Authority(?) in political debates involving science

by Judith Curry

In political debates that involve considerations of science, it is tempting to characterize scientists who demand particular types of action simply as political partisans. But when scientists make demands of the political process there is often more going on than just an effort to achieve political gain for one’s preferred policies. 

Roger Pielke Jr has a superb post entitled Who has authority in political debates involving science?    which provides the basis for this post. Some excerpts:

The answer is that for many scientists active in political exhortation the key issue is not “policy” in the sense of “what we should do” but rather “authority” as in “who should determine political outcomes.” 

Understanding the current tenor of scientists in politics requires understanding that ongoing debates about science and policy making involve considerations of power politics as much as policy preferences. Of course, scientists who seek such authority are perfect allies to campaigners who seek to exploit the authority of science for their own political gain.

Discussing how the scientific community might relate to policymakers is as important (perhaps more so in highly politicized contexts) as discussing what policy makers “should” be doing in response to various policy issues. Those seeking greater political authority for science may actually be contributing to a loss of trust in institutions of science among parts of society. If science is to well serve democratic governance, then the scientific community needs to move beyond exhortation.

Michael Mann’s recent statements provide a case in point:

Last week in an interview Michael Mann, the Penn State professor of “hockey stick” fame, criticized the Obama Administration on climate cahnge not for the substance of its policies, but rather, for its failure to justify its policies in terms of science. Mann explained:

In Obama’s second State of the Union address, he actually seemed to concede the scientific evidence as a weakness. He argued that we need to pursue a more enlightened energy strategy in spite of the doubts about the science of climate change. … We’ve actually made negative progress from where we were 10 years earlier, when Clinton gave his final State of the Union address. We’ve gone from the science being the primary reason to move forward to the argument that we should move forward in spite of supposed weaknesses in the science of climate change. So we’ve retreated to a position of weakness on this issue . . .

From Mann’s perspective, the substance of the policies of the Obama Administration are apparently secondary to who is held up as the authority in justifying those actions. What matters is thus political authority rather than policy effectiveness. 

Cassandra Science

Pielke’s post links to an article by Jan Paul van Soest at the De Geyment blog entitled Cassandra Science at Planet Under Pressure.  Excerpts:

At the Planet under Pressure conference in London (end or March), it’s difficult to avoid thinking of an additional pressure to the ones treated at the conference: the pressure of scientists trying to get the message across.  Their insights tempt them to play the role of Cassandra, the ancient Greek beauty who was granted the gift of prophecy, but who was cursed so that nobody would believe her.

The body of knowledge in Earth System Sciences in the broadest sense, is impressive. Yet, most scientists at Planet under Pressure feel their knowledge is hardly translated into actions. Below the surface, frustrations can easily be sensed. Frustration may provoke scientists to even stronger formulate their messages, and choose words that fit better in the realm of societal and political discussions than in the scientific domain: ‘We must’, ‘we should’, ‘an imperative to act’, ‘we can no longer afford waiting’ and comparable phrases are frequently used to mask frustrations.

However understandable, these expressions are unlikely to be effective. The audience may think that the scientist using these terms have a political agenda. This perception undermines the scientific credibility, whether the scientist in question has a political agenda indeed or not. My take  is: they don’t; most scientist don’t even really understand the nature of politics and policy-making processes. And to the extend they do, they are doing a lousy job in terms of lobbying and influencing the public and policy debate. Otherwise, more scientists would realise that overstating is not really effective in getting the message across. [JC bold]


“We should communicate more/better”, is quite often heard. Underlying assumption is that giving more and better information will lead to better listening and different choices. However, if you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got. People just don’t change their convictions and belief systems, let alone their decisions and actions, on the basis of more information.  Co-operation and collective action builds on trust, said Gutscher, and if that is lacking, giving ever more information has zero or even counterproductive effects.

Imperatives or options

The third pitfall may even be more problematic: communicating science in terms of imperatives actually undermines the politicians’ sense of responsibility. Although some politicians may be risk averse, the key role of politicians is to choose, not to blindly follow someone else’s view. Who would need politicians if science would automatically lead to policies? It doesn’t. Therefore, imperatives can easily be laid aside, and are likely ineffective. They disempower politicians, instead of adressing them in their key role and responsibility: chosing and negotiating options.

The best and most effective ways of communicating science therefore seem to be those that separate knowledge from decision, that provide policy-makers with options instead of imperatives, and with ‘what if’ instead of ‘will happen inevitably’.

Avoiding Cassandra?

These three pitfalls tend to reinforce themselves: the more is known, and the more frustrated scientists get by not being heard, the more tempted they may be to overstate, to provide even more information, and to use imperatives, all lowering communicative effectiveness. 

JC comment:  I find this to be a very insightful deconstruction of the “warm” communication and policy strategy.

193 responses to “Authority(?) in political debates involving science

  1. Rob Starkey

    Judith opens with a statement

    “But when scientists make demands of the political process there is often more going on than just an effort to achieve political gain for one’s preferred policies.”

    The way her statement is framed it is not possible to disagree, but her statement is (imo) also irrelevant.

    When Mann stated:
    “We’ve actually made negative progress from where we were 10 years earlier, when Clinton gave his final State of the Union address. We’ve gone from the science being the primary reason to move forward to the argument that we should move forward in spite of supposed weaknesses in the science of climate change.”

    Judith concluded:
    “the substance of the policies of the Obama Administration are apparently secondary to who is held up as the authority in justifying those actions. What matters is thus political authority rather than policy effectiveness.”

    Judith- I believe you may have misinterpreted Mann’s comment and the reaction of much of the American public to suggested policies. I see that in the years since Clinton gave his final SOU address that the science supporting the idea of catastrophic climate change has been demonstrated to be deeply flawed.

    The fact that much of the science has been found to be fundamentally flawed is what is making the acceptance of government policies based upon the flawed science to be widely rejected as those policies do not seem to be in the best interests of the citizens of the United States. Those supporting many of the policies are failing to rationally look at the supporting science from other than a deeply biased perspective.

    • Rob – I think you partially misinterpret. I think the interpretation of Mann’s comment is IN ADDITION to the greater uncertainties revealed by the current science compared to a decade ago. Pielke (and others’ by reference, not so much Judith) interprets a frustration with not being listened to, in addition to political preferences.

    • Rob, I am quoting Pielke Jr here, these are not my statements.

      • Rob Starkey


        My error then. I stand corrected.

      • Humans perception of Reality is distorted by selfishness.

        Life on planets seems to be a natural part of the great dynamic universe, powered by neutron repulsion and continuously bathed in radiation (E = hv) and potential energy stored as particle rest mass (E = mc^2) flowing from pulsar cores of stars.

        Humans have difficulty seeing their dependence on Nature,

        a.) Responding to good fortune with false pride, arrogance and a feeling of self-importance and personal accomplishment.

        b.) Responding to misfortune with resentments, remorse, self-pity and a feeling of well-justified anger.

        This trait in humans seems to have been exasperated by modern science and its assumption that everything, absolutely everything, in the universe is controlled by cause and effect, except for humans !

        Part of the conflict between modern science and religions may reflect an unwillingness to admit that God (Reality, Nature) is still in control.

  2. I confess to not having read the links, however I’ll say that the tone here seems to be quite kind to politicians.

    Consider the post’s quote of Jan Paul van Soest: “Although some politicians may be risk averse, the key role of politicians is to choose, not to blindly follow someone else’s view.” This idea is probably well-intentioned, extremely naive wish projection.

    In fact, politicians look for lightning rod causes that will “energize the base.” Most of them most of the time, aren’t overly excited about any particular cause, other than the one that gets them elected and/or gets them contributions. The idea that they would ever cast about for the the best possible choice for mankind is extremely naive. That is not to say that they wouldn’t sell their respective mothers for being the point person on the latest, popular “save the universe” campaign. In short, politicians look for majorities or potential majorities, not truth. If that sounds immoral or disappointing, it might be a good time to read Adam Smith’s doctrine of enlightened self interest. What else would politicians do? What have they done historically? The 95% answer: Seek their own good first.

    (As both bonafides and confession, I worked in both parties at different times while growing up in both policy formulation and campaigning. Although I now lean conservative, I settled on neither party.)

    • Jeff, since the early ’60s I have met and worked with politicians in the UK and Australia with a genuine commitment to the public good, most notably in the Hawke government in the 1980s. However, there is in both countries a trend towards “professional politicians,” those who for example use student activism as a stepping stone to a party job then parliamentary selection; and this new political class seem far more driven by power and vested interests than those of 20-50 years ago, with much less consideration given to the welfare of the community at large. The global warming scare has been used by such people to promote their political ideology and interests. Happily, in Australia that has begun to backfire badly.

    • Agreed that there is insufficient examination of politicians and their motives:

      Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. – Lord Acton (1887)

      “For instance, Mr. James Mill takes the principle that all men desire Power; his son, John Stuart Mill, assumes that all men desire Wealth mainly or solely.” – George Jacob Holyoake: ‘The History of Co-operation’ (11).

      “Many men desire power, wishing to have good report, though they are unworthy of it; yea, even the most infamous desire this.”
      Alfred’s Boethius: Modern English Translation

      “Who will guard the guardians? – Plato in the Republic

      “I hold it that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms are in the physical.” — Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, Jan. 30, 1787.

  3. Activist scientists who think they should have some sort of special authority in the democratic political process do not understand that process.

    • It is possible that the group of scientists who think they should have this sort of special authority includes, but is not limited to, scientists perceived as activists.

      Criminal Minds did a good parody of this in an episode with a deranged anthrax researcher.

    • David Wojick | April 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

      “Inactivist scientists who think they should have some sort of special authority in the democratic political process” are any better?

      No offense, Dr Wojick. Could you remind us again of your special role in the democratic political process?

      • Bart R., just 40 years experience in legislative and regulatory affairs, including helping to develop the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at CMU.
        And you?

        By the way the quote you give is not from me, nor from anyone so far as I can tell. Your usual nutty stuff?

      • David, thinks for that link, a dramatic contrast to the way most regulation arises. If you ever have time on your hands, come and sort out Australia.

      • David Wojick | April 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |

        And me?

        I’m comfortable, thanks for asking.

        And I applaud anyone who has ever tackled the burdensome chore of teaching remedial writing to government lawyers. (Some irony, looking at this response. Tch. I couldn’t write worse if I were doing it intentionally. Btw, apologies for the misplaced quotes above. Clearly, the line ought have had the quotation mark after, not before , ‘Inactivist’.)

        But if you would, could you tackle whether in your role influencing legislative and regulatory affairs, your “inactivist” deregulatory agenda may contain one or more of those 21 faults in your tables, and how do you deal with that?

        Do your private views shape and affect public policy behind the scenes, an ambiguity introduced implicitly in moving from descriptive to performance-based measures? What means do you use to avoid this?

        Minarchistically, I’m all for a 70% shorter, and infinitely more readable regulation, provided what its force gains from clarity it does not lose from consequence.

        Do you find yourself running into the problem I’ve seen, for example, of non-experts attempting to interpret regulations meant for experts, not understanding an issue well enough to critique it?

        The wrong disambiguation in OHS rules could end up in workers being sent into areas with 3000 ppmv Carbon Monoxide, in such a case. Surely, the regulators have experts in place whose expertise overrules and vetoes expediency, so the net result is clearly and equally effective regulation?

        Does your mix of working for firms who lobby government to make regulations cheaper and easier on the one side and working for regulators framing the will of the legislature themselves on the other, your being devoted to a particular view of climate change in your private thoughts while working for public agencies formulating public positions, from your point of view, constitute any conflict of interest or curtail your effectiveness in honest business? (A question that needs passing through your matrix; I imagine it hits over half the 126 categories.)

        How do you prevent your industry clients believing they’re buying an ‘inside man’, when they contract for your very worthwhile services?

        Or the regulators who’ve hired you for a much-needed function, from thinking your outside clients may have?

    • David,

      Out here in CA, we have had a rather interesting occurrence of a regulating body saying (to the legislature, advocate firms and scientists) we aren’t ready to determine if energy storage is needed, or how to regulate it. Phil Carson has a nice summary of the topic-
      “California’s energy storage policies No procurement targets, for now; deliberations continue-

  4. Steven Mosher

    I set out to find some analogues. other science problems where researchers stayed out of politics. I thought HIV would be an interesting place to start and maybe some of the public health decisions made around that.

    Not so sure what lessons one can find.

    read this. kinda interesting.

    Then there was the “joke” that jones told in one of his mails he ‘wished’ that nothing would be done about c02 so the science could be proved.

    There may be something I would call the Pioneer syndrome. Hansen’s got it. Jones has it. Trenberth too. Its not unique to climate science. it needs to be treated. The best known cure is retirement.

    • I read the first part of that just now. Damn it’s long. Lesson learned: scientists have egos like politicians. Doesn’t mean they automatically get the social authority of politicians.

    • Mosh 2.04

      Interesting. I’ve been racking my brains to try to see if I could find any non political science. My first thought was of Cern, probably the biggest science project in the world. Arguably they entered the world of politics recently when they published the paper “Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric aerosol nucleation”.

      Cern actually have a policy on internally pracfticsed politics

      This 1970 article talks of the high minded international politics of Cern

      The tantalising abstract above is amplified however in a major article from 1970;

      Perhaps science can be altruistic but is ultimately hijacked for political ends? Or more likely it is more politicised now than it was in the past due to higher stakes and greater sums of money/vestedc interests.


      • Interesting. I’ve been racking my brains to try to see if I could find any non political science.

        Any endeavor involving more than one human is going to have some sort of “politics” involved.

      • Gene

        You are probably right but there are ‘politics’ and ‘POLITICS’

        It is the latter we need to be most fearful of and whether there are any meaningful science projects these days that are free of ‘POLITICS’ is intersting. The ozone hole stuff became highly political. Evolution also. Is there anything that is ‘pure?’

      • Tony,

        I’m not sure that I’d agree that politics on the smaller scale is less to be feared than those on the grand scale. Whether someone holds back inconvenient data for ideological reasons or to avoid professional embarassment, the results are the same. It’s not uncommon to have a mixture of both the petty and the grand.

        I’m with Mosh re: checks and balances. Use human nature, jealousy and all, each to police the other.

        Is there anything that is ‘pure?’

        I’d be amazed if there were.

      • Steven Mosher

        All science, since science is just a mode of human behavior and nothing more, is open to influence from other quarters. The best one can have is a series of checks and balances: We know what they are on the “method side” publish your code and data. what are the checks and balances for scientists political behavior? should there be?

      • Mosh

        I suppose it depends if the cause is ‘noble’ If so, even being arrested-like Hansen- is forgiven. I suspect different standards would be applied if the scientists or cause was less noble or fashionable or politically correct

      • Steven Mosher

        politics in science is unavoidable. pretending science is pure is bad faith.
        The problem is exacerbated when stakes are high and values decisions urgent. Folks might not like post normal science, but we are in it. There is no simple apolitical way out of the rabbit hole. That’s kinda why us PSN folks argue that more people need to be added to the conversation and agendas need to be open.

      • The checks and balances on the political behavior of scientists need to be provided by scientists through their professional organizations and their education of the next generation of scientists. After all, scientists have the most to lose if the integrity of their profession is reduce to the level of politicians and lawyers. If that happened, would the public continue their generous funding of science?

        Climate science is a relatively new science without a long history of tradition or mistakes that have be exposed. With the massive increase in funding around 1990, climate science is populated by many activists who were “looking to make the world a better place” in their formative years. Under these circumstances, climate science is unlike to impose effective checks and balances on themselves.

        For non-activists, Steven Schneider’s infamous quote about “telling scary stories” and “telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts” perfectly describes the difference between science and policy advocacy. Policymakers, citizens, and the press deserve to know whether a scientist talking to them is speaking as a scientist or a policy advocate. Scientific societies should emphasize the difference between these two roles and recommended that scientists always explain whether they are speaking as scientists or policy advocates. Every citizen has the right to advocate for public policy and scientists are highly qualified advocates. Unfortunately, they demean my profession when they audience thinks their “scary stories” are “the truth” with all of the caveats. The Climategate emails show that highly vocal policy advocates have have difficulty keeping policy considerations out of their science.

        When the IPCC insists on reporting a “scientific consensus’, rather than the range of scientific opinion and “all of the doubts…”, they are admitting that they are functioning as policy advocates, not scientists.

      • “The checks and balances on the political behavior of scientists need to be provided by scientists through their professional organizations and their education of the next generation of scientists”

        The problem is that most of us work. What type of person rises to the top of a ‘professional organization’ ?
        We have a saying in England, its not only cream that floats.

    • I don’t see that staying out of politics is the issue. The issue is whether scientists should have special authority in the political process. As soon as two scientists disagree the answer becomes no. This is the democratic decision process so it is all about votes. One scientist, one vote.

      • Steven Mosher

        well, the disagreement has to be honest. second, there is no definition of what constitutes a “scientist”. I do science, therefore I am a scientist.
        I disagree that that the earth goes around the sun. is the answer therefore no? Surely not. Since all science is provisional, since disagreement is the rule with much of science, then your rule, if two scientists disagree,then the answer is no, is unworkable. The notion of one scientist one vote is nothing more that consensus under a different name.

      • David Wojick

        Not understanding today? The no is with regard to special authority, not truth. If there is a policy issue with experts on each side they cancel out. This frequently happens. Of course the disagreement has to be reasonable, so spare us the examples.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        David Wojick: Of course the disagreement has to be reasonable,

        I don’t think that helps. There is no one with the authority to decide what disagreement is reasonable — which is where we started. In the narrow realm of adjudication of cases, there is Daubert, but in the legislative realm, every legislator can choose his or her experts, so there is no definition of “reasonable” disagreement. Read what the warmers say about Sen Inhof’s dissenting scientists.

      • Steven Mosher

        Well there is no reasonable disagreement that fundamental physics leads to a simple conclusion that more GHGs results in a warmer planet.
        heck, we engineer working devices based on that physics.
        Arguing that there is a reasonable disagreement is, well, unreasonable.
        Its also unreasonable to think experts cancel out.

      • “Well there is no reasonable disagreement that fundamental physics leads to a simple conclusion that more GHGs results in a warmer planet.”

        Which fundamental physics is that? Fundamental physics requires combined heat transfer problems to be solved properly. Working devices are indeed based on the physics – the GHG hypothesis is not.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Steven Mosher: Well there is no reasonable disagreement that fundamental physics leads to a simple conclusion that more GHGs results in a warmer planet.

        There is no reasonable disagreement that fundamental physics applied to a simplified model of the earth system leads to a simple conclusion.

        However, there is sound reasonable doubt that future increases of GHGs will lead to a future warmer planet.

      • Steven Mosher, April 4, 2012 at 3:08 am. “Well there is no reasonable disagreement that fundamental physics leads to a simple conclusion that more GHGs results in a warmer planet.”

        Steve, there is little doubt that they do. The issue is how much, given feedbacks, their sign and the effects of missing variables in model tuning.

        Further, if reality is a slight, benign increase, then the issue is no longer “Urgent”. If the indications of cooling come to pass, then there is no CO2 problem for policy decisions to address.

    • ” he ‘wished’ that nothing would be done about c02 so the science could be proved.”

      Nothing was done. Other than China and India burning a lot more coal.

      Doing nothing seems to have stopped the short period of warming that started around 1980.

      • Steven Mosher

        Jones was referring to the future. The warming hasnt stopped. Get used to it

      • John another

        When will it stop Steven? How quickly (Younger Dryas)? Are we warming from an Ice Age and why? Why are we suddenly at the mercy of a trace gas when said gas has been so much more pervasive in the past?

      • Steven Mosher

        Sorry john. if you have questions.
        1. get in line
        2. use your real name, I dont answer no named nobodies
        3. do more reading and less commenting.
        4. Lose the trace gas argument. It’s not even cogent.

      • John another

        Steven Mosher | April 4, 2012 at 3:02 am |

        1. get in line.
        Where’s the line for information on the advent of the next Ice Age? Are you implying there is no impending long term cooling, ever? Why did the “cause” have to lose the term ‘Global Warming’ for whatever the nom du jour is?
        But if you meant ‘get with the cause’ by ‘get in line’ then sorry Steven, my mind just doesn’t work that way. I’m a skeptic.

        2.use your real name.
        I would much prefer to be a “nobody” than a target of thugs like the ones going after the Heartland and GWPF donors. That’s why unions want to get rid of secret ballots.

        3. do more reading and less commenting.
        My reading to commenting ratio is just fine, thank you very much.

        4. Lose the trace gas argument. It’s not even cogent.
        Wiki defines trace gas as any gas under 1% (10,000 ppm). So asking what the relative effect of the trace gas CO2 is as compared to say, water vapor, clouds or any other natural (known or otherwise) is not cogent? In my reading I have yet to find the unequivocal empirical data for the feedback and forcing issues.

        “The warming has not stopped. Get used to it.”
        Like how the “cause” convinced the Australian Gov. that flood control was no longer necessary ?

      • If the future is prolonged cooling, “the Anthropogenic Global Warming” policy issue is moot. The Precautionary Principle and Post Normal Science argue against an AGW policy.
        Precaution, Post Normal Science & Possible Cooling.
        (You may have to log on as a Forum “member”, but membership is free and immediate.)

    • Steven Mosher | April 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm |

      By my admittedly scant reading, scientists’ will to enter politics is dwarfed by politicians’ will to enter science.

      Scientists beg to be kept out of wars, and/or uproot their families and/or disrupt their research and/or their lives, perhaps flee their countries, and they sometimes are followed after and on all sides where they take refuge they are sometimes dragged into conflicts by adopted governments and armies, politicians and philosophers, activists and prelates.

      Da Vinci, Gallileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein.. and if it weren’t in some degree true of them, then not a few simply made it up like John Nash.

      The relationship inherited by seekers of knowledge to seekers of power isn’t escaped, as much as most scientists sincerely and earnestly testify they wish it could be.

      So where scientists obtain knowledge of the sort that presages harm, I’m not especially going to get it into my head they’re doing something wrong to enter that arena willingly, the one that interested parties have dragged unwilling scientists into throughout history.

      Indeed, I find the suggestion of wrongdoing naive, unscholarly, and perverse.

      • Steven Mosher

        wrong doing? who suggested ‘wrong’ doing?
        who suggested that scientist should or even CAN avoid politics. They can’t. The question is how one treats their input and what facts are on the table to be judged.
        I think Hansen is well within his rights to do whatever the hell he wants.
        And judgers of policy are well within their rights to “discount” his science accordingly. Note I didnt say reject, I said “discount” If hansen says X,
        and non activist scientist says Y, I’m not going to weight them equally.
        As a rational creature hansen should know this and take it into account.
        The louder he talks the less seriously people like me will take him. Tim Palmer, on the other hand, is circumspect, and not overtly political. I would not deweight him. Perfectly rational.

      • Steven Mosher | April 3, 2012 at 8:15 pm |

        ‘Cassandra science’ suggests someone thinks someone’s doing something ‘wrong’, no?

        A poster’s comment, “scientists have egos like politicians”, can scarcely be said to mean he thinks scientists are doing it right. Indeed, if scientists were caught in the situations politicians egos led them to.. Oh, wait, that’s more ‘libido’ than ‘ego’. *shrug* I can concede on this point.

        So long as no one’s suggesting its wrong for a scientist to take the same democratic interest in the world of any other citizen, I’m cool with that. Let me amend my statement to, “Indeed, I find the suggestion of activism — where based on well-founded scientific conclusions — as anything but admirable and even heroic naive, unscholarly, and perverse.”

        It is lamentable fewer people discuss Dr. Palmer’s positions and ideas. His admirable and even heroic activism on collapsing the false dichotomy of AGW vs. non-AGW, especially. That conversation would be head and shoulders above, for example, this one, I think. In the upshot, much the same action would come out of it as Dr. Hansen recommends, but for so much clearer and more logically consistent reason.

      • Steven Mosher

        Judith invited Tim and I to lunch at AGU in 2010. My reaction was more Palmer, less Hansen. I’d also say more Betts, less Mann. More Thorne, less, Santer. ha, I see a pattern.
        WRT uncertainty. There is a cogent argument that some actions to cut emissions are actually counter productive. Investing (sunk cost) in stupid solutions today, wastes money that will be needed for the right solutions tommorrow. Complicated.

      • Take a look at the picture for the Guardian article

        A man walks in the rain along the Albert Embankment in London. Photograph: Shaun Curry/AFP/Getty Images

        The Albert Embankment was designed by Sir Joseph Bazalgette and build between July 1866 and November 1869. It was built to reclaim land and protect Lambeth from periodic flooding, increasing the area of usable land in London.
        All it is is blocks of stone, yet it protects huge areas of very expensive real estate from flooding. In terms of investment, the cost was nothing compared to the return. We know how to put big stone blocks together to increase land area and protect it from flood waters.

      • Doc Martyn 2.17

        By happy chance we are able to relate your post and photo to climate change .

        The stone for the embankment came from Haytor quarry on Dartmoor, near to my home.

        It is but a short walk from there to Grimspound, which existed in the warmer than today Bronze age. I was there on Sunday-it is still a magnificent site

        A little further on can be seen the medieval village of Hound Tor abandoned around 1350 as the climate deteriorated. We have the records of the famer as he slowly moved his barns down the hill as the climate cooled, and evidence that he changed his crops to accommodate the wetter and cooler weather as the LIA set in. Hound tor also has a claim to fame as the setting for Sherlock Holmes and ‘Hounds of the Baskervilles’ and where part of the recent tv series was filmed during a period of …er…another period of climate change.

        Anyone thinking of visiting should come in a few weeks time when the bluebells will make a spectacular sight


      • Steven Mosher | April 4, 2012 at 2:54 am |

        More complicated than explaining that “lukewarmer” doesn’t mean feeble faith in the scientific support for warming, or belief the warming could only ever be minor, when in your case it appears more like hard-line dedication to precision in language describing the nuances of significant (and insignificant) anthropogenic effects, adherence to logic when considering the impacts of these man-made changes, devotion to balanced reasoning about the workability and consequences of proposed policy responses, and no small amount of personal umbrage at discourtesy, from a black hat point of view?

        Dr. Hansen is the original face of the brand, with all the bad and good that goes with that role; he makes public statements often and across multiple media over multiple issues relevant to his product.

        If you want more Palmer, Betts & Thorne, then I’m quite certain you know how to get more Palmer, Betts & Thorne heat.

      • Rob Starkey


        Hasn’t Tim Palmer reached the conclusion that if drastic steps are not taken immediately then humanity will suffer from dire consequences as a result of global warming?

        That conclusion seems unsupportable based upon the available information and it seems to be advocacy and not science.

        If you polled 100 independent scientists and engineers who have studied the issue; what do you think they would estimate the rate of warming tied to a doubling of CO2 would be in the actual system? Would it be closer to 1C or 4C?

        If you polled 100 independent scientists and engineers who have analyzed the methods used to forecast the future climate, what percentage do you believe would think we have adequate information to make the conclusions reached by the IPCC?

        Do you think more or less than 1/2 of those polled would agree that the methodology being used by the IPCC is appropriate and that their conclusions are warranted?

    • Mosher, interesting that you picked Gallo.
      Some people suspect that he held back the US response to HIV, especially in his quest to ‘prove’ that AIDS was caused by HTLV. Then we have the epic quest for a vaccine, as opposed to directed funding for specific antivirals. If you are HIV-positive then a vaccine is not a lot of us, but treatments are.

      ‘suspected — and later cleared — by his peers of stealing a competitor’s work’

      Up to a point Lord Cooper, people who work on deadly infectious disease do not, on the whole, mix up two different viruses and submit an image of one virus, mislabeled as another, to a major journal. Then Gallo’s lab patented an HIV test kit, fast-tracked by the FDA. The Pasteur Institute sued and awarded rights to half of the royalties from the test by a US Court. Anyother god-damned mix up of two different viruses.
      AZT didn’t come from Gallo, the protease inhibitors didn’t come from Gallo, even the cytokine co-receptor blockers didn’t come from Gallo.
      Very little has come from Gallo, especially when one thinks of the eye watering amounts of money he has had at his command.
      There is another thing that has never, ever, come for Gallos lab; happy post-Doc’s. The fish stinks from the neck down.

      • Steven Mosher

        It just randomly came to my head. I was looking for an area of medical science that was heavily politicized to see whether researchers stepped into the policy world. And stumbled on Gallo. I suppose with nuke power we would mention teller. Wondering if there is something cogent to say about the hazards of trusting pioneers when it comes to policy. Thinking..

      • Have a look at BSE/nvCJD or vCJD in the UK. Look at the costs, including the loss of the UK’s whole blood/tissue products industry. Have a look at the actual number of ‘proven’ nvCJD cases above the background, then compare the number of cases vs. the modeled projections in the late 80’s, 90’s and 00’s.
        If one compares the predictions vs. reality, you may get to understand why some of us have become so cynical about modeling.

      • Apply a sort of social thermodynamics to the policy ideas of scientific pioneers. If a policy is net good(sure, how to determined?) for the herd human it’s more likely to come to pass than a net negative one.

        Thinking, yes, moshe, thinking. About techno-optimism and Malthusian pessimism.

  5. First, the environmentalists have been largely ineffective in getting much change in Washington for the past couple of decades. It’s a well-known “joke” in DC that environmentalist waste their money trying. The AGW is a lone exception, but aside from the very notable $17+ billion in research funding, nothing has changed at all. I suspect that those areas where Mann/IPCC/AGW has done some political gains, the backlash will sideline them for a generation to come.

    Second, both Mann/IPCC/AGW-style “global warming” and Keynesian economics both have the “feature” of being convenient tools to gain funding and political power. In both cases, there are academics who believe their science, but in both cases, politicians only understand that they can appropriate bits of it for their favorite causes. Of course, the opposition (in both cases tending to be Republican, or at least, conservative) is well rehearsed in noting this, and tends to be very good at negating is actual political power.

    • Rob Starkey

      I would disagree in that I believe that the US has made great progress in limiting the damage that America does to the environment. By no means would I claim that no more needs to be done, but we should recognize how much progress has been made.

      I find it deeply troubling when the EPA begins to try to implement a political agenda and not one based upon science or sound economics.

    • geek,

      “First, the environmentalists have been largely ineffective in getting much change in Washington for the past couple of decades.”

      Would that explain all the nuclear power plants and oil refineries being built, not to mention the failure of the EPA to promulgate regulations controlling the oil and coal industries?

      Whether conservatives can succeed in negating the massive assertion of power by the green progressives to date will be seen this November. For now, Republicans look hell bent on nominating the latest incarnation of Nelson Rockefeller. Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, particularly when the Democrats/greens are still holding the frying pan.

      • I think geek is referring to the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments. Very little has happened legislatively since then, certainly nothing massive. What has happened has been a never ending wave of EPA regulations based on the 1990 law, but that is not part of the political process per se. So as far as Capitol Hill is concerned he is correct. Kyoto was not ratified, cap and trade died, etc.

      • Wow. You only have to google “environmental legislation” and the suggested addendum “timeline” to see this.

      • TSCA reathorization woulda coulda been big:

      • David Wojick.

        I read “the last couple decades” to refer to the last couple decades.

        Also geek wrote “It’s a well-known ‘joke’ in DC that environmentalist waste their money trying.” I suspect he was not referring to the operating budget of the US Congress.

        Environmentalists would beg to differ. I will repost something I posted on the week in review thread, while rewriting the first paragraph to respond to your comment.:

        For those who would claim that evergreen progressives have been wasting their money in attempting to control the energy economy for the last couple decades:

        “How a Grassroots Rebellion Won the Nation’s Biggest Climate Victory

        By the time Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) declared the cap-and-trade bill dead in July 2010, the Beyond Coal campaign had helped prevent construction of 132 coal plants and was on the verge of defeating dozens more. It had imposed, noted Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute, ‘a de facto moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.’”

        When progressives talk about the death of construction of new nuclear or coal power plants in an open forum like this one, they claim it is all about the market. That corporations just aren’t willing to make the investments because the cost of construction is too high.

        But sometimes they just can’t help but crow about the way they have systematically strangled industry across the country. All for the children of course.

        Seems to me, and every other conservative who has been paying attention, that the left has gotten a lot for the billions it has spent on green demagoguery. DDT, nuclear power, CAFE emissions standards, ozone, CO2, et al. ad infinitum all have been used to increase budgets, and political control, of various aspects of the economy. And the hardships they cause be damned. Legislation, litigation, economic extortion, the tactics of the enviro-greens have been extensive and successful during the decades geek referred to.

      • Gary, you are right of course, except that the greens don’t believe they’ve won anything. They are constantly saying “If we don’t act now…” ( you put the catastrophe in). The strident, sneering, language by some scientists towards those who question them (“citizen scientists” from realclimate’s best) is evidence to me of a belief system, not cool science. We are in the pay of big-oil, we’re well funded, and well organised we have all the big guns. Yet on our side of the trenches we see a few bloggers, piddling contributions from anyone, let alone big oil, an almost complete white out of our views on the science in the MSM, an establishment that condones scientists with the faith keeping back data and methods from prying eyes, whitewashes galore. As far as I can see the scientists are qualified to say there is too much CO2 being emitted, and have every right to be political about it, but when the politics reaches to condoning crimes and scientific malfeasance it suggests, to me at least, that the science is wrong and they know it.

      • The Supreme Court took a few jabs at the Clean Air Act, even as it ruled against the EPA’s refusal to consider whether CO2 was a pollutant. (Justice Stevens. “MASSACHUSETTS ET AL. V. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ET AL.”, April 2, 2007.

        It is “Broad”, “Sweeping”, “Capacious” and covers everything airborne (It “embraces all airborne compounds of whatever stripe”)

        Scalia, in a footnote: “It follows that everything airborne, from Frisbees to flatulence, qualifies as an “air pollutant.”

    • geek49203 | April 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm |

      Oh, the environmentalists have been more ineffectual than you claim.

      The vast majority of the $17+ billion in research funding, if you do a line-item audit of where it ends up, lines the pockets of the fossil industry.

      Coal research.

      Alternate oil research.

      Natural gas research.

      Fracking research.

      Biomass and biofuel _Market complements_ to fossil fuels.

      Vehicle ‘efficiency’ research. For SUVs!?

      The fossil industry even runs backslapping advertising campaigns congratulating themselves for being more green (play on words there) by becoming more ‘involved’ in alternative energy research.

      That $17 billion of green? It’s from the pockets of US taxpayers. To the pockets of the people who brought you the Gulf of Mexico spill, Enron, hundreds of pipeline leaks annually,expropriation of US properties by Chinese-owned Canadian companies, flames shooting out of water taps, and $125/barrel oil that costs them $5 to get out of the ground.

  6. “Otherwise, more scientists would realise that overstating is not really effective in getting the message across.”

    This is simply not true. In fact, hyperbole and lying frequently work. That’s why we get so much of them.

    The hyperbole of the Hansens, Manns and the IPCC were working quite well. The hockey stick, drowned polar bears, disappearing glaciers, all brought us to the brink of Copenhagen even though they were being castigated by conservatives from the beginning. (Most of you progressives and moderates wouldn’t know that happened, but trust me, the politicization of climate science was being fought long before climategate and Copenhagen.)

    It wasn’t their framing that changed the debate. It was the fact that they were getting so close to achieving their goals. When the left was on the verge of agreeing to a treaty that would have bound the US and Europe to decarbonizing their economies, the conservative politicians and alternative media were able to publicize the astronomical cost of the green utopia that was coming at the west like a freight train.

    Obama and the other Democrats in the US then put their own personal political survival ahead of saving the planet from CO2.

    Joe Romm gets beaucoup funding because demagoguery works. Progressives claim conservatives want to kill children and destroy the planet because demagoguery works. Lying and exaggerating aren’t effective? Ask Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Castro, Chavez, Pol Pot.

    Decarbonization didn’t tank because climate scientists over stated their case. It died because they were wrong on the policy. And conservative and other alternative media made it possible for contrary arguments to be aired.

    • At the 2009 Copenhagen UN climate confab, those peddling the IPCC AGW/ACC kool-aid and their political sympathicos [including the newly minted Obama] came very close indeed, to hammering the bung in the barrel [as it were]. However, having pushed too hard and so loudly and stridently overstated their case, and so publicly invoked the “scientific authority” of their position confirmed by their collective Nobel [Peace] Prize, at Copenhagen they met with a political backlash from several corners: the Chinese took it upon themselves to berate Obama in front of a room full of negotiators who rudely told him to stop preaching, and the EU chief negotiator Connie Hedegaard, wasn’t even at that meeting, having been physically shut out by BRIC representatives. At the level of the smaller countries, the Canadian Tory minority government -lead by a climate skeptic economist prime minister- too refused to play along, no doubt bolstered by the recent implosion of the Liberal Party as the result of its “Green Shift” decarbonization policies.

      The “water mellons” came awfully close but failed when it counted, and Copenhagen was the turning point. The key “alternative media” driving the reversal of fortunes turned out to be the internet, which allowed not only a different, skeptical and as it turned out, broadly based voice be heard from various quarters, circumventing the established alarmist voices in the climate science community and the captive MSM, but which crucially enabled the “cross-referencing” of alarmist misrepresentations, exposing the AGW meme, its fallacies and contradictions to public scrutiny.

      The power and reach of the internet also made possible the exposure of some of the most extremist segments of the AGW movement, including people like Hansen, who openly advocated abolishing democracy in favour of an authoritarian form of government capable of implementing the societal changes required to save humanity from itself. Or those who thought that the end justified the means and engaged in criminal acts [e.g. Gleick] or successfully conspired to subvert the normal pathways of scientific inquiry and publication as exposed in the CG I and CG II emails.

      It is absolutely indispensable that this skeptical and normal process of scrutiny continue, because as we just saw with the Planet Under Pressure conference in London, UK last week, and will witness again [but bigger] with the “Sustainable Happiness” RIO20 in June, this hydra has many heads and produces lots of manure.

  7. Willis Eschenbach

    This was the money quote to me (emphasis mine):


    … People just don’t change their convictions and belief systems, let alone their decisions and actions, on the basis of more information. Co-operation and collective action builds on trust, said Gutscher, and if that is lacking, giving ever more information has zero or even counterproductive effects.

    That says it all. Climate scientists, through their actions, have betrayed the trust of the public. And so all the new, shiny, “we’re sure now” scientific information has no effect on the discussion, because people don’t trust the scientists giving them the information.

    As far as I know, this is a fairly unusual situation in the history of science, where scientists in a particular field have forfeited the trust placed in them by the public. I don’t think we have much in the way of historical analogues to this situation.

    But the knowledge of what that loss of trust entails is old. Lincoln is widely known for his quote about fooling some of the people all the time, but the full quote is more interesting. In a speech at Clinton, Illinois, September 8, 1854, Abraham Lincoln said (emphasis mine)

    If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. You may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    That’s what has happened. In a series of acts of monumental stupidity and hubris the leadership of the AGW supporting climate scientists have forfeited the confidence of their fellow citizens.

    I don’t know how that loss of trust will play out, but one thing is for sure. It won’t be fixed by clearer communications or appeals to authority or restatements of facts.

    The way that loss of trust is normally handled is that the person who lost the trust apologizes for their actions, and if the apology is sincere and heartfelt, people accept that apology. As Lincoln pointed out, their fellow citizens will never trust those scientists again, but at least the discussion could move forwards if that were to happen.

    But as l’affaire Gleick and the Climategate debacle have shown, apologizing for their actions is anathema to the leaders of the AGW movement. Indeed, they boast about and laud each other for their malfeasance. And meanwhile, the rest of the mainstream climate scientists say nothing, so they are seen by the public as complicit through their silence in the actions that forfeited the confidence in climate science to begin with … so I fear we’re in for a long run of mistrust.


    • Harold H Doiron, PhD

      Insightful and well said.

    • First, 5+ within the context of how this overly moderate discussion point was framed.

      Second, it’s all too highminded and abstract for the real circumstances of AGW politics. I suggest everyone read the R. Pielke Jr. board replies to the above link, some are very good as well. Once again the AGW agenda is far closer to the gutter and should be treated as such;

      Far closer to reality. We’re dealing with a wild mob of green radicals, like a brick through a window and the topic is framed to pretend it’s something else. Something really deep, abstract and meaningful?

      Who would you rather have in a dark alley fighting for your freedom, Roger Pielke Jr. splitting hairs (really obtuse critique of science rolls) or Jo Nova? Who is telling you more about what is real and important specifically to the AGW debate and politics? Does everything have become more generalized as Dr. Pielke Jr. is doing to make his point?

      “You don’t bring a knife to a gunfight” comes to mind as I go over the Pielke Jr. argument. W is on track but this is limited by framing topic, it isn’t his fault and board will play along as usual. Go ahead and dump on me for being honest, some are thinking the same thing but will say nothing. This was all way too pointy headed to be meaningful to AGW politics specifically.

    • Years and years and years of Climate Theory and Climate Models and Climate Scientists saying warm, warmer, warmest while Earth Temperature says about the same, a little cooler, about the same, a little cooler. Who are you going to believe, actual data or stuff that don’t happen.

    • While he is not as famous as Lincoln, my dad told my brothers and I that the 3 things we never want to give people cause to call us are a liar, a cheat and a thief.

      I’m guessing Peter Gleick’s dad never gave similar advice.

    • John Carpenter

      Willis, as you say, we should not expect any apologies. The way to repair the mistrust is for the public to effectively remove those who they distrust from the conversation by quit listening to them, it is as close to ‘firing’ those who are not trustworthy as we can get. This is what is happening. Eventually, replacements who show themselves to be more considerate of opposing viewpoints, more humble about what they are certain (uncertain) about will emerge and gradually repair the damage. As you indicated…. it will take time, but it is the path we are on.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      Willis, well said. After climategate and the hockey stick I became much more circumspect when reading the new science supporting AGW. The loss of trust in scientists from US Federal agencies and some universities leaves me wondering “just what are they cooking up now?”

  8. Mydogsgotnonose

    But the modelling was broken from the start and is still broken. Manabe and Wetherald 1967 used as boundary conditions no heat capacity to the Earth’s surface [i.e. the sun shines and the surface heats up instantly etc.] and assumed that the average IR emission from the Earth’s surface was set by the S-B equation for a black body in a vacuum.

    No process engineer who sees that latter can accept it is valid. Look at Trenberth et. al. 2009 Energy Budget and it assumes 396 W/m*2 IR emission with 63 W/m^2 measured, of which 40 is lost through the ‘atmospheric window’. That 16°C BB emission is made up by 333 W/m^2 ‘back radiation’ butt this does not exist in terms of being able to do thermodynamic work. Yet climate science claims it measure that energy source by 1000s of pyrgeometers. So what’s the BIG MISTAKE?

    Look at how the pyrgeometer works and it intercepts the Prevost Exchange Radiation from the other side of the detector and adds a synthetic measure of this by assuming an internal black body at the local air temperature. The signal is actually a measure of atmospheric temperature convolved with effective emissivity. in equilibrium with the sensor body. This is nothing to do with the Earth’s surface. the measurements are not a measure of a real energy flow unless there’s a temperature inversion.

    So the models assume atmospheric heating 2.7 times higher than reality, a factor of 4.3 for IR absorption. But there’s worse. Hansen’s 1981 claim of 33 K present net GHG warming adds in ~24 K lapse rate warming: real GHG warming is ~9K.

    Together, these two errors exaggerate real GHG warming by a factor of ~10. I have never seen another scientific discipline that makes such a major error and is so dogmatic it has to be right because ‘it’s peer reviewed’. This is lunacy.

    In reality, the combined convection and radiation has to sum to the 160 W/m^2 short wave input with the additional temperature rise set by the resistance to heat flow through the atmosphere by subsequent convection and radiation. that is a complex issue because of the water cycle and lateral convection.

    At another date I’ll show why the IR and cloud physics is broken too, the latter because there is a second optical solved with new physics. This shows why CO2-AGW is near net zero

    • Trenberth’s attempted radiation budget is a hoot. The 40Wm-2 atmospheric window is not actually from the surface but the top of the average cloud altitude. He missed 20Wm-2 there. The 333Wm-2 is meaningless if attempting to related to GHG forcing change, you may just as well measure temperature and call it good. There are a few new budgets coming out that actually balance and include reasonable error estimates, but they are still hung up on an arbitrary temperature and not anything that resembles a true radiant layer.

      All the while the sensitivity estimates keep coming down. They may some day figure out that water vapor is not joined to CO2 at the hip.

      • Mydogsgotnonose

        You are correct about the TOA. It’s rather more complex because the real GHG warming is probably at clouds and bare aerosols [direct thermalisation can’t happen because of kinetic issues, as seems to have been proved by Nahle recently with his Mylar balloon experiment].

        The people who have set out this analysis are seriously lacking in real physics’ understanding. Agreed it’s complex but if I can work out 7 major errors from physics’ education 40 years’ ago, plus looking up the textbooks, surely someone in climate science has a bit of ability to think.

        It seems they were fooled by the pyrgeometers which don’t measure what is claimed, and then became very arrogant because bent politicians flooded then with funds.

        [The real aim has been to base the Euro and the Amero on the new carbon commodity whilst achieving the Marxist/Fabian World Syate by carbon rationing.]

      • The last time I looked at Nahel’s stuff he was chasing down a rabbit hole. The biggest problem is that CO2’s thermal properties are more non-linear than H20 and the other gases. CO2 can transfer more energy at higher temperature and that decreases more rapidly as it approaches it sublimination point. It can only significantly increase surface temperature where it is not effectively saturated, which depends on its contribution to the specific heat capacity near the surface. So the altitude where it transfers the most heat is below the radiate layer. Heat rises, more convection, less impact at the surface and less mid troposphere warming because the water vapor and ice crystals radiate more outside the CO2 spectrum. All things didn’t remain equal, but CO2 could add 0.8 to 1.6C to average temperatures if water vapor plays along.

      • Mydogsgotnonose

        Not if as i suspect, the IR energy is transferred through the atmosphere in a coupled fashion only to be converted to heat at heterogeneous interfaces!.

        If you think the above is hard to swallow, the IR stuff will be much more difficult, but it explains Miskolczi perfectly!

      • I don’t think that would fully explain the Antarctic cooling. There, CO2 cannot transfer as much energy because its specific heat capacity is low and its radiant impact is lower. Above the water vapor boundary, its specific heat and radiant impact is also reduced. Water vapor remains the dominate radiant cooling mechanism.

        The heterogeneous interface ( I just use thermal boundary layer) is where water, in any phase, exists. Where there is need for more cooling, mixed phase water responds like a heat pipe. Mixed phase clouds are most evident in the Arctic, but mixed phase water (clouds) can exist anywhere there is sufficient heat.

      • Dog gone nose, you are obviously confused. I did not mention work done by back radiation. In the N2 experiment, the atmosphere would warm by conduction on the sunlit side, at night the surface would cool fast because there is less energy transferred to the atmosphere. There would be a larger radiant window. The atmosphere would cool by conduction with the cooler surface at night. The rate of conductive heat transfer is slower than radiant heat transfer so there would be residual energy in the atmosphere.

        Back radiation does not warm the surface, the atmosphere does not warm the surface, both just reduce the rate of cooling of the surface.

        With N2 only the problem is simplified. There is no significant phase change, radiant emission would be small at lower temperatures and the specific heat is fairly linear.

        Web, criticizes me because he uses the assumption that without greenhouse gases the surface would be 255K. With the N2 experiment there is no albedo assumption. With no greenhouse gases other than the weak nitrogen emission, the temperature of the air at the surface would be greater than if there were no atmosphere, the density of the atmosphere would be very close to what is is now on average, and there would be a dry adiabatic lapse rate. Actually, there would still be a thermosphere and likely a N3 version of a stratosphere. Atmospheric conduction is not negligible.

      • Noseless dog owner, here is a thought experiment.

        Imagine the Earth is a perfect black body core with a nitrogen only atmosphere. So there is no stratosphere initially and surface albedo is zero. 400Wm-2 solar is applied at the TOA, what will be the equilibrium surface temperature and albedo? No water vapor, nothing but nitrogen.

      • The crackpots argue with each other, while the sane point out that without a GHG effect and uniform spectral emission/absorption in place, the average surface temperature would be 255K and then due to the lapse rate, the temperature profile would get cooler with increasing altitude.

        With the introduction of GHGs, the 33k difference is then split up according to the spectral windows of the major contributing greenhouse gases, i.e. H20, CO2, and CH4.

        That is not pseudoscience but is the sanity check worked out by actual physicists who understand photonics and statistical mechanics, not based on some delusional anti-Marxist ranting.

        Mydosgsgotnonose just hand waves. Why don’t you post your theory somewhere and work out the math?

        Cap’n Crunch would do the math and tries hard, but alas something always happens with his computer and it fries out just when he is about ready to the number crunching. Rotten luck that, but he is a fisherman and understands that it goes with the territory.

      • Web, “while the sane point out that without a GHG effect and uniform spectral emission/absorption in place, the average surface temperature would be 255K and then due to the lapse rate, the temperature profile would get cooler with increasing altitude.”

        Prove it. The only way that it would be 255K is if the exact albedo was present for the No GHG Earth as for the real Earth. With a nitrogen only atmosphere, there would still be an atmosphere with temperature predominately controlled by conductive heat transfer. With a nitrogen and oxygen atmosphere, there would still be a warmer atmosphere, predominately controlled by conductive heat transfer plus there would be a stratosphere. Green house gases change the rate of heat transfer and the distribution of heat and a large percentage of that is also due to the conductive properties of the greenhouse gases.

        Do the nitrogen only atmosphere thought experiment. You tend to over simplify which ironically over complicates things.

      • Mydogsgotnonose

        You are plainly the crackpot. Point me to any experimental proof that ‘back radiation’ can do thermodynamic work [= being converted into extra heat energy in the hotter body] and that a pyrgeometer which because it has a solid back has an internal temperature dominated by local air temperature measures a signal related to IR emission from the ground!

        You and your apparent ilk have seriously strayed from correct physics. As for your hypothetical N2 experiment, there will still be warming from lapse rate and in the daytime it’ll be far higher than we have because there will be no water cycle convection path.

        You see, the big mistake you are making is to believe the IPCC propaganda which is to think radiative heat transfer is far more important than convection. Thus, take out the back radiation in the Trenberth et. al. Energy Budget [2009 version] and the real IR emission is 17% of that which is claimed.

        Repeat after me: ‘Back radiation can do no work, back radiation can do no work, back radiation can do no work……….’

        This is the biggest scientific mistake in History.

      • You two have clinically insane perspectives on the physics. Both of you plainly don’t understand a thing about photonics, and especially are clueless on how Bose-Einstein statistical mechanics describes how electromagnetic radiation gets dispersed across an energy spectrum.
        It’s a very straightforward concept that greenhouse gases have a scattering cross-section that can partially reflect specific bands of photon frequencies until they redistribute to maintain an energy balance. Nature will always juggle and redistribute the state space densities to conserve energy. This is analogous to how a black-body spectrum exists in the first place, as its all about redistribution of energies within a state space to maximize entropy.

        I took the time out to run the Modtran code with two cases which I superimposed.

        One curve has the nominal GHG atmospheric concentration such that the ground temperature sits at 300K. That is the jagged curve.
        The other curve has all the GHG removed (CO2, H2O, CH4), and I had to lower the ground temperature by about 30 degrees before the areas under the two curves started to match.
        For those that don’t understand calculus, the area under the curves is the integral of the spectral energy density, which is the energy that must be balanced for the two cases. I highlighted by yellow and green the areas where the two areas have to compensate each other. It is a bit lopsided on the topside because the tails also contain a differential on the bottomside, and those tails are not shown on this plot.

        It is possible that discrepancies do indeed exist and that’s what constitutes the uncertainty in AGW. The uncertainty is not in the bulk of the GHG effect which clearly generates the largest fraction of the energy imbalance and the corresponding shift in temperature. Those spectral curves are real and they have been measured by satellite instruments. Hard to see how anyone can dispute that. Also hard to dispute is that there are only 4 known fundamental forces, electromagnetism, gravity, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. The only way that energy can balance in the earth’s case is by the electromagnetic photons and their interaction with GHG’s and albedo. No amount of convection, lapse rate, condensation, evaporation, etc can change all that as those are internally conserved energy quantities. Sure, second-order effects play a role, but then again that is where the uncertainty lies, not in the bulk of the 33 degree shift.

        Bottomline, I am not making anything up, just using the standard spectral absorption model that has been maintained for years. If you guys think the Modtran code is wrong, go develop your own version. If you think it was all pseudoscience that generated Modtran, then certainly all it will take is a bit of your “proper science” to clean it up. Ha Ha.

        I have no stake in the AGW arena, contrary to my position on fossil fuel depletion, where I am putting it on the line. I just hate to see how crackpots and wackos can make a mess out of the physics.

      • Mydogsgotnonose

        Thank you for the MODTRAN plots. However, you have diverted the argument. I do not argue that there is no GHG effect, only that it has been wrongly calibrated also that pyrgeometer readings have been wrongly interpreted to justify the claim of ‘back radiation’ being able to do thermodynamic work.

        As for the redistribution of energy by scattering by GHGs, I am posing the idea that direct thermalisation is not permitted by kinetic considerations. This is I believe what led to Will Happer resigning his DoE post in 1993.

        My suspicion is that thermalisation is at heterogeneous interfaces, main;y cloud droplets which ties in well with miskolczi’s ideas of a constant net GHG warming. However, the detailed argument will come later. As for the N2 argument, capt has responded better than me.

        PS I do not believe that TOA IR absorption measurements have been interpreted correctly but i’m still working out why. [Practical considerations apply.]

      • ‘In statistical mechanics, Bose–Einstein statistics (or more colloquially B–E statistics) determines the statistical distribution of identical indistinguishable bosons over the energy states in thermal equilibrium.’

        Of course – at absolute zero you can fit an infinite number of bosons on the head of a pin to get a Bose-Einstein condensate. ;-)

        Webby always has me wondering if this is something I just haven’t got across. There is quite a lot of that but it isn’t true in this or much else that Webby says. It is all just the most astonishing nonsensical misdirection with a few names and terms thrown in. I sometimes think he is just playing with our heads. I mostly suspect that he only very partially understands things before leaping into the fray in the blogosphere to insult, berate, belittle and instruct the unhinged adversary. Newby error delivered with absolute arrogance.

        In reality the frequency of emissions from a volume of atmosphere shifts marginally with temperature. The can be seen in the Planck distribution for emmission from a black body in thermal equilibrium – the distribution is constant but the frequency shifts in accordance with Wein’s displacement law as temperatures changes. Something similar must happen in the atmosphere but at the temperatures shifts we are talking about – the displacement is entirely negligible.

        What happens is that the atmospheric volume heats a little with more CO2 and emmissions increase in an approximation of the Staffan-Boltzmann T^4 relationship for a greybody. The spectral absorbtion is measured in the laboratory but is not measured from space. The planet heats up almost instantly as a result of a decrease in the mean free photon path in a CO2 rich atmosphere – emissions increase with higher temp and the balance in TOA radiative flux – at pretty much the same frequency – is restored at a higher mean temperature. Perhaps MODTRAN shows the initial absorbtion but not the temperature response.

        What I think he is referring to is the Harries (2000) and similar studies showing changes in brightness temperature over time. Brightness temperature is effectively a change in the height in the atmosphere at which the planet emits radiation – an artifact of the mean free photon path.

        Leaving aside the strong and weak nuclear forces – and to an extent gravity – energy is indeed conserved at all time and all places but there is an energy equilibrium strictly only at top of atmosphere. Internally there are myriad processes by which energy moves through the climate system. This includes convection whereby latent energy is transported sometimes into the stratosphere where it is more easily lost to space. The movement of energy through the system modifies cloud, ice, snow, dust, ecologies and CO2 fluxes thus influencing what is better described as a dynamic disequilibium at TOA. If the planet cools a little – less energy is emitted in the greybody approximation of SB and vice versa. It is the primary physical mechanism for climatic stability.

        Robert I Ellison

      • “The planet heats up almost instantly as a result of a decrease in the mean free photon path in a CO2 rich atmosphere – emissions increase with higher temp and the balance in TOA radiative flux – at pretty much the same frequency – is restored at a higher mean temperature. Perhaps MODTRAN shows the initial absorbtion but not the temperature response. “

        What astonishing unrelenting stupidity on display! This is not anywhere close to the way that statistical mechanics plays out. A distribution of energetic particles is free to redistribute depending on its confining properties and constraints and the conservation laws. At the extreme, designers of lasers (including gas CO2 lasers) use this to their advantage as they can exclude wavelengths depending on the design of the resonant cavity.

        There is so much more garbage in Captain Kangaroo’s explanation that you will find nowhere in standard textbooks. For a starter, all one has to do is track down Raymond Pierrehumbert’s article in Physics Today from last year, and you can find an explanation similar to mine. Get Raymond’s book, as Fred and Pekka would suggest and dive deeper if you like. I placed my own description into the context of the huge amount of disorder involved in black-body radiation, as that is my interest.

        The captain is essentially making up his own little world of physics because it helps create the false authority and fear, uncertainty, and doubt that those with weak-minded constitutions find appealing.
        This Captain Kangaroo follows the other Captain Dallas and ups the ante by pushing gibberish to the extreme.

        So what is up with these clowns that pick the moniker “Captain” and immediately think that they are the skipper of some boat on which they can order the passengers to think and act as they are instructed to? Fortunately, the scientific community does not obey any kind of orders. All scientists play second mate to the laws of nature, and they can’t deliver orders like they are Commander Picard, and all they have to say is “Make it so” and everyone will fall into line. I don’t even like SciFi and suggest that analogy so the scientifically-challenged rabble can see what is happening here.

        The Captain Kangaroo/Chief Hydrologist is a huge sockpuppet bully who tries to get away with his nonsense because he thinks he can. What an absolutely fitting title to a post “Authority (?) … ” where one can see this passive/aggressive poseur act out his fantasies.

        This place is insane. The fundamentals are in place, try to argue the uncertainties, as there is more than enough room to act out in that regard.
        It is amazing that these climate clowns, the Captains Squared and the SkyDragons, can wipe away infrared radiation theory, and not have any alternate theory to make up for it. What else should we expect from a civil and HVAC engineer? These guys know enough lingo in their domains to actually sound plausible, much like Professor Irwin Corey.
        But like Corey, it’s all comedy at its heart.

        Notice that I am not telling you guys to necessarily go away, because it sure is entertaining. I have no stake in climate science as my interests are more in general environmental modeling, but I just can’t take this unrelenting stupidity on display without joining in on the fun.

      • Web Hub telescope at 9.11am

        So can I take it that you like and admire Captain Kangaroo? :)


      • Web, the point that I am trying to make with the N2 atmosphere, even with virtually no significant emission and absorption, there is still heat transfer to the atmosphere via conduction and convection. You will continuously get an over estimation of radiant impact if you do not have an accurate estimate of the conductive/convective impact. There is no crack pot creative physics involved, it is just a part of heat transfer. The main point of the N2 example is the time difference in the rates of conductive and radiant heat flux. The small conductive impact builds over a longer time period.

        The assumption of 255K no greenhouse gas Earth has a 1.5 to 4 degree range of error depending on the distribution of the albedo, surface or atmosphere and the estimated altitude of the top of the no green house gas atmosphere.

        Think about it. If the TOA estimate is based on surface temperature it will be off by 50% of the atmospheric heat absorption. The object is to find surface temperature impact not some arbitrary mid to upper tropospheric impact that only 50% of would be felt at the surface.

      • Now they fold like a deck of cards. Cap’n #1 backs off from his original assertion and is now trying to reconcile a few degrees of uncertainty, instead of the 33 degrees that they were arguing vehemently against a few moments ago. The 33 degree number is the ballast that keeps the current GHG theory from falling over. Nothing else but the GHG model can explain the bulk of this discrepancy.

      • web – i might as well join the cracked pots in this discussion of inanities and continue my argument from the previous thread about potential energy differences. let’s talk geometry for a minute, civil engineers love it.

        consider a solar system where the sun and planets are infinitely long cylinders aligned perpendicular to the orbital plane, which is all the same for all rotational motions. days and years are the same, seasons are not because there is no axial tilt. give the earth cylinder the atmosphere it has now. now double CO2. does extreme weather increase or decrease? I say it decreases, because of the lower difference in potential energy from night to day.

        excluding the nonlinearities, perhaps better described as inhomogeneities, introduced by phase changes, albedo changes and tropopause.

      • Web I haven’t backed off of anything. I knew the uncertainty range of the 33K years ago. That is why my estimate of a doubling is 0.8 +/-0.2. The higher than expect rate of convection is a negative feed back, the lag between the midtropic warming/cooling and southpole is an indication of the conductive impact. You have not provided any reason for me to increase my estimate.

        With a lower estimate of sensitivity, the impact of other forcing changes become more significant. Hansen has even upped his estimate for solar impact. That also increases the impact of land use. CO2 don’t make energy it just redirects it, so follow the energy.

      • Actually Web, think about where the major discrepancies are in the warming, the tropics, the Antarctic and the upper troposphere. In the tropcis with up to 4% moisture, the ratio of diatomic gas molecules to GHG molecules is about 25 to one. In the Antarctic and upper troposphere it is about 2500 to 1. Conductive transfer, collisions between molecules, is non-linear. Where CO2 can absorb the most energy it is less likely to transfer via collision which increases the probability that that energy will be radiated to space. Where it does transfer energy to the lower atmosphere it promotes convection. If the altitude of the average radiant layer is not optimum, the feedbacks are mainly negative.

      • Then why didn’t you jump on dogsgotnonose when he said the warming is only 9K and not the 33K?

        That’s right, you want to be able to play it both ways. You simply don’t care about additional FUD when it suits your own personal crusade.

        So you don’t back off when it comes to arguments. Fine. But you certainly back off when it comes to doing the math. I suppose you will blame your computer again.

      • Web, I didn’t jump on any part of no smelling dog, just mention that on the whole he was misguided and that Nahle had been checking out rabbit holes. You read entirely too much into things. The N2 thought experiment was just a way for him to enlighten himself if he wished. I don’t jump on Oliver either, that doesn’t mean I agree with him.

        I also mentioned quite some time ago that the radiant impact is larger than expected, on the order of 50 degrees, which would be required to offset convective and latent cooling at the surface. Of course that depends on what frame of reference you use.

        Finding a reference that doesn’t require using all the same assumptions is the best way to solve the debate, which is why I have turned my attention to agricultural land use. We don’t have to worry about the hypothetical when we have the empirical.

      • It’s not hard to read that you were attempting to continue a discussion with someone who was completely off his rocker. You should never try to do that unless your intention is to toy with them.

        Desperate times if you find that you have to engage with a crackpot to elaborate on your theory. You just get dragged into the mud with them.

        BTW, why did you bring up Oliver? I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about the molestation charges against him. See how that works? I want to always keep an electronic trail between me and these whackos just so that others don’t confuse me with them.

      • Web, how did that work out for Oliver? I tend to take most everything I read on the internet with a grain of salt myself.

      • There is an interesting physics newsfeed/blog called, which Oliver kept on spamming with his nutso ideas. As of late last year, he disappeared because apparently he couldn’t take the relentless mocking by the physics crowd that wanted nothing to do with him. A team of guys kept on bringing up his troubles, and that’s that.

        Notice that this is not an authoritarian approach but rather a case of ordinary nerds using the mock and needle instruments of destruction. Some call it uncivilized, whereas I find it effective. Lots of people are fans of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and think they do a pretty good job at marginalizing people that need to be marginalized. I heard that Ben Franklin used to do this as well with mocking letters to the editor.

      • Capt., note also that the rise and fall of temperature in the diurnal cycle is not symmetrical, thus (Tmax+Tmin)/2 is not a measurement of heat. The use of Trenberth energy diagrams is proof of pseudoscience at the core of it all.

    • Mydog…, I assume that the name was once followed by “How does he smell?” “Terrible!”

      An oldie but a goodie.

  9. Scientists make lousy politicians and politicians make lousy scientists. Just the nature of the job requirements. A scientist should be a perfectionist. There are lots of details to be attended to and each error amplifies the next. A politician has to be anything but a perfectionist. Everything is compromise or over statement to obtain a better compromise. The two roles are mutually exclusive.

    Both are fun to watch though :)

    • Indeed. When I address scientists and engineers I like to say that the reason there are so few of them on Capitol Hill is because reality is not the issue. The issue is what are people willing to do? It is all about people, not physical science.

    • “Scientists make lousy politicians”

      I will stab you through the heart, pinning a photograph of Margret Thatcher to your chest for that.
      Maggie was a research scientist before passing the Bar, becoming an MP, the PM.

  10. Good point GaryM about the continuing battle to save the economy from the decarbon faith. Too bad EPA jumped in prematurely and will likely get damaged by the reaction. They did a lot of good on sewage cleanup, river restoration, superfund cleanup and acid rain reductions. Now the good activities will be reduced along with the over reach of carbon controls.

  11. Daniel Suggs

    Dr Curry: Mann, as well as most others in the field, doesn’t understand the most important part of AGW politics- AGW is only the means to an end. The end desired by liberals worldwide is global government and to reach that goal, the western nations must be weakened. The liberals control the UN and it’s policies and hope to destroy the economies of the EU and US so that the UN becomes the sole world power. AGW is only pushed so that they can take away from the west on the premise of distributing to the ‘developing’ nations. Most instead goes to the UN controllers themselves. When AGW has outlived it’s usefulness, it will be discarded, but the goal will not.

    • “doesn’t understand the most important part of AGW politics”

      Of course he does, he’s a green ideologue and collectivist as are Hansen, Jones and most of the mouth piece machinery of AGW. This article and Pielke Jr. is a nuance peice regarding science authority and we can continue to afford Mann a status that the crowd should have refuted a long time ago.

      In a real a science profession, you condemn Mann for his practices on the record and then you ignore his existence or any political relevance he assumes about himself. Mann is topical to his point but it’s a distraction overall. Much bigger political moving parts aren’t included.

      We really have to dissect the Mann ego trip to this detail?? Really??

      • If there is anyone remaining on the earth who doesn’t realize that AGW is a hoax, please bring them forward for Dunce Cappery. ;)


      • Andrew,

        This is topic framing hell. It’s about “communication” and “policy strategy” flaws??

        This is like Churchill wanting to invade Germany through the Alps, luke warmers and their nuances are going to drag us down with them. A thousand things to note about AGW advocate politics and Mann more relevant but here we are. It isn’t that there anything out of place by the article itself but it’s relative trivia to what is obvious about AGW advocacy politics. Better we talk about this than that?

        Board hyjacking is one complaint, how about topics aimed right into a culdesack from the start?? Defacto are we being told this is primary to warming flaws according to Dr. Curry?? Talk about missing the big picture and inflating the warming argument at the same time.

      • David Wojick

        Andrew, I only wish this were true, but it is not even close. There are probably more people who believe AGW than those who do not, possibly many more. Moreover, it is still official policy of most governments. The fight still lies ahead.

      • 25 years + and we still get steering polls asking people if they “think the climate is changing” and “if man impacts climate” without being specific to co2 or asking quantity questions on impacts. All with the nefarious goal of maximizing a response that is useful to the “cause”.

        Many people “concerned” about climate change couldn’t care less about human activity in their concern. As Stalin said who votes matters little, who gets to count the votes (or in this case spin the results) is everything.
        This is a somewhat fair poll and question wording, most are much worse. Watch Gallup (a left-wing polling source) spin away;

        Yes, the fight isn’t over until a consensus admits, largely at the broad educational levels, it was and always was political tripe to sell a neo-socialist policy agenda. Most thinking people on the street are far closer to Andrew’s assessment than you might realize. Even many liberals are sick to death of carrying water on this issue. It’s a dead weight political investment. If Obama goes down all energy will go into saving the welfare state and the union alliances, life on campus is going under a bus and statist climate policy dreams with it.

      • David,

        I submit that most of the figures promoting AGW know it’s a hoax. And politicans especially already know they are liars.


    • Pooh, Dixie

      “it will be discarded, but the goal will not.”
      “Sustainability”, perhaps?

  12. “We should communicate more/better”, is quite often heard.

    They already communicate more than they know.

  13. What’s driving this processes is the lack of authority of our political leaders and a wider sense of insecurity in society, these are allowing experts to penetrate further into the democratic debate than in the past. It’s well worth remembering that this process is going on in many more fields than just climate. Even the most basic relations such as parent/child are suffering from the tyranny of the expert

    There is nothing wrong with debate being informed by expert opinion, but that is as far as it should go. It’s then up to the many forms of democratic debate to work through the problem. But with the vacuum of ideas at the heart of our societies the expert or scientific opinion comes to replace debate, it acts as an over-riding truth. “The delinquent teenager……..” made the simple point that the role of the IPCC is to close the debate not inform it.

    Politicians may dislike the fact that their traditional role is being usurped but the fact is few of them have anything to challenge expertism. In fact it looks to me that most have happily (or grudgingly) accepted this and now play the role of manager rather than leader.

    Scientists may profit from this new arrangement in the short run through having their ideas gain more authority but ultimately science will suffer as the open ended nature of scientific enquiry is replaced with policy-driven science that molds itself around policy imperatives.

    The only solution is for democratic debate to push expert opinion back to it’s rightful position. Keep challenging the consensus. That can only strengthen both science and democracy.

    • +2

    • So I’m clear.. Al Gore is ‘expert’, ‘manager’, or ‘leader’ in your taxonomy?

    • A major problem is that we have politicians following the latest polls and seeking not to “offend” anyone to get reelected.

      We need statesmen and leaders with a clear understanding of the evidence, the impacts on society, and ALL the major trends.

      i.e. the inexporable depletion of oil fields on rising population and declining discoveries will cause major shortages of fuel faster than we can provide alternatives. That will strongly depress the world economy orders of magnitude faster than alarmists’ predicted climate catastrophies.

    • HR, I do not share your negative (vacuum of idea) view of society, nor do I see the trend you claim exists. Eggheads (experts) have always played a large role in technically intensive policy debates, or at least they have since the 1960’s and 70’s when I got into the game, and I think long before that. This is why we developed the Dept. of Engineering and Public Policy at CMU, to train experts for policy work. How could society not want expert opinion when confronting technical issues? But the experts are not in charge, not now and not ever I think.

  14. I don’t know if this recent speech by long-term Australian Greens leader Bob Brown has been flagged here, but it’s well worth a read if you wonder where the Greens are really coming from.

    • I was waiting for him to back a space program aimed at protecting our biosphere from dinosaur-killing extinction level events. I would have thought that defending against know ELE-agents was a smart move, but alas, these melons do not think so.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      In response to Brown’s speech, which I just read.
      (On pure democracy) “A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

      Federalist 10: The Same Subject Continued: The Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection. From the New York Packet. Friday, November 23, 1787. Author: James Madison.

  15. This analysis omits the most important point of all – who is paying and selecting the scientists and projects. This will tell you whose interests they will tend to serve.
    The answer is of course the institution of government.

    • Punksta | April 3, 2012 at 10:20 pm |

      If you look at Dr. Wojick’s cv, you’ll see just the opposite.

      The institution of government brought him in because he was so good at picking apart their weaknesses for the industries employing him that those same institutions were supposed to be policing.

      This fox guarding the chicken coop situation is hardly unique.

      I believe many prisons use inmate overseers, too. Indeed, in Columbia and Mexico, many times the wardens and staff are selected and paid by the prisoners, allegedly.

      And really, as Haliburton ran the White House for two terms, why are we talking about the authority of scientists?

    • Punksta, I have no idea what Bart R is dithering about, but yes, pro AGW funding bias is a big problem. Most climate research is funded by governments that have been heavily committed to CAGW for 20 years (the UNFCCC or Rio Treaty). The program managers that decide which questions to fund are heavily pro CAGW. To see this one only has to look at the numerous reports from the USGCRP, which is the umbrella program of the US Federal Government. They are far more strident than the IPCC reports.

      So most of the US funding, about $2 billion a year, goes to pursue questions that basically assume AGW going in. There is a huge carbon cycle program while natural variability gets next to nothing. Modeling gets a lot of money but only to refine the existing models that have AGW built into them. In fact much of the modeling money goes into runs for the IPCC. Aerosol research is big because the AGW camp hopes aerosols can explain the lack of warming. So is ocean warming, for the same reason.

      Following the money leads right back to the government’s deeply entrenched CAGW policy.

      • Dr. Wojick

        I’ve tuned this reply to a lower level on the fog index for you.

        Punksta has it backwards.

        Who pays scientists?

        Fifty to one, the pay comes from people who want cheap, fast, easy results, even if the science says the results are expensive, lasting, and wicked.

        Who selects projects?

        So long as gatekeepers can put shills in place to make sure the projects pay off cheap, fast and easy, outmaneuvered environmentalists can run around all year thinking they’re doing something, and getting nowhere.

        You know how it is with dam building, EPA regulations, and OHSA, right?

        Once upon a time, the shills put in tangled and verbose regulations that meant no one knew which end was up, or where the loopholes were.

        Now, the shills just gut the regulations and make documenting, information gathering and records retention optional, so there’s less evidence lying around mucking up the cheap, fast and easy.

    • Yes Bart does seem to be in the ..err.. myrrh … category here. Obviously there are the odd Curry and honest broker here and there, but since climate science is funded politically, overall it is invariably going to be prone to a pro-political bias. Exactly like scientists paid by tobacco companies were prone to produce results favorable to to tobacco companies. It’s no coincidence and no mystery.

    • What we need is the total spend of government on all climate science – modelling, academic departments, school curricula, other research and programs. That will tell us close enough how much money is spent pushing CAGW dogma.

  16. Scientific authority stops at projections. They are projecting climate impacts of various CO2 and GHG emission scenarios, and refining these to regional scales for politicians who, as we have seen, have only a regional, not world, interests at heart. The best the scientists and engineers can do is make projections of possible local policies (white roofs, solar panels over every desert, wind farms on every ridge, biofuels in fields) to see if these are effective for carbon replacement. They would project frequencies of droughts, floods, sea-wall breaches and their impacts on urban and agricultural areas.These would go into what politicians might consider, but ultimately the politicians choose, while the scientists can only suggest possible mitigation or adaptation approaches. To me the separation is clear. the scientists (and engineers) provide the choices (with costs), and consequences, and the politicians choose based on those.

    • Jim D | April 3, 2012 at 11:13 pm |

      You doubt the authority of scientists?

      You’ve never heard anyone shout, “Halt, Evildoer! I am a scientist!”

      How about, “You are sentenced to twenty years hard labor by the science of this laboratory!”

      Or, “Stop! Anatomist! Step out of the vehicle with your phalanges open and your brachii extended upwards.”

      The authority of politicians in America comes from voters. The authority of scientists comes, largely, from how frequently their peer-reviewed works are cited by other peer-reviewed works.

      How anyone confuses the two is just a sad reflection on how confused people are about deference to authority where none exists.

      • Yes, I was confused by the premise that somehow scientists wanted to replace politicians in making decisions. The main example was Mann who just seemed to want scientific rationale to be part of political considerations which is a reasonable enough view for a scientist.

      • Do you count that as authority or advice? There is a difference because other factors than science go into this decision. Authority would be if science was the only factor, but I expect Slovenia has other factors related to fuel availability and energy security.

      • He uses his authority by writing,

        “For the sake of identification, I am an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, but I write here as a private citizen resident.”

        Then he writes,

        “The fact is that most CO2 emitted by burning fossil fuels stays in the surface carbon/climate system for millennia.”

        This is not correct, even by the consensus. How much is most? Isn’t more than 50% of human emitted CO2 removed by the biosphere and oceans? Millenia? Laughable.

        “Coal, with larger reserves, has the potential to destroy life on our planet as we know it.”

        Hansen is pseudo-scientist and pseudo-authority.

      • “This is not correct, even by the consensus. How much is most? Isn’t more than 50% of human emitted CO2 removed by the biosphere and oceans? Millenia? Laughable.”

        Edim does not understand how a random walk diffusive interface works. Solve the master diffusion equation and you will find that approximately half will start a random walk toward a sequestering sight, but due to the statistical laws of chance, the probability only decreases by 1/sqrt(time).

        Plug in numbers for time. The square root of 10,000 years is 100 and the square root of 100 is 10, so you can see that a time span of 100x only reduces the concentration by 10x. That is too bad, but that is how nature works when you have a non-condensing material stuck in a non-sequestering cycle.

        You can call this laughable, but these are the same diffusion equations that predict the trace dopant concentrations required that enable transistors to operate and allow you to use your computer to write that comment. Funny that these trace dopants, on the order of the relative concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere BTW, powered the information age.

        So much for the authority of scientists and engineers. Ha Ha. They can do wondrous things with a trace of an idea.

      • “This is not correct, even by the consensus. How much is most? Isn’t more than 50% of human emitted CO2 removed by the biosphere and oceans? Millenia? Laughable.”

        Edim does not understand how a random walk diffusive interface works. Solve the master diffusion equation and you will find that approximately half will start a random walk toward a sequestering sight, but due to the statistical laws of chance, the probability only decreases by 1/sqrt(time).

        Plug in numbers for time. The square root of 10,000 years is 100 and the square root of 100 is 10, so you can see that a time span of 100x only reduces the concentration by 10x. That is too bad, but that is how nature works when you have a non-condensing material stuck in a non-sequestering cycle.

        You can call this laughable, but these are the same diffusion equations that predict the trace dopant concentrations required that enable transistors to operate and allow you to use your computer to write that comment. Funny that these trace dopants, on the order of the relative concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere BTW, powered the information age.

        So much for the authority of scientists and engineers. Ha Ha. They can do wondrous things with a trace of an idea.

      • Web,

        Strawman. The consensus is that more than 50% is removed and it’s not millenia.

      • “Web,

        Strawman. The consensus is that more than 50% is removed and it’s not millenia.”

        The other half stays around and that is the problem. You can’t invoke a strawman when you don’t even understand the basic mechanism.

      • The diffusion concept is incorrect. There are multple sources and multiple sinks. So it is a problem that is different in kind to a simple atmospheric source and sink idea.

      • Edim, you misunderstood what he meant by surface carbon/climate system. This includes the upper ocean and biosphere, and yes it stays there for millenia. If not, where does it go? This is recognized from the slow carbon variations in paleoclimate apart from injection sources like volcanoes or Man.

      • “The diffusion concept is incorrect. There are multple sources and multiple sinks. So it is a problem that is different in kind to a simple atmospheric source and sink idea.”

        Captain #2 doesn’t understand that the concept of diffusion is exactly a dispersion of flows working in various directions and at various rates. That is what a random walk entails, and why master diffusion equations (such as Fokker-Planck and Navier-Stokes) model this phenomenon so well.

        What I have done in my modeling is add another level of uncertainty and dispersion to the diffusion coefficient, and what this does is simplify the analytic form.

        You swung and missed badly.

      • Webby – here are CO2 fluxes that are 30 times anthropogenic. These are known with uncertainties greater than 20% (AR4).

        If you insist that you can capture all the dynamics of these huge fluxes with a simple power law and only very approximate data – well luck with that but I will continue to suggest that people treat your claime with the disdain they deserve.

      • Jim D, correct – he does write “the surface carbon/climate system”, which is different than the atmosphere. Still wrong and alarmist.

      • Edim

        One believes the correct verb is “asks”.

        And authority he claims, “..I write here as a private citizen..”.

        You remember Samantha Smith, the little girl who wrote a letter to Andropov? (

        She was claiming authority, too? She ‘told’ Russia what to do?

        Dear Mr. Andropov,
        My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
        Samantha Smith

        Maybe you can clear up the difference, other than the refinement of adding scientific support for Hansen etc.’s request?

  17. “From Mann’s perspective, the substance of the policies of the Obama Administration are apparently secondary to who is held up as the authority in justifying those actions. What matters is thus political authority rather than policy effectiveness. ”

    Since the actual science issue at a fundamental level is fraud and superstition Mann is 100% correct in his priority. Since we have no idea of what human activity is impacting the climate if at all the real goal is about seizing and maintaining power. The actual policy climate policy is meaningless. Any Mayan Priest ripping vital organs from chosen human sacrifices could explain the process, the impact on crop results and social control;

    Warning; Not for the faint of heart, neither is the warming agenda. Michael Mann is a traditionalist and AGW is very old magic.

  18. Nature is the authority.

  19. The reason people like Mann have to get involved in politics is because the only way any one will believe his so called scientific papers is if he gets a propaganda machine on his side, which he and his mates in The Fiddlestick Team to be fair have been reasonably successful in the past at doing. However, ‘events dear boy’ and revelations of their perverse dealings had fortunately revealed what the less gullible have always known, the only difference between their work and a fairy story, is that a fairy story is popular with children.

  20. The audience may think that the scientist using these terms have a political agenda. This perception undermines the scientific credibility, whether the scientist in question has a political agenda indeed or not.

    It appears they do it about every 60 years!

    THE CAIRNS POST, SAT, JAN. 13, 1951
    World of Science
    By Howard W. Blakeslee

    BOSTON, (A.P.). — The unusual weather in the U.S. this autumn is merely an introduction to about 50 years of colder climate to come.
    How much colder? Enough so that farmers should be told right away that growing seasons will be shorter during the next 25 years.
    Enough so that the public should be told it is being misled by stories that world climate is getting warmer.

    These are conclusions of Dr. Raymond H. Wheeler, student of weather cycles, and chief of staff of the Climatic Research Division of the Weather Science Foundation, Crystal Lake, Boston, Massachusetts.

    Dr. Wheeler’s present predictions are concerned solely with pre- dictions about the warm cycle, which he says is just ending, and the cold just ahead.

    His studies show two important cycles, one of a hundred years between two warm peaks, the other a thousand years. We are now entering the cold half of a hundred-year cycle.

    The cooling signs, he says, actually began about ten years ago. A report from the north this summer was that not in years had there been so much ice. In recent years winters have become sporadically much more severe. Palestine suffered an unprecedented snow fall. Blizzards have appeared of the sort characteristic of cold periods, such as the one in the western U.S. two years ago.

    The erratic weather this autumn is explained, under his studies, as characteristic of the periods when climate is shifting from warm to colder.
    Dr. Wheeler says weather experts have been ignoring the ups and downs of the hundred-year cycle, and paying attention only to the thousand year period. The last previous thousand year warm peak was about 1000 AD. The next is due sometime after 2000.

    This thousand year shift, now on the warming-up side, has caused frost lines to advance northward in Finland, Norway, Alaska, Russia, Siberia and Canada. In Greenland, farms and cemeteries that had been buried under ice and snow for 600 years, are now uncovered. Glaciers have been receding all over the world.

    Warm water fish have been migrating northward for several decades. Southwest winds have been increasing.

    Because of these signs, Dr. Wheeler says, the public has been told that world climate is becoming warmer, and not warned about the coming drop.

    “There is not the slightest chance,” he says,” of the world getting steadily warmer, nor is there the slightest chance that we will escape a long, severe cold period that is on the way now.

    After the thousand-year warm peak of next century, he says, the hundred year cycle will be riding the downside. Cold dips then will be worse.

    “It is practically certain,” he says, “that within the next few hundred years it will get so cold at times that again several feet of snow will fall in Rome, rivers will freeze solid; ice will form on the Nile in the coldest winters; and the Baltic Sea will freeze over between Germany and Sweden.”



    You’ll find discussion of the cycles on both my sites …

    I think we have about 47 years before the (approx) peak in the 1000 year (actually 983 year) cycle coincides with the next peak in the 60 year cycle.

    Also the 60 year cycle (due to Jupiter and Saturn) dominates the 115 year cycle and other shorter minor ones such as 21 months due to Venus.. However the 115 year cycle will extend the current level (slightly declining) period until about 2038-2040, but then expect warming for 20 years and more fun on the IPCC side.

    Check out recent papers by Dr Nicola Scafetta on WUWT and tallbloke..

    On my second site above I show that natural cycles fully explain all climate change, and I explain the reasons why carbon dioxide has no warming effect and just a slight cooling effect..


    • Thanks Doug for the info.

      The AGW emperor has no clothes.

      Why do they do it then?

      • David Wojick

        Why? Clearly you do not understand the scientific debate, even though it is right before you. There are pro AGW counter arguments to these arguments. This is a genuine scientific debate among reasonable people. It is also a major political debate. The combination is the problem.

      • Dr. Wojick

        Mr. Orssengo doesn’t even get that the role of proclaiming the emperor’s wardrobe malfunction belongs to an innocent child whom none would doubt, not to a game-playing extremist.

        It would be like me proclaiming Mr. Orssengo has no credibility, and expecting everyone in the world to see it.

      • David

        Please don’t tell me they don’t know Dr. Raymond H. Wheeler’s predictions 60 years ago that turn out to be accurate.

  22. Here is a nice example of why scientists are earning ridicule and disrepute:

    Notice that prominent government bureaucrats took part in this silly joke, along with activists and lawyers. I particularly like the use of Avatar blue, as a way to refer to eco-sf movie.

    • GOP trying to kill people with hurricanes (again);

      As if poisoning food and water (EPA limits), killing children (Welfare restictions), crashing airplanes (FAA reforms) wasn’t enough.


      Did you notice the 9-11 photo shots used in the source article, how’s that for over-the-top Hunter??? Grieving firemen from 9-11 as a photo op of people distressed by “Climate Change” stress.

      • People who promulgate this sort of BS are lacking in character and are amoral/unethical. This is so obvious to most of us. And this is why no one listens to them. Some climate scientists fall into this category/trap.

      • Are you talking about Obama or the WWF or both?

    • @ Hunter: I went to the link provided and began by reading the preface.
      I thought: ‘This is some really great satire.’; up until I scrolled down through the report.

      That is when I realized that
      a. These people are actually serious.
      b. They are as mad as hatters. and
      c. They are the ones who are acting as a single point source of environmental information to our politicians, our media, and, most importantly, our defenseless children in our schools for 12 to 16 of their formative years.

      Their first products are currently wending their ‘best and brightest’ way through the re-education camps posing as institutions of higher learning and if you doubt the effectiveness of their efforts, just strike up a conversation with one of the ‘products’ and you will find that the contents of the linked paper are treated with the reverence formerly accorded to divine revelation, and just as subject to question.

    • thx, will include this in week in review

  23. David Wojick

    We have passed 190,000 comments, so we should hit the magic 200k mark this month. Time to guess the date?

  24. Authority(?) in political debates involving science

    Here is an excellent example:

    First, every single national/international scientific organization with expertise in this area and every single national academy of science, has issued a statement saying that humans are causing significant global warming, and we ought to do something about it. So they are saying that the human contribution is “significant” enough that we need to worry about it and can/should do something about it. This could not happen unless there was a VERY strong majority of experts..


    • There is a huge list of Experts who have signed that they are not in agreement. There is no list of Experts who have singed that they are in agreement. If I am wrong, I do want to see the list. I have looked for four years and I have not found that list. SHOW ME THE LIST!

      • Real scientists sign their names to their views in their peer-reviewed publications, not petitions.

        Look for their names, and their views, there.

      • So, that the IPCC report was signed, but not peer-reviewed, means that all of those signatures on the the IPCC reports mean… NOTHING? And that it contained about 35% non-peer-reviewed (and in many cases, easily discredited) material means that it’s all the more bogus? Gotcha!

        Then again, there is always that assertion that only those in agreement are allowed to peer-review. And therefore, the argument is a tautology, meaning nothing.

      • geek49203 | April 4, 2012 at 11:37 pm |

        I meant what I said, and said what I meant.

        If you’ve got an issue with 35% of any report because it isn’t science, how does that support science by petition again?

        If you’ve got an issue with 65% of any report that is peer-reviewed because you assert friend review, then the way to address that is by record of citations.

        Good papers are cited by and put to effective use in good papers, and many of them.

        The rarity of this instance reminds us how much apparently good science goes nowhere.

        Care to list the peer-reviewed reports cited by the IPCC, and no one else?

        There are far worse practices in science publishing than friend review, much as that’s a shame when it happens. Untraceable source data, slowness to get to print, paywalling, lack of metadata, baloney-slicing, data hoarding, and on and on.

        You have allegations of those in IPCC reports? List them.

        That’d be entirely cool.

        Because the closer you get to auditing science by valid measures, the more you’ll bury in the dust petition-science.

  25. Less than 1% of the peer-reviewed scientific literature on climate change was contrarian
    That is a key point. Anything that disagrees does not pass peer review and consensus.
    The opinions that disagree are not allowed to be considered. That is stupid and in some cases criminal.

  26. This isn’t hard. If scientists genuinely want good policy to result from science, they should try to read a little James Madison, perhaps a few Federalist papers. If you want science to get a better reception from the public in hopes of getting better policy, start with a recognition that power corrupts and people are flawed. Build a system for science that takes that as a given. Incorporate checks and balances. Honor, support, and defend disagreement . Explicitly recognize the necessity of debate and admit that studies are very often flawed. Cut back on the hubris, learn some humility, admit to uncertainty and stop choosing a balance between honesty and effectiveness.

    In sum, improve the quality processes of the science. If scientists want to be taken seriously, don’t give the public crap like the IPCC. Don’t give us studies that never get checked. Don’t make excuses for upside down data, butchered stats, and “fake but accurate”. Express genuine horror at “why should I should I share my data with you” and failures to abide by data publishing guidelines. Don’t tolerate scientific sleight of hand like “reverse the null hypothesis”. Don’t argue from authority. Don’t flee from debates (while claiming to want debate). Stop pretending peer review is any guarantor of quality. Stop slandering people who disagree.

    Set up a quality system. Build checks and balances. Recognize that power corrupts. Never accept claims from authority. Encourage audit and replication.

  27. Norm Kalmanovitch

    President Obama does not have much of a knowledge base in the physical science but he has a perfect grasp of the true meaning of science as demonstrated in his speech as president elect when he appointed John Holdren as science advisor.
    From :
    When President Barack Obama appointed John Holdren as science advisor in December 2008 he made it perfectly clear that there would be zero tolerance for misrepresentation of science when he stated “The truth is that promoting science isn’t just about providing resources-it’s about protecting free and open inquiry. It’s about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It’s about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it’s inconvenient-especially when it’s inconvenient. Because the highest purpose of science is the search for knowledge, truth and a greater understanding of the world around us. That will be my goal as President of the United States-and I could not have a better team to guide me in this work.” These words essentially mark the end of the climate change issue, because there are no actual facts that support the premise.
    Presdident Obama breathes in CO2 at 400ppmv and exhales CO2 at 40,000ppmv yet the EPA has officially deemed a major component of the President’s breath a pollutant!
    Cloud cover is responsible for most of the greenhouse effect with water vapour contributing most of the remaining insulating effect leaving very little effct remaining for CO2 because the 14.77micron band that is affected by CO2 is already so close to saturation that very little further effect from CO2 increases is possible.
    31 years of satellite measurement of OLR shows zero detectable enhanced greenhouse effect from the 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions over the past three decades.
    There is no correlation between CO2 emissions increases and global warming because there was only a small increase in CO2 emissions when nthe Earth warmed from 1910 to 1942 but there was a five fold increase in CO2 emissions as the Earth cooled from 1942 to 1975 and this is happening again as the CO2 emissions continue to increase over the past decade as the HadCRUT3 data shows noyhing but a cooling trend since 2002.
    GCM Climate models have no intrinsic capability of projecting global temperatures so the predictions are entirely based on projections of CO2 increases and a fabricated relationship between CO2 increases and forcing neither of which have any scientific foundation or are supported by actual physical data as mandated by proper science protocol.
    The climate change issue has noting to do with science which I am qualified to comment on and everything to do with politics which I am not qualified to comment on and I will leave that commentay to the unknowledgeable who are fully qualified to do so.

  28. Webby gets upset that I actually quote things – usually peer reviewed and relevant but here’s something from a Chris Colose blog. He is talking about adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

    ‘This is a case of where the surface is not in radiative equilibrium, and what is happening is that the surface cooling is inhibited . Ultimately, the surface is warmer than would otherwise be in a no atmosphere case because it is heated by both the sun and the atmosphere. For such an imbalance to be rectified, the temperature must increase until as much infrared goes out as solar is received…

    Now, let’s throw a greenhouse gas like CO2 into the atmosphere between the surface and Prad. This means that the layers below Prad will be optically thick and strongly opaque in the infrared. Because CO2 absorbs at certain wavelengths, there will be a bite taken out of certain places in the atmospheric window where outgoing radiation would otherwise have a free trip back out to space. For CO2, it just so happens that the wavenumber 667 cm-1 is strongly absorbed, and so radiation at this wavelength will be absorbed in the atmosphere. Adding more greenhouse gases renders the atmosphere more opaque to the outgoing infrared radiation, and so it is not so easy to get out. Radiation will travel layer-by-layer in the atmosphere, and will interact with various layers in various types of ways. Some may collide with neighboring air molecules to warm that layer such that all the air molecules in a neighboring region are in thermodynamic equilibrium, it may be radiated downward, or it might go upward. Since the temperature decreases with altitude and since colder bodies radiate less efficiently than warmer bodies, some of the upwelling radiation wil finally get to an area so cold and thin that it escapes to space.’

    This is how the radiative physics work – and nothing like in the mad Webby theory. As for the intolerant and bullying rants – the habit of calling everyone crack pots and clowns is pretty disgusting.

    Judith – I call this a contentless diatribe and insist it be removed.

    It is obviously a violation of the blog rules – and I am getting very tired of it.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      677cm^-1 or 14.77microns is the resonant wavelength at which the CO2 molecule has a dipole moment induced through vibration along the long axis of the CO2 molecule which is necessary for the interaction with photons of that equivalent wavelength resulting in their anihilation and redirection in random directions.
      The Earth only radiates a limited amount of energy inn this 14.77micron band and this band is already well over 80% saturated with the current level of CO2 concentration of around 392ppmv so additional CO2 can only have a further effect that is just 20% of the effect already achieved.
      Since clouds and water vapour account for over 90% of the Earth’s 33°C greenhouse effect CO2 by default only provides 10% of 33°C or just 3.3°C of the greenhouse effect.
      A further 20% would therefore be just 0.66°C which is essentially the upper limit for the effecvt from increased CO2.
      Arrhenius missed the fact that CO2 is limited to this single wavelength band centred on 14.77microns and made no measurements above 9.5microns which means that Arrhenius misinterpreted the effect from water vapour
      as being the effect from CO2 so his entire premise about CO2 and the greenhouse effect was essentially false. (This was pointed out by Angstrom who knew of these limitations.
      “This is how the radiative physics work – and nothing like in the mad Webby theory” or like any of the other scientifically unfounded commentary that ignores the fact that satellite measurement of OLR shows that even this miniscule effect from increased CO2 has failed to materialize to any detectable extent.
      There is also no such scientific term as a greenhouse gas because this has never been defined to a scientific standard.

      • Oh for God’s sake – Norm – leave me alone.

      • You guys deserve each other. There you have Norm explaining the GHG theory in a perfectly acceptable fashion, and then he goes ahead and denies it is occurring.

        Climate scientists agree that H2O has a stronger infrared effect than CO2 and CH4 due to its greater atmospheric concentration, but these are all greenhouse gases and that’s what Chief Kangaroo and others can’t seem to accept.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        It is satellites and OLR measurements and not me who denies that there is any enhancement of the greenhouse effect from increased CO2 in the atmosphere; I am merely reporting what the data states.
        By the way the data also shows that CH4 is in a very low energy portion of the Earth’s radiative spectrum already dominated by by water vapour so even a ten fold increase in CH4 will have no detectable effect.
        For your edification clouds reflect the entire spectrum radiated by the Earth and with 50% variable cloud cover; clouds alone can account for over 90% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect.
        The water molecule has a permanent dipole moment so it has a rotational mode of interaction with the thermal radiation from the Earth which is affected by the entire radiation spectrum. Water vapour varies from near zero to 4% in the optical path which is sufficient to account for at least 30% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect.
        Water vapour and clouds can account for 120% of the Earth’s greenhouse effect but sincve there is only 100% of the effect possible clouds and water vapour overlap in effect and combined are capable of producing the entire 100% of the observed greenhouse effect even if there is no CO2 in the atmosphere.
        When CO2 is added it merely takes over some of the effect already in place from clouds and water vapour with no material change to the overall greenhouse effect.
        If CO2 doubles from its current level about 0.4°C of the greenhouse effect will be removed from clouds and water vapour and taken over by CO2 with no net change to the overall greenhouse effect of 33°C
        If CO2 increases ten fold this transfer of effect away from clouds and water vapour will approach the limit of about 0.66°C but the greenhouse effect will still remain constant.
        The same holds true for all the other so called “greenhouse gases” (this is not a valid scientific term because none of these gases actually have a detectable effect on the Earth’s thermal radiation spectrum with most operating outside the range of wavelengths radiated by the Earth or in very low energy portions already dominated by water vapour which has both rotational and vibrational modes.)
        Essentially this entire CAGW issue is complete bunk because it is changes to the incoming energy and not changes to the outgoing energy that drives climate and for the past decade the incoming energy has been dropping which has resulted in the overall cooling trend that started in 2002 and with predictions for solar cycle 25 being even lower than our current solar cycle 24 this cooling is expected to last until at least 2032 and possibly much longer. (If we are at the end of the modern warm period following the Medieval Warm Period, The Roman Optimum, and the Minoan Warm period each of which has been succesively cooler than the previous one as part of the overall cooling trend of the past 5000 years likely leading to the next ice age several thousands of years in the future.
        This thread is about politics driving science which is what the climate change issue is all about

    • “Judith – I call this a contentless diatribe and insist it be removed.

      It is obviously a violation of the blog rules – and I am getting very tired of it.”

      Fine, they can also ban me from commenting. No skin off my nose.
      The Chief has every right to fly his authoritarian Fascist groove thing (note the title of the top-level post).
      As for me, I would rather mock people out of their stupor.

      BTW, Colose and my descriptions are perfectly in sink. The infrared redistributes when met with a strong containing filter. Energy redistributions are meat-and-potatoes to us semiconductor physicists. We simply use Fermi-Dirac statistics (for electrons) instead of Bose-Einstein (for photons) to get the details right. Not sorry to confuse you by this as Bose is the statistical physics model used to derive Planck’s law.

      • Your explanation said that energy was reflected from CO2 and smeared across the ‘energy spectrum’ explaining why the Earth didn’t radiate in specific frequencies and this was measured from space. None of that is true.

        You used the term Bose-Einstein (bosons) and now introduce Fermi-Dirac (fermions) instead of Maxell-Boltzmann as you should of in the first place. You have so little knowledge of atmospheric physics or anything much else in climate and then embellish it with lies, dissimulation and insults. It is very boring.

      • ‘You two have clinically insane perspectives on the physics. Both of you plainly don’t understand a thing about photonics, and especially are clueless on how Bose-Einstein statistical mechanics describes how electromagnetic radiation gets dispersed across an energy spectrum.
        It’s a very straightforward concept that greenhouse gases have a scattering cross-section that can partially reflect specific bands of photon frequencies until they redistribute to maintain an energy balance. Nature will always juggle and redistribute the state space densities to conserve energy.’

        I invite Dave to speculate on what the hell this means.

  29. The Shakun 2012 paper, “Global warming preceded by increasing carbon dioxide concentrations during the last deglaciation” is now being used to get rid of that irritating argument that warming precedes CO2 rise. Read “Shakun Redux: Master tricksed us! I told you he was tricksy!” by Willis Eschenbach here
    and decide for yourself if authority has any place or a return to good scientific principles would be a better idea. I don’t have enough scientific knowledge, but it would appear on the surface that another “trick” to reinforce AGW has been invented and eagerly distributed.