Week in review 12/23/11

by Judith Curry

Here are a few things that caught my eye this past week.

Changing rhetoric

Brown University’s Climate and Development lab has in interesting post entitled “Running from climate change:  Obama administration’s changing rhetoric.

The phrases “climate change” and “global warming” have become all but taboo on Capital Hill. These terms are stunningly absent from the political arena, and have been since 2010. As Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) SAID on October 13th, “It has become no longer politically correct in certain circles in Washington to speak about climate change or carbon pollution or how carbon pollution is causing our climate to change.” Why?

The ratio of the administration’s usage of “climate change” versus “energy” has changed significantly since Obama’s 2008 campaign days. “Climate change” rhetoric saw its brief heyday in 2009, thanks to the popularity of the President, the streamlined message of unified party government, and the hope for legislative action before the United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen. Climate change rhetoric was most prominent during 2009, when it was mentioned 246 times and the months with highest frequency were April and November. Interestingly, the only point at which these two levels were equivalent was in November of 2009–the month the Copenhagen Conference began. Since then, the ratio of energy to climate rhetoric has steadily increased, and the phrase “climate change” is routinely omitted in favor of clean energy-related diction.

JC comment:  the changepoint at Nov 2009 is telling.


Andy Revkin has two interesting posts:

Climate Panel Needs to Follow its Own Advice:  

I believe it’s time for Rajendra K. Pachauri to take a new approach to discussing climate change or leave the chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change after nearly a decade in that position. There is an unavoidable and counterproductive blurriness to the line between his personal advocacy for climate action — which is his right as an individual — and his stature as the leader of the panel, which was established in 1988 as “a policy relevant but policy neutral organization.”

Pachauri joked that [Richard] Branson could give climate deniers tickets on the aviation mogul’s planned flights into outer space. “Perhaps it could be a one-way ticket,” Pachauri said, smiling, “though I’m not sure space deserves them.”

New directions for the intergovernmental climate panel:

In an e-mail message, Kenneth Caldeira, who studies climate for the Carnegie Institution and Stanford University (and who is a participant in some of the panel’s assessments), used the post as an opportunity to examine a broader question about the panel’s role and future. Here’s his “Your Dot” contribution (JC excerpts):

Clearly, at the outset, the early IPCC reports played an important role showing that there was a high degree of consensus around the reality and basic science of human-induced climate change.

But can anybody point to any important positive outcomes resulting from the IPCC AR4 process? Is there reason to expect a greater positive impact from the IPCC AR5 process?

Again, I think the IPCC has been extremely useful in the past, and I believe the IPCC could be extremely useful in the future. But, if the IPCC is to be extremely useful, it must re-invent itself, so that it efficiently supplies decision-makers with the most important and reliable scientific information while placing a minimum of additional burden on the scientific community.

(As an aside, I recently resigned as a lead author of an IPCC AR5 chapter simply because I felt I had more effective ways of using the limited amount of time that I have to engage in scientific activities.

An important question is: How can the IPCC be made into a more efficient and effective vehicle for scientific communication? It would be good to have this discussion before the AR6 train leaves the station.

JC comment:  the issue of the IPCC burden on the climate community is looming as an issue, especially in the climate modeling community which has little time to do anything else other than preparation, implementation and analysis of the IPCC production runs.

Unintended consequences

Asia warns EU of carbon tax trade war.

China has warned the European Union to abandon its controversial carbon tax on airlines or risk provoking a global trade war. Adding weight to the warning, an industry insider told the Financial Times that the Chinese government was seriously considering measures to hit back at the EU if it insists on charging international airlines for their carbon emissions.

“This is a trade barrier in the name of environmental protection, and it constitutes an attack on the interests of travellers and the international aviation industry,” it said in an editorial. “It will be difficult to avoid a trade war focused on a ‘carbon tax’ for airlines.”


Bill Gray and Phil Klotzbach have ceased making forecasts in December for the following hurricane season, because they say there is no skill in the December forecasts.  That is what many of us have been saying for a long time.

Chris Landsea has written an essay on hurricanes and global warming.  Its a pretty good article, gives a good overview.  For reference, my blog post on hurricanes and global warming is here.  Surprisingly, Landsea seems to trust the climate models more than I do.

Environmentalism and freedom

Ben Pile has an interesting essay entitled Environmentalism and freedom that describes a recent debate between George Monbiot and Fiona Fox.

Monbiot: Do you accept that some people’s freedoms intrude upon other people’s freedoms?

This leads to a very interesting discussion between Monbiot and Fox, with provocative commentary from Pile.  Well worth reading (comments are interesting also).


I would like to extend my very best wishes for the holidays to all.  I will be spending a quiet week with family.  I will have time to prepare new blog material, but will probably be posting new material relatively slowly (depending on traffic).

209 responses to “Week in review 12/23/11

  1. This is the season to remember the message recorded on every atom, leaf and rock: FEAR NOT !

    Big Brother is all bluster and bluff.

  2. The year in Josh – 2011 provides an insightful visual summary!

    Indur M. Goklany shows the very dramatic reduction in “carbon footprint” achieved by North Korea. See:
    The Two Koreas, 1950–2008: An Unplanned Experiment in Economic Systems, the Carbon Footprint and Human Well-Being

  3. Merry Christmas Everyone!!

  4. “the issue of the IPCC burden on the climate community is looming as an issue, especially in the climate modeling community which has little time to do anything else other than preparation, implementation and analysis of the IPCC production runs.”
    Since that’s their raison d’etre, the modellers will continue to lobby for more money and more people to build their empires.
    Take away the IPCC & where would these modellers be?

    • Doing scientific research

      • You can’t really call computerized prognostication “research.” It violates all of the principles of scientific forecasting.

      • Indeed, this may explain why so little work is being done on natural variability. What a revelation! US science dominated by a UN agenda.

      • David,
        If you identify what factors are in the set that affect natural variability, I will do a Googly Scholar search on them. From there, we should be able to see whether they have been studied or not.

    • I have also heard that the IPCC cycle is burdensome to the modelers. They also have to use a lot of computer resources on experiments that other people design. Releasing them from this will make the research more diverse and interesting.

      • The deadlines don’t help either in terms of getting the best results.

      • and there seems to be implicit pressure to get all the models to conform in their simulation results, rather than conducting extensive sensitivity simulations to better understand the models

      • I wonder when they will get around to validating the models? e.g., to actually get hindcasts of drought projections to match the evidence!
        See David Stockwell on CSIRO’s drought predictions, and

        Tests of Regional Climate Model Validity in the Drought Exceptional Circumstances Report

        I am curious as to what is meant by “conform in their simulation results” – to hindcast data or to anthropogenic warming expectations?

      • If they were doing real, exploratory science instead of IPCC projections, then validation would not be a major issue.

      • Not to sound like a progressive, but I wonder how many lives have been lost because of all the brain power, not to mention hardware and money, devoted to trying to support the IPCC’s CAGW agenda?

        Imagine all those programmers, scientists and computers trying to do something truly worthwhile (and much more likely doable), like focusing on areas already genuinely threatened by current weather and climate patterns.

        Forget the nonsense about long term forecasts being more accurate than short term, and start producing more and better short term forecasts that can save people now. They might not get to be part of the vanguard that reinvents the world economy, but they might save some more actual lives.

      • GaryM
        There is a similar massive impact due to the allocation of resources to “control climate”. See:
        Economic Analysis of EU 20/20/20 Climate Plan

        Cost of ’20/20/20′ Policy will be in the region of €210 billion annually
        Benefits add up to just €7 billion
        Raising the target to 30% would cost €450 billion a year

        If those funds had been directed into research on cost effective renewable and other alternative fuels, we might not have to pay $1 trillion per year in tribute to OPEC. See: OPEC’s $1T Cash Quiets Poor as $100 Oil Fills Coffers

        Penny wise, trillion dollars foolish!

      • Jim D,
        This would depend on who you are talking to, about what? To the AGW crowd “conform in their simulation results” is New Age code speak, for the current progressive ’cause & effect’ model. For them to save the globe, they want to reduce the world population to around 666,666,666.) When they have finished re-writing history; if we are still here we, will be very surprised at how well their model worked for them, after all.

    • Those ”Modellers” should be in jail; next to Robert’s and Joshua’s cell.

  5. Top science scandals of 2011 includes Wegman’s retraction following his plagiarism


    • Top Science Scandal of 2011:

      Global Warming.

      (Same as 2010, 2009, etc…)


      • Top Sciecne Scandal of 2011:

        ‘Skeptics’ deny basic physics

        (Same as 2010, 2009, etc…)


        PS – see how easy it is to make pointless and unsubstantiated posts? Now try one with content.

      • How about you demonstrate the basic physics to me, Louise? (So I know you know what you are talking about)


      • Bad Andrew – if you are serious about learning about the basic physics then I suggest you visit Science of Doom where it is clearly explained. This post is about the Week In Review, hence my post to an event that happened this week.
        Science of Doom can explain it much better than I without derailing this post any more than you have already.

      • Louise, I’m not looking for an explanation. I’m looking for a demonstration. Otherwise, you are just another anonymous blog commenter appealing to authority.


      • Louise,
        I think the more accurate “Top Science Scandal of 2011” is the fallacy the AGW community makes in confusing their interpretation of AGW with the physics of the atmosphere.

      • lurker – educate yourself, have a look at http://scienceofdoom.com/roadmap/confusion-over-the-basics/

      • try not to be so unlikeable

      • Louise, you basics link is to a page of links, some of which look pretty silly. You are wasting our time.

      • Louise, your Anarchist are denying the basic physics; otherwise the truth would have already won. You personally are scared from the laws of physics – reason you are scared from my website!

    • randomengineer

      Three observations–

      1.Given that wegman’s paper was regarding how climate science is inbred, any plagiarism therein hardly changes the result. He borrowed phrasings. Big deal. Nice try to impugn the otherwise INIMPEACHABLE conclusion however.

      2. The **real** scandal, and the one that proves wegman correct, is the continued cites to Steig when odonnell et al has clearly and conclusively proved him wrong.

      3. Given that #1 and #2 observations are from one who has no dog in this hunt at all, is it any wonder that people like you are perceived as (religious) fanatics? I’m not sure how this could escape your notice.

      • randomengineer – can you please clarify? Who (that has no dog in this fight) made observations #1 and #2?

        For those who have not followed the Wegman saga, Deep Climate has the facts http://deepclimate.org/2011/10/04/said-and-wegman-2009-suboptimal-scholarship/

        And for those not familiar with the Steig and O’Donnell debate, Real Climate has the full saga http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/odonnellgate/

      • Louise –
        Those links cry out “nya nya nya” from somebody with their fingers in their ears.
        And to say Deep Climate has “the facts” and RealClimate has the “full saga” is to be woefully short of an open mind.
        Understanding cannot be derived from a position of partisan tribalism.

      • Anteros – please point out any errors in the articles I linked to. You are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts.

        Wegman’s paper should never have been published due to errors along with plagiarism. It was rightly retracted. Do you think it should have been allowed to stand?

      • randomengineer

        Way to prove you’re no fanatic — by linking to two of the most egregiously one-sided sites in the debate. Game, set, match.

      • randomengineer – care to let me know just who it is that ‘has no dog in this fight’? (in the same sentence as saying people like me are considered (religious) fanatics. BTW, this latter, by whom?).

      • Actually, Wegman did not plagarize.
        His co author did and Wegman did not catch it and neither did the editors.
        His failure to catch it is a lapse in scholarship that should be dealt with.
        I imagine his university will find an appropriate remedy for his lapse.

        The congressional report, however, is another matter. There is no plagarism there. If somebody should be chastized it would be mashey and Bradley for violating Wegman’s confidentiality rights accorded to him by the university.

      • Besides, any plagiarism issue is completely beside the fact that it completely destroys the Piltdown Mann’s Crook’t Hockey Stick.

        Louise, this is a beautiful example of how the debate is warped by the alarmist tribe. Mashey’s expose is a thin rock skipped across the pond; Wegman’s report is the cliffside falling into it.

      • that’s ironic kim, because the whole discussion of the hockey stick is beside the point that manmade global warming is a fact and that ongoing CO2 rise is a threat to our civilization.

      • It is easy to impeach Wegman and here we go.

        Quoting from the Wegman report


        “Did you calculate the R2 statistic for the temperature reconstruction,
        particularly for the 15th Century proxy record calculations and what were
        the results?”

        Basic understanding of the R2 statistical test tell one that the test involves comparing a data series to a model. Knowing that modeling the 15th century climate is well near impossible, asking Mann for this shows Wegman knowledge in applying statistical test to climate science is lacking.

        Why doesn’t Wegman know that?

        Another question for Wegman, the word “preisendorfer” does not appear in the Wegman report. Why not?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        bod droege, it would help if you read what you criticize. You say:

        Basic understanding of the R2 statistical test tell one that the test involves comparing a data series to a model. Knowing that modeling the 15th century climate is well near impossible, asking Mann for this shows Wegman knowledge in applying statistical test to climate science is lacking.

        The question you quoted is from a list of questions which is immediately preceded by:

        The specific questions of Chairman Barton and Chairman Whitfield are listed below.

        The entirety of your comment here is ridiculous, but today is Christmas, and I’m not going to take the time to explain the myriad ways in which what you say makes no sense. I’ll simply leave it at this.

        You said Wegman asked something the report specifically says was asked by someone else. Nobody should trust you about details.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        By the way people. Michael Mann did calculate R2 verification scores. He even published them for the 1820 step of his reconstruction. You should keep that in mind when reading bob droege’s comment.

    • Dr Curry, at the time that Wegman was first accused of plagiarism, you said “Let me say that this is one of the most reprehensible attacks on a reputable scientist that I have seen, and the so-called tsunami of accusations made in regards to climategate are nothing in compared to the attack on Wegman.” http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3198

      Do you stand by this?

      • Oh, Louise! The “plagiarism” is akin to discovering that someone else wore the same dress to the grand ball as you, but looked better, so you had them drummed out of the club. Eventually, nobody who counts will stick around *that* club, the dues and the shame are too heavy to bear. For those that want to sleep at night.

      • Mark F – I’m afraid that you are very misinformed if you actually believe that. I doubt the paper would have been retracted if that was all there was to it.

        “in addition to misrepresenting Bradley’s words as his own, Wegman also twisted, misrepresented or completely changed the meaning of some of Bradley’s work, without explanation or reference to any other source that might justify the manipulations.”

        “…having relied overwhelmingly on Bradley’s text to present himself as an expert on the use of tree rings to create a reconstruction of historic temperatures, Wegman then changes a final sentence to arrive at a conclusion exactly opposite to Bradley’s own.”

        Educate yourself http://www.desmogblog.com/wegman-report-not-just-plagiarism-misrepresentation

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I don’t think anyone wants to rehash the entire plagiarism issue here, but since Louise brought up a specific issue, I want to respond. One of the accusations by John Mashey and DeepClimate against the Wegman Report was that it inverts the “original results” of work it cited. There is only one example given of this, and from all appearances, it is a complete fabrication on the accusers’ parts. I discussed this back when Mashey’s work was first published.

        To my knowledge, nobody had ever disputed the point I raised. John Mashey posted on the very same page after me, but he choose not to respond to me. As it stands, there is no actual basis offered this accusation despite the fact it is the single most serious accusations leveled against the Wegman Report. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the work form the accusers. Incidentally, on that same page, I said:

        While in theory people are innocent until proven guilty, in practice this is rarely true. It would seem accusations, regardless of their validity, are enough for Mashey and his cohorts. They have no need to examine things closely, because they are only interested in smearing Wegman. It is basically the same tactic as people who spread rumors to make someone look bad. Even if you can conclusively disprove the claims, the damage will still have been done, and the accusers most likely won’t suffer.


        They’ve moved on, save that the same accusations will be repeated whenever Wegman’s report gets mentioned. “Alarmists” will dismiss the report when it is brought up as having been “debunked,” even though none of them will really understand the accusations against Wegman.

        The same thing has happened with numerous other issues, such as decentered PC calculation and Prisendorf’s Rule N. Mashey and Deepclimate have given people a talking point which can be used to “refute” Wegman’s report, meaning they don’t have to worry, or even think, about it any more.

        I’d say my comments have been borne out.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Oh, I forgot to point out something else. Louise says:

        Mark F – I’m afraid that you are very misinformed if you actually believe that. I doubt the paper would have been retracted if that was all there was to it.

        Of course, the Wegman Report was never retracted. A different paper he was involved with was retracted. Despite the fact these two are not the same thing, they’ve been conflated by people (such as Louise here) quite a few times. In fact, this conflation has happened in major newspapers, something I discussed here. There is a degree of humor in Louise accusing someone of being “very misinformed” when making such an obvious mistake.

        By the way, I had to open up Keith Kloor’s site to find those links. When I did, I found this (relevant) gem from Kloor:

        I dip in and out of the comment threads at Judith Curry’s blog. The nesting style annoys me, so I rarely follow an actual conversation all the way through. But there are some commenters, such as Joshua, Martha, and Louise, and a few others on the skeptical side, who I find quite engaging. They usually make the time worthwhile.

        I’m not sure I have the words to politely express my reaction to this.

      • I stand by my subsequent comment that this is an issue that I am not well informed about and don’t care to make the effort to dig in. So no comment.

      • How did the information plagiarized information change the results of the Wegman report?

        When Steig used McCulloch’s information without proper accreditation, did that change their erroneous results into a valuable insight?

        When Menne plagiarized Watts, how did that impact Menne et al’s paper?

    • Louise,

      You could never be a skeptic because you do not have the scientific ability to ask or answer questions. Therefore your posts are a waste of electricity.

    • Louise
      Please better check your story. Paul Chesser observes:

      Allegations of plagiarism were made against chief author Edward Wegman because a graduate student who worked on the paper copied and pasted text from an alarmist professor’s work, which was not vital to the paper’s main points.

      But no comparable curiosity from the media exists towards those in the climate alarmism clique, despite the public’s mistrust.

      • David – Why was the paper retracted?

      • Louise
        Regarding the scientific substance of Wegman, see: Climategate Documents Confirm Wegman’s Hypothesis

        Climategate documents provided conclusive evidence of the hypothesis originally advanced in the Wegman Report about paleoclimate peer review – that members of the Mann “clique” had been “reviewing other members of the same clique”. . . . Wegman came down entirely on our side of the question of whether Mannian principal components mined for hockey-stick shaped data. This issue fell well within the professional expertise of the members of the Wegman panel. The NAS panel also came down entirely on our side of this particular issue,

        On the plagiarism see:
        What Happened to Gerald Schatten?

        The underlying events in Schatten’s case were about as serious as it gets in science. In contrast, the Wegman case involves copying of boilerplate text, something that,according to Office of Research Integrity policies , it takes a limited interest in:

        “ORI generally does not pursue the limited use of identical or nearly identical phrases which describe a commonly-used methodology or previous research because ORI does not consider such use as substantially misleading to the reader or of great significance.”

        Like Schatten, Wegman was unaware that one of his graduate students, as a coauthor of Said et al 2008, had copied boilerplate text into section 1. Despite the much lesser nature of the underlying offence both under ORI policies and common sense, George Mason, apparently responding to pressure from the climate activists, has spent far more time investigating Wegman than the University of Pittsburgh seems to have spent investigating Schatten.

        Wegman’s scientific analysis thoroughly refuted Mann’s methodology. Thus the importance placed by climate activists on removing it to preserve the fig leaf of Mann’s hockey stick.
        You can find much more detail on the science and statistics at Climate Audit.

      • David,

        You still seem to be making excuses for the plagiarist.

        There’s no question whatsoever that Wegman stole from another author, or that his paper was retracted after this immoral and unethical behavior was discovered.

        Can you admit Wegman is a plagiarist? Basic test of honesty.

      • Louise
        The real scandal is that “the Team” refused to publicly withdraw Mann’s Hockey Stick graph, even knowing it was invalid and after being disproved:
        1) Members of “The Team” themselves privately recognize that Mann’s graph is invalid. See Tom Nelson and Mann hockey stick co-author Bradley: “it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right”
        Similarly: In case you missed it: Hockey stick co-author claims that after 1850, critical trees lost their alleged ability to record temperature

        Indeed, in the verification period, the biggest “miss” was an apparently very warm year in the late 19th century that we did not get right at all. This makes criticisms of the “antis” difficult to respond to (they have not yet risen to this level of sophistication, but they are “on the scent”). Furthermore, it may be that Mann et al simply don’t have the long-term trend right, due to underestimation of low frequency info. in the (very few) proxies that we used.

        In any case, the relevant point is that there is no meaningful correlation with local temperature. . . . I am equally confident that, after that date(1850), they are recording something else. [Malcolm Hughes]

        2) McIntyre and McKitrick proved that Mann’s statistical method gave invalid results (hockey sticks with red noise etc.) See “Hockey Stick Studies” at ClimateAudit.com
        3) The Wegman report validated M&M. McIntyre summarizes:

        The Wegman report, which was submitted to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in July, stated that our published criticisms of Mann’s methodology were “valid and compelling” and stated that “Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.”

        A foreign grad student copying some boilerplate intro makes no difference to the scientific review by Wegman.
        4) The NAS review confirmed McIntyre & McKitrick.

        This comes on the heels of an earlier report in June by a National Academy of Sciences panel chaired by Gerald North of Texas A&M, which also endorsed specific criticisms of Mann’s methodology and which concluded that no statistical confidence could be placed in his claims that temperatures in the 1990s exceeded those in the medieval warm period.

        You can read all the original reports and reviews at ClimateAudit.com.
        Political activism cannot invalidate this clear rebuttal of Mann’s hockey stick.
        If you value truth rather than adrenalin, please read enough to satisfy yourself on this science. Emperor Mann has no clothes despite wonderfully wiley woven words.

      • David, David, your denial of the reality of the Hockey Stick doesn’t change the hard scientific fact that the Hockey Stick is correct, and all the lying, slandering, and plagiarizing you deniers have engaged in for years hasn’t put a scratch on the Hockey Stick.

        The deniers who crusaded against the Hockey Stick, in contrast, are all missing several teeth.

        Until you are ready to accept the scientific facts and admit Mann was right, you really can’t even begin the process of rebuilding your shattered credibility.

      • bobbie,

        Copenhagen 2009 (he, he)
        Cancun 2010 (he, he)
        Durban 2011 (he, he)

        Detroit 2032 (he, he)

        You hockey pucks are doing real good. Most (69%) of the U.S. voting public believe that so-called climate scientists probably faked the science. It’s worse than we thought.


        Merry Christmas! bobbie

      • David,

        If you want to show that the HS has severe problems then direct your attention to M2009 and the supplementary Information.

        However, there is a difference between showing that it has problems ( which Robert is not smart enough to see or admit) and showing that it is “broken.” Just as he overstates the case for its correctness you overstate the case for its flaws.

        It’s not entirely broken. Like all proxy studies it overstates it’s certainty. It’s certainly not “correct.” Even in Manns last paper he suggests corrections to previous papers in the SI of later papers. But those corrections are never propagated back into the science. They are in the margins. That way people can have it both ways.

        The science in the old papers is gutted in the bowels of the newer papers. But those corrections are not in the official record. so the science stumbles on. Someday, it will all be cleaned up. give it 20 years or so

      • Poor widdle donnie,

        Your argumentum ad populum is an automatic FAIL.

        It’s too bad you can’t argue the evidence . . . predictable, but sad. You’re left only with “My lies are winning!” a proposition that is also, ironically, a lie; denialism is dropping like a stone in the polls.

      • Steven,

        and it’s certainly not “wrong” despite all the blogarrhoea that expresses 100% certainty to the contrary.

      • Thanks for the clarification Steve.
        Please provide links to M2009 and explanatory summaries for those of us less skilled in the art and filling the peanut gallery.
        I gather that the Yamal records are important.

        In most scientific endeavours, one presumes that specialists would wonder why Yamal had a huge hockey stick, when it was located in a zone with dozens of sites showing a decline. . . . Not only was the Yamal chronology widely adopted, the evidence of a decline in a network of nearly 400 sites (with hundreds of cores, not 10) came to be discounted. . . . I’ve observed on other occasions that the Yamal hockeystick is typically very important in multiproxy reconstructions that don’t use bristlecones. In addition to Briffa 2000 and Briffa et al 2008, it is used in Briffa and Osborn 1999; Mann and Jones 2003; Bradley, Hughes and Diaz 2003; Jones and Mann 2004; Moberg et al 2005; D’Arrigo et al 2006; Osborn and Briffa 2006; Hegerl et al 2007; Mann et al 2008 (blended into the Tornetrask version) and Kaufman et al 2009.

        McIntyre also reported:

        I heard from a reliable source that, during the Oxburgh interviews, Phil Jones admitted that it was probably impossible to do the 1000-year temperature reconstructions with any accuracy.

        PS Robert
        I nowhere “deny” “climate change” (which has been happening for billions of years) nor that there has been a major rise in temperature in the 20th century – which appears to be a continuation of the rise from the Little Ice Age, with ~ 60 year natural cycles superimposed on that rise – nor do I deny that humans influence climate (by every field and building).

        I understand the uncertainties are so high that we cannot presently quantify the proportion of anthropogenic vs natural causes, nor provide validated predictions of the future climate. For further detail on science not included by the IPCC, see the NIPCC reports and further info.
        I object to non-scientific activism without sound scientific basis being promulgated as fact, when trillions of dollars and millions of lives in developing countries depend on the outcomes.

        If you can show quantitative evidence to the contrary, please do so.
        In the near term, availability of liquid fuel for transport will dominate economics, especially the fortunes of oil importing nations. Any efforts to ‘control climate’ are insignificant and remote by comparison.
        For details, check out the ASPO Nov 2011 presentations.
        PS Blessed Christmas to one and all.

      • I am not making an argument on the science of the hockey stick, hockeypuck. We all know that it is a flawed piece of propaganda that would have been disposed of by the consensus climate scientists themselves, if they had any freaking integrity. I am not making an argument at all. I am stating a fact about politics and the vox populi. There is no outcry among the billions in China, Japan , Russia, India, South America, Africa, North America to forsake the dirty carbon, in favor of cooking with wind. Only the loony left in a few failing welfare states and some extortionists on a few islands are still trying to sell that fantasy. Simply put, you lose dummy..

      • David wrote;

        “…see the NIPCC reports and further info.
        I object to non-scientific activism without sound scientific basis being promulgated as fact…”

        Catatrosphic irony failure.

    • I found this one especially interesting:

      “The story took a turn for the dramatic when Whittemore Peterson Institute director Judy Mikovits, who led the retracted 2009 study, refused to hand over key lab notebooks. She allegedly had an underling take the notebooks, then skipped town to California.”

      That ought to strike some concern into the minds of those climate scientists who think it’s okay to try to prevent independent review of their data, procedures, etc. (And have documented their intentions and actions in emails.)

    • But the essential thrust of the paper was correct, was it not? /sarc

  6. “Do you accept that some people’s freedoms intrude upon other people’s freedoms?”
    Don’t lefties understand that freedoms have to do with citizens and the government.
    In some cases a government can impose upon the freedom of it’s citizens, but liberty is where government is minimally imposing upon the citzen.
    Not drafting to to fight some war, not overly taxing the people, not requiring people to buy certain lightbulb, and eat certain foods, etc, etc.

    Whereas freedom between individuals or parties makes no sense whatsoever.
    The tyranny is always from the government- it has the police force and the army. And when you have society in which only “the little people” have follow the law- that is tyranny.

  7. In addition to China, the US and India are threatening retaliatory action. Secretary Clinton has sent a strong letter to the EU. India has told its airlines not to provide any fuel use data. The EU want to tax a foreign airliner that lands in London’s Heathrow Airport for all the fuel used to get there from Hong Kong, or anywhere else in the world. Green nuts anyone?

    This should be fun to watch.

    • David – I think that you will find that ETS applies to all aircraft, not just foreign ones as you have suggested.

      Richard Black has a fairly balanced piece about this http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16306606. Average airfare from US to UK would go up by about $30, hardly threatening the future of air travel.

      • I suppose you’re one of those people who happily spread your cheeks for TSA, too.

      • All in the Christmas spirit :)

      • I have no idea what TSA is. I’m UK based and don’t fly.

      • Here. Learn something.


        And yes, there’s a reason why this was published in Pravda. I’ll give you three guesses.

      • OK, I read it and I learned something.

        What has any of that got to do with the EU imposing the ETS to airlines?

      • If you gotta ax, you’ll never know…

      • “Richard Black has a fairly balanced piece about this”.

        Louise, that’s not confirmation bias – that’s falling off the edge of the world!

        Merry Christmas, nonetheless.

      • Did you read the article or did you just assume?

      • Oh, believe me, I am an avid follower of Mr Black. You may note he only has a go at the evil US for objecting to the EU unilateralism, while ignoring complaints from developing countries. There are threats of ‘trade wars’ from China; this will do no-one any good. All conveniently ignored by Mr Black.

        I would leave a comment on his piece at the site, but my comments have been removed in the past, despite being the epitome of sweet reason and light:-)

      • Louise, I am well aware that it applies to domestic aircraft as well. That is not an issue, as the EU can tax the hell out of their own planes. The issue lies with taxing foreign aircraft, especially for fuel burned thousands of miles away. It is absurd.

      • Nonsense. It’s politics. They have every right to tax any business that operates on their soil.

        This is a promising sign. Everyone doesn’t have to agree to cut emissions, if enough of the heavies decide to use their economic muscle to enforce carbon taxes through measures like trade restriction.

        A good beginning to a promising strategy.

      • unilateral action usually has consequences.

      • >Average airfare from US to UK would go up by about $30, hardly threatening the future of air travel.<

        Cutesy-poo, Louise. Cherry-picking yet again

        Now try that same calculation return from Sydney, acknowledging that the EU demands that it collects the full-distance tax, regardless of which non-EU countries the plane flys over before finally landing (both ways). Then multiply this by the number of weekly passengers from Aus and all other more distant countries

        Judith C called this an "unintended consequence". I disagree – it is neither unintended nor unpredictable. It's a spiteful tantrum informed by the abject failure of the Durban Festival of Light

        Who would now buy EU bonds ? Guaranteed loss of funds

      • Ianl8888 – I agree that it’s not an UNintended consequence and I don’t think Dr Curry ever referred to it as such, reducing the number of people wanting to fly is an intended consequence to reduce CO2 emissions.

        As for your “It’s a spiteful tantrum informed by the abject failure of the Durban Festival of Light” – it has been legislated and planned for very many years, it’s implementation was delayed to 2012 to give airlines time to prepare.

      • Louise,

        If one of the purposes of the tax is to reduce the number of people who choose to fly, do you see any problem with that?

        This represents one of the issues I have with such action. Bureaucrats who think it is bad that people fly because it might “harm” the planet. Why shouldn’t people be allowed to fly where they want to go? What about the growth in tourism which creates economic growth? Is it ok for the very same officials to fly to where they feel they need to go and not the rest of us?

        Placing a tax is nothing new and if the EU wants to apply a tax to its member nations, that is their business and up to the citizens of those nations to let their thoughts on it known. But trying to apply it to other nations is just asking for trouble.

        Merry Christmas and my the new year see you in good health.

        PS – some of these guys apparently haven’t learned you don’t tick a woman off, even if you think she’s wrong. I’ve had to repeatedly learn that one from my wife.

      • >Now try that same calculation return from Sydney, acknowledging that the EU demands that it collects the full-distance tax, regardless of which non-EU countries the plane flys over before finally landing (both ways). Then multiply this by the number of weekly passengers from Aus and all other more distant countries<

        Cutesy-poo again, Louise

        Now address the point – repeated above

        Of course it's a spiteful tantrum … and it will not achieve any of its' aims. (particularly giving the EU money to help bail out their own profligacy). You flippantly quote adding $30 to a cross-Atlantic airfare (ie. negligible), yet claim that this is supposed to discourage people from flying.

        Make your tiny mind up

      • Black’s piece is hardly balanced

        He made several claims about the damages to industry and played some wonderful mind reading games about what industry would or wouldnt do or how consumers would respond.

        What he failed to do was actually ask somebody who might know.

        That would require talking to the other side.

        Its hard to be balanced if you dont understand the economics.

        In any case it wont matter since the EU will not survive.

  8. Revkin attacks Pachauri. Happy New Year!

  9. I think in 2012, Dr. Curry should do a post on “Primary Sources” in Climate Science… who and what they are and and how easily they can be accesed.


  10. “the changepoint at Nov 2009 is telling.”

    Not to friend Joshua who for some reason continues to insist climate-gate has had no impact. That’s one big piece of denial pie you’re trying to get the rest of us to swallow, Josh.

    • randomengineer

      Joshua argues from the standpoint of the average man in the street, and in this aspect he is correct: as he says, the average citizen is unaware of climategate. Where he appears to fail is not grasping that those who influence and shape the debate are paying attention. And yet… is he failing? He also implies that tribal denialism etc is organised from the top down ideologically and as such this bit of information does little more than provide evidence that he’s right.

      But then again… he’s STILL wrong. And why? Because the average citizen not having heard of climategate is due almost entirely to the media picking sides and cheerleading for “their” side. I’d wager that if the media were doing its job correctly, the anti-AGW side would be so virulent as to be just this side of up in arms. The top down ideological organisation Joshua perceives is due entirely from the lack of information. Information wants to spread, and if top down is the only way this can happen, it will follow this course. Just like a river.

      What this tells me, overall, is that the average US citizen is feared by the media, feared by political advocates of climate change, and is otherwise being deliberately hoodwinked precisely as claimed by “denialists.” It further tells me that the climate change lobby is premised on fluff — if they had a case then they would take this case to the people and let them decide rather than preaching at them trying to force the changes they want. If they had a case then climategate would be in every media outlet where the media would implore their readers/viewers to investigate for themselves and make up their own minds. This isn’t what’s happening. The obvious conclusion here is that the greens know good and damn well that their advocacy is NOT shared by the voters and are trying to bypass the people. Others might view this charitably and assume that this is overzealousness. I’m not inclined thus. It’s a form of treason.

      • The deniers are largely made up of UN helicopter conspiracy worrier types. Alex Jones, Fox News, Delingpole, Monckton. It’s all old fogies who come at the subject from a political angle.

        Now sure if you manage to flood the media with trash talk from those above parties you will delude more of the public.

        But I assure you that most of the population are not loons and would just as easily be swayed back into reality by a little education. Believe it or not but most people are more suspicious of the deniers than the scientists and that will never change.

      • It does not matter lolwot. Those types do not matter. Only the truth. It’s cooling and transparency that matter. Reality, you know.

      • > … old fogies … <

        As opposed to "young fogies", I suppose

      • randomengineer

        Believe it or not but most people are more suspicious of the deniers than the scientists and that will never change.

        I reckon you’re painfully wrong as opposed to simply wrong. True the public is rightfully suspicious of the black helicopter brigade. False that the “deniers” you mention are even within a stone’s throw of that. From *your* perspective they are, which speaks volumes re your perspective.

        The public also rightfully believes scientists etc given the blurring of the line between science and technology. i.e. the public has very high regard for hubble and the mrs rovers, that sort of thing. You are wrong though in thinking that scientific good will via rovers extends to the climte debate. You can see evidence of this on the right wing blogs where Rand Simberg (e.g.) will write a piece re NASA (pro or con) and there’s a lot of pro-science remarks with reasonably informed opinion and then a Morano or Horner type will write something re climate and the very same well informed about science and very supportive of NASA posters tend to regard Hansen as vile and corrupt — and things go downhill from there.

        For your contention to be even remotely in the same ballpark as accurate you would have to maintain that those of the public you regard as “deniers” are likewise pig-ignorant regarding hubble, planetary probes, thorium, and other subjects where science intersects with policy and politics. You need to learn to read the blogs and sites of those whom you disdain. You may learn things. I certainly have. I have learned that the general scientific knowledge exhibited by the dreaded right wing denialists far exceeds that of HuffPo posters.

      • According to the polls there are hundreds of millions, if not a billion or more deniers. And their ratio increases with knowledge. A lot of people despise greens in general. The average person who can read knows about this issue, so much noise has been made about it. The majority reject the scare. Live with that.

      • “True the public is rightfully suspicious of the black helicopter brigade. False that the “deniers” you mention are even within a stone’s throw of that.”

        The UN/world-government/”communist” plot stuff is thick in skeptic circles and the insinuation is always there that the scientific community has been compromised by a political elite. Monckton, Klaus (recent), Delingpole, they are all pushing that message to their followers. Even WUWT panders to the idea that it’s all a political power/tax con.

        Of the public who are willing to entertain conspiracy theories, you’ve probably bagged them – the low hanging fruit. Easy come easy go. Maybe you can bag a few more by getting the message out further, but I doubt it will ever be enough to matter.

        The only thing that will convince the majority is if scientists themselves start saying manmade global warming isn’t a threat. And currently most scientists will not do that because it isn’t true.

        “You can see evidence of this on the right wing blogs where Rand Simberg (e.g.) will write a piece re NASA (pro or con) and there’s a lot of pro-science remarks with reasonably informed opinion”

        Likewise creationists can be perfectly pro-science on subjects that don’t threaten their religious beliefs. It’s only when you start discussing the “red flag” subjects that the smears and attacks on science come out.

      • lolowot, that is a very wishful post on your part.

      • randomengineer

        lolwot — The UN/world-government/”communist” plot stuff is thick in skeptic circles…


        This isn’t true even in the worst nightmares of Al Gore.

        Given that your basic premise is utter drivel, the rest of your argument goes downhill from that.

      • Actually, that’s not true. The UN isn’t even concealing the fact that they want their own taxing authority and their own army. It’s not a conspiracy if they’re out in the open about it.

        And one of the UN direct taxes that they want? I’ll give you a hint: # 6 on the periodic chart.

      • The polls back lolwot. A modest increase in those accepting the science, but a DRAMATIC increase — in fact, virtually the entire shift — is moderate Republicians and independents deserting the black-helicopter-fearin’ old white men of the radical right.

        Your antics are alienating the moderates on your own side, and the bulk of the people on the right are are slowly — much too slowly — coming around to accepting the facts.

      • where is Joshua to ask you for your evidence?

  11. “Joshua argues from the standpoint of the average man in the street, ”

    Well, I’m an average man in the street (when I’m actually in the street that is), and climate-gate turned me around completely. Moreover (I try to use that word at least once a day) poll numbers show an increasing skepticism re global warming post climate-gate. This does not prove causation of course, but I think you have to go out of your way a la Joshua to insist it’s had no impact.

  12. In this season of the good will, I present to you a unique ‘gift wrapped’ data set suitable for both, the AGW and the Climate Realists.
    Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to (the special) one and all!

    • Vukcevic, thank you sincerely for repeatedly reminding everyone to role up their sleeves and do the heavy exploratory lifting instead of slipping yet further into ephemeral armchair minutia, such as politics & consensual abstraction.

      We must bring disciplined careful patience back to our society & civilization, abandoning currently popular western linear “thinking” that absolutely disregards, disrespects, & misrepresents nature (whether via naive ignorance or malicious deception doesn’t matter, as both conditions are terminal).

      I encourage everyone to expeditiously reproduce the calculations outlined here [ http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/10/solar-terrestrial-lunisolar-components-of-rate-of-change-of-length-of-day/ ] in order to be positioned to understand what will be publicly announced next. (I’ve provided data links below [ http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/23/week-in-review-122311/#comment-152752 ].)

      Remember Vukcevic: Ocean gyres are driven by wind, which is driven by the pressure gradient force, which is driven by absolute equator-pole temperature contrast. (Beware the corrupting hazards of anomaly-think.)

      Season’s Best to you & your inner circle Vukcevic.

  13. Finally! A day off from work. Had a few hours to further my research. Highlights from this morning:

    I’ve reproduced & gone well beyond the Figure 3 middle panel pattern summaries of Mursula & Zieger (2001).

    Main Findings:

    1. With absolute certainty earth orientation parameters & terrestrial climate indices are terrestrial orbital modulations of solar excitation at dominant terrestrial frequencies. (This can even be demonstrated directly from sunspot numbers – i.e. don’t even need geomagnetic indices.)

    2. The early 20th century phase reversal [ http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/vaughn-sun-earth-moon-harmonies-beats-biases.pdf ] was of solar origin.

    3. ~1940 data vandalism is severely misguided.

    Finding #1 fundamentally crushes mainstream narratives about how solar-terrestrial relations operate.

    If anyone can put me in touch with an expert on wavelets who is willing & able to communicate non-algebraically, please do so as soon as possible. I’m hoping to expedite the selection &/or design of wavelets to better index specific features of geophysical time series that are key to illustrating solar-terrestrial coherence.


    Mursula, K.; & Zieger, B. (2001). Long-term north-south asymmetry in solar wind speed inferred from geomagnetic activity: A new type of century-scale solar oscillation? Geophysical Research Letters 28(1), 95-98.

    [Caution: Their Figure 3 middle panel was an important clue, but they’ve seriously blown their interpretations.]

    Season’s Best.

  14. The Brown University article citing the shift in the “climate to energy ratio” in President Obama’s verbiage is interesting.

    Since rhetoric along with knowing how the wind blows are two of the principal strong points of this President, it does tell us quite a bit.

    Pushing action on AGW will not get President Obama reelected next fall and he knows it.


  15. Precisely right, Max. Which is why we professional deniers have little to fear. If it’s Obama next term he’s not going to waste his last few years tilting at AGW windmills. and if it’s Romney there’s obviously even less to worry about. Meanwhile, the earth will continue it’s dutiful trips around the sun and the climate will continue to cool. Or at the least, continue not to warm. This global warming thing is a sinking ship, the warmists just don’t know it yet.

    • au contraire mon frere. The only reason Obama stopped the EPA’s attempted coup of the US energy economy was his desperate desire to be re-elected. If he is re-elected, there will be nothing to stop him from letting loose the dogs of climate.

      If Obama wins in 2012, it means the massive conservative shift in the US so evident in 2010 has been halted, if not reversed. Nothing would invigorate the left more, worldwide, than to see the largest economy in the world once again in the control of unrepentant leftists.

      In the event of such a tragedy, Obamacare will not be repealed, meaning ever more central planning of the US healthcare economy.. And the EPA will be unleashed, resulting in the centralization of the energy economy.

      The CAGW movement was stopped cold in 2009 at Copenhagen, and in the 2010 US elections. But anyone who thinks this battle is over is dreaming.

      • “If Obama wins in 2012, it means the massive conservative shift in the US so evident in 2010 has been halted, if not reversed. Nothing would invigorate the left more, worldwide, than to see the largest economy in the world once again in the control of unrepentant leftists.”

        No, it requires massive incompetence of the republican party- which is hardly “news”.
        And it requires an improvement in the economy, and/or a war with Iran or something like that. Though perhaps an Implosion of EU might in some way substitute a war with Iran.
        But above all it depends on some apparent competence on the part of the Obama administration. And why haven’t they shown this competence already? And we have to imagine that Obama has somehow learned something.
        One thing the democrats are pretty good at is being good politicians- meaning being aware of public opinion and acting accordingly. And apparently, at the moment Dems are running away from Obama.
        Good news for their re-election prospects.
        Obama only hope is that republicans screw up, and Ron Paul winning in Iowa is small step in that direction.

      • If Democrats were only re-elected when they showed competence in office, we would have 100 Republican senators and 435 Republican congressmen.

        And Republicans, their elitist leaders anyway, have already shown “massive incompetence.” They have sabotaged every conservative candidate, many before they could even enter the primary race. It is no coincidence the two front runners in the GOP primary are both progressive, pro-big government Republicans, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. And the establishment will not rest until they get another McCain clone as the party’s nominee.

        Democrats can’t win while they are ruining the economy? Ever heard of Franklin Roosevelt? He extended the Depression by years, and it only ended when he was distracted by a world war, forcing him to take his boot off the neck of industry. Neither economic collapse nor foreign wars guarantee a change in administration.

        Again, the climate war is far from over.

      • This is OT, but what the hey! My opinion — I agree with gbaikie that Obama can’t win in 2012 but the Republicans can certainly lose. Though not entirely true ’cause I also agree with GaryM: that, in essence, one must not underestimate the potential of a sweetalking trickster.

  16. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to you Judith and all posters.

  17. Merry Christmas to Dr Curry, to Commenter #1, Oliver K. Manuel, to Josh the Troll, and to all the denizens of Climate Etc.!

  18. I wrote this seasonal article a couple of years ago. when I asked the question, has Charles Dickens shaped our perception of climate change?

    “Charles Dickens. Victorian winters. A Christmas Carol. Ice fairs on the Frozen Thames. Cold Cold Cold Cold Cold. Dickens has irrevocably moulded the climate views of generations of Anglo Saxon peoples as TV, Films and Plays all promote his image of icy winters in that era. Is this view of Dickens winters correct? We take a look at his life through the prism of climate.”


    With best wishes to Dr Curry for hosting this blog with such a light touch and to all the commenters from both sides of the fence (and some sitting on it) who make the discussion ever interesting.


  19. Re: Changing rhetoric It was inevitable. The fallacy of ambiguity became rampant once the UNFCCC changed the definition of “climate change” from common usage (and that of the IPCC) to its own, better suited to the UNFCCC agenda. “Climate Change” became a meme for “Global Warming”. However, Climate refused to cooperate with the IPCC scenarios. People noticed. Anthropogenic Global Warming advocates have been “hoist with his (their) own petard” (h/t Hamlet).

    The rationale and rhetoric may have changed, but the political agenda has not – IMO. The next meme may well be “sustainability”.

    IPCC, R. Alley, and J. Arblaster. 2007. A report of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (SPM). Climate change 2007: the physical science basis: summary for policymakers. IPCC

    Footnote 1: Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

    Merry Christmas to all! Rejoice!

  20. Speaking of climate and energy, the Nov. 2011 poll Climate Change in the American Mind by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication began asking about material and energy shortages. On “Oil”, 26% said “We are already experiencing shortages” while 9% said “In about 10 years”.

    Yale is to be complimented in clearly and explicitly asking about “global warming”. By contrast, the Carsey Institute deserves Santa’s “coals” for equivocation by asking “Do you believe the Climate is Changing?” Hasn’t “climate” been changing for billions of years?!

    In Tallying the health costs of climate change the

    Six climate change-related events taking place between 2000 and 2009 cost the U.S. about $14 billion in health costs, researchers reported Monday in the journal Health Affairs (even assuming all that is due to anthropogenic warming).
    Most of those costs — 95% — were attributable to the value of lost lives, they wrote. About $740 million originated in “760,000 encounters with the health care system.”

    Robert Hirsch (2011) observes that the economy increases OR DECREASES in direct proportion to the increase/decrease in transport fuels.
    Economist James Hamilton explores Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth 2011. Oil costs have increased about 400% over the last decade from $25 to $100/bbl. The increased costs alone have consumed about 2% of US GDP. Hamilton reviews how the economy declines more than twice as much as the reduction from the direct increase in oil costs. His Figure 16 shows the GDP down about $ 1 trillion from 2008 to 2009 alone due to oil prices.
    It appears the harm from high oil prices to the economy is orders of magnitude higher than the alarmists estimates of costs due to “climate change” over the last decade.

    Hamilton conservatively observes:

    Coping with a final peak in world oil production could look pretty similar to what we observed as the economy adapted to the production plateau encountered over 2005-2009. . . .If the future decades look like the last 5 years, we are in for a rough time. . . .

    For those seeking to “control climate”, the “easy oil” is gone. For fossil alternatives:

    the key question in terms of climate impact is what we might do instead, since many of the alternative sources of transportation fuel have a significantly bigger carbon footprint than those we relied on in the past. . . .on a well-to-wheel basis, vehicles driven by gasoline produced from surface-mined oil sands would emit 17% more grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilometer driven compared to gasoline from conventional petroleum. . . .
    creating liquid fuels from coal or oil shale could increase well-to-wheel emissions by up to a factor of two . . .

    By all means, lets compare the impacts of climate and transport fuels – and allocate research resources accordingly.

  21. Louise, here is a tread with complete list of things, caused ALREADY by global warming that will happen in 100years (must be by remote control?) You wanted references, here is for you; memorise everything; arm yourself with proofs and help Robert is scaring the children, BOO!!! http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm

  22. As a matter of record it was not Fiona Fox with whom George Monbiot debated but her sister Claire.

    FWIW I find both equally irritating – argumentative by nature, lots of opinions, little dispassionate thinking.

  23. Energy, in terms of alternative and renewable forms, will definitely be the watchword in the coming years. However, climate science will still get its share of research dollars because of the synergy of climate with renewable energy.
    Personally, I have always thought AGW was in some ways a smokescreen to mitigate an energy transition. We need as many arguments as possible to expeditiously transition off of expensive oil. Perhaps we are seeing this with the administration’s policy wording.

    • WebHub, if you thought was a smokescreen; you didn’t admitted until now. Millions of people have being robed for billions of dollars – If is given money for climate research; will not be to the ones that are on record confusing people that normal climatic changes have something to do with the phony GLOBAL warming. The only money spent on them in the future will be to build bigger jails, for them Merry Christmas Web, my Santa bring you lots and lots of Global warmings; so you can scare the children in your neighbourhood; because you are doing a very bad job of scaring the grown ups. BOO! BOOO!!!

    • randomengineer

      We need as many arguments as possible to expeditiously transition off of expensive oil.

      I’m always interested in arguments like yours regarding what we’re supposed to transition TO where it concerns transportation.

      Nobody but nobody likes paying increasing gas prices. If there was a replacement technology that would allow cheaper transport with less CO2, untold riches await the inventor. There is assuredly enough motivation (“…fame, fortune, and everything that goes with it”, as per Freddie Mercury) to create said technology already, and if cash and sex with supermodels isn’t motivation enough, I tend to doubt that well intentioned government programs are either.

      Arguments that go along the lines of “the 100mpg carbuerator inventor was killed or bought out by BigOilCo” are urban myths. If the only thing standing between me and my own island and supermodel hangout just down the atoll from Mick Jagger is BP or Shell, no problem. Anyone who can figure out the replacement to gasoline isn’t going to be thwarted by mere corporate henchmen. (We’re assuming henchmen exist and playing along with the now obligatory anti-corporate and evil capitalist leftism here just to underscore things.)

      Arguments like yours are generally little more than platitudes equivalent to “no sh*t, sherlock” and certainly don’t require bogeymen like peak oil or CO2 chicken littleism.

      • You’re talking to a conspiracy theorists who thinks that “Big Oil” is hiding the decline. No, that’s the other guys doing that.

      • randomengineer

        It’s not exactly an intellectual hurdle to note that something is being used. An example… Philip II and his advisors were quite concerned with the construction of the 1588 armada because they knew it would take a lot of forest to create the needed ships. That meant screwing with housing (and church) construction, the furniture trade, firewood for cooking, etc. and they also knew life would be harder for many as a result (harder to the degree that some would die.)

        The point being of course that resource depletion and ramifications thereof is a well understood concept and has been ever since the dawn of civilisation (e.g. code of Hammurabi.) We do not need peak oil people to tell us the obvious, and their arguing as if they have discovered a heretofore unknown truth is sadly humourous.

      • But he takes it a bridge further, and maintains that there’s a conspiracy to keep the imminent disappearance of all petroleum precursors a secret. That’s a conspiracy theory.

        Yes, the low hanging fruit is picked. Duh.

      • Notice how WHT is invoking an argument about AGW that involves deception and conspiracy. If a skeptic were to argue the same points about AGW, he or she is written off as a “keeper of odd knowledge”.
        but Web makes it and is treated seriously.
        But the substance of his argument, besides his relentless grip on Malthusian failures, points out a huge problem with the AGW movement as a whole: Nothing they offer works as advertised.
        Kyoto? Total failure.
        Wind power: expensive joke.
        Biofuel? Failure.
        CO2 sequestration: failure.
        Carbon markets? failure
        And then we can review the predictions AGW opinion makers have made and find they have failed in each and every particular. The believers have to rely on obvious and clumsy rationalizations to pretend the predictions are not shown wrong.

    • Touched a nerve with the Energy word apparently. Why someone can’t discuss a seemingly technically important topic without the diametrically opposed charges of fear-mongering versus painfully obvious platitudes being leveled I don’t really understand.

      • The key point in your original post was the idea of transitioning off expensive fossil fuel (you incorrectly write oil). The reason that your argument does not get much traction yet is the lack of it being very expensive yet.

        It is absurd that the US is not building the pipeline from Canada.

      • WHT –

        You suspect that AGW has been used as a ‘smokescreen’ to help promote transition off fossil fuels. Yes. And I suspect that smokescreens have been used to oppose transition off fossil fuels.

        Leaders (national, corporate and NGO) are not immune to pure self-interest. Some (and their trusting thrall) are motivated to the muddy the AGW waters.


      • Indeed, it works both ways. That is why I work the quantitative angle, as that helps to cut through the head-games being played.

    • It is certainly an interesting time for us scientists interested in pursuing energy strategies that are not viewed as evolutionary dead-ends. More platitudes I know, but some of us have something to show for our efforts.
      Cool stuff, this energy thing.

      • Come up with something that can be implemented in a cost effective manner and it will be adopted. It really is that simple.

      • Please don’t make me go grammar knotsi on you. Jones’ mangling of the English language was bad enough. How’s your Excel?

      • Going after my grammar is a sign of a weak mind, and with that, you have absolutely no ammo to counter what I have to say.

        Extracting energy from the environment and the climate will be a challenge, but we can’t expect quirks of fate like fossil fuels to provide a pass.

      • I think it is pretty interesting times. The EPA MACT was not as bad as I thought for large utilities. Could hurt smaller industrial, but a good deal of the mid 80s coal plants are in good shape. IGCC should be a go again as long as the EPA doesn’t play Calvin Ball :)

  24. Re the Ben Pile link: his page of what the Climate Resistance blog is about would resonate with many denizens: http://www.climate-resistance.org/about-2

  25. Judith,

    I used to be pretty good at table tennis.
    For the simple fact that I understood how to manipulate the orb of the ball by manipulating the rotational spin.
    Other games are equally interesting such as baseball which uses an orb and a modified cylinder at a pivot point.
    Pool also uses orbs with angles and spins of rotation for some more unique shots in tricky situations.

    Yet scientists still fail to look into the mechanical aspects of an orb for strictly temperature data. Even though an orb in rotational motion has a great deal of different velocities.

    Merry Christmas one and all!

  26. It has become no longer politically correct in certain circles in Washington to speak about climate change or carbon pollution or how carbon pollution is causing our climate to change.

    Maybe because “carbon pollution” is something only a complete dweeb would say?

  27. Maybe it’s time to stop woorying about peak oil, and start talking about peak humanity.


    The law of unintended consequences meets Malthus, and the cult of “me” under modern progressivism.

  28. Judith,
    Merry Christmas to you and your family. It looks like you will not be snowed in Northern Georgia this year. I hope this is a wonderful time for you and your extended family and that 2012 is a great year for you and yours.
    Thank you for creating a great site over the past year.

  29. “JC comment: the changepoint at Nov 2009 is telling.”

    Possibly, but telling of what?

    You could just as easily say that it was recognition that most Americans (people in general) are more concerned about the now and the near future than they are about the future more than five years out. The down economy is something that can be felt here and now; the losses that result from climate change are somewhat vague to the average American. (The billions lost in agriculture this past year were barely felt by the average person; though, I’m sure the farmers in Texas and OK felt it, a lot.) In a democracy, politicians that tell people that they are going to have to take some lumps now in order to avoid larger lumps later tend to find themselves out of a job. Also, the fossil fuel industry has been pretty successful in convincing the American public that: a) American prosperity is contingent on us continuing to buy what they are selling, and b) not buying more of what they are selling means taking some lumps. It’s hard for a politician to accomplish anything when they are not in office; so, they quit talking about climate change and started talking more about the economy.

    I don’t know what it tells you, but that is what it tells me.

    • Chris

      Billions are lost in agriculture due to weather not climate. The fossil fuel companies are simply selling what people want and need to buy. No great mystery or conspiracy there. Humanity will NEED alternative forms of energy production as fossil fuel eventually is depleted, but these alternatives are currently being pushed in an illogical manner. People are pushing certain new technologies that are not economically practical today because of emotionally reasons. They are also avoiding other technologies (nuclear) due to emotional reasons.

    • randomengineer

      Also, the fossil fuel industry has been pretty successful in convincing the American public …

      WTF? You’re making the Fred Moolten argument — that is, apparently you must reckon that while I could be powering my car via unicorn farts, I’m a vapid idiot who buys fossil fuel advertising and use gasoline instead. Stupid me. Selfish me. If only I were smart enough not to read the ads.

      Meanwhile the electric company provides power to my house, and while I have specified unicorn farts, they just use whatever they like. Greedy buggers.

      What part of THE PUBLIC DOESN’T HAVE ANOTHER CHOICE are people like you not grasping?

      • LOL I found the description of the “Fred Molton argument” very funny.

      • Webby, if Big Oil, Inc. can’t even convince me to get a Big Oil credit card, how do you figure that they’re keeping me away from the Unicorn Fart, Inc. gas station? I don’t have any gas cards, do you?

        If you really want to mess with J.R. Ewing and his nefarious plan to make you pay through the nose, shop around for the cheapest gas in your neighborhood:


        That’ll learn them Big Oilers, huh?

    • Nov 2009 was the date of Climategate 1.0.

  30. Monbiot: Do you accept that some people’s freedoms intrude upon other people’s freedoms?
    Fox: Um. Rarely.
    Monbiot: So what about the situation for instance that I witnessed in Romania, where lead smelting plants, because they’re not properly regulated, are free to produced toxic fumes which are greatly shortening the lives of peope who live nearby? That’s one type of freedom intruding on another, is it not?

    Clumsy use of a straw man. Moonbat seems to think that he’s arguing against anarchism. Strange.

  31. No, that would be modelers’ claim that simulations can be used for prediction. That has been the top science scandal since someone first published a simulation and claimed that it could be used to predict climate (or anything).

    The modelers’ claim is so deadly wrong that it can only be explained by delusion among the honest and very strong anti-social attitudes among the others. Well, some are just vastly ignorant.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  32. Stephen Pruett

    If people are to be asked (forced?) to give up freedom and money, the science needs to be remarkably clear and not the subject of legitimate alternate interpretations or extreme uncertainty. I believe there is extreme uncertainty. A couple of the recent purloined emails indicate that at least one hockey stick co-author (as well as other people with enough expertise to be taken seriously) has substantial doubts (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/24/mann-hockey-stick-co-author-bradley-it-may-be-that-mann-et-al-simply-dont-have-the-long-term-trend-right/#more-53634). Considering that it makes no sense to proceed with an unimaginably expensive crash program to stop using fossil fuels if there is a reasonable probability that recent warming is mostly due to natural variability, I think this email is a game changer. At least it seems so to many of us who do not have the technical expertise to critique the papers ourselves.

  33. News of the week includes the EPA’s plans of more overreach, regulating “sustainable development.”


  34. One small error.

    The Monbiot debate was with CLAIRE Fox not Fiona Fox. I believe they are sisters but hold very different viewpoints on environmentalism, politics and climate change.

  35. For those who think that the President’s rhetorical shift from climate change to clean energy means that renewables are still in favor, think again. Clean energy is centered on natural gas, and in fact the US is shifting from coal to gas for power generation. Last I knew the percentage contribution of coal had dropped from 52% to 46%, in about a decade.

    Not that coal use has diminished, as it is still about a billion tons per year. But peak demand grows about 20,000 MW a year, so every ten years or so we see a building boom in generation of 200,000 MW or so. This last happened around 2000-2002 and it was almost all gas fired, so most of the new juice is gas fired. Gas prices have stayed low thanks to fracking so we are beginning to see another gas fired building boom. In addition a tidal wave of EPA rules will soon close many of the older coal plants. Thus gas’s percentage of generation will grow steadily for the next decade.

    Wind will be big this coming year on a percentage growth basis (but still very small on a percentage of power provided basis), because the federal tax credits and grants are about to run out so there is a scramble to finish existing projects. After that there should be little action. Solar is still nothing.

    On the transportation side biofuels have lost their allure, so increased ethanol mandates are highly unlikely. There is a new push for natural gas fired vehicles, another case of gas being clean energy. But in any case renewables are unlikely to grow much.

    So renewables are basically going down the political tube to nowhere with climate change. They may maintain their no-growth status quo and not actually decline. All the growth will be in fossil fuels, namely natural gas.

    • Shorter version: “clean” means whatever the speaker wants it to mean. It’s an emotive word with no technical value.

      And FWIW, gas is the cheapest form of energy out there currently, both in cost per unit energy, and in life cycle cost, and is forecasted to remain so for the foreseeable future. So it any policy encouraging it is redundant and pointless.

    • In the EIA’s 2011 energy outlook, they project US 2035 total energy consumption will still be dominated by fossil fuels and nuclear, with renewables a small portion. (page 63, figure 57)

      Electricity generation for 2035 is projected to be from, in order, coal, natural gas, nuclear, and then renewables. (page 73, figure 77)

      http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/pdf/0383(2011).pdf (large file)

    • David, you write “so increased ethanol mandates are highly unlikely.”

      I am a Canadian, so I dont know too much about US mandates. However, I am following the progress of Poet’s Project Liberty with interest, and I hope that in 2013 we will see the first full scale production plant generating significant quantities of cellulose ethanol.

      Whether the forecast of 16 billion gallons of cellulose ehtanol per year by 2020 will be realized, I dont know, but I hope so.

      • Jim, I agree that cellulose ethanol is interesting R&D. But the only reason we are burning ethanol is because of a federal mandate to do so. That mandate is not going to increase.

      • Jim, let me clarify that while the mandate is not going to increase the present mandate calls for rapidly increasing purchases of cellulose ethanol, so a booming US market is already determined by central planning. Poet can’t lose unless Congress revokes the mandate, which is always possible. Central planning is like that.

      • David, I think we are looking at cellulose ethanol from two very different points of view. Whether it is mandated in the USA, and what happens in the USA, is not my concern. I live in Canada. What concerns me are two things. First, is it even possible to produce cellulose ethanol in commercial quantities? Remember Range Fuels failed in this regard. Second, if this production is possible, does it make economic sense? The Poet plant which should be built next year, I believe in Idaho, and go in to production iin 2013, should provide answers to these two questions.

        If it proves possible to produce cellulose ethanol in commmercial quantities at a competitive price, then all sorts of other things may happen. There is a Canadian firm, Iogen, which developed similar technology to that used by Poet, nearly a dcecade ago. They were not able to arrange financing for a full scale plant, which they wanted to build in Saskatchewan. I understand that they have been bought out by Shell, presumably because Shell feels that this might be a future technology which will be worthwhile going into.

        If Poet is successful, then I would suggest that it is not unlikely Shell will build a commercial plant in Canada. That would be something I would welcome. (Tongue in cheek) Here in the Canadian winter, having ethanol in the gas tank tends to prevent gas line freezing, which is a benefit very different from any of the things you seem to be concerned with.

      • Jim, if the EPA MACT is a solid standard, not a moving target, there should be more non food crop ethanol and other synthetic fuels. Cheap energy is the key for developing alternate liquid fuels. You can’t afford to invest in full scale cellulose or any other synthetic fuel until realistic long term regulation are in place. Now that the political picture has turned to realism, things can happen.

      • Captain, which MACT are you referring to? In any case there is a US federal mandate on refiners to buy increasing amounts of cellulose ethanol every year, in probably unrealistically large amounts, so the market is determined by central planning for the next decade or so. So I don’t see what MACT emissions regulations have to do with it.

      • Captain, maximum available control technology (MACT) is an ever more stringent and expensive moving target by definition.

      • Jim, you may have missed the point. The Poet plant does not have to be competitive with other fuels, nor is it trying to be. They are building it because they have a guaranteed sale under the US mandate. The challenge is simply to produce a product in commercial quantities, not at competitive prices. Congress mandated purchase of something which at the time could not even be made. Now we are trying to make it. So far as I know this has no commercial implications, absent a mandate.

      • David, you write “Jim, you may have missed the point.”

        I dont think I have missed the point. Supposing Poet is successful in producing commercial quantities of cellulose ethanol, then they will find out how much it costs to do so, and whether it makes sense, economically, to engage in future ventures. That is the sort of information we in Canada are looking for. It will give us an idea as to whether it is worthwhile putting out the sort of capital investment needed to produce cellulose ethanol for a plant built in Canada. What Poet said was that the enterprise would sense, economically, if wholesale gas in the US sold for more that $2 per gallon. Currently the price is around $2.70. Will they make the target?

      • Okay Jim. It sounded like you expected the Poet plant to be price competitive, so I just wanted to make it clear that that is not why they are building it. Last I heard that target was an impossible dream, this early in the technology life cycle. Simply scaling up to full size is enough of a challenge. Process plants do not scale easily, due to nonlinearities. Building a working plant the first time often costs twice as much as the second time.

        By the way, as far as I know the same is true of corn ethanol. My understanding is that one third of the US corn crop now goes for ethanol but that is only because of the central planning mandate, or subsidies, I forget which. It is not price competitive with gasoline, especially when you factor in the handling problems. But I could be wrong as it has been a long time since I looked at ethanol data.

      • David, Agreed.

  36. A very Happy Christmas to one and all!


  37. Consequences of Coal

    (CNN) — It might be one of the world’s worst polluting energy sources, but coal has allowed South Africa to become the continent’s largest economy, according to the chief executive of the country’s power utility company Eskom.

    Speaking to CNN’s Robyn Curnow, Eskom’s Brian Dames said coal has been key to fueling South Africa’s economic growth and improving the lives of many in the country.

    No coal, no growth, says South African power company chief
    updated 10:44 AM EST, Fri December 23, 2011

  38. “Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people.” Handel’s Messiah; Isaiah chptr 40; verse 1.

    Merry Christmas

    • And to those who call skeptics ‘flat earthers’, please feel free to read Isaiah (The lord saves) circa 700 BC. In Isaiah, 40:22, since we are all on the same page…

      Isa 40:22, God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him! He spreads out the heavens like a curtain and makes his tent from them.

      Merry Christmas One & All
      Columbus two.

  39. Merry Christmas all!

    Anyone with spare time on their hands is welcome over at the talkshop for the Christmas Quiz


    Winner gets a ‘raid at talkshop towers’ Josh Cartoons mug.

  40. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years to our host and all her denizens!


  41. Merry Christmas to all!

    Jeff also has a beautiful picture of Nature and a message of Hope for the Holidays.


    The unalterable laws of nature have settled debate over

    1.) Global Economics

    2.) Global Climate Change

  42. Merry Christmas to ALL

  43. Bah Humbug, especially the latter. Just read over at Joe Bastardi’s WeatherBell that Mann is declaring global warming the cause of this so far mild winter. Of course the last few brutally, cold and snowy winters were also due to global warming. And for another present under the tree, the NYT’s has a front page, below the fold feature piece on last years extreme weather events which they declare very likely caused by global warming/climate change. There’s no getting away from it, even on Christmas.

  44. http://www.ctc.cam.ac.uk/hawking70/multimedia.html

    computer experiements

  45. Pardon… but what the f** has CO2 anything to do in this mess?
    Cheers from Sweden//TJ

    • Lots of beginners guides to global warming out there . . . just Google it.

      Wherever you land in terms of collective political action to address AGW, you should be able to explain it and understand the evidence for it. Not to be able to do so makes you less “skeptical” and more “ignorant.”

  46. Apropos to policy, I just came across a quote:

    Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large. — Thomas Sowell

    And that, in a nutshell, is the problem with policy wonkers.

  47. Andy Revkin has an excellent post:
    Leaders of Arctic Methane Project Clarify Climate Concerns

    “We would first note that we have never stated that the reason for the currently observed methane emissions were due to recent climate change. In fact, we explained in detail the mechanism of subsea permafrost destabilization as a result of inundation with seawater thousands of years ago. We have been working in this scientific field and this region for a decade. We understand its complexity more than anyone.”

  48. For those of you that are CRU email junkies, Steve McIntyre has a new must read post: