Congressional testimony and normative science

by Judith Curry

Last week, the U.S. Senate held a hearing entitled Senate Briefing on the Latest Climate Science.
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The scientists testifying were:
The focus of this post is not so much the scientific content of the testimonies, but rather the role of normative science in congressional testimony.  Scientists are presumably invited to testify based upon their expertise, viewpoints, and positions of authority.  The opportunity to testify in front of Congress often leads to a desire on the part of the scientist to play politician, and advocate for policies either explicitly or stealthily.  Which isn’t really surprising given the political motivation and environment of these hearings, but I would like to provoke some dialogue and reflection on how scientists can most effectively and honorably participate in this process.
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Normative science
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For context, here is a recent essay from Robert Lackey of Oregon State University (retired from the EPA), entitled Normative Science, with subtitle It is easy – and wrong – for scientists to become stealth advocates.  Its short, but packs a punch, I reproduce it in entirety here:
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Scientific information is important in many policy debates in the Pacific Northwest (salmon; wildfire severity; human activities and climate; genetically modified organisms; water scarcity). Science is essential in such policy debates, but I am concerned that policy-biased science is increasingly common.

Science should be objective and based on the best information available. Too often, however, scientific information presented to the public and decision-makers is infused with hidden policy preferences. Such science is termed normative, and it is a corruption of the practice of good science. Normative science is defined as “information that is developed, presented or interpreted based on an assumed, usually unstated, preference for a particular policy choice.”

Using normative science in policy deliberations is stealth advocacy. I use “stealth” because the average person reading or listening to such scientific statements is likely to be unaware of the underlying advocacy. Normative science is a corruption of science and should not be tolerated in the scientific community — without exception.

Let me illustrate with a current policy issue: “Should certain dams be removed to restore salmon runs?” Scientists can assess with some degree of confidence the likely effects of removing or maintaining a particular dam. Scientific information alone, however, is an insufficient justification for deciding to keep or remove a dam. There are biological consequences of dam removal (and maintenance), and those consequences may be substantial from a salmon perspective, but ecological consequences are but one of many elements that the public and decision-makers must weigh when making a policy choice.

Policymakers, not scientists, decide whether preserving salmon runs should trump flood protection, irrigated agriculture or electricity generation. As the public and decision-makers balance policy alternatives, what they need from scientists are facts and probabilities. What they do not need from scientists are their or their employer’s values and policy preferences masked within scientific information disguised as being policy neutral.

There are other common examples. In working with scientists, I often encounter value-laden terms like “degradation,” “improvement,” “good,” “poor,” “impact,” or “alien invasive.” Scientists should avoid these types of normative words in conveying scientific information. Such words imply a preferred ecological state, a desired condition, an accepted benchmark or a favored class of policy options. This is not science; it is a form of policy advocacy — subtle, sometimes unintentional, but it is patently stealth policy advocacy.

Consider the widespread use of concepts such as “ecosystem health.” It is normative science! “Ecosystem health” is a value-driven policy construct, but it is often passed off as science to unsuspecting policy-makers and the public. Think what the average person actually hears when scientific data or assessments are packaged or presented under the rubric of “ecosystem health.” Healthy is good. Any other state of the ecosystem must be unhealthy, hence, undesirable.

Scientific information must remain a cornerstone of public policy decisions, but I offer cautionary guidance to scientists: Get involved in policy deliberations, but play the appropriate role. Provide facts, probabilities and analysis, but avoid normative science. Scientists have much to offer the public and decision-makers but also have much to lose when they practice stealth policy advocacy.

Marshall Shepherd’s testimony
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Shepherd’s testimony begins:
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Key Takeaway Points

This topic is about impact to people – your constitutents, my fellow citizens, my two kids – not just polar bears.

1) Most of the warming of the past 50 years is due to human activity, and extensive evidence supports this conclusion

2) Climate change is increasing the probability of extreme events, and in some cases may be strengthening their intensity or increasing their frequency (i.e. we are loading the dice towards more Sandy or blizzard type storms)

3) There is strong evidence that increases in some types of extremes are linked to human-induced climate change, notably extreme heat, coastal flooding, and heavy downpours.  For other types of extremes, such as tornadoes, current evidence is much more limited.

His testimony closes with this statement from the recent AMS Policy Statement on Climate Change:

Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse emissions . . . Technological, economic, and policy choices in the near future will determine the extent of future impacts of climate change.  Science-based decisions are seldom made in context of absolute certainty.  National and international policy discussions should include consideration of the best ways to both adapt and mitigate climate change.

While I am not a fan of the AMS Statement on Climate Change (see my previous post here), it does reflect the deliberations and imprimatur of a professional society.

There is no question that Marshall Shepherd is an effective communicator; he effective uses metaphors and taps into the values and concerns of citizens.  The twitter controversy surrounding Shepherd’s testimony is associated with his attribution of extreme weather events to AGW.  Roger Pielke Jr has a post on this, excerpts:

Unfortunately, as is so often a case when leaders in the climate science community find themselves before an audience of policy makers, on extreme events they go rogue, saying all sorts of things with little or no scientific basis. Let’s take a step back. The science on climate change, extreme events and disaster costs is clear and unambiguous. You don’t need to take my word for it, you can find the science well summarized in the IPCC SREX.  In a nutshell here is the state of the science (here I focus on the US as Shepherd did):

In a twitter exchange (and also in his testimony), Shepherd refers to a paper by Trenberth that justifies his statements.  The paper is titled Framing the Way to Relate Climate Extremes to Climate Change.  Trenberth’s argument is basically:  All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.  I see two basic problems with Trenberth’s argument:

  • There is no empirical evidence for a moister climate (see the paper by Von der Haar et al. [link]
  • Warmer/moister does not necessarily imply more or more extreme weather events; weather events are controlled by atmospheric dynamics on scales from mesoscale to hemispheric.
Shepherd’s and Trenberth’s arguments are not consistent with the recent IPCC Special Report on Extreme Events (SREX), which was discussed on this previous Climate Etc. thread.  However, the U.S. National Assessment did highlight an increase in very heavy precipitation  particularly in the northeast U.S. (this is also discussed in Wuebbles’ testimony); this is something that I have not looked at closely myself but I am now motivated to do so.
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McCarthy’s testimony
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James McCarthy’s testimony was on Update on the Role of Oceans in Climate Extremes and Rising Sea Level.  His testimony is well written, consistent with assessment reports, and refers to recent research also.  At the end of McCarthy’s testimony,  he makes this statement:
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One very clear finding from these studies is that one of the largest uncertainties about future climate relates to the choices that we and our children will make regarding energy use.  The more dependent we are on CO2 emitting sources of energy, the more Earth’s climate will change.  The decisions we make today will affect future generations and should motivate us to wisely use knowledge from climate science to reduce risks of harm from unnecessarily disruptive climate.

Wuebbles’ testimony
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Wuebbles’ testimony is on  Our Changing Climate: An Update on the Science.   He provides a broad  overview that focuses on U.S. climate, drawing from the U.S. National Climate Assessment.  It is effectively presented, including a FAQ section at the end.  His closing statement:
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In conclusion, we are already seeing the climatic effects of heat trapping gases, it is important to recognize that the future lies largely in our hands.  Will we reduce our emissions, and have a future with less warming and less impacts, or will we continue to increase our emissions with more warming and more severe impacts, including more extreme weather events?  The choice is ours.
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JC comments:  I found all three of these testimonies to be very well written and effectively communicated.  I found all three wanting in terms of how uncertainties were acknowledged,  and also implicit acceptance of climate model attribution and projections that goes beyond the confidence levels that the IPCC provides.
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It is this implicit acceptance of climate model based attribution and future projections, and the associated UNFCCC policies, that underlies the climate science, which seems overwhelmingly normative at this point.  So, how do you think each of these testimonies stack up in terms of concerns about normative science and stealth advocacy.
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When scientists agree with or quote policy statements/recommendations from professional societies or other scientifically authoritative bodies, is this stealth advocacy, or is this simply the ‘norm’?
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Roger Pielke Jr raises an issue associated with Marshall Shepherd representing the AMS as its President:
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As President of the AMS Shepherd does not have the luxury of using that platform to share his personal opinions on climate science that may diverge from that of the community which he represents, much less stretch or misrepresent broader findings. Leaders of important institutions of science — like the AMS — speak for more than themselves when presenting science in public fora. They also represent the credibility of their institution and climate science more generally. In formal settings such as the briefing yesterday where experts meet politicians, I fully expect Democrats and Republicans to cherrypick experts convenient to the arguments they wish to see made. That is politics as usual. Leading scientific institutions play that same game with some considerable risk to their credibility.
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Your thoughts?  Any additional examples of Congressional Testimony that you found to avoid the traps of normative science (or not?)

859 responses to “Congressional testimony and normative science

  1. Dr. Curry –> This is, of course, an ethical issue — an issue of personal ethics.

    Each of the three have engaged in what has been defined in your piece as normative science. Each scientist has given testimony which represent actual scientific findings and their own scientific opinions (and we must allow for opinions when we call on ‘experts’) ” is infused with hidden policy preferences.” Well, not very well hidden preferences — but the preferences are presented as if they were part-and-parcel of the science.

    • Ignore the social pathology of academia engaging in baseless fear mongering about global warming and just consider for a moment the endless scandals, such as:
      ■PolarBearGate — Passing off a shopped photo as real to market a lie about a decline in the polar bear population caused by human CO2.
      ■GlacierGate — Hand waiving over the calving of Rhode Island-sized glaciers off the continent of Antarctica as if it was something unusual.
      ■PachauriGate — Passing off huckster journalism as peer-reviewed data.
      ■UN-IPCCGate — Showcasing the ‘hockey stick’ even though they knew that both the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age were a part of climate history that could not of course just simply be statistically forgotten.
      ■CRUGate — Playing tricks with data to reach preconceived conclusions and refusing to hand over the raw data before simply losing it altogether and contining to claim that the foi2009.pdf disclosures were illegally obtained when in reality it obviously was the principled act of a whistleblowing deepthroat who became disgusted with the corruption of the government-funded climate change charlatans.
      ■SeaLevelGate — raising false images of coastal populations being wiped out by soccer moms driving SUVs.
      ■RainForestGate — The founder of Greenpeace, had the courage to confront the lies—See, e.g.: Confessions of a Greenpeace founder.
      ■ClimateGate — “Today’s debate about global warming is essentially a debate about freedom. The environmentalists would like to mastermind each and every possible (and impossible) aspect of our lives.” ~Václav Klaus (Global Warming is a doctrine not science)
      ■TarmacGate — There has been no global warming in France over the last 70 years except during the winter, at French airports, where official thermometers are located and also where and when the snow is continually cleared so jets can take off. The same corruption has been discovered in Alaska and Russia where official thermometers were located. The motives underlying this method of positively skewing the data also explains why the temperature record of the White Mountains (where there has been no global warming for 100 years) and the temperatures at the coldest places on Earth are all just simply ignored. New Zealand has no temperature record because the official temperature was arrived at through a purposeful manipulation of the raw data without documenting the slightest justification for any of the adjustments made and then simply destroying the raw data altogether. The raw data for the temperatures at an official station in the Antarctic was corrupted by simply removing minus signs from negative numbers, introducing a warming bias where no warming exists. And, we now know there has been no global warming on Earth over the last 10,000 years — see e.g., Easterbrook Graph… a 10,000 year cooling trend.
      ■PennStateGate — The coverup of the statistical manipulation by Michael Mann and fellow sychophants in the scientific fiasco of the ‘hockey stick’ fraud has been likened to the university’s official coverup of Coach Sandusky child sex scandal.
      ■And, there are all the other Gates. For examples, we have Kiwi / HockeyStick / Hansen / WeatherStation / NASA / NOAA / GISS / EPA / Stern / Russia / China / Reef / Yamal / Amazon / Himalaya / Dutch / Consensus / &EtcGate.

      All of the Gates can be summarized by NobelGate — A Nobel was awarded to the IPCC, Al Gore and Barach Obama for their aiding and abetting of a moribund Europe, an immoral UN and a corrupt Leftist-liberal establishment in the United States to undermine George Bush and overthrow free enterprise Americanism.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Chad Wozniak, I am one of the peoplr who say humans cause global warming. In fact, I’ve written proofs of it in essays a number of times. By your rhetoric, I am either an idiotic dupe or a fraud.

      Guess how believeable I find that. Guess how believable others find that. Now guess how those who don’t believe it must view you.

      • David Springer

        Unlike you I can only speak for myself but, in your particular case, I find it indubitably believable!

        Thanks for asking!

      • David Springer

        Proofs?

        Wow!

        I guess all us doubters can just STFU and go home now that it’s been proven, huh?

        ROFLMAO@U

      • Brandon, you appear to have responded to a post that’s now not there. I believe it’s irrefutable that humans cause climate change, and even some warming, but that’s not the point. The point is whether the warming is going to cause climate related catastrophes, for which there can be no proof, because it’s in the future, and nobody can figure out the future state of a coupled non-linear chaotic system – even the IPCC has admitted that. Still, if you have essays proving humans caused most of the late 20th century warming I’d get them published, because it’s a massive hole in the AR4 SPM and no doubt you’d get into AR5 in a heartbeat.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        geronimo, a comment did get deleted. While you say the fact humans cause climate change is irrefutable, this comment denied it. In fact, it called (at least some) people promoting that basic idea liars and frauds. That’s why I said what I said.

        There are a lot of things we need to discuss and figure out about global warming, but before we can, we need to agree global warming isn’t just some total lie. And if someone says it is, even skeptics should speak up in disagreement.

      • Global warming is true, but so is global cooling. Global climate either warms or cools at all timescales. Thinking of AGW and speaking ‘global warming’ is just Orwellian.

      • David Springer

        Edim

        About a half a degree in 130 years is not convincing of anything.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/every/mean:240

        I’m highly doubtful that global average temperature could be determined with that kind of precision over a century ago. I’m highly doubtful that all the contortions the data has undergone to produce even a half degree of warming is without bias by the producers who are, every man jack one of them, biased in regard to policy i.e. they want to show as much warming as they can. Despite the questionable nature of the data, the biases of the producers, the warming slope from 1910-1940 is just as steep and long as that from 1970-2000 suggesting something other than anthropogenic causes. The data from 2000-2010 shows no warming and the data from 2010 to present is sharply down (not shown in the above graph).

        It appears to me possible, plausible, and now increasingly likely that anthropogenic global warming is a proverbial crock of shiit. The remainder of the decade will either confirm or refute it.

        This doesn’t even begin to touch on whether or not warming is harmful coming at the statistical tail end of an interglacial period when a big freeze is what nature inevitably has in store for us absent any anthropogenic interventions. Neither does this touch upon the political impossibility of getting enough coordinated action among nations to reduce greenhouse emissions enough to make any significant difference which means even in the unlikely event CAGW is true it’s unstoppable by any practically acheivable intervention so any half-assed attempt is just a waste of time and money. The only practical response at this point is to keep up the R&D for less expensive energy sources which will give us an economic leg up in adapting to whatever the future holds whether it be hotter, colder, or no change.

    • @Kip: issue of personal ethics.

      It is that, but it is more. When a leader of an organization replaces the organization’s stated position with the leader’s personal opinions, then the organization is ethically bound to take official action. Which is practically impossible. Was the leader presenting his own opinions and just happens to be a leader of an organization, or is the leader asked to speak because of that leadership position? Usually is purposely vague.

      This is a personal ethics case. An ethical leader would fairly represent the diversity of opinion in the organization and stick to what has been thrashed out. An unethical leader would take every advantage and opportunity of bias.

      The organization must rein in the unethical leader. But this is the Achilles Heel — the retraction, the apology, even an official admonishment or removal from office come too late to mitigate the damage of the misrepresentation.

      Someone at a hearing should ask if the testimony is personal or represents the organization. But then the answer will be that the testimony is personal and leadership of the organization is a resume point. Normative Science can continue unchecked. Only if someone explicitly contrasts the testimony given with the Organizations official statements can corrections be made, but that will happen long after the room has emptied.

    • From AMS Bylaws:
      ARTICLE II. Objectives
      The objective of this Society is to advance the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society.

  2. Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings.

  3. Normative science is pseudo-science and very anti-scientific.

  4. Climate skeptics advocate something like John Christy’s Testimony to the Senate EPW back in August this year. Where he cited Watts et al 2012, which had fortuitously been hurriedly “published by press release” on WUWT just a few days before.

    It was subsequently found to contain a fatal error. But fortunately this error was not found until after John Christy’s Testimony to the Senate EPW.

    I think this is the kind of process and quality control that climate skeptics are advocating.

    • Dr Curry’s post is not about climate skeptics. If you feel the need to make your own blog posts, I recommend starting your own blog, where those who find what you say interesting and of value can read your opinions. Until then, please try to make Dr Curry’s blog comment section readable and stick to the topic at hand.

      • On the contrary MarkB, Dr Curry’s post asks “Any additional examples of Congressional Testimony that you found to avoid the traps of normative science (or not?)”

        I am very much on topic in providing an example of the kind of testimony that climate skeptics praise.

      • turn in your shield and your gun. your career as comment cop has just ended.

      • Stop encouraging all the others. Or there’ll be no end to this. And just when is the bus scheduled, anyway?
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      • The skeptical scientists in front of congress (usually Lindzen, Michaels and Singer) have been the most normative people they can find who can be counted on to say things with no surprises to the anti-AGW view. The system is rigged (on both sides) to invite the no-surprises people who put forth least doubt or equivocation in what they say. How do we fix this without inviting Congress to visit the labs and conferences and learn from the regular scientists what the word in their corridors and halls is?

      • Each and every one finds a flaw in the SPM. ‘Summary for Policy Makers’ for you policy makers out there.
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    • David Springer

      Yeah, Watts should have paid his page fees and gotten published in the first issue of a schlock online-only vanity journal with impact factor of zero like this one:

      http://www.scitechnol.com/ArchiveGIGS/articleinpressGIGS.php

      • That would actually be an improvement since we would have access to the data ( the new station classification) and we would be able to see how Evan did the spatial averaging. It would allow people to check the real claim and either prove it wrong or STFU. For example, I’ve even asked that the data be released subject to a confidentiality agreement ( I agree not to publish anything or say anything prior to the publication of W2012) but that offer was denied. heck, I’d even offer to do the analysis and give them the code. FWIW, no money was paid. no fees were waived, and money was never even discussed. The reason why should be pretty clear, funny that you cant figure it out.

      • David Springer

        Glad to see there’s no disagreement it’s the first issue of a schlock vanity journal with an impact factor of zero.

        As to the rest of it, Muller did exactly the same thing using a reference to his unpublished work in testimony before congress. Doesn’t that make what Christy did just fighting fire with fire? Maybe someone should have told Christy never wrestle with a pig because you’ll both get covered with shiit but the pig will like it.

      • David Springer

        Tell us why it didn’t cost anything, Steven. Afraid to say it was accepted purely because the schlock journal wanted the names at the top while no self-respecting journal would accept it despite the names at the top?

    • Errors are especially fatal when the victim survives.

    • Is it then your position that everything that is published or presented to Congress must be beyond reproach? I think very little would ever be published.

  5. If we’ve changed climate in the past, it’s been for the good; if we can change it in the future, I hope it’s for our benefit, as it has been in the past.
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  6. [well, that didn’t go so smoothly…posted half-way through the writing]

    The personal ethics come in when a scientist has a strong personal opinion — a compelling opinion — a certainty that because of his personal understanding, particular policies must be championed. Thus, he may feel that failing to champion the policies would be a personal ethical violation.

    On the other hand, scientists — at least those trained when I attended university — knew full well that when speaking or writing as scientists they must not go beyond the science that is actually clearly established by well-replicated science. If they go beyond, they must use the proper language to paint their statements as speculation, personal opinion about what will or may be discovered in the future, or give, properly labelled, the opinions of other experts. Any policy recommendation had to be couched in terms such as, if such and such is the case, then policy makers might want to …. To do otherwise is a clear ethics violation.

    When scientists such as these three (some guiltier than others) engage in blatant advocacy of policy solutions knowingly assigning levels of certainty to scientific concepts that are unsupportable by the data, then we have what I personally consider one of the worst types of scientific misconduct — a scientist using his position as an expert to knowingly advocate a policy based on false data or conclusions —

    the rub is, he knows he is testifying falsely about the data — but at the same time — he truly believes that the position he has taken is (or at least, will turn out to be) true, even though data supporting it is not yet to hand, and that failing to advocate would also be an ethical failing.

    The true mettle of a man is determined by his decisions in these types of ethical conundrums.

  7. The fall out from all this pseudo-science/social engineering is going to be hugely damaging to all the sciences, social and hard.
    More than a centuries worth of trust in the integrity of the scientific method and in scientific institutions to police themselves will be destroyed.
    The idea that a scientist could take an oath and then lie in front of a congressional panel is both horrifying and par for the course.

    • Hey w, this is everybody’s business. Democratic, no?
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    • blah blah….

      • societies function on trust and faith; money is a collective act of trust where we believe that pieces of paper or information stored in a computer can be exchanged for goods and services.
        Historically scientists have had a contract whereby they get taxpayers money and in exchange attempt to discover how things work. If scientists take the money, and then knowingly lie, how much longer do you think scientists can be funded?

      • Their word is as good as the paper it’s not written on. Oh, wait, is geschribben.
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      • Science is no exception to the old conundrum that people who seek power or influence are frequently the last people who should be allowed to have it.

    • DocMartyn | February 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm said: ”If scientists take the money, and then knowingly lie, how much longer do you think scientists can be funded?”

      Doc, have a faith in science – climatology is NOT a science.
      Meteorology is a science; because they have to deliver the goods.

      ”Predictions, hypothesis, tarot cards reading, horoscope and any other woo-doo science is only for entertaining and for rip-off. b] if medicos were doing, what the climatologist doo = they would have being all in jail, for malpractice.

      Not considering the part oxygen & nitrogen play in regulating the overall global temp / not taking in consideration my formulas – is the biggest crime of the new millenia, Time is against the both delusional camps.

      ”Warmist climatologist” have built their con theories on the quicksand theories; established before. Those quicksand theories are paddled now by the ”Fake Skeptics” as if they are factual. Small example: it was declared that 6000y ago, the WHOLE planet was warmer by 2C! their proof: because somebody found some preserved beetles in the pit-moss, somewhere in England, those beetles prefer 2C warmer temp today…? … climatology is not a science.

      Have a faith in science, Doc

  8. Normative science is the norm on the judicial side of government where each side often calls on expert witnesses to present its case. Wishing for this practice not to exist on the legislative side is completely impractical. The assumption that most people do not understand that this is advocacy is also unlikely to be true. If it is a problem then the solution is to make the advocacy clearer, not to fruitlessly wish it away. Advocacy is central to democracy so it is how policy relevant science will be communicated. There is no viable alternative.

    • David, advocacy is central, but advocacy by specialist policy advisers is not. As a government economic policy adviser, I often had strong views on optimal policy. In drafting briefs, I sought to present alternative policy options dispassionately, even those I thought harmful, and to provide the data and assessments on which decisions could be taken independent of my views. I trained my staff in this way, and it was the norm in several economic bodies I worked in. However, it was not the norm across the various public services I worked in, to the detriment of good policy. Recognising that those with different views will often produce advocacy-driven briefs is not a justification for me or any other specialist adviser to do it.

      “To thine own self be true.” “Truth will triumph.” You (in general, not DW specifically) sell out yourself as well as others if you don’t adhere to this.

      • Having openly normative presentations from both sides is of little value when the gap between them is wide. We might conclude that the most objective truth is somewhere in between, but we would still know very little about it. To learn something more the politicians must get testimonials that are less normative.

        One possibility is that the scientists explain in fair terms also those alternative views they consider less likely. They may, and should, state what they consider most likely and why, but they should make it clear that others disagree. Even that approach will always fail in being fully fair, but that could be a great improvement – and this approach does really work.

        The greatest obstacle may be in getting those scientists invited who would take this approach. When only few get invited, the normative ones will often be selected.

      • Faustino (and Pekka), this is all very nice but it is not the way democracy works. Democracy is an advocacy based system and there are good reasons for this. Wishing them away is not realistic. There is no such thing as an unweighted presentation. Every summary omits somebody’s argument. The way democracy works is so each side presents its own case. Then the jury decides, including the policy making jury. Your issue summaries are also useful but they are no substitute for advocacy.

        The underlying fact is that no one likes democracy because people they disagree with often get their way. All this anti-advocacy rhetoric is just wishing one’s opponent out of existence.

      • David, I understand that. When I write a letter to a newspaper or post on a blog, I am an advocate. As an economic policy adviser, I eschewed advocacy, and never wrote a letter etc reflecting my own views on a matter for which I had responsibility at work. Only since I retired have I written with my views on the topics most central to my former work. I have known other economists who adhered to this approach, why shouldn’t scientists?

      • Excellent point, F. At the risk of using ‘dismal’ I find I must. It has long been recognized that economists can fail with predictions. We are just getting to that insight with scientists, and climate scientists are leading the Charge of the Light.
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      • Speaking of advocacy-based systems:

        > As revealed in Mother Jones last spring, between 2000 and 2003, ExxonMobil donated $90,000 to two nonprofits Milloy operates out of his house in Potomac, Maryland. Milloy’s defense of Barton—and excoriation of Mann—is typical of his corporate-subsidized science reporting, in which he has attacked not only global warming, but also secondhand smoke studies and clean air regulations.

        http://www.newrepublic.com/article/104858/smoked-out

      • Faustino:

        I have known other economists who adhered to this approach, why shouldn’t scientists?

        That’s, of course, what scientists mostly do, the opposite behavior is not typical for scientists.

        When we restrict the attention only to the scientists, who are most vocal, the balance is already different.

        When we restrict the attention to those that get invited to present their views at public congressional hearings, the balance may be very different.

        We may also ask, what’s the role of public congressional hearings. Are they to educate the politicians, or are they only a part of the theater where the politicians try to gather support for themselves from the electorate and other outside interest groups. Considering them as part of the theater gives a good reason for inviting only experts who are known to give the testimony the inviting politician hopes for.

        Learning about the issues is not done during the public hearings but behind the scene.

  9. Fewer than 4000 comments to go to reach 300,000, probably this month. Go team!

    • Yes, Sulfur very bad stuff, Carbon not so much. But if impacts really displace the core and make traps squirt out the other side, why is there no signal in the pattern of magnetic reversals?

  10. Here’s a question I’ve asked elsewhere, as people were discussing the asteroids.

    If science, science policy makers, climate boffins etc were to make any climate matter prominent, would it not be the thing that’s most likely to disrupt the climate, as well as world economy, trade, transport, agriculture etc in the near future?

    We shouldn’t exaggerate any fear – enough bedwetting! – but won’t we look silly with out solar panels and whirlygigs when some of this kind of action starts going down:
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/education/gases/laki.html
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/education/gases/tambora.html
    http://volcano.oregonstate.edu/education/gases/krakatau.html

    They say it’s the drawn out, high sulphur, basaltic eruptions like Laki you have to watch, more than the silicate biggies like Krakatoa. Not that Krakatoa would be any fun if its cooling and dimming effects were added to a coldwave such as India experienced this winter.

    If authorities were interested in the actual, rather than the taxable, wouldn’t there be more fuss and speculation over what Fuji or Rainier or good old “Vesevo struggitor” might do, and that in the very near future?

    Or is it just about James Hansen getting himself chained to Daryl Hannah for his next arrest?

    • Not content to be Superman, he’s got to be Merman, too?
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    • mosomoso,

      You illustrate why I can’t get worked up over global warming, even if all of the catastrophic impacts are sure to occur and are most certainly underestimated.

      They still pale when compared to a large volcanic eruption. Between the Icelandic super trio or our own Yellowstone super caldera, an eruption such as these will be far more devestating than human induced climate change.

      Now, if we could figure out a way to tax volcanoes, then perhaps we’d see climate change take a back seat.

  11. The determination to “transform” America, and the world, based upon fraudulent “science”–which has been proved such, over and over–offers any competent observer the very picture of a civilization, ideologically divided, in the very act of destroying itself, an insane civilization. (It is the Left doing this, and I call them the Insane Left: a new, evil creature that is the greatest enemy of America and our individual freedom today.) All of our institutions have been suborned, all of their leaders now blatantly lie with every pronouncement they make in support of unfounded hysteria promulgated as scientific fact. There is none of Judith Curry’s “uncertainties” in this; there is only delusion, deliberate misdirection and miseducation, and incessant lying, always and ever lying, compulsively and unapologetically.

    • I take it you think you are the competent observer looking down on the rest of us insane fools. Ridiculous. Civilization is actually doing quite well.

      • A Carrington Event will give us a bellyache. Hunger pangs. The twitters will cease briefly. Silver linings, always.
        ========================

  12. > However, my personal hope is that we will return to normative science, and try to understand how the climate actually behaves.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/18/profess-richard-lindzens-congressional-testimony/

    Maybe it’s just a vocabulary thing.

    • Funny, yes, depends what the norm is. This post defines the norm politically while Lindzen has a concept of a norm in science, which to him is obviously anything that agrees with him.

      • Jim, I don’t know if Lindzen, or Christy, or Muller have deliberately misled the politicians, but I do know that Shepherd, Hansen and a plethora of other alarmist scientists have. Worse yet they are representing the views of people who have so far failed to get more than a derisory popular vote in any democracy they’ve had the courage to run for government in, the environmentalists.

        I’m not sure you’ll ever get to the stage where a scientist doesn’t have an political opinion, and whoever they are, they’re certainly not going to have a political opinion that dries up their funding. However, here in the UK they have managed to persuade the politicians that CCS is just around the corner and would be an easy way to decarbonise the economy. Hence, we have a Climate Change Act, written by Byrony Worthington, on loan to the government from Friends of the Earth, whose scholarship extends to a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, who has never had a job in the real world, committing us to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions from the 1990 level by 2050. Those of you good with numbers, unlike the now, Lady, Worthington, will realise that the current annual ouptut of CO2 in the UK is matched in 3.5 weeks by China. As far as I’m able to ascertain there is no signed off plan to achieve these targets while keeping the lights on. All this came from evidence presented to our politicians by activist scientists, not being normative, but putting a deliberate slant on the truth, and, of course, keeping the massive uncertainties away from the politicos.

      • I would say it’s more a consequence of a failure of global action.

        Western countries decided to go it alone and not enter a global agreement. Then came China. Too late now.

      • > James E. Hansen is a global warming alarmist.

        http://www.conservapedia.com/James_Hansen

        Enough said.

      • Hey, gero, someone over at the Bish’s invented ‘Bryony Brownouts’. I’m dying of envy.
        =========

      • lolwot,

        Your understanding of international affairs is woefully insufficient.

        Rule #1:

        All nations act first and foremost in their own interests. The concept of “acting globally” is one for people who are incapable of getting their own nations to act as they think fit or of those who believe in unicorns.

        Rule #2

        A majority of western nations did act together to sign Kyoto. However many were only willing to pay lip service and without China, India and Brazil on board, Kyoto wasn’t worth a fart in a windstorm. Refer to Rule 1 above.

    • Vocabulary or thought process? A linear no threshold thought process looks for the absolutely worst case scenario, that would be Hansen. Lindzen would be more “conservative” in his predicts thinking what is more “likely”. Since a linear no threshold provides a limit, instead of an expectation of reality, there is a conflict if you don’t recognize what each provides.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=qEhhVmxYSNI

      That is an example of linear no threshold modeling that cost me money. Now if you choose to believe the worst, that is your choice, but realists look like optimists in comparison.

  13. If the same hearing was held in the House of Representatives, I wonder who would be invited and how much different the testimony would look?

    • House Science has said it will have a hearing and the witnesses should be rather different. The majority party picks most of the witnesses but often allows the minority party to pick one as a courtesy. This is normative science in action.

  14. > One thing we are certain of, though, is that the development of future technologies depends upon capital investment, and that it would be foolish to continue to spend such resources in expensive programs that will in fact do nothing significant to global temperature.

    http://www.cato.org/publications/congressional-testimony/testimony-patrick-j-michaels-climate-change

    Unstealthy.

    • w. it’s amusing to consider that Bill Clinton once called CO2 ‘plant food’, probably a slip on his banana peel veep. Even more amusingly, he’s only said it once.
      =================

    • Pat Michaels’ testimony is one of the most sensible comments I’ve seen on global warming. His comments that we can not know what technology will be 100 years hence, only that it will be radically different and therefore projections of greenhouse gas emissions to the distant future is useless, reinforce points I’ve made here repeatedly about our inability to successfully predict the future.

      Anyone who supports long-term (50-years plus) policy advice on the basis of their projections of the distant future is not worthy of a hearing.

      • > Where ideology and science part company, Cato favors ideology, as shown by their open letter[2] published in newspapers in 2009[3] disputing the state of the science on climate change.[4]

        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Cato_Institute

        [2] http://www.cato.org/special/climatechange/

        [3] http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/catos-climate-ad-campaign/

        [4] http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/with-all-due-respect/

      • eerr

        “Anyone who supports long-term (50-years plus) policy advice on the basis of their projections of the distant future is not worthy of a hearing.”

        last time I looked offering advice on policy that says do nothing because we know nothing about the future, is still offering policy advice.
        as in duh!

      • Mosher, my advice for many years has been to adopt those policies which foster creativity, entrepreneurialism and adaptability, and which increase out capacity to deal positively with, to get the best outcome from, whatever future emerges. We can sensibly look perhaps 20 years ahead, perhaps more for some variables, but we’ll still be surprised. I’ve opposed policies which, for example, create rigidities, which protect non-viable industries and which deter innovation. I have never said “the future is uncertain, so do nothing,” I’ve said that “the future is uncertain, but there is evidence that doing x will leave us better placed than doing y or z.” I’ve also said that the best option for government might not be to “do something” but to return resources to the community with tax cuts, on the grounds that that is likely to offer better outcomes than many proposed government initiatives.

        The economic modelling I have done or directed has generally been on a ten-year basis, we can get an indication of how alternative policies can pan out on that time-scale while not assuming that we can have accurate long-term foresight.

      • Faustino,

        It’s not just technology that we can’t predict, It’s also what policies will people want. I interpret Mosher’s comment as an argument in support of GHG emissions mitigation policies. But what policies should we implement. The policies that have been advocated by climate activists for the past 20 years, or more, clearly are wrong-headed and will never succeed in the real world. They cannot be implemented nor maintained to be effective at cutting global GHG emissions policies. The Kyoto Protocol and EU ETS policies demonstrate this. Both were strongly advocated by the climate activists. Both have failed. Neither has been effective. Arguably, the climate activists have caused a slowing, rather than an increase, of global decarbonisation rate over the past 20 years or so. (e.g. Roger Pielke Jr. Figure 2: http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html)

      • Peter, I was not just referring to technology but to the whole kit and kaboodle of an ever-changing world.

      • “Anyone who supports long-term (50-years plus) policy advice on the basis of their projections of the distant future is not worthy of a hearing”

        Faustino, your response still misses the mark. You are offering a policy on listening to policy advice. In fact your advice has no time limit. In short you want people to never listen to somebody who speaks about the future 50 years down the road. Nice, so when a NEO is identified that has a 95% chance of hitting the earth in 51 years, you’d not listen to them?
        I get that. I just think I wouldnt listen to anyone like you who doesnt think ahead to counter examples that take me 2 seconds to construct.
        The physics of climate are such that we know more about what happens after 2060 than before. Strange but true

      • Steven, I’ll listen away – witness my being here – but I will discount projections and prognostications about the distant future, and will give them little weight in formulating policy. Let’s say that there is credible evidence of an asteroid which will come very close to Earth in, say 120 years, with a remote but feasible chance of a collision. Why worry? Those 90 years hence will be far more able to put in motion ways to deal with it than we can, any resources we put in to it now would be wasted. Modelling projections for 51 years out? Sorry, that’s not a sensible policy horizon, let’s adopt policies now which increase our resilience whatever befalls rather than on the basis of a possible far-distant future.

      • moshe knows more about what one forcing will accumulate to by 2060 than he does about climate. True but not the least bit strange.
        ================

      • “Anyone who supports long-term (50-years plus) policy advice on the basis of their projections of the distant future is not worthy of a hearing.”

        “Let’s say that there is credible evidence of an asteroid which will come very close to Earth in, say 120 years, with a remote but feasible chance of a collision. Why worry? Those 90 years hence will be far more able to put in motion ways to deal with it than we can, any resources we put in to it now would be wasted. ”

        See there, you’ve suggested a policy of why worry. And you base that on a projection that those 90 years hence will be more able to deal with it. So, by your first argument, I should not listen to your second argument.

        I generally don’t listen to people who cant spot their own inconsistencies.

        That said, I do agree that being more resilient is a good strategy, but not because there is some magically 50 year time horizon. Looking at the thermal inertia of the planet and understanding that what we put in motion today will still be in motion 50 years hence, can inform policy. One need not have much more detail to projections other than that.

        how about economics
        Running a huge debt, promising huge payouts to pensions, might result in an economic collapse 70 years hence. I imagine if someone came to you and said, we want to pay these people X dollars 65 years hence, that you could and would look at that and say..”wait, you’ll go broke in 65 years if you do that ” At that point I might repsond

        “”Anyone who supports long-term (50-years plus) policy advice on the basis of their projections of the distant future is not worthy of a hearing.”

        So, you would definitely give policy advice if a pension fund was projected to go bust in 65 years. And I suspect you would expect people to listen to your long term view.

      • Faustino –

        I would suggest a modification for your analogy. A more analogous situation would be if our current activities might increase the probability that the asteroid might hit us some 120 years hence, and/or possibly render future responses ineffective due to the influence of our actions (or lack therefor) during the interim.

        In such a case, would you still advocate a “What, me worry?” policy?

        http://tinyurl.com/b2y6hyl

      • Mosher- “The physics of climate are such that we know more about what happens after 2060 than before. Strange but true.”

        What a bunch of junk. There is so much unknown involved in the forcings and feedbacks, and other impacting variables like ENSO, AMO, that all are compounded by increased variability by length of time. Your statement is flat wrong.

  15. >Thus, if the country deems it necessary to de-carbonize civilization’s main energy sources, then compelling reasons beyond human-induced climate change need to be offered that must address, for example, ways to help poor countries develop affordable energy. Climate change alone is a weak leg on which to stand to justify a centrally planned, massive change in energy production, infrastructure and cost.

    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/17595/Climatologist-Dr-John-Christy-Oil–other-carbonbased-energies-are-simply-the-affordable-means-by-which-we-satisfy-our-true-addictions-ndash-long-life-good-health-plentiful-food

    Plant food for thought.

  16. > Change the system to improve the science-policy interface and change the funding priorities. A top priority for research funding should be exploring the significance and characteristics of uncertainty across the range of climate science, not only the climate models themselves, but also solar forcing, surface temperature datasets, natural internal modes of climate variability, etc. Change the decision making framework from the classical “reduce the uncertainty before acting” paradigm to a robust decision making framework that incorporates understanding of uncertainty as information in the contemplation and management of environmental risks.

    http://judithcurry.com/2010/12/09/testimony-followup-part-ii/

  17. >Here’s an enjoyable piece of testimony from May 6th, 2010 by Lord Christopher Monckton before Congress. For the pdf of his testimony, go here. His point about science not being a matter of consensus is well taken and was stated even more eloquently by Michael Crichton in his 2003 Caltech Michelin lecture (go here). Also important is the point Monckton made about science functioning as a monopsony (one buyer for many sellers; in monopoly there’s one seller for many buyers). The buyer, according to him, is the public, but properly speaking it’s the government funding agencies that take our tax dollars. As effectively the only funder, it can dictate the type of product made, in this case, climate research that supports anthropogenic global warming (thereby keeping at bay all “sellers” who challenge AGW). Science as a monopsony also impacts the ID controversy. This is a point worth exploring.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/global-warming/lord-moncktons-climate-testimony-before-congress/

    An uncommon descent.

    • otherwise known as the funding effect. the funding effect doesnt create the wrong answer. Funding determines the questions asked. In the case of climate science correcting this would entail specific finding for crackpots.
      I have no issue with that. In industry the best boss I ever had hired a contrarian and assigned me to do data for him. he was inside the tent pissing out. not outside pissing in. in case u wanted to know what RC could do to diffuse radical potential.

      • I assume you mean funding for crackpots not finding, but this is just wrong. For example NASA has tried to get a sun-climate research program but so far without success. Instead we have a huge carbon-climate program. The Danes probably do more sun-climate reasearch than the USA.

        You are right about the questions and the US funds questions that assume AGW, plus assuming CAGW in many cases. It is a classic Kuhnian paradigm situation where the paradigm is not questioned, rather it defines the questions. Changing that would be relatively simple. All we need are some skeptics among the climate program managers who fund the research and specify the questions.

  18. Judith, you write “Scientific information must remain a cornerstone of public policy decisions, but I offer cautionary guidance to scientists: Get involved in policy deliberations, but play the appropriate role. Provide facts, probabilities and analysis, but avoid normative science. Scientists have much to offer the public and decision-makers but also have much to lose when they practice stealth policy advocacy.”

    I spent the majority of my career in doing Operations Research. What Harold Larnder showed in 1938, was that if scientists were to give their advice properly to the decision makers, they had to actually work for the decision makers. That is the essence of operations research. We belonged to a parent organization, who were responsible for our career progression, and scientific expertise, but many of us were seconded to the organisations who made the decisions.

    I am sorry, but scientists who are outside the organzations who make the decisions ,will never be able to properly advise those decision makers as to what they ought ot do.

    • I am sorry, but scientists who are outside the organzations who make the decisions ,will never be able to properly advise those decision makers as to what they ought ot do.

      Fully agree. The proper division of labor should be that the outside scientists should be advising the inside ones. The inside ones have their work cut out advising decision makers, they’re not in a great position to focus 100% on research. And if they don’t listen to the outside ones then there is the risk that two unrelated views of reality will result, the outside view and the inside one.

      • “scientists who are outside the organizations who make the decisions ,will never be able to properly advise those decision makers as to what they ought to do.”

        This statement is overwhelmingly true and hardly worthy of discussion. The alternate is to base their decisions on the positions of people they have not even talked to but may have read.

        Politicians, and agency leaders rely upon either in-house “experts” or consultants contracted with from outside their organizations for the analysis upon which decisions are ultimately made. Imo the key point is how the individual decision maker obtains the advice upon which the decision is made and how effective the decision maker is at critical decision making.

        Critical decision making skills lead to “better” decisions because by definition it involves the use of a process for the acceptance of a goal and the plan to achieve said goal. That does not mean there will be universal acceptance of the goal or the plan to achieve the goal.

        Imo it is interesting to examine the climate debate as a part of a larger longer term discussion of the “goal to make for a more efficiently operated planetary government” vs. the prior state of individual nations caring overwhelmingly for their own self interest. Transitions can generate outcomes difficult to predict.

      • Kirk: “Mr Spock, Scotty informs me that the engines are at their limit and we may be in trouble if we press on.”

        Spock: “Captain, logic informs me that the engines were built for sterner stuff than this. You can rely on them to bring us through.”

        Kirk: “Mr. Spock, Scotty knows engines, you don’t. And he can see the furshlugginer engines, you can’t. Why should I listen to you?”

        Analogy: Spock = the inside scientists advising the organization, Scotty = the outside scientists offering advice to the organization, ideally via the inside scientists for the sake of a good impedance match (otherwise why bother with inside scientists in the first place?).

        The fundamental problem here is that the scientists inside the organization are supported by the organization. Therefore they are strongly disincentivized to pay any attention whatsoever to the outside scientists.

        So you tell me, Rob, do you see anything wrong with this picture?

    • It’s quite common that experts who work for an interest group have two different faces. When they appear in public they show the face that looks like the group they work for, but when they appear behind closed doors for the group they show a face that helps the group to understand better, what others are thinking and why.

      • Finally, they admit it…….

        Scientists are two-faced and can’t be trusted!!

      • Scientists are human and politically and ideologically motivated, just like other humans.

        Scientists have no more integrity than any other discipline. Unfortunately, since most scientists are not accountable for their advice, as other disciplines are, they are less concerned about the repercussion of bad advice.

        Most scientists, including climate scientists, are not held accountable for bad advice (medicine is one exception and there may be others).

      • Scientists take the long view. In the end they want to be remembered for being right when the facts are finally defined, and that motivates what they put in writing under their name. In the long term, only truth matters, not politics which is local and temporary.

      • Jim D, that’s a very sweeping statement, I’m sure that many scientists must be motivated by shorter-term goals such as income, tenure, being liked, etc, and that this may conflict with taking a long view. I think that in the short term, not just the long term, truth is paramount, but know that many – scientists and non-scientists – do not operate in terms of that view.

      • Faustino, while they may have personal goals such as being lab managers or making sure they get funding, I think the average scientist has as their meat and potatoes getting published, teaching proteges, and being remembered for what they publish being right not wrong which also helps with their funding and standing in the long term.

      • k scott denison

        Peter Lang | February 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm |

        Unfortunately, since most scientists are not accountable for their advice, as other disciplines are, they are less concerned about the repercussion of bad advice.
        ______________

        Peter, I believe this is the crux of the matter. Scientists have set themselves up nicely by convincing funders that they cannot be responsible for their results lest that influence their research. This opens the door for skewed research, especially when one set of results is more likely to lead to more funding.

        The solution is to change the funding mechanism. Not sure I know how, but it is clear from this and the “mouse models” that the current model needs fixing.

      • @Michael: Scientists are two-faced and can’t be trusted!!

        Michael is faceless and can’t be trusted!!!

  19. “….2) Climate change is increasing the probability of extreme events, and in some cases may be strengthening their intensity or increasing their frequency (i.e. we are loading the dice towards more Sandy or blizzard type storms).”

    This is a scientific statement?

    • Exactly. It’s as scientific and as sophisticated as a religious zealot or bar-fly hinting vaguely about “all this strange weather we’ve been having lately”. In the stormy 1950s, one might be blaming sputnik or the A bomb. In Australia’s big decade for storms, the 1970s, one might blame…I dunno…maybe orange shag pile carpet?

      “This topic is about impact to people – your constitutents, my fellow citizens, my two kids – not just polar bears.”
      If only Marshall Shepherd had a pooch named Chequers! He could have slain ’em with the pooch.

  20. Am I the only one who sees an “interesting” [as in Chinese curse] twist to what the three did? They were testifying before Congress as scientists, but to inform policy-making. While I find their comments essentially unscientific [bordering on the unethical], I also have to acknowledge that testifying before Congress is not the same as testifying about scientific facts.

    I appreciate the arguments Dr Curry and others make; but find them somewhat theoretical. They point out the problem, but offer no solutions in the context of what actually occurred. Congress clearly wants help figuring out what to do about policy. How about this as a poor man’s [er, sicentist’s] “Code of Conduct for Testifying Before Congress:” first, relate the science (no opinions, just the science); then, if so moved, clearly state policy preferences as one’s opinions.

    • There is no such thing as science without opinion. The solution is to recognize he opinion being expressed and value it accordingly.

      • @DW: There is no such thing as science without opinion.

        David, two questions.

        1. Would you say all scientists are equally opinionated?

        2. Is it possible for a scientist not to be opinionated?

    • ” Congress clearly wants help figuring out what to do about policy.”

      Yeah, that’s not what is happening at all. Governments funded the IPCC and the climate science community in general for the purpose of accumulating “evidence” to support the policies they already wanted. The IPCC, NOAA and government funded scientists everywhere have obliged.

      Ever since the Democrat members of Congress colluded with Hansen in turning up the thermostat in the Senate hearing room in 1988, there has been virtually no dissent within the “climate science” community regarding the need for a government takeover of the energy economy,

      • Agreed, some politicians (inclined to central control) found the CAGW case expedient and did not critically assess the evidence before determining policy.

      • Gary you write as though the government is a person engaged in a conspiracy. A lot of people are sincerely concerned about CAGW including many scientists. The governments have responded accordingly. But since there are also many skeptics the responses have not been very strong. The demographics of belief explain the government actions pretty well. It is just a big fight.

      • David Wojick,

        “The demographics of belief explain the government actions pretty well.”

        No, actually they don’t. The governments created and funded the IPCC, and funded and directed the research of NOAA, NASA and “independent” climate scientists to create the narrative that would support their existing policy preferences. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s a movement. It’s called Progressivism, and has been around for a long time.

        The politicians believe they are members of an elite that should run the economy rather than the stupid voters who elect them. CAGW is just the latest in a long series of rationalizations they have used to justify their attempts to take control of the economy.

  21. On Friday morning, the painter for the inside of our home asked if we had heard about the asteroid? Both my wife and I said yes and began confirming our awareness of the “fly-by” in the news lately. He said: “no no, the one that hit Russia.” We both expressed our ignorance and he went on explaining.

    The asteroid that hit Russia on Friday appears as a “game changer” in the narrative of Earth’s Ecology as viewed by the public. The location of impact, it suddenness and totally being unexpected, its comparison to atomic bomb explosions, its comparison to Biblical end of the World science fiction, et al.

    My comparison is the “jump shift” in the card game Bridge where the bid is escalated and shifted to another suit, shutting off further bidding in someone’s suit. The shift of the Climate Change dialogue would then be dropped and a new and very visible catastrophe, earth struck by a meteor, reverberates in science, engineering, media and Congress.

    This shift kinda leaves Barbara Boxer and the many in the “tribe”, rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The merchant’s of CAGW and the ethically challenged warmists, will suffer what they advocated: “pay them no mind.” NASA can reclaim its legitimate space role, shed itself of the climate change advocates, leave the “normative science” position to the recently jettisoned cabal, and re-capture the imagination of a new group of students and faculty.

    By the time a cooperative agreement and new science is developed to address things from space crashing into earth, sufficient time will have elapsed that several decades of a temperature plateau will be realized. The CAGW meme will be a distant memory. Thus, during this temperature hiatus, weather research and funding will have a chance to improve the more than two week prognostic ability it currently has; alter the perspective to look to the heavens rather than our navel; add a sense of urgency to keep the science moving. All good things IMO.

    • The plumber called to de-defecate a doctor’s basement presented his bill and the doctor expostulated ‘I’m a doctor and even I don’t make this kind of money’. The plumber replied that he hadn’t either when he was a doctor.
      ====================

      • Kim
        Is this in reference to urgency and moving?

      • David Springer

        I think it was a veiled implication that doctors aren’t as bright as tradesmen.

      • Dave Springer

        You may be right. All it takes is an average IQ to be a doctor but an above average person, at least ethically. The latter of course, ethical, doesn’t seem to pertain to Senators and CAGW warmist types, no matter how “bright” they may appear.

        I took Kim’s doctor becoming a plumber as an illustration of how a “jump-shift” can turn out.

        The news media reports of a meteor strike. Talk about rare events having a life-changing effect. Back to the precautionary principle with a twist.

      • David Springer

        Nah. Greed more than ethics.

      • Heh, it was more about plumbers and painters having better sense than climate modelers and the like. Some of those Carhartts run model trains in their basement, and where they say the trains go, observations confirm.
        ================

  22. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Four recent wrong-headed Climate Etc assertions:

    A1: Jim Cripwell asks  “Show me the empirical data that proves that when you add CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels, it causes global temperatures to rise.”

    A2: Jim Cripwell changes his mind  “I should have written “Show me the empirical data that measures how much global temperatures rise when you add CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels.”

    A3: Robert Lackey (normatively!) demands non-normative science  “Normative science is a corruption of science and should not be tolerated in the scientific community — without exception.”

    A4: Judith Curry normatively endorses Lackey’s non-normative normativitity (whew!)  “[Lackey’s essay] is short, but packs a punch” and she asks “How can avoid the traps of normative science?”

    Let us consider the following proposition: Assertions A1-A4 are expressions of denialism

    We reason as follows:

    A1 denies that valid science always is uncertain  It is sufficient to recall that proof is the domain of mathematics, not of science

    A2 denies that explanation is crucial to science  It is sufficient to recall that science founded solely upon data is crippled

    “To say that prediction is the purpose of a scientific theory is to confuse means with ends. It is like saying the purpose of a spaceship is to burn fuel. Passing experimental tests is only one of the many things a theory has to do to achieve the real purpose of science, which is to explain the world.”

    A3 and A4 deny that normative judgements are valid products of the scientific enterprise  It is sufficient to recall that the consilience of science has always attracted the progressive advocacy of leading conservative scientists, and that normatively conservative science has innumerable examples both past and present!

    “We will also come to understand the true meaning of conservatism. By that overworked and confusing term I do not mean the piestic and selfish libertarianism into which much of the American conservative movement has lately descended. I mean instead the ethic that cherishes and sustains the resources and proven best institutions of a community. In other words, true conservatism, an idea that can be applied to human nature as well as to social institutions.”

    Conclusion  Judith’s post provides considerable valuable material to Climate Etc readers … provided that the anhistorical, nonconservative, logically invalid, cherry-picked, regressive, discredited, denialistic arguments of Cripwell, Pielke, Lackey … and Judith Curry herself … are entirely disregarded!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • blueice2hotsea

      FOMB

      wrt Stealth Advocacy

      You insult Judith Curry (and others) as having arguments which are anhistorical, nonconservative, logically invalid, cherry-picked, regressive, discredited, denialistic .

      This is more than hinting that Curry may be a stealth (denier) advocate. That she’s not the climate angel that many imagine after all.

      But, hey! What about you? Maybe you are a not a true devil’s advocate after all. Maybe you are a stealth angel’s advocate who works through repulsiveness. It’s hard to tell. One can’t know the color of a horse by looking at the road apples.

      Luckily for people of *ALL* political persuasions, the smell gives you away, FOMD. :)

    • Fan apparently cannot distinguish descriptive and normative claim or understand that a scientist’s expertise pertains to the former and not the latter. Descriptive claims are of course relevant to policy advice–that’s why we try to find experts–but their advice can only be legitimately phrased in terms of hypothetical imperatives, i.e. “If you want to achieve a vector of values/objectives X, then the way to do that is probably to adopt policy Y.” When the scientists start trying by rhetorical or other subterfuge to smuggle their opinions about X into the science, or to distort their advice about the relationship of policies to values in order to advance their favored X, then they have corrupted their role. This is exactly the problem that Robert Lackey identified with the use of such cant terms as “ecosystem health” and that Fan is often guilty of here.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      srp deplores  “The problem [of normative science] that Robert Lackey identified with the use of such cant terms as “ecosystem health.”

      Srp’s flimsily supported assertions — and the comparably flimsy assertions of Lackey, blueice2hotsea, Cripwell, Pielke, and even Judith Curry herself — amount to claiming that normative medical science is not proper “science” and that normative medical standards of practice are not proper “standards”.

      Indeed, Lackey’s complete disregard for the vast existing literature on normative medical science is inexcusable, in view of its manifest overlap of normative medical science with normative climate change science.

      Q Does Lackey assert that “normative” medical science is (in Lackey’s own phrase)”a corruption of science [that] should not be tolerated in the scientific community — without exception”?

      These common-sense considerations help us to appreciate whey Lackey’s peculiar definition of “normative” is used mainly by … Lackey himself! … and that Lackey’s peculiar conclusions regarding normativity in science are shared by … only a tiny minority of practicing scientists!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries???}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Is Lackey an ethicist?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        willard (@nevaudit) asks  “Is Lackey an ethicist?”

        No. Neither does Lackey have any evident training (or publication track record?) in the history of normative science. And neither does Lackey’s essay provide a logical rationale and/or verifiable references for his various assertions.

        Absurdly, Lackey seems to regard his non-normative conclusions as being sufficiently self-evident, as to require no supporting arguments of any kind.

        This trait of willful ignorance of course renders him an eminently convenient “Lackey” for well-documented commercial interests!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries???}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fan still doesn’t get it and still never responds directly to a specific argument such as mine above. Medical science is USUALLLY unproblematic from a normative point of view because there is no disagreement about the value vector X in the “if/then” proposition–everybody wants lower mortality and morbidity. (Sometimes there are tradeoffs that do create a need to be cognizant of the difference between values and empirical beliefs, as when treatments with different risk or side-effect profiles must be compared; in those cases Lackey’s distinction again becomes important, as we don’t want “science” claiming, for example, that a person’s loss of some bodily function is clearly worth it if it extends life by some amount, or the reverse.)

        Ecosystem properties are not something that everyone should be expected to agree about. Even nature-lovers of various stripes disagree about what kind of landscapes and ecosystems they prefer, and non-nature-loving values also need to be traded off. There is nothing “science” can legitimately say about such value judgments in themselves, as David Hume proved a long time ago.

      • Steve

        fan does not allow facts to get into the way of his beliefs

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        stevepostrel (srp?) claims  “Medical science is USUALLLY unproblematic from a normative point of view.”

        Srp, your post’s unsupported claim is entirely contradicted by the history of medical science … and it is contradicted too by plain common sense, eh?

        Check out (for example) the death panels of kidney dialysis> … which were ended only by NixonCare: the Republican antecedent of ObamaCare.

        A PubMed search for “normative” finds more than one thousand review articles, and more than fifteen thousand total articles … and so perhaps Lackey was ill-advised to entirely ignore this literature?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries???}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • fan,

        Indeed.

        Maybe steve has never heard of public health?

      • Still obstinately self-lobotomizing rather than conceding a point well-established in philosophy since the 1700s. Remarkable. But for amusement’s sake, let’s proceed through the latest set of diversions and fallacies.

        1. Kidney dialysis death panels are a perfect example of what I was talking about. IF you believe that extending kidney patients’ lives is worthwhile given their quality of life (the Brits like to pose this as pounds/QALY), THEN this is what it will cost and how much improvement you can expect. Science is about the THEN, not about the IF. The statements “we ought to federally subsidize dialysis for all kidney patients” or “if we have limited dialysis capacity it should be allocated in favor of patients with these characteristics” are not scientific statements. They are compounds of the IF and the THEN, and a scientist is no more qualified to determine the IF part than a florist.

        2. Further, and obviously, Fan, I said USUALLY. Most of the time, clinical trials for drugs and medical devices don’t run into serious VALUE disputes about whether the intended and achieved effects of the drug are good or bad, e.g. almost everybody likes less pain and discomfort, almost everybody likes longer life, etc. So the IF part can be suppressed for convenience, and the policy syllogism becomes an enthymeme:
        “Drug A adds two years of life on average to the patient with fewer side effects than existing treatments, therefore, Drug A should be approved.” Left out is the major premise “Longer life and fewer side effects are both good things.” It is left out because it is uncontroversial, not because it is a “scientific” principle.

        3. “Ecosystem health” is a cant term because there is not, and cannot, be a level of consensus about the perfect natural environment comparable to that achieved in dealing with states of human physical health. If you want the US forest system to look like the one the pioneers discovered, that’s a value judgment, and in fact it turns out that you can’t let “nature take its course” to get such a forest because the Indians created those majestic places by periodically setting fires and burning out the undergrowth. Some people prefer more-tangled undergrowth and a policy of neglect. These and many other land-management policies favor and harm different species. Policies that leave large tracts of land undisturbed for decades harm species that thrive on the borderlands of clear-cut or burned-out areas.

        In addition to the value tradeoffs within the “nature” sphere, there are also significant value judgments about land use for human purposes that cannot be “scientific.” England’s countryside is so far from wild that it isn’t even clear what “natural” would mean there, but there are still value conflicts there over the beauty of the traditional landscape versus the presence of windmills or housing. Calling one’s value judgments on such matters scientific judgments of “ecosystem health” is deceptive at best and abusively fraudulent at worst.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        stevepostrel (srp?) claims  “Ecosystem health” is a cant term because there is not, and cannot, be a level of consensus about the perfect natural environment comparable to that achieved in dealing with states of human physical health.”

        Srp, it is evident to every citizen of the United States, that (what you call) “the level of consensus” regarding health-care is *ENTIRELY* comparable to “the level of consensus” regarding climate-change.

        Namely, the level of consensus is about fifty-three percent in favor of careful regulation of *BOTH* economic spheres!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

        The reason for this only-partial consensus is mathematically compelling: catastrophic market-failures, that originate largely in the Tragedy of the Commons, afflict both health-care markets and climate-change markets similarly.

        Isn’t that pure common-sense, and a plain political reality, oh SRP?

        Perhaps folks like you and Lackey need to consider more seriously the tough-but-fair question: How does one do economics [or science either!] in a world in which facts and values cannot be conveniently disentangled?

        What is *YOUR* answer to this tough-but-fair question, SRP?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries???}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • fan,

        why is it that wading through your posts for something of value is akin to wading through a cubic hectare of poo looking for that dime you swallowed?

  23. In the testimony, is some one going to show the real hockey stick?

    The sun’s activity since 1800
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/mean:1008

  24. I wasn’t confident that I fully understood the term “normative science “so I looked it up. According to Wik. “In the applied sciences, normative science is a type of information that is developed, presented, or interpreted based on an assumed, usually unstated, preference for a particular policy or class of policies”

    Clearly any scientist engaging in such activity has by definition forfeited the objectivity I’ve always thought a fundamental prerequisite for the conduct of good science. (I find the phrase “usually unstated” particularly disturbing.)

    The trouble is, “climate change” is inherently political in its implications. I’m not nearly smart enough to figure out how these competing values can and should be sorted.

    That said, I’m deeply troubled that it’s essentially the same handful of climate scientists .who have the ear of congress. Likewise the media. It seems to me any fair minded person would, or should, regard that as ominous in its implications.

    • Doing normative science, such as being an expert witness, is not the same activity as doing scientific research. No one thinks it is.

      • Kindly give me a break. Obviously not. The problem is that a scientist with a policy agenda can’t be trusted to do unbiased research. They are not the same thing, but the two activities can’t take place in a vacuum. One influences the other

      • Poker, if you are claiming that any researcher who engages in things like expert witness activity should have their research funding cut off then I cannot agree. The proposal is preposterous. You cannot eliminate the interface between science and policy.

      • @pokerguy: The problem is that a scientist with a policy agenda can’t be trusted to do unbiased research.

        I fully agree with pokerguy. The only way to do unbiased research on climate change is to hire the scientists that used to do unbiased research on second-hand tobacco smoke. They had no policy agenda there, so would they have no climate policy agenda either? Right, pokerguy?

        If you disagree, who would you propose to do unbiased research?

        If you don’t have anyone to propose then you’re wasting our time with your blathering.

      • k scott denison

        David Wojick | February 17, 2013 at 5:54 am |
        Poker, if you are claiming that any researcher who engages in things like expert witness activity should have their research funding cut off then I cannot agree. The proposal is preposterous. You cannot eliminate the interface between science and policy.
        ————–
        Would like to understand what you see as the negative consequences of not allowing scientists who accept federal funding to provide expert testimony (except in a court of law). I’m sure I’m seeing the downside to not allowing researchers to provide testimony to policy makers. If the policy makers want scientific advisors, hire them.

    • Clearly any scientist engaging in such activity has by definition forfeited the objectivity I’ve always thought a fundamental prerequisite for the conduct of good science. (I find the phrase “usually unstated” particularly disturbing.)

      Quite orwellian the way “normative” is used too – a kind of doublespeak, saying one thing but meaning another, with an added twist, in that “normative”, setting norms, makes it appear that this would be based on normal object science as a principle but it turns out “normative science” is anything that sounds vaguely “of science” enough to promote whatever agenda is being pushed and as here, that is fictions being passed off as science.

      http://www.orwelltoday.com/dblspkthennow.shtml

      • Derived from Wiki: Positive economics is the branch of economics that concerns the description and explanation of economic phenomena. It focuses on facts and cause-and-effect behavioural relationships and includes the development and testing of economic theories. Positive economics concerns analysis of economic behaviour. Normative economics is that part of economics that expresses value judgments about economic fairness or what the economy ought to be like or what goals of public policy ought to be.

        I studied with, and was research assistant to, the eminent economist Dick (R G) Lipsey, who wrote “An Introduction to Positive Economics.” Everyone who taught me at LSE was an adviser to government and/or business, but had the concept of positive – i.e., scientific – economics at their core.

  25. Brandon Shollenberger

    David Springer just called for the murder of climate scientists. Can we please have that deleted and him put in moderation? Calling for the murder of anyone is unacceptable.

    • David Springer

      I said dispatched like coyotes. I believe in more humane methods. In fact I’ve used these in the past:

      http://www.livetraps.com/live-traps/coyote-traps

      I’m unsure of where to release them where they wouldn’t be a danger to themselves or others. My ancestors used Australia. I’m thinking Gitmo but not sure if it’s big enough. There won’t be any water boarding however because it’s already demonstrated that climate scientists are in possession of no useful information.

    • charity. you could have asked him what he meant?
      I read it. and thought. Is Springer calling for people to be killed?
      hmm. that interpretation would fly in the face of what I have come to know about Dave. he’s a weak bully. a class clown. getting attention from bad borderline behavior. And smart. Too smart to outright call for people being killed. So I read the sentence more carefully, have I missed another meaning.. “dispatched” thats an euphemism for what? . so I do a little looking and conclude that he’s hinting at relocations. Charity can save you from making mistakes. So, thats an example of how charity would work.

      • Catch and release on the trail back to truth.
        =============

      • Brandon needs to put more links in his chain

      • David Springer

        steven mosher | February 16, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply

        “what I have come to know about Dave. he’s a weak bully. a class clown. getting attention from bad borderline behavior.”

        Class clown – no doubt.

        Borderline bad behavior. If by that you mean playing within the rules just short of breaking them, of course. Why would an honest player not leverage the rules right up to but short of breaking them? It takes skill to do that whatever the sport. Novices play well within the rules. Experts play at the edge of the envelope.

        I take exception to weak bully. I have no power whatsoever over anyone here. How is it possible to be any kind of bully in that circumstance? Please explain.

      • @DS: I take exception to weak bully. I have no power whatsoever over anyone here. How is it possible to be any kind of bully in that circumstance? Please explain.

        A very creepy similarity to the argument used by those cyberbullies that have driven people to suicide. I picture DS eagerly looking forward to the first suicide he can notch up on his belt while denying its impossibility all along.

      • Apprentice Pratt picks up the stick.
        ============

      • Touche, kim. Don’t know what came over me.

      • David Springer

        Good one, Kim. Hypocrisy is rampant.

        @Pratt

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberbullying#Legal_definition

        my emphasis

        – actions that use information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm another or others.
        – use of communication technologies for the intention of harming another person
        – use of internet service and mobile technologies such as web pages and discussion groups as well as instant messaging or SMS text messaging with the intention of harming another person

        Note all three diagnostics require intent to harm. I have no such intent unless you equate the destruction of an idea with the destruction of the person holding the idea. I’m willing to entertain the validity of that equanimity. Ideally attacking ideas is held separate from attacking the person. This is often explicit in the dog-eat-dog world of corporate competition. If you haven’t seen the common sign in conference rooms “Attack ideas not people” then you need to get out more. Personally I’ve never understood how it’s possible to attack the idea without attacking the person as well. We are what we think and our ideas are therefore expressions of who we are. Thus if I attack your idea I attack who you are and there’s no getting around that without mincing words. I refuse to walk on eggshells worrying about how I can protect the self-esteem of others when deconstructing their ideas. If they can’t take the heat they should get out of the kitchen in other words.

      • David Springer

        In the improbable case of it causing confusion I meant to write equality above not equanimity.

      • Vaughan,

        akin to cyberbullies pushing people to suicide.

        Anyone who kills themselves because of what another person says, particularly on the internet, has serious mental health issues.

        It may sound cruel, but i do not have a lot of sympathy for people who take their own life, except perhaps in certain circumstances. I save it for the people they leave behind.

        Life is hard and then we die. If a person decides it is too hard for them and checks out, so be it. I don’t begrudge them doing so. I just put them far down the list of what I care about.

        Now if only the Paul Erlichs of the world would show the courage of their convictions and check out. I would not have any increased sense of sympathy for them, but my level of respect would increase. As of now, I have none for those people who tell us we are dangerously overpopulated and over using our resources yet continue to motor happily along in a comfortable – sometimes extremly comfortable – lifestyle all the while telling us how bad we are.

      • David, arguing that you cant be a bully because you have no power, is a non sequitor. Bullies succeed because of the perception that they have power, not actual power. Which is why its best to punch them in the nose.
        So, I’ll stick with my point. You’re a weak bully. You’ve proved that by admission. So, I fail to see why you cant agree with yourself on the matter.

      • Bully: a blustering browbeating person;

        I’m not sure why you would argue with this description of you Dave. its pretty much how you defined yourself and your behavior. Christ, were you lying about yourself?

        blustering? hey you called yourself an expert playing near the edge
        browbeating: heck your the one who says you cant help yourself from attacking the person and their ideas.

        And “weak” bully makes perfect sense as well. As you note you have no power.

        So explain to me again why you disagree with a description that you yourself produced?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        timg56, I’ve been unable to respond to the above comments due to moderation (I don’t know what standard is being applied, but whatever), but I feel I should point out most people who commit suicide do have serious mental health issues.

        That said, cyber bullying is like all bullying. It can cause real damage to people without any mental health issues. It can even cause serious mental health issues. It may be easy to dismiss it because it is on the internet, but the reality is the media bullying comes from means little.

      • @timg56: It may sound cruel, but i do not have a lot of sympathy for people who take their own life, except perhaps in certain circumstances. I save it for the people they leave behind.

        No you don’t, you have no sympathy whatsoever for “the people they leave behind.” Otherwise you’d be opposed to cyberbullying for precisely that reason. You’re a hypocrite.

      • Vaughan,

        Having experienced neighbors and family members of friends taking the suicide route, I’ve seen what they leave behind. In one case a wife and 4 kids, in another a pregnant wife and three kids. I know where my sympathy lies.

        Call me whatever names you like, if it makes you feel superior. I’m just curious about how you show your concern for those around you.

      • Vaughn fumbles with the stick. Maybe he can dowse up a geyser.
        =============

      • Our colour commentator
        has no ear for the sound
        of keisaku blows.

      • Just connecting dots, here. Trouble is, they keep running all over the field.
        ==========

      • Hehe nice willard..

    • Willard, thanks much for this link, this is very good, i am flagging it for a future post

      • From those August 2012 hearings:

        “As a result of the uncertainty caused by EPA’s GHG regulations, investment is estimated to decline by 5% to 15 % in directly impacted industries, such as the electric power sector, mining, manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade which were responsible of 25% of overall capital investment in U.S. economy in both 2008 and 2009. A 5% to 15% decline in investment for only the directly affected industries would result in an approximately $25 to $75 billion reduction in investment outlays and could result in between 476,000 to 1.4 million fewer jobs in 2014”

        EPA has become THE problem rather than providing solutions. Who da thunk it? “We’re here to help you.”

      • RiH008,

        A 5% to 15% decline in investment for only the directly affected industries would result in an approximately $25 to $75 billion reduction in investment outlays and could result in between 476,000 to 1.4 million fewer jobs in 2014

        The costs are relatively easy to define. But what are the benefits? Where have they been defined?

        What is the uncertainty on the costs and on the benefits?

    • I couldn’t get that link, it timed out, I’ll wait for the future post.

  26. I have been saying for years that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change, as ‘documented’ by Climate Scientists, represents an existential threat to western civilization, if not the planet.

    Not because of any changes in the actual climate induced by the production of CO2 as a byproduct of civilization, but because ‘climate science’ was established for the specific purpose of providing ‘scientific’ justification for giving government essentially infinite power over us. Climate Science has been notoriously unsuccessful in establishing a correlation between empirically observed climate variability and human activity, including CO2 production, yet the message from climate scientists since day one has been: ‘The science is settled. CO2 injected into the atmosphere as a byproduct of human energy production is changing the climate of the planet dramatically and for the worse. The only way to avert catastrophe is for governments to assume control of energy production and consumption worldwide and for them to force dramatic reductions in CO2 emission. It is the most dangerous threat ever to face humanity and action MUST be taken immediately.’

    The symbiosis between climate scientists and the politicians and environmental groups who fund them has been astoundingly successful in generating laws and regulations using the above as justification. The above testimony illustrates why. When data is lacking, they simply make it up.

    We sow the wind……..

    • David Springer

      +0.9

      Dinged it a tenth of a point for lack of comedic flair with the melodrama. You can’t have your climate scientists destroying western civilization without also making them out to be buffoons who couldn’t give away blubber to Eskimos.

      • @ David Springer:

        Clearly you misunderstand. I never said or implied that climate scientists are destroying or could destroy western civilization.

        I DID say that the products of ‘climate science’ are being used by the politicians who fund the climate scientists as an excuse to aggrandize their power and implement policies that WILL destroy western civilization if they are successful in enacting them.

        Or do you not think that reducing the anthropogenic CO2 by 90% as advocated by climate and environmental experts will NOT effectively destroy western civilization? Or that western civilization will just motor along serenely as the population of the earth is reduced to around 1e9 +/- .5e9, as we are assured by climate and environmental experts is required to achieve the holy grail of sustainability?

        Or are you saying that the climate and environmental experts have NOT recommended either of the above? Or that the EPA and other government organizations are NOT implementing regulations to drastically reduce or eliminate anthropogenic CO2, with no allowable minimum in sight?

        Other than ridiculing me without actually addressing what I said, did you disagree with the premise that the relationship between the climate science community and left wing politicians is essentially symbiotic? Did you disagree with my statement that since it burst onto the scene in the 90’s the position of ‘climate science’ is pretty much as I described it? Are there ANY ‘legitimate’ climate scientists who publicly question that anthropogenic CO2 is changing the climate rapidly and that the impact of the changes is overwhelmingly deleterious? And as Jim Cripwell asks, is there any actual, empirical, unadjusted environmental data that demonstrates convincingly that they are right?

        Dr. Curry provided this:

        “JC comments: I found all three of these testimonies to be very well written and effectively communicated. I found all three wanting in terms of how uncertainties were acknowledged, and also implicit acceptance of climate model attribution and projections that goes beyond the confidence levels that the IPCC provides.
        .
        It is this implicit acceptance of climate model based attribution and future projections, and the associated UNFCCC policies, that underlies the climate science, which seems overwhelmingly normative at this point. So, how do you think each of these testimonies stack up in terms of concerns about normative science and stealth advocacy.”

        which I paraphrased as ‘When data is lacking, they simply make it up.’ Inaccurate?

        And I apologize for my lack of comedic flair. It is just another of my personal failings.

      • Despite lack of a nail, your shoe has held fast;
        The Hammer of Laughter smiths Truth on at last.
        ========================

      • Bob Ludwick,

        Don’t let the projection of progressive drones bother you. They are incapable of arguing with what skeptics actually argue, because they have been taught to never listen to, let alone think about them.

        In their minds, all conservatives are stupid, or evil, or in most cases both.

        The number of straw men thrown up by the progressives on this blog the last couple days would be enough to populate some of those ghost cities the Chinese have built.

      • David Springer

        The misunderstanding is due to me failing to see the difference between climate scientists and politicians. The politicians believe they’re expert enough in the sciences to know what’s right and the climate scientists believe they’re expert enough in policy to know what’s right. In my eyes that munges them into the same entity.

      • David Springer

        Bob,

        In 25 years of trying what change hath the doomsayers actually wrought?

        What makes you think they’ll be any more transformative in the next 25 years?

        And now the bottom is falling out of the narrative science with the earth steadfastly refusing to warm for 115 years despite CO2 emissions not only not decreasing but accelerating the whole time. More and dirtier coal is being burnt thanks to manufacturing being driven to where environmental regulations are less burdensome. Do you think China gives a fig about western posturing about global warming? If so you have another think coming.

        I submit to you the western progressive scientists and politicians are impotent buffoons. All hat and no cattle. I will however concede that kind of like compact flourescent light bulbs. I just leave the suckers burning constantly and it costs no more than turning incandescents off when I don’t need the light. So I have one less concern in life – don’t bother shutting lights off because the bulbs last almost forever and don’t consume much juice.

  27. Peter S. Glaser, an objective witness:

    > Peter practices in the energy and environmental law fields and is the chair of the firm’s Climate Change Practice Team. He represents electric utility, mining and other energy industry companies and associations, as well as other businesses, on regulatory and commercial matters. He specializes in environmental regulation and litigation, particularly in the area of air quality and global climate change. He has participated in numerous EPA rulemakings and judicial appeals and in various state, federal, and local siting and permitting proceedings. Given his strong background, he has testified numerous times before Congress on climate change issues. Peter has also represented numerous coal producers and coal purchasers on a variety of commercial and contract matters, including litigated disputes, and his experience extends to proceedings before the STB and FERC.

    http://www.troutmansanders.com/peter_glaser/

  28. > I suspect that all four of these witnesses were invited by the Republicans.

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/28/congressional-hearing-on-climate-change/

  29. David Springer

    I always wondered what exactly informs you of the future.

    Now I know. I’m chagrined that I didn’t deduce it was Hollywood science fiction without your candid admission of same.

  30. J. Scotty Armstrong’s testimony:

    http://www.theclimatebet.com/?p=401

    I count five “alarmists” in this non-advocacy.

    • Willard

      Our hostess has asked for examples of Congressional Testimonies by scientists that avoided the traps of “normative science”.

      If one wants to speak of testimonies by climate scientists before Congress, I still think the most objective testimony was that by our hostess before the Baird Congressional Committee a couple of years ago..
      http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ChangePan

      Let me quote some key excerpts:

      Anthropogenic climate change is a theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain.

      The threat from global climate change does not seem to be an existential one on the time scale of the 21st century even in its most alarming incarnation.

      Anthropogenic climate change on time scales of decades is arguably less important in driving vulnerability than increasing population, land use practices and ecosystem degradation.

      It seems more important that robust policy responses be formulated rather than to respond urgently with policies that may fail to address the problem and whose unintended consequences have not been adequately explored.

      There is nothing in that testimony that smacks of normative science.

      It’s like Jack Webb’s detective, Joe Friday, said in the old series: “Just the facts, ma’am”.

      Max

      • But her scientific claims are clearly arguable. They obviously have strong policy implications. Does not that make them strongly normative?

      • Given that it’s a testimony with clear policy leanings- it’s not much less ‘normative’ than the others .

      • Michael

        Specifics, please.

        Thanks.

        Max

      • Max,

        “robust policy responses”. Sounds normative to me.

        “ecosysyem degradation” said Judith – the very definition of ‘normative science’.

        ‘science policy interface’ said Judith – normative.

        Judith’s testimony had virtually no science that wasn’t ‘normative’.

      • MiniMax:

        > Our hostess has asked for examples of Congressional Testimonies by scientists that avoided the traps of “normative science”.

        Judy:

        > Your thoughts? Any additional examples of Congressional Testimony that you found to avoid the traps of normative science (or not?)

      • blueice2hotsea

        Thanks Max

        My uninformed executive summary of JC’s testimony is that a wise and honest policy will recognize the uncertainty of the impacts.

        To disagree with “impacts are uncertain”, is arguing that there is no honest disagreement. It will probably lose on multiple levels. That leaves arguing over the wisdom of leaping to conclusions.

        It is normative at a meta-level because it filters out unwise and stupid policies – presumably promoted with normative science at a more fundamental level.

    • David

      What points, specifically in the testimony would you personally, classify as “normative”?

      (Remember that the statements were all responses to specific questions by the Chairman, which you can check by watching the video.)

      Please try to be specific.

      Thanks.

      Max

      • The normative claims starts right at the beginning of the first sentence of the abstract, MiniMax:

        > The validity of the manmade global warming alarm requires the support of scientific forecasts […]

        I doubt this requirement is a law of nature.

      • Max, of the four sentence/paragraphs you quote I judge the last three to be normative. Existential is not a scientific concept (s2), nor is vulnerability (s3). Sentence four is a flat out policy prescription. Sentence one while meta-scientific in nature takes a strong position on the central scientific question in the debate, namely the degree of uncertainty. It is as policy related as science can get.

      • Max, regarding sentence one the claim that something is highly uncertain is not a scientific claim about the physical world, rather it is basically a claim about the human world.

      • Willard and David

        You are both quibbling about words rather than meaning..

        Normative science in congressional testimony (as I understand the term from the essay) is science with an underlying message of advocacy for a cause.

        Normative science is defined as “information that is developed, presented or interpreted based on an assumed, usually unstated, preference for a particular policy choice”.

        I did not detect this in the JC testimony, which I cited.

        Instead I detected clear statements of the limits of the scientific knowledge regarding the magnitude of anthropogenic global warming (IOW a scientist saying “we do not know, and – since we do not know – our best bet is to try to first of all better our understanding by clearing up uncertainties and then think real hard of all the consequences before we start implementing actions intended to correct the situation”).

        If either of you see “normative science” in such remarks, so be it.

        I don’t.

        I see simply presenting the facts as they are to a group of politicians that obviously wanted to hear supporting remarks for their political agenda (but didn’t get what hey wanted from our hostess).

        Max

      • You asked for examples – you got plenty.

        Maybe you have your own special meaning of normative, but in future it would be better to spell that out in the first instance.

      • > I did not detect this in the JC testimony, which I cited.

        Try harder:

        > Climate science used for public policy should be held to a higher standard, in a manner similar to medical/pharmaceutical research that is used in the health marketplace.

        If this is not normative science, nothing is.

    • blueice2hotsea

      willard –

      You are a philosopher. Will you please critique the following:

      JC’s “normative” testimony is a meta-level statement about clean science vs. normative science wrt standards and uncertainty. Proscribing normative science is not necessarily practicing normative science. But it could be.

      One case might be where unwise and corrupt policies are skewed. That is there has been an imbalance of normative science on one-side vs the other. Then, a scientist who simply advocates honesty and wisdom is practicing normative science.

      Is this one such case?

      Thanks-

      • blue,

        You may argue that your norms are better than your opponents’, but you must argue for them. Telling that your opponents are practicing “normative science” while dogwhistling that you’re not might very well be a dishonorable way to escape the necessity for this argument. This lacks INTEGRITY ™ — Show Some Self-Awareness.

        There is no dichotomy between facts and values, There is no dichotomy between science and meta-science. The only dichotomy would be between righteous hindsights and constructive thoughts.

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard –

        Here I am yet again, about to accuse you of pretending to be unable to follow the conversation. I retract. You are not pretending.

      • Blue,

        I answered your loaded question the best I could without getting too personal. What I am saying applies to whatever case you might consider. A prescription is always normative, be it scientific or metascientific. Think about what this entails, read the op-ed again, and read back the false dilemma you’re offering me.

        Everything you say can be held against you. It’s as simple as that.

      • blue,

        Since both of your cases are at best caricatures, my answer covered whatever case you might imagine. Prescriptions are normative; facts go hand in hand with values; most of scientific activities are meta-scientific, so much that the distinction makes little sense; everything you say will be held against you.

        Since both of your cases are at best caricatures, your “we’re having a conversation” gambit is quite moot, quite frankly.

      • Sorry for the double post.
        Damn spam bucket.

      • Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had have been about the nature of conversation. Good conversations foster mutual understanding. This one wants only to explain, but splits his tongue, and froths.
        ===========

      • Blue asks loaded questions and
        kim blames with colour commentaries.
        Mutual understanding alright.

      • Yes, it calms; oil on troubled waters.
        ==========

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard –

        My apologies for the provocative language. I tone it down and put less words.

        1. Normative science carries unstated presumptions about policy preferences. (WHAT policy is made)

        2. Normative ethics carries unstated presumptions about the morals of policy-makers. (HOW policy is made)

        Note: 2. is not 1., but could be

        The presumption of honest and wise policy-makers is normative ethics, therefore JC’s testimony of standards and uncertainty was not normative science.

        Or wait. 2 could be 1. For now, let’s not go there.

      • Blue,

        I have another spammed comment about stealth advocacy elsewhere, which took me a while to write. I’ll wait until it appears to follow up more completely. For now, I’ll agree with your distinction, with the caveat that the how-answer can also hint at the what-answer, e.g.

        — Do I have cancer?

        — Yes.

        — Is it curable?

        — Yes, but the treatment costs, is painful, and entails risks.

        — Should I get the treatment?

        — If you want to live, it might be a good idea.

        Most doctors would refuse codes on themselves, btw:

        http://www.npr.org/2012/10/09/162570013/when-prolonging-death-seems-worse-than-death

        ***

        My main constructive proposal would be to distinguish prescriptions to improve scientific deliberations from judgements against specific persons.
        If one wants better science, and only better science, one never needs to mention anyone, be it by name (“Jones”) or by descriptor (“clique”). Blaming people confuses the rhetorical modes [1]. A Congress hearing should be more deliberative than judiciary.

        When their team captain starts finger pointing, hockey players know they’re in for a long season.

        [1] See for instance http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/1489437127

      • Willard, you seem to be a spam magnet today, I will try to keep on top of it

      • Blue,

        The spam filter sucks. Here’s the latest comment I tried to post:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/43488800105

        Let’s see if it gets through by reducing words.

      • Judy,

        If you can find back my response about stealth advocacy, that would be appreciated.

        Perhaps I should take your spam filter as an omen and keep quiet for a while.

      • blueice2hotsea

        For now, I’ll agree with your distinction, with the caveat that the how-answer can also hint at the what-answer

        Good. Then we are agreed.

    • blueice2hotsea

      willard –

      To make my claim explicit:

      Proscribing wise and honest policy is neutral (and therefore not a normative science practice) in a case where policymakers enjoy balanced, distorted input from value-laden, stealth advocacy.

    • blueice2hotsea

      oh bother

      Proscribing wise and honest policy is not normative science provided that policymakers enjoy balanced stealth advocacy at the more fundamental level.

      There.

    • blueice2hotsea

      what?

      Prescribing wise and honest policy is not normative science provided that policymakers enjoy balanced stealth advocacy at the more fundamental level.

      dang i give up

      • The accusation of stealth advocacy is an ad hominem.

        An invalid one, to boot.

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard –

        “Stealth advocacy” does not exist? I find the notion childishly naiive, at best. However, out of respect, in all further conversations with you, I will instead use the phrase: “in the event that stealth advocacy actually exists”.

        how’s that?

      • I posted a long comment here, this morning. The short version should be:

        I did not say that stealth advocacy does not exist.
        What I say is that anything can look like it.
        “You’re a stealth advocate” can only be a self-sealing argument.

  31. How can we make progress on climate science when the main protagonists can’t even agree on their definitions of climate. When we discuss climate we are talking about a long term thing – not last year’s or the year before, but an average over many years. So you would think that these eminent climate experts would get together and agree on a standard formula for defining climate, just to make sure they are all talking about the same thing. But no, Donald Wuebbles continues to invite us to draw cunclusions from spiky graphs which only add to the confusion because they are spikey. It would be nore correct to say they contained unnecessary and irrelevant high frequency detail. Why can’t they agree on say, an eleven year central moving average, for example. Yes, the spikey graph looks normative because it looks complicated.

    Now consider James McCarthy. He came perilously close to divulging the Time Constant of the oceans, or some sort of temperature equilibriun to which the oceans would settle over time. a metric that all climate scientists would like to have, but actually a false ambition brcause it is not a time constant in the classical physical sense, but a transport delay. Those thousands of bouys that roam the oceans must have cost us taxpayers somethind so the least he can do is give us that vital unnamed metric. Perhaps he is reluctent to do so because his colleages in the IPCC appeared to ignore it.

    For an alternative view of its importace, see my website above.

  32. The interesting case of Fred Upton:

    > Take Fred Upton, the new chair of the House energy and commerce committee, who is working with Inhofe on the stop-the-EPA bill. Back in his moderate days, Upton called climate change “a serious problem.” But after a thorough lashing by his party’s conservative wing, Upton has changed his mind. This week he said at a National Journal event, “I do not say that [climate change] is man-made.” Surprisingly, he didn’t feel the need to explain his new stance—there was no personal conversion story. He recently told Politico that he probably wouldn’t bother to hold climate-science hearings. (Another newly minted GOP skeptic, Illinois’s Mark Kirk, explained his recent about-face by citing “the personal and political collapse of Al Gore.”) At the hearing on Wednesday, Texas Republican Joe Barton was content to quote former EPA economist Alan Carlin saying that the theory that humans were warming the planet failed to “conform with real world data.” (He didn’t trouble himself explaining what real-world data he was referring to. Record temperatures? Dwindling ice caps? Who can say?)

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/environment-energy/83196/epa-regulations-congress-inhofe-upton

    • Warming yes, but why and why not?
      =========

    • Willard

      Maybe it was simply that someone explained to him that there is no empirical evidence linking the recent warming or its current pause with human GHG emissions.

      Max

      • I can seldom figure out what Willard’s point is because he seldom states it. He seems to assume that we all think as he does which is far from true. There is no way to respond to such deliberate vagueness.

      • It’s defense.
        ========

      • Heh, one man’s ‘thorough lashing’ is another man’s ‘opening his eyes’.
        =========================

      • willard appears(in this manifestation) to believe that it is ideological persuasion acting upon Upton, when it is scientific persuasion instead. Correction: willard waves in the general direction of it all.
        ====================

      • Normative science at work.

        That’s all.

      • Somehow, on this bright, sunny Illinois Sunday, I think I would prefer to contemplate the effects of gravity on Kate Upton, than the effects of persuasion on Fred Upton.

        But if I were to ponder the effects of persuasion on those conservative conservatives like ,Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin, who have changed their minds on globalclimatewarmingchange over the years, what I would ponder would be how conservatives, when confronted with new evidence, can change their minds and admit they were wrong about something. While progressives, with a few rare exceptions, wear their inability to engage in critical analysis as a badge of honor.

      • Conservative politicians getting extra klout for their conversions:

        Normative science at work.

      • David,
        when willard has a strong case to make, he makes it.
        When the case is less strong he will point at something and say ‘See’
        when you dont see, and try to understand what he is pointing at, he will try to turn the tables on you. It’s not a very constructive approach to dialogue. But then he might not be interested in dialogue. That’s ok. Think of him as a cryptic version of Hank Roberts.

      • Next time I’ll have the opportunity to show David’s façade, I’ll try to be as clear as possible.

      • It’s only a fresh wound.
        ========

      • Willard

        Seriously, you have never tried to be as clear as possible. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver or have no intention of delivering. Half of the charm is figuring out what you mean.

      • Mosh,

        “As clear as possible” is relative, of course, but here would be one instance:

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/AboutTruism

        A more recent example would be the episode about “où est le boeuf?”

        Imagine you’re a King’s Indian Saemisch player. It takes a while until the position is established, but if you play sound moves and keep on the look out for the cheap tricks, your space advantage wins by itself. This ain’t easy, but it works.

    • blueice2hotsea

      willard –

      [Barton] didn’t trouble himself explaining what real-world data he was referring to. Record temperatures?

      You have provided a cynical rhetorical answer to your own question. But what should record temperatures tell us?

      Roughly. The temperature range of the moon: -400 F to + 250 F; Earth about +- 130 F. Note the much greater range on the moon? Yet, the avg temp of the earth is higher than the moon, even while having higher albedo.

      Of course the reason given for the higher average temp and lower record temps on earth is greenhouse gases. Again, GHG is causing both increased average temp and lower record highs (as well as higher record lows).

      Given what we KNOW, why will more GHG cause an increase in record high temps?

      • Come on now, Blue.

        The quote was about Upton’s change of faith.

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard –

        Sorry. It still looks like I quoted you and not you quoting Upton.

        Since you brought up “Record highs”, you got the invite to expound upon it. Dont’ throw a stink bomb and run away. Talk about it (record highs).

      • You quoted the journalist, Blue: everything at the right of the ‘>’ is a quote.

        Go play the science meanie with him.

      • Jes another one whose mind is made up without understanding the science. They’re a dime a dozen, me included. Upton is one whose mind has changed because his perception of the facts has changed. What would willard do, M’am?
        ===================

      • kim has no idea why Upton changed his mind
        Not that it matters much since
        Upton’s word and the Party’s line
        Just look the same.

      • It would be useful to explore why the Party’s line has changed. Sarah Palin, as long as five years ago, said something to the effect that she was not one to blame all of climate change on Man.

        Like it or not, the public’s perception of global warming, climate change, and weather weirding is subject to change as facts emerge. By Golly, what a miracle.
        ===========

      • Exploring such why questions
        Is better left to colour commentators.
        When they divest themselves in speculative histories
        Everyone win.

      • So gather round, people,
        Your fears are forlorn,
        Your guilt isn’t given
        By children unborn,
        For the times, they are a changin’.
        =============

  33. > The 2012 election maintained the balance of power in the United States Congress. The Republicans maintain a majority in the House of Representatives, and the Democrats maintain a majority in the Senate. Because of this, the 113th Congress (2013 – 2014) could be much like the 112th Congress, in which over 100 bills dealing with climate change were introduced, two of which were enacted into law.

    http://www.c2es.org/federal/congress

  34. Inhofe feels nostalgic:

    > I must say it feels like we’re back to the good old days.

    http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2012/08/deja-vu-at-senate-climate-hearing.html

  35. Brandon Shollenberger | February 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm | Chad Wozniak, I am one of the peoplr who say humans cause global warming. In fact, I’ve written proofs of it in essays a number of times. By your rhetoric, I am either an idiotic dupe or a fraud.

    Gosh, you’ve written proofs on human cause of the 33°C Greenhouse Effect illusion?

    Guess how believeable I find that. Guess how believable others find that. Now guess how those who don’t believe it must view you.

    And how must we view those who claim illusions are real and provide proofs and argue nuances? I suggest we’re already in the company of the writer of The Emperor’s New Clothes who recognised group brainwashing for what it was.

    But maybe only those not brainwashed by the AGW Greenhouse Effect scam can see that..?

    First prove the AGWScienceFiction’s concept “Greenhouse Effect” exists.

    • David Springer

      Brandon is evidently not familiar with the definition of the word proof. He also appears to be incognizant of how ridiculous the claim was that he’d written proofs of anthropogenic global warming. I’d use more colorful language to describe such buffoonery but I have to wait for Curry to grow weary of inspecting my comments first. ;-)

  36. Q: How much good would have been accomplished in the world w/o advocacy.
    A: Less.

    Interesting that Judith continues to have a selective definition of advocacy. All good is not advocacy and all advocacy is not good.

    • How much good would the right advocacy have brought?
      More.

      The issue isnt advocacy. The issue is who should advocate and how should they advocate. Personally, I think big multi nationals should advocate by buying politicians. hehe. you see the problem with merely attacking advocacy and merely promoting it.

      Judith’s argument, as I take it, is that there is real danger to science when certain forms of advocacy are promoted and/or allowed. That’s clearly a debatable point and one that quips don’t diminish.

      • steven –

        How much good would the right advocacy have brought?
        More.

        I agree completely. So the question is not about advocacy.

        Judith’s argument, as I take it, is that there is real danger to science when certain forms of advocacy are promoted and/or allowed.

        I take her argument differently: I see that her objection is to scientific advocacy contingent on the content being advocated – not the form of advocacy. The same form of advocacy seems selectively objectionable.

        As to “allowed” – I see that as non-starter. Even if I wanted to disallow some forms of advocacy (which I don’t), it isn’t consistent with our constitutional right to free speech.

        I am more than willing to debate what forms of advocacy are acceptable. Along those lines — Is Roy Spencer’s form of advocacy objectionable?

        “I view my job a little like a legislator, supported by the taxpayer, to protect the interests of the taxpayer and to minimize the role of government.”

        I would absolutely love to debate Judith on that – assuming that she and I might have different perspectives.

      • WRT ” allowed.” I have no issue with organizations restricting their own advocacy so its not a free speech issue. that’s what Im hinting at.

        I think there is an interesting debate to be had on forms of advocacy.
        Maybe Judith will clarify her position, maybe you’d have no fight with her, so why assume you’d have one.

        frankly as a policy maker I’d disregard any scientist who said he had an informed view of a carbon tax or cap and trade that he wanted to share and I’d ratchet his credibility on science down as well. Any scientist stupid enough to think he has an informed view on tax policy or is stupid enough to suggest a tax policy is not smart enough to be listened to about science. Yes he gets to have his opinion on taxes, and he gets to keep his opinion to himself if he wants to retain his credibility. You might find that a bit harsh, but as a policy maker I would assume I have the right to listen to whomever I choose to. So, for example, I’d listen to hansen about the science and turn his damn microphone off when he talked about policy.

      • David Springer

        steven mosher | February 17, 2013 at 3:13 am |

        “So, for example, I’d listen to hansen about the science and turn his damn microphone off when he talked about policy.”

        Wouldn’t turning off his microphone deprive others of knowing he’s too stupid to know when to shut his mouth and then, like you, his statements on the science may be considered in light of that stupidity?

        And by the way, Hansen and Muller are interchangeable. It seems a common foible of left coast eco-loon scientists that they don’t know when to STFU.

      • This reminds me of the role of witnesses and a jury in a court trial.

        My youngest brother, who was a US Attorney, once told me that the most important thing to remember when listening to a witness or to evidence, was credibility. When I was selected to a jury in a quadruple homicide case – the contract killing of a woman, her two twin 7 yr old daughters and an unlucky 19 yr Coast Guard sailor by a Hells Angel member – all of the evidence was circumstancial. Basically testimony by convicted murderers, rapists, drug dealers and Deputy & Assistent Wardens and Guard Capitains.

        The former group testified for the prosecution. The latter for the defense. On the face of it, it would appear to be pretty simple to assign crediability. Except one would be wrong.

        Moving back to Congressional testimony and advocacy – any scientist whom I thought was coming from a position of advocacy would be one whose credibility I would discount.

        Other behaviors or testimony to which would indicate little cause for credibility:

        1) Claiming weather we are experiencing has anything to do with climate change.

        2) Any attempt to link “extreme” weather to climate change.

        3) Claims that climate change has already resulted in over 300,000 deaths and will create 50 million climate refugees.

        4) Claims we will experience sea level rises on order of 10 feet to 10 meters by the end of this century.

        I could go on.

        What would be interesting is for a group to put up a mock trial of climate change. The jury would be selected just as for any other major court case. Both sides would present expert witnesses and physical evidence. The jury would decide.

        One thing this might do is show how dependant climate science is on model projections.

    • Joshua

      You state that “All good is not advocacy and all advocacy is not good.”

      No one could argue with that.

      To your other point that “less good would have been accomplished without advocacy”, one could argue that less evil would also have been accomplished without advocacy.

      An example today.

      A few years ago several green advocacy groups, like WWF and Greenpeace lobbied heavily against nuclear power generation.

      Now it has become obvious that there is no short- to medium-term alternate to large scale fossil fuel fired electrical power generation other than nuclear power.

      So the advocates are now quietly backing off on their opposition to nuclear power in order to cut back human CO2 emissions.

      So what was “bad” a few years ago, has now become “good”.

      The problem is that the past lobbying was so successful that the general population and politicians in many countries are totally brainwashed against nuclear power – so the “evil” has been done, even though it all started (supposedly) with “good” intentions.

      Max

  37. I am impressed with Dr. Lackey’s normative science essay and endorse his suggestion: “Provide facts, probabilities and analysis, but avoid normative science. Scientists have much to offer the public and decision-makers but also have much to lose when they practice stealth policy advocacy.”

    Furthermore, I have been and continue to be a strong admirer of the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society code of ethics (http://www.orafs.org/pdfdocs/ORAFS_codeofethics.pdf ) and especially this statement: “I recognize that my deeply held, professional convictions may conflict with the interests and convictions of others. I am obligated to be clear and honest in distinguishing between reports of results from rigorous study and my professional opinions based on observations or intuition. My professional opinions clearly so identified have value, but must not be put forward as fact. In addition, the temporal, spatial, and contextual limits of my facts and their confidence limits must be clearly acknowledged.”

    As a member of the American Meteorological Society I have become disillusioned because their direction seems to be headed away from these concepts. I was very disappointed in the recently revised Climate Change Statement because it removed important uncertainty caveat and certainly was an advocacy document. Dr. Marshall used his position in the Society to explicitly advance an advocacy position. I agree with Dr. Lackey and Dr. Pielke that these actions risk the credibility of the Society.

  38. The norm is the will of God.
    Watch thou for the Mutant.

    H/t John Wynham o Ye Mutants.

  39. I’m annoyed enough to repost this from above. I admit it. Tetchy.
    ___

    David Wojick | February 16, 2013 at 3:22 pm | Reply
    Doing normative science, such as being an expert witness, is not the same activity as doing scientific research. No one thinks it is.

    pokerguy | February 16, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    Kindly give me a break. Obviously not. The problem is that a scientist with a policy agenda can’t be trusted to do unbiased research. They are not the same thing, but the two activities can’t take place in a vacuum. One influences the other.

    • And I’m disappointed with Mosher’s comment at Feb 16 8.49 pm. Mosh, I’ve replied to it above.

    • Poker, I will then repeat my reply. You seem to be advocating that any researcher who does policy related things like being an expert witness should have their research funding terminated because they cannot be trusted to do unbiased research, whatever that means. This amounts to trying to eliminate the science and policy interface. The proposal is preposterous. If anything we want to increase and improve that interface.

  40. The temperature has gone up/down xxx degrees, or the temperature was yyy degrees yesterday and today it is zzz degrees could all be true, but they reveal something about the person who chooses one of the above expressions over the other.

    On the face of it, it might seem a ridiculous question, but is an obsessive use of anomalies either a cause, or a result, of normative science? (or just lazy journalism).

  41. Normative science involved in normative long term policy making
    is a problemo. Central long term planning -ter – what – end? As
    the perceptive Hayek noted, the social goal or common purpose fer
    which society is ter be organised is jest too indefinite ter determine
    a particular course of action. (Ch5 Road ter Serfdom.)

    We’ve travelled far from the tribal societies of primitive man, bound
    by fixed tribal rituals and taboos. We have no fixed, all encompassing
    moral code and the attempt ter treat all economic activity according
    to a single plan must fail ter meet the needs,or deeds, of a whole
    society, seems ter me.. Plato, fer all his human classifications, ‘you
    go there,’ was unable ter prescribe imaginatively fer all of us with
    his ‘thou shalt … thou shalt not …’

    One of the serfs.

    • Beth Cooper,

      Don’t you know? The central purpose of centralizing power in the government is “fairness.” Now, if you want to know what the central planners mean by fairness, you will have to be patient. They will tell you, right after they have the power they seek.

  42. Say Steve Mosher @ 3.27am on – the – dot,
    Counter examples constructed in 2 seconds takin’ place against
    the shiftin’ of continents and times wing-ed chariot? )

  43. Know your enemy, which is the enemy of science.

    http://www.thehiddenevil.com/psychopathy.asp

    “Later when I’m explaining how psychopaths always mask themselves when seeking positions of power, it will help to remember the following: If a rational person tries to apply their logic while trying to understand the reason for an objective or act of a psychopath, they will fail. This will be explained in more detail later. Likewise, when a rational person hears of the possibility that a massive lie has been told to a population by a trusted leader, and they attempt to use their logic to determine weather or not such a lie is possible, they will usually not believe the truth (that they have fallen for a huge lie).

    “The reason for this is that although most of us can identify with small lies, we find it difficult to conclude that such a massive lie is possible. When I use the term massive lie, I don’t just mean a complete falsehood regarding a major event, but also the scope of its influence (global) and the amount of people that have fallen for it.”

    ..

    “The mocking and controlling behavior exhibited by these federal agencies against their targets, appears to be part of the manipulative cycling which Dr. Meloy speaks of. This makes even more sense when we consider Dr. Lobaczewski’s premise, which states that the controlling psychopathic faction of a society (the financial elite), will recruit lower-level psychopaths to do their bidding. These lower-level deviants naturally seek employment in law enforcement, security, the military, politics, or other positions which they believe will offer them power.”

    The con of AGW and its Greenhouse Effect illusion was set up by pychopaths and deliberately introduced into the education system to dumb down the general population – who now think visible light from the Sun is heat and that no real heat from the Sun reaches Earth and that a trace gas practically all hole in the atmosphere is capable of being a thermal blanket ..

    “Summary
    A small portion of the population have a psychological makeup which is much different than most. They are completely aware of their difference. They also know that most people are not aware of this profound separation.”

    Pyschopaths know they are different, until the rest of us know they are different we will continue to be caught up in their machinations using science as their vehicle to control – embarrassing as it may first appear, it is vitally important for normal people to see they have been conned about “AGW global warming”.

  44. Judith Curry

    Thanks for a very interesting and timely post.

    “Normative science” (as I understand it) is the emphasis by scientists on scientific findings, which support a particular political agenda, while suppressing or outright ignoring those that do not.

    This is a natural human trait, but it is one that should be avoided by scientists.

    It is the basis for the IPCC “consensus process”, which has been discussed extensively elsewhere.

    The last paragraph of Robert Lackey’s essay on normative science tells it all.

    Scientific information must remain a cornerstone of public policy decisions, but I offer cautionary guidance to scientists: Get involved in policy deliberations, but play the appropriate role. Provide facts, probabilities and analysis, but avoid normative science. Scientists have much to offer the public and decision-makers but also have much to lose when they practice stealth policy advocacy.

    The story that AGW has resulted in an increase of extreme weather events, which will increase even further in the future is being told by IPCC in its AR4 WGI SPM report, but also by scientists, such as Kevin Trenberth, James E. Hansen, etc.

    Your summary of AGW and extreme weather events is pretty clear:

    In a nutshell here is the state of the science (here I focus on the US as Shepherd did):
     US floods have not increased over a century or longer (same globally).
     US hurricane landfall frequency or intensity have not increased (in US for over a century or longer).
     US intense hurricane landfalls are currently in the longest drought (7 years+) ever documented.
     US tornadoes, especially the strongest ones, have not increased since at least 1950.
     US drought has decreased since the middle of the past century.
     US East Cost Winter Storms show no trends (here also).
     Disaster losses normalized for societal changes show no residual trends (US, other regions or globally).
     Trends in the costs of disasters are not a proxy for trends in climate phenomena.

    This list with the cited references provides pretty compelling evidence that all the ballyhoo about increasing extreme weather events resulting from AGW is not based on fact, but is simply fear-mongering.

    In this case we have dissemination of a direct falsehood to sell a political agenda.

    I would consider this to be a step beyond “normative science”.

    Max

    • Max, I think there are a number of CAGW counter arguments and trends so your claim of direct falsehood is unsupportable. Has not Dr. Curry herself published on the increase in strong hurricanes? This is an honest debate.

      • David

        I have seen the IPCC AR4 reasoning on heat waves, heavy rain, tropical cyclones, extreme high sea levels, etc. (which is primarily “based expert judgment rather than formal attribution studies” – i.e. next to worthless) but nothing else.

        I have also seen the old study by our hostess on hurricanes, which is apparently superseded by new data. Do you have links to any other studies specifically showing increased incidence or severity of extreme weather events as a result of AGW?

        Thanks.

        Max

      • Max, since I make my living as a expert I do not agree that expert opinion is nearly worthless. It is just a matter of understanding its limits in any given case, often via disagreement.

        As for the rest attribution is not the immediate issue, just trends. I am sure AR4 has lots of citations, plus the IPCC and USGCRP both have special studies on this. There is a genuine scientific debate here. Accusing your opponent of lying is counter productive.

      • See Ryan Maue’s graph of Accumulated Cyclone Energy.
        =============

      • David

        The “truthful” answer is simply:

        “We do not know whether or not there was or will be significant warming from human GHG emissions, nor do we know whether or not any warming that might have resulted or would result in the future could cause any changes in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events”.

        That’s what the limited data out there show.

        Any testimony other than that is not “truthful”.

        Knowing that you have much more to do with politicians and this type of testimony than I do, I appreciate that “truthfulness” is not necessarily what politicians are after when they request “expert testimony”.

        And “bending the truth” is often what is requested.

        But that does not change the fact that basically it is lying.

        Max

      • I consciously suggest that David’s been unconsciously suggested that the increased severity meme is valid. However:

        Does increased energy in the system increase severity, or

        Does the lesser differential polar/equatorial decrease severity?

        And, what about the recent study showing increased severity at the onset of glaciation and deglaciation? Just where we in that timeline, Major Tom?
        ================

      • David

        As I thought, you have no specific study results to back your statement that there are data out there supporting the posit that human GHG emissions have led or will lead to increased frequency or intensity of intense weather events.

        As IPCC tells it, it’s all “based on expert judgment rather than formal attribution studies”.

        Sorry. NO SALE.

        Max

      • manacker

        Heat waves.

        Extreme weather events.

        Fully referenced articles.

        For drought projections, see Dai (2012).

        Key figures from Dai (2012).

      • kim

        And, what about the recent study showing increased severity at the onset of glaciation and deglaciation? Just where we in that timeline, Major Tom?

        See Archer & Ganopolski (2005). I believe I’ve linked this study for you once or twice already. I may even have suggested that it’s time you actually read it. Allow me to repeat that suggestion ;-)

      • BBD

        I am confused. I thought the data showed there has not been an increase in observed extreme weather events.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/reference-pages/climatic-phenomena-pages/extreme-weather-page/

        Do you have some other information? Is it more reliable in your opinion to believe a model that forecasts that extreme weather events will increase or to look at the observed conditions that show there has not been an increase?

      • Rob Starkey

        This just in: Coumou et al. (2013)

      • k scott denison

        BBD – what percentage of your net worth would you be willing to wager that there is a direct link between CO2 and extreme weather events?

      • BBD

        LOL- your proof is a link to something about warming not extreme weather events. Warming in an of itself is not a problem. The potential problems are what might happen as a result.

      • Is a heatwave not an extreme weather event?

      • lolwot

        generally no

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We are used to seeing relatively short term analysis of hydrology – typically from the 1950’s which is when data becomes more available. It was still lacking in many parts of the world however. Too little too late – much longer and much better data is needed to distinguish large scale natural variability from any modest changes due to greehouse gases.

        Hopelessy limited by data – and really the chaotic models are not much use for anything.

        ‘The wetting trend over the USA results from the upward trend from the 1950s to the 1990s; thereafter, the USA as a whole has become drier (Supplementary Fig. S6a). These multidecadal variations are linked to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO; ref. 28), which switched to a warm phase with above-normal SSTs in the tropical Pacific around 1977 and entered a cold phase around 1999 (refs 19, 28; Supplementary Fig. S6b). The IPO has major influences on US precipitation and drought, especially over the southwest USA (ref. 28; Supplementary Fig. S6). As the IPO cycles in the twentieth century (Supplementary Fig. S6b) do not follow any known anthropogenic forcing, to a large extent they are likely to be unforced natural cycles that depend on the initial conditions of the coupled models and thus are generally irreproducible.’

        This and other factors are really quite evident from patterns of sea surface temperature and atmospheric pressure. The US in for a very dry time over decades to come at least.

        ‘…and increasing drought (Figs 5c and 2b) may be likely over most of the Americas, southern Europe, southern and central Africa, Australia and southeast Asia as the GHG-induced warming continues in the twenty-first century, although the ability of the models to simulate the precipitation and PDSI changes over these regions has yet to be validated.’

        It certainly has yet to be validated and may at best be probabilistic. I would forecast increased rainfall from the ‘unforced’ cycles of the IPO in Australia, Asia and southern and central Africa over centuries. And I have provided millennial scale proxies from the literature many times.

      • Rob Starkey

        As usual, the contrarian muddle is causing problems. Let’s try and sort out the mess.

        – The frequency of extreme weather events is expected to rise during *this* century as the climate system warms

        – Extreme weather events *do* include heat waves (obviously, duh), plus precipitation and drought.

        – Looking at twentieth century weather tells us very little about twenty-first century weather, which is why contrarians are always doing it.

        – Given all the above, establishing that the frequency and intensity of extreme hot weather events is increasing (Coumou 2013) is a necessary precursor to projected increases in extremes over the course of the C21st.

        – Extreme precipitation events and heat waves have been frequent during the first twelve years of the C21st. Perhaps it would be wise to keep an open mind about what will happen as over the next nine decades and beyond under continuing GHG forcing.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The climate system shoes extreme natural variability – and the limits of variability are not captured by the instrumental record. Nonetheless – there is no suggestion that rainfalls or dry periods have increased over the entire 20th century. This is for Australia – but it is similar elsewhere where reasonable records exist.

        http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/extremes/timeseries.cgi?graph=R99p&ave_yr=0

        http://www.bom.gov.au/cgi-bin/climate/change/extremes/timeseries.cgi?graph=CDDs&ave_yr=0

        “The merged satellite and in situ GPCP global precipitation annual averages were examined for 1979–2004. Most variations are associated with ENSO and have no trend. A separate mode of variation shows a trend over the period. Testing indicates that this trend is significant and is not caused by data inhomogeneities. The trend mode is associated with simultaneous tropical SST variations over the period, with increased tropical precipitation over the Pacific and Indian Oceans associated with local warming of the SSTs. Increased precipitation in some regions is balanced by decreased precipitation in other regions, and the global average change is near zero. Although the trend mode is strong for this period, the record length is barely long enough to begin evaluation of interdecadal variations.” https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2006/04/03/new-global-precip-papers-trend-is-zero-or-positive/

        There is evidence as well that greenhouse gases were a minor contributer to recent warming. Unless there is an ability to distinguish natural from the residual – it is all pointless and silly armwaving.

      • there is no suggestion that rainfalls or dry periods have increased over the entire 20th century. This is for Australia – but it is similar elsewhere where reasonable records exist.

        First, ‘there is no suggestion’ is simply incorrect. See Donat et al. (2013) Updated analyses of temperature and precipitation extreme indices since the beginning of the twentieth century: The HadEX2 dataset and John Nielsen-Gammon’s discussion of Sheffield vs. Dai on C20th drought trends.

        Second, what you say is to miss the point, which was:

        – Looking at twentieth century weather tells us very little about twenty-first century weather, which is why contrarians are always doing it.

      • There is evidence as well that greenhouse gases were a minor contributer to recent warming.

        Are you thinking of Zhou & Tung? Because if you are, I’m still waiting to see if you can spot the problem with their analysis.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You can stop repeating your inane questions – take it that I am not here for your studid questions.

        ‘Results showed widespread significant changes in temperature extremes consistent with warming, especially for those indices derived from daily minimum temperature over the whole 110 years of record but with stronger trends in more recent decades. Seasonal results showed significant warming in all seasons but more so in the colder months. Precipitation indices also showed widespread and significant trends, but the changes were much more spatially heterogeneous compared with temperature changes. However, results indicated more areas with significant increasing trends in extreme precipitation amounts, intensity and frequency than areas with decreasing trends.’

        Rainfall distributions change with large scale ocean and atmospheric patterns. It is called hydrology.

        Warming is neither here not there – most recent warming was quite natural. One would wonder why therefore precipitation becomes an issue. Changes in both temperature and precipitation do occur but the problem of data remains. One problem is that data tends to be in developed countries. Good rainfall data is sparse before the 1950′s in most places and that is too short a record for decadal inferences.

        You assume that things will change – and they certainly will. But most of it is quite natural.

        The reference is Tung and Zhou 2013 – http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/22/1212471110.abstract – and not Zhou and Tung. I have told you this already – and if you can’t get it right what credibility do you have?

        Again I say if you have a peer reviewed rebuttal – feel free – otherwise stfu.

        Elsewhere of course there is a wealth of evidence of impacts of large scale ocean and atmosphere patterns influencing decadal temperature trajectories.

      • CP

        You can stop repeating your inane questions – take it that I am not here for your studid questions.

        There is evidence that both precipitation and drought have increased. You were mistaken above.

        The reference is Tung and Zhou 2013 – http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/01/22/1212471110.abstract – and not Zhou and Tung. I have told you this already – and if you can’t get it right what credibility do you have?

        They are referencing themselves: Zhou & Tung (2013). It doesn’t matter which paper we use; my credibility remains intact.

        Again I say if you have a peer reviewed rebuttal – feel free – otherwise stfu.

        TZ/ZT confuses cause and effect. AMO is treated as cause rather than effect. Turn your nose up at blog science all you like, but can you show me where Tamino is wrong? Otherwise we are left with TZ/ZT regressing the AMO against global temperature and getting a borked result.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah duh,

        You use a paper that indicates that decreases in rainfall in some places might be more extensive than increases elsewhere – and that in many of these places the IPO is responsible. It is clearly the case rainfall redistributes globally as a result of these large scale and natural changes in ocean and atmospheric patterns. The IPO, PNA, AMO, IOD, SAM, NAM, etc. I gave you a link to that effect. It is certainly not clear that global totals have changed – there is a trend to more rainfall but none that is statistically significant. The differences are so minute if discernible at all that we are entitled to ignore them. You make too much of one paper – and make sweeping and incorrect claims about its import and do nothing in terms of comparing and contrasting. Also that it warmed recently. Now there be some who dispute that – but it is not me.

        I clearly don’t think you have the nouse to understand what you are putting forward as definitive studies.

        The reference I gave was to Tung and Zhou from the PNAS – not something you think is the same. This paper is accessible for US$10 – but the abstract is all that most people need – the ‘underlying net anthropogenic warming rate in the industrial era is found to have been steady since 1910 at 0.07–0.08 °C/decade, with superimposed AMO-related ups and downs that included the early 20th century warming, the cooling of the 1960s and 1970s, the accelerated warming of the 1980s and 1990s, and the recent slowing of the warming rates. Quantitatively, the recurrent multidecadal internal variability, often underestimated in attribution studies, accounts for 40% of the observed recent 50-y warming trend.’

        The satellite evidence – that we have discussed – suggests they are wrong and anthropogenic warming was even more minor. But for the Ponce from the Magic Flute to suggest the AMO is caused by anthropogenic warming is nonsense of stupendous proportions. Not even worth considering beyond the headline – especially compared to peer reviewed science. So I have answered your stupid question – I gave you a link tracing the AMO back many hundreds of years. So please not to repeat it. It was idiotic the first time.

        But the world is not warming for decades hence. You know what that means blah blah? It means you lose.

      • Chief Proctologist

        You make too much of one paper

        Ha ha ha. Self-awareness really isn’t your thing is it CP?

        What have we learned today?

        – We have learned that you can’t understand a paper which states, in the abstract that:

        Precipitation indices also showed widespread and significant trends, but the changes were much more spatially heterogeneous compared with temperature changes. However, results indicated more areas with significant increasing trends in extreme precipitation amounts, intensity and frequency than areas with decreasing trends.

        – We have learned that you are going to ignore Dai’s work on trends in global drought because, like Donat, it demonstrates that you are wrong. Again!

        – We have learned that you haven’t bothered to read the TZ/ZT references properly and bluster like a big kid when your carelessness is exposed!

        – We have learned that you aren’t able to understand that a non-linear change in forcing over the C20th that contaminates the AMO can’t be removed by applying a linear regression to the AMO – and that means TZ/ZT is *wrong*.

        – In summary, we have learned (as I told you some time ago, if you remember) that you aren’t as smart as you think you are.

        – Finally, we have again witnessed that when your errors are pointed out you take refuge in abuse and denial! Woo! Every single time. In other words, you are a very poor loser ;-)

        Cue another screed of personal abuse, bluster, long cut’n’pastes designed to obscure rather than reveal, basic misunderstandings and outright misrepresentation, much of which will be tediously repetitive…

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Blah blah blah blah blah blah bah blah blah Blah blah blah blah blah blah bah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bah blah blah duh,

        ‘Precipitation indices also showed widespread and significant trends, but the changes were much more spatially heterogeneous compared with temperature changes. However, results indicated more areas with significant increasing trends in extreme precipitation amounts, intensity and frequency than areas with decreasing trends.’ Donat et al

        ‘The merged satellite and in situ GPCP global precipitation annual averages were examined for 1979–2004. Most variations are associated with ENSO and have no trend. A separate mode of variation shows a trend over the period. Testing indicates that this trend is significant and is not caused by data inhomogeneities. The trend mode is associated with simultaneous tropical SST variations over the period, with increased tropical precipitation over the Pacific and Indian Oceans associated with local warming of the SSTs. Increased precipitation in some regions is balanced by decreased precipitation in other regions, and the global average change is near zero. Although the trend mode is strong for this period, the record length is barely long enough to begin evaluation of interdecadal variations.” https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2006/04/03/new-global-precip-papers-trend-is-zero-or-positive/

        You use a paper that indicates that decreases in rainfall in some places might be more extensive than increases elsewhere – and that in many of these places the IPO is responsible. It is clearly the case that rainfall redistributes globally as a result of these large scale and natural changes in ocean and atmospheric patterns. The IPO, PNA, AMO, IOD, SAM, NAM, etc. I gave you a link to that effect. It is certainly not clear that global totals have changed – there is a trend to more rainfall but none that is statistically significant. The differences are so minute if discernible at all that we are entitled to ignore them. You make too much of one paper – and make sweeping and incorrect claims about its import and do nothing in terms of comparing and contrasting.

        Many people have regressed recent temperature rises – to obtain similar results to Tung and Zhou. One of these was Swanson in that realclimate post. It is wrong. Most warming was entirely natural. It is just such an obvious result – from many lines of evidence. The world is not warming for decades hence.

        I have been quite restrained and have given you the benefit of my decades of experience in hydrology. It is quite an asymmetrical discussion yet you persist in copying a passage that I have already pasted and insist that it means something other.

        One reference repeated without understanding seemingly what it means and the rest stupid statements laced with abuse and complaints. Nothing new at all – no rational discourse. Bizarre and incredible.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘‘Precipitation indices also showed widespread and significant trends, but the changes were much more spatially heterogeneous compared with temperature changes. However, results indicated more areas with significant increasing trends in extreme precipitation amounts, intensity and frequency than areas with decreasing trends.’ Donat et al

        This is a very weak statement. Even if true of the limited available data – it is not something that is distinguisable from natural variability over these and much longer timeframes than we have evidence for. Yet you attempt to bludgeon people with it and back it up with bluster and abuse.

      • Not going to defend ZZZT?

        What about Dai (2012)?

        Still not clear about what Donat actually says? Deja vu.

        Here’s another one for you to misrepresent: Westra et al. (2012) Global increasing trends in annual maximum daily precipitation

    • Robert Lackey:

      > Scientific information must remain a cornerstone of public policy decisions, but I offer cautionary guidance to scientists: […]

      Cautionary: Giving or serving as a warning; admonitory.

      Admonitory: Expressing admonition.

      Admonition: Mild, kind, yet earnest reproof.

      Reproof: The act, an instance, or an expression of reproving; a rebuke.

      Reproving: To voice or convey disapproval.

      Disapproval: The act of disapproving; condemnation or censure.

      Condemn: To pronounce judgment against.

      ***

      It might be tough to speak against normative science in a non-normative way.

      • You’ve recursed yourself into a tight situation.
        ==============

      • I’m not the one who argues against normative science, dear.

      • And poof, you’re out!
        =======

      • Kim might need it simpler;
        Judith gave up non-normative science to do normative science criticising normative science.

        Heck, this is normative blogging.

      • And Michael, he’s in! Let’s see the replay.
        ================

      • Willard

        Your tortuous progression from “cautionary” to “condemnation” reminds me of a game children play in school, forming a circle the first child whispers a word into the ear of the next child, and this continues until it comes back to the first child.

        By that time the word has changed so many times that it is no longer recognizable.

        Max

      • MiniMax refuses an engineer-level derivation showing that “to caution” can mean “to pronounce judgement against.”

      • Willard

        Let’s play your silly word game.

        caution => advise => encourage => strengthen => support

        Sounds a bit different from “condemn”

        It’s the children’s game, Willie, not an “engineer-level derivation”.

        Max

      • To caution implies the use of a norm, MiniMax.

        You can’t beat this.

        How many losses are you willing to endure?

      • ‘It might be tough to speak against normative science in a non-normative way.”

        hmm. i’ll try.

        normative science fails to generate consensus amongst sufficiently skeptical consumers.

        essentially it doesnt work very well with tough crowds.

        Of course, this implies the normative assumption that one presents science because one wants to convince people of something rather than just cataloging facts as if they were insects.

        In short, if your goal is to convince a tough crowd of your scientific views, it’s less than optimal to stray from that goal by extending your remarks to areas that are explicitly policy oriented: ‘ our study of tree rings indicates that we need a carbon tax” kind of funny when you cut out all the connective tissue in between.

      • k scott denison

        Mosher: you hit the nail on the head with that one. Here is a question back: if it is clear that normative science doesn’t do we’ll with skeptics as you say, and consensus scientists are obviously very bright, the why would they continue to present normative science? My guess: they have nothing else to argue with.

        It’s like the old saying about the law: when the facts are against you, argue the law…

      • “Less than optimal” sound normative to me.

        “Tough crowd” also brings some interesting connotations.

      • No willard less than optimal is descriptive. It describes how well somethings works. The normative part is “if you want to generate consensus”
        So, I’m suggesting that if your purpose is to inform and convince, then you want to use a method that works best. And the evidence is that , explicit normative statements from scientists, tend, more often than not, to decrease the probability of generating consensus, especially in the rhetorical situation of providing scientific evidence before congress, an audience that may have a strong belief in the possibility of non normative scientific disccourse.
        However, if your goal is not to inform and not to generate consensus, if your goal is for example to confuse and to generate division, then the best method is to make explicit normative statements: “Hi, i’m jim Hansen,climate scientist, I think the science shows we must adopt a carbon tax. That, evidence, suggests does not lead to consensus and it does little for civility.
        To the extent that all communication is an attempt to control, influence, channel, reinforce, the behavior of others, we can never really purge communication of the normative. However, certain forms of normative discourse are better than other forms in achieving their end. The speaker audience relationship in a congressional hearings, where the audience may react to overt normative statements by scienctists, is such that the best rhetorical practice may be to avoid as much as possible overt normative statements.

      • Scott denision.

        I don’t know why they continue with overt normative statements.
        It’s clear that in some situations stealth advocacy would work better.
        principally because it traps your opponent into making claims about conspiracy and claims about motives which makes them look less objective. The notion, hinted at by some, that we cannot escape normative discourse, is really trivially true and beside the point.
        The point is what kinds of normative discourse work best given the rhetorical situation. And yes “working” is normative. I assume that people want to achieve ends with their discourse ( even kim has a purpose ).
        Put another way, we all share that motive which puts it in a different class of normative statements.Nobody objects to me having a purpose in communicating.
        The fact that normative discourse is inescapable does justify all forms of normative discourse in all situations.
        I try to judge things by how well they work. The current mode of normative discourse aint working. Some folks need to realize that forms of denialism are not limited to one side of this debate.

      • Errata:

        ‘The fact that normative discourse is inescapable does justify all forms of normative discourse in all situations.”

        DOES NOT JUSTIFY

      • if it is clear that normative science doesn’t do we’ll with skeptics as you say,

        There are “skeptics” of all sorts, and their determination of “well” is contingent on their starting beliefs.

        Some “skeptics” like the normative from “skeptics” and dislike the “normative” from “realists.”

        Some “realists” like the the normative from “realists,” and dislike the “normative” from “skeptics.”

        The problems are exacerbated when people are selective in what they determine to be “normative,” and further, when they are closed to their own selectivity.

        The problem is when people adopt the selectively-reasoned principle I described above, and will describe again:

        All good is not advocacy and all advocacy is not good.

      • You’re shifting from the conceptual to the rhetorical, Mosh.

        On the rhetorical level, sounding more business-like might be a better strategy in congress, if only to create an aura of INTEGRITY ™. But your observation still carries that prescription: if you want to have INTEGRITY ™ in congress, try to sound business-like.

        On the conceptual level, this business-like strategy only hides the prescription. Compare (1) AGW is real and we should seek to implement a carbon-tax with (2) AGW is real; a carbon tax might reduce its long-term effects. The conceptual difference between (1) and (2) is not that (1) is normative, while (2) is not.

        The question we should ask ourselves should be this one: on what authority can you say (1) or (2)? All this is in Toulmin’s **Uses of Argument**. This is very basic.

        John NG says something along these lines there:

        http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2013/02/scientific-meta-literacy/

        ***

        Here’s Hansen’s 1988 testimony, btw:

        http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2008/06/23/ClimateChangeHearing1988.pdf

        I don’t see any carbon tax there.

      • The political climate science spokespeople have been preaching tipping points, it’s worse than we thought, no time left for delaying action for the last 15- to 25-years. They continue to present Normative Science because their pride won’t let them back down now.

        It would be an admission that they were wrong and/or hysterical. They are in up to their necks and will ride it out to retirement.

      • willard:

        ‘You’re shifting from the conceptual to the rhetorical, Mosh.”

        Huh. I’m a lanhamite. The conceptual is rhetorical.
        you think that thought exists outside rhetorical structure? Nice piece of rhetoric that.

      • Willard. I’m not referring to Hansens 88 testimony. Pointing at it is a lack of charity on your part. had you tried to make the most sense of what I wrote you would have

        1. Seen it as an example, not a citation.
        2. Looked at those places where hansen details his ideas on taxation.

        I’ll return to the other misunderstandings in a bit. But try not to derail with that kind of nonsense again

      • Moshpit,

        Twas just an example too…

        An example that might even be relevant.

        Please beware that, contrary to what you said elsewhere, my conciseness does not always conceal a weak case:

        http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/bigcat.htm

      • “Twas just an example too…

        An example that might even be relevant.”

        Implying that it might be relevant doesn’t make it relevant, and doesn’t address the observation I made about your lack of charity and what appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the point my example was making. Yes, it too might be an example. My response to you is
        “Apples.”

        dont assume the conciseness of the response represents a weak case.

      • and willard you resemble

        http://redwing.hutman.net/~mreed/warriorshtm/artfuldodger.htm

        on occasion.

        you realize that on the internet, you don’t get to define your character. eye of the beholder ya know.

      • Willard.

        “On the rhetorical level, sounding more business-like might be a better strategy in congress, if only to create an aura of INTEGRITY ™. But your observation still carries that prescription: if you want to have INTEGRITY ™ in congress, try to sound business-like.”

        “On the conceptual level, this business-like strategy only hides the prescription. Compare (1) AGW is real and we should seek to implement a carbon-tax with (2) AGW is real; a carbon tax might reduce its long-term effects. The conceptual difference between (1) and (2) is not that (1) is normative, while (2) is not.”

        you have a weird concept of what it means to sound business like.
        I’ll assume that you have been in business meetings and you just forgot how people conduct themselves. You are responsible for certain answers and keep your mouth shut about stuff outside your scope of authority.
        I dont tell legal how to do their job. They dont tell me how to do mine.
        A business scientist would say:

        3. AGW is real. The long term effects might be diminished by cutting emissions. As a physical scientist it is outside my realm of expertise to recommend or evaluate the various policy options toward this end.

        So, in a business like environment many folks understand that they need to provide information with as few “side effects” as possible. Legal guys may have an opinion about the color of my box, but they are paid to keep that to themselves. They get to comment on the copy and claims.

      • Moshpit,

        I don’t recall ever having to dodge any of your slap shots. If you believe so, you are not the great reader of character you think you are. Perhaps you are confusing with when I just watch the pucks going on the board and into the crowd, like this idea that I somehow believe that “thought exists outside rhetorical structure”, i.e. they are autonomous, whereas I simply claim that they are different, i.e. what you say is not only how you say it.

        Please do not confuse me with Junior. I am making every effort in the world to counter each and every argument thrown at me. I will prove this again, below.

      • > Implying that it might be relevant doesn’t make it relevant, and doesn’t address the observation I made about your lack of charity and what appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the point my example was making.

        First, not only I did imply it was relevant, I claim it. First, you mentioned Congress:

        > [E]xplicit normative statements from scientists, tend, more often than not, to decrease the probability of generating consensus, especially in the rhetorical situation of providing scientific evidence before congress.

        Pending evidence, but nevermind for the moment.

        ***

        Second, you mentioned Hansen here:

        > [I]f your goal is for example to confuse and to generate division, then the best method is to make explicit normative statements: “Hi, i’m jim Hansen,climate scientist, I think the science shows we must adopt a carbon tax.

        Connecting the two ideas (which follow one another in your comment) suffice to show the relevance of referring to Hansen’s testimony before Congress, and of implying that it might apply a bit more to the first case than to the second. His **Storm of my Grandchildren** might even be kosher, considering that it might not target any “tough crowd” at all.

        ***

        Third, I don’t think I need to respond to your accusation of lacking in charity, if all you have is your word for it. I believe I just did anyway, while unpacking why you should not seek more clarity from me.

        You are skating on very thin ice right now, Moshpit. What you’re doing with Hansen is inappropriate and tasteless. I can dig that you don’t like carbon schemes, but please get hold of yourself.

      • > [In a business-like setting, y]ou are responsible for certain answers and keep your mouth shut about stuff outside your scope of authority.

        Exactly. I agree with that. This should not come as a surprise, since I introduced the concept of authority. The question should be: do we always try to speak as if we were in a business setting?

        What about this blog post, for instance?

        ***

        My example, by the way, was an abstraction to illustrate my observation that even business-like statements can get interpreted normatively in a deliberative process. I used (1) and (2) to show that. This practice has currency in analytical philosophy.

        By the way, I did not have Hansen in mind when I used my example, and so did not presume any authority or lack therof. In fact, I searched for Hansen’s testimony because I was wondering what were his formal statements and compare them to what I’ve written. This is the first time I had the incentive to read it.

        So thank you for that.

      • In a business-like setting, y]ou are responsible for certain answers and keep your mouth shut about stuff outside your scope of authority.

        I don’t agree with that. One of the most frequent questions I’ve heard from international executives is why do Americans, in a business environment, always pontificate so much about things outside their scope of expertise and authority. In fact, sometimes international businesspeople deliberately exploit that tendency among American businesspeople – so they as to gain information while divulging little in return.

        This goes back to selective reasoning: The advocates I agree with aren’t advocates. The only advocates here are those I don’t agree with. The people I agree with aren’t speaking beyond their areas of expertise. The people I don’t agree with are speaking from beyond their areas of expertise.

        The climate wars are unpredictable in some ways – but the assignation of negative characteristics tends to be very, very predicable.

      • You seem to be disagreeing about a statement of fact, Joshua, whereas I read it as a prescription.

      • It was not a statement of fact, Joshua, but a prescription.

      • Joshua
        “I don’t agree with that. One of the most frequent questions I’ve heard from international executives is why do Americans, in a business environment, always pontificate so much about things outside their scope of expertise and authority. ”

        I suppose you have to distinguish between a meeting of equals and what happens in a normal functioning business.
        I’m talking about the latter. If I call in the lawyers for an opinion on the copy I wrote, they dont get to change adjectives. And they know enough not to step on my turf or even make suggestions.

        Now, if I meeting with another businessman from another company of course I am going to try to dominate. OF course I am going to attempt to gain authority where I have none. Two different situations.

      • “The question should be: do we always try to speak as if we were in a business setting?”

        No, I dont think that is the question. That question is silly because the answer is obvious and it gets us nowhere.

        Here is what you said

        “On the conceptual level, this business-like strategy only hides the prescription. Compare (1) AGW is real and we should seek to implement a carbon-tax with (2) AGW is real; a carbon tax might reduce its long-term effects. The conceptual difference between (1) and (2) is not that (1) is normative, while (2) is not.”

        And I pointed out that #2 is not businesslike. Today we have Hansen Opining:
        ‘On Monday, I finally spoke to Hansen. His knowledge and sincerity are easy to admire, even if his tactics are not. He told me he would like to see oil companies pay a fee, which would rise annually, based on carbon emissions. He said that such a tax could reduce emissions by 30 percent within 10 years.”

        And I explained what businesslike might look like.
        3. AGW is real. The long term effects might be diminished by cutting emissions. As a physical scientist it is outside my realm of expertise to recommend or evaluate the various policy options toward this end.

        Now there is nothing on gods green earth that prevents a scientist from saying these words. And there is nothing that compels him to blather on about the effects of taxes. My point is simple. If hansen thinks a carbon tax is great, his best rhetoricial option is to keep his mouth shut about that and play the integrity game ” I’m Jim hansen, scientist, my options about taxes don’t matter, my knowledge about the climate does. Find a way to cut emissions. That’s the challenge that science gives to you policy makers. Don’t fail.”

        The other day I was talking to a nobel prize winner. And asked him his opinion on something I was working on.

        NPW: “ya know, mosh. I try to avoid the trap that other nobel prize winners have fallen into”
        Mosh; “whats that”
        NPW: You win that damn prize and then everybody expects you to be smart about everything. So, I have no opinion. But keep asking questions, I’ll answer when you touch on a topic where I have expertise.
        Mosh: ah, ok, best thai food in town?

      • I suppose you have to distinguish between a meeting of equals and what happens in a normal functioning business.

        Fair distinction – and in balance I think the distinction is valid. As such, your point stands.

        But I still think you’re being too categorical. For example (by way of a simplified caricature): Japanese executives have said to me that they don’t understand why Americans waste so much time in meetings – and I’m talking here about meetings here that are not just a group of people with equal authority. In Japan (so they have told me), everyone works on their responsibilities individually and then reports back to the boss who gathers the information and makes the decision. (And an interesting connection to that is that even though they weren’t responsible for the actual decision, people further down the chain of authority will take the heat for the boss if the boss makes the wrong decision).

        These execs of opined that In the States, we spend ridiculous amounts of time exchanging opinions and reactions, with those lower down on the chain of authority offering their views on how the information should be interpreted. This goes back to complex embedded social structures — views towards authority, the permeability of hierarchical distinctions, attitudes towards the value of divergent and creative thinking, attitudes about bottom-up vs. top-down processes, etc.

        In fact, the very point of distinction is, in some ways, the acceptability (and value accorded ) in an American context for authority and expertise to be challenged. I’m fairly agnostic about the relative merits of the distinctions in the working models – but many Japanese have made it a deliberate goal to adopt less rigid attitudes about authority and attitudes about power distribution in decision-making processes.

      • willard –

        As I alluded to in my comment immediately above, I think questioning authority – rather than just accepting it as a fixed power alignment – can have value. A mixture of bottom-up and top-down may be the medication that leads to optimal health outcomes.

        Ironically, what I’m speaking about there is the value of skepticism.
        In our society nothing prevents anyone from challenging whether someone else has over-stepped their authority or expertise (although some restrictions do exist).

        Let’s consider two prescriptions:

        (1) People are given the room to assert their opinions, and perhaps in the process overstep their authority and expertise. Other people are given the room to challenge the views expressed and assert that the opinions aren’t valid.

        (2) People are not given the room to assert their opinions. They are only allowed to speak to issues on which someone else (no doubt in a way that basically can only be boiled down to being arbitrary) has determined matches their level of expertise.

        I think we’d all agree that the first prescription is preferable. Wouldn’t we? Isn’t that the value of skepticism?

        What I see as the problem here is that some people want to prescribe those medicines on a selective basis. They want to prescribe the first to themselves and the second to those whose opinions they don’t agree with.

        A second problem is that succumb to conspiratorial mindsets, or become stuck in viewing themselves as “victims” of an external structure that forces them to take the second medicine while others are allowed to take the first. We see this manifest on both sides of the climate wars.

      • What’s up with the filter? I’ve tried to respond, willard – can’t seem to get anything through. Maybe one of my attempts will show up later. Otherwise I’ll try again later.

      • You seem to be disagreeing about a statement of fact, Joshua, whereas I read it as a prescription.

        Could be. So let’s move beyond debating about what is or isn’t an accurate statement of fact and look instead at what should be prescribed. As I alluded to in my comment immediately above, I think questioning authority – rather than just accepting it as a fixed power alignment – can have value. A mixture of bottom-up and top-down may be the medication that leads to optimal health outcomes.

        Ironically, what I’m speaking about there is the value of skepticism.
        In our society nothing prevents anyone from challenging whether someone else has over-stepped their authority or expertise (although some restrictions do exist).

        Let’s consider two prescriptions:

        (1) People are given the room to assert their opinions, and perhaps in the process overstep their authority and expertise. Other people are given the room to challenge the views expressed and assert that the opinions aren’t valid.

        (2) People are not given the room to assert their opinions. They are only allowed to speak to issues on which someone else (no doubt in a way that basically can only be boiled down to being arbitrary) has determined matches their level of expertise.

        I think we’d all agree that the first prescription is preferable. Wouldn’t we? Isn’t that the value of skepticism?

        What I see as the problem here is that some people want to prescribe those medicines on a selective basis. They want to prescribe the first to themselves and the second to those whose opinions they don’t agree with.

        A second problem is that succumb to conspiratorial mindsets, or become stuck in viewing themselves as “victims” of an external structure that forces them to take the second medicine while others are allowed to take the first. We see this manifest on both sides of the climate wars.

      • In case “Big Sister” (Judith, or the “eye in the sky”) is still reading – could you please delete my 10:36 and 10:37 AM (Feb. 20th) posts, if you get a chance?

      • Joshua:

        ‘But I still think you’re being too categorical. For example (by way of a simplified caricature): Japanese executives have said to me that they don’t understand why Americans waste so much time in meetings – and I’m talking here about meetings here that are not just a group of people with equal authority. In Japan (so they have told me), everyone works on their responsibilities individually and then reports back to the boss who gathers the information and makes the decision. (And an interesting connection to that is that even though they weren’t responsible for the actual decision, people further down the chain of authority will take the heat for the boss if the boss makes the wrong decision).”

        having worked with far east companies for over 20 years I have some real experience WRT the different styles that you are talking about.
        A simple example, will suffice. We have a decision to make about a product. Now as the product owner and business owner I will make the final decision. All my guys know that I will make the final decision. They all know my head is on the chopping block. And because they love me, they want me to keep my head. So we start a discussion. The emails fly fast and furious with arguments and counter arguments. The team in the far east says nothing. They are copied on this flame war that goes on for a week as my guys rip me apart and every idea I come up with. Back and forth, back and forth. One night I get a call from asian. “are you still in charge of your group?” “yes, why do you ask?” “It looks like a mutiny?” your men are disagreeing with everything you write. they show no respect. you have lost control.” I ask him what his guys think of the idea. He has no clue. They are waiting for him to decide what their position would be. So, I explain to him, In the end I make the decision. I realize that my guys know things I dont. Its why I hired them. I need my ideas tested by the sharpest arguments. There is no rank in these exercises. I let them talk freely BECAUSE I have power. They are free to disgree. In the end they have a choice: salute and follow my decision or leave. I give them freedom to make their best case. From the past they know I will change my mind if they have a strong argument. They also know that a guy who wins an argument will most likely get a promotion or get put in charge of something.
        Also, since I existed in a chain of command that was asian above me, I’m also aware of the process of just doing your work and passing your results up stairs to have a final decision made overseas.
        WRT wasting time in meetings. Hmm, they dont get the vital importance in our cultural of being allowed to speak your piece when the conditions are right. So, in a meeting I might announce “no rank.” while in other meetings rank had to be observed.
        A meeting between a japanese businessman and an amercian is a funny piece of business. I went to my first business meeting with Fijitsu and capcom alone. I thought it went great. I talked, they listened. without objection. Cool. Later my chinese boss would explain that this was not a good thing. That I had revealed too much information. Showed too much interest. So, you learn to adjust. With one boss, I never heard him speak in a meeting for over a decade. I would invite companies in to present. They would present. I would grill them. he would watch and say nothing. It freaked them out. he sat there poker faced. They always thought they had failed or given a bad presentation. “Steve, you loved our stuff, but your boss hates it” “huh, how do you know?” “he just sat there”
        “you will never get a read on him, so don’t try”
        hehe, I will say that meeting with a japanese business counterpart is vastly different than meeting with an Isreali counterpart–, let’s say one that emigrated from Russian to Isreal. That is a whole different experience. So, you learn different styles, or you learn how to shave the edges off your style, and you learn not to read a russian like a jordanian or a brit like a swede, or a indonesian like a canadian.

      • I will say that meeting with a japanese business counterpart is vastly different than meeting with an Isreali counterpart–, let’s say one that emigrated from Russian to Isreal. That is a whole different experience.

        Lol! I’ve conducted discussions with groups of execs comprising Israelis, Japanese, and Russians (among other countries).

        Fun experience, and fascinating opportunity to explore the nexus of culture, socio-pragmatics, language, and rhetorical conventions (including how information “should” be organized).

      • here willard

        “if your goal is for example to confuse and to generate division, then the best method is to make explicit normative statements: “Hi, i’m jim Hansen,climate scientist, I think the science shows we must adopt a carbon tax.”

        Connecting the two ideas (which follow one another in your comment) suffice to show the relevance of referring to Hansen’s testimony before Congress, and of implying that it might apply a bit more to the first case than to the second. His **Storm of my Grandchildren** might even be kosher, considering that it might not target any “tough crowd” at all.

        1. Its obvious that I used the conditional to show an “example” of how to generate division. Basically it’s not meant to be an exact quote but an example of how one would generate division.

        2. I wasnt referring to the 1988 testimony made no mention of the 1988 testimony. I was referring the the below.

        3. You could have asked what I was referring to rather than assuming I was talking about 1988, when we both know hansen didnt develop his tax ideas until later, so spare me playing dumb and coy.

        If you want to know what I was referring to consider the 2008 testimony where hansen describes his tax. I’ve never seen it written up, but I recall it vividly because of the neat transitional ploys. Very interesting rhetorical trick he plays.. First talking all about the science.. then at a point saying he is outside his realm of expertise, but its just common sense, then a return to the “science shows” and a quick transition to his tax plan. Shifting back and forth between areas of expertise and areas where he is outside his range, then back to science and a quick transition to the tax plan. What he violated was oppenhiemers rule: that you clearly demarcate your science from your personal judgement.

        So have a listen, to the whole thing as I dont recall the exact minute

        http://archive.org/details/Hansen080623

      • Willard
        “I don’t recall ever having to dodge any of your slap shots”

        1. you claim that the 1988 testimony is relevant even though we both
        know he came up with his ideas post 1988 testimony. A piece of
        evidence that predates the development of the idea is not
        relavant. nice cross check.
        2. I provided you the the tape of his 2008 testimony. Listen.
        3. You didnt dodge the slap shot. you didnt see it. the puck is in your net.

      • Given willard’s 3:17 on 2/19, I’m a little curious about willard’s hypersensitivity over Hansen. Just a little thin edge of curiosity, don’t let it penetrate too deep.
        ===========

      • Naw, it’s 7:03 PM, 2/19/13. The mask slips.
        =============

      • > heck why stop at congress

        Because not only it is the context raised by Judy’s op-ed, but your own:

        > especially in the rhetorical situation of providing scientific evidence before congress, an audience that may have a strong belief in the possibility of non normative scientific disccourse.

        Try to touch the puck, next time.

      • > Here is a nice example of what is missed when climate scientists are called to testify while other sciences are left out of the conversation.

        Just when we thought climate scientists talked beyond their legitimate authority, now they’re “lying by omission”, so to speak. And here’s the nice example:

        http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/looping203.htm

        Indeed, all we can see is non-normative science at work:

        – “engineers are testing a clean coal technology”

        – “A new form of clean coal technology”

        – “chemically harnesses coal’s energy and efficiently contains the carbon dioxide produced before it can be released into the atmosphere”

        – “The commercial-scale CDCL plant could really promote our energy independence. Not only can we use America’s natural resources such as Ohio coal, but we can keep our air clean and spur the economy with jobs”

        – “Fan’s lab is unique in the way it processes fossil fuels”

        Clean. Harnessing. Independence. Spurring the economy with jobs. Unique.

        ***

        Let’s not forget the CO2 trees and all the other important breakthroughs that climate scientists miss when testifying.

      • Let’s put that quote on the table:

        > Phasing out the use of coal except where the carbon is captured and stored below ground is the primary requirement for solving global warming.

        http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/06/dr-james-hansen/

        Let’s note that Moshpit’s “clean coal” example is compatible with this recommendation.

        So much the worse for lying by omission.

      • The wired article provide this link:

        http://globalwarming.house.gov/pubs/?id=0045#main_content

        which leads to this:

        http://globalwarming.house.gov/pubs_id=0024.html#main_content

        Here’s the list of witnesses:

        General Wesley K. Clark, US Army (Ret.), NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe 1997-2000
        Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy (Ret.)
        Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Chairman of the Waterkeepers Alliance
        Richard L. Kauffman, Chairman of the Board, Levi Strauss & Co.
        Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security
        Kenneth Green, American Enterprise Institute

        Non normative science at work.

      • Searching this site, I stumbled upon the full hearings, “current as of 2009”:

        http://globalwarming.markey.house.gov/files/WEB/EIGWHearings/111_EIGW_hearings.pdf

        Seems that climate scientists are not alone with metadata difficulties.

    • @manacker: “Normative science” (as I understand it) is the emphasis by scientists on scientific findings, which support a particular political agenda, while suppressing or outright ignoring those that do not.

      Max, if some scientist who’d been manning an observatory of the planet with no contact with society for decades had emerged with findings that agreed 100% with the scientists you describe as “supporting a particular political agenda,” would you object to her findings on the ground that she obviously supported that agenda.

      Of course you would. You would have no alternative.

    • I thank Dr. Curry for the topic post, too.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Results showed widespread significant changes in temperature extremes consistent with warming, especially for those indices derived from daily minimum temperature over the whole 110 years of record but with stronger trends in more recent decades. Seasonal results showed significant warming in all seasons but more so in the colder months. Precipitation indices also showed widespread and significant trends, but the changes were much more spatially heterogeneous compared with temperature changes. However, results indicated more areas with significant increasing trends in extreme precipitation amounts, intensity and frequency than areas with decreasing trends.’

      Rainfall distributions change with large scale ocean and atmospheric patterns.

      Warming is neither here not there – most recent warming was quite natural. One would wonder why therefore precipitation becomes an issue. Changes in both temperature and precipitation do occur but the problem of data remains. One problem is that data tends to be in developed countries. Good data is sparse before the 1950’s in most places and that is too short a record for decadal inferences.

      You assume that things will change – and they certainly will. But most of it is quite natural.

  45. ‘Think what the average person actually hears when scientific data or assessments are packaged or presented under the rubric of “ecosystem health.” Healthy is good. Any other state of the ecosystem must be unhealthy, hence, undesirable.’

    Similar argument for ‘ocean acidification’.

    The correct term is ‘neutralisation’. But I loads of grant money do not follow the idea that our seas are becoming less chemically active and nearer to pure water in composition.

    But ‘acidification’ conjures up the image of foaming seas of fuming aqua regia. And ‘acid’ is what gets thrown at people and blinds them or scars them for life. ‘Acid’ is bad.

    Cue the hosepipe of grant cash.

    ‘Normative’? I’d suggest ‘disingenuous’ at best..and possibly something a lot worse.

  46. David W. You seem to be intentionally misreading what I said, perhaps in your eagerness to demonstrate how smart you are. I made no such “preposterous” proposal, and I challenge you to find it. In fact I was at pains to refrain from making any proposal at all. What I actually said after making my general point about the obvious tension between normative science and research was this:

    “The trouble is, “climate change” is inherently political in its implications. I’m not nearly smart enough to figure out how these competing values can and should be sorted.”

    You’re an educator, correct? Then perhaps it behooves you to work on your reading comprehension

    • Poker, you claimed that any scientist with a political agenda (as exemplified by expert witness activity) cannot be trusted to do unbiased research. That they should not be funded seems an obvious conclusion. We do not fund people we do not trust, right? It is your claim that is wrong not my interpretation.

    • Speaking of reading comprehension I just published a taxonomy of confusions that takes the science of readability to a new level. See http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/02/05/a-taxonomy-of-confusions/.

      • David, I like it. Are you interested in doing a guest post on this, or can I re-post?

      • David

        Hey, that is interesting.

        Judith’s right. It’s worth a separate post.

        I can see both sides jumping in.

        Max

      • Shortening the link to sspnet.org leads there:

        http://www.mobil.com/glp/

        Normative science at work.

      • @David Wojick:

        Read your link; nice job. I have always been a poor writer, for many of the reasons that your refer to in your matrix. I am able to recognize my errors when someone else points them out to me, but I am unable to recognize them and correct them ‘on the fly’.

        One of your examples caught my eye:

        “Opaque cross references (#19) refers to including references in sentences such that one cannot know the meaning of the sentence without knowing what the references say. A lot of legislation is written this way, making it virtually unintelligible.”

        I would suggest substituting ‘deliberately’ for ‘virtually’.

      • Err, sad to say the first commenter on your site rather nails it.
        For grins I would run the taxonomy on the document itself.. an explanation on readability should be readable.

      • David,

        Perhaps renaming it a ‘Recipe’ could increase its utility?

      • David –

        I think that Mosher has a point. If you’re trying to help people write more coherently (and cohesively), I would suggest that you start with consulting with people who have experience in working with writers to achieve that goal.

        Specifically, I would recommend the techniques described by Joseph M. Williams:

        http://www.amazon.com/Style-Ten-Lessons-Clarity-Grace/dp/0321095170/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1361154011&sr=1-4&keywords=ten+lessons+clarity+grace

        That books contains some very useful discussion that explain the structural, syntactical, and conceptual attributes that accompany coherent writing.

        Why, if you need proof that it works, just read what I write! Heh.

        Here’s a nice example: Consider how you would use your taxonomy to explain to a student who wrote the following (very “cohesive” but completely “incoherent” passage from Williams’ text) how to make his/her writing more coherent:

        Sayner, Wisconsin, is the snowmobile capital of the world. The buzzing of snowmobile engines fills the air, and their tanklike tracks crisscross the snow. The snow reminds me of Mom’s mashed potatoes, covered with furrows I would draw with my fork. Her mashed potatoes usually make me sick, that’s why I play with them. I like to make a hole in the middle of the potatoes and fill it with melted butter. This behavior has been the subject of long chats between me and my analyst.

        Then read Williams’ text about coherence in writing — and re-consider whether an approach different than your taxonomy might be more practical.

      • Your taxonomy rather reminds me of a scenario I have seen many times, more or less:

        Teacher: “In order to improve your writing, you need to be more concise.”

        Student: “Yes, I realize that. Many teachers have told me that, but not have been able to help me to write more concisely. Perhaps you can give me some useful advice?

        Teacher: ‘Sure – just say the same thing in fewer words.”

        That scenario seems to me to be roughly equivalent to using your matrix to indicate that a text is “vague.”

        How do you think you can clearly delineate “vague” text from “overly complex” text or text that has “unnecessary detail” or text that is “inefficient” or “ineffective?” How would you recommend that someone address a problem of “inefficient” text differently than a problem of “ineffective” text or “vague” text?

        Good luck with that!

      • Achieving the promise of the first sentence:

        > My purpose here is to briefly explain a taxonomy of confusions which I developed years ago but never published.

        would have been nice.

        Also, what follows “which” could have been omitted. It is irrelevant to this promise and shows that the coherence analysis has not been applied to itself.

      • It has been my general experience that when David has a point to make about rhetoric it is both more useful and more comprehensible than when either willard or Joshua has. I’m also amusingly reminded of critiques longer than the original work.

        Now Shaw could do this on his own stuff. These guys, heh.
        =================

      • Just found a bad rip-off of David’s “taxonomy”:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gricean_maxims

        A taxonomy is rarely an ordered list of items, and almost never has item showing as strong dependencies as “needs examples” and “too many examples”.

      • Yet another unexplained link for our colour commentator:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politeness_theory

      • Just to point out – (although not directly relevant to quantifying coherence when communicating in English) the concept of coherence in communication is culturally influenced. Rhetorical conventions differ by language and culture. For example, the optimal degree of detail can differ by cultural convention. Views of what comprises vagueness or appropriate numbers of examples may vary, and organizational styles are not universal. What is confusing in one conventional framework is not (always) found confusing in another.

        So one thing to consider is that while this matrix may help describe “confusions” within a particular cultural/linguistic context – maybe the leap from the matrix to generalizations about “coherence profiles” with broader implications to “human cognition” might be a bit ambitious?

      • kim –

        It has been my general experience that when David has a point to make about rhetoric it is both more useful and more comprehensible than when either willard or Joshua has.

        Out of curiosity – maybe you could explain why you find a reason to comment on the usefulness of my points about rhetoric relative to the usefulness of David’s points about rhetoric?

        The degree to which my points are useful or not has no effect, none whatsoever, zilch, nada, bupkis, niente, on David’s points. There is no zero sum gain here. The value of the one is completely independent of the value of the other.

        Is the point that you see it as a contest? If so, why does it matter who you judge to be the winner? Perhaps others do care about that, and place some measure of value in your assessment. Maybe some here are reading to find out your judgement – but I have to say that would be rather silly, as you judgements about anything I do or write could easily be predicted before your imaginary battle was even engaged.

        Well – I suppose you could ask me why I find it amusing to ridicule your fantasies of “connecting dots” to draw pictures of “Obama’s Muslim sympathies.”

        Funny thing, this Internet blog banter….isn’t it?

      • Joshua,

        I suspect that Judith has kim on a retainer to keep up the comment numbers – other explanations for the relentless inane one-liners seem less plausible.

      • These guys, heh. Like chalk dust to red pepper.
        ==========

      • @David Wojick: Speaking of reading comprehension I just published a taxonomy of confusions that takes the science of readability to a new level. See http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/02/05/a-taxonomy-of-confusions/.

        @Judith Curry: David, I like it. Are you interested in doing a guest post on this, or can I re-post?

        Since DW’s published taxonomy generated only two comments at Scholarly Kitchen, half of which were David’s (or 90% if judged by length), I fully agree with Judith and am strongly in favor of either a guest post or a re-posting in order to bring David’s taxonomy into the (badly needed) limelight. 20 comments on CE would be one order of magnitude more responses, 200, 2 more, 2000, 3 more, 20,000, 4 more, and so on.

        Judith, not that you need it of course but you have my full support here for a guest post by David.

      • Apologies, there is one other equally plausible explanation of kim – spambot.

      • I noticed, Joshua, that when I mentioned that Obama, during the long drawn out agony in Benghazi, took a rest and then flew to Vegas that you fell as silent as he. As you connect dots, I guess you’ll fall silent on the matter of Obama’s Muslim sympathies.

        moshe has a point. If that is what is in his heart, why can’t he say it?
        ========================

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | February 18, 2013 at 2:30 am |

        “20 comments on CE would be one order of magnitude more responses, 200, 2 more, 2000, 3 more, 20,000, 4 more, and so on.”

        Quantity does not equal quality but it can be reasonable proxy for page views if registration is not onerous and moderation light. If you were struggling with a great many words to express the simple idea that David would get more eyeballs here then I deem you correct. Hallelujah, you got one right.

      • @kim: I noticed, Joshua, that when I mentioned that Obama, during the long drawn out agony in Benghazi, took a rest and then flew to Vegas that you fell as silent as he. As you connect dots, I guess you’ll fall silent on the matter of Obama’s Muslim sympathies.

        The book of kim
        Was once more slim

      • What did kim know
        And when did kim know it?
        ===============

      • I think willard has nailed the point I was making with regard to document.
        I think it is almost universally true that most documents purporting to be guides for writing tend to fail living up to the standards they set.

        I’ll suggest that my late friend came very close to practicing what he preached

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Lanham

        I’d suggest Revising Prose and the book below.

        http://www.amazon.com/Style-Anti-Textbook-Richard-Lanham/dp/1589880323

        ( Dick was also a fan of Peckham who we might return to when discussing poetry with Beth )

      • Joshua,

        Read Lamham. Clarity is vastly overrated.
        see the chapters on the uses of obscurity, the delights of jargon, the opaque style.

      • Joshua, ” Teacher: ‘Sure – just say the same thing in fewer words.”

        This is your advice Joshua!. Have you considered asking for a tuition refund?

    • David,

      It suffers from No. 21.

  47. Let’s leave what I wrote aside for the moment. Let me ask you this:
    In general terms, do you agree that a scientist with a political agenda has become by reason of that agenda, less trust worthy wrt to the way he conducts research?

    If the answer is “yes,” then are you by some ineluctable David Wokickian leap of logic ipso facto calling for all research funding to scientists who act as expert witnesses to be stopped?

    Last time David, you’re obviously free to draw whatever conclusion you wish from my comment, but to do it you have to ignore my specific and pointed statement to the contrary. It seems to me that since it’s my comment, I ought to know what I meant. But that seems to carry no weight for you.

    I submit that your logic is faulty. Just because something is problematic it is not by definition necessarily to be eliminated.

    • No Poker I do not believe that offering expert testimony makes one untrustworthy as a scientist. I find the claim ridiculous.

      • I’m not gonna bother with this. I’ll depend on previous judgement that both these contestants are usually right.
        ==============================

      • I concede that was too narrow on my part, and I gave you wiggle room thereby. What I should have asked was, do you believe scientists with a political agenda are less trustworthy wrt to their research? The answer has to be yes it seems to me. So I repeat my question, are you then calling for all funding to such scientists to be stopped? I doubt it, since you’ve already deemed such an idea preposterous.

      • David

        Your statement is correct and I would agree:

        “I do not believe that offering expert testimony makes one untrustworthy as a scientist”

        A good example was our hostess’ expert testimony to the Baird Committee of US Congress a couple of years ago.

        This was not “normative” science in any form. It was just “science”.

        Baird tried to get her to come out in support of mitigation actions, but she stuck with the science and did not play his game (two previous witnesses, who were not climate experts, did give Baird what he wanted to hear).

        Check the Q+A it’s worth listening to all the way through.
        http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/ChangePan

        Max

      • @kim: I’ll depend on previous judgement that both these contestants are usually right.

        What’s your track record, kim? Maybe all three of you are usually wrong…

      • Heh, you noticed they were both right, eh?
        ===========

    • On top of all the scandals the True Believers of ACGW (America-Caused Global Warming) also have sacrificed decency, dignity and integrity on the altar of Left-liberal Utopianism when they lie about the credentials of scientific skeptics and determinedly engage in the politics of personal destruction against all persons of good faith who have the courage to speak the truth about global warming alarmism. “People who live in an age of corruption are witty and slanderous; they know that there are other kinds of murder than by dagger or assault; they also know that whatever is well said is believed” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

  48. My thoughts on this FWTW

    Science is simply “science”

    It has been said that: “science is primarily a search for truth”.

    If science deviates from the “search for truth” in order to support some agenda it becomes “agenda driven science”.

    The IPCC “consensus process” has been accused of promoting “agenda driven science”.

    If “normative” science is supporting an agenda, it simply becomes “agenda driven science”.

    HOW this is done is another question:

    – by outright lying
    – by bending the results
    – by using “grey literature” to replace scientific studies
    – by discarding contradicting data points as “outliers”
    – by ignoring dissenting studies
    – by “accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative”

    Max

  49. Max, Nicely presented. It seems self-evident to me that agenda driven science is bad science. By definition it is, since if we accept your “search for truth” notion, truth must then become secondary. Or perhaps even irrelevant.

  50. Or perhaps in the worst case, truth actually becomes antithetical to whatever agenda is being promoted. Not healthy to say the least.

  51. We all must ask, has America been ambushed by academia? They killed the scientific method and with its death we must question everything as we all stray through an infinite nothing. Now more than ever, skeptics can never take a holiday again!

  52. The liberal idiots are now going to stage a push for Obama to act on “climate change.” I got this from the League of Women voters. They have been hijacked by the socialists. Climate has nothing to do with voting.

    “League of Women Voters

    Tell President Obama to Lead the Climate Change Fight

    “Climate change is not a hoax. More drought and floods and hurricanes and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And we can do something about it.”

    These are the words of President Obama during the 2012 campaign, and we couldn’t agree more. People are dying because of climate change. Our families, our communities and our planet are all threatened by it.

    Join the League by calling on the President, to take the historically necessary step of controlling industrial carbon pollution from new and existing power plants. The President can use his existing regulatory authority to make this happen.

    The world has known about climate change for decades, yet little has been done to address the issue. The U.S. came close to enacting a comprehensive climate change bill in the early years of your administration when a good bill passed the House, but it was blocked by special interests in the Senate. With the current gridlock in Congress, it seems impossible that any legislative action will be taken to protect our health and our planet.

    If President Obama doesn’t do it, it won’t get done. If the United States doesn’t lead, the rest of the world cannot follow.

    Tell the President that saving the world is a legacy worth fighting for.”

    http://participate.lwv.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6903

    • We scare the children with nightmare weather bogeymen, and the thief under the bed steals their inheritance.
      =================

      • I remember hiding under my bed in abject terror after watching a program on “the bomb” back in the late 50’s. Somehow we’ve become distracted from what by any reasonable measure is the thing we should fear most. Worrying about “climate change”…likely a few degrees at most of largely beneficial warming… while we essentially ignore the nuclear threat is beyond absurd.

        With each passing decade as more unstable nations with lunatic leaders acquire the necessary technology, the likelihood of a nuclear war becomes ever greater. Did Obama even mention this terrible and all too real threat during his recent speech? I doubt it.

    • Raise your hand if you hate America and want to be lied to by the EPA! This is the day all peddlers of Eurocommunism and radical environmentalism should just come out of the closet and support of the EPA government scientists of Climate Change Catastrophism.

      “But environmentalism, like every other ism, has the potential for dogmatic zeal and obsession. Do we really need one more humorless religion?” ~Stephen T. Asma (Green Guilt)

    • jim2

      As seen from over here, US President Obama needs to worry about US problems affecting US citizens who voted for him (plus the other half that voted against him).

      The biggest problem the USA faces today is looming insolvency resulting from chronic overspending.

      He should forget about “taking the lead in saving the planet” (from an imaginary hobgoblin that he could not defeat even if it were real) and get his own house in order first.

      Just my opinion as an outsider.

      Max

    • You all misunderstand what Obama is doing. You see the six trillion in debt he has added to the U.S. debt and see the potential insolvency of the U.S. as a crisis to be avoided. This is a mediocre mind who has been steeped in Marxist rhetoric his whole life. He has been frank about wanting to fundamentally change the united States.

      To you (and me), the collapse of the U.S. economy would be a disaster, for the U.S. and the rest of the world. To Obama and his acolytes, it would be a short cut to the transformation they seek. As it is now, implementing Obamacare’s takeover of the healthcare industry will take years, with numerous court fights along the way. The ERA will take just as long, and face as many court challenges, in the planned takeover of the energy economy. It is also going to take time to consolidate government control over the college education industry and housing industry.

      And there is always the threat that the American people will wake up by the next election or two. An economic collapse, in the fevered imagination of the progressives running things here, will just help them clear the debris of capitalism that much more quickly. They firmly believe that the people will turn to the government to “save” them from any economic collapse, just as Franklin D. Roosevelt used the Depression to implement the first massive wave of progressive centralization of power, including an assault on the Supreme Court and the Constitution.

      You all see the risk of economic collapse as a drawback to the EPA’s attempts to control the energy economy. They see it as a feature. Obama is making noises that he wants to be the next Reagan – a transformative president. What he really wants to be is the next Roosevelt.

      Never let a crisis go to waste, particularly when you can create it yourself.

      • Gary, that’s much more scary than global warming. I’d hide under the bed if it wasn’t so low-slung.

      • Boston Fed the mania.
        =========

      • David Springer

        +1

      • GaryM,
        GaryM,

        I often think that its quite paradoxical that those who support the capitalist system the most understand it the least.

        You need to understand the reason behind the decision of most Western governments to run quite high deficits at present. You might want to take a look at this:

        http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/23/apples-cash-hoard-reaches-137-billion/

        What are the wider implications of this level of thrift? Its $137 billion of potential spending power which isn’t being utilised. Its actually worse than that. If Apple were to spend this money it would be spent again by those who were to receive it. There would be a multiplier effect which would create many more jobs and economic activity than if it were just spent once.

        Of course Apple aren’t the only ones hoarding large quantities of cash. In effect what the US, and other governments are doing, by both borrowing and printing money is to try to make up for a high level of cash hoarding in the economy. That’s why they are able to indulge in so-called quantitative easing without it causing high levels of inflation.

        If Obama were genuinely a Marxist with a hidden agenda to topple the capitalist system he’d probably do exactly what the political right would wish. He’d put the US$ on the gold standard, cut government spending and try to balance the budget. You’d have riots in the streets in a matter of weeks or months. Is that what you really want?

      • Peter, your analogies are as bad as Pratt’s. What’s a more sustainable model, spending money you don’t have or not spending money you do have?
        ==============

      • ” What’s a more sustainable model, spending money you don’t have or not spending money you do have?”

        It can be one of either depending on circumstances. You need to understand what money is, and the way the money supply affects an economy, for a start. Its a variable which can be adjusted to speed or slow an economy with the aim of making it operate close to full capacity . The wealth produced in any economy, whether or not capitalist, is directly related to the what’s produced in the economy and not the amount of cash hoarded in bank vaults.

      • blueice2hotsea

        GaryM – thanks

        Mr. Martin – What you call hoarding large quantities of cash might be merely resistance to the dissipation of wealth by criminals and sychophants.

        Wealth can be both created and destroyed. And it is stored wealth that most people will one day rely upon when they become pensioners. A big problem is that criminals and megalomaniac idiots mandate and presume that they are best equipped to store the wealth for the benefit of those who have created and earned a share of wealth. The result is the debacle with which we now struggle.

      • “Wealth can be both created and destroyed” That’s true.

        “stored wealth that most people will one day rely upon when they become pensioners.” Possibly if the pensioners have built up a store of canned beans or whatever in their attics.

        Except you probably don’t mean that. You mean investments in stocks, shares, pension funds?

        This isn’t stored wealth in the same way. If you buy a product from an income derived this way it won’t have been stored. If anything is stored its nothing tangible – its just a paper asset. Gold isn’t much better. That’s way overvalued now but won’t be if things get really bad. Your best bet is to hope that Obama manages to keep the system going somehow.

      • Gary

        The US debt is not in quite as bad of shape as you think. The large percentage of US debt is now actually held by the US itself. We have basically printed money and replaced much of our debt with longer term low interest notes that we own. The process has actually reduced the percentage of our revenue that has to go to servicing our debt.

        Our current and projected future annual debt is a huge potential problem however. If not dramatically reduced/eliminated it will lead to other nations eventually abandoning US currency and massive inflation coupled with high unemployment.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Mr. Martin –

        You seem to be saying that wealth cannot be stored. Really. So, I say beware the man who has read only one book. Especially if it was written by Karl Marx.

      • Yes of course wealth can be stored. But the natural order of things means that anything stored is also at risk. A squirrel will accept that some acorns may decay or be lost in the storage process. There’s a cost and a risk attached to all forms of storage.

        In Australia there seems to be a scandal every so often whereby an investment companies has promised double digit yields on investments, and those, often pensioners wanting a better return on their investment, who’ve been foolish enough to believe what they read in the glossy brochure have ended up losing everything.

        I can’t feel much sympathy, I’m afraid. If anyone has a bit of spare cash and fancies taking a chance with it then good luck to them. But they do need to appreciate the risk involved. That’s just common sense, you don’t need to read Marx to know that.

      • @tempterrain: I can’t feel much sympathy, I’m afraid. If anyone has a bit of spare cash and fancies taking a chance with it then good luck to them. But they do need to appreciate the risk involved.

        What you’re overlooking here, temp, is that these con artists are capable of fooling even competent money managers with a prior spotless record.

        If even the best money managers can be fooled in this way, where can the average pensioner put their money other than in their mattress?

      • tempterrain,

        I think it’s so cute when progressives try to explain free market economics when they have no clue what they’re talking about. Like watching a dog riding a tricycle on Youtube.

        Apple and many other large companies are sitting on a lot of cash because progressive governance has made it unprofitable to invest, and made uncertainty as to taxes and regulations their central governing theme.

        Do you know how much it will cost Apple over the next five years to expand and hire new employees? Of course you don’t. Neither do they. Obamacare, “tax the rich” demagoguery, the impending takeover of the energy economy….

        And western governments are running high deficits, not for any reasons related to economics, but because sending people government checks gets them to vote for the progressives who run those governments.

        Oh, and as for the governments “borrowing and printing money…without it causing high levels of inflation…,” ask Argentina about how that works in the long run. Like most progressives, you get causation exactly backwards. Companies like Apple aren’t investing because the governments are running the world economy into the ground.

        Rob Starkey,

        “The US debt is not in quite as bad of shape as you think. The large percentage of US debt is now actually held by the US itself.”

        If you think that the government running up 16 trillion in debt to date (not counting trillions more likely needed to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) is not a problem because the government is loaning itself the money, see my comment above regarding Argentina. The dollar is no longer backed by gold. If the people of the U.S., and the rest of the world, lose confidence in the dollar, as is inevitable if things continue as they are, the problem will not be that other countries will abandon the dollar as the medium of exchange.

        The world economy is so intertwined, the threat of collapse of a few American banks and insurance companies in 2007 brought the entire world economy to the bring. I don’t think the world economy has ever in history been as integrated as it is now.

        The risk we are facing due to the degradation of the dollar is not higher unemployment and inflation, it is economic collapse.

      • GaryM,

        “I think it’s so cute when progressives try to explain free market economics when they have no clue what they’re talking about. ”

        Ok but why do you disagree? The most successful economist of the 20th century was undoubtedly Keynes who you’d also label progressive. Obama is following Keynsian economics. If he didn’t you wouldn’t just have a recession in the US you’d have a depression. Ok if you disagree, come up with a logical argument as to ‘why’. Use your brain for once and actually think about it.

        Rob Starkey is right in saying the US debt isn’t anywhere near bad as people think. The US government would be paying hardly any interest on its borrowed money. 0.5%? What’s inflation over there? 3%? I don’t know about you, but if I could borrow at 2.5% less than the inflation level I’d be borrowing as much as I possibly could.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Economies that are working owe much more to Hayek than Keynes – Australia’s economy is still working although compromised yet again by Labor. It is lucky that will not continue past September. There is no shortcut to balanced budgets, low taxes, and managed interest rate regimes.

      • GaryM,

        “Apple and many other large companies are sitting on a lot of cash because progressive governance has made it unprofitable to invest”

        That’s just not true. Apple have made so much money in recent years that they literally just don’t know what to do with it.

        http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-24/apple-posts-record-quarterly-profit-sales.html

      • tt, he of the direct line to Apple’s Board of Directors, doesn’t explain why nobody much else wants to invest either. Not all of them have made so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

        Actually, they do; hang on to it for the stormy weather ahead.
        ==========

      • tt @ 2:13, consider what the US is doing, borrowing for its future taxpayers at a rate lower than inflation. Someone’s getting screwed here and it’s either the borrower or the lender. Since they’re the same anyway, I suspect it’s pornographic.
        ==================

  53. Our energy choices need to factor in both opportunities and risks. This testimony gives particular attention to why we must consider the risk of climate change, both on our resources being developed and utilized today and on our choices for development into the future. It concludes with the following recommendations:

    Congress should request that the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee review the current authorities of federal agencies and national laboratories, and recommend how consideration of risks associated with climate change can be more directly incorporated into decision-making.

    Congress should support efforts to better assess the impacts of climate change on America’s energy infrastructure and incorporate this into planning and investment decisions.

    Congress should keep in mind four important criteria in considering policies to drive more effective clean energy growth and competitiveness: any energy policy should be comprehensive, long-term, targeted, and inclusive.

    In capturing energy efficiency across the economy, Congress can play a constructive role in two key areas:

    Informed consumer choice: supporting and expanding programs to help ensure product labeling is accurate and publicly reported in a timely manner, to encourage energy-wise investment decisions throughout the U.S. economy.
    Efficiency standards: supporting and extending the ability of federal agencies to develop and update energy efficiency standards for vehicles, appliances, and other energy-consuming equipment that is sold into U.S. commerce.
    Congress must work toward reaching bipartisan agreement on national energy policies that encourage more efficient energy consumption, increase the diversity of domestic energy production, maximize deployment of low-carbon energy technologies, and minimize environmental impacts throughout our energy systems. In the near-term, it is also critical for Congress to provide funding and incentives for low-carbon and clean energy technologies.

    http://www.wri.org/publication/testimony-american-energy-security-and-innovation-assessment-of-energy-resources

    INTEGRITY ™ — Normative Science at Work.

  54. In a television interview today, I was asked whether global warming could explain this [2012/13 a top 5 snow year for the Northern Hemisphere]. I replied no, we get snow during cold periods not warm. Global warming would reduce the north south contrast and reduce the strength of storms. Also the warming models and IPCC and NOAA claimed warming would take the rain snow line most often near the major cities of the east and push it inland reducing snow for the cities. Not so. ~Joseph D’Aleo

    • Joe’s brilliant. I subscribe to his service (weatherbell) and find his presentations superb. He’s a good counterbalance….sane, measured, not too much ego…to his counterpart Bastardi who in my opinion is an emotional train wreck. He’s brilliant too, but perpetually biased cold and stormy.

      • We may see a return of the 18th century gin craze in the UK if the elderly again find themselves burning books to keep warm this winter because Lefitists have driven up the cost of the energy needed to heat homes.

    • “I replied no, we get snow during cold periods not warm.”

      Evidently he has missed the UAH satellite record for January.

    • Both Joes should also bear in mind that the influence of non-TSI changes of the Sun on global temperature is indistinguishable from zero.

      • lolwot, you write “Both Joes should also bear in mind that the influence of non-TSI changes of the Sun on global temperature is indistinguishable from zero.“

        What you dont seem to be able to grasp is that NOTHING is quantitatively correlated with changes in climate. It does not matter which hypothesis you care to mention, there is no quantitative relationship bewtween it and global temperatures. So, there is no signal from anything we know about. But this does not mean that climate does not vary; we know from empirical evidence that it does.

        However, this is where the warmists and skeptics come to different conclusions. We skeptics agree that something is affecting climate but we dont know what. The warmists claim that there is evidence that adding CO2 to the atmposphere casues a change in climate. That is the difference between us.

      • David Springer

        lolwot | February 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Reply

        “:Both Joes should also bear in mind that the influence of non-TSI changes of the Suncondensing trace gases on global temperature is indistinguishable from zero.”

        Fixed that for ya!

      • Jim Cripwell. You write:
        We skeptics agree that something is affecting climate but we dont know what. The warmists claim that there is evidence that adding CO2 to the atmposphere casues a change in climate. That is the difference between us.
        There is a bigger difference. They have consensus. We skeptics do not have consensus. We skeptics do not all agree that “we don’t know what”. Many of us skeptics do know what, but we don’t all know the same what. Skeptics don’t have consensus. Many of our “whats” are right and many of them do work together. Proper climate science will be skeptical of all the “whats” and consider all the “whats’ and have open discussion and debate and promote proper validated evaluation of all the “whats”.
        Many of the consensus scientists and the skeptic scientists know a lot about many of the “whats” There are many people with knowledge in areas that can help with this. It is most likely that none or few will have this totally right and it is most likely that none or few will have this totally wrong.
        It is really difficult to get an open discussion.
        Climate Etc does this better than any other blog, but even here, skeptics here do not consider that some consensus ideas are right and skeptics here do not consider that other different skeptic ideas may be right, we generally do not consider skeptic ideas that disagree with our own.
        Consensus people do have some advantage because they have consensus..
        Skeptic people have a huge advantage, looking at history, some skeptic will most likely be right and the consensus opinion will be squashed like a bug!

  55. “we need to agree global warming isn’t just some total lie”

    Brandon,

    This declaration is rather silly. “We” don’t “need” to agree to anything. If you can show me some convincing evidence of something I might start agreeing to stuff. Until then, climate-related declarations go in the recycle bin.

    Andrew

    • David Springer

      +1

    • Chief Hydrologist

      don’t recycle it only encourages them

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Bad Andrew, if you want to believe, or even just suspect, global warming is a total lie, you can. So can anyone else. When I say “we,” I refer to people who accept basic physics. Those people have a serious issue to try to resolve.

      • You don’t have any basic physics. The AGWScienceFiction’s Greenhouse Effect is an illusion, if you disagree then prove it isn’t.

      • “we,” I refer to people who accept basic physics.

        I accept evidence. Let me know when you get some. You may present it at any time.

        Andrew

    • Andrew, you are not addressing Brandon’s point.
      1. You can believe the AGW is wrong.
      2. You can believe that “it” is a lie.

      Your position is this: Unless you can convince me, then it must be wrong.
      or goes in the recycle bin.

      A few logical points: Your agreement with the evidence says nothing about the truth of AGW. For example. You cannot convince me that you are intelligent. Therefore you are dumb. you’ve made the truth of AGW contingent upon your agreement. You’d be on better footing, if you said
      “Unless you convince me, I’m unconvinced” because convincing you or failing to convince you says nothing about the science and everything about you.

      Second: you claimed it was a lie. That requires you knowing two things
      A) it is wrong
      B) the people who espouse it know that it is wrong, but they lie.

      Well, you dont know its wrong. You only know that you are unconvinced.
      It is possible that you are wrong, because you dont understand the evidence.
      Its possible you are wrong because you havent seen the evidence.
      Its possible you are wrong, because the evidence doesnt exist yet.
      So, since its possible that you are wrong, its therefore true that you dont know that AGW is wrong. You are only unconvinced. And you are definitely wrong that people who believe in it are lying. I believe and Im not lying when I say Im convinced by the evidence.

      unfool yourself about the difference between knowing something is wrong and being convinced of its rightness.

      • “you claimed it was a lie.”

        In this thread I have done no such thing. I just disagreed with Brandon’s silly declaration.

        Andrew

      • “In this thread”
        The fact remains Andrew you have claimed it was a lie. You don’t deny that you claimed it was a lie. you think it is a lie. And you are lying if you say you don’t. As argued above that belief is not grounded in evidence. You have no evidence that AGW is wrong, you have no evidence that people who believe in it are lying about their belief. You claim to know things that you dont know ( agw is wrong and people who believe it are liars) while at the same time refusing to accept evidence against your own false beliefs.

      • “you have no evidence that people who believe in it are lying about their belief”

        I do. There are uncountable comments from Warmers on the intrawebs who do not have sufficent knowledge of the climate to have a scientific belief in Global Warming.Yet that is what they claim they have.

        Andrew

      • Wrong again, bad andrew

        “I do. There are uncountable comments from Warmers on the intrawebs who do not have sufficent knowledge of the climate to have a scientific belief in Global Warming.Yet that is what they claim they have

        A lie is saying something you know to be otherwise. Looking at the scale and seeing that you weigh 300 lbs and reporting that you weigh 200 lbs is lying. Claiming that you believe in AGW, when you do in fact, is not lying.
        Your judgement about what constitutes “sufficient knowledge” has nothing to do with THEIR judgment about sufficient proof. once again, you think you have knowledge and evidence, but you have neither.

      • “Claiming that you believe in AGW, when you do in fact, is not lying.”

        Implying or claiming you have a scientific conclusion like Global Warming when you don’t have the scientific knowledge to support such a belief is lying.

        And if you’d like me to present exhibit A, I submit all of your internet posting history, Steven Mosher.

        Andrew

      • Bad Andrew,

        I happen to believe in DNA, Mendelian genetics, genes and chromosomes etc. But I’d have to confess that I’d be hard pushed to explain the science in any detail.

        So am I lying about that?

      • But Andrew, I do have the scientific knowledge to support the belief.

        You might disagree about what constitues knowledge, but then our debate is over the definition of science, and not over whether I have the knowledge I claim to have. You might disagree that the knowledge supports the belief, but then we are discussing the issue of warranted belief, and not whether I have the knowledge or not.
        The simple fact is that I do have the knowledge to support the belief, as all my posting shows. Unless you can convince me otherwise, you are lying

        ( hehe notice what I did to your convince me argument)

      • “The simple fact is that I do have the knowledge to support the belief”

        Unsubstantiated claim.

        Andrew

      • “I happen to believe in DNA, Mendelian genetics, genes and chromosomes etc. But I’d have to confess that I’d be hard pushed to explain the science in any detail.”

        This is simply an admission you do not have a scientific understanding of these things. Are you claiming you do?

        Andrew

      • moshe has a sysiphean task, to lift the skeptical out of their doubt. But, he’s gotta rock.
        =========

      • “This is simply an admission you do not have a scientific understanding of these things. Are you claiming you do?”

        No. I’m no expert but I do understand the basics of how a DNA molecule is built of four amino acids etc. Bit there lots of other science that I really don’t know much about at all. Apart from people like Chief Engineer all our knowledge is limited by our available time for study. But that doesn’t equate to my thinking its probably wrong.

    • @Bad Andrew: If you can show me some convincing evidence of something I might start agreeing to stuff.

      This reminds me of a legal agreement I’m currently trying to draw up with some neighbors. Not a big deal, just a few thousand dollars. They would agree with me if I could show them some convincing evidence. This will never happen, not because the evidence is not convincing but because they are not convinced by the evidence.

      I interpret your position as that there is no difference between the two.

  56. All this could be abstracted to the honestly broker dance:

    > Framing the questions posed to scientists in ways that separate scientific judgments from policy advice is one way to avoid falling prey to the value-free ideal.

    http://www.issues.org/27.2/br_pielke.html

    It might take an effort to miss the contradiction, but nobody said that the brokering path was easy. After a while, the contradiction disappears from the broker’s mind.

  57. Been reading a biography of Einstein. He had socialist, world government ideas yes, but I’m pretty sure he’d have been appalled at the current attempt at practicing science by consensus. The author, Walter Isaacson, writes of Einstein: “Skepticism and a resistance to received wisdom became a hallmark of his life.”

    In Einstein’s own words:”A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

    • The worst is averaging the results of a bunch of different computer models of unknown quality and then claiming actions needs to be taken based on the results

    • Thanks. I will try to use this.

    • @pokerguy: I’m pretty sure [Einstein]’d have been appalled at the current attempt at practicing science by consensus.

      Agreed. So what? Are you supporting the 1939 Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) paper and rejecting John Bell’s 1967 analysis of EPR and everything that followed from it? Einstein would be thrilled by your support.

      In Einstein’s own words:”A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

      I take it you’re recommending putting your faith in truth then?

      Would you be willing to put your money where your faith is? I can help you invest it according to your faith.

      • Faith in Beauty. The money gets all mixed up when Truth and Beauty are a Unity.
        ========

      • @kim: Faith in Beauty.

        Estée Lauder would buy that (or sell it).

        Why must there be beauty in truth?
        An ugly rumor confirmed by investigation remains ugly.

        And why must there be truth in beauty?
        Most beautiful stories are too good to be true.

        –Chairman of the Royal Australian College of Knowledge Prevention by Obfuscation of Technology.

      • Vaughn chomps on base metal, and spits out glittery nuggets.
        =============

      • blueice2hotsea

        VP –

        heh. I find your ugly rumor about Truth to be Beautiful.

  58. Chief Hydrologist

    Models are chaotic. There is no single deterministic solution. The solution provided to the IPCC as an ensemble member is selected on the basis of subjective plausibiity from a state space of unknown dimensions. The great weapon of the climate war is reduced to a childrens game of stick the tail on the donkee.

    The world is not warming for a decade or three more. Beyond that lie ‘dragon-kings’. Predictability is difficult. Especially about the future.

    Climate science is being used by both sides as a proxy battleground of social values. Springer wins. Nah nah nah nah.

    • Models are chaotic and Earth Temperature is well bounded. Apples and Oranges. One should not be expected to forecast the other, and it does not.

      • David Springer

        “Earth Temperature is well bounded”

        Indeed. That’s the polar opposite of chaotic.

        +1

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Earth’s Quaternary climate is well bounded between multiple equilbria that include glacials and interglacials. It is little comfort that the bounds that tie are so broad.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Although you are right in one way Herman.

        ‘In 1963, Lorenz published his seminal paper on ‘Deterministic non-periodic flow’, which was to change the course of weather and climate prediction profoundly over the following decades and to embed the theory of chaos at the heart of meteorology. Indeed, it could be said that his view of the atmosphere (and subsequently also the oceans) as a chaotic system has coloured our thinking of the predictability of weather and subsequently climate from thereon.

        Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.

        http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      • David Springer

        The difference in temperature between glacial and interglacial is less than 10C. You can babble until the cows come home and that fact still remains.

      • That darned butterfly can’t hide forever. They caught Dorner, didn’t they?

      • Like a moth in a flame.
        =========

      • For the last 870k years, temperature bounds have been bounded in a range of 15 degrees C in Antarctic and bounded in a range of 20 degrees in Greenland, according to ice core data.
        http://popesclimatetheory.com/page6.html
        http://popesclimatetheory.com/page9.html
        For the past ten thousand years, the temperature of both have been bounded in a range of 4 degrees, according to the ice core data. It has been well bounded within plus and minus 2 degrees of the average, all of the last ten thousand years. It has been within plus and minus 1 degree most of that time. This is the new standard. This is where it will stay unless something major changes. CO2 is a trace gas and it cannot be something major. Water in all of its states is abundant and it controls the temperature bounds. Look at snow accumulation on this chart that I got from NOAA.
        http://popesclimatetheory.com/page11.html
        When oceans are warmer it snows more and when oceans are colder it snows less. This keeps earth temperature bounded.
        The temperature that Arctic Sea Ice melts and freezes is the set point for the thermostat of earth.

      • A butterfly in the hand explains abrupt shifts in climate states. On the other hand it seems quite mad to define 10’s of degrees changes in places in as little as a decade as climate stability.

        ‘It is still unclear how the climate on a regional or even global scale can change as rapidly as present evidence suggests. It appears that the climate system is more delicately balanced than had previously been thought, linked by a cascade of powerful mechanisms that can amplify a small initial change into a much larger qualitative shift in temperature and aridity.’ http://dieoff.org/page127.htm

  59. Chief Hydrologist

    In moderation again. Such a modest crime of calculated shades. I’m sure I will be released.

    In the mentime.

    There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.

    Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224

    • David Springer

      Chief Hydrologist | February 17, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply

      “In moderation again. Such a modest crime of calculated shades. I’m sure I will be released. ”

      As usual, I’m way ahead of you. I’ve been in moderation for about 24 hours now. It’s not so bad if you leverage the fact that Curry is the only reading the moderation queue. It’s a rare opportunity knowing that she is hanging on your every word!

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Bags for womens heads. “Dispatching” climate scientists – although the later explantation that you meant by “dispatching” putting them in the post rather than anything more sinister is noted. Jibes of an anti-g_y nature. Can anything be less appealing?

      Your science is more deductive then inductive. Starting with shaky foundations, proceeding through well rehearsed but misapplied concepts of atmospheric physics to a meaningless grand dénouement. Simple narratives for a simple man.

      I doubt that Judith is hanging on your words as much as choking on them. It is a testament to tolerance that you haven’t been booted.

  60. Fer policy don
    yr advocate’s red hat or
    science hat true blue.

    Hat tip Edward de Bono

    • Chief Hydrologist

      But hide them from that CH fink
      or you’ll find they have a stink

      H/T François Rabelais

  61. If I had the chance, the following are the amazing climate relationships I would present at the testimony:

    1) There is a roughly linear relationship between sun spot count and global mean surface temperature as shown:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:732/compress:12/normalise/plot/sidc-ssn/mean:1008/normalise

    2) There is a nearly perfect linear relationship between Global mean surface temperature and CO2 concentration as shown:
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:732/from:1958/compress:12/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/compress:12/to:1981/normalise

    These results show the increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is due to the increase in solar activity.

    • I’d get them to sit through this episode of Orbit: Earth’s Extraordinary Journey Episode 3

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01dq1h0

      and hope reality would dawn.

    • 1) There is a roughly linear relationship between sun spot count and global mean surface temperature as shown:

      You mean temperature rising after 1960 while sun spot count is going down?

      Are you assuming US voters elect idiots? (I’m not taking a position either way on that.)

      • David Springer

        Afraid not, Vaughn. Sunspot count plateaued at the highest level ever observed in 1960 and didn’t begin to retreat until very recently. This plateau is what’s called a solar grand maximum and this particular one is called “The Modern Maximum”. This is encyclopedic information. Wiki it.

        The relationship Girma posits didn’t break down until 1990 which is far too late to blame the usual suspect CO2. I suppose it’s possible there’s a longish delay between solar magnetic activity level and climate response that isn’t smudged out with a 20-year mean but I don’t see any delay of that magnitude in the prior history so I’m hesistant to give that explanation any weight. Girma smudging it out with a 1000-month mean doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, obviously, but your claim that it breaks down in 1970 is not correct either.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/every/mean:240/scale:100/plot/sidc-ssn/every/mean:240/offset:-75

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And yet….

        ‘We need to understand why studies using solar activity as a proxy for net sunlight seem to have real value, even though we know that there are terrestrial imprints of the solar cycle when the implied changes in solar
        irradiance seem too weak to induce an imprint.’

        http://bbso.njit.edu/Research/EarthShine/literature/Goode_Palle_2007_JASTP.pdf

      • Leif Svalgaard agrees with you, CH. Just because sunspot numbers were down early in the 20th century is no reason to assume that Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) was any lower in 1900 than in 1950. It’s not as though the heat was coming directly from the sunspots.

        Wikipedia is only useful for knowledge that stabilized decades ago. This question of the relationship between SSN and TSI was still being hotly :) debated at last year’s annual Fall Meeting of the AGU.

    • David Springer

      The relationship between sunspots and temperature breaks down rather badly starting 20 years ago. The chart you present hides this with an extremely long mean. With a 20 year mean the breakdown is stark:

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/every/mean:240/scale:100/plot/sidc-ssn/every/mean:240/offset:-75

      You must explain the breakdown in a reasonable manner not hide it with a 1000 month mean!

      • David

        We must first remove all the oscillations from the GMST so that we don’t mix the change in the GMST due to the sun and due to ocean cycles. The recent warming has a warming due to ocean cycles and this must be removed. This is the GMST that we should relate to the sun:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:732/compress:12/normalise

        So we must make sure that at least we have a running mean of 732 months to smooth out the oscillations.

      • David Springer

        You didn’t remove it in previous cycles. It shows up in the mean spread out over 84 years. All you do is remove the lumps. In removing the lumps you also remove the last 30 years of data because there isn’t enough history to calculate a mean beyond that point. I don’t think you’re fooling anyone except perhaps yourself.

  62. CH let’s hope so, )

  63. Let’s put it this way: as it relates to climate change and global warming, in the absence of definitive empirical science, which really won’t be available for several decades (I would guess), it’s to be expected that you are going to hear nothing but normative science in front of Congressional committees that are controlled by one party or the other.

    Which is why those who say we just don’t know are the closest to the truth. I leave it to all you geniuses out there–legislative bodies, bureaucrats and fatcats, et al– to come up with a program of action based on “we just don’t know.” Please try and do better than you are doing now. And by that I mean please stop bleeding the taxpayer and the ratepayer unnecessarily.

    We don’t know for sure what is causing the warming. We don’t know if the warming, if we are causing it, will be detrimental. We don’t know if most of the warming is due to natural variation or even unnatural variation of some kind that has nothing to do with human activity.

    We do know that enormous problems around the world, e.g. disease, water quality, environmental abuse, etc could be remedied or at least more energetically engaged if scientists and politicians invested more time and money in them than climate change. Climate change is taking all the air out of the room as it regards science and if the science as it is being presented by experts turns out to be in error, science itself will suffer in the eyes of peoples around the world.

    theduke.

    • Great post duke. Welcome to this blog. Now watch out for the CAGWers – lots of noise but lacking in impact – fortunately.

      • @Peter Davies: Great post duke. Welcome to this blog. Now watch out for the CAGWers – lots of noise but lacking in impact – fortunately.

        I’ll bear that in mind, Peter.

      • pottereaton’s last paragraph is why FOIA blew his mighty whistle. How do I know? Let me count the ways; there’s one in every scientific discipline, and also in the manifesto.
        ====================

      • kim, the more FOI the better AFAI’mC’d.

        Climate change is taking all the air out of the room as it regards science

        What incredible BS. Industry is working its butt off to make sure climate change doesn’t get a penny compared to other science. It’s exactly like gun control, which the government has ensured can’t get any significant money to do research into the impact of guns. As a result no one has a clue whether the 2nd Amendment is more or less beneficial to US society. It’s all just opinions, opinions, opinions and no serious investigation.

      • Vaughn, the more who view this voodoo science, the more who wonder who do science?
        ===========

      • Heh, a necessity, not a thing to be valued beneficial or not. I read it somewhere.

        By the way, I believe the founders put ‘well-regulated’ and ‘shall not be infringed’ in the same sentence so that we would argue about it rather than shoot each other about it.
        =============

      • Now to the nit. I love the precise way you accurately use the term ‘exactly like’. Such maths rigor. For art, though, next time try ‘uhzackly like’ or maybe ‘pregzackly like’.
        ==============

      • I love the precise way you accurately use the term ‘exactly like’.

        Oh come on, no one uses exactly exactly. Well, not me do, maybe you do.

      • A nitwit. But even the fleas flee your analogee.
        ======

      • So did the fleas.
        ============

      • David Springer

        @Kim

        http://constitution.org/cons/wellregu.htm

        It means (perhaps not precisely exactly) in proper working order.

        Then we need to ask why a militia in proper working order is essential to the security of a free state. Why not a police force or standing army instead of a militia? I believe the answer is because when an armed force is maintaining the security of an unarmed populace then that population is not free. So a militia isn’t required for the security of all states only free states.

        “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

        Semper Fi.

      • Vaughan Pratt,
        If we did not have guns, we would still be British and we would not have an American Constitution to amend.
        That is the impact of guns, our freedom.
        Take away our guns and then it will be easy to take away our freedom.

      • HAP,

        Australia has tight gun control laws. That’s not to say that no-one can own a gun but Australian law does take the view that a farmer doesn’t need to own a semi automatic assault rifle to keep the rabbits down in his paddock.

        And incidentally, on a point of information: Australia wasn’t reclaimed by Britain when the laws came into effect over a decade ago.

      • The gun advocates justify high-capacity magazines as a defense against the government in case they send the Army to take away their freedoms. Besides being a highly paranoid view, if the Army wanted to take your house they have grenades, mortars, gas, and a bunch of weapons that your high-capacity gun won’t help against. This excuse fails at the practicality hurdle.

      • I was just wondering about definition of the term “arms” in the USA? When the US constitution was written there wasn’t anything much more deadly than a musket. So the US constitution can be interpreted to mean than all citizens can own whatever is technically available.

        But, Is it legal to own anti tank rockets, anti-aircraft missiles, landmines, phosphorous shells, nuclear weapons even? I’d guess not – but just where is the line drawn? And is that line unconstitutional?

      • RE Gun control:

        It is off topic – but then I didn’t bring it up.

        I am not now, nor ever have been a member of the NRA. I am a veteran and did qualify on three weapons plus a couple of pyrotecnic devices. My undergrad degree is in History, with a number of graduate level courses in militart history.

        One of the first things I notice when the topic of guns come up is that for the most part, the folks advocating for various controls tend be extremely lacking in their knowledge of guns, history or both.

        Take Jim D’s comments. He claims that citizens who believe (correctly) that the purpose behind the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that government does not have a monopoly of force are paranoid. Jim also incorrectly adds the specification of such force being in the form of the US Army. From that he goes on to argue that possession of militarily equivelant small arms is rediculous when compared to all of the modern weapons systems available to our military forces.

        The Army is not the only means of armed enforcement available to government. It is also the least likely to be used in any civil conflict. There are even laws preventing that. But even if we grant Jim the point for the sake of his argument, we would still run up against his lack of understanding of history (and military tactics). History is repleate with examples of successful rebellions, revolutions and wars of independance which have succeeded against what appeared to be superior forces. The name Vietnam alone should make this clear to Americans. We do not have to go that far back in history. Look at Afghanistan. US and Coalition forces can win any time the opponent decides to stand and fight in a conventional manner. Yet there are areas of the country they have effectively conceded. (A nephew just returned from his 3rd deployment. Ask him if we are “winning”. You may want to define “winning” first.) The point is that armed citizens are an extremely effective brake on the use of force a government can bring to bear. Still, that does not stop people making dumbass comparisons between small arms and nuclear weapons. Any government who resorts to nuking their own citizens has already lost its legitimacy and will fall.

        Another uninformed argument is the comparison of the small arms available when the Constitution was written and those available today. It usually goes along the lines of “they couldn’t imagine a modern “assault rifle” back then. They were thinking of single shot muskets.” A musket was state of the art back then. Exactly where in the writings of the founding fathers does one observe a limitation based on technology? A modern military style rifle is exactly the sort of firearm the 2nd Amendment is designed to protect.

        Other indications an advocate of gun control is coming to the debate unarmed? Statements similar to this one – “Who needs a gun whose only purpose is to kill people.?” Nearly every firearm ever designed was done so with the express purpose of killing, with other people being considered the primary target. Most firearms used for hunting are derived from designs originally meant for military purposes.

        If you are not knowledgeable about firearms or history, I recommend Vaughan’s approach. He at least stakes out one aspect of the debate – public health, in order to better define how the opposition can come at him. But even should he win on that ground, it is but one field in a much larger theater. (It is also one that can be pretty easily taken by someone who knows what they are doing.)

        At least these people are not alone. Vice President Biden regularly is exhibiting how little he knows. Just yeaterday he stated that “rather than a hard to control assault rifle, the best means for home defense is a shotgun.” While I tend to agree with him on which type of weapon I’d choose for the purpose of defending against a home intruder (which is not relevant to the 2nd Amendment in any case) it most certainly is not for the reason Mr Biden mentions. Having qualified on the M16, I can assure you it is one of the most controllable firearms one can shoot. The Vice President went on to say that since he lives in a secluded area and thus may be more susceptable to a home intruder, he has advised his wife that if she ever feels threatened, she should go out to the porch and fire both barrels of her shotgun in the air. His first statement can be chalked up to being uninformed. His second is more closely attributable to being retarded.

      • Take Jim D’s comments. He claims that citizens who believe (correctly) that the purpose behind the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that government does not have a monopoly of force are paranoid.

        Can’t agree. If you look at the full context, there is much reason to conclude that the rationale for the 2nd amendment was to help empower government to fend off foreign invasions, and to fend off insurgencies – not to limit government’s monopoly on power.

        And so you superior understanding of history leads you to think that the success of the Viet Cong translates into a domestic armed citizenry being some kind of realistic threat to the American military.

        Interesting!

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        timg56, it is the height of ignorance to say the founding fathers only had muskets in mind. They were aware of other weapons. As I recall, they even contemplated buying gatling guns and had a demonstration of one put on for them.

      • tim –

        Let’s say we grant you the hypothetical argument – that somehow an armed citizenry would act as a deterrence to the American government using military force against the American public to some significant degree…

        Do you really think that there is any chance that it might actually play out that way in some realistic scenario? If so, please do attempt to describe such a scenario. What scenario do you envision where, realistically, the government would contemplate using widespread military force, only to be deterred by an armed citizenry (keeping in mind how they are armed in comparison to the weaponry the military has available).

        But give me a couple of minutes before you respond. I want to go prepare some popcorn – as I’m sure that watching you respond (and/or other of my much beloved Climate Etc. “skeptics”), will be quite popcorn worthy.

      • Re: my 5:40 post.

        I should add that there is also evidence for the rationale for the 2nd amendment being that an armed citizenry would be a deterrence against governmental tyranny. My point was that tim’s claim (ironically made after he raised himself on a pedestal of superior understanding) was inaccurately simplistic.

        (Hoisted with his own petard, so to speak)

      • “armed citizenry”

        52 million of American households owning 260 million guns

        But Joshua has the knowledge that enables him to conclude that people shouldn’t have guns.

        He’s the Steven Mosher of Gun Control. They make up the elite class of super smart blog commenters.

        Andrew