Trenberth’s science communication interview

by Judith Curry

The second installment in Kirk Engelhardt’s series of interviews on climate science communication is with Kevin Trenberth.

I find this interview particularly interesting in context of my recent ‘debate’ with Kevin at the Conference on World Affairs (see blog post Curry vs Trenberth).   The ppts for each presentation are linked to on the blog post.  I’ve just been informed that there is an audio recording of the entire session, so you can listen along while you look at the ppts.  Two very different communication styles and apparent motivations for communicating.

Engelhardt’s interview with Trenberth is online here.  Trenberth was asked the same questions that I was asked (see my interview here).  Excerpts from his interview:

In your view, how has your role in communicating science changed in the past 10 years?

My own role changed radically with “climate-gate” and because of that I decided to get into the fray more. I received hundreds of very abusive and foul language emails in response to one of my emails that went viral. Most climate scientists who publish a visible and important paper get some abusive emails these days, and it turns off many of my colleagues who retreat into the ivory tower. My own obligation to go public more comes from the climate-gate experience, and because I have the breadth to be able to answer all questions in some way, or refer the query to others. Experience counts.

Do you think it’s important for scientists and other researchers to be directly involved in outreach activities? If so, why?

Yes, but most don’t for reasons above. It is not easy for a novice to do this well. Quite a few do try but do not have good experiences as they have not taken courses or they don’t have a mentor to help. It is helpful to learn some basic techniques and reframe questions to consist of parts where you can say something useful, and explain why you can’t say something useful in other areas. Many journalists ask the wrong questions, but most are happy as long as you give them something. Knowing what you know and can say in the right way takes some experience. It is also a question of rewards and whether young scientists get credit for outreach. Having more positive feedback from employers and those who benefit would help a lot. But if you have something to say that is relevant to society, then there can be satisfaction in communicating. Expecting rewards, however, is apt to lead one astray.

Have you ever come across scientific misinformation or misconceptions, online or elsewhere, which you addressed directly? How did you do it, and what was the result?

Yes several times. I have published rebuttals in refereed literature, and this has had some effect, but the latency is too great to have major effect: it takes too long. I have written some rebuttals for RealClimate, which are more timely, and some blogs. But I do not have my own blog and so it is more as opportunity arises. I have also spoken up in meetings openly criticizing some others, and I have been crucified in denier web pages, tweets and blogs by these others as a result. I try to ignore these but I am pretty sure they have hurt me in various ways, such as through funding. The best examples are those vs. Roger Pielke Jr.

Public trust in science is critical. What role do you believe both consensus and disagreement play in building or eroding that trust?

Consensus can help, such as via the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but it is the lowest common factor, and is watered down and weak. It is not state of the art. Lack of agreement confuses the public and science writers though. There is a lot of substandard work that can be misleading. I think disagreements are important, but they have to be very carefully done with a solid rationale and evidence, not just opinion.

Individuals in the scientific community and the public are often labeled and grouped depending on their particular views. What do you consider to be the impact of these groupings?

There are certainly groups who never read the other side’s case. There are many who have opinions locked in and no amount of evidence will sway them. So those are not the ones I try to reach: rather it is the uninformed masses that matter. Some of this occurs through stories written for various media by reporters or bloggers – in newspapers, magazines, online reports etc. However, it is also through public lectures, especially those that include a healthy Q&A afterwards. It often provides an opportunity to correct misinformation.

I also like to talk about not just the science but also what to do about it and different worldviews. It is helpful to acknowledge different world views and value systems, and discuss them out loud. Mostly that kind of thing is hidden and not openly exposed. Recognizing vested interests, the inequities among nations, how much one values the future generations, the precautionary principle, sustainability issues, and issues related to doing nothing, vs. mitigating climate change (stopping or slowing the problem) vs. adapting to it (or living with the consequences). Part of the goal is to get people to think about why they feel about the issues the way they do. Many have a gut feeling but have not thought about it rationally. Explaining why one has the values one does is then part of the challenge.

What do you think the future looks like for science communication/outreach as a vehicle for enhancing public trust in science? What should the path forward look like?

You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink! We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts. It sure helps if the President is engaged, as he has been more recently. The vested interests, especially in Congress, are major concerns and the dreadfully corrupting influences of money and lobbying in the US are major problems, not helped by the Supreme Court decision related to this issue. I fear that things have gone a long way in the wrong direction as a result.

JC reflections

Some interesting similarity and contrasts with my interview.  Interesting that Climategate provided impetus for both of us in terms of public communication.

The main difference in our communication strategies is that Trenberth interacts with the public mainly through the mainstream media and in public lectures (arguably the knowledge deficit model), whereas I am interacting with the public mostly through social media with more of an engagement model.

A few points struck me in particular.  The issue of breadth of expertise is an issue that resonates with me.  In the hey day of giving public lectures on hurricanes and global warming, I would frequently be asked about the hockey stick (which was the other burning issue in the public debate circa 2005).  The most interesting question I ever received in a public lecture was to a group of students at an evangelical university, where I got asked a question about the ‘second coming.’  You have to be able to field these kinds of questions in some way; the simplest way is to say “Good question, but I don’t know how to answer that” or “that is really outside of my expertise”.

Trenberth also makes a valid point about the slowness of the publication cycle in terms of rebutting published papers.  Blogs enable a much more timely response.

Interesting also that Trenberth finds the IPCC ‘watered down and weak’.    His comments about publicly discussing values are interesting; listen to the audio to the Conference on World Affairs [audio recording] to see how how he actually treats this in his public lectures.

 

 

483 responses to “Trenberth’s science communication interview

  1. Personally, I’ve found Trenberth’s efforts at communicating with the public highly deceptive. Even in this interview:

    We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts. It sure helps if the President is engaged, as he has been more recently.

    Looks like projection to me: accusing his opposition of doing what his side is doing, with his approval. The “President”?!? Everything he’s said has been poorly-informed garbage, if not worse.

    • John DeFayette

      He thinks “It sure helps if the President is engaged” because the President is parroting Tremberth’s message. He won’t think it is very helpful when the next President engages.

      Seems to me that Trenberth equates “public trust in science” with “they agree with me and my buddies.” A big turn-off for any public.

    • AK, in the 70’s it was referred to, correctly I might add, as the “grassy knoll” left. Now they are the mainstream left and democratic party, dominating media and academia. “Big oil”, Koch Brothers…..etc. etc. Trenberth is indicative just a couple notches from 350.org, Mann and Mckibben and the full crazies well represented on these boards;

      http://billmckibben.com/

      It was often wondered what would happen in the 60’s-70’s what all of these social dropouts, armchair Marxists, free-thinkers would do for work once their parents got sick of paying for them. Climate Science became a viable choice for some on campus first but was allowed to spread far and wide, into government work of course. A Hipster growth industry.

    • May Trenberth’s words encourage Obama to crawl further out on the pseudoscientific limb of AGW!

    • When you base opinion on Consensus Theory and Model Output that disagrees with real data, you have no clear path, you must be very highly deceptive or, give up the lost cause.

    • the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded,

      Oops, that misinformation is from the Consensus, Alarmist side.

      Worldwide, trillions are spent on the Consensus Side vs millions on the Skeptic Side, and the skeptics don’t all agree with each other, but they are growing rapidly while the 97% are becoming 97% of a rapidly shrinking number.

      I would like to see a Consensus Petition with the actual text of the climate opinion along with actual Names and signatures.

    • Seemed to me Trenberth was willing to use any tool in the toolbox. Wasn’t too surprising he thought Al Gore dealt with facts.

  2. Two things struck me in particular.
    1. “We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.” — which seems to be contrary to experience, unless Trenberth defines the “public education efforts” very narrowly and “misinformation campaigns” very broadly.

    2. The IPCC “is watered down and weak. It is not state of the art. Lack of agreement confuses the public.” Trenberth seems to think that “lack of agreement” is the problem, rather than lack of scientific knowledge. Which perhaps explains the focus on “forging a consensus”, implying as that does an element of coercion of those not already in agreement. Should acknowledging weaknesses (e.g. mismatch between models and observations) be avoided so as to present a nice, tidy story?

    • He has no evidence to back up his claims about well funded misinformation campaigns. But that’s pretty much true of all his claims.

    • Hard to tell from this interview, but could Trenberth be thinking that lobbying and campaign donations to Congressional representatives in energy producing states is somehow funding his critics in the blogosphere? We hear this oft-repeated but unsubstantiated claim that skeptics operate “well-funded disinformation campaigns” yet there isn’t a scape of evidence it’s true. Either he’s deliberately ignorant or conflating Congressional opposition with informed skeptical critique because it serves his purpose.

      • Truth is blighted,
        Trousers ignited.
        ===========

      • Holly
        What is it you believe your links show reliable evidence of???

      • @Holly Stick…

        Evidence? Or just wasting people’s time? I long ago stopped bothering with anything you said.

      • Holly

        Two private individuals make tiny contributions to a sceptic organisation and you think that is news compared to the millions that go alarmist organisations?
        Tonyb

      • Gov Accountability Office estimated $8,000,000,000 (billion) in climate expenditures in 2010.

        http://www.gao.gov/key_issues/climate_change_funding_management/issue_summary#t=0

        not counting Greenpeace, Friends of Earth, Sierra CLub, AL Gore interests, GE wind turbine lobbies, solar lobbies and all the rest. Big money on the big Green Machine side, some individuals on the skeptics. Impossible to convince you but your input should be disputed by factual input beyond activists propoganda.
        Scott

      • Scott

        Did you see that I replied to your question re CET on the other thread?
        Tonyb

      • The fact is there is much evidence of the oil industry and various billionaires & millionaires funding the denial of anthropomorphic climate change. So why do commenters here claim there is no such evidence?

        Because 1. They are too lazy to look for it and they trust liars who tell them there is none.
        2. They are afraid of having to change their opinions when the evidence proves them wrong so they pretend there is no evidence to be found.
        3. They know it’s there and are being dishonest themselves.

      • Not a smidgen of evidence. :)

      • tonyb
        Thanks very much. I did see it. I too feel there is “not a conspiracy” to lower past temperatures. Most climate scientists work within the integrity of scientific ideals. On the other hand, one may look harder in a one direction increase to align with expected outcomes. When I saw the data changes from Zeke, all I could think was “publish the original data, then the modifications with tranparent derived justifications”. Lately they seem in a single direction, not up and down, like random variations. I am used to original data with error bars and then discussion of proposed changes. The Australia controversy on past record changes shook my faith in the system. Always appreciate your long slow thaw records and look forward to sea level II and III plus the ice story in the Arctic.
        Scott

      • tonyb
        ALso, UHI and changing forests and tall grass prairies to monoculture and half yearly bare ground raise land termperatures as stated in Dr Roger Pielke Sr, Human caused climate modification,

        Going in the wrong direction without consideration all human impacts.
        Scott

      • @Holly Stick

        Our little local city has a “climate action coordinator” that gets paid $52,332/yr with all the outstanding city bennies, including a plush Calpers defined benefit retirement plan (2.5% at 55). All we ever hear is the sky is falling and the globe is on fire. No one dares challenge the orthodoxy. We have a gaggle of non-profits getting gov grants for all sorts of activities driven by the perceived certainty of AGW. To imply that the challengers to this notion are better funded is absurd.

        A big argument against a local desal plant was it’s “carbon footprint”. It was tabled. Note that the same little city gets most of it’s water from anadromous fish habitat destroying dams. There are consequences…

      • BP granted 500 million to one university for alternative energy research. We really do need to track that oil money. They hand it out left and right to universities. No doubt they are paying off climate scientists to hype up global warming in order to put their competition, the coal companies, out of business and to try to prevent new discoveries of oil reserves. You just can’t trust those oil shills.

      • nottawa rafter

        Holly
        Your problem is a common one. You don’t think anyone can think for themselves. My source of information for the last few years has mainly been the IPCC and various US agency links, like NOAA, etc. What turned me off to the so called science was the pervasive ad hominems abd assertions such as yours. Who cares what involvement they may have. Those sources have not influenced me one iota. But your comments do influence me since I am equally intrigued by the social psychological dynamics of the issue and your mindset and those of others saying the same thing are telling.

      • Holly Stick | September 3, 2014 at 5:53 pm |
        The fact is there is much evidence of the oil industry and various billionaires & millionaires funding the denial of anthropomorphic climate change. So why do commenters here claim there is no such evidence?

        The Greenpeace report that ClimateProgress cited uses a very, very common deception: “Koch foundations contributed over $48 million to climate opposition groups from 1997 to 2008.”
        http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/Global/usa/report/2010/3/koch-industries-secretly-fund.pdf

        Accurately worded, that would be “. . . over $48 million to groups with many positions, one of them being opposition to climate alarmism . . . .” Cato and the George Marshall foundation and others probably devote only 10% or 15% (or maybe only 5%) of their expenditures to climate-related activities. Heartland, the leading contrarian think tank, devotes about 20%. I bet most naive warmists would be shocked to learn that, and how they’ve been misled.

        For a list of 20-plus things that would be happening (but aren’t) if climate contrarians were actually well-organized and well-funded, see my WUWT guest-thread, “Notes from Skull Island” at
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/16/notes-from-skull-island-why-skeptics-arent-well-funded-and-well-organized/

    • The basic problem is that since the last time, around the turn of the century, that the models were close to reality they have diverged from reality more than 0.3° C. The reality is actually worse since the RCP8.5 forcing underestimates the amount of human emissions since the turn of the century so there should be more CO2 in the atmosphere and the models should diverge more. My understanding is the IPCC models are in “training mode” until sometime in the 90s (perhaps as late as 1998) so prior performance simply doesn’t count. (0.3/14)*100 = 2.1428 or 2.1°C (the result is accurate to less than 2 sig figs). So the RCP8.5 model runs are on average off by more that 2°C.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representative_Concentration_Pathways
      http://www.climatechange.gov.au/sites/climatechange/files/documents/09_2013/WA%20-%20RCP%20Fact%20Sheet.docx

      RCP8.5 emissions data in the future will exceed actual emissions and be increasingly unrealistic. It is dubious that 2100 CO2 levels will be higher than 620 PPM. The projected RCP8.5 CO2 level of 936 PPM in 2100 is just fantasy – fossil fuel sources get more expensive with depletion and other technologies will simply be cheaper. Also the CO2 level is underperforming relative to CO2 emissions.

      The CMIP5 model average for RCP8.5 was 4.3°C (before reduction by the IPCC). 4.3 – 2 = 2.3 (subtracting current model error). 2.3/2 (since the forcing will be less than 1/2 the projection) is 1.15°C. So 1.15°C is the realistic maximum 2100 anomaly if we do absolutely nothing but let nature take its course.

      • I thought that the RCP8.5 overstated the amount of CO2 since it is one of the most extreme scenarios?

      • Geoff Sherrington

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but is not the left half of the observed period hindcast, not projection?

      • PA´s comment about RCP8.5 is spot on. Bill, RCP8.5 was specified by the IPCC to have 8.5 watts per meter squared in 2100. The report states they arrived at this figure after reviewing the literature. This scenario can be considered the extreme outlier.

        However, as the IPCC´s 2013 report (AR5) was being released their “science communication” efforts started using the term “business as usual” for RCP8.5. Last year I wrote a comment about this point, and I got a response stating the IPCC report itself didn´t refer to RCP8.5 as “business as usual”. However, some IPCC members, participating scientists, and the media which underpins the global warming scare campaign use the term all the time.

        To make matters even worse there are many science teams using RCP8.5 as the basis for their studies. In these studies they do refer to the case as “Business as usual”. What does this mean for the science? They are taking the RCP8.5 temperatures, ocean pH, precipitation, sea level rise and carrying out research, running additional models, running sensitivities, and then reporting the results. This sets RCP8.5´s extreme forcing case as the foundation for a lot of work being reported in both professional journals and in the media (and of course the blogosphere and political propaganda).

        I keep hammering away at this point because until PA wrote the post above I have noticed very little consciousness about this issue. To summarize: RCP8.5 was built to achieve the 8.5 watts per meter squared forcing. To do so they had to use very unrealistic projections. If you wish I can write a little bit more about the flaws I noted, but I´ve become used to being ignored when I bring the subject up.

  3. Trenberth–dreadfully corrupting influence of money?!
    1) What groups with money get involved with the final IPCC report for the public?
    2) Who gets money to do climate research and what does one have to do (or write) in a proposal for a grant to do climate research?
    3) We have heard over and over about money from the big evil oil companies going to certain scientists, which is assumed because of their scientific conclusions. Has anyone ever verified any of those financial transactions?

    • Facts?!! We don’t need no stinking facts.

      • Why don’t you do some stinkin’ research?

      • Research like tenuous links to poisoned money. The “one drop” rule? One drop of money you call denier money poisons whole wells of other money.

        This is fever swamp stuff. If the right were using arguments like this against your side, you would rightly laugh.

      • TJA, I agree with you about the one drop poisons the well. It is ludicrous. Or that 15 years earlier you attended a scientific conference and one of the sessions was about making chemicals from petroleum and another “bad” scientist was at the same meeting (along with 2,000 others). DeSmog or whatever the hell it is does that stupid shit all the time.

        If I ever were to write a paper that was related to climate science or if I wrote an editorial in a journal, they could go find out I worked at Monsanto (the evil chemical company) for a few years before I went back to school for my Ph.D. Then my research advisor put my name in for an Amoco fellowship which I got. It saved him from paying about $500 a year for one year of my tuition from his grant. I never saw the money or benefited from it and it was about 1% if the total cost of my education. I also, as one of about 3-4 projects I worked on, collaborated with the UpJohn company for a year. All of this would be listed on DeSmog like it shows I am in the pay of big oil and evil chemistry. When in fact I then spent 4 years at a cancer center and now about 18 teaching and doing research in biochemistry at a small liberal arts university.

    • So, I guess Trenberth must think that the IPCC IS corrupted as well…

      Justin

  4. There are many who have opinions locked in and no amount of evidence will sway them.

    For example:

    An area twice the size of Alaska was open water two years ago and is now covered in ice after the arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in a row. (See Mail Online–Myth of Arctic meltdown)

    • Open Arctic is not a bad thing. Warm Oceans and Open Polar Oceans are necessary to provide snowfall to rebuild ice on land.

      You need to learn about the Polar Ice Cycles.

      Herman A. (Alex) Pope
      Pope’s Climate Theory
      http://popesclimatetheory.com/
      Retired Aerospace Engineer
      NASA-JSC- 1963-2007
      alexpope13@gmail.com
      281-734-2110
      When the oceans are warm and wet, it snows more and that bounds the upper limits of temperature and sea level.
      When the oceans are cold and frozen, it snows less and that bounds the lower limits of temperature and sea level.
      CO2 just makes green things grow better, while using less water.

      Look at it, think about it, and let me know what you think.
      I want to know what you think about my theory and about the presentations at the climate conference. You may select this link to my NEW Short Version of my Climate Theory.
      http://popesclimatetheory.com/page56.html
      I do want to know what you believe about Climate Temperature and Sea Level Regulation.

      • Nominally, it’s all about the Sun and albedo certainly plays a role in that. A study of the Earth’s albedo (project “Earthshine”) shows that the amount of reflected sunlight does not vary with increases in greenhouse gases. The “Earthshine” data shows that the Earth’s albedo fell up to 1997 and rose after 2001.

        What was learned is that climate change is related to albedo, as a result of the change in the amount of energy from the sun that is absorbed by the Earth. For example, fewer clouds means less reflectivity which results in a warmer Earth. And, this happened through about 1998. Conversely, more clouds means greater reflectivity which results in a cooler Earth. And this happened after 1998.

        It is logical to presume that changes in Earth’s albedo are due to increases and decreases in low cloud cover, which in turn is related to the climate change that we have observed during the 20th Century, including the present global cooling. However, we see that climate variability over the same period is not related to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

        Obviously, the amount of `climate forcing’ that may be due to changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases is either overstated or countervailing forces are at work that GCMs simply ignore. GCMs fail to account for changes in the Earth’s albedo. Accordingly, GCMs do not account for the effect that the Earth’s albedo has on the amount of solar energy that is absorbed by the Earth.

        What we now know about the sun explains everything about late 20th century warming. As it turns out, “the modern Grand maximum (which occurred during solar cycles 19–23, i.e., 1950-2009),” says Ilya Usoskin, “was a rare or even unique event, in both magnitude and duration, in the past three millennia.” [Usoskin et al., Evidence for distinct modes of solar activity, A&A 562 (2014)]
        ________________

  5. I give him credit for labeling for all time this mass delusion of catastrophe; it’s a travesty.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kevin. The world owes you a great debt.
    ======================

    • Travesty Trenberth, into the pantheon. Forever. Well, or until the Twelfth of Never, whichever comes first.
      =============

      • Kim, I really don’t want to exacerbate name calling, but some of Mr. Trenberths doings simply invite it. So you are calling him T2? that is
        T squared? Short for Trav— well you know.

    • Every once in a while I start thinking, oh well, I’m sure most of these guys are decent human beings, then I read something like this and find myself astounded all over again at what liars they are.

  6. thisisnotgoodtogo

    For “I have been crucified”, read “exposed”.

  7. ‘I received hundreds of very abusive and foul language emails in response to one of my emails that went viral. Most climate scientists who publish a visible and important paper get some abusive emails these days,’

    We been hear before with this type of claim and oddly when asked to prove them with actual evidenced those making the claim have tended to resort to the ‘the dog ate my homework’ approach to providing evidenced. I hope that is not the case this time and that Trenberth actual has such proof or is it ‘hidden in the deep ocean’
    Meanwhile the idea that he , like Mann , is a reluctant public figure is somewhat undermined by them pimping their views to has many news firms , web sites , blogs etc has fast and has often as they can . Indeed RC was set up to do just that , and its worked well for them has it brought them much in the way of fame and not a little fortune .

    In the interest of being fair to ‘the Team’ you cannot say they ever lack ego nor ability to project their own faults onto others on what can be called an epic scale .

    • simon abingdon

      “We been hear before” is an amazingly powerful attention-grabber. One cannot then but listen KNR to your infallible good sense. Just the occasional typo (huh?) to keep your audience agog. Wonderful insights. Incredibly effective communication. I relish your every word.

    • — KNR | September 3, 2014 at 11:51 am | Reply

      ‘I received hundreds of very abusive and foul language emails in response to one of my emails that went viral. Most climate scientists who publish a visible and important paper get some abusive emails these days,’

      We been hear before with this type of claim and oddly when asked to prove them with actual evidenced those making the claim have tended to resort to the ‘the dog ate my homework’ approach to providing evidenced.–

      It’s probably the 30 factor.
      Or it’s about 8 or 9 people who have bothered to ask him via email, when will he put on his big boy pants?

  8. There are a couple questions I have that seem relevant in the context of science communication. First, is there a good method for finding rebuttals to specific interpretations of climate science evidence? For example, I feel this article encapsulates one of the better arguments regarding CO2’s role in a warming climate. It shows the aggregate CO2 content of the atmosphere compared to human contributions & describes how spectroscopy is utilized to find that “most of the energy being trapped in the atmosphere corresponds exactly to the wavelength of energy captured by CO2.”

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming-basic.html

    There are several examples of such encapsulation (I often cite a Grist series), but it’s difficult to find skeptical counterparts. In the little reading I’ve done here so far I’ve seen this piece of evidence acknowledged, but I don’t know if the CO2 calculations are at issue, or the accounting of heat, or otherwise. While I appreciate efforts to engage online (thank you), we simply can’t expect scientists to respond to every Tom, Dick and Harry who has a question on a particular matter. I’m assuming the answer is “do your research”, though IMHO that does leave quite a few out in the cold (no pun intended) due to lack of time, capability, or both.

    The more overarching issue is can the usually cautious method of scientific inquiry be reconciled with the “now now now” mode of the Internet? Some have the view that insulating scientific deliberation from public view is proper and even necessary to prevent pseudo-scientific conclusions from proliferating. Others seem to appreciate the responsiveness of online interaction in the deliberative process, theoretically making it more open, honest and accountable. Perhaps a better question is are there any rules of thumb for identifying online outlets for credible scientific knowledge or is it simply a matter of posessing that ever desirable trait of “critical thinking”? :)

    • It would be sinister to point to your problem.
      ============

    • John M,

      The “Blanket” Analogy at the beginning of your linked article is obviously flawed. The effect of C02 is not “exactly the same as wrapping yourself in a blanket.” This is poetry designed to evoke completely unscientific images to persuade people like you.

      That’s just for starters.

      Andrew

      • OK, so do you take similar issue with the accounting of CO2 in the atmosphere and/or the spectroscopy analysis? I’m sorry but highlighting what you believe is a poor metaphor doesn’t strike me as a persuasive rebuttal. I also find it amusing that you think you can conclude I’ve been persuaded by it since you’re the one who highlighted it.

        If you have something constructive to add, I’m listening. But pigeonholing me in some vague “people like you” group doesn’t say much about science.

      • John M,

        You posted the link as if it were meaningful to you. Now you are attempting to gloss over some of the obviously erroneous contents.

        Your Quote: “is there a good method for finding rebuttals to specific interpretations of climate science evidence”

        One is reading and finding flaws. Try it sometime.

        Andrew

      • Alright, so the statement “These gases act like a blanket, keeping the Earth warm by preventing some of the sun’s energy being re-radiated into space.” is erroneous? If these gases don’t prevent some of the sun’s energy from being re-radiated into space, what do they do? Do you perhaps have a better source for me?

      • I quoted the statement that is erroneous. I’ll quote it again:

        “exactly the same as wrapping yourself in a blanket.”

        It’s not.

        Andrew

      • So you have no scientific opposition to the article, got it.

      • “So you have no scientific opposition to the article, got it.”

        Of course I do. But we don’t even get that far before we find errors.

        Andrew

      • If dialogues could have IQs, 50 would be generous for this one.

        Bad Andrew is of course right here. Blankets warm when you plug them in. Where the hell do you plug CO2 in?

      • Re: invisible blanket.
        Earth has surface area of 510.1 million square km.
        Or 510.1 trillion square meters.
        If you put 1 trillion tonnes of water over entire surface of Earth, it would
        have a depth of 1.96 mm. Or per square meter, a weight of 1.96 kg.
        Density of water is 1 gram per cubic cm or 1000 kg per cubic meter.
        The density of liquid CO2 is 1257 kg per cubic meter. Or as solid it’s
        1562 kg per cubic meter. So 1 trillion tonnes of liquid CO2 would be 1.56 mm deep and frozen CO2 would be 1.25 mm thick.
        It is said at 400 ppm concentrate there is about 3 trillion tonnes of CO2 in the Earth atmosphere or equal to about 3.76 mm of depth if frozen CO2
        And on average there is about 25 mm of liquid water [if the water vapor of atmosphere becomes a liquid].
        So per square meter and having 3 trillion tonnes of CO2 one has 5.88 kg
        of CO2, and on average one has 25 kg of water vapor. And rest of atmosphere per square meter is about 10,000 kg.

        Or liquidity the entire atmosphere gives about 35 feet of Nitrogen, Oxygen, and Argon, inch of water, and about 1/8th of inch of solid CO2.

        If one wants CO2 as gas 5.88 kg of CO2 is equal to 3.144 cubic meter of pure CO2 at 15 C and at same pressure as the atmosphere [1 atm- 14.7 psi]. Or about the same as 10′ thick “air” mattress. So say you have bedroom with 20′ foot high ceiling and say 20 by 20 feet wide room. And had a 10 foot cube air mattress filled with pure CO2. By putting this odd “blanket” on top of your bed, this will not keep you any warmer if instead of the pure CO2, the same 10 foot cube mattress was filled with normal air. Or it be the bed- and be same- would not be any warmer whether it’s pure CO2 or normal air.

      • “If dialogues could have IQs, 50 would be generous for this one”

        Vaughn Pratt,

        And with your comment we’re down to 25.

        Andrew

      • @Vaughan Most blankets hold in heat that humans produce. If there’s a flaw in the metaphor it’s that Earth doesn’t produce the heat being retained.

      • John M, it comes down to the difference between sw and lw radiation and where sw becomes lw. It is a fair analogy although I prefer the lid on the pot one.

      • “the lid on the pot one”

        Looks like we’re out of the frying pan… ;)

        Is someone watching the pot, though.

        Climate Science is a joke.

        Andrew

      • Andrew, it’s fair enough not to make a big deal out of it. The question is what does it do and the answer seems to be not nearly as much as expected.

      • “it’s fair enough not to make a big deal out of it”

        steven,

        I disagree. This is supposed to be science, not Storytime Corner.

        Andrew

      • @BA: And with your comment we’re down to 25.

        You noticed. :) (Don’t you just hate it when people don’t notice?)

        @John M. If there’s a flaw in the metaphor it’s that Earth doesn’t produce the heat being retained.

        Agreed. However surely there is more variation between blankets used to keep humans warm than there is between those and GHGs. A space blanket for example keeps you warm by reflecting 97% of your radiated heat.

        In view of the wide range of mechanisms by which blankets can keep humans warm, it doesn’t make much sense to say that GHGs don’t work like blankets. In fact they work very much like space blankets, just not as effectively thank goodness, at least on Earth if not on Venus.

    • You do understand that scientists outside Western academia liken climatology to the ancient science of astrology, right?

      • Do they all know their Alma Mater?

      • Warmist Kevin Trenberth mimics Mann’s Nobel Prize claims?! Trenberth’s online CV lists himself as ‘Nobel Laureate’ — ‘Nobel Laureate (shared) for Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as part of IPCC) Oct 2007′ ~ClimateDepot

      • No, I’m not familiar with this assertion.

      • Needless to say, thinking that schoolteachers will save the world is a leap of faith that gives wings to the global warming pseudoscience that Japanese researcher Kanya Kusano compared to ‘ancient astrology’ while other serious scientists consider climatologists as no different from the readers of tarot cards and tea leaves or witchdoctors schooled in the art of casting of chicken bones to foretell the future. Western schoolteachers cannot be taken seriously because they cannot admit that a belief that has not been validated and can never be validated is what we call superstition, not science. Besides, we know what causes global warming and global cooling: nominally, it is the sun, stupid.

      • From the AWARDS section of Kevin Trenberth’s CV:

        “Nobel Laureate (shared) for Nobel Peace Prize 2007 (as part of IPCC) 2007”

        From the official IPCC statement about the Nobel Prize:

        “The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organisation, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner. It would be correct to describe a scientist who was involved with AR4 or earlier IPCC reports in this way: ‘X contributed to the reports of the IPCC, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.’ ”

        Let X be the set of those covered by this statement who have elected to abide by it. There are two cases.

        1. X is the empty set. In this case the IPCC merely has the minor embarrassment of an inoperative statement.

        2. X is non-empty. In this case the IPCC has the more serious problem of an injustice against each member of X, whom the statement has disadvantaged relative to those not electing to abide by the statement.

        I wish everything in climate science were this clear-cut.

      • 3. The Nobel Peace Prize that Al Gore received is one of the Nobels bequeathed by industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel; and, it is to be awarded to he or she who, “during the preceding year […] shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

        To understand why a Nobel was given to Al Gore you need to understand that dead and dying Old Europe had come to hate America and cultured a belief that Americanism was a destructive force in the world–much like Alfred Nobel himself. According to wiki, “Scholars who studied Nobel have said it was Nobel’s way to compensate for developing destructive forces (Nobel’s inventions included dynamite and ballistite).” America’s great evil is success.

        In this alternate reality Ragendra Pachauri of the IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) shares the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore; and, because global warming alarmism is a plank in the Democrat Party platform the Nobel Peace Prize also was awarded to Barack Obama in 2009. All of this was the EU and the Left believing it was enjoying the last word while burying President Bush whose only sin was to stand up for America with his whole heart.

        It is against this backdrop that we gain further insight into the blurring of truth and propaganda to create the fantasy that has become the reality of the AGW belief system.

      • In this alternate reality Ragendra Pachauri of the IPCC (the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) shares the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore

        If you want to fault IPCC management for inaccurately describing themselves individually as “Nobel laureates” you should be going after the IPCC’s former Vice Chairman Mohan Munasinghe rather than Rajendra Pachauri. In contrast to Pachauri, Munasinghe has been at pains to let the world know he’s a Nobel Laureate, calling himself a “co-laureate” four times on the above page and mentioning the Nobel prize 17 times. And his About Me page says “He was felicitated by the Sri Lanka government in 2008, for becoming the first Sri Lankan to share the prestigious Nobel Prize.”

        This would put the real first Sri Lankan to do so in an awkward position.

        Evidently Professor Munasinghe does not take statements by his former charge seriously.

      • The EU gave a Nobel to Al Gore and the UN and Obama for supporting global warming alarmism and for doing everything they possibly could do to bring down Americanism.

    • Who, ‘we’, John?

      “While I appreciate efforts to engage online (thank you), we simply can’t expect scientists to respond to every Tom, Dick and Harry who has a question on a particular matter.”

      • The Royal we? ;)

        Maybe instead of ‘we simply can’t expect’ I should have said ‘it seems unreasonable to’. All I mean is as noble an effort as people like Dr. Curry put into active engagement, I doubt any scientist has time to answer individual queries of all interested parties.

    • John

      “In the little reading I’ve done here so far I’ve seen this piece of evidence acknowledged, but I don’t know if the CO2 calculations are at issue, or the accounting of heat, or otherwise.”

      One way to understand skepticism is to map it onto an equation

      Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing

      This represents the governing equation of the entire debate. How does the temperature change in response to forcing.

      Types of skeptics:

      One: those who attack or question the very form of this equation and those
      who attack whether it can actually capture system dynamics.
      These folks can agree to every observation you have but they reject
      the systematic approach to understanding the climate.

      Two: Those who attack the “change in temperature” part of the equation.
      there are multiple lines here

      Three: change in forcing skeptics. They can attack the observations or
      the physics.

      Skeptical tools are well known. They can be applied to any argument. they are often applied in consistently.
      you cant answer them all. you dont have to answer them all.

      generally since they lack their own theory ( which would also be open to
      the same skeptical attacks ) nobody in science pays much attention to them, unless you can publish a paper showing a unique form of stupidity on their part.

      • John, read Mosher with caution.
        Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing

        “This represents the governing equation of the entire debate. How does the temperature change in response to forcing.

        Types of skeptics:

        One: those who attack or question the very form of this equation and those
        who attack whether it can actually capture system dynamics.
        These folks can agree to every observation you have but they reject
        the systematic approach to understanding the climate.”

        The overwhelming number of skeptics do not question this.

        “Two: Those who attack the “change in temperature” part of the equation.
        there are multiple lines here”
        Mosher is right – there is much to attack here.

        “Three: change in forcing skeptics. They can attack the observations or
        the physics.”
        There is lot of discussion here, but only an insignificant number of skeptics question the physics.

      • C’mon, moshe, you are supposed to tell him that his first duty is to understand the opposing argument. How is he to do that with the sources he’s quoted so far? That is, SkS, Grist, and Scientific American?
        ======================

      • Mosher’s assumption that the change is linear or even a function demonstrates much.

      • Mosher writes–
        “Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing. This represents the governing equation of the entire debate.”

        Imo you have missed the key point of the relationship between change in temperature and increase in harmful conditions. What is the reliable tie or relationship between the two?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Steven Mosher: One way to understand skepticism is to map it onto an equation

        Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing

        This represents the governing equation of the entire debate. How does the temperature change in response to forcing.

        Types of skeptics:

        John asked for sources of rebuttals. Mosher offers up a simplicity and a list of “types of skeptics”. My advice to John on this issue is to avoid typologies of “skeptics”, and focus on the scientific evidence and propositions.

        Here is a proposition: Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing

        As written, lambda is assumed to be independent of the starting temperature. What is the evidence for that? If you can find any, then apply your critical thinking skills: Is that evidence actually relevant? Is it compelling one way or another?

        Your search and evaluation should be independent of Steven Mosher’s and my personal characteristics, if you think the proposition worth investigating.

      • nottawa rafter

        There seems to be universal agreement about the nearly infinitely complex nature of our climate. But when the chips are down, all that comes up is an easy peasy equation born of linear thinking. Surely the human imagination can do better than this.

      • Thanks for the effort, Steven. I attempted to pick what seemed to be a fairly straightforward proposition: that we can measure our CO2 and the heat that CO2 traps. The former seems alright, but the latter likely isn’t since there was nothing so straightforward in the article. I don’t think what I’ve seen precludes the possibility of natural variability dwarfing human effects, but the explanations for such variability I’ve found so far leave me feeling unsatisfied. It smacks of an argument from ignorance, though I believe skeptics argue they’re simply pointing out the burden of proof has yet to be satisfied by climate scientists.

        Thanks for your perspective, Bob. So from your position you believe the main issue has been the proper reading of temperature? It seems to me there’s quite a bit of criticism of capturing system dynamics, so I feel I may have misread you here. The general feel I get from skeptics is the models are faulty because the scientific process has been hijacked by political activists. Similar criticisms flow to temperature readings and, most of all, potential policy solutions. My bias stems from my tendency to root most of the criticism in that latter piece rather than genuine scientific objections, though I do try to suspend disbelief given that our lovely host seems to express genuine concern for the state of the scientific community. Surely some of the greatest scientific discoveries have come from defying the consensus. I’m not at all certain climate is destined to be one of those areas.

      • “Lambda = Change in Temperature/ Change in forcing”?

        Well… Lambda isn’t a constant. The response of water temperature with respect to LW radiation forcing is nonlinear. Lambda is sensitive to type of surface, temperature of surface, and type of forcing.

        The ocean temperature at the equator is relatively impervious to LW radiation that only penetrates to millimeter depths. It mostly increases latent heat loss. Latent heat loss is the primary source of heat transfer from the equatorial ocean.

      • “generally since they [skeptics] lack their own theory ( which would also be open to the same skeptical attacks ) nobody in science pays much attention to them….”

        Skeptics don’t care if “nobody in science” pays attention. The nobodies of climate science aren’t the decision makers. The voters are.

        If you think the voters are immune to skeptical arguments, perhaps you can explain why Obama has to enact decarbonization by imperial edict? Why did he wait until he was a lame duck after re-election, rather than when he had majorities in both houses of congress? Why is it even the Democrats in the Senate weren’t, and aren’t, willing to commit political suicide?

      • David Springer

        Lambda is a variable not a constant due to negative and positive feedbacks. Not all forcings are the same. Different materials have different response to shortwave and longwave forcings. Mosher discounts these and believes there’s a constant at the end of the rainbow. He’s sadly mistaken.

      • Mr Mosher, your equation is too simple and uses the wrong metric. The function isn´t a constant, it changes over time. The best metric is change in energy content.

      • . . . generally since they [skeptics] lack their own theory (which would also be open to the same skeptical attacks) nobody in science pays much attention to them.

        I rebut that with these pearls from Mencken:

        A professor must have a theory as a dog must have fleas.
        ………………..
        The professor must be an obscurantist or he is nothing; he has a special and unmatchable talent for dullness, his central aim is not to expose the truth clearly, but to exhibit his profundity, his esotericity – in brief to stagger sophomores and other professors.

        The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.
        …………………
        Nine times out of ten, in the arts as in life, there is actually no truth to be discovered; there is only error to be exposed. In whole departments of human inquiry it seems to me quite unlikely that the truth ever will be discovered.
        ………………………
        Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits nevertheless, calmly licking its chops. Why is the so-called science of sociology, as ardent young college professors expound it, such an imbecility? Why is a large part of economics? Why does politics always elude the classifiers and theorizers? Why do fashions in metaphysics change almost as often as fashions in women’s hats? Simply because the unknowable casts its black shadows across all these fields—simply because the professors attempt to label and pigeon-hole phenomena that are as elusive and intangible as the way of a man with a maid.
        –H.L. Mencken

    • John M –

      …are there any rules of thumb for identifying online outlets for credible scientific knowledge…

      I know of only one, and it is only a ‘rule of thumb’. Stick to websites in the .edu domain. There are many courses, online lecture materials, textbook chapters,. etc. available. You have to search for particular topics, but the results can be rewarding.

      Learning about climate science from climate blogs is no better than reading letters to the editor in the Podunk News to learn about economics, international affairs, etc. For every authoritative-sounding statement made by some self-identified ‘expert’ (“I have studied the subject for 10 years now, blah, blah, blah…”), you can find an equally authoritative-sounding contradiction.

      Better than wandering through the web, get a textbook and learn the basics. There is an excellent series published by Princeton U Press: Princeton Primeres in Climate, quite accessible to laypeople.

      Good luck.

      • The simplest rule of thumb is to seek sources that don’t censor skeptical thought.
        ============

      • Thanks, Pat. I’ve saved your suggested link. :)

        I don’t know, I’ve found this a better outlet for skeptical thought than most. Just the exchange on Chen and Tung was quite fascinating and I don’t know that I would have seen the paper if I hadn’t started frequenting here. I am trying to improve my understanding, though I’m only willing to contribute so much time to the effort.

      • Matthew R Marler

        John M: Thanks, Pat. I’ve saved your suggested link. :)

        They are an ok introduction; they are called primers”, after all. They are not strong on rebuttals or even stating what might be called a “question”. To pick just one example, “Atmospheres, Clouds and Climate” by David Randall uncritically accepts the notion (framed by Mosher above) that the effect of a change in forcing is constant at all initial temperatures; it also accepts the completeness and accuracy of the equilibrium assumptions used in calculating estimates of change induced by CO2. You won’t find a hint from that book that anything important relevant to policy remains to be learned.

        It’s a good book. If you want to know the consensus, it’s ok. If you want to know and understand the disputes, it is totally inadequate.

      • The simplest rule of thumb is to seek sources that don’t censor skeptical thought.

        Devil’s dictionary:

        skeptical thought (n): the truth.

        And fie on those who dare to censor the truth.

    • Matthew R Marler

      John M: First, is there a good method for finding rebuttals to specific interpretations of climate science evidence?

      If you are seeking rebuttals to common claims made in consensus climate (and policy exhortations and such) then regularly read Climate Etc and WattsUpWithThat, which regularly present rebuttals, and rebuttals of rebuttals. And follow the links that are provided. Over time, almost every “Headline Statement” is subjected to skeptical / supportive scrutiny, and many “below the headline” statements as well. For discussion where most posts are in favor of the “consensus”, read the blog “RealClimate”, as it also posts rebuttals, and rebuttals of the rebuttals, again with links to evidence.

      Perhaps a better question is are there any rules of thumb for identifying online outlets for credible scientific knowledge or is it simply a matter of posessing that ever desirable trait of “critical thinking”?

      These blogs regularly link to peer-reviewed scientific publications; and provide analyses of relevant data sets that have been curated and described in publications. The more you invest your “critical thinking skills” the more you will be rewarded; more hackneyed advice can hardly be found, but it is still true.

      • Thanks, Matthew. As you suggest, the problem is there are no shortcuts in true comprehension. But that is the issue with science communication; how do we do it? There seems to be a general consensus (heh) that how it is done today isn’t doing what it needs to (informing the public), but I’m not sure there’s a way around it. Like with anything we don’t want to expend a great deal of effort on, we’ll either pick a source that seems trustworthy and run with it or “go tribal” and back whatever group we best identify with. Unfortunately I don’t think there are any easy answers, but I do appreciate that more scientists seem to be willing to stick their necks out to try to improve the status quo. Particularly given that Internet discourse is rather rough and tumble.

    • John M:
      A happens, then B happens.
      Does anything else happen?
      The climate is argued to be complex and incompletely understood. If we add insulation uniformly will the heat still find ways to escape, perhaps through changing circulation patterns?

      • Well I’m not sure anything is *completely* understood in science :)

        But your point is well taken. Certainly the source of my interest is time frame, which is paramount. I’ve found little to persuade me there isn’t a general warming trend, but I’m not convinced there isn’t time to develop a better understanding and thus better solutions. The argument of skeptics seems to be we’re nowhere near a tipping point and we need a far better understanding of all the moving parts before any solution is viable. I sure hope that’s right because we’re not doing anything substantive for a while.

      • If we add insulation uniformly will the heat still find ways to escape, perhaps through changing circulation patterns?

        Thank goodness: a straightforward question at last.

        Yes, not only is this is possible but in a time frame of 10 years it is happening right now, aka the “hiatus”.

        For forecasting to 2100 however a time frame of 20 years may be more appropriate. At that granularity there is no sign of any hiatus, nor any physics-based reason to expect one. We can but pray that nature or whoever will find a new way to change circulation patterns to cool off the steadily increasing temperature. So far there is no sign of humans being able to accomplish this, in which case only a non-human intervention can do the job.

      • It is also evident in the slower than projected temperature rise, the lack of stratospheric cooling, the lack of tropical trop hotspot, and the smallness in the trends in radiative flux.

      • Vaughan, I have good new for you. The last time poleward ocean heat transport reached current levels it started to slow and we entered the LIA. We have a great chance that OHT changes will save us from itself.

      • David Springer

        The earth’s in an ice age, Vaughn. You boys don’t seem able to integrate that factoid into your worldviews such that the bedwetting over anthropogenic warming is moderated by the notion that it might not be a bad thing.

    • What we do know is there has been a lot of corruption in the climate community. And, nothing speaks more loudly about such corruption than examples of when periods of historical cooling suddenly become evidence of current global warming –e.g.,

    • I am not aware of any middle ground in the climate debate that I could point you to. 50% of the debate seems to be just a big flame war reminiscent of Mac vs PC threads in the old OS wars.

      I think you are going to find that almost nobody is singing from the same hymnbook on the skeptic side. A herd of cats that occasionally feed together.

      A simplistic argument you will hear from the advocate side is the science debate is all about whether the world has warmed and whether humans have contributed to this warming. Most (but not all) skeptics are in agreement here. You won’t find a lot of argument on these basic assertions here.

      The main issues seem to resolve around how much will it warm with increased emissions, and how “dangerous” this warming will be, the extent natural forces have played in recent warming, the veracity of climate models, the level of uncertainty in past and future climate estimates, just to name a few. And these all point to the bigger issue, what should we do about it, which drives the polarization. Political leanings are very predictive of climate views in the US.

      If you are looking for a historical review of climate skepticism, then you can examine the hockey stick and ClimateGate. But beware these are extremely polarizing topics that evoke a lot of hostility. ClimateAudit and RealClimate give competing views of these topics in-depth. If you have math skills this can be useful in some of the more esoteric debates.

      My advice would be to investigate topics one at a time and build up knowledge. It is more of a process of elimination of who can’t be trusted on which issues. There are many sites out there that are biased in a fairly severe way, and you will identify these over time. Biased doesn’t mean wrong, but it means more questionable.

      My final advice would really be to find another hobby because this one has little redeeming long term value, ha ha.

      • What an excellent reply, thank you. :)

        The suggestion that Curry was lumped into the 97% study has put be back on edge given how often that is touted as the holy metric of consensus. It really is quite troubling.

        And (speaking of politically predictive) I talk Krugmanian macro with a board of Ron Paul fans, so I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. :P

      • In this context, any middle ground, is like seeing the results of, any data homogenization, when it comes to making sense of raw data. We have the scientific method to help us determine the truth — “we” and “us” being any who value truth for its own sake and all those who look to science to elevate humanity from superstition and ignorance.

        For Trenberth, the truth of the AGW hypothesis lies in that it cannot be disproved –e.g., Trenberth’s version of the scientific method (e.g., prove aliens do not walk among and I will believe you). That is why the title of one of Michael Crichton’s lectures was titled, Aliens Cause Global Warming.”

      • John M – I rarely post here although I very often come here to read. But your questioning drew my attention and my interest So let’s see if I can give you a reasonably coherent answer.

        Long ago and far away (yes, in another Universe), I first encountered those who claimed that we would all fry due to Global Warming if we didn’t collectively immediately hand over ALL political power and ALL of our money to those immensely wise persons who were telling me this. But there was a problem: I’d worked for NASA for many years, I’d worked with atmospheric scientists for most of those years, I’d learned about science (what it is, how it operates and how scientists act) from those scientists. And those who were trying to sell me their tale of catastrophic woe did not act like scientists, but rather like the snake oil salesmen that my grandfather had taught me about, because their certainty was beyond anything that ANY scientist had EVER expressed in all the years I worked with them.

        And then I asked what evidence they had – and things got interesting. They started with the Hockey Stick and within seconds I knew they were lying to me. You see, I’d also been heavily involved in archaeology for a number of years and I knew that the temp profile of the Hockey Stick was falsified. The LIA , as well as several well known and verified warm periods were simply ……missing. It was a lie.

        We then went on to discuss the computer models – and I think that’s when I told them they were blithering idiots. One part of my job with NASA was the design, construction, operation, verification and validation computer programs, and specifically, models. I knew the business better than the modelers they held up as “experts”. And I had no trust whatever in their results. They made too many excuses wrt why they didn’t include factors that I knew were relevant.

        And then I was informed, on the day it happened, when the lie was inserted into the IPCC report that claimed that human influence had been determined to be a principal causative factor of warming. Was it a lie? Oh, yes. My wife worked for the American Meteorological Society at the time and the insertion of that statement (by a single politicized senior editor) caused greater consternation than the explosion of a nuclear weapon over Washington, DC would have.

        Allow me a short recap here – I’d been approached by people who acted, not like scientists, but like the grifters and scam artists I’d met on the carny circuits; I’d been lied to – and obviously so; I’d had people try to tell me that my years of technical knowledge and experience were obsolete, useless and worthless; and I’d seen them work the largest scam ever perpetrated.

        I think you might have gotten the idea that I find the warmist theory lacking any real scientific basis, the warmist scientists untrustworthy and the politicization of the entire subject to be unscientific. If so, you’d be right.

        If I were to recommend a book to you, it would be the Global Warming and Environmental sections of Aaron Wildavsky’s book: “But Is It True?”. In his words, Global Warming is “the Mother of all Environmental scares”.

        This, of course, is not quite what you were looking for. But I don’t have the time to delve into the technical aspects that I would be called on to defend by some blithering idiot (or by some well-meaning, intelligent engineer) if I did so. I will finish with a quote by my wife: “If they (the warmists) really had a solid case, WHY would they need to lie, to manipulate the data, to play deceptive games with the whole thing? Why could they not just act like real scientists?”

      • Tom said;

        ‘I think you are going to find that almost nobody is singing from the same hymnbook on the skeptic side. A herd of cats that occasionally feed together.’

        An apt comment. This diversity of opinion, politics, solutions and a failure to agree on what cat food they prefer is at the same time the main strength and weakness of sceptics.
        tonyb

      • Thanks for your take, Jim. I may have to join you in silent observation going forward.

        I’ve had trouble parsing the specific complaints of skeptics. As Tom pointed out, the problem is it’s not one group with a particular set of complaints. That lack of consensus is generally a good thing when you think of the nature of genuine scientific inquiry, though it has drawbacks. Unfortunately the scientific and political have been so conflated in any discourse accessible to the general public as to seem virtually irredeemable. But several here and elsewhere have reminded me that it’s sometimes worth wading through the muck.

        Back in the day, around when I was trying to learn more about stock trading (early 2007, great timing!) and was taking the WSJ, I was more skeptical. I remember latching onto one of Roy Spencer’s criticisms of climate models re: clouds. A year or two following I found something that seemed to rationally address the concern and figured understanding was heading the right direction. Without going any deeper down the rabbit hole, today I find myself remembering that old line from Twain “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”. I try to be better informed than average, but suffice to say this is an issue that has become tribal enough that I may simply have to throw my hands up and hope the scientists get a more substantive grip on it in the fullness of time.

      • I’ve had trouble parsing the specific complaints of skeptics.

        Two comments: The demands for immediate, urgent, expensive action are based on a chain of logic. For those who don’t consider such action desirable anyway every link in that chain needs to be questioned. Moreover, you’ll find a lot of people with experience/education/training in one or another field that they consider qualifies them to question one or another link. Some of them are right, some, IMO, wrong.

        Second, you have to understand that, rightly or not, this is (or claims/attempts to be) the dominant paradigm in Climate Science. Thus, like any paradigm, there will be people who question it at every point. In the case of “Climate Science”, there are several points where such questions are highly justified. Different people ask different questions, offer different alternative answers.

        Unfortunately the scientific and political have been so conflated in any discourse accessible to the general public as to seem virtually irredeemable.

        If you can’t judge the science, I’d guess you have to judge the behavior of the advocates. Kooks and extremists on both sides, of course, but what about the more rational core?

        Personally, I see adherents of the paradigm (sensu Kuhn) using exactly the same tactics in its defense as those of other paradigms under attack. On the other side, I see the same sort of people who see defects in the paradigm that I see with those other paradigms. With the difference that those other paradigms aren’t being used to justify rationalize demands for what is, in effect, a world Marxist revolution (with the serial numbers filed off, to protect the guilty).

        In addition, I see the same fringe of kooks attacking a paradigm they don’t understand that you find with every paradigm, scientific or not. Once identified, and distinguished from justified questioners of potentially defective paradigms, they can be dismissed. Of course, defenders of paradigms under attack will try to convince you that anybody who questions the paradigm is a kook. Such an attitude has nothing to do with Science, although many “scientists” engage in it.

      • John M – You say: “I’ve had trouble parsing the specific complaints of skeptics.

        At least part of that problem is that each skeptic sees different breaches of etiquette, civility, veracity and/or the process of the scientific method. Among other things. I would make a few suggestions –

        1. If the scientist in question mentions “consensus”, he/she is not a scientist. Consensus is not science, but rather religion. Think about it – periodically, science gets stuck in a rut and the “consensus” declares that some concept is “TRUE”. And It generally proves to be untrue. Think phlogiston, the Earth centered Universe, 1850 disease vectors, the Bohr atom, Newtonian mechanics, and yes, even Einstein’s Relativity is in question. The consensus in NEVER anything but a resting place in science until the next breakthrough appears.

        “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.”
        – Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat (1915-2002)

        2. If the scientist is insistent that “HIS” theory is right and all others are wrong, then he/she is not a scientist. “Settled” science isn’t science – it’s a stagnant swamp.

        A scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proved to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. (At least that is what is supposed to happen. In practice, people often question the accuracy of the observations and the reliability and moral character of those making the observations.) (p 31)
        From “The Universe in a Nutshell”
        by Stephen Hawking

        3. If a scientist lies to you (yes, even scientists make mistakes), but if they’re obviously lying and not willing to be convinced in the face of new evidence, then they’re not a scientist. Science has no use for those who think that lies are acceptable as science or who cannot change their mind in the face of new information.

        “On 27th April 1900, Lord Kelvin gave a lecture to the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The title of the lecture was Nineteenth-Century Clouds over the Dynamical Theory of Heat and Light. Kelvin mentioned, in his characteristic way, that the “beauty and clearness of theory” was overshadowed by “two clouds”. He was talking about the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment and the problems of blackbody radiation.”

        The answers to those two small clouds transformed science – and the world.

        4. If you have doubts, ask yourself – Would I buy a used car from this man? Would I trust my daughter with him? If the answer is NO, then run. I’ve found that if you listen to your inner voice, you seldom go wrong. There are those who laugh at that concept, but I’ve more often than not had the last laugh. And I’m still alive – most of them aren’t.

        Paranoia is a very comforting state of mind: if you think they’re out to get you, it means you think you matter.

        Finally –
        “If scientists all claim to believe in the scientific method, and they all have access to the same data, how can there be such deep disagreements between them? If the climate debate was about the laws of physics, there would be little disagreement. What separates the two sides in the climate controversy, however, is not so much an argument over the scientific facts, scientific laws, or even the scientific method. What separates them are profoundly different political and religious worldviews. In short, they want different things for the world.”
        From: Voodoo Science by Robert Park

        I wish you well in your journey through the swamp, John.

      • Tom Sharf you wrote that very well……are you one of my clones?

    • John if you visit http://www.realclimate.org/ you will find that the climate scientists there are more interested in discussing the science than in attacking people they disagree with.

    • John, sadly few of those responding have helpfully addressed your question, with Matt Marler being a shining exception. I’m not a climate scientist but an economist (who thought highly of Krugman’s early work but thinks very, very poorly of his work since he become a popular commentator), so I’m not going to give you a more helpful answer than to say I’ve found enough serious contributions at CE to help me with the science aspects of the issue. But I haven’t found anything to prompt major policies which directly address CAGW/climate change, as opposed to growth policies which improve our capacity with whatever uncertain future befalls. After more than 30 years of looking at the (C)AGW issue and the policy implications, I’m less interested in the science because nothing presented to date has given me reason to argue for a direct response to past and possible future warming, indeed, I have over the years gone from thinking that there were some grounds for caution to thinking that alleged CAGW should not be treated as a major policy issue, there are far more important things for policy to address.

      • Hey, Johanna, serf’s could [almost] trust guvuhmint if it was
        served by wise large picture advisers like you and Faustino.
        .
        (.. Can’t go all the way because great leaders like yr philosopher
        kings tried ter bluff us re the noble lie of the metals in men made
        us serfs suss regarding the noble lie and ‘trust yer me because
        I am yr Leader.’)
        A serf.

      • Aw, shucks, Beth. (blush)

        But you are right not to trust governments, ever. That said, there are occasionally individuals in governments who can be trusted to a reasonable degree. But working out who they are is often not easy for the average punter.

      • Thanks, Faustino. For better or worse I’m tacking the direction of downgrading to negligible policy priority myself. I’m having trouble figuring out whether the more substantive complaints come from those criticizing the human causation of a warming trend or those criticizing the conclusion that there’s a warming trend at all.

        I’ve come into this with the understanding that the warming trend is there and that our ability to identify the cause may be lacking, a thought I find disturbing. At this point I’m basically just confused to the point of apathy. And at the back of my mind I feel like this is the desired outcome for certain parties.

        Anyway, even though it’s off topic, I’d be interested to know if you have preferred economic reading online? I read Krugman’s blog regularly (he led me to FRED which is an endless source of data dickering fun) and am probably in need of some better sources. Unfortunately I have an affinity for math, which many “real economists” seem to abhor, so he’s been my preference.

      • For better or worse I’m tacking the direction of downgrading to negligible policy priority myself. I’m having trouble figuring out whether the more substantive complaints come from those criticizing the human causation of a warming trend or those criticizing the conclusion that there’s a warming trend at all.

        Well, I can answer that. There’s little or no serious question regarding a “warming trend” from ~1970 to the present. Or over the last few centuries. Plenty of disagreement regarding “trends” for shorter periods within those frames, and/or the relative importance of any selected frame for finding “trends”.

        WRT policy, It’s important to divorce the identification of “problems to be solved” from “proposed solutions”. Fossil CO2 certainly represents a risk, although there are claims it’s also a benefit. The nature of that risk isn’t in gradual increases to some mythical “Global Average Temperature”, rather it involves sudden catastrophic (in the mathematical sense) changes to hyper-complex non-linear systems. These include, but are not limited to, climate.

        The extent of that risk is beyond evaluation AFAIK. The judgement of how important it is to mitigate that risk is a political decision. But we always need to keep in mind that there is an almost infinite space of potential solutions, with varying “side-effects” and other political implications.

        Certainly it would be technically feasible to chart, and follow, a course that includes both full steam ahead extending and developing mature fossil-fuel-based technology, while focusing very heavy R&D on replacements that are either “carbon-neutral”, or offer potential for remediation (environmental capture and sequestration) later in the century.

        Such intense R&D will almost certainly (IMO) pay for itself in spin-off technology, even if it turns out there’s no reason for capture/sequestration. IMO by the end of this century, technology to extract CO2 from the environment and put it to profitable use will have reached fair maturity, even without any special R&D incentives. So such a program would simply be speeding up an already inevitable development, in case we need to piggy-back a major sequestration effort.

        And the decision whether we need to can wait till the science is more mature.

    • John, several years ago I started the process of investigating climate science in order to counter skeptical arguments my father, a retired engineer, was making. At the time, he had started reading climateaudit.org. I wanted to do exactly as you are trying to do now, which was find rebuttals to various arguments and rebuttals to those rebuttals. Basically understand the arguments and look to see who was making the most sense.

      It took a long time.

      I became aware of the very partisan nature of the debate and the issue of credibility. Eventually though, and dragging feet owing to my desire to find my father wrong, I came to see that the consensus version of climate change was, to say the very least, a little unreliable.

      In my personal opinion, I doubt you will do much better than Climate Etc as a resource and starting point to understand the complex nature of the issue, for while it has become increasingly skeptical, because that’s where the current evidence leads, it is always trying to present as objectively as possible the arguments and evidence both for the consensus and for the skeptical view. You will encounter the hard bitten on both sides, but you seem blog-hardened enough to not let that worry you.

      Because credibility is a big issue for the hard-bitten (and honestly not without reason sometimes), may I suggest not framing a question where it can come into play? SkS (Skeptical Science) will raise quite a few hackles, and so probably will WUWT because it is so appears so overtly skeptical. If you are looking for a counters to certain arguments such as the characterization of the GHG/CO2 radiative effect as being “exactly like a blanket” then I would simply ask the question and avoid inviting a credibility battle.

      Again, speaking personally, I found after a while one argument to be more persuasive than another, and I found the losing argument tended slip from the main point, and often resorted to argument from authority or strawman tactics. I also think it very important to characterize correctly the argument, something I think doesn’t get enough attention.

      • Agree, Agnostic.

        I doubt that anyone is across the entire climate debate, which encompasses multiple scientific disciplines, high level mathematics, economics, modelling and much more. So, for the lay person, it tends to come down to trust.

        For example, I trust Dr Curry on atmospheric physics; I trust Steve McIntyre on statistics; I trust Anthony Watts on broad issues which he is prepared to stake his reputation on. This comes from years of reading various blogs and watching these people behave with integrity and skill – including admitting and correcting mistakes promptly and also admitting what they don’t know.

        This list is not comprehensive, but illustrative, BTW.

        I distrust Michael Mann, because he is a demonstrated liar who does not admit his mistakes.

      • Thanks for taking the time, Agnostic. The partisan/tribal character of the issue is clearer now more than ever. I’m also finding I’m not as blog hardened as I thought as I pretty much stepped in it citing the Drexel study with which so many seemed familiar. I tire quickly of arbitrary assertions that the opposition is better funded (yes, from either side). Obviously I should have been specific that my intent was to show that funding of climate change opposition was present as opposed to superior. Either way I’m pretty sure I’m sufficiently pigeon holed at this point. C’est la vie.

        I included the SkS article because I’m not confident I can properly construct a question without a source and it seems only fair to disclose that source. I did at least learn that this is not the place to get answers to those questions.

      • John M, you need only cite when you are asserting something. If you are trying to get a range of views or find rebuttals then you need only ask for a reference. A lot of people here know the debate inside out, and have read a huge amount of the literature. Only cite your source for the view if you are asked for it or to press for a better response. That’s my humble two cents.

      • Don’t worry, John M. You come across as a rational person who is genuinely trying to sort out fact from fiction. You haven’t risen to any provocation and so even if we may disagree on some things, you get a thumbs up from me. Hopefully you’ll stick around.

      • Heh, John, I pigeon-holed you as a concern troll sophist because of your citing, but now found you’ve flown the coop.

        Kiddo, understand the opposition. It’s mostly about skepticism of catastrophe and the necessarily entrained mitigation, which is the real catastrophe.
        =================

    • John, all this article does is establish that CO2 is greenhouse gas and has been increasing in concentration. And then shows a steep graph from a spurious caclulation of energy accumulation.

      Note how the spec spike in CO2 range is much larger than others, this indicates that its concentration is higher. This means the atmosphere is less sensitive to additional CO2.

      The church et al paper is an interesting exercise, but not meaningful. It is done using highly uncertain estimations. It’s time period is only since 1961, we don’t see comp to pre AGW and don’t get attribution. Sea level have been rising for a long time. We don’t have accurate energy flux measurements to know if the calculated values balance with actual flux. The biggest problem is observational bias, the paper only covers 1961 forward. We don’t have a baseline. The earth has likely been accumulating energy at a similar rate (using their metrics) for a long, long time.

      • i.e. There’s nothing in the article to refute. All it does is say CO2 is a greenhouse gas and shows calculated heat accumulation in several climate areas, there is no attribution to GHGs. It presents deceptively, suggesting that there was no heat accumulation going on before the increase in GHGs.

  9. “Most climate scientists who publish a visible and important paper…”

    The public in general doesn’t know any science paper from a hole in their heads.

    I doubt science papers are the issue here.

    Andrew

  10. “…rather it is the uninformed masses that matter”

    This is one of the biggest mistakes that one can make in science communication in my opinion. Overt disrespect for your audience. It’s difficult to really tell what he means here, but it comes off as a rather typical elitist view from the ivory tower.

    If your message isn’t getting through:

    1. You haven’t explained it well enough
    2. Your position may be weaker than you think.
    3. You don’t understand the counter position well enough.
    4. The audience is not smart enough to understand your position.

    Jumping right to #4 sure is alluring, but saying this out loud doesn’t come off very well.

    “If you don’t agree with me then you are stupid” is something we have all dealt with since the second grade. If this is someone’s position and the debate is filled with uncertainty, then it is hard to keep listening to this person with an open mind.

    I suspect there is the usual conflation here with Trenberth, he believe the masses are uninformed on what exactly? The world is warming or warming must be dangerous?

    In the end, this attitude is just another form of appeal to his own authority, and a continuation of the empty vessel theory of climate communication which hasn’t moved the needle on public opinion.

    If you examine the trend in voter priorities from Gallup, the environment has bottomed out to 1% in the last 6 months from a very low 3%.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1675/most-important-problem.aspx

    This onslaught of climate communication seems to be back firing.

    • Has he made any effort to decrease the fear and trembling of the uninformed masses or has he encouraged the irrational agents of fear, guilt and shame?
      =================

    • I don’t take uninformed as being equivalent to lacking intelligence. We’re all ignorant on certain things and I’d argue one would be fortunate to be well informed on more than a few topics in the life we have to work with.

      • I think Kahan had a post recently documenting that most people are aware of and understand the basic assertions of climate science, they have been informed.

        Since he didn’t tell us specifically what they are “uninformed” about, it is hard to take the conversation very far.

        I find almost all the broad brush uninformed / anti-science / denier swipes fail to detail what the specifics of the offense are. This should be a red flag to anyone.

      • …and paradoxically the more informed they become, the more polarized to their original position they become. If this debate has proven anything is that more information isn’t likely to help either side at this point until something materially convincing comes along. That will likely take decades of further observation.

      • An interesting assertion. Does this statement strike you as similarly broad brush?

        “Although you wouldn’t think so by listening to the Obama administration on the topic of climate change, the debate is becoming more complex and nuanced.”

        https://judithcurry.com/2014/08/22/jc-interview-with-oilprice-com/

        It certainly lacks specificity and isn’t much for advancing a conversation. I feel you are getting at a good point, but the point shouldn’t be simply that these are red flag statements but that all participants like to parse such things to discredit opponents and shut down discussion.

      • She is probably referring to a series of recent comments by John Kerry. Not sure.

      • Does your inability to identify the specific criticism strike you as a red flag?

      • Salute the smoked herring on that flag.
        =============

      • Matthew R Marler

        Tom Scharf: If this debate has proven anything is that more information isn’t likely to help either side at this point until something materially convincing comes along. That will likely take decades of further observation.

        Well said.

      • Curry’s statement about Obama only “lacks specificity” to people who aren’t paying any attention.
        Obama has pronounced climate change to be settled several times, including his recent announcement that he was going the “imperial president” route viz the EPA (though I’m betting you object to that “imperial” formulation for any action since 2008).
        Here is one of many many many:
        http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/196757-obama-climate-change-is-a-fact

      • I think one can pretty easily articulate what the Obama administration’s position is regarding climate change, and can certainly look it up rather easily.

        What Trenberth’s meaning of uninformed is is i think a bit more mysterious. Based on previous statements and such I would estimate it is:

        1. The earth has warmed over the 20th century
        2. Warming presents a clear and present danger.
        3. Immediate and costly action is required to mitigate the effects.

        One of those, or all, or something in between. Who knows?

      • Well I should think finding Trenberth’s specifics on the issue can be found readily, if not as prominently as the Obama administration (which someone else assumed must mean his science advisers). I took your red flag as meaning specifics within a given set of statements.

        My point is we all have a tendency to look for a reason to preemptively rebuke opponents on credibility over the merits. If I bought into that reasoning I wouldn’t even be reading this blog.

      • You are not alone.

        A fan of *MORE* discourse | August 21, 2014 at 10:17 am | Reply

        Proposition The peculiar variety of skepticism that focuses exclusively upon the weakest science causes its practitioners to become more-and-more ignorant, yet (paradoxically) less-and-less aware of their ignorance.

        Canonical Examples Rud Istvan’s essays

        Remediation Biologist Ed Wilson’s works, including for example Ant Hill: a Novel, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, and Wilson’s autobiography Naturalist, all will go far to innoculate young Climate Etc readers against Rud Istvan’s dismal practice of non-learning, that is so directly causal of Dunning-Kruger syndrome.

        Jane Goodall’s Reason for Hope too is highly recommended!

      • Viscusi had some survey data a few years ago showing that smokers overestimated the actual risks of their habit. Continuing to smoke had nothing to do with their ignorance. Many of those opposed to urgent mitigation of CO2 may well include in their thoughts the possibility of extremely alarming scenarios about global warming. More fear = more motivation to act is not a well-verified proposition.

      • Salute the smoked herring on that flag.

        Get with the program, Kim. Red herrings quit a decade ago.

      • 3. Immediate and costly action is required to mitigate the effects.

        Costly indeed. Anyone who doesn’t feel the coal industry’s pain can expect a lump of coal in their stocking come Christmas.

      • John M | September 3, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
        Does your inability to identify the specific criticism strike you as a red flag?

        Here are a couple:

        ‘At a fund-raiser for the “Democratic” Congressional Campaign Committee in Chicago May 29, he [Obama] had said, “We … know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or ten years ago.” He had added, “I don’t have much patience for people who deny climate change.”’
        ———
        “This (climate change) is a problem that is affecting Americans right now,” Obama said. “Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”
        Source: http://www.today.com/news/obama-al-roker-climate-change-2D79627268

    • Well…
      There is a legal maxim: “If you have the facts on your side, pound the facts. If you have the law on your side, pound the law. If you have neither on your side, pound the table.”

      The dedicated believers in AGW have been pounding the table since the turn of the century and that gets old after a while.

    • 5. The public are smart enough to realise that there are many more important issues to be addressed.

    • Tom

      Your list of 4 options is excellent, especially with the addition of the 5th suggested above by Faustino, that the public simply care more about other, more immediately pressing issues. As a Brit, I’m definitely more concerned that our electicity supply will be reliable over the coming winter than about the CO2 emissions that might occur with the restarting of mothballed coal fired power stations.

      I think for the majority of people (and certainly all those that pay any attention to the issue of climate change), the basics have been explained reasonably well. The issues for the likes of Trenberth is that many of us think that your point 2 is correct, in that the evidence they are putting forward is not as strong as they think (too much modelling and statistical manipulation, indaequate empirical data – this mainly because of a lack of adequate data collection systems until relatively recently). Add to that the strong tendency of some alarmists to mis-characterise skeptics and so to misunderstand or misrepresent their arguments (close to your point #3).

      In my experience the skectics can be divided into 3 sets (obviously with some overlap of opinions):
      1 – Science / engineering types who do not see strong evidence that CO2 has a strong warming effect on the atmosphere. I think most accept the basic premise of CO2 absorbing LW-IR, and this consequently causing some rise in surface temperature, but who expect feedbacks to be negetive or at most very weakly positive

      2 – Economicist skeptics who may or may not be skeptical of rapid warming but who are skeptical of the mitigation policies being proposed (i.e. whether these are practical in the real world, effective and cost-effective)

      3 – Politically-motivated skeptics, who see AGW alarmism as some form of trojan horse for left wing politics (a position that is much stronger in the US than in Europe, where almost all mainstream parties consider climate change a significant political reality).

      Generally, the scientific and economic skeptics could be persuaded by more and better evidence. The problem is that most of these skeptics are grounded in empiricism, so more modelling and more number crunching won’t be particularly persuasive and the empirical data will take a very long time to acquire (a problem when there appears to be an approximately 60 year pseudocyclicity in climate data). Telling these people they are too dumb to understand is

      The political skeptics are likely to be more intransigent, because they have been given plenty of ammunition from those associated with the warmist scientists.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Vaughan Pratt: 3. Immediate and costly action is required to mitigate the effects.

      Costly indeed. Anyone who doesn’t feel the coal industry’s pain can expect a lump of coal in their stocking come Christmas.

      It’s not the companies, it’s the customers for their electricity and heat.

      I am glad that you stopped in today. What did you think of Trenberth’s interview?

      • It’s not the companies, it’s the customers for their electricity and heat.

        What? How does the companies’ pain become the customers’ pain?

        Imagine if I came up with a computer that was better than Apple’s offerings in every way including cheaper, enough to capture 25% of their customers (the other 75% being permanently bound to Apple by sacred fan-vows). This will clearly be costly for Apple, but how does that make it costly for the customers?

        LIkewise with customers for energy who switch to a cheaper source. This will hurt the company, but how does it hurt the customers?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: LIkewise with customers for energy who switch to a cheaper source. This will hurt the company, but how does it hurt the customers?

        I misunderstood. I thought you were recommending that the coal companies be regulated out of business before the cheaper energy sources were available. Sorry.

      • I am glad that you stopped in today.

        Thanks, just a brief visit.

        What did you think of Trenberth’s interview?

        You’re asking me this in a virulently anti-Trenberth echo chamber? How does one answer such a question?

      • Just tell us what you think VP, some may not agree with you but at least in this venue you will find that most of us will respect your POV. I personally find a disparity between his excellent academic reputation and the some of the statements that appear in his communications. Eg “uninformed masses” and “the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts” seem to be assertions without due consideration or thoughtfulness.

      • @MM: I thought you were recommending that the coal companies be regulated out of business before the cheaper energy sources were available.

        Whoa, a plot afoot to regulate coal companies out of business? Sounds like a conspiracy theory. I can’t imagine who would be motivated to suggest such a thing. :)

        Conceivably a coal company could worry that it is being disadvantaged by a government that pays billions of dollars in subsidies to renewable energy companies.

        The fact of the matter is that $557 billion was spent to subsidize fossil fuels globally in 2008, compared to $43 billion in support of renewable energy, as detailed here.

        That should allow fossil fuel companies to breathe more easily.

        I wouldn’t worry about the financial health of fossil fuel companies. Even if your solar panels and windmills have let you move completely off the grid, as a taxpayer you will continue to be a customer of the fossil fuel companies. In fairness they should ship you a nicely packaged lump of coal at Christmas so that you don’t feel you’re getting nothing for your tax dollars that they’re receiving.

      • To be honest – we are not really in favour of subsidies of any sort. Getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies is on the G20 agenda.

      • Getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies is on the G20 agenda.

        Where have we heard that before?

        The figure of $557 billion that I quoted above for global fossil fuel subsidies in 2008 has in the meantime ballooned to $1.9 trillion. Subsidies are growing faster than consumption. If that keeps up the subsidies should hit $6 billion by 2020.

      • …oops, $6 trillion.

        A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

      • If you lick on Vaughan’s link on supposed subsidies to fossil fuel sources you find things like general industrial development bond subsidies that would apply equally to a solar plant, a car factory, or any other industrial project for which political support can be garnered. In economic terms these are not “fossil-fuel subsidies” because they ate not targeted to fossil fuels. The same goes for the “tax expenditures” and other items where people like Vaughan are claiming that a failure to penalize fossil fuel businesses relative to all others is somehow a subsidy. These claims are deceptive and misleading; if applied in a commercial rather than a political context they would be the sort of thing investigated in the US by the Federal Trade Commission.

      • It seems unlikely that Pratt has heard it is on the G20 agenda before.

      • What are you talking about? Climate was on the G20 summit agendas for 2009. 2010, and 2011. It went nowhere.

      • If you click on Vaughan’s link on supposed subsidies to fossil fuel sources you find things like general industrial development bond subsidies that would apply equally to a solar plant

        The operative word is not “would” but “were”. For 2008 the EIA reported $557 billion in fossil fuel subsidies such as bond subsidies applied to coal plants and $43 billion for renewable subsidies such as bond subsidies that were applied to solar plants. Both kinds of bond subsidies are “for use in the electric sector.”

        These claims are deceptive and misleading; if applied in a commercial rather than a political context they would be the sort of thing investigated in the US by the Federal Trade Commission.

        If it were true that the EIA misleadingly shifted some solar plant bond subsidies from the $43 billion side of the ledger to the $557 billion side then that would make a very interesting news story. Do you have any evidence for this?

      • Perhaps unsurprisingly, Vaughan confuses the marginal rate of subsidy–which is the actual policy variable we care about, the subsidy per unit–with the rate at which people take advantage of that subsidy. The bigger the disadvantage of solar power relative to fossil-fuels, the less of the subsidy available to it will be taken up. That’s just more evidence of how dependent solar is on special subsidies to compete–even with all its privileges it doesn’t get taken up that much. Looking at the total bonds issued tells you exactly nothing about incentives created by public policy. So my point above stands. You can’t use non-targeted policies to falsely imply that they are targeted.

  11. Heh, he and his thought Steve McIntyre and the like were the junior varsity.

    This so-called President’s support is not going to be as helpful to him as he wishes. I’m 97% sure of that.
    =============

    • Kim,
      Obama has pledged $1 billion to fight climate change, Kevin is just nuzzling up to the funding teat. Grant money talks, everything else walks. As long as he gets some cash, nothing else really matters.

  12. Don’t journalists ever ask what the estimate of the well funded denialists are? How much contributed from Shell? BP (beyond oil) or Exxon? How much from multiple gov agencies to climate institutes and programs aligned with the President, Sec of State and other agencies to support the consensus and slander the flat earthers or seriel climate denialists?

    scott

    • You’re not going to find that on denial websites because they do not want you to know such things. John Mashey is an excellent researcher who goes through real government documents that have real information about funding:
      http://www.desmogblog.com/2013/12/23/detailed-study-exposes-dark-money-flows-climate-science-denial

      • ‘Denial websites’

        Maybe that should be written at the top of each one so we know which ones they are. Or are we to be just left guessing?

      • ‘Denial websites’ are websites where more opinions than Holly’s are allowed.

      • Here’s a quote from your link:

        Of course, many recipients engage in numerous other actiivities outside the climate issue, and Brulle’s study did not and could not address the percentage spent on climate change.

        Heartland is the point man among those organizations, and its annual spending on climate, according to it, is between $1 and $2 million, or about 20% of its income. So the others are probably not spending much more, and probably a lesser share of their income. It’s a lot less than the amount Greenpeace insinuates is going into climate denial activities (by insinuating that 100% of their income goes into that one topic).

  13. Kevin wrote

    “There are many who have opinions locked in and no amount of evidence will sway them.”

    Actually, I have interacted with Kevin numerous times and I find that this description actually fits him quite well. He is not open to other perspectives in the climate discussions.

    • Some find it very difficult to overcome their personal Belief system.

    • That was blatantly obvious when you, he, and Kevin Willis discussed the transport through the Argos network of ‘missing heat’. Even I could see his intransigence.
      ============

    • An example regarding the statement by Roger P. Senior:
      The vicious attack on the peer reviewed and published paper by Roy Spencer et al, without even allowing it to go through the normal processes of evaluation of a published paper.
      After that I have a hard time allocating merit to anything regarding integrity of communications in science which he may present.

    • Real But Exaggerated

      It’s important to recognize that we’re all irrational beings, and sometimes knowledge is not an antidote ( because we choose which knowledge that we emphasize ).

      Trenberth sure fits this bill, but we should all perform a little introspection on our emotional motivations.

    • Well… For more objective people than Mr. Trenberth…

      What would be an objective criterion for declaring AGW theory invalid?

      Put another way, the basic theory as I understand it is that CO2 forcing + about 3 times positive water vapor feedback should be occurring.

      How long a pause or how great a decline (or both) would be required to conclude that the net forcing is equivalent to CO2 forcing alone or less???

  14. Trenberth key comments:
    “I also like to talk about not just the science but also what to do about it and different worldviews.”

    and

    “Recognizing vested interests, the inequities among nations, how much one values the future generations, the precautionary principle, sustainability issues, and issues related to doing nothing, vs. mitigating climate change (stopping or slowing the problem) vs. adapting to it (or living with the consequences). Part of the goal is to get people to think about why they feel about the issues the way they do. Many have a gut feeling but have not thought about it rationally. Explaining why one has the values one does is then part of the challenge.”

    It all seems to come down to a system of beliefs about what might happen in the future.

    Trenberth’s BELIEF system is that more CO2 is very likely to lead to highly worsening conditions for the humanity overall and that taking actions to reduce CO2 emissions now is a cost effective means to reduce these future harms.

    Others, for a wide variety of reasons do not accept that the evidence supports the his conclusion.

    Personally, I accept that there is a risk that more CO2 will lead to a worsening of conditions for humanity. I do not agree that we know if this will occur, specifically what will occur, where changes will occur, or when.

    The most sensible response to a concern about potential adverse climate change is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure. It is the only response that surely will provide benefits. It is the best example of the precautionary principle in a time of limited economic resources.

    • Sounds reasonable to me. If there are arguments to the contrary I’d be open to being persuaded by them.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Rob Starkey: The most sensible response to a concern about potential adverse climate change is the construction and maintenance of robust infrastructure.

      Which infrastructure? I favor flood control and irrigation projects, not wind farms, solar farms, carbon capture and storage, or the famous California bullet train to nowhere. As has been reported, adverse climate change is proposed to increase the risk of droughts and floods, which will continue to occur with some frequency with or without climate change. In California, enhanced flood control and irrigation projects are not in favor among the people who have concern about adverse climate change.

  15. Steve Fitzpatrick

    What I found most interesting in his comments was:
    ” We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.”
    Which strikes me as close to delusional. Can he really think most skeptics are funded? By anyone? Does he really believe the funding for Cato, Heartland, and a handful of other organizations compares favorably with funding for the IPCC, Greenpeace, WWF, Sierra Club, etc? The recurrent (and false) “well funded vested interests” meme is so frequent among self appointed ‘climate communicators’ that it beggars belief. The “vested interests” he blames for inaction are mostly unfunded individuals doing their best to avoid foolish public policy.

    The reality of the situation is easy to understand: the arguments offered by folks like Trenberth are simply not convincing for lots of reasons, the biggest of which is the claim of great urgency, when the empirical data say quite the opposite. There are many people for whom the diagnosed ‘cure’ looks far worse than the virulence ‘disease’. It is mainly overreach by climate science communicators (claims of accurate model projections of future warming, claims of dire consequences from that warming, claims of certainty when there is none, demands for immediate and costly public action based on model projections, etc.) which inhibits a reasoned public policy debate on energy.

    IMO, the disagreement is and has always been primarily one of values/goals/morals/priorities, and only tangentially related to science. There is no ‘information deficit’ which makes people unable to properly evaluate the issue, and the more people understand the technical details (that is, the more effective the communication of ‘the science’), the less likely they will support the kind of draconian measures always called for by the ‘communicators’. This contentious issue will only be addressed when a) the uncertainty in forecasts is substantially narrowed and b) those demanding draconian action, and nothing else, are replaced by people willing to strike reasoned compromises; compromises which balance the obvious current benefits of fossil fuels against possible future harm from GHG driven warming. Trenberth and most other ‘communicators’ seem to me unwilling to be involved in that kind of discussion, and in any case, most are unlikely to still be around when the discussion finally does take place in 20 years or so.

    • One has only to do a brief accounting of the massive NGO (Sierra club, Friends of Earth, Greenpeace) funding, then the NOAA and climate research funding budgets to sum to $100,000,000s of millions of consensus funding streams vs the little self funded and minor support to delialists. That is such a false and outrageous statement. Is there any support funding from the oil companies or coal firms or electric power firms it would have to be disclosed in SEC filings. Easy to document. As is the consensus major funding streams.
      Scott

    • Steve –

      ==> “Which strikes me as close to delusional. Can he really think most skeptics are funded?”

      Perhaps I missed something, but I didn’t see “Most “skeptics” are well-funded” in the excerpt you quoted. Did I just miss it? Did he say that somewhere else?

      If you’re going to start calling someone “close to delusional,” surely you have evidence of what you think their delusions are, don’t you?

      • Steve writes clearly. You, not so much.
        ===============

      • More quibbling disinformation from a vusual source;

        “We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.”

        It’s a wholly false statement by the way. Governments spend billions in part for educational propaganda, “science” education to the public. Green groups vastly outspend skeptics. Inside the meme none of these things ever exist as such.

        Oh, I realize how in the weeds the statement actually is, so does Trenberth. So do you Joshua. It’s call DISHONESTY none the less.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        joshua,
        What he said is: “We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.”

        OK, maybe you can parse that on a way which suggests something other than the plain words, but I can’t. Please point to a single prominent skeptic who has been well funded, and by whom. McIntyre? Watts? Bishop Hill? Anyone? Come on, I am waiting with bated breath. No, can’t come up with one? What a surprise.

        Don’t stoop so low Joshua.

      • How low can joshie go?

      • Steve –

        I don’t know what’s in Trenberth’s head – and I suspect that neither do you.

        It is possible that he really does believe that “most” “skeptics” are “funded.” I tend to doubt that the thinks that, but you’re certainly entitled.

        But simply, there can certainly be “misinformation campaigns” that are well-funded (his words) without “most” skeptics being funded (your words).

        Take issue with the notion “misinformation” campaigns if you will: whether the term “misinformation” is accurate, what degree of funding exists, whether the funding for those campaigns is greater than for educational efforts, etc. That all seems fair game, IMO.

        But saying that what he said is “close do delusional” while distorting what he actually said seems tribal to me. Seems to me that someone who is skeptical (not “skeptical”) would be more careful.

        ==> “Please point to a single prominent skeptic who has been well funded, and by whom. McIntyre? Watts? Bishop Hill? Anyone?

        Again, he speaks of “campaigns” and you speak of individuals.

        Apples.

        Oranges.

        There could easily be well-funded “misinformation campaigns” irrespective of whether those individuals are funded.

        But if you consider that kind of rhetorical device to be the proud and “clear”writng of a skeptic – have at it.

      • We know what’s in your head, joshie.

      • If you need a translation, Joshua – Trenberth said: “I need more money. Send it.”

        But his delusion was plainly stated – try reading that line again.

    • What you fail to understand is that Trenberth’s funding measurement is in “theoretical internet dollars”, not actual dollars. See South Park for how this accounting system works.

    • “In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.”

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/dark-money-funds-climate-change-denial-effort/

      So I’m not sure what qualifies as “well funded”, but they’re not exactly beggars. I don’t know anyone to have made an honest comparison of funding. Most statements are simply accusations towards an opponent with little to no factual backing.

      • “dark money”

        John M,

        You sure like yer poetry.

        Andrew

      • Unscientific American promotes propaganda on the topic of AGW to an extreme degree.

      • One issue is that none of these so called denial organizations are focused on climate change, only a relatively small fraction of these funds are spent on climate change.

        Further, the $558M pales when compared with the budgets of Greenpeace, WWF, etc.

      • That number looks trivial without even breaking it down;

        http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/climate_money.pdf

        This is a very old paper, we’re talking trillions of questionable and crony spending. Aside from that is there anything “darker” than the MSM itself that is suppose to maintain “objectivity” but is in fact a left-wing activist culture by definition?

      • I once read that the disparity in funding, alarmist/skeptical is 3,000 to 1. I believe the alarmist figure was padded with the costs of satellites, but still, Kevin Trenberth’s naivete or disingenuousness about this is appalling.

        Heh, naive ain’t even in it, so whaddya have? Oh, yes, I forgot mad. That’s in it, too, as a choice.
        ==============

      • Wow, so actually citing a number illicits responses. Good to know. :) Note the article cites “Climatic Change” for the study, so if you’re taking issue with source, they’re the better target over SA. To be fair that’s the link I should have provided. Apologies.

        You see cwon14 at least provided something to chew on. I don’t think it’s much of a representation of “public education efforts”. It tries to pretend that comparing funding Science, Technology, Foreign Aid and Tax breaks (p. 4) and Exxon’s “$23 million to skeptics” (p. 2) isn’t apples and oranges. We might as well compare Exxon’s advertising budget to IPCC salaries. Dr. Curry raises the proper point that AEI, Heritage, etc. does more than climate change, but they’re not exactly contributing to scientific research either. Plus Greenpeace’s 2012 report says they received $32,794,774 in 2012 whereas AEI was $37,274,170. Obviously neither tells the whole story.

        Like I said, no one does an honest comparison. I think it’s a fair point to make but I’ve yet to see a fair representation. I don’t think anyone has made a convincing case that their opponents are better funded. Those who choose to believe this are not basing their belief on evidence.

        http://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/now/pdfs/Institutionalizing%20Delay%20-%20Climatic%20Change.ashx (“Institutionalizing delay: foundation funding and the creation of U.S. climate change counter-movement organizations” PDF download FYI)

        http://www.greenpeacefund.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Greenpeace-Annual-Report-12-no-donors.pdf

        http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=3252#.VAdbEsVdWcw

      • Talk to the Kevin.
        ============

      • Matthew R Marler

        John M: “In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.”

        I don’t know which money you wish to include on this side and on that side, but that is less money than the Solyndra bailout. The money that is spent on lobbying and advertising by organizations that have PV panels and wind turbines to sell is enormous, and much of their return gets funneled (corrupting influence of money comment coming up) to Democratic candidates (as was some of the Solyndra bailout money.)

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenpeace

        Greenpeace is bigger than that.

        Greenpeace 2011 budget was €236.9 million or about $330 million.

      • John M, so what does all that money get spent on? Ever see a climate denier commercial? How about a climate alarmist commercial?

      • Matthew R Marler

        John M, it isn’t just the total amounts of money that are spent, but to whom they are allotted and when. Here is a case of a respected scholar who lost his fellowship because he published a minority opinion: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/12/professors-fellowship-terminated-for-speaking-out-on-global-warming-in-the-wall-street-journal/

        There are thousands of researchers in this boat: they stand to lose salary, grant funding, publications and other career advancements if a reduction in climate concern produces reductions in government funding. The total may not be large by some standard or another, but to each of these researchers it is vital, and vital now. All of the researchers whom I know also know personally other professionals who lost positions when the grants in their fields of expertise were cut, or funding grew more slowly than the population of new graduates entering the field. It isn’t an idle threat or abstract policy issue. The CruTape emails revealed even an attempt (probably not pursued with vigor) to have a PhD degree revoked. Everyone knows that a large majority of the scientists who review the grant proposals are strong adherents of the consensus, and will deny grant funding to dissidents.

        If money has a “corrupting influence” here is a place where the money is really close to and important to the people who might be corrupted. I am not claiming that they are more corrupt than the fuel providers or anyone else, mind you.

      • John M, the Drexel paper you cite is fundamentally conceptually flawed. It says the three biggest funded ‘denial’ organizations are the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and the Hoover Institute on war and peace. See figure 2. The notion that climate denial is a main agenda for them, or even on the agenda at all, is beyond ludicrous. And those three alone comprise over 1/3 of all the funding traced.
        Just like many other published papers, scratch the surface and what is underneath is just wrong. And the Drexel PR spun this even worse than the paper itself.

      • The point is *no one* has an honest comparison. There seem to be none with a “reasonable minds can differ” mentality in any area of climate science. Or they’re shouted down by the respective you’re either for us or against us crowds.

      • Yes, I was brainwashed early by the well funded Cranbrook Institute of Science. Growing up in SE Michigan, I attended several field-trips and weekend visits. Seeing how the world changes so much made it impossible to see the subtle changes of global warming as a threat.

      • John M just cited a number. It’s not his fault that it’s just the usual ludicrous alarmist propaganda.

      • Now John M.seems to be trying to evade the deceptive nature of his initial claim about the funding of “denial.” It is completely, materially false to take the general support for AEI and attribute it to the climate issue, which is a very small part of what they cover and where you have no citation to verify what percentage of their output in that small area rejects, say, the IPCC’s conclusions. Greenpeace, on the other hand, by itself has a budget well in excess of all of these organizations put together and devotes a high percentage of it to climate alarmism. Exxon has given more to the “mainstream” camp than it ever has to any skeptical organization.

        My local TV regularly runs commercials with young child narrators exhorting us to support wind, solar, and tidal power because those allegedly can easily replace fossil fuels. I have never seen any paid media opposed to these energy sources.

        This is not a case of “both sides exaggerate.” It is a case of one side with almost all the financial and institutional resources using those to the hilt while complaining about any feeble response from their intended victims.

        Finally, let me play devil’s advocate. If you believe in diminishing marginal returns to advocacy, then the first unit of skepticism may have much more incremental impact than the thousandth unit of consensus-mongering. Thus, quite apart from any quality differences in logic, etc. (so outside the fabled thirty-to-one Curry/consensus messaging potency ratio), even paltry amounts of skepticism may loom large in the eyes of frustrated advocates. To take an example where I stand firmly with the consensus, anti-vaxxers probably have a smaller budget than the CDC, school districts, medical groups, vaccine manufacturers, etc., but their ability to inject their point of view using free media coverage and social media is vexing to this vaxxer.

      • @JC: Further, the $558M pales when compared with the budgets of Greenpeace, WWF, etc.

        Judy, please check your facts before firing blindly at will. While I don’t know Greenpeace’s budget today, in 2011 it was a tad over $300M. WWF in 2013 was $260M. Even added together that is hardly a huge increase over the $558M figure.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        John M,
        Did you read that ‘study’ before you cited it? If you did, then you may have noted that nowhere does it provide information about funding of climate skepticism. It is only an accounting of funding of tax exempt political organizations the author of the paper happens to not like (that is, all conservative and business associated organizations). The paper provides zero information about funding of ‘climate denialists’. The paper is nothing but a political screed, and is written to support calls for disclosure of the identity of donors to tax exempt organizations….. presumably so that those donors can then be abused and hounded by the left. Shame on Drexel for hiring such a hack, and more shame on them for promoting the rubbish he writes.

      • The problem is while so many were willing to jump all over this figure, the one by cwon14 was accepted uncritically. That those criticizing my choice (admittedly I was quick on the draw) are so willing to accept the intermingling of funds portrayed in that report yet completely eviscerate the one I cited is telling.

      • John M –

        That those criticizing my choice (admittedly I was quick on the draw) are so willing to accept the intermingling of funds portrayed in that report yet completely eviscerate the one I cited is telling.

        Geez. Ya’ think?

      • http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf

        The US in 2014 will spend $21,408 on climate change. The US enacted $22,598 billion of budget authority for climate change in 2013.

        http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=8af3d005-1337-4bc3-bcd6-be947c523439

        The environmentalist have a pool of $7.9 billion to promote global warming.

        That is a big incentive to twist the science. Roughly half a billion from the voices of reason (the skeptics) is chicken feed.

      • @PA There’s a difference between looking at the funding for communications (i.e. rhetoric) of either position and looking at the economic incentives for twisting the science. No one questions there’s a strong incentive for market participants to interpret the science to the benefit of their pocketbook. Getting anyone to agree on how to measure how much anyone is affected is just another line to get muddled into irrelevance.

      • One obvious point John, missed so far it seems, you originally brought up the $558 million which is over how many years? 7-8? Then we start talking about ANNUAL budgets being less? Try multiplying those by 7 or 8 to get a handle on some of the Green Funding advantages.

        “dark money” reflects the conspiracy culture and idealization of the usual suspects, the argument is absurd on the face of it if you really think there is some vast skeptical funding machine. It’s so shocking to liberal green persona that their vision of being the “underdog” must be maintained instead owning up to supporting contrived crony and elite funding advantages is substantiated by the data presented. Alarmists spend as much as 1000 to 1 vs. skeptical efforts if not more according to some reports. How you can discount the impact of education, academia and media all sharing a similar ideological world view is the most distorting statement of all;

        “I don’t think it’s much of a representation of “public education efforts”.

        The link was about money, pro-government educational alliances to alarmism which is also government expansionist stands in the category of “obviously accurate” or like Joshua do you need a peer reviewed study to know the milk has turned in the refrigerator?

      • John M –

        ==> “Getting anyone to agree on how to measure how much anyone is affected is just another line to get muddled into irrelevance.”

        Defining terms and metrics is something that some folks on both sides avoid like the plague. Defining terms and metrics is something people do when they are interested in establishing points of agreement so as to foster reasonable discussion about points of disagreement.

        When the goal is to harden tribal alliances and trivialize the “other,” then it is far easier to achieve those goals if you filter information so as to undermine arguments from the other side.

      • Joshua | September 4, 2014 at 11:55 am |

        You’ve been completely refuted by the facts, hence the pile of mush you’ve produced yet again. You can’t concede the most obvious of empirical FACTs?? Greens out spend skeptics by massive amounts, often funded in fact by “big oil” etc.

        You should just call it a day Joshua, you have zero credibility if you can’t make such a basic observation. It seems you can’t.

      • cwon14, I don’t think the multiple years was missed since the range is in the quote. That the funding recipients’ primary functions are not climate communications was the bigger issue. It was enhanced by the presumption that my presenting a counterargument must mean I’m a warmist troll or whatever term “you guys” prefer.

        While I’m pretty much an ignoramus on climate science, I have followed political speech issues for some time. I am a big supporter of the Citizens’ United decision, which is why I didn’t pay much mind to the “dark money” caricature. Besides, even over years that’s not a trivial amount of funding in political communications terms. But without an agreement on what constitutes climate communications it’s just not a productive area of discussion.

        The fallacy of arguing opponents have better funding (which I clearly should have opened with) is it trivializes the value of the message. If one feels their position is being shouted down, it’s a common refuge. But situations like Eric Cantor being primaried out despite a 10:1 funding advantage illustrate that focusing on message funding alone is probably as fallacious as focusing on CO2 alone in climate science. Ira Glasser has a nice piece following Citizens’ United as to why funding does matter, but only to a point. Basically once you have enough money to get the message out effectively (a difficult amount to quantify) funding advantage rapidly loses relevance.

      • John M,

        I’m pretty much a money “secondary” kind of person overall, it’s mostly driven by advocate ideology and culture. Similar to the way the media or academics usually breakdown. Even if there are money opportunists that isn’t the core of the warming belief system which is driven by politics.

        The pile of dog food here are the “dark money” fantasies of the usual “big oil” conspiracy memes that have NO BASIS IN LOGIC or even SELFISH ECONOMIC MOTIVES since big oil has been an enormous financial winner in artificial carbon rationing brought on by idiotic GREEN POLICY supply restrictions. The SA article was especially silly since it cited a very small comparative number to the fantastical spending interests of green groups and AGW crony spending interests Jo Nova produced.

        The real monetary value of the partisan media, academic communities “conventional wisdom” which is actually nothing but ideological passions can’t be measured in the climate war zone. It’s so vast and culturally exempt from question that our host maintains many protocols, politically correct edicts and comment standards to cow to that authority. Mere money could never have such an impact. That’s how far the schism really goes.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        John M,
        Yes, carrying on about funding of communication (whether ‘denailist’ or “alarmist’) does miss the key issue of the quality of the message. I was trying to say this earlier in this thread when I wrote (with typo’s now fixed):

        “The reality of the situation is easy to understand: the arguments offered by folks like Trenberth are simply not convincing for lots of reasons, the biggest of which is the claim of great urgency, when the empirical data say quite the opposite. There are many people for whom the diagnosed ‘cure’ looks far worse than the virulence of the ‘disease’.”

        Which is probably why we have seen rapidly rising CO2 emissions (not reductions) ever since the first global warming alarms were sounded in the late 1970’s. See for example: http://web.atmos.ucla.edu/~brianpm/download/charney_report.pdf the original ‘Charney Report’, which is a hoot to read, because it shows that the IPCC’s canonical 1.5C to 4.5C per doubling came mostly from very early, very crude climate models…… the canonical sensitivity estimate was NOT based on empirical data, while many empirical estimates now suggest sensitivity near the low end of the range. Climate science seems stuck in the Millikan oil drop quandary: it is too impolitic to report values far from the accepted wisdom of climate models, so an incorrect value hangs around long past when it should have been corrected through better empirical data.

      • I’m not sure what qualifies as well funded either, however didn’t Al Gore boast of spending $300 million on “education” efforts? If true, that means one private individual spent more than half the “denial machine” funding figure – than add Greenpeace, WWF etc as JC notes. And note further the denial figure is for a seven year period, or about $80M/p.a. Even here in the antipodes, our (previous) government spend more than this on advertising the “risks of climate change”. Jo Nova suggests the funding runs about 1000:1 (consensus:denial) – there must be some really good (bad) campaign/advertising people on the denial(consensus) side if the consensus is complaining of “losing the battle” for public support.
        Or perhaps the general population is smart enough to figure it out for themselves – or dumb enough not to understand the smartest people in the room. Or perhaps they’ve noticed that the smartest people in the room tend to espouse things that improve their own financial position. Or that engineers and other practical people with no small amount of education themselves have some rather large doubts about the wisdom and practicality of the carbon reduction schemes being championed by – most especially – Big Finance.
        For myself, I find the dearth of evidence for pending catastrophy, the refusal to correct the science because “it doesn’t affect the conclusion of the paper”, the refusal to allow non-believers acces to the data, and the manipulation of that same data to be more than mildly concerning – to be sure, the level of concern is ratcheted up by the unfathomably large amount of (mostly public) money being thrown around, but even disregarding that side, what amounts to lying and cheating does not go down very well, especially when those doing so are appealing to high moral and ethical standards (eg “think of the (
        grand) children!)

    • I know of one “denier” who is funded by a dental practice. Drill baby, drill. Just sayin’.

    • Really well said Steve.

      Trenberth strikes me as a caricature of the IPCC establishment that has bought into the UN agenda to govern the world through fear and intimidation.

  16. Thank you, Professor Curry, for the new post and for all of your efforts to unravel the Climategate mess!

  17. It’s sad to see Dr Pielke Sr so reviled by “climate scientists” when I think he hits the nail on the head when it comes to land use changes. When I grew up in a suburb of Chicago there was a few acres of vacant land across from the sub-division. It was swampy in the middle and surrounded by trees. Basically a great kids playground. Every spring with rain and high water the swamp was filled with tadpoles and in the summer a ton of frogs. It was its own micro-ecosystem. I go there now and marvel how the increase in CO2 levels filled in the swamp, cut down the trees and paved over half of the area to turn it into a “park”. And people wonder why amphibians are declining?

    • William,
      Another good point is the change from tall grass prarie to mono culture wheat and corn. Not against that but it has a climate impact in temperature and rain. Same for the UHI impacts on massive spreading of suburbs and city landscapes. Some accounting of the impacts of that should be included in land temp changes. Not including modifications of the past temperatures.
      Scott

    • Politically, deferring on “land use” regulations for imagined co2 impact was made long ago. Goal #1 is the carbon cash flow. Once that was achieved they’ll move right into telling if you can garden or cut grass on your yard and how you should feel about it to boot.

      Adding cost to the pump has all types of political history and even support, restricting land use is a mine field and that’s why it was deferred in the meme.

    • William – …land use changes …

      You are spot on! I had the same experience in the east coast of the US and in California. I have travelled throughout Brazil and see the same changes there: clearing and BURNING ( releasing all the CO2) forests and converting them to soybeans, palm oil, and cattle ranches (no gas jokes). The forests aren’t even logged for the timber, but are burned illegally so that they can be converted to other uses. Laws are not enforced as people are afraid of the perpetrators. Vast areas of coastal sand dunes and fresh water lakes ( restingas ) are converted into condominiums and shopping malls. Coastal mangroves are destroyed for petroleum facilities, forests flooded for hydro. It is depressing, but they have a large and impoverished population. I imagine the same for India and China. Whatever we do, they are going to burn their coal.

  18. “So those are not the ones I try to reach: rather it is the uninformed masses that matter.” I.e., the Lumpenproletariat.

    I do not think that a citizenry that is familiar with science and technology is clueless about these issues or unable to understand supporting papers.

    Solution: If one is to publish advocacy in journals, remove their Paywalls.

  19. And just for good measure where modeling is used, publish requirements, specifications, data definitions (including parameters and their values), code, test scripts, and test results. That is known as documentation, validation and verification.

  20. Matthew R Marler

    Most climate scientists who publish a visible and important paper get some abusive emails these days, and it turns off many of my colleagues who retreat into the ivory tower.

    I wonder if he was oblivious to the abusive language in widespread use against a subset of his colleagues before the Climate Gate emails were made public. Perhaps he thought that the analogy to Holocaust “deniers” was “accurate” instead of “abusive”; and that the calls for them to be arrested and imprisoned were restrained and measured.

    • It’s been weeded out of his registry bios long ago, Trenberth is an ideologue. There isn’t even going to be fake contrition until Obamaism is rooted out of office and they are in a full oppressed minority politics mode. Which looks l more or less the same as the present but with lots more self-pity and paranoia. If you can picture that.

  21. Matthew R Marler

    I have been crucified in denier web pages, tweets and blogs by these others as a result. I try to ignore these but I am pretty sure they have hurt me in various ways, such as through funding. The best examples are those vs. Roger Pielke Jr.

    “crucified”?

    Doe he not recognize that “denier” us a term of abuse?

    • Matthew

      Yes, that did strike me as well.

      I have corresponded several times with him and he was a little testy but polite each time and specifically said he got a lot of abuse and thanked me for the courteous tone of my email.

      The last time was a year or so ago when WUWT called him out about something and published his contact details and he was flooded with emails of a personal nature.

      In my experience most climate scientists are perfectly happy to have a dialogue provided its conducted in a civil fashion and the questions being posed are reasonably meaningful.
      tonyb

      • “… Said he got a lot of abuse…”

        No one deserves to be abused, but many public figures are targets of abuse. I have to wonder if his style attracts abuse. A little kindness and humility might help.

        Justin

    • “I try to ignore these but I am pretty sure they have hurt me in various ways, such as through funding.”

      imagine the reaction here if Judith made such a statement

  22. Matthew R Marler

    So those are not the ones I try to reach: rather it is the uninformed masses that matter

    I’d recommend he try to reach intelligent voters.

    Is he really as oblivious as he seems to the effects that phrases like “uninformed masses” have on most readers and listeners?

  23. Matthew R Marler

    We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts. It sure helps if the President is engaged, as he has been more recently. The vested interests, especially in Congress, are major concerns and the dreadfully corrupting influences of money and lobbying in the US are major problems, not helped by the Supreme Court decision related to this issue.

    One is tempted to tune him out entirely after that.

    I think he is clueless about the natures of the many people to whom he wants to communicate (and I do mean “to whom” instead of “with whom”), but thinks his superficial chricature of them is quite profound; it is reminiscent of “so they cling to their guns and religion” comment by then candidate Obama.

  24. Interesting also that Trenberth finds the IPCC ‘watered down and weak’.

    Does that mean Trenberth is more Alarmist than the IPCC?

    That does indicate he puts Model Output above Real Data, big time.

    • I was intrigued a few weeks ago by Pielke Fils tweeting about he and Kevin Trenberth debating, a debate marked by spittle, cursing, and an apology from Kevin. Rog Junior says he was just following the IPCC line.

      I’ve been unable to find a transcript of that debate, but my curiosity is about just how Kevin no longer follows the IPCC line.

      One guess I had is that they were talking past each other, one about science, the other about policy. Still, where is this very useful piece of information?
      =====================

    • The IPCC as the imagined “refs” in the climate war zone, like the U.N. in an actual war zone is a bit of a joke. Alarmists whining about a weak IPCC means they want an even more steered and agenda driven tool, they’ve been playing this line for years.

      Yawn.

  25. John Smith (it's my real name)

    “You can bring a horse to water but you can’t make him drink! We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts”

    .“In all, 140 foundations funneled $558 million to almost 100 climate denial organizations from 2003 to 2010.

    Really?
    I swear, I do not see this –
    I’ve been trying to learn about climate science for months now –
    When I search a climate subject, the pro CAGW hits way outnumber the “denier” possibles –

    What the heck is “denial organization”?

    Would someone name a couple, please?

    This “denier” term is despicable –

    Very much brought to the water and the water smells bad

    • You can bring a hortotutor but you cannot make him learn.

      Abject apologies to Dorothy, I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy. Now won’t you please answer the phone?
      ================

    • It was rightfully pointed out that the Drexel study I cited lumps a number of right wing groups into the “denial organization” category (AEI, Heritage, etc.) which the study actually refers to as the “climate change counter-movement”.

      It was never meant to be the last word. Now I see why no one ever cites anything around here. Here’s a link for your convenience (it was in the SA article). The language in it is overtly slanted. The pie charts summarize the recipients most readily.

      http://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/now/pdfs/Institutionalizing%20Delay%20-%20Climatic%20Change.ashx

      • John M, the two lessons you should take away from my comment and your apparent realization/admission above that the paper you referenced/relied upon upthread is obviously slants as well as logically flawed:
        1. If you do cite something, check it first. Scratch and sniff tests…wikipedia, NYT, EPA, UN are beyond unreliable information sources.
        2. Most of the supposedly trustworthy ‘science’ media also is not. Scientific American’s story about this flawed Warmunist paper being exhibit A, as younhave just learne. Amongst formerly ‘trustworthy’ “science for laymen” MSM, both SciAm and National Geographic jumped the shark long ago. See the NatGeo special supplement cover on sea level rise with the Statue of Liberty up to her waist. Only if all of Greenland and Antarctica melt completely. So much for reality.
        All covered multiple times in my forthcoming illustrated book on energy and climate.

      • @ John M.

        Don’t forget the entire K-12 education system in the US, which teaches CAGW, driven by ACO2, as unquestioned and unquestionable FACT.

        Compare the budget of the public education system to the vast, right wing disinformation campaign to promote anti-science skepticism, funded by the Koch brothers. Using their spare change.

      • Matthew R Marler

        John M: Now I see why no one ever cites anything around here.

        Lots of people provide links and citations, and most of those are checked out by someone within a day or two. That’s part of what makes the site informative.

      • @Rud

        I think John M is newish to the debate, but not new to blogging. The “scratch and sniff” test is important, but how is he to sort out who is credible and who is not? I disagree that wikipedia, NYT, EPA, UN are beyond unreliable information sources, they are generally fairly reliable but not always.

        If you knew nothing about the debate and the arguments for and against, where would you start? What is going to start the process of having nuanced and balanced view? How do you guard yourself from bias?

      • If you knew nothing about the debate and the arguments for and against, where would you start?

        Excellent question. Although I’ve written a lot at CE since around 2010, I’ve written considerably more at Wikipedia with the expectation that it’s generally viewed as a more credible source.

        YMMV. I would only argue with an echo chamber like CE when I feel like arguing with myself.

      • So now that you realize you’ve been misled, ask yourself by whom and for what end, and you’ve taken your first step towards becoming a skeptic. Welcome!

      • Took me a minute to make the connection, but IIRC, Robert Brulle, author of your latest link, is of the same tribe as Trenberth – except even more extreme.

  26. For those interested in climate change expenditures of the federal gov Government accountability office, GAO, prepared a summary issue paper plus lots of reports. Costs from 2003 to 2013 very high with last estimate from the graph at the site at $8,000,000,000 (Billion) dollars annually. Lots go to support the various institutes and the ships and satellites collecting data. Still a very big number.

    Still interested in how much BP(beyond petroleum, Shell and Exxon spend to encourage carbon emissions. Also coal industry and electrical industry.
    Scott

  27. Trenberth speaks more like a con artist than a scientist. Let us see him document “well funded disinformation campaigns.” He is deceptive in deliberately confusing “agreemnt with his opinion” and “sceintific knowledge”.
    He still pushes a phony null hypothesis, for goodness sake.

    • I do not know how else to say it other than I just would not enjoy an evening with Trenberth and Mann. They simply do not realize that they are so consumed with themselves that they have lost all scientific objectivity. I would say this regardless of what they are professing as science.
      By contrast, J. Curry, and R. Spencer attempt to be objective and honest with respect to each new material as it is presented.

  28. Communication? I have been commenting a little on realclimate. No particular problem except when Gavin gets it wrong it seems.

    [Response: Nothing like the actuality – more like 5 W/m2 absolute level uncertainties. – gavin]

    While this is clearly so – it is clearly not relevant to changes in toa flux. I did explicitly discuss the difference between absolutes and anomalies.

    ‘This paper highlights how the emerging record of satellite observations from the Earth Observation System (EOS) and A-Train constellation are advancing our ability to more completely document and understand the underlying processes associated with variations in the Earth’s top-of-atmosphere (TOA) radiation budget. Large-scale TOA radiation changes during the past decade are observed to be within 0.5 Wm-2 per decade based upon comparisons between Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) instruments aboard Terra and Aqua and other instruments…

    With the availability of multiple years of data from new and improved passive instruments launched as part of the Earth Observing System (EOS) and active instruments belonging to the A-Train constellation (L’Ecuyer and Jiang 2010), a more complete observational record of ERB variations and the underlying processes is now possible. For the first time, simultaneous global observations of the ERB and a multitude of cloud, aerosol, and surface properties and atmospheric state data are available with a high degree of precision.’

    http://meteora.ucsd.edu/~jnorris/reprints/Loeb_et_al_ISSI_Surv_Geophys_2012.pdf

    When we are looking at changes in the system – anomalies provide information as to the source of change.

    ‘Satellite measurements from CERES have provided a stable record of changes in the radiation balance since 2000(e.g. see Fig. 4).

    CERES cannot measure the absolute net radiation to sufficient accuracy for quantifying the magnitude of the net radiation imbalance…’

    From this summary of recent work – http://www.nceo.ac.uk/posters/2011_1climate_Richard_ALLAN_reading.pdf

    A net radiative flux anomalies uncertainty of ±0.31 Wm-2 was estimated.

    This is fair comment – and I am sure I made a similar comment yesterday – although the routine and disconcerting disappearance of comments into some spam box or other – only to reappear – makes it difficult to be absolutely sure.

  29. Real But Exaggerated

    “The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up.” Carl Wunsch

    Man, that sounds like this one I pulled from Wallace and Hobbs:

    “Many of the fundamental questions concerning the nature and causes of climate change are still largely unresolved because of our incomplete quantitative understanding of many of the physical processes that enter into the global energy balance and for lack of definitive observational data on which to test various theories. Under such circumstances it is far easier to propose new climate change hypotheses than it is to substantiate or disprove old ones.”

  30. Kevin Trenberth Science Communication Quiz —

    Did Trenberth say this?

    We know that the whole ocean is warming and sea level is rising at unprecedented rates. The pattern of observed warming is unlike any natural variation and the rates of change are faster. Hence we can prove that the observed warming is not natural and we can point to the cause: observed increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that trap infrared radiation from escaping to space.

  31. Recently, I saw a TED presentation about Dr. Alice Stewart, who in the 1950’s THOUGHT she had found a link between expectant Mothers who had received x-rays and childhood cancers. It took medical science over 25 years to acceptably prove this linkage.

    As I listened to this TED lecture, the similarities with GW/CC seemed to be spot on — and applicable to “both” sides of GW/CC debate.

    In retrospect, was Dr. Stewart wrong when she advocated the potential “catastrophic” impact of receiving X-rays to children’s cancer?

    In retrospect, was the medical community consensus wrong in their “Group-think” mentality for over 25 years?

    Is it reasonable to expect Industry (in this case, the makers of x-ray equipment) to aggressively fund independent research that could find their product is harmful?

    As the TED lecture points out, we need the “right kind” (not agenda driven) of both Advocate and Skeptic working together.

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      uh ,,, did the predicted cancers fail to show up after 16 years?

      “link” might be the operative word here

    • Yes, Stephen, the evil x-ray manufacturers forced the doctors to use the evil x-ray machine – as they still do to this day. Those evil bastards! How do they keep getting away with it???

  32. You must actually look at Trenberth’s PowerPoint linked in the first paragraph. It reminded me of a poorly done High School Science Fair Project, poorly reseached, entire Politically Correct, and without value. I quit writing CliSci articles as a result => the opposition’s Best was so pathetic, it wasn’t worth my time and effort.

    • Kip, I reviewed his presentation when Judith first mentioned all this, perhaps some weeks ago. My reactions were similar but probably stronger. There were almost no scientific facts in Trenberth’s PPT, rather mostly speculations about future calamities that have to be avoided by mitigation. Very IPCC centric and emotional appeal oriented.
      So his professed notion of science communicator is short on science and long on communicator. His presentation was mostly a ‘Bassomatic’ level global warming infomercial– and I apologize if that comment just insulted a SNL classic.

    • It reminded me of a poorly done High School Science Fair Project, poorly reseached, entire Politically Correct, and without value.

      This is total BS. You couldn’t do half as well yourself.

      • Reply to V Pratt ==> I refer to the ppt presentation. As I have just recently judged a High School Science Fair, I assure you my evaluation is correct — poorly done, poorly researched, entirely Politically Correct, and without value.

        I have to ask if you actually looked at it.

      • As I have just recently judged a High School Science Fair,

        “A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes out shooting the wounded.”
        Tyne Daly

        Rephrasing my (admittedly rudely phrased) claim, how does being asked to judge a high school science fair suddenly make you competent at something you were merely asked to judge, as opposed to do yourself?

        That said, I’d be more than happy to be proved wrong by a set of slides for a talk you’ve given, on any topic.

        I have to ask if you actually looked at it.

        You say that as though anyone who looks at it would instantly see the truth of what you say.

        Given that the panel was titled “Climate Change: It’s About the Data”, Judy’s 16 heavily technical graphs and a plug for the stadium wave seemed very much on point.

        However given that the audience was the public, the conference schedule was enormously broad (music, gender equity, health, and dozens of other topics), and that she and Kevin were communicating in real time in a 15 minute window each, I would say Kevin’s talk was a better match to the audience, to the diversity of interests of the conference, and to the available constraints of real time.

        If however you were comparing the two talks from the point of view of an audience of experienced climate science skeptics allowed to ponder each slide at leisure at home, I bet Judy would win hands down.

      • Aimed at the uninformed masses, which he would manipulate as a demagogue, with fear, shame, and guilt.
        ================

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: Rephrasing my (admittedly rudely phrased) claim, how does being asked to judge a high school science fair suddenly make you competent at something you were merely asked to judge, as opposed to do yourself?

        Reread the original post: he was judging a power point presentation, and comparing that power point presentation to high school science fair presentations.

      • @MM: Reread the original post: he was judging a power point presentation, and comparing that power point presentation to high school science fair presentations.

        True that, I was a bit illogical there. Just because he doesn’t go to battle doesn’t have to mean he’s not a great marksman when it comes to shooting the wounded. Critics are not required to be good at what they judge.

      • Mr. Pratt ==> If you don’t like my opinion [your privilege, of course] try Dr Curry’s opinion, given in her blog on the event:

        “I said I regarded presentations like Trenberth’s to be propaganda….
        …. I said that there are very few facts in all this; there are incomplete and ambiguous observations, theories and hypotheses, and models that don’t work very well.”

        Her opinion of the .ppt alone was even stronger [I’d share but I have it through only private communication with her. ]

      • I think it was the Curry was more the scientist and Trenberth was more the communicator and that is reflected in the ppts. There can be value in salesmanship. For example selling ones proposal to the funding granters. I am not saying there is value in selling global warming though. Istvan’s Bassomatic comment made me laugh, I’m sorry. I think if the skeptics are going to win, we have to sell things that have value. Cost savings. The competition is selling this broadbased reduce temperatures by 0.1 C at most product. Which is near worthless. What should we sell? Oil and Coal exports and powerplants for Africa. We have the resources and expertise in those areas. As far as who did the better selling, it was Curry, I think with her tone, and by her more cautious approach. Cautious meaning, few or no statements proclaimed to be unquestionable. Sales is about having a product that is valuable. You put your work into creating and delivering that value. It mostly sells itself. When your product doesn’t have much value, you have to resort to what we think of is that annoying kind of sales.

      • Reply to Ragnaar ==> What you say is not without value. The message depends entirely on the messenger. Dr. Curry seems to be a “Not so fast, fellows, there are still a lot of unanswered questions — let’s find out what’s really going on before we prescribe remedies” sort of communicator.

        Trenberth communicates like a High School AGW Enthusiast — all talking points (without regard for accuracy or scientific truth) and a lot of emotional zingers that rely on the readers (listeners) scientific ignorance. He is selling something — but it isn’t what he says — he uses propaganda techniques using skewed, biased and false information to sell his idea of catastrophic global warming. This sales technique has not worked out so well for Trenberth and his CAGW Team. The world is quickly catching on — yet Trenberth rarely admits even the slightest point, regardless of how obvious they are to anyone thinking person.

        The IPCC is issuing another “stronger” report to prepare for the meeting later in the year. The meeting is already being portrayed in the main stream press as a “failure”. The report will be well received by the CAGW Team, and their supporters in the media, but in a week or two, its lies and exaggerations well begin to emerge in the press and just in time to wreck their big meeting the press will be full of debunking and stories of false data being used to scare the public. CAGW will take yet another direct hit which their sinking boat really doesn’t need.

  33.  
    Example of AGW alarmists extending the logic of Trenberthian science communication, right up to the edge of the cliff –e.g., What pause in warming? We just can’t see humanity’s heat in the surface temperature data amidst all that natural variability.

  34. David L. Hagen

    Constrained coal shuts down India’s power
    How does Trenberth address dealing with the urgent need for electricity in developing countries?
    e.g., see The Coal Crisis Is Hitting Critical Here

    Platts reported that India’s main power producer NTPC has been forced to shut down 46% of its coal-fired capacity across the country. Due to insufficient coal supplies arriving at these power plants. Meaning a big loss in total electricity supply–with 16 gigawatts now idled. . . .
    As of Sunday, 56 of the country’s 100 coal-fired facilities were running at “critical” levels of coal supply, with less than 7 days of inventory on hand. And 29 of those plants–representing nearly a third of the total fleet–are at “super critical” levels of less than 4 days’ inventories.
    The rubber is hitting the road here because of low levels of hydro power generation, following light rainfalls during a weak monsoon season. For its part, power generator NTPC is moving to fix the situation. By importing more coal. The company announced last week it plans to increase its thermal coal imports by 63% this coming fiscal year–to a total of 17 million tonnes.

    • David, equally interesting will the this winter in the UK. Because of wind subsidies and feed in regulations, the utilities have been scrapping older coal and nay gas facilities. Now fires at two coal stations and the discovery of fatique cracking at two nucs have forced all four off line for the winter. Now there is virtually no UK grid capacity safety margin for when the wind does not blow. They are offering panicy and very expensive proposals to industry to shut down if necessary, and for shuttered but not yet scrapped generating plants to be brought back into standby status.
      Should be ‘fun’ come winter.

      • Back to the three-day week of 1974? (Industries could operate only 3/7 because of coal shortages.) That was caused by unionists’ intransigence, effectively close to a coup attempt, 40 years later it is from years of appalling policy directed at a non-problem. And there’s no Thatcher to sort it out.

    • David L. Hagen

      Rud
      Danger of winter blackout deaths
      That is indeed a critical situation that few recognize.

      German Utilities Bail Out Electric Grid at Wind’s Mercy

      Twenty power companies. . .now get fees for pledging to add or cut electricity within seconds to keep the power system stable, double the number in September, according to data from the nation’s four grid operators. Utilities that sign up to the 800 million-euro ($1.1 billion) balancing market can be paid as much as 400 times wholesale electricity prices, the data show.
      Germany’s drive to almost double power output from renewables by 2035 has seen one operator reporting five times as many potential disruptions as four years ago, raising the risk of blackouts in Europe’s biggest electricity market while pushing wholesale prices to a nine-year low.

      Blackouts cause far greater economic harm than warming.
      Blackouts in winter would could cause orders of magnitude more deaths (eg millions or more) than hyped global warming.
      Now the EPA is seeking to force closure of US coal fired power!

      • David L. Hagen

        Blackout risk increased by renewables & plant closures
        Blackout alert: Offices and factories to undergo 1970s-style electricity rationing this winter to stop households being plunged into darkness

        “Emergency measures will be introduced to prevent the lights going out this winter.
        Offices and factories will be offered compensation to undergo 1970s-style energy rationing and shut down for up to four hours a day to prevent households being plunged into darkness.
        In addition, owners of old power stations will be asked to switch them back on to meet the country’s demands. . . .
        On January 1, 1974, due to industrial action by coal miners and the 1973 oil crisis, Mr Heath introduced the Three-Day Week whereby commercial users of electricity were limited to three specified consecutive days’ consumption each week.

        Services deemed essential (e.g. hospitals, supermarkets and newspapers) were exempt. Homeowners faced a three-hour on, three-hour off electricity supply and television stations (BBC 1, BBC 2 and the various ITV regions) went off air at 10.30pm to conserve electricity.

      • Energy = health & prosperity; no energy …

    • David L. Hagen

      Rational Climate Analysis
      Critical Thinking on Climate Change
      United States Senate, Environment and Public Works Committee,
      Minority Report (Updated for 2014) e.g.
      King Coal

      According to a recent report from the World Resources Institute, there are plans to build nearly 1,200 coal-fired power plants in 59 different countries, totaling over 1.4 million megawatts. China and India alone account for 76 % of the proposals.
      China now burns more coal than all countries combined, and India will surpass the United States as the world’s second-largest consumer of coal by 2017.

  35. Meanwhile, the duration of the “pause” nears 18 years (26 years of no stat sig warming according to RSS), entirely destroying the computer games climate models – the only “evidence” for AGW – and there are no less than 39 and counting different explanations for this.

    There is more sea ice than any previous point in the satellite era – again completely contrary to the “model” predictions.

    The likes of Trenberth still seem to believe that the reason that scepticism is increasing practically exponentially is that “deniers” are better funded than poor misunderstood climate scientists – a total falsehood by several orders of magnitude, and it has nothing whatsoever with every last prediction in the last two decades having been proved to be flat out wrong.

    AND still we don’t know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin!

    • Meanwhile, the duration of the “pause” nears 18 year

      Just for the record, HadCRUT4 increased by 0.13 °C over those 18 years. How do you define “pause”?

      • I think it’s because it is about 0.07 deg C rise per decade within a signal that deviates around ±0.45 from the mean. And considering we should be having at least 0.2 deg C rise, I think that’s grounds for characterizing it as a “pause”.

        Also it depends on the data set you look at. RSS shows a very slight, albeit non-significant, cooling over that period. Again definitely not a near 0.4 deg rise.

        UAH shows a 0.1 deg rise. Less than HADCRUT 4 and definitely less than 0.4 deg C.

        Gisstemp agrees with UAH more or less.

        Also start dates matter. According to Tsonis (I commend you to Rob Ellisons posts on his “climate shift” theory), there was a climate shift around the 1998 El Nino. If you take 2003 as a being a fairly ENSO neutral year and run it up to present day, there really isn’t a significant trend either way. It’s remarkably flat.

        Therefore, “pause” is a reasonable conclusion to draw, especially if you fall into the consensus camp, because it characterizes the non-increase in temperatures in the context of what is expected with increasing human emissions; namely an increase in global temperatures. It also implies that the pause will come to an end and temperatures will rise again.

        So, for the record, it seems to me that someone skeptical of the consensus view of climate is reasonable in pointing out that the expected warming that implied a rapidly changing climate that requires steps to mitigate, is not occurring, and further implies that there are serious short-comings in our understanding of the processes that drive our climate.

      • And considering we should be having at least 0.2 deg C rise, I think that’s grounds for characterizing it as a “pause”.

        You seem to be assuming that humans are 100% responsible for all temperature fluctuations. Are you saying there is no way nature could have done something to subtract 0.07 °C from the expected 0.2 °C rise over those 18 years? Or that before humans came along nature did nothing to change the temperature?

      • It’s not what I am assuming at all. 0.2 deg C per decade is the lower bounds of what the IPCC said we could expect net warming, and recently that 100% of warming during the 20th C at the 95% confidence level.

        It’s reasonable to call into question the reasoning and science used to draw those conclusions if the predictions they are based on don’t transpire.

      • Are you saying there is no way nature could have done something to subtract 0.07 °C from the expected 0.2 °C rise over those 18 years? Or that before humans came along nature did nothing to change the temperature?

        The expected rise should be 0.4 degs C.

        And I think the skeptic argument is very much that before humans came along it was very much capable of changing the temperature.

      • (Sorry, I should have answered these earlier.)

        @Agnostic: Gisstemp agrees with UAH more or less.

        Gisstemp (LOTI) for the past 18 years shows a rise of 0.16 °C, which is 0.03 °C more than what HadCRUT4 shows. (Click on raw data, look at the bottom, 0.632164 − 0.47357 = 0.158594.)

        But you’re right that Gisstemp agrees more or less with UAH, which shows a rise of 0.1605 °C over the past 18 years.

        If you take 2003 as a being a fairly ENSO neutral year and run it up to present day, there really isn’t a significant trend either way.

        No quarrel with ten years being flat. My question was about why you considered 18 years to be flat.

      • The expected rise should be 0.4 degs C.

        That would be true if the climate sensitivity were 2.93 °C per doubling of CO2. CO2 rose from 363 to 399 ppmv over the last 18 years. The expected rise would then be 2.93 * log2(399/363) = 0.4 °C.

        Does that fit the data since 1958? Back then CO2 was 315 ppmv, so any model based on that climate sensitivity would hindcast a rise of 2.93 * log2(399/315) = 1.0 °C.

        Fitting a trend line to temperature since 1958 shows that it actually rose 0.7 °C, a lot less than 1.0 °C. Since 2.05*log2(399/315) = 0.7, any model that takes into account the actual behavior of the climate over the past 56 years should be working with a climate sensitivity of 2.05, not 2.93.

        Such a model should therefore hindcast a rise of 2.05*log2(399/363) = 0.28 °C over the last 18 years. Any model claiming 0.4 °C is seriously lacking in skill!

        So how to explain that the observed rise over the last 18 years is a mere 0.13 °C, which is 0.15 °C less than the 0.28 °C that one would expect based on CO2 alone?

        I think the skeptic argument is very much that before humans came along [nature] was very much capable of changing the temperature.

        That seems like a fine explanation to me. Given that the temperature declined by 0.36 °C during the 18 years from 1877 to 1895 with no evident help from humans, a natural decline of 0.15 °C over the past 18 years would easily account entirely for the observed rise of 0.13 °C when the CO2-based model is hindcasting a rise of 0.28 °C.

      • Apropos of the 2.05 °C/doubling obtained by considering the last 56 years of CO2 and temperature data, a natural question is how different the estimate would look if based instead on the last 160 years of that data. When I looked into this I found that it needed to be revised downwards slightly, to 1.885 °C per doubling of CO2.

        The Law Dome ice cores permit extending the 58 years of Mauna Loa data many centuries further back. Using CO2 and temperature since 1850, with the latter smoothed to a 20-year moving average to remove the strong influence of the 20-year solar cycle, a least squares fit of log(CO2) to temperature yields a sensitivity of 1.885 °C per doubling, slightly less than the 0.205 based on only 58 years of data. This fit is the green curve in this plot, with the residual (red curve) being simply 20-year climate (blue curve) minus 1.885*log2(CO2).

        The large residual, which is presumably of natural origin, points up the need to use considerably more than 58 years of data in order to get a good estimate of climate sensitivity based on past temperature and CO2.

        For full transparency the bottom right of the plot gives the URLs for the MATLAB code for performing and plotting this fit, along with the temperature and CO2 data it is based on.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Vaughan Pratt,
        You are ignoring the contributions of all the other man made GHG’s, which (according to the IPCC) represent about a 75% increase in total forcing compared to CO2 alone.

      • You are ignoring the contributions of all the other man made GHG’s, which (according to the IPCC) represent about a 75% increase in total forcing compared to CO2 alone.

        Excellent point. AR5 (WG1, p.661) gives industrial era radiative forcing as 2.83 W/m2 broken down as 1.82 + 0.48 + 0.17 + 0.36 for respectively CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons. In percentages, 64%, 17%, 6%, and 13%.

        Had these proportions remained constant since 1850 we could simply take CO2 as a proxy for them all. So if the sensitivity were 2 °C/doubling we could apportion this as 1.28 + 0.34 + 0.12 + 0.26 °C/doubling.

        However they haven’t. For example since 2005 (the year for AR4 estimates) total GHG forcing increased by 8%, but CO2 increased by 10%, methane by 2%, nitrous oxide by 6%, and halocarbons stayed constant (though CFC’s 11, 12, and 113 went down while HCFC-22, aka R22, went up despite being phased out in the US). (All this is on p.661 op cit.)

        The proper way to handle this would be to estimate methane, nitrous oxide, and halocarbons since 1850, convert that to a combined forcing, and fit that to climate since 1850. I don’t know how feasible that is.

        This is complicated by the fact that different GHGs have different feedback mechanisms and hence different climate feedback parameters.

        In the interim the approximation based on the assumption that their proportions remained the same since 1850 is the best I can offer, with a total GHG sensitivity of 1.885 °C per doubling, and CO2’s contribution to that being about 1.2 °C/doubling. Since CO2 is increasing faster than the others this has to be a low-ball estimate.

      • This is complicated by the fact that different GHGs have different feedback mechanisms and hence different climate feedback parameters.

        The complication is confounded by the fact that the response is highly non linear,chiral (NH/SH asymmetry) due to orbital forcing,and the formation of climate structures such as the SAM which is the largest,and its accompanying redistribution of mass.

        here the so called standard climate metrics,(such as the co2 radiative forcing)whilst interesting,are not helpful eg (Previdi and Polvani 2014)

        Finally, the magnitude of the global annual mean radiative forcing due to increasing GHGs is substantially greater than that due to stratospheric ozone depletion. The former is the largest anthropogenic forcing, with an estimated magnitude (in
        2005 relative to pre-industrial) of 2.6Wm−2 (Forster et al., 2007).
        In contrast, the global mean stratospheric ozone forcing is not
        even significantly different from zero at the 90% confidence level
        (Table 1). This serves to illustrate an important point: although the
        global annual mean radiative forcing is a widely used predictor
        of climate change, this metric may not be suitable in cases
        where the forcing agent is unevenly distributed in space and/or
        season. Stratospheric ozone depletion is thus a prime example
        of an external perturbation for which the global mean radiative
        forcing is a very poor indicator of the associated climate-system
        response.

      • maksimovich, the P&P passage you quoted says that stratospheric radiative forcing is negligible and therefore the global mean radiative
        forcing is a very poor indicator of it. While this is obviously the case, what bearing does this have on global mean surface temperature?

    • What verse in the Bible, led you to believe that an angel dances anyway?

      • It’s a Medieval question, of materiality. The question isn’t what finite number, it’s whether the number is finite at all. (Note that all this was prior to Cantor, so they lacked the proper symbols for precise discussion.)

        Angels were considered to have “substance” that did not interfere with the substance of our material world. Thus, an angel could go anywhere, such as through walls or floors/ceilings. The question was whether the substance of one angel would necessarily interfere with that of another. If not, there would be no practical limit to the number of angels that could dance on the head of a pin. (Note that all this was also prior to proper formalization of n-dimensional geometry. If angels have 3-dimensional bodies but exist in a 4-dimenional (or higher) space, then that adds a new dimension to non-interference.)

        Per Wiki, the question may not have gotten much play (or any) during Medieval times, but be ” an early modern fabrication,[6] as used to discredit scholastic philosophy at a time when it still played a significant role in university education.”

      • A medieval model explaining the heavenly to the unwashed masses. Not much changes. So what verse was it again?

      • Try Luke 15:10 combined with 1 Samuel 18:6. Assuming they can dance, we can expect them to when they’re joyful.

      • AK, We’ll see; until that day then.

      • > Fact is, Aquinas did debate whether an angel moving from A to B passes through the points in between, and whether one could distinguish “morning” and “evening” knowledge in angels. (He was referring to an abstruse concept having to do with the dawn and twilight of creation.) Finally, he inquired whether several angels could be in the same place at once, which of course is the dancing-on-a-pin question less comically stated. (Tom’s answer: no.)

        http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1008/did-medieval-scholars-argue-over-how-many-angels-could-dance-on-the-head-of-a-pin

      • Willard, “Finally, he inquired whether several angels could be in the same place at once.”

        The angelic exclusion principle?

      • @willard (@nevaudit)…

        Wow! What brought that on?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Vaughan Pratt: Apropos of the 2.05 °C/doubling obtained by considering the last 56 years of CO2 and temperature data, a natural question is how different the estimate would look if based instead on the last 160 years of that data. When I looked into this I found that it needed to be revised downwards slightly, to 1.885 °C per doubling of CO2.

      that is an interesting result.

      Of the CO2-induced global climate warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, how much do you think has been been bad? Personally, I remain unpersuaded that the effects have been bad in the aggregate; the increased rainfall and temperature together have probably contributed to increased crop yields in summer and fewer deaths in winter; there hasn’t been an increase in frequency or total energy dissipation in cyclonic storms.

      If 140 years or so is required for the next doubling of CO2 concentration, how much of the induced global warming (assuming it to occur) do you think will be bad?

      Do you have an opinion, or the beginning of an opinion, on whether rainfall will increase?

      • african Warm Period had increased rainfall along the equatorial belt and lakes, rivers, grasslands and savannahs in the current Sahara desert. Saudi Arabia also in the Rub Al Khalai and Najuf deserts. So some may be wetter and some dryer.
        Scott

      • @MM: Of the CO2-induced global climate warming since the end of the Little Ice Age, how much do you think has been been bad?

        You mean US bad as in

        or USSR bad as in these 39 photos?

        Seriously, the consequences have certainly been profound. Whether they have anything on a junkyard dog is well above my pay grade, my training in STEM didn’t prepare me for those sorts of value judgments.

        If 140 years or so is required for the next doubling of CO2 concentration, how much of the induced global warming (assuming it to occur) do you think will be bad?

        Hang on, we won’t even have reached the first industrial-era doubling until 2050. However we should reach the second by 2090, fast enough for truly profound consequences. (It’s the rate, not the amount, that matters with global warming.)

        Do you have an opinion, or the beginning of an opinion, on whether rainfall will increase?

        I don’t buy the logic that a moister atmosphere has to mean more rain. Precipitation that reaches the surface has to balance net evaporation from the surface (net of condensation that is). A moister atmosphere means a slower rate of evaporation and therefore less precipitation. However a higher temperature means a faster rate of evaporation and therefore more precipitation. Do they cancel exactly? I should know this but I don’t. In the meantime don’t believe anyone who doesn’t address this cancellation question.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: Seriously, the consequences have certainly been profound. Whether they have anything on a junkyard dog is well above my pay grade, my training in STEM didn’t prepare me for those sorts of value judgments.

        If 140 years or so is required for the next doubling of CO2 concentration, how much of the induced global warming (assuming it to occur) do you think will be bad?

        Hang on, we won’t even have reached the first industrial-era doubling until 2050. However we should reach the second by 2090, fast enough for truly profound consequences. (It’s the rate, not the amount, that matters with global warming.)

        Do you have an opinion, or the beginning of an opinion, on whether rainfall will increase?

        I don’t buy the logic that a moister atmosphere has to mean more rain.

        1. I meant how do you value the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age?

        2. I refer always to the next doubling, taking what we have now as the reference, judging that climate change since the end of the LIA has been beneficial on the whole. Hence my question. How much of the next CO2 induced warming (should it occur) do you think will be bad.

        3. Whatever logic you do buy, what is your current opinion regarding future rainfall change? A moister atmosphere does not “have to” mean more rain; do you think it will?

        Just curious.

      • 1. I meant how do you value the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age?

        I don’t, Matt. It’s not a meaningful question for me. Define “since the LIA” and point me at a reliable source of temperature data for that period and I could make up a value, but I doubt it would be terribly meaningful.

        Based on the Central England Temperature since 1660, I’d say the LIA ended in 1750. Do you have a different dataset suggesting a different date?

        For background the Central England Temperature, CET, smoothed to a 25-year running mean, was remarkably stable at 9.1 °C from 1750 to 1900, after which it shot up 1.1 °C over the next 100 years. From 1672 to 1710 it was very cold, dropping as low as 8.4 °C in 1685, arguably a Little Ice Age for central England, which then experienced a brief warming that peaked at 9.5 °C during 1710-1750.

        2. I refer always to the next doubling, taking what we have now as the reference,

        The previous doubling (from 200 to 400 ppmv) took 20,000 years. The next doubling (from 400 ppmv to 800 ppmv) will take around 75 years based on the present rate of increase of CO2.

        What you could learn by running your favorite car into a big haystack at 1 mph doesn’t tell you much about what would happen at 270 mph. No record exists of the planet Earth ever before experiencing a CO2 doubling that took place in less than a century. I don’t know about your definition of “unprecedented” but that sure meets mine!

        judging that climate change since the end of the LIA has been beneficial on the whole.

        Judged by whom (statisticians or geophysicists?), beneficial to whom (nomads or farmers), when (century), and where (latitude)?

        How much of the next CO2 induced warming (should it occur) do you think will be bad.

        Like I said, the result of running a car into a haystack at 1 mph is no basis for guessing what will happen at 270 mph.

        3. Whatever logic you do buy, what is your current opinion regarding future rainfall change? A moister atmosphere does not “have to” mean more rain; do you think it will?

        It sounds like you’re judging “moister” in terms of absolute humidity. Relative humidity is a better basis for forecasting precipitation. What is your current opinion regarding future relative humidity?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: I don’t, Matt. It’s not a meaningful question for me. Define “since the LIA” and point me at a reliable source of temperature data for that period and I could make up a value, but I doubt it would be terribly meaningful.

        That’s fine with me. Some of the people who advocate immediate drastic action to prevent future warming write as though the warming since the end of the Little Ice Age has been unequivocally bad, without the qualifications that you wrote about.

        The previous doubling (from 200 to 400 ppmv) took 20,000 years. The next doubling (from 400 ppmv to 800 ppmv) will take around 75 years based on the present rate of increase of CO2.

        The better estimates are ca 140 years.

        If you truly have no opinion on whether warming to date has been beneficial or non-beneficial, and whether warming in the future will be beneficial or non-beneficial, then by inference you do not engage these non-opinions when you decide whom and for what policies to vote for. By implication you can have no opinion whether, for example, California AB32 is likely to be worth the cost. It’s a fair opinion, imho, if consistently held.

        My judgment, based on information to date, is that warming since the (difficult to pin down) end of the Little Ice Age has been largely beneficial; and that warming and other climate change projected, based on CO2 increase, is likely to be beneficial for the next few decades. Beneficial for whom? For the agricultural industry, broadly conceived to include Agribusiness and small-scale farmers; and for people who buy their produce.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: It sounds like you’re judging “moister” in terms of absolute humidity. Relative humidity is a better basis for forecasting precipitation. What is your current opinion regarding future relative humidity?

        Neither absolute humidity nor relative humidity is that important. What is important is the rate of the hydrological cycle. On the whole, I think that the rate increases with higher temperatures. Not everywhere has been well studied, but California precipitation is higher on the whole with warm Pacific Ocean than with cool Pacific Ocean. Vapor pressure increases are superlinear in base temperature, so a 1C increase in temperature causes greater increase in rate of evaporation at 15C than at 5C, and greater at 25C than at 15C. This is one of the areas of research that i expect to be very informative in the next 2 decades.

      • The better estimates are ca 140 years.

        While it’s hardly worth quibbling over the difference between 85 and 140 years when compared with 20,000 years, I’d still be interested in the assumptions on which the 140-year figure depends. Where’d you get 140 years?

        By implication you can have no opinion whether, for example, California AB32 is likely to be worth the cost.

        So let me understand this. Are you saying that merely because I have no idea how bad it would be if my dearly beloved car ran into a haystack at 270 mph, I would have no motivation whatsoever to reduce the collision speed to 135 mph?

  36. “What do you think the future looks like for science communication/outreach as a vehicle for enhancing public trust in science? What should the path forward look like?”

    Keep an open mind. I hope. The history of climate debate did not start with Watergate (the Copenhagen conference), but with an obscure 19th century scientist, Arrhenious. who was the first to realise that the rare atmospheric gas, CO2, could absorb large amounts of heat and adversely effect future climate. However, in the 20th and 231st centuries, especially after the discovery of the neutron by James Chadwick at Cambridge, that our knowledge of heat absorption of gases was incomplete, raised doubts long before Copenhagen.

    To this day, those doubts have not been satisfactorily answered by the IPCC, who still propagate the results of climate models based on the erroneous physics.

    • Arrhenious. [who] was the first to realise that the rare atmospheric gas, CO2, could absorb large amounts of heat and adversely effect future climate.

      Not true at all. The English physicist John Tyndall realized this more than 40 years before Arrhenius, based on experiments in the early 1850s with the ratio spectrophotometer he invented. He found that a number of gases, of the kind we call greenhouse gases today, absorbed a significant amount of infrared radiation, and measured the extent to which each did so. Based on his measurements he realized that if Earth’s atmosphere had no greenhouse gases the oceans would be frozen solid.

      Arrhenius’s contribution was the logarithmic dependency of surface temperature on level of atmospheric CO2, which he determined by measuring how much infrared radiation from the Moon was received at the Earth’s surface for different altitudes of the Moon. Low altitudes simulated more CO2 along the path of radiation. He used a Langley bolometer to measure the radiation. In 1880 Langley was able to measure the amount of thermal radiation from a cow at 400 metres, and Arrhenius published his logarithmic law 16 years later.

  37. I try not to do many self-promoting comments, but there is some remarkable timing here. The first comment on this post, by AK, says:

    Personally, I’ve found Trenberth’s efforts at communicating with the public highly deceptive.

    This is a sentiment I agree with. Strangely, it is one which came up in a post I wrote today. I had been rereading some material in the leaked Skeptical Science forum when I came across a topic about a response to a letter Kevin Trenberth had written. The response said:

    The Trenberth letter states: “Research shows that more than 97% of scientists actively publishing in the field agree that climate change is real and human caused.” However, the claim of 97% support is deceptive. The surveys contained trivial polling questions that even we would agree with. Thus, these surveys find that large majorities agree that temperatures have increased since 1800 and that human activities have some impact.

    But what is being disputed is the size and nature of the human contribution to global warming. To claim, as the Trenberth letter apparently does, that disputing this constitutes “extreme views that are out of step with nearly every other climate expert” is peculiar indeed.

    I thought it was interesting Cook had made a topic highlighting this response to Trenberth’s letter as the Skeptical Science consensus paper rested upon the exact same sort of deception Trenberth was accused of using. That seems to indicate Cook knew exactly what he was doing, knew it was wrong and did it anyway.

    I thought I’d share a link since the timing is so strange. Within an hour of uploading a post which discusses an accusation of dishonesty from Trenberth, I came here and saw him accused of dishonesty.

    http://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/campaign-of-deception/

    • I thought it was interesting Cook had made a topic highlighting this response to Trenberth’s letter as the Skeptical Science consensus paper rested upon the exact same sort of deception Trenberth was accused of using. That seems to indicate Cook knew exactly what he was doing, knew it was wrong and did it anyway.

      I’ve speculated that SKS is a false-flag operation designed to make less dishonest warmists look bad.

      Of course, the fact that they don’t disavow that sort of stuff makes them guilty of making themselves look bad.

      As I was going to say under my thread above, but I’ll say it here instead:

      The entire “Global Warming” movement is a political operation founded on total disregard for scientific truth or accuracy. Anything anybody says is welcome if it supports “The Agenda”. And if it undercuts “The Agenda” they get denigrated as “deniers”.

      Of course, there are opponents of “Global Warming” who follow the same tactics.

      • AK, that idea is sort of like the idea Dan Rather was given forged documents which made George Bush look bad as a false flag operation to undermine the credibility of Bush’s critics. It’s the sort of thing that can be fun to imagine but would never be true. There’s just no way to ensure the operation results in the backfire you’d need for it to work.

        Besides, this sort of behavior was going on long before Skeptical Science came into existence. If you want to accuse people of doing that, you need an earlier source. Maybe Real Climate. I could see making a fun case for Gavin Schmidt. He routinely makes bad arguments then runs away when he loses. He’s also a friend of Michael Mann, defending Mann with stupid arguments, encouraging Mann to stay the course and even helping review Mann’s book when he wrote it. He is also in a great position to hinder government action in regard to global warming thanks to his job as NASA (and who knows what influences he had on James Hansen). You could make the argument his existence has helped encourage and exacerbate many of the bad things which have hampered the global warming cause. Without him, maybe science would have won out and shut those things down.

        Anyway, I don’t agree the global warming movement “is a political operation” as I don’t think it’s a political thing. I think it’s more a societal thing. Otherwise, I agree with your description. There are a few exceptions for really outlandish claims (like “skeptics” with Sky Dragons), but I get the impression scientific truth and accuracy have little significance in the global warming debate. They seem to be treated as useful tools when they’re convenient, but otherwise discarded out of hand.

      • Have we discovered where this denialist money is going?

  38. What makes climate science a science at all?

    Question not asked.

  39. The superior man as victim. He’s even been “crucified” by deniers! And all he wants us silly horses to do is drink from the trough he’s been so kindly leading us to.

    I now see the reason for Kev’s prominence. He’s totally a luvvie’s dreamboat, getting that blend of indignation, elitism and persecution-mania just right for the Guardian-perusing classes.

    And he communicates! Cool Hand Luke will be so relieved.

  40. Trenberth says this at the end “Part of the goal is to get people to think about why they feel about the issues the way they do. Many have a gut feeling but have not thought about it rationally. Explaining why one has the values one does is then part of the challenge.”

    Yes, we can ask people whether we should constrain climate to 500 ppm or let it drift upwards closer to 1000 ppm. The gut feeling would suggest the former, given that even the skeptics realize how uncertainties increase with CO2. But then the skeptic, having read some web site or blog, will say that the former will collapse the world economy, which is wrong (even Lomborg says 3% cost). But then, given that extra piece of information, they have to think, OK, why else don’t I want the answer to be 500 ppm? And that is where you get the additional assertions: CO2 has little effect, CO2 is good, etc., or you really are concerned about the health of the fossil fuel industry more than climate, rather than support the reasonable 500 ppm course. Self-examination on your answer to the simple question, 500 ppm or 1000 ppm, is a good exercise.

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

      • ‘floccinaucinihilipilification’—-The process by which the entire material world slowly degrades into dryer lint or dust bunnies.
        ========================

      • Interestingly, the word was coined in the 18th C, from four Latin words meaning “at little value” – flocci, nauci, nihili, pili. I wonder to what it was first applied?

      • I wonder to what it was first applied?

        Money.

        William Shenstone, 1741: “For whatever the world might esteem in poor Somervile, I really find, upon critical enquiry, that I loved him for nothing so much as his floccinaucinihilipilification of money.” [OED]

      • It is errantly believed by some to be the longest word in the English language but not so. The longest word is: floccinaucinihlipilificationist

      • I live near a university town that went 80% into the tank for Obama. According to my surveys, the actual data, without any proxies or really cool tricks, shows that in any sample the % of SUVs exceeds the % of Republicans in the population, even after adjusting for my bias and irritation due to the urban heat island effect. So, who is driving all those gas guzzling SUVs?

        Just wonderin’ …

      • You might want to be more sensitive about words like ‘gas guzzling’ as such use tends to connote a measure of negativity about the economy-challenged. Do people refer to John Glenn and Neil Armstrong as a fuel guzzlers? When you’ve got a job to do… and, this country really needs to get back to work, soon.

      • Wagathon – … gas guzzling …

        I was kidding … but you are correct …

      • The longest word is: floccinaucinihlipilificationist

        Merely spelling it correctly would make it longer.

        But at that length it’s hard to tell whether that or floccinaucinihilipilificationismlessness is longer. Sort of like the Red Queen when she asked Alice, “Can you do addition? What’s one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one and one?”

      • …antidisestablishmentfloccinaucinihilipilification?

      • There was a sentence in there that I support “In the long run, the world needs to cut carbon dioxide because it causes global warming. ” How about you?

      • I might support mitigation policies in the long run, jimmy. After I see some convincing evidence that they are necessary and effective. A tedious dogmatic character incessantly spouting the discredited party line isn’t going to convince me. Your harangue is ineffective and counterproductive. You don’t have any credibility. Carry on.

      • Jim D: Isn’t Lomborg’s “long time” about 200 years?

    • 500 ppm or 1000 ppm, is a good exercise.

      400 is really better than where we came up from. 500 is even much better. 1000 is really much better. Bring on the good stuff that helps green things grow with less water.

      • Including “green things” that compete with human crops? Or compete with humans to eat them? Or grow in them (crops) and poison them?

      • Pope would want to bring it on as fast as possible, apparently? Probably not a lot of people joining him in that attitude. This is typical of what you are left with when the economy argument is debunked.

      • Probably not a lot of people joining him in that attitude.

        I could probably list half a dozen who hang out at CE.

      • These are the people Trenberth says have to think about where their attitude is coming from. Search within themselves for why they think, or actually are sure that, a world with twice the CO2 is better than what we have now, and whether the consequence of that idea is to accelerate fossil fuel burning.

      • Mr. Pope – 400 (ppm CO2) … better…1000 … really better.

        At the risk of sounding like a denier, I have to ask, “is more CO2 really that bad?”

        It’s interesting and amusing to consider that the mpps (medicinal plant producers) think that more CO2 is good for their fragrant product, so much so that they are willing to pay hard cash, maybe even bitcoin, to buy pricey CO2 generators to pump up their greenhouses.

        http://www.planetnatural.com/product-category/growing-indoors/grow-rooms/co2-systems/

        At least some of the mpps think that 1500 ppm is optimum. I have no idea, I foolishly cultivated a STEM career while others made a lucrative career cultivating stems. Perhaps, at higher CO2 levels, more plants will grow bigger, faster, absorb more CO2, increase humidity and cloud cover, and raise the albedo and act like a thermostat. Maybe the models already account for that. If so, I am truly so very sorry for raising the question. I was just wondering…

        JustinWonder

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: These are the people Trenberth says have to think about where their attitude is coming from. Search within themselves for why they think, or actually are sure that, a world with twice the CO2 is better than what we have now, and whether the consequence of that idea is to accelerate fossil fuel burning.

        My attitude, so to speak, “is coming from” reading the results of CO2 enrichment studies. To date, the results are overwhelmingly positive, with increased CO2 producing (in forests and crops) increased growth rates, increased resistance to drought, or both. Trenberth seems oblivious to the evidence, even oblivious to the possibility of its existence. Before we start to bore you with links and citations, is this really something that you “deny”?

      • @MM: To date, the results are overwhelmingly positive, with increased CO2 producing (in forests and crops) increased growth rates, increased resistance to drought, or both.

        AR5 WG1 p.502 (Box 6.3 of Chapter 6) tells a more nuanced story. Yes, net primary production will often increase with a doubling of CO2, just as feeding sugar to cows may improve the quality of their meat and milk. (Animals and plants both use sugar for fuel, they just obtain it in different ways, namely from CO2 via photosynthesis in the case of plants.)

        But just as sugar alone is terrible nutrition for animals, plants likewise need more than just CO2, they need nitrogen and phosphorus. In soils where the plants are already consuming these at capacity, more CO2 need not necessarily mean a healthier plant, any more than merely adding sugar alone to a cow’s diet will produce a healthier cow. Nitrogen tends to be limited in temperate and boreal (subarctic) eosystems, and phosphorus in the tropics. Their availability therefore needs to be taken into account before hyperdosing plants on CO2.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: AR5 WG1 p.502 (Box 6.3 of Chapter 6) tells a more nuanced story. Yes, net primary production will often increase with a doubling of CO2, just as feeding sugar to cows may improve the quality of their meat and milk. (Animals and plants both use sugar for fuel, they just obtain it in different ways, namely from CO2 via photosynthesis in the case of plants.)

        But just as sugar alone is terrible nutrition for animals, plants likewise need more than just CO2, they need nitrogen and phosphorus. In soils where the plants are already consuming these at capacity, more CO2 need not necessarily mean a healthier plant, any more than merely adding sugar alone to a cow’s diet will produce a healthier cow. Nitrogen tends to be limited in temperate and boreal (subarctic) eosystems, and phosphorus in the tropics. Their availability therefore needs to be taken into account before hyperdosing plants on CO2.

        Sure. Taking account of the nuances, the effects of extra CO2 in the amounts experienced so far are overwhelmingly beneficial. Where other nutrients are the rate-limiting factors, less so; in other places more so. There is no case for the effects of extra CO2 to be harmful on land, and the case in the ocean is mostly for beneficial effects. You introduced “hyperdosing”; I was addressing the amounts of CO2 likely in the upcoming 140 years. like up to about 800 ppm.

        This, with nuances and overalls, is among the reasons I think it best to take now as baseline, and address the likely effects of the next doubling of CO2.

      • the case in the ocean is mostly for beneficial effects.

        I have no idea myself. However being married to a marine biologist, plus having two marine biologists (married to each other) as renters of my house in Pacific Grove, I have a sample of three telling me there are only detrimental effects on the ocean from increasing atmospheric CO2.

        What are these beneficial effects you’re claiming for CO2 on the ocean?

    • Yes, we can ask people whether we should constrain climate to 500 ppm or let it drift upwards closer to 1000 ppm. The gut feeling would suggest the former, given that even the skeptics realize how uncertainties increase with CO2. But then the skeptic, having read some web site or blog,

      Having read some alarmist bilge, decides it’s all bilge. Perhaps if people who claim to care about CO2 and climate change would disavow bilge rather than welcoming it to their bosom, people in general would be less skeptical of their motives.

      • We know that websites are not the only place to learn, but some stay closer to the science than others. If someone is put off by going to one alarmist site, that is their own problem in having a very poor method of information gathering and we can’t do much about them. These are the uninformed.

      • @Jim D…

        Are you disavowing? Or just weaseling? I’ve seen Stoat do it on occasion, but few others.

    • JimD – Trenberth says this at the end “Part of the goal is to get people to think about why they feel about the issues the way they do. Many have a gut feeling but have not thought about it rationally. Explaining why one has the values one does is then part of the challenge.”

      Maybe Trenberth doesn’t realize that includes himself. I had never heard the man speak before. His lack of self-awareness is amazing!

      Justin

    • Again with the false Lomborg 3% claim I already showed was false on a previous thread. Strike two for Jim D.

    • I say we shoot for 1000. I’m thinking about making t-shirts.

  41. David Springer

    And the award goes to…. Kevin Trenberth for leading horses to water they fail to drink!

  42. GW ended before 2001. http://endofgw.blogspot.com/

    AGW does not exist. http://agwunveiled.blogspot.com/ The two drivers which explain average global temperatures since before 1900 with R^2 greater than 0.9 (95% correlation) are identified there.

  43. David Springer

    Trenberth on the missing heat…

  44. David Springer

    The great science communicator

    • @DS: The great science communicator

      Good to see Springer going in for a bit of science communication there himself. I have to admit he got me to wondering where to draw the line between science and science communication.

      • David Springer

        Glad to learn there are things you must admit. I’d been wondering if you ever really admitted to anything…

  45. “My own obligation to go public more comes from the climate-gate experience, and because I have the breadth to be able to answer all questions in some way, or refer the query to others.”

    Ya gotta love a self-described polymath.

    “Many journalists ask the wrong questions, but most are happy as long as you give them something. Knowing what you know and can say in the right way takes some experience.”

    It’s exhausting having to do their job as well as my own Earth saving work.

    “…I have been crucified in denier web pages, tweets and blogs….”

    If you think I am claiming to be Christlike, well I won;t disagree with you.

    “Lack of agreement confuses the public and science writers though.”

    Consensus is the only way we geniuses can keep the stupid voters from confusing themselves by having opinions contrary to mine.

    “There are certainly groups who never read the other side’s case. There are many who have opinions locked in and no amount of evidence will sway them.”

    Look, I’m just too damned brilliant to see the irony in what i just said, so leave me alone.

    “It is helpful to acknowledge different world views and value systems, and discuss them out loud.”

    That way I know who to compare to holocaust deniers.

    “Part of the goal is to get people to think about why they feel about the issues the way they do. Many have a gut feeling but have not thought about it rationally.”

    People who have opinions different from mine need to realize they are being irrational.

    “We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.’

    Hey, I am a climate scientist, in a field whose very existence is a product of massive government funding, all spent for the express purpose of justifying the policies of my political patrons. How dare anyone else spend any money to publicize their disagreement with the Holy Writ that I publish on their dime?

    Narcissus called. He wants you to get out of the way. You’re blocking his view of the reflecting pool.

    • You’re blocking his view of the reflecting pool.

      “You’re blocking his view of in the reflecting pool.”

      There. Fixed it for you.

      • Not to quibble, but no, ‘of.’ His view ‘of’ the reflecting pool would be of his reflection ‘in’ the pool.

        And with that we lay this little bit of humor to rest in its early grave.

    • “I got tenure and ain’t accountable to nobody ’cause I are a Climatist.”

      • I got tenure, I got climate, I got Mike Mann
        Who could ask for anything more?
        I’ve got research in green journals
        I’ve got Mike Mann
        Who could ask for anything more?

        Old man trouble I don’t mind him
        You can find him ’round my door
        I’ve got models
        I’ve got paleo
        I’ve got my Mike Mann
        Who could ask for anything more?

        Sung to the tune of “I Got Rhythym”
        (With heartfelt apologies to George Geshwin)

    • And these same people are saying he probably didn’t get any bad emails after climategate.

      • Jim D,

        Yeah, humor is really vicious. Maybe you can recommend me to a good anger management course, or better yet, a climate re-education camp.

        Not to mention, this “same person” never said a word about whether Trenberth got any mean emails. Though I doubt he was literally nailed to a cross to die in any of them.

        If he wants to give such a pretentious interview, calling those who disagree with him deniers, and irrational, while touting his own magnificence, he should perhaps expect a little negative feedback.

      • GaryM, I didn’t think you were just kidding around. It looked like you didn’t like the guy at all. My mistake. Next time use \sarc

      • Jim D,

        I don’t like or dislike Trenberth. I don’t know him at all. My sarcasm was of his posturing in the interview. And you understood quite well that it was sarcasm. Which was why you disliked it. It was also intended as humor. They are not mutually exclusive, as those of you who think that John Stewart and Stephen Colbert are the epitome of humor, can attest.

        You progressives just aren’t used to seeing yourselves, and your icons, the butt of such humor.

      • Jim D, I preface the following remark by noting you are one of the few warmist commentators around who maintain a generally polite and rational tone in your discussions here, even against some pretty strong provocation at times. I appreciate it and your comments have become ones I filter for. However, surely – surely – you can recognize the tone and content of the answers Kevin Trenberth gave as narcissistic and not indicative of a mind that is ready to objectively view evidence that may play against pre-existing notions.

        I like Richard Feynmann’s quote: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

        I also like Bertrand Russells “A Liberal Decalogue”:

        1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
        2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
        3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
        4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
        5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
        6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
        7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
        8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent that in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
        9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
        10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

        If you are truly honest with yourself (as Bertrand Russell suggest you should) how better has Judith adhered to those principles than Kevin Trenberth in their respective interviews?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: And these same people are saying he probably didn’t get any bad emails after climategate.

        You just made that up, didn’t you?

      • No they are asking him to prove his claims , Although to be fair this is the guy that wanted to reverse the principle of null hypothesis because his argument was so weak , so perhaps it too much to expect him to back up his own claims with actual proof.

  46. Judith,

    I listened closely to the entire recording. I thought you sounded calm, reasonable, and respectful. Mr. Trenberth started out ok but, within a few moments, became excited. I thought he sounded belligerent, and he soon attacked Fox News and, indirectly, their millions of viewers. Soon after, he attacked Republicans in Congress, seemingly unconcerned that those Republicans were elected. Mr. Trenberth appears to have written off the people he wants to win over, setting himself up to fail. Apparently, he thinks we are all stupid, unable to overcome our biases despite the data (assumming the data is solid), guilty of self-serving future discounting, and a manifestation of the tragedy of the commons. He sounds like he is dehumanizing the enemy in preparation of war. He is going to lose.

    Mr. Trenberth likes to work through the mainstream media. That’s a good thing for him, he is going to need some friends.

    Social media is the soon future of communication – it is decentralized and democratic, which is frustrating to some.

    Good job!

    • You can see why he attacked Fox News from this evidence. They are prominent on this list.
      http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/01/01/13-dumbest-things-media-said-about-climate-chan/197331

    • Good post… It prompted my to read both .PPT files and listen to the audio.

      1. Curry did a matter-of-fact presentation of the science issues.

      2. Trenberth did a couple of slides to show it is warming. He then went into a fairly poltical climate change advocacy presentation that said the sky is falling and took numerous digs at skeptics.

      3. He did make one good point – the people who are judgment challenged enough to believe in Obamacare are judgment challenged enough to believe in catastrophic global warming.

      4. Curry made a interesting point about modeling the western pacific more accurately and that this makes the simulations more accurate. What do these improved simulations predict for the 2100 temperatures?

      • Trenberth says it as he sees it and doesn’t hold off to spare the feelings of his opponents. He comes across as brash to the typical American sensibilities. He is a New Zealander, which is also a bit like Australians for brashness (IMHO).

      • Point 4 should have been:
        Curry made a interesting point about modeling the eastern pacific more accurately and that this makes the simulations more accurate. What do these improved simulations predict for the 2100 temperatures?

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D; Trenberth says it as he sees it and doesn’t hold off to spare the feelings of his opponents. He comes across as brash to the typical American sensibilities.

        Yeh. “He can dish it out but he can’t take it”, as we say in the US of people who insult freely and complain of being insulted.

      • PA, probably very little. Wiggles of a few tenths may still occur, but won’t matter much against a 3 degree C warming background. They are different things.

      • Matthew Marler, apparently he is just responding in kind to what he has been getting since climategate. There are some who would have shrunk away, and he alludes to those who stay in ivory towers rather than put up with this after getting pushback on presenting their results publicly. But he seems to relish this.

      • Jim D compares NZedders with Aussies for brashness. Funny generalisation coming from an American because they far excel all other nations in the brashness stakes!

      • I think Americans have nothing on the Aussies for brashness. They are very PC in public, even if some have extreme views among their own kind. Possibly from its Puritan origins, America has very tight social constraints on what especially people in leading positions can say in public, or accidentally recorded on tape, that might make them look racist, sexist, crude, or prejudiced in any way. The media just kills them until they resign, and there have been many recent cases. Not that any of the scientific discussion is like this, but it is a cultural carefulness in public, the way I see it, because there are either conservatives or liberals out there with clout and willing to pounce on what they see as improper words by people with influence.

      • Larrikin = Down-under version of a redneck

        “That’s not a knife, THAT’S a knife.”

        The ones that comment here incessantly are so full of it. Zero high-quality science — all bullrushing tactics and krank theories.

      • Jim D thinks that Americans are generally more PC in their utterances. Evidence? Looking at the posts of many Americans on CE I sometimes wonder if this sampling is skewed towards brashness! (Jim D is a notable exception) The Ugly American image still persists around the globe and it is generally based on the perceived behaviour of American tourists abroad. Could this be the result of repression at home?

      • Look at the numbers, dude. The USA has 15 times as many citizens as Australia, yet the Australians essentially take over this comment forum, especially in the wee hours.

        Why is that ? They are a geographically isolated nation and absolutely dependent on climate stability. So apparently lots of them freak out and raise their hackles as some sort of defense mechanism? Beats me. Lewendowsky should look into this.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Jim D: Matthew Marler, apparently he is just responding in kind to what he has been getting since climategate.

        He used the term “denier” (and related phrases), the use of which long antedates climategate.

        Paraphrasing Gavin Schmidt, when you long associate closely with people who insult everyone who disagrees with them, you can’t complain about being insulted. He can dish it out but he can’t take it.

      • WHUT said: “They are a geographically isolated nation and absolutely dependent on climate stability.” As mosomoso repeatedly points out, as far back as records go, Australia’s climate has never been stable, but is characterised by extreme variability. What it is dependent on is an inventive, have-a-go, take nothing on trust attitude which will serve us well as climate continues to vary. Even us Pommie immigrants.

      • Faustino

        The harsh climate and changing weather of Australia was recorded over 200 years ago in the Watkins diary but literature also gives us a clue of other climate states

        Perhaps WHT should read a bit more from Chaucer to Defoe to your very own poet here. A Brit originally I think, hence the first verse.

        The love of field and coppice,
        Of green and shaded lanes.
        Of ordered woods and gardens
        Is running in your veins,
        Strong love of grey-blue distance
        Brown streams and soft dim skies
        I know but cannot share it,
        My love is otherwise.

        I love a sunburnt country,
        A land of sweeping plains,
        Of ragged mountain ranges,
        Of droughts and flooding rains.
        I love her far horizons,
        I love her jewel-sea,
        Her beauty and her terror –
        The wide brown land for me!

        A stark white ring-barked forest
        All tragic to the moon,
        The sapphire-misted mountains,
        The hot gold hush of noon.
        Green tangle of the brushes,
        Where lithe lianas coil,
        And orchids deck the tree-tops
        And ferns the warm dark soil.

        Core of my heart, my country!
        Her pitiless blue sky,
        When sick at heart, around us,
        We see the cattle die –
        But then the grey clouds gather,
        And we can bless again
        The drumming of an army,
        The steady, soaking rain.

        Core of my heart, my country!
        Land of the Rainbow Gold,
        For flood and fire and famine,
        She pays us back threefold –
        Over the thirsty paddocks,
        Watch, after many days,
        The filmy veil of greenness
        That thickens as we gaze.

        An opal-hearted country,
        A wilful, lavish land –
        All you who have not loved her,
        You will not understand –
        Though earth holds many splendours,
        Wherever I may die,
        I know to what brown country
        My homing thoughts will fly.

        Dorothea Mackellar

        —-tonyb

      • Faustino

        Literature is a fertile area with which to trace changing climates. Here is Daniel Defoe writing of the week long Hurricane that devastated England in 1703. Immediately following this was a long period of growing warmth culminating in the decade of the 1730’s. the warmest In England until the 1990’s which caused Phil Jones to revise his opinion about the extent of possible natural variability.

        http://www.historytoday.com/richard-cavendish/great-storm
        tonyb

      • Come off it. The vast interior is mostly desert and instability is bad as it can put it over the edge. Contrast that to the USA interior where the environment can handle variations in either direction.

      • Thanks, Tony B, raising the tone again.

        In early 1981, after our caravan burnt out, we moved a forestry barracks on to a ridge on our 38-acre block in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. It was balanced on old sleepers. That night a cyclone crossed the coast, the first in SEQ since the 1974 floods. It peaked between 1 and 3 a.m, we sat awake and got a pretty good glimpse of Australian weather.

        On another occasion, I suddenly saw down the hill from our verandah large gum trees begin to topple. A wind of presumably tremendous force swept round in a circle, felling or decapitating trees, and swinging towards the house. Its last hurrah was to take off half a tree just off the verandah, fortunately not big enough (25 feet) to damage the house.

        On another occasion, I arrived home from several days away to find much of the block in ashes, with some trees smouldering subterraneanly for the next tend days or so (the fire was started by kids 2-3 kms away). The day we got married, in Melbourne in 1979, was the start of the first three-day period recorded with > 100F temperatures.

      • the Australians essentially take over this comment forum, especially in the wee hours.

        Bloody hell, yeah. And unlike that pommie immigrant Michael Cunningham I was born in Melbourne. Not that I liked that, after two weeks there I escaped from Victoria and emigrated to Balranald.

      • Guess that makes you brash VP, which makes you incapable of engaging with sceptics eh? WHT has distinct opinions on Aussies that comment in the wee hours. Maybe you hold some pretty weird theories as well?

      • Krank theories from Aussies on this climate forum.
        Should I start to enumerate them?
        They are all documented, and they are very strange.

      • First up, do you recall Doug Cottton, the SkyyDragoon from Australia?
        Do you recall Stefan “The Denier” Mikitch?
        Do you recall Girma and his bizarre charts?
        Obviously everyone knows Cheef Hydro and his contradictory ramblings.
        The krank Myrrrh?
        The nuclear-fixated PeterLang
        Alexander Biggs krazy theory
        David “It’s the Sun” Archibald

        That’s just a sampling of the nutty Aussies that comment here and there are dozens of other high profile kranks pushing elsewhere, such as David Evans and Murry Salby.

        If this were to scale based on the population base, you should find at least 100 equally kranky theories from the USA. Yet you don’t. This is statistically significant and is indicative of some cultural influence coming out of Australia.

      • Peter Davies: “the perceived behavior of American tourists”. There are some countries where Americans are dirt (France) and some where they are loved (Scotland). Are the tourists responsible for that?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Mark Steyn calls it as he sees it, but that’s not the excusing you hear on that issue.

      • Interestingly, Steyn’s views would be moderated at Steve’s.

        Wonder why?

      • Guess that makes you brash VP, which makes you incapable of engaging with sceptics eh?

        A world where brashness was the principal obstacle to engagement would I think be a simpler world than ours, Peter.

  47. My comment above on the Trenberth interview was intended as a sarcastic but humorous take. But there is a serious issue underlying the criticism.

    I do a fair amount of work in what I call the child protection industry. I represent sometimes children, sometimes parents in cases involving custody, abuse, etc. The ‘industry’ is made up of lawyers, judges, social workers, investigators and more, all of whom get paid regardless of whether the lives of the children and parents involved are improved or made worse by their efforts.

    One of the worst aspects of the industry is the development of messianic complexes by all too many of those involved. Once you convince yourself that you are a real expert (regardless of training or experience), and you combine that with the belief that you personally are saving children, bad things happen.

    1) You come to believe that what you are doing is so important that the end justifies almost any means;
    2) Your goal in communicating with the judge or agency is not to give them information, but to convince them to make the decision you have already decided is necessary;
    3) Once your initial assessment is made, you become impervious to contrary evidence (and everybody thinks they are human lie detectors);
    4) Those who disagree with you are stupid, corrupt, deranged or all three;
    5) It never occurs to you to ever question your own positions or analysis.

    This affects probably a majority of the people in all positions in the process. And the system sucks as a result.

    Trenberth’s replies in the above article are just the latest example that the climate science industry is infected with the same malady, in epic proportions. Trenberth’s reference to his personal ‘crucifiction’ is as good an example of the mind set as any I have seen.

    • nottawa rafter

      Good point. I see it every day by the many who have deluded themselves into thinking there is only one answer which has stultified any imagination for other possibilities. The oversimplification of the mechanisms is mind boggling. Perhaps there are some third & fourth degree derivatives that humans haven’t even thought of that are at play but why should anyone care about the unknowns when the the control knob or blanket is available.

  48. Ignition travesting up Trenberth’s trousers.
    Who will knot out this string of fire?
    ===========================

  49. The real ignoramus in all this is RoyBoy Spencer

    Here he is last week suggesting that excess CO2 is not anthropogenic but then changing his mind when someone tells him a well-known and established fact —

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/08/how-much-of-atmospheric-co2-increase-is-natural/

    Roy — “The best argument advanced that I am wrong is from a ~1,000 year record of CO2 from the Law Dome ice core (a record I was unaware of) which suggests the recent CO2 increase is almost entirely anthropogenic in origin.”

    Where oh where do they find these people?

    The difference between a smart scientist like Trenberth and an opportunistic bottom-feeder such as Spencer is vast.

    • The difference between a smart scientist like Trenberth and an opportunistic bottom-feeder such as Spencer is vast.

      That’s right. Real scientists are open to changing their mind in the face of new (or new-to-them) information. That’s what science is all about.

      And he may well change his mind again when he sees Salby’s arguments laid out with full supporting data. AFAIK Salby’s discussion of the implications of CO2 diffusion in ice seriously deprecates records such as Law Dome.

      The fact that he didn’t know about Law Dome, and other ice core records, shows that he’s just getting into the whole subject. By discussing it on his blog, he succeeds in educating himself, when readers point him to relevant information.

      But that’s OK. A “smart scientist like Trenberth” already knows humanity’s responsible, and doesn’t need no stinkin’ “other perspectives in the climate discussions.”

      • So AK speaks for Roy Spencer and is an apologist for the fact that Roy Spencer didn’t do his homework before starting to spout off on things he doesn’t understand?.

      • Webby

        Yes, I am surprised he did not know about this as well, which goes back to my earlier point that few scientists have a good grasp of ALL aspects of Climate science and the final arbiter is the IPCC with all the baggage that may bring.

        tonyb

      • So AK speaks for Roy Spencer and is an apologist for the fact that Roy Spencer didn’t do his homework before starting to spout off on things he doesn’t understand?

        No, he probably should have done his homework. But if you had done yours, you’d know that Salby’s work has seriously deprecated presentations like the one you’ve included in your comment.

        If, that is, it actually supports what he’s said in his presentations. If he can ever get it published, past the roadblocks anti-scientific quacks like you and the Aussies who sabotaged his career keep throwing in his way.

        With you it may well be ignorance, with them, I suspect they’re afraid it will support his presentations, which makes everything ice-core related totally unreliable until Salby’s work has been properly published and scientifically refuted. If it is.

      • Oh, and if he’d done his homework, he’d know about Salby’s work. He even linked to something regarding it.

    • ‘There are obviously some very large natural yearly imbalances in CO2 sources and sinks, with the atmospheric yearly increase ranging anywhere from 23% to 100% of anthropogenic emissions. If the yearly fluctuation are this large, how do we know that nature is in long-term balance for CO2 sources and sinks? The answer is, we don’t. This is why NASA launched the OCO-2 satellite, to try to get a better handle on the regional sources and sinks of CO2 around the world.

      Furthermore, in contradiction to IPCC predictions, the ability of the Earth to absorb extra CO2 seems to be increasing with time: the equivalent of 40% of our emissions were being absorbed early in the record, a fraction which has increased to 50% late in the record.

      Given these very large year-to-year variations, is it that unreasonable to hypothesize that there might be a long-term natural imbalance between natural sources and sinks of CO2, which is also contributing to the observed increase?’ Roy Spencer

      Clearly a nuanced scientific discussion is beyond the incredible mouth from Minnesota. Aggressive, bombastic, pejorative, misguided to a point well beyond eccentricity and quite impossibly duplicitous yes – but hardly nuanced.

  50. “So those are not the ones I try to reach: rather it is the uninformed masses that matter.”
    The arrogance and condescension of an UnReal climate scientist and a sentence one could expect from an adolescent in the seventies. Everyone is wrong and Trendberth and his mates are right.
    Come on our Kevin show us all these threatening emails or are you delusional?

  51. thisisnotgoodtogo

    RealClimate communication deceits.

    Here are excerpts from two posts from RealClimate

    1/
    “And so it was for the Steig et al “Antarctic warming” study that appeared last week. Mainstream media coverage was widespread and generally did a good job of covering the essentials. The most prevalent peg was the fact that the study appeared to reverse the “Antarctic cooling” meme that has been a staple of disinformation efforts for a while now.

    Nonetheless, the loss of the Antarctic cooling meme is clearly bothering the contrarians much more than the loss of 10,000 year old ice. The poor level of their response is not surprising, but it does exemplify the tactics of the whole ‘bury ones head in the sand” movement – they’d much rather make noise than actually work out what is happening. It would be nice if this demonstration of intellectual bankruptcy got some media attention itself.”

    Ah, the dishonest meme that contrarians put out. There’s RealClimate honesty to compare to.
    Now for the OTHER RealClimate post

    2/
    “Despite the recent announcement that the discharge from some Antarctic glaciers is accelerating, we often hear people remarking that parts of Antarctica are getting colder, and indeed the ice pack in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica has actually been getting bigger. Doesn’t this contradict the calculations that greenhouse gases are warming the globe? Not at all, because a cold Antarctica is just what calculations predict… and have predicted for the past quarter century.
    ….
    Bottom line: A cold Antarctica and Southern Ocean do not contradict our models of global warming. For a long time the models have predicted just that.”

    • Another bottom line: Steig et al was in contradiction of model predictions?

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Another bottom line is that Gavin Schmidt knew about RealClimate carrying that information in post #2 (which he called the contrarian meme; the staple of disinformation efforts).

        Sickeningly dishonest stuff there.

      • No shame. A mark of the zealot or, er, hoary old thing.
        =============

    • Bottom i this s to science what has tails I win head you lose , is to ‘fairness ‘
      Its normal in science to expect the idea of fallibility in theory’s, one thing that marks this area out is it totally addiction to the idea that its theory’s can never been subject to fallibility. Either because they cover all possible instances or because no matter what reality shows us they are still never wrong . You often see this approach taken in religion and politics where strength of faith in your ideas is more important than the evidenced that supports or refutes them.

  52. Geoff Sherrington

    I lost interest at the para starting ‘you can bringa horse to drink but you can’t make him water’. Here, Trenberth departs from science mode and enters dogma mode. ‘It sure helps if the President is engaged…’ is just irrelevant name dropping by an extrovert.
    I say again, communication is a minor tool that is often irrelevant. One must concentrate on the data. If the data are poor, there is little point in communicating.
    So, Dr Trenberth, why do you persist in talking about communicating poor data?
    You must know that the Argo system cannot provide ocean heat data of required accuracy yet, so why do you add your name to results that assume it can? What motivates you?

    • This is the heart of the matter I feel.

      • Absolutely. The more people like Dr Trenberth insist the problem is with communication, not the data, the more counterproductive his actions are. I suspect pretty much everyone who will ever give a damn about global warming has already found out enough to make up their mind – the “uninformed masses'” that remain care nothing about politics or science this side of an alien invasion.

    • Geoff, intensive propaganda can overcome the lack of sufficient evidence when it comes to politics.

      For example, did the US find the WMD´s in Iraq? Of course not. There was an intensive propaganda campaign to convince people to back a war, but they lacked sufficient data. To overcome this defficiency they blew hot air.

      This issue COULD be similar to the Iraq WMDs. They have a political cause, they MAY lack sufficent data, but they push ahead.

      • @Fernando

        Robert Cooper outlined the supposed justification for the ‘New Imperialism” in relation originally with the campaign against the Serbs. Of course this template was subsequently also used by Tony Blair gov wrt it’s Dodgy Dossier and Iraq.
        It’s really nothing new of course; just think Machiavelli.
        All the Best
        brent
        https://judithcurry.com/2013/12/09/pathological-altruism/#comment-423382

      • “There was an intensive propaganda campaign to convince people to back a war, but they lacked sufficient data.”

        Revisionist nonsense.

        Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld rarely talked about existing WMD, as that was not their primary focus in the build up to the Iraq War, It was the more progressive members of the administration, Powell and Rice, who pushed WMD, Powell in particular. Powell in particular was pushing for Iraq War II because it was he who convinced G.H.W. Bush to halt the first Iraq War to leave Hussein in place.

        Saddam made Assad look like Howdy Doody. He was regularly attempting to shoot down US aircraft in violation of the cease fire. He was refusing access to inspectors, and was allowing Al Queda to train in Iraq. Not to mention gassing the Kurds earlier. The rape rooms and kiddie prisons were just icing on the fascist cake.

        But progressives weren’t comfortable with their own support for the war, including their own belief in the “intelligence” regarding WMD, so they put out a bunch of revisionist propaganda afterward, and drone progressives everywhere ate it up like Doritos at a pot convention.

      • … doritos at a pot convention… mmmmm

  53. Trenberth’s reference to the ridiculous precautionary principle is a clear indication of how superficial his thinking is.

    JD

  54. WebHubTelescope (@WHUT: So another attack on Australians, why not say something constructive, like exactly why their theories won’t work.

  55. “We have to keep trying but the misinformation campaigns are often very well funded, much more so than any public education efforts.”

    Incredible. Hundred of billions of tax dollars spent poured into one-sided ‘science’ fomenting alarm, a systematic misleading of the public, and he worries about the pennies skeptics spend.

    • What happens if the * PAUSE *, ( hey where’s fan of etc?) …
      the *Pause* continues and becomes … as members of the
      climate science community feared in the1970’s, forewarning
      of the next Ice Age, (due of course ter naughty humans?)
      What happens if, at least, the *PAUSE * should morph, ( say,
      anything goes with variable climate,) should morph into a new
      Little Ice Age, (remember the LIA?)

      OMG! All those people piled up in high rise buildings, w/out
      adequate heating, ( fergit that intermittent stuff) and all those
      emporiums with * sold out* signs because the crops have failed.

  56. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #148 | Watts Up With That?