefactors, the taxpayers.

      Sure. There was no deafening silence from the bulk of them over Climategate and the various coverups of it, the hiding of data and declines, and the continuing refusals of FOI requests. Indeed they have never stopped speaking out against all the dishonesty and bias that underpins the CAGW consensus as presented by the IPCC, and all the advocacy masquerading as science.

  59. Judith in regards your comment:

    “I have argued in several venues for parallel evidenced-based analyses for the competing hypotheses of anthropogenic versus natural variability as the cause for recent climate change. Because of the complexity of the climate change problem, reasoning about uncertainty in the context of evidence-based analyses is not at all straightforward. How to implement something like this in a practical way is not at all straightforward.”

    From a former practitioner, systems or quality engineering, perspective of the scientific method I found that it can be near to impossible to sort out the conflicts between individuals holding different options (hypothes) as to which factors are the primary drivers in a causal relationships IF the insights or thought processes (mind sets) of the different experts viewpoints weren’t involved in the design of the original experiments.

    From my experience I have found that the power- when in comes down to measuring the effectiveness of an experimental plan- of prospective (peer preview) experimental design is greater than that of retrospective (i.e. peer review). It might be time to spend a bit more time including the various expert viewpoints in the design of the experiments- to move towards a peer previewed process.

  60. Pekka, this is all just speculation presented as likely facts. You are postulating a speculative model of CO2 exchange. Please present it as such, so we can assess it.

  61. What this article does is labelling one camp “sceptic” and the other “scientist”. It is a contradiction in itself, one cannot separate “science” and “scepticism”.
    This is simply a worthless name-calling article, a distasteful piece of low level journalism targeted at the skeptic scientists who dare to question the GHG theory.
    Nature continuing to demote itself walking on the line further away from scientific journalism allowing such articles.

    • Yes, Lars, Nature has been leading the scientific community down the path of consensus science for several years.

      Nature today applies “politically correct” labels to opposing sides in scientific disagreements, like this unsigned editorial probably written by or for Nature’s Editor-in Chief, Dr. Philip Campbell.

      Former CIA espionage agent Kent Clizbe notes that “political correctness” is the espionage technique used to destroy America [Willing Accomplices, 2011]: htpp://

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