JC’s book shelf

by Judith Curry

Some new books that I’ve been reading, by  Roger Pielke Jr., Rud Istvan, George Marshall and James Gleick.

Roger Pielke Jr

RPJr has published a new book Disasters & Climate Change.  See amazon.com paperback is $4.99, I understand that a Kindle version is coming very soon.  From the blurb:

In recent years the media, politicians, and activists have popularized the notion that climate change has made disasters worse. But what does the science actually say? Roger Pielke, Jr. takes a close look at the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the underlying scientific research, and the data to give you the latest science on disasters and climate change. What he finds may surprise you and raise questions about the role of science in political debates.

The book is short, only 122 pages, but is informative, lucidly written, and has some very good insights.  The science is fully congruent with the IPCC Reports on the topic of weather disasters and climate change.  The book provides some particularly important insights on the politicization of this issue.

From Chapter 1, Science’s Legitimacy Wars:

In recent years, advocates for action on climate change have enlisted disasters as a leading theme of advocacy campaigns, ultimately focused on motivating political action on energy policy. A turn to this strategy has occurred despite a broad consensus in the scientific literature that the evidence for connections between climate change and disasters is incredibly weak, as reflected in the 2012, 2013, and 2014 reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This chapter provides an interesting history not only of the co-opting of weather disasters into the climate change wars, but notably RPJr’s experiences in the climate wars:

My surprise was that my colleagues were asking me to downplay and to even misrepresent my own research because it was viewed as being inconvenient in the advocacy effort on climate change. My work had found no evidence of a sig-nal of human-caused climate change in the growing toll of losses from floods, hurricanes, and other extremes. While I had concluded that actions to reduce emissions of green-house gases made good sense, I also believed that pointing to the latest disasters in advocacy for action went beyond what the science could support, and thus should be avoided.

The issue of disasters and climate change is a canonical example of “noble cause” corruption in science.

He also discusses the Nate Silver affaire, with this summary statement: These critics were creating their own reality in order to engage in outright character assassination.

The middle chapters present a lucid explanation of the scientific questions surrounding disasters & climate change, including data analysis, how to reason about the data,  and issues of detection and attribution

IMO, the most insightful chapter is  6 What About Climate Policy and Politics?  There are some real gems in this chapter:

So what if the science of disasters and climate change is exaggerated in public debates and by some scientists?

I have two answers to the “so what?” question. One is that whatever passionate advocates and partisans may say in political debates, upholding scientific in-tegrity means that someone must take responsibility for scientific accuracy. The public places great trust and credibility in the scientific community, which could easily be put at risk.

A second response to the “so what?” question is that an approach to climate policy centered on associating disasters with greenhouse gas emissions is unlikely to succeed.

Apocalyptic visions are a bit like addictive drugs. Upon repeated usage, the dosage needs to be upped to achieve the same effect. In this way, efforts to politicize connections between greenhouse gases and extreme events have a tendency to go well beyond what science can support. With fervent advocates ready to attack any-one who steps out of line, as they did when I wrote for FiveThirtyEight, there can be significant obstacles for inde-pendent experts to weigh in when claims are made well beyond that which science can support.

Since RPJr does not apparently disagree with the IPCC AR5 in any substantive way, why the vehement character assassination?  His narrative, while wholly consistent with the IPCC, is ‘inconvenient’ for the disaster-climate change narrative, which picked up steam following Hurricane Katrina.  Further, scientists that disagree with Pielke’s analysis of the policy and politics of climate change (e.g. Hartwell, Breakthrough Institute) work to assassinate his character or attempt to discredit his scholarship, rather than state that they disagree with his policy analysis and politics.

In this vein, I found one of the jacket blurbs from John Michael Wallace: “While Roger Pielke, Jr. and I hold quite different views on the policy implications of climate change, we are in agreement that the public is not well served by the politicization of climate science or by excessive emphasis on the role of global warming as a contributor to today’s weather disasters.”  So there is at least one honest scientist that can separate his politics from the science.

Rud Istvan

Rud Istvan has published a new book Blowing Smoke:  Essays on Energy and Climate [amazon].  I wrote the foreword, here are some excerpts:

Istvan’s insightful and incisive writing in Blowing Smoke tackles a diverse array of topics related to climate and energy that are highly relevant to the current public debate. His writing is accessible to the public who may not have the inclination, the time, or the ability to dig deep into the literature and emerge with a simple factual ‘big picture’.

 Blowing Smoke provides up-to-date analyses of many of the most important topics of relevance to the public debate on climate change. What I find unique about Istvan’s writing is that he combines the perspectives of a lawyer and an entrepreneur – a keen sense of due diligence with regards to evidence, an ability to find weaknesses in others’ arguments, and the ability to analyze policies and technologies for their feasibility. And all of this is spiced with a bit of humor and a writing style that makes these complex topics interesting and understandable. 

Blowing Smoke is an important contribution to the public understanding of the debate on climate change and energy. I trust you will find it rewarding.

George Marshall

Last August, George Marshall published a provocative book entitled Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change [amazon].

George Marshall studies the psychology of climate change denial; he blogs at climatedenial.org and he is the founder of a climate change charity, the Climate Outreach Information Network.

Marshall is clearly a ‘warmist’, and has this to say about me in the book:

Opponents of action, such as the skeptical climatologist Judith Curry, emphasize the ‘whole host of unknown unknowns that we don’t even know how to quantify.’

Ok, if you can get past all that, this is a REALLY good book.  It’s not exactly obvious to me how to pitch this to the skeptical Denizens, but I will take a shot.  Marshall interviewed a very wide range of people and actually LISTENED to them.  The book is insightful and funny, a very entertaining read.  This article from the WaPo best captures the book, excerpts:

In 42 short chapters, Marshall also covers some less-obvious ground. For instance, you might think that surviving a weather disaster would raise your alert level on climate change. Not always — near-misses give people a sense of invulnerability. What’s more, after a community floods or burns to the ground, people just want to get their lives back to normal and not worry about some even larger threat.

You might think that having kids would turn your attention toward the mess you might be leaving them. Nope. The optimism bias kicks into high gear, enhancing your view of your eco-legacy. Plus, you’re too busy changing diapers to worry about the long-term benefits of recycling.

You might think that environmental campaigns reminding people to be green would, well, make people green. But they communicate individual responsibility, and thus blame, which leads to resentment. One study found that conservatives were less likely to buy a low-energy light bulb when the package said “protect the environment.” And people who do buy such light bulbs feel morally licensed to use them more, countering the gains.

You might think that climate-change deniers are short on scientific literacy. But everyone’s heard the facts about greenhouse gases. At this point, deniers are actually better versed in science than are accepters. Rather, political forces shape their attitudes. Marshall quotes the ethicist Clive Hamilton: “Denial is due to a surplus of culture rather than a deficit of information.”

Marshall takes some good pokes at the likes of Shell Oil and the televangelist Joel Osteen (who refused to talk with him about climate change), but he’s best when provoking his own side. He quotes one e-mail from Live Earth, an organization fostering environmental awareness, suggesting that heart-shaped candy boxes be recycled as backpacks for dolls. (Carbon-neutral, here we come!) He rips apart a TV spot for its overkill in depicting a possible ecological disaster arising from too much CO2 in the atmosphere, complete with a drowning puppy. Marshall quotes a strategist calling the ill-considered ad “about as much use as a marzipan dildo.” Research shows that among people who think the world is fair, apocalyptic messages reduce belief in climate change, because climate catastrophe seems so unjust. 

I haven’t seen this book discussed on any skeptic blogs, I hope that this review will stimulate some skeptics to look at this book, there is a great deal to be learned from it.

James Gleick

I just got around to reading Gleick’s book Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman [amazon].   I’m a long standing fan of Richard Feynman, having read his two wonderful autobiographies.  Gleick’s book provides more of a scientific and historical context to Feynman’s research, and provides insight into how Feynman actually approached his science.  This is a really good book.

I’ve often wondered how RF would react to the climate change debate; we’ll never know.  However two figures that featured prominently in Gleick’s book are Freeman Dyson and Murry Gell-Mann, both of whom have made statements about climate change:

Two different perspectives, both defensible.

Moderation note:  Please keep your comments on topic, discussing these books and the broader issues they raise, or other relevant books of interest.



212 responses to “JC’s book shelf

  1. The matter of increasing severity of weather with warming is a function of increased energy in the system vs decreased polar/equatorial temperature gradient, and it amuses the heck out of me that they are countervailing tendencies.

    But it will bring a tiny increase in the total energy in the system and a large decrease in the temperature gradient. So, less severe weather in a warmer climate. Simples.

    • Kim

      I will be at the met office library again tomorrow carrying out reseach. I have examined some 1000 years of climate history and what is apparent is that extremes were worst in the past with the most severe extremes during the LIA, not during the warm periods


      • Tony, I’m reading Dudley Carleton’s letters to John Chamberlain and he mentions a tremendous storm throughout the Mediterranean while he(Dudley) was Ambassador to Venice. Just another supportive anecdote.

      • Kim

        What year?


      • Letter of December 10/20, 1613. Quote: ‘The great storm and inundation you write of(4) happened much about the time of tempest in the Mediterranean, wherein they write that Genoa in shipping and goods was lost to the two million of ducats and at Villafranca our pirates lost their whole fleet.’

        Note (4) says: ‘Chamberlain had written of a fierce storm which produced severe flooding and property damage long the southeast coast from Norfolk to Kent. L.J.C, I, 485-86’.

        H/t to Maurice Lee’s ‘Dudley Carleton to John Chamberlain 1603 to 1624 Jacobean Letters’, pages 153 and 154. New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1972.

      • Dang, ‘along the southeast coast’

      • Kim

        By coincidence I was iin St Mawes in Cornwall last week and saw Carletons name there. He was an MP for this rotten borough.


        He was charged as being complicit in the guy Fawkes gunpowder plot to destroy Parliament but was Found not guilty.

        To this day we celebrate guy Fawkes night by letting off fireworks and …er…burnmg an effigy of guy Fawkes on bonfires. It is tomorrow and I will be off to a guy Fawkes party


      • Yeah, he was an innocent bystander, but fortunately had friends in high places. Still, he laid low for awhile, and it temporarily hampered his career.

      • Daniel Defoe, he of Robinson Crusoe fame, also wrote an account of the Great Storm of 1703 in Southern England



        “The Great Storm of 1703 was one of the most severe storms or natural disasters ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain. The storm came in from the southwest on 26 November 1703 (Julian calendar) or 7 December 1703 in the current calendar.
        Contemporary observers recorded barometric readings as low as 973 millibars (measured by William Derham in south Essex),[1] but it has been suggested that the storm may have deepened to 950 millibars over the Midlands.”

      • Tonyb can you tell me why the “g” in guy Fawkes is not capitalized?

      • Mkelly

        Because I was too bone idle to press the capital key. My iPad does not always capitalise the first letter of a word.


      • Jeremy

        What sets the account of the great storm of 1703 above other events is the manner in which Defoe got the accounts of numerous observers making it a scientific record rather than an anecdote. This can be read in your first link.

        Other events are well documented but not with the same rigour. As an example is the great 1638 storm at Widecmbe in the moor, on dartmoor close to me


        There is no doubt that it happened and was very severe but it lacks the authority of the Defoe account.

      • Yes – I read it last year, and gripping it is indeed.

      • tony when you read histories think of this

        “”During the reign of a king, professional historiographers maintained extensive records on national affairs and the activities of the state. They collected documents and wrote daily accounts that included state affairs as well as diplomatic affairs, the economy, religion, meteorological phenomena, the arts, and daily life, among other things. These daily accounts became the Sacho (“Draft History”). Great care was taken to ensure the neutrality of the historiographers, who were also officials with legal guarantees of independence. Nobody was allowed to read the Sacho, not even the king, and any historiographer who disclosed its contents or changed the content could be punished with beheading. These strict regulations lend great credibility to these records.[4] Yet at least one king, tyrannical Yeonsangun looked into the Annals, and this led to the First Literati Purge of 1498, in which one recorder and five others were cruelly executed because of what was written in the Sacho. This incident led to greater scrutiny to prevent the king from seeing the Annals. In the Later Joseon period when there was intense conflict between different political factions, revision or rewriting of sillok by rival factions took place, but they were identified as such, and the original version was preserved.
        The original recorders recorded every word and act of the king in the Sacho although not all details were included in the final version. For instance, King Taejong fell from a horse one day and immediately told those around him not to let a recorder know about his fall. A recorder wrote both Taejong’s fall and his words not to record it. In another instance, Taejong was recorded to complain about a recorder who eavesdropped on him behind a screen and followed him to a hunt behind a disguise.”

      • TonyB,

        Have you looked at Figure 15:21 (p391) in the ‘Geology of Ireland’ here: http://eprints.maynoothuniversity.ie/1983/1/McCarron.pdf

        It shows clearly that the climate swings are massive when the planet is cool and much less so when warmer.


      • Peter

        Thanks for that.

        As far as the evidence shows warmth brings climate stability. I am mystified when great doom and gloom with more extreme events is ascribed to our modern warm era.

        We need to start worrying if we cool off a degree or so either regionally or globally and the temperature gradient between the poles and the equator possibly changes.

        As I continually say, the worst weather events that I can trace back 1000 years occur in cold periods. This is not to say of course that nothing bad ever happens in warmer times, just that the likelihood of extreme weather increases in colder times.


    • Kim
      That is a bit of coincidence, Villafranca Marittima (now better known as Villefranche- sur-Mer) it was hit by unusually strong storm, as recently as today; a place well worth visiting..

  2. George Marshall runs his ship into the iceberg of the burgeoning understanding that a warmer world is a better world, sustaining as it does more total life and more diversity of life. The extension of the viable agricultural and the tremendous greening of the Earth is simply gravy on top of the plethora of benefits from warming.

    • er, ‘viable agricultural area and the tremendous greening’.

    • Marshall is despicable for this Lewadowsky-esque sciencey sounding bit of bigotry. The case could likely be made better that bigots like Marshall are hard wired to project their prejudices and insecurites on to others and to seek out sin/genetics/race as excuses to justify their low brow positions.

  3. Steven Mosher

    The “turn” to disasters was totally predictable.
    It got going in force after communication experts noted that the tactic of selling fear wasnt working.. that is fear of far off long term consequences.

    Hence the need to make the fear more immediate.

    But if disasters are more probable and if there is warming in the pipeline,
    then the thrust should turn to adaptation.

    • Note that adaptation to warming will be a piece of cake, and adaptation to cooling will involve four horsemen.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        damn kim
        good one… imagine me tipping my hat
        or lifting my visor
        that little exchange between you and Tony above was good for me too

      • Thanks, John, it was fun for me, too. It’s not often I can help Tony B. with a history lesson.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        also BTW
        my (confederate) money says your are right
        cold on the way
        the alarmist are alarmed about the wrong damn thing

    • Steve, why do you think the general left/right split on cAGW is quite opposite from the Ebola outbreak? Here, the left and media, state that the right is over reacting, fear mongering and possible racist.

      • It’s an interesting case. At the core a conflict of values. As with all post normal science

      • It seems obvious to me. The government and science (CDC) are saying one thing and the right wing doesn’t trust them.

      • Believe your bleeding eyes.

      • ordvic, “It seems obvious to me. The government and science (CDC) are saying one thing and the right wing doesn’t trust them.”

        The right in general doesn’t trust the “government” to efficiently do anything. The right tends to listen to the “people” that are actually trying to do whatever is intended.

        The SOP in infectious disease has been quarantine. If that requires a ban on travel, then you ban travel until things get sorted out. It is a low cost and effective way of looking at the situation and so simple that even bureaucrats are not likely to screw it up.

        The left position depends on their current rational. SOP is not something the left embraces unless it happens to be their SOP. So if the left thinks that a quarantine violates the civil liberties of some constituency, they will demand some likely costly alternative that is less effective but might prevent a number of folks having to deal with a change in travel plans at the potential expense of a few more folks croaking.

        If the left isn’t a fan of some activity that may be potential harmful to even a small percentage of their constituency, then they have no problem banning anything they think need banning.

        Right – Keep it simple stupid

        Left – Act now!

      • ==> “It’s an interesting case. At the core a conflict of values.”

        Yeah. Right.

        Libertarians expressing their “values” by calling for authoritarian government action to restrict freedoms.

        Of course, pure, unadulterated politics has nothing to do with it.

        Reminds me of when libertarians call for authoritarian term limits.

      • ==> “The right in general doesn’t trust the “government” to efficiently do anything”

        Right. That’s why “the right” is calling for authoritarian government action to restrict freedoms. Because they don’t trust government. Makes a lot of sense.

        Of course, pure, unadulterated politics has nothing to do with of.

        Of course not.

      • Joshua
        Libertarians generally want a small, efficient government where individual freedoms and individual responsibility are promoted. Note that doesn’t mean no government, or total freedom for individuals.

        In regards to Ebola and quarantines’- Imo a good case can be made for a 21 day quarantine. The risk of spreading the disease in the US has a high cost associated with it and the cost of putting the quarantine in place for 21 days after potential exposure is low.

      • Rob –

        Small, efficient government would be consistent with quarantining when the evidence shows that it would be effective and return benefits greater than the costs. Advocating quarantining in the absence of such evidence could be the result of alarmism, political expediency (by capitalizing on fear as a political tool), or perhaps as a reasonable abundance of caution. In the case of an “abundance of caution,” you’re sacrificing the “small and efficient” objectives.

        I have no objection to an abundance of caution per se – assuming that a careful “full cost accounting” of the probabilities of costs and benefits has been performed. If you know that you’re willing to accept “unintended consequences” from a well-informed decision-making process with regard to decision-making in the face of uncertainty, that seems entirely reasonable to me.

        What we have seen in the political climate w/r/t ebola does not fit what I’ve described. We have politicians who haven’t studied the issues carefully recommending large and inefficient authoritarian practices – IMO, mostly to exploit public sentiment for political purposes. And then we have folks who on the one hand favor “small, efficient” government and often express wide-scale distrust of politicians suddenly supporting authoritarian recommendations by politicians (without having studied the supporting evidence themselves). And, of course, we have the absurd accompanying rhetoric – that science-based opposition to inefficient quarantines amounts to “not caring about the public’s welfare.”

        Compare the politics of responses to ebola/Obama and avian flu/Bush and you get a nice window into the mechanisms of cultural cognition and motivated reasoning. People work backwards from the respective party identification of “authorities” to guide their risk evaluation processes.

        The comparisons between the polarization related to climate change and the polarization related to ebola quarantines are very telling – not the least because of the accompanying identity-aggressive and identity-defensive behaviors that we often see associated with cultural cognition. Perspective on the issues reflect more how a person identifies ideologically than what they know about the evidence and the science. It’s same ol’ same ol.’

        It reminds me of what we learned about SCOTUS decision-making w/r/t “states rights” in Bush v. Gore, and what we often see from SCOTUS as related to how “judicial overreach” is defined.

        “Values” are selectively considered.

      • And Rob –

        While I think that libertarian Ron Paul’s political views are often extremist and strongly in opposition to my own – I will give him credit for at least sometimes choosing consistency in ideology over political expediency (one of the very few politicians that I would describe in such a manner). I do give credit to some libertarians for more often than other politically motivated people, placing consistency of ideology over political partisanship (even if, IMO, sometimes it leads to supporting sub-optimal ideology).

        Credit to him for stepping forward to call a spade a spade.


      • Joshua writes: “Advocating quarantining in the absence of such evidence could be the result of alarmism, political expediency (by capitalizing on fear as a political tool), or perhaps as a reasonable abundance of caution. In the case of an “abundance of caution,” you’re sacrificing the “small and efficient” objectives.

        My response- I agree that such a policy could be implemented for a variety of reasons. I do not agree that such a policy would necessarily be sacrificing the objective of a small and efficient government. It seems equally possible that a judgment could have been made that the probability is reasonably high that a person or persons could get into the US if such quarantine were not put into place. If that result occurred, the cost to citizens and restrictions that would need to be put on citizens would be greater overall than if there had been no initial quarantine. The judgment may or not be correct, but it does seem consistent with the stated goals.

        Joshua writes- “The comparisons between the polarization related to climate change and the polarization related to ebola quarantines are very telling”

        My response- I do not align with either major party, so I may view it differently than you. I don’t really see a reasonable relationship between the two issues.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Reminds me of when libertarians call for authoritarian term limits.”


        Joshua step one is construing your opponents argument in its stringest form.. even if you can find examples of some people not doing so.
        In this way you avoid the straw man.

        “Libertarian” view on term limits are divided.

        A purist position might be that term limits are a restriction on my freedom who to vote for. A pragmatic position would be that without term limits experience shows us that the choices are unduly restricted.

        It is not helpful even to label people or groups ( although you continue to do this )

        But for the sake of argument you could say that all libertarians believe in maximizing the autonomy of the self and minimizing the authority of the state.

        If you look at that you can see why the philosophy would come to a variety of conclusions about term limits.

        A) some would argue for the autonomy of the self and say I should
        be able to vote for obama for a third term.
        B) others would argue that without term limits the authority of the state
        will grow.

        In other words the governing principles give cant give a decisive answer. Note this is just like any other system of thought devised or used by humans. Incomplete and filled with un decideability

      • Steven Mosher

        “Libertarians expressing their “values” by calling for authoritarian government action to restrict freedoms.

        Of course, pure, unadulterated politics has nothing to do with it.


        As I said the difference comes down to core values. And yes, that would include politics. On both sides.

        Further as I noted this is like any post normal science situation.

        1. Facts are uncertain
        2. Values are in conflict
        3. The need for action appears to be immediate.

        It’s no surprise that this divides along right/left. And merely “admitting that” isn’t enough.

        Recall some of the primary cases for PNS that Ravetz discussed.

      • Steven Mosher

        Ron Paul is calling the quarentine of us military personel politically motivated?

      • 1. Facts are uncertain
        2. Values are in conflict
        3. The need for action appears to be immediate.

        I’m not sure what the above could be considered, but it ain’t science.

      • “””Steve, why do you think the general left/right split on cAGW is quite opposite from the Ebola outbreak? Here, the left and media, state that the right is over reacting, fear mongering and possible racist.”””

        Easy answer: Fear of the consequences of ebola are motivated by the immediacy of the harm it can do; zombie-ish death and the real potential to spread and kill entire populations. Plus it’s very existence is new to many who weren’t born in the 70’s when it first became know, so ebola is very much an exotic thing. Whereas AGW and its effects are 25, 50, and 100 years down the line, and those that are supposed to be happening now are things we already know and deal with, like hurricanes and tornadoes, and they can’t show that AGW is causing or affecting them much.

        PS. I saw this earlier in the day. I typed my response but couldn’t post at the time. I apologize if this is a repeat answer.

  4. With some snow forecast in a day or two, the golf courses closed down and anticipating another frigid winter, I will definitely get these books. Even the Marshall book. How could I not when I saw this quote “At this point, deniers are actually better versed in science than are accepters” Haa

    • Yes, skeptics are pushing the science, the alarmists reduced to band-aid fixes of the gaping wounds in the consensus.

    • And Marshall, intellectual cowardly bigot he is, fails to see the irony in his position.

  5. Steven Mosher

    +1 for Marshall

  6. Steven Mosher

    +100 for gelman

    ” Is it really, really so extremely difficult to persuade people that climate, which is average weather, can have three contributions that add to one another? That is, some cyclical effects, some random noise and a secular steadily rising trend from human activity?”

    • Heh, the ‘secular steadily rising trend’ preceded significant human activity and is unattributed. Besides, were it to be attributed to man, just think of how cold we’d be and would be getting. Better hope that the ‘secular rising trend’ is natural, because we haven’t much capability to raise the temperature further, on present evidence.

      • kim, let’s stipulate that everything you say just above is true. What makes you think that human activities are not contributing?

        And although I love you madly, aren’t you the least bit familiar with the term ‘too much of a good thing?’

        Please respond poetically…

      • Sure man contributes
        And it’s a thing of beaut.
        Every little greener leaf
        Not frosted is relief.

      • Tom, the higher the sensitivity the colder we would now be without man’s input. If all the warming since the Little Ice Age is from human GHGs then we would be miserably cold without it. If none of the warming since the Little Ice Age is anthropogenic then the Earth has recovered naturally from the coldest episode of the Holocene.

        I believe man has contributed to the warming, and it has been a net beneficial contribution. But if we’re what’s keeping the Earth from cooling further from that coldest episode of the Holocene, then we have an inadequate tool in a losing battle. If most of the warming has been natural, we have a chance that the Holocene perseveres.

    • People are usually persuaded by evidence.

      Some evidence of something would be a start.

      Squiggly lines as reality only goes so far.


      • Steven Mosher

        No andrew you fail 101

        “Is it really, really so extremely difficult to persuade people that climate, which is average weather, can have three contributions that add to one another? That is, some cyclical effects, some random noise and a secular steadily rising trend from human activity?””

        Compare with the following

        “Is it really, really so extremely difficult to persuade people that climate, which is average weather, DOES have three contributions that add to one another? That is, some cyclical effects, some random noise and a secular steadily rising trend from human activity?”

        gelman’s question is the first one.

        You’ve just demonstrated that for some people GRASPING the mere possibility of something is almost impossible.

        You are wired to say no to everything.

        Deny that.

      • I’m wired to evaluate evidence. The reason I have problems with climate science is there’s not much to evaluate. It’s mostly computer drawings.


      • Andrew you can’t evaluate evidence until you grasp the issue

      • Mosher, Here one issue I have a firm grasp of:

        You’re a squiggly line salesman. Get a real job.


    • Is it really so difficult to make people understand that these are not three independent factors? They do not “add to each other”.

      • Steven Mosher

        Tom also fails 101.

      • Steve- This is the approach that has been adopted to model the global temp anomaly but that does not mean it reflects reality. I think folks like Koutsoyannis and Pielke might agree with me. I think that Dr. R. Brown also wrote a pretty good essay on WWUT a couple weeks back that described the faulty modeling approach.

        Try to imagine another situation, say a very large chemical reactor into which are added hundreds of reactants. These react with each other to form oligomers, and polymers; some block the reactions of others, some precipitate out when they reach certain concentrations; some reactions generate heat, some require heat. Into this complex mix add periodic illumination by light of various wavelengths.

        Now if you picked one of these reactants and said “what is the sensitivity?”, in other words, “how much will the temp of the vessel rise as we add more of this reactant”, you can’t go about this by imagining some system where everything else stays static while this one reactant does it’s thing. Why would there be an expectation that every other factor in this complex system stays averaged about some ideal state while this one reactant acts as a “thermostat”.

        The only explanation is that this was *assumed* at the outset. No other modeling enterprise would proceed in such a way.

      • Your reply to Mosher was an education. At least for me. Thanks.

      • Tom also fails 101.

        Try this then:

        Is it really so difficult to make people understand that these are not necessarily three independent factors? That they do not necessarily “add to each other”.

        At this point, IMO most people on both sides of the debate estimate the probabilities in line with their own experience and expectations.

        Yes, Joshua, some of them are also guilty of “m0t1vated thinking”.

      • Read harder Tom

      • OK Steven –

        I am an anonymous internet denizen who is too lazy to read all the papers and do my own calculations. I admit as much. Still, I know a thing or too about math, models, and physical chemistry. You can dismiss me with comments like “read harder”.. I suspect, though, that if Koutsoyannis were to show up here your bluster would disappear.

        Robert Brown described the objections I have very well here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/10/06/real-science-debates-are-not-rare/

        He is not to be taken lightly. John N-G had an extended dialogue with him a couple years back and he more than held his own.

        The burden is on you and the climate cabal to explain why such a naive modeling approach makes any sense.

      • At this point, IMO most people on both sides of the debate estimate the probabilities in line with their own experience and expectations.

        There are more than two sides to the climate debate.

        There is one consensus side, by definition.

        On the Skeptic side, there are multiple Theories.

        I estimate the climate will follow the cycles of the past ten thousand years. I estimate the probability at about 100%. All of the consensus people disagree with this and many skeptics disagree with this.

      • Heh… Mosh is pretty sure of himself with 101, and Tom hits him with 501…
        That ‘chemical mix’ analogy is very interesting.

    • No, it’s extremely easy if there’s evidence. Climate can have much more than three contributions. The alleged human contribution only became significant approximately after the mid-20th century. What secular steadily rising trend? It’s just another ‘cyclical effect’, until shown otherwise.

      • Steven Mosher

        fails 101

      • It’s your not even wrong ‘logic’ that’s failing spectacularly.

      • nottawa rafter

        A couple of weeks ago I asked you what were the physics involved in the 1910-40 warming. You didn’t answer. So……….you fail 101.

      • Rafter I missed your question.
        But most likely a combination of human and natural causes

        Figuring out how much noise how much cycle and how much secular trend is the problem.

        Denying that all three exist is skeptical nonsense

      • And now for something real. Chaotic changes in means and variance whose cause may be undetectably small. It makes it all quite unpredictable – and seems quite a difficult idea for some to grasp. There is no ‘secular trend’ – it makes no sense at all in a system that resets the zero every few decades.

      • Mosher uttered: “Figuring out how much noise how much cycle and how much secular trend is the problem. ”


        Anyone who’s been paying attention will have noticed the consensus argued the warming couldn’t have been noise or cycles, and those who argued otherwise were naught but a bunch of anti-science deniers with nefarious motives. Now they argue the pause must be noise or cycles or both, but still say the warming couldn’t be the flip side of this. And why does a century or millenial scale cycle (which history clearly shows existed well before CO2 became the devil incarnate) get such a short shrift when their existence has a comparible level of evidence to, say, CO2 being a control knob for temperature?

        Logic? Nope, none there, they’d rather use emotion to “win” the arguement and “save” us. I don’t need or want no stinking emotional arguement from people who call themselves scientists – leave that to the politicians, and if you don’t, you just became one (a politician) yourself Miss Scientist!

      • The temperature has risen by 0.7 C since 1970 (land more than 1 C) and sea level has risen 70 mm since just 1990. This is not a normal behavior in trends, but it is easily explainable, unless you have removed the main mechanism from consideration for some reason known only to yourself.

      • nottawa rafter

        Jim D
        The important thing about the sea level rise rate is that per CU it has not accelerated in the last 20 years. If the rate accelerates then you will have something. If it stays at 3.2 mm then the new rate is not notable over the last 135 years. Unless you think 4 inches per century is notable.

        I await the CU update from their May 23 data.

      • It is ten times the average rise rate of the last few millennia. It should be noted as something unusual already even though it has just started.

      • nottawa rafter

        Jim D
        Right after mentioning CU I see the data were updated today. And guess what. It is still at 3.2 mm. They have been saying for 25 years it is just getting started. When will it start is the question.

        If the rate acceleration doesn’t start in say 5 years, is it likely to give you pause? The World Wonders.

      • The temperature that Polar Sea Ice melts and freezes is the set point for Earth’s temperature regulation. That never changes. The temperature cycle has been the same for ten thousand years. It snows more when the Polar Oceans are open and it snows less when the Polar Oceans are frozen. CO2 cannot change the temperature that Oceans freeze and thaw. Ocean effect snow is turned on and off to maintain this stable cycle. The equilibrium cannot shift. It cycles up and down across the set point.

    • Gellman repeats this over and over. But what is his point? I believe in those three things. Does that mean I must believe in worldwide mitigation? I’m not sure if he’s talking to real skeptics, or to the Sky Dragon strawman version that AGW believers think is all there is.

      • Steven Mosher

        No his point is this. When you add a cycle and trend and noise
        you will not see a monotonic rise. Therefore, periods of dips, periods of stasis, dont really on their face tell you anything.

        the pause kills nothing.

      • The pause is killing the hysteria, like ice water blankets.

      • “the pause kills nothing.”

        Doesn’t it kill the belief that we have effective climate models?

      • For the pause to not bring a pause to reflect and deeply question makes AGW into a sort of Zombie belief, I think.

      • The pause is academically interesting as it was unexpected, but not yet scientifically interesting as it, as yet, proves nothing either way.


      • “When you add a cycle and trend and noise you will not see a monotonic rise. Therefore, periods of dips, periods of stasis, dont really on their face tell you anything.”
        Don’t tell you _anything_? Or don’t tell you that Sky Dragons are right? It certainly might tell us things about climate sensitivity, no? Or that we underestimated the proportional of natural variability in the attribution problem? Or that GCMs are working so poorly as to be unusable as evidence for sensitivity?
        Not saying it tells us those things, but a long enough pause certainly might, correct?

      • Gellman:

        Can people really not grasp this trivially simple idea? That you have the sum of these three terms, and if we wait until the secular term, the anthropogenic term, gets really, really big, until it drowns out the other two, is that really so hard to explain?

        This is Gellman’s point that is worth debating.

        What is really, really big? (2K)

        When will the secular term get really really big? (2050)

        Will it drown out the other two terms? (Unknown)

      • If the pause kills nothing, the late-20th C rise is also meaningless. You can’t have it both ways.

    • There is also a significant difference between “can have” and “has”. It’s possible, even plausible, but not proven.

    • Gell-Mann is a pure scientist. He has clearly not been exposed to the politicization of climate science, and expresses just the science on its own merits. This is the way it should be. You could tell from the video that he even had no patience for Revkin trying to put social science issues to him.

  7. I was sent a free Kindle copy of Rud Istvan’s book a day or so ago. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in it. It looks like it will take a while to get through though. I believe the thing is over 500 pages.

    • 529 according to Amazon, in recommended font. Do not dispair. Lots of pictures make the book file size large and page count very deceptive. The essays are to be sipped and savored, like wine. Not read through all at once. Regards, Brandon.

      • Well done Rud, I hope it does well.

      • Ugh. I had to stop reading the book. The Climate Change section has a page which says:

        Creating AGW via homogenization is not only a NOAA NCDC practice. NASA GISS also generally cooled the past, contrary to its Tokyo explanation. And after 2007 also warmed the present to minimize the pause.

        By how much is obvious by comparing two decadal averages, the periods 1945-55 and 1960-70, both before the US implemented TOBS and MMTS changes, and before the rise in temperature that the IPCC associated with AGW (essay CAGw). Three successive public versions of those decadal NASA GISS global temperature anomalies show NASA’s tampering with recorded history:11

        Such fiddles exaggerate any AGW signal. They artificially provide the probably false but oft repeated media observations that the first 21st century decade was the warmest on ‘record’.

        Footnote 11 gives this unhelpful reference:

        Originally compiled by JoAnne Nova on her eponymous blog. George Orwell in his 1984 did not foresee the Wayback Machine. Thank goodness.

        Saying material was posted on a blog does little to allow people to track it down. I won’t bother trying to right now. I found this page which uses the same figures (as its figures 14-16). From there, I had an easy enough time tracking down the figures for the three figures. When I did, I found the 1980 and 1987 GISS temperature series were land-only. The 2007 GISS series uses land and ocean data.

        Land-only data sets are different from land+ocean data sets. It is incredibly misleading to present them as the same thing. You cannot do that then expect me to listen when you accuse people of fiddling with data to get the desired results.

        It’s bad enough the book pretends the results have changed only because things have been altered when in reality the results have changed mostly because of additional data being added to the data set, but now every time I look at a graph in the book, I’m going to have to check its provenance to make sure it actually shows what I’m told it shows. And doing that will require I use references which are beyond unhelpful (some, such as reference 12 in the same section, are flat-out wrong).

  8. Steven Mosher


    “Shouting at Conservatives that they are wrong, irrational, or misguided is not going to help. Climate change is still seen as toxic and left-wing to many on the centre-right. It is therefore incumbent on anyone who is serious about long-lasting political consensus on climate change to find ways of bringing moderate conservatives into the debate. A global agreement in Paris isn’t going to happen without them.”

    like moshpit says. If you believe the planet is at stake, then you have a moral obligation to try something different in your communication strategy.

    Lots of options of course.

    What hasnt worked?

    1. appeal to consensus
    2. call them deniers
    3. make fun of them
    4. snip, block, moderate them.
    5. attack their motives.
    6. steal their documents

    • Steven,
      The one thing the climate obsedssed refuse to do is to critically examine the tenets of their faith.

      • Steven Mosher

        The one thing the climate obsedssed refuse to do is to critically examine the tenets of their faith.”

        that is a tenet of your faith.

      • Steven,
        To the contrary, I am amenable to information. Of the ‘big names’ in the climate consensus, who is openly questioning the high sensitivities and predictions of doom of the consensus? Perhaps I missed the NOVA special talking about how we just might possibly not be facing a climate apocalypse. Perhaps I missed the National Geographic special issue that answers their infamous “What’s Up with the Weather?” special question with “Nothing Special”.
        And being so busy perhaps I missed Holdren’s big speech that he is going to advise the President to drop the extreme climate position basis for US policy.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Of the ‘big names’ in the climate consensus, who is openly questioning the high sensitivities and predictions of doom of the consensus? ”

        changing the conditions of the statement.

        now if I name a big name, you will say

        “no a really big name”

        true scotsman so hard to find.

    • Hi Steve

      George created one of the very first Halls of Shame for Deniers. and put Lindzen, Soon and Llomborg into it.. (linking them to fossil fuels)

    • Mosher,

      like moshpit says. If you believe the planet is at stake, then you have a moral obligation to try something different in your communication strategy.

      Lots of options of course.

      What hasnt worked?

      1. appeal to consensus
      2. call them deniers
      3. make fun of them
      4. snip, block, moderate them.
      5. attack their motives.
      6. steal their documents

      There’s more important issues than these. The main one is to LISTEN and ACKNOWLEDGE why your beliefs are being rejected.

      Compromises can be reached so both sides get what they want, but all sides have to come out winners – especially in the short term.

      To appeal to Conservatives and rationalists, you need to UNDERSTAND and ACKNOWLEDGE their reasons for opposing you.

      From my perspective, I’ll support anything I believe will improve economic growth throughout the world (short term and medium term – the long term will sort itself out and future generations will handle it much better than the current lot of self appointed experts on projecting the future).

      I don’t want:

      big government
      delegating more power to the UN
      centralised control
      regulations imposed by fiat
      Higher taxes – such as the carbon taxes or Cap and trade (which has the same effect as carbon taxes)
      policies that will damage economic development

      Therefore, if you want to achieve your objectives, you and your ilk need to ask Conservatives, listen, understand, acknowledge, reach agreement then get out of the way and allow the Conservatives, given their greater expertise, to deliver what’s agreed!

    • bringing moderate conservatives into the debate

      Conservatives are in the debate. It is the Alarmists who will not debate.

  9. Hi Judy,

    We almost certainly know that Feynman would be skeptical of alarmist science. On YouTube, there is a video of him, and in it he states that he prefers to live in a world of uncertainty as opposed to certainty.


    • Hi JD, I suspect that is true. He certainly has made some excellent statements regarding uncertainty and doubt.

    • Anyone living in a world of certainty is a delusionist.

    • It’s unseemly to speculate about what would Feynman say. It’s very similar and just as weak as a straw-man.

    • Hi JD. I suspect you might be right.
      RF was not only an inspiration for my carbons inventions (his 1964 Caltech commencement address, aka Cargo Cult Science, rat maize example is the relevant comment), but his 62-63 CalTech physics lectures provided direct physics support in Volume 2, 11-7. Enabled me to develop an alternative rigourous mathematical physics treatment of the Helmholtz double layer, from which all the materials inventions then flowed.

      • I have a really unusual Helmholtz double layer property. I am using fractured nanotube that have PEG attached as chemotherapeutic drug transporters. I target them using peptidyl-ends, with peptides chosen from phage display libraries to cell receptors upregulated on cancer cell surfaces.
        I wanted to use the same vectors for MRI, so we added DTPA on the peptidyl ends. No problem. Added gadolinium II, precipitation. Added gadolinium II to PEG-vectors without peptides, no precipitation. Added gadolinium II to PEG-vectors with peptides but no DTPA, precipitation.
        The affidity of the peptides is huge, so we are looking at a really nice bit of 2D/3D surface interaction. GdII should not play with peptides.

  10. Our brains are not “wired to ignore climate change”.

    In fact the opposite is true – we seem to be more hard-wired for fear and a belief that “The End Of The World Is Nigh”. And this continues, no matter how many prophecies of doom turn out to be wrong – the 1970s ice age scare, the Paul Ehrlich predictions of mass starvation, the oil-running-out scares, the Club of Rome,… and climate hysteria is just the latest manifestation.

    Frank Furedi has a related online course that looks very interesting:
    The History of Fear

    By the end of the course, you will have learned:
    * why the globalised world has become paralysed by fear…
    * the reasons behind our fascination with the apocalypse.

    • Note too the vast human capability for assuming guilt even when praise is due.

      • Yes, that’s a very interesting point, one which I’ve pondered for a long time

        My (tentative) conclusion ? We are hard-wired for free-floating guilt through evolutionary selection. The advantage of this seems to be a way of ensuring some sort of social coherence. Those relatively few who don’t share this trait are described as “beyond the pale” (ie. tossed out from the collective protection of the tribe)

        Certainly, the power of free-floating guilt is undeniable. It has been constantly and easily exploited by politicians/priests for about 4 million years. If one carefully observes an active chimp colony for 30 minutes or so, the force of guilt as a control agent becomes apparent – so it seems to be a basic primate trait, not just homo sapiens

        Manipulation of this trait is easily seen in activist climate change propaganda. Think of the grandchildren, don’t you care about the polar bears, you’re trashing the planet, you only think of your own sinful comfort … on and on

      • Yes I think you are right kim – the guilt and fear go together. Religion plays a role here.

    • “Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change”

      Ya – this conjures up all other aspects of brains –

      We’re evolved to be irrational and over-react to perceived ( and imagined ) threats.

      • “We’re evolved to be irrational and over-react to perceived ( and imagined ) threats.”

        What sort of evolutionary selection pressure would that place on ‘ irrational and over-reactive’ genes? Lets see, over reaction gives lost opportunity cost and under reaction gives death. So the optimal steady state position is to be slightly over reactive, with a slight loss of opportunity, but not eaten by Tiger.

        You do know that there are whole libraries of papers on the game theory of evolutionary biology of risk analysis?
        You do know that individual and societal success are directly dependent on risk/benefit analysis don’t you?

      • Yes, we’re evolved to panic at a rustling in the bushes, imagining a tiger, when it’s a tapir instead.

        Just as we panic about imagined climate change disasters without reason.

    • There’s also Matt Ridley in The Rational Optimist and the article Apocalypse Not. http://www.rationaloptimist.com/blog/apocalypse-not.aspx. I’m planning a blog post based on it with a chronological overview of all the failed doomsday predictions.

    • Paul,
      Another example of how Matthews is not only less than well informed but disenguous is how he skips over the existance of ancient stories about climate-like apocalypse: People were very concerned about dramatic changes in climate, like floods for instance, and have been over millenia.
      He does this to avoid the obvious conclusion of any consideration of hard wiried people: That he and his fellow climate obsessed fanatics are the ones refusing to use the rational parts of their brains when it comes to concerns about climate fear.

    • But it’s also true that we are “wired to ignore climate change”, for example in the sense that we tend to prioritize problems here and now over those that are supposed happen in the year 2100. I just don’t think that’s irrational. We know too little about the far future to be able to deal with it, anyway.

    • I met Frank Furedi last month when he was guest speaker at The
      Institute of Public Affairs in Melbourne. Speaking on threats to
      free speech, he thinks tolerance is vital because it presupposes
      all other freedoms.

      Even though a lot of Frank Furedi’s family died in the Holocaust,
      he still considers it is wrong to suppress an idea bureaucratically,
      better to be debated, argued over and ultimately discredited.

  11. Prof. Curry,

    “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman” is also well worth reading in my opinion.

    The Feynman lectures are available online, at http://www.feynmanlectures.info if anyone is interested. Feynman’s approach to many things can be seen in the the following quote which he included in the preface : –

    “The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.” (Gibbon)”

    Who could fail to be impressed with a first rate mind, obviously firmly connected to the real world, and with a sense of humour to boot?

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

  12. Matthew R Marler

    Although it was published in 2011, I just got around to reading Gleick’s book Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman [amazon].

    My copy is copyrighted 1992. Is that a second edition or something?

  13. Anyone who enjoys books by and about Richard Feynman would probably also enjoy the autobiography of his fellow physics Nobel laureate and Manhattan Project alumni, Luis Alvarez:


    His unorthodox projects included analyzing the Zapruder film, looking for chambers in pyramids and discovering the iridium layer left by the impact that wiped out the dinosaurs. He also didn’t like peer review.

  14. “…you might think that surviving a weather disaster would raise your alert level on climate change… people just want to get their lives back to normal and not worry about some even larger threat.”

    Who are these passive “people” George Marshall refers to? Perhaps reflections of himself and the very oddly described “ethicist”, Clive Hamilton? People zombified and stultified by green dogma? Eco-sleepwalkers?

    Survivors of the Great Flood of 1913 could think of nothing but masterful engineering for future and larger threats. Likewise the survivors of Galveston 1900 raised the height of their entire city and built a hugely ambitious seawall which saved many lives when another cat 4 hit the town in 1915.

    But, of course, Galveston, Chicago-Peshtigo, Dayton…these aren’t the weather disasters George wanted us to think or talk about. The dates are all wrong for his purposes, aren’t they?

    • That line caught my eye too. I live on the coast, where hurricanes are part of life. The (expensive) infrastructure for them is all around us. The idea that people don’t “worry” about weather threats – much less tax and spend to prepare for them – is silly.
      The difference is in how they prepare. Intelligent people get ready for hurricanes. The warm want to pretend they can eliminate hurricanes by signing treaties in Paris and erecting windmills.

  15. Reblogged this on evilincandescentbulb and commented:
    If we want to do more than just speculate, we must consider the history of the physical world around us before we can know the significance of our part in it. Depending on our holistic views you may not be happy with an objective evaluation of the facts if you secretly want humanity to have a starring role in climate change.

  16. Many thanks again, Judith. Your readership and their comments really helped hone the essays. And not just those portions previously guest posted here. All the others, too. One gets from thoughtful comment feedback a much deeper sense of what styles of argumentation and evidence are most effective in such politicized topic areas. Warm regards.

  17. I just finished Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick on a recommendation by RGB at Duke. Very good book available for a penny (used, paperback, plus shipping) from Amazon. A bargain at twice the price. Also on Kindle.

  18. Non-light reading for a long, cold winter:

    Geoffrey Parker’s “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century.”

  19. Thanks Judy for the review. Just FYI for those interested:
    *The paperback should ship soon
    *A Kindle version follows a bit later
    *A UK (and other nation) edition should also be up soon

    ASU-CSPO is experimenting with a new publishing model and I’m happy to be a guinea pig. But I’d guess that there might be a few bumps along the way. This is their 3rd book in the “Rightful Place of Science” Series.

    I’m happy to drop back in an answer any questions etc. I’m pleased to have all this in between one set of covers.

    • Roger, cannot wait to read it. But since all my bookshelves were full years ago ( plus massive boxes more in storage), I must await the ebook version. Hopefully out very soon. Highest regards to a front line soldier.

  20. The link to the Amazon page for Gleick’s book seems to be wrong.

    • Growing up in the South during the Civil rights push of the 1960’s, Marhsall stands out clearly as a bigot with a large vocabulary and some credentials. Our hostess has made a mistake imho of giving a shallow reactionary far more attention than he deserves.

      • ‘ reactionary ‘
        One of THOSE words isn’t it; a reactionary someone who is passionate about something you despise, Martin Luther King Jr was a reactionary against the political structure of the Democratic South.

    • John Robertson

      Hi Judith, as Ken says the Amazon link is bad. Should be Amazon

  21. George’s leaves out a lot… ;-)

    when mentioning that Chris Rapley is not keen on engaging Rising Tide activists that invaded the Science museum, but happy to talk to Shell, to get sponsorship..

    George forgets to mention to the reader, that he George Marshall, founded Rising Tide…


    and that George created the Rising Tide – Halls of Shame and put deniers LIndzen, Lomborg, Soon, into it over a decade ago..(smeared with fossil fuel innuendo)

    So when George expalins he is talking about denial in a pure psychological sense, the word being ‘problematic’. I just think he is a 2 faced activist… (he made a video – how to talk to a climate change denier, saying the word was ‘problematic’ – Ben Pile’s response was accurate (but harsh)


    George Marshall is still on the board of the Campaign Against Climate change, which also has a Hall of Shame with deniers in it,


    the same list as as when Mark Lynas and Marshall Who’s Who of deniers – 2003 New Statesman article. (Lindzen, Soon, etc)

    Mark Lynas (ref in the comments – An Opening Mind – Climate Etc) said the Hall of Shame is shameful, and he stepped down from the board of the Campaign Against Climate Change, (CaCC) soon after..

    When I asked George a few weeks later, on his blog climatedenial.org perhaps it would be wise to – drop his link on his blog roll to a Hall of Shame – (the one he created at Rising Tide!) if he wanted to be seen as sincere, and perhaps advise the CaCC to drop theirs, he refused to post my comments, and made out he had been receiving abusive comments..

    When he drops his Hall of Shame, I’ll believe he has moved on. and is sincere

    George is basically saying activist spend too much time fighting sceptics and deniers. He does NOT say that people should talk to sceptics, he wants them to be ignored. In the book he labels sceptics/deniers/deniallsts as politically motivated by ideology.

  22. A fan of @MORE@ discourse

    GoodReaders overwhelmingly ACCEPT climate-science
    GoodReaders overwhelminglyREJECT market-fundamentalism


    #01: Flight Behavior
    by Barbara Kingsolver
    3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 43,154 ratings — published 2012

    Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern …more

    #02: This Changes Everything:
    Capitalism vs. The Climate

    by Naomi Klein
    4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 596 ratings — published 2014
    Forget everything you think you know about global warming. It’s not about carbon – it’s about capitalism. The good news is that we can seize this existential crisis to transform our failed economic system and build something radically better. In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein, author of …more

    #03: 10:04
    by Ben Lerner
    4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 560 ratings — published 2014
    In the last year, the narrator of 10:04 has enjoyed unlikely literary success, has been diagnosed with a potentially fatalmedical condition, and has been asked by his best friend to help her conceive a child. In a New York of increasingly frequent superstorms andsocial unrest, he must reckon with hi …more

    #04: The Sixth Extinction:
    An Unnatural History

    by Elizabeth Kolbert
    4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 3,303 ratings — published 2014
    A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes Over the last half a billion years, there have been five mass extinctions, when the diversity of life on earth suddenly an …more

    #05: Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1)
    by Paolo Bacigalupi
    3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 24,490 ratings — published 2010
    In America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached …more

    #06: Solar
    by Ian McEwan
    3.2 of 5 stars 3.20 avg rating — 14,276 ratings — published 2010
    The literary event of the season: a new novel from Ian McEwan, as surprising as it is masterful. Michael Beard is a Nobel prize–winning physicist whose best work is behind him. Trading on his reputation, he speaks for enormous fees, lends his name to the letterheads of renowned scientific institutio …more

    #07: The Collapse of Western Civilization:
    A View from the Future

    by Naomi Oreskes
    3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 165 ratings — published 2014
    The year is 2393, and a senior scholar of the Second People’s Republic of China presents a gripping and deeply disturbing account of how the children of the Enlightenment, the political and economic elites of the so-called advanced industrial societies, entered into a Penumbral period in the early d …more

    #81: Odds Against Tomorrow
    by Nathaniel Rich
    3.3 of 5 stars 3.30 avg rating — 1,050 ratings — published 2013
    A novel about fear of the future—and the future of fearNew York City, the near future: Mitchell Zukor, a gifted young mathematician, is hired by a mysterious new financial consulting firm, FutureWorld. The business operates out of an empty office in the Empire State Building; Mitchell is employee nu …more

    #09: Countdown: Our Last Best Hope
    for a Future on Earth?

    by Alan Weisman
    4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 454 ratings — published 2013
    A powerful investigation into the chances for humanity’s future from the author of the bestseller The World Without Us. In his bestselling book The World Without Us, Alan Weisman considered how the Earth could heal and even refill empty niches if relieved of humanity’s constant pressures. Behind that …more

    #10: Merchants of Doubt:
    How a Handful of Scientists
    Obscured the Truth
    on Issues from Tobacco Smoke
    to Global Warming

    by Naomi Oreskes
    4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 1,082 ratings — published 2010
    The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on such areas as public health, environmental science, and issues affecting quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small …more

    FOMD Notices  Women occupy five-of-ten top places. Good on `yah, Barbara Kingsolver, Naomi Klein, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Naomi Oreskes (2X)!

    Conclusion  The reading public overwhelmingly accepts climate-science and overwhelmingly rejects too-narrow short-sighted market-fundamentalism.

    Question  Why do Climate Etc commenters rail against realities that the literate public enthusiastically appreciates?

    The world wonders!

    The denialist answer  Scientists, mathematicians, engineers, artists, poets, business leaders, military leaders, and religious leaders are are dummies … and so is the reading public!

    This brand of ignorance sure saves the time-and-effort of learning-and-thinking, eh Climate Etc denialists?

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

    • “THE WORLD’S BOOK-SHELF GoodReaders”

      And who are these people, and do they represent a reasonable cross-section of society?

    • You are kidding, right?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      jeremyp99 wonders “Who are these Goodreaders?” 

      mkelly is amazed  “You are kidding, right?”

      It is indeed scarcely credible that any literate person could be ignorant of the 21st century’s burgeoning Goodreads community, whose 30 million members to date have compiled 34 million book-reviews.

      Yet ignorance knows no bounds, and the willful ignorance that sustains denialism’s comforting illusions of competence” is constantly amazing (to many people, including FOMD)!

      Goodreads motto  The right book in the right hands at the right time can change the world.

      For fighting the good fight against ignorance, good on `yah, Goodreaders!

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      • I don’t join clubs. I’m a total bookworm, have been since I could read, am quite capable of reaching my own conclusions about books, read fiction and non-fiction and – say, where’s the poll?

    • AFOMD,

      World population is around 7,000,000,000.

      Goodreads, according to you, has around 0.5 % of the population interested in what it represents.

      By your figures, 99.5% of the world’s population don’t even give a tinker’s curse about the existence of Goodreads, let alone what the members think.

      You ask why the world wonders.

      I suggest that the world has indicated its complete lack of wonder, by ignoring your authors and their books, by a vast majority. You may wish that the minority, of which are apparently enamoured, should be able to bend the vast majority to their will, but I fear you will be sorely disappointed.

      Maybe you would be more content if you could bring yourself to accept facts.

      No science, no warming – no wonder, really.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

  23. “So there is at least one honest scientist that can separate his politics from the science.”

    Pretty low body count.

  24. Denial is due to a surplus of culture rather than a deficit of information. ~George Marshall

    … and, any culture that appreciates the value in using common sense will understand that a ‘warmist’ wouldn’t have to make up facts if global warming was for real.

  25. “Hansen has been proven both right and wrong. He was right because “crying wolf” put the issue high on the international agenda.” ~George Marshall

    Marshall never gets around to telling us where Hansen was ‘wrong’ but apparently it was in not telling the media to avoid exaggerating and making a big deal over it –e.g., global warming is real but it’s not, catastrophic, shocking, terrifying, nor devastating.

    • A fan of @MORE@ discourse

      Wagathon claims [ludicrously wrongly]  “Marshall  never gets around  immediately, plainly, and directly gets around to telling us where Hansen was ‘wrong’ “

      Error by Wagathon, correction by FOMD!

      Climate Etc readers are encourage to verify for themselves that Wagathon’s claims are ludicrously wrong!

      “In 1989 NASA scientist James Hansen asked “Must we wait until the prey, in this case the world’s environment, has been mangled by the wolf’s grip?” He disagreed with the wider scientific community that a few years might discredit the whole issue.

      The time to cry wolf is here, he [Hansen] said.

      Hansen has been proven both right and wrong. He was right because “crying wolf” put the issue high on the international agenda. But the concern that a few cool years could undermine trust was well founded. […]

      There is no easy answer to the question of how to best communicate the serious threats contained in [climate] science.

      Climate Etc readers appreciate that, in the climate-science and/or climate-fiction literature, whenever a character consistently speaks in the willfully ignorant language of Wagathon …

      …  that character is either a hired agent of special interests, or an unwitting stooge, or a willfully ignorant fruitcake!

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

      • …nothing but mere insults sandwiched together as an argument.

      • AFOMD,

        I support your view that people like Hansen, and the various other buffoons, whether of the Blundering Bollywood variety, or the Bearded Balding kind, are either dupes, fools or frauds.

        Good on yah, AFOMD!

        There is a saying that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence (or taste) of the American public. You continue to set a low bar to hurdle, so that the feeble minded don’t have to exert themselves too much.

        Keep up the good work AFOMD! You make the rest of us look positively brilliant by comparison!

        No need to thank me, it’s my pleasure to point out what should be blindingly obvious to the average goldfish.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

  26. The problem I have with the writing of George Marshall is he seems to think a lot more of Mann than he does, humanity; and, that seems to translate into some amazing conclusions about the FOI2009.pdf disclosures and the “nature trick” and a really crazy take on the 2007 media debate (‘Global Warming Is Not a Crisis’) with Michael Crichton, Richard Lindzen and Phillip Stott on one side and Brenda Ekwurzel, Gavin Schmidt and Richard Somerville on the other.

  27. Climate variability is not cyclic – it is episodic. Every 30 or so years it seems. Potentially extreme and proceeding at a rapid pace determined by the system itself as tremendous energies cascade through powerful mechanisms. Better characterized as changes in control variables driving the system past a threshold at which stage the system is destabilized as multiple positive and negative feedbacks kick in – cloud, ice, snow, dust, biology – until it finds a new quasi equilibrium.

    This is a vastly different concept to cycles, noise and a secular trend. Minor modern warming – some 0.2K – that might be attributed to anthropogenic emissions is set against a backdrop of vigorous variability at all scales.

    • Rob

      Episodic is a better and more accurate phrase than cyclic. I increasingly use the term to describe the LIA. It seems apparent that it was not one monolithic deep freeze from 1200 to 1850 or whatever, but a series of cold or very cold episodes interspersed with some periods around as warm as today.


      • There are untidy cycles, but there is, above all, just untidy change. While you don’t have to take tree rings or lake sediments or Wandjina art gaps etc too literally as evidence of anything, it’s hard to escape the idea of this brief Holocene as a succession of huge swings in sea levels, precipitation, temps…you name it.

        It’s just the stuff that comes before and after “this brief Holocene” that makes the present period seem climatically stable – that, and our brief lives, where we don’t get to live through the decline of Angkor post MWP or glaciers swallowing European villages at the peak of the LIA.

  28. Using the logic of the PNAS article, given confirmation and disconfirmation biases that underlie motivated reasoning, the length of the hiatus, has given way to the fact of the hiatus, which is now being transformed into the weight to be given the fact of the hiatus, according to what does and does not support existing viewpoints. In other words, the scientific method is deader’n’a’doornail!

  29. I’m a skeptic and libertarian, and I’ve bought about 15 LED bulbs. Two of the $7 died within a few months. Another smaller one over the vanity went to half powers for some reason. So, I’m sure Marshall will blame this on my politics, but I don’t believe I’ll be getting any more expensive LED bulbs until I can be sure I get the promised 25 years.

    And frankly, if anyone want me to read a book about how stupid I am, they will have to comp me one, even if it’s the electronic version. If someone does that, I’ll read it on Dr. Curry’s recommendation.

    Otherwise, I’ll just have to live my stupid life with my political, not scientific, motivations. Right.

  30. I am reading Rud’s new book (great stuff here) along with The Undocumented Mark Steyn (supporting the lawsuit and really enjoying the book) and Pascal Bruckner’s The Fanaticism of the Apocalypse (Donna LaFramboise recommendation………not an easy read). I plan to add Pielke Jr’s book when available on Kindle.

  31. “Research shows that among people who think the world is fair, apocalyptic messages reduce belief in climate change, because climate catastrophe seems so unjust.”

    So something or someone with the vague tag “research” has been push-polling for useless data using terms sufficiently diffuse and subjective as to be pointless when not meaningless. And they were paid to do it? And George Marshall or the WaPo gets around to not just reading but actually quoting this slop?

    “And they should develop a language of forgiveness, so people can deal with their green guilt rather than turn to denial. ”

    The above was not written in Phnom Penh in 1978, but in this August’s WaPo.

    “He visits with fellow environmentalists, with psychologists and policy analysts, and with political opponents — even sharing a few laughs in the lair of 40 Texas tea partyers — to try to understand just why people are so prone to deny or ignore climate change.”

    I’ve never met anybody who denies that climate changes. But I haven’t been to any of them thar “lairs” lately.

    It’s beyond patronising. It’s matronising.

    • George has marshalled the art of the passive agressive (plausible deniability) smear.

      his bit on the Trick to hide teh decline, would make Mann and sceptical science blush.. trick and decline.. but forgetsthe ‘hide’

      also his comment on Lewandowsky’s research and deniers being conspiratational was funny. Somebody forgot to tell him, Fury was retracted (that’s you reviewer Dr Adam Corner) and why

  32. Nice bookshelf you have, Judy, all worth reading. But how you managed to finish a 529 page e-book in this short time is a mystery to me. As I contemplated this book list there was one thought that kept coming up: where is the review of my book that you should be reading? It is called “What Warming?” and it would balance some of the warmist stuff you have there. In he introduction I lay my cards on the table at the beginning, like that: “What Warming? questions the existence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) …” and then go on to give a quick review of what is in it. I start off by pointing out that global temperature has been falsified and prove it by comparing official temperatures with satellite data. The so-called “late twentieth century warming” became non-existent because of that. I was also led to unravel the cause of the ENSO oscillation while trying to analyze that fake warming. And that in turn showed me that there is no such thing as volcanic cooling. This followed naturally from comprehending the eruptions of just two volcanoes – El Chichon and Pinatubo. I can’t cover everything but Arctic warming stood out as a problem to me. Kaufman et al had just shown that Arctic warming started suddenly at the turn of the twentieth century, prior to which there was nothing but two thousand years of slow, linear cooling in the Arctic. That told me immediately that greenhouse warmong was not involved and checking the Keeling curve proved it because there was no increase of carbon dioxide at the turn of the century. I decided that the only way to warm the Arctic was if the North Atlantic current system was reorganized at the turn of the century to carry warm gulf stream water into the Arctic. This was a hypothesis of course because there were no experimental observations but there simply was no alternative to it. Anyway, the book comes out and darn it, one month after it a paper by Spielhagen et al. reports direct measurements of Arctic water temperature near Svalbard. They found that water temperature near Svalbard exceeded anything known for the the last two thousand years in the Arctic. This was too good to let go so I sat down and wrote a complete scientific article on that which appeared in E&E in 2011. Gave a copy to Judy too – you may still have it in your files.The book you can get at Amazon.

  33. I’m just in wonder over the diversity of subjects in your blog post history!

    Here are some of my faves:

    On bias: “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Khaneman

    Behavioral economics: “Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

    Uncertainty and Chaos vs statistics: “The Black Swan…” by Nicholas Nassim Taleb

    On invention and patent law and the strange arc of history: “The Most Powerful Idea in the World” by William Rosen


    On coal, history, energy: “Coal: A Human History” by Barbara Freese

    On deep biological time: “Life on a Young Planet” by Andrew H .Knoll

    On the most catastrophic pollution event in history, sort of: “Oxygen…” by Nick Lane

    On climate change, science history, ice ages, Wegeman, Croll, Milankovich: “Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages” by Douglas MacDougal

  34. Nassim Taleb ‘Antifragile ‘.Hey, and Lewis Carroll ./Alice in
    ‘Wonderland’ is good too and,oh, James Thurber on the war
    between men and women.’ )

  35. The 5th Anniversary of the first Climategate release of emails is fast approaching.

    This would be the optimal time for any post(s) reviewing the content and significance of the Climategate files, 5 years on….

  36. Alexej Buergin

    Oh dear.
    OK then.

  37. I just looked at George Marshall’s book on Amazon. The very first words of the book plunge straight into Godwin’s law with a holocaust denial smear. I have to say I think Ben Pile’s description of Marshall mentioned by Barry above is accurate.

    • George casually smears ‘sceptic Richard Lindzen’ -when he describes examples of Godwin’s Law and climate science communications (yet George started the book with a Godwin!) this is the only mention of Lindzen in the entire book, with a Nazi linkage/framing/innuendo

      Chapter 22 – Powerful Words

      “Michael Crichton and the sceptic Richard Lindzen freely compare climate science with Nazi Race Theory.”

      (why no description of climate scientist Prof Lindzen of MIT George?]

      George provides the reader with no references, not even on the website he says the references for the book are. (LIndzen according to his bio, his family escaped Nazi Germany in 1940, and he is Jewish.)

      Lindzen wrote in 1995, comparing the politicization, advocacy of scientists and eugenics in the West and America (not Nazi race theory, as George describes it) with Global Warming an anology of a science going off the rails. he of course, mentions that eugenics was quickly and quietly forgotten by the Western world, following WW2 and the Nazi’s.

      So here is that ‘reference’ for George Marshall to add to his book:

      Science and Politics: Global Warming and Eugenics – 1995

      “The issue of global warming has been one of the more confusing and misleading issues to be presented to the public. Despite the absence of a significant scientific basis for most predictions, the public has been led to believe that there is an overwhelming scientific consensus that the issue is a matter of immediate urgency requiring massive control of energy usage. The first part of this paper will briefly describe this situation. The thought that scientists would allow such an abuse of science is difficult for most laymen to believe. However, I suggest that what is happening may, in fact, be the normal behavior to be expected from the interaction of science, advocacy groups, and politics.

      A study of an earlier example of such an interaction, the interaction of genetics, eugenics and immigration law during the early part of this century, reveals almost analogous behavior.

      Global Warming as a Public Issue
      Temperature change v. warming Global warming, as a public issue, is a semantic quagmire. First there is confusion over the use of the expression ‘global warming.’ At times, the expression is used to refer to observed global temperature change. Here there is widespread agreement that the globally averaged temperature ofthe earth has increased somewhere between 0.3 and 0.6C over the past century, with a small but significant chance that the actual record might be outside this range. The change is also widely agreed to be within the range of natural variability”

      further extract:

      “.Somewhat by accident, I came to realize that we’ve been through all this before. The interaction of genetics, eugenics, and the politics of immigration in the early 1920’s has been studied at great length, primarily as an example of the misuse of science in the interests of racism. It was
      in this connection, that I was given an article by Jon Beckwith to read. However, whatever the implications of this case for the responsible application of biology, it is also a remarkable example of the interaction of science, advocacy, and politics. Although it will be obvious that I am neither
      an historian nor a social scientist, I find the history of this matter helpful in understanding contemporary environmental issues, and I would hope that those more capable than I am would examine it in a more professional manner. The following are my impressions of this issue. What
      I am discussing here is largely based on two books and a number of articles. I lay claim to no intensive searching of archives.
      The primary actors in this story are a biology community that had embarked on the study of human genetics, an advocacy movement, eugenics, that was intent on applying human genetics immediately to the betterment of the human race, and a political configuration concerned with
      America’s alarm over immigration. I will focus on the American branch of this story, though the uglier example of a similar interaction in Germany is certainly better known. ”

      compared to Georges own cattle trucks, holocaust, Nazi’s, juntas people disappearing being taken away screaming in the night, and denial video, it’s rather mild.

      George I perceive was going for a cheap /smear/framing of Lindzen (and sceptics generally) in his book. So what has changed, he (and Mark Lynas) did that over a decade ago, put Lindzen in a list of climate deniers, and an oil/coal innuendo and with a similar misrepresentation to the reader, that Lindzen supposedly compared the environment movement to the Nazis.


      Who’s Who of Climate Deniers (Lynas/Marshall – 2003)

      “Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the only sceptic with credentials in the relevant area of climate science. His work focuses on atmospheric water vapour, which he claims will act through cloud formation to prevent excessive global warming. There is little evidence to support this hypothesis, which has gained no support from the wider scientific community. He has been a paid consultant to oil and coal interests in the US, and has compared the environmental movement to the Nazis.” – Marshall/Lynas


      I rang Mark Lynas last year – (referring to that article), and whether he still thought Lindzen views were in the pay of the oil industry (or anybody)
      Mark told me no, that that was very, very (very) unlikely, and whilst he thought Lindzen wrong on the science, he was wrong in interesting ways.

      I wonder what George Marshall would say,if somebody asked the same question about Prof Lindzen…?

  38. Marshall in the book makes a point about extreme framing, holocaust, genocide, and also mention Hansens’ death trains.. and he tries to pull the expert communicator observer framing, about how unhelpful this is!

    Yet as Paul points out, he starts the book in this manner..

    but where did Hansen get that idea coal death trains? was it from the environment movement itself perhaps.. did climate science itself pick up these themes form the environment activists?

    Here is a video of George Marshall, at Climate Camp (before Hansen) talking about people being in denial, running a workshop or his COIN organisation, and talking about denial, Nazi’s, Juntas and analogies of people being taken away in the middle of the night, in the case of the holocaust, cattle trucks taking people away screaming and coming back empty.

    a complete genocide analogy..
    (the full godwin, Nazi’s, Holocaust, cattletrucks, people screaming)

    and at climate camp, here is a young activist having just been educated about sceptics, denial and Exxon….

    a completly geocide analogy..

    George is a one trick pony, he 1st made the analogy of people in denial of coming climate catastrophe in the Ecologist in 2001! making a comparison to Jews in denial of what was to befall them, and other similar things, Junta’s disapearing people, etc)

    The Psychology of Denial:
    our failure to act against climate change – Marshall (2001)

    “In Beyond Judgement, Primo Levi, seeking to explain the refusal of many European Jews to recognise their impending extermination, quotes an old German adage: ‘Things whose existence is not morally possible cannot exist.’

    In the case of climate change, then, we can intellectually accept the evidence of climate change, but we find it extremely hard to accept our responsibility for a crime of such enormity. Indeed, the most powerful evidence of our denial is the failure to even recognise that there is a moral dimension with identifiable perpetrators and victims. The language of ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’, ‘human impacts’, and ‘adaptation’ are themselves a form of denial familiar from other forms of human rights abuse; they are scientific euphemisms that suggest that climate change originates in immutable natural forces rather than in a direct causal relationship with moral implications for the perpetrator. ”

    “….Anyone concerned about this issue faces a unique historical opportunity to break the cycle of denial, and join the handful of people who have already decided to stop being passive bystanders. The last century was marked by self-deception and mass denial. There is no need for the 21st Century to follow suit.

    George Marshall works with Risingtide, a recently formed network encouraging local action against climate change. ” – Ecologist 2001

    George has been making this type of framing, and educationg a couple of generations of student activist, and the climate movement in the UK for a couple of decades.

    George gets a mention in the climategate emails, when Michael Mann was trying to get hold of George Monbiot (Guardian) to help write a Guardian rebuttal to the Channel 4 – Great Global warming Swindle – George Marshall we find, was the person that gave Michael Mann’s email Monbiots email address – Marshall’s blog, being on Realclimarte’s blog roll from it’s very early days.

    Climate Communicator George, also leaves out from his bio, he co-founded UK Earth First (with the help of Goldsmith money from the ecologist)
    (Pages 47-48)


    • Buying this book serves to promulgate the warmist hysterics by helping this man financially. I wouldn’t buy anything he writes or produces.

    • A fan of @MORE@ discourse

      Summary  What this Climate Etc discussion has mainly established is (1) how narrowly denialists read combined with (1) the confidence and even pride that denialists repose in their narrow-minded ignorance.

      Very few folks respect timid, willfully ignorant, denialist short-sightedness, eh Climate Etc readers?

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      • I thought the IPCC in AR4 said that when emissions died away it would take a generation or so for temperatures to shrug off the effects.

      • You are truly FOMBS.

      • Fack is, if we improve our climate by warming, we can’t do it for very long.

      • In this article: We Are All Confident Idiots
        I read these two paragraphs

        The American author and aphorist William Feather once wrote that being educated means “being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don’t.” As it turns out, this simple ideal is extremely hard to achieve. Although what we know is often perceptible to us, even the broad outlines of what we don’t know are all too often completely invisible. To a great degree, we fail to recognize the frequency and scope of our ignorance.

        But I believe we already know what the Founding Fathers would think. As good citizens of the Enlightenment, they valued recognizing the limits of one’s knowledge at least as much as they valued retaining a bunch of facts. Thomas Jefferson, lamenting the quality of political journalism in his day, once observed that a person who avoided newspapers would be better informed than a daily reader, in that someone “who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Benjamin Franklin wrote that “a learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.” Another quote sometimes attributed to Franklin has it that “the doorstep to the temple of wisdom is a knowledge of our own ignorance.”

        Conclusion: So, we know what we know, be it right or wrong, but we don’t know what we don’t know and we sometimes don’t even suspect.

    • Thanks for the tip, Barry. I did find Marshall’s soft-cop approach as described in the WaPo to be a flimsy veneer. As soon as you see that word “communicator” these days you need to get ready for stunts, juggling, spin, massage, obfuscation and equivocation.

  39. Coming to a computer near you!

    The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels

    “With more politicians in climate science than scientists, the refining fire of debate has devolved into the burning of heretics. Alex Epstein’s The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels may make your blood boil, but his cool reason and cold, hard facts will lead us beyond hysterics to a much better future.”
    —PETER THIEL, technology entrepreneur and investor

    “If you want to see the power of fine logic, fine writing, and fine research, read Epstein’s book. In my long career, it is simply the best popular-market book about climate, environmental policy, and energy that I have read. Laymen and experts alike will be boggled by Epstein’s clarity.”
    —PATRICK J. MICHAELS, director, Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute

    “Alex Epstein has written an eloquent and powerful argument for using fossil fuels on moral grounds alone. A remarkable book.”
    —MATT RIDLEY, author of The Rational Optimist

    “In this brave book, Alex Epstein provides a clear, full-throated response to the catastrophists who want us to replace nearly all of our existing energy systems with expensive, incurably intermittent sources like wind and solar. We need more people like Alex who are willing to make the case for hydrocarbons. As Alex shows, those fuels are allowing billions of people to live fuller, freer, healthier lives.”
    —ROBERT BRYCE, author of Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper


  40. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Alex Epstein  “is a former fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute

    Well, there’s your problem, right there!

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  41. If Rud’s book is based on the stuff he’s posted here, then “Blowing Smoke” is a wonderfully accurate, if unintentionally ironic, title.

  42. Everyone knows history repeats, although not exactly, more like variations on a theme. This makes it fascinating to read about some historical events and see the parallels to current events. Probably something to do with human nature not changing or something. In any case, read this one and watch out for those who would force consensus upon you.


    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      The problem with dissidents is … they keep on dissenting!

      Good on `yah, Alexander Zinoviev!

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      • AFOMD,

        Why do you think there is a problem with dissidents? Are people not allowed dissent in FanWorld?

        I presume you are criticising any person who disagrees with you, because all you have is an extreme lack of fact to back up your odd minority assertions.

        If you cannot do any better than this, you may well be doomed to failure.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Thanks for that link. Pasternak knew that by publishing his novel outside the country to get around the gatekeepers that he was committing suicide. Nevertheless, he considered himself Russian and decided to stay in Russia.

  43. Gerhard Keller

    A simple question about ocean heat uptake:

    If we assume that, without any feedbacks, a doubling of CO2 would result in 1 °C global warming, and that 90% of this warmth would be uptaken by the oceans: What would be the remaining amount of temperature increase in the atmosphere?

  44. Any comment from Steve Mosher or the Berkley Earth crowd on Rud’s essay “When Data Isn’t”?

  45. Ted Carmichael

    Hi, Judy. I’m glad you mentioned the Gleick book on Feynman because I’ve not read that one, and I’m a big fan of Feynman. Gleick’s “The Information” is excellent, by the way. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it. It is an extremely well-written account of the history of information theory, from the earliest telegraph lines to the modern era … which sounds somewhat dry, perhaps, but I found it to be thoroughly interesting and very well researched. Gleick really does know how to write and, in this book at least, has done an excellent job of distilling a very complicated subject into accessible, even everyday, language.

  46. “So there is at least one honest scientist that can separate his politics from the science.”

    But we all know that 97% can’t. Or won’t.

  47. The really funny thing in the Gell-Mann interview is that it is very clear
    even after Murry repeated his point (with no changes) several times
    that interviewer Andrew C. Revkin did not understand what he was
    talking about!

  48. In that interview, Gell-Mann comes across as a bit of a simpleton, not grasping that the people and organisation doing the science have a monumental vested interest in promoting alarm rather than being objective and honest.

  49. And Marshall misses a blatantly obvious answer to Why Our Brains Are Wired To Ignore Climate Change:


  50. Judith,

    After reading Rud’s essay “When Data Isn’t” the notion that measures of Earth’s surface temperature are compromised, to say the least, comes through loud and clear. Based on my own meager study and past experience I would agree with his assessment.

    On the other hand, Steve Mosher and Berkley Earth seem to be saying that they have studied this issue to death and all of the stuff about UHI and site locations is adequately addressed in their independent analysis which confirms, in essence, the mainstream surface temperature data analysis.

    I deduce from following Climate Etc. that you hold both Rud and Mosher in high regard. (Rud I can understand but Mosher I am still trying to figure out)

    Where do you come down on this substantial disagreement?

    • Mark, I think the jury is still out on this issue

      • Judith

        Your 11.20 The good news; There is a well paid job waiting for you in the Diplomatic service.

        The Bad news. Its in Iraq


      • Judith –

        I know that you disagree with BEST’s conclusions about attribution – but I didn’t recall that you offered any technical criticism of their methodology for assessing global temps. Were those criticisms from before or after then determined their results?

        Could you provide a link to your critique of their methodology?

      • “curryja | November 8, 2014 at 11:20 am | Reply
        Mark, I think the jury is still out on this issue”

        Not really. Very slight adjustments here or there, but no significant changes that would alter overall trends. The Jury has long since gone home or moved on to other trials.

      • “… I think the jury is still out on this issue.”
        As well it should be. It lacks evidence: published requirements, specifications, code, documented validation and verification. Scope to include both models and processing of observations.
        Management (the owners or their direct representatives) would not approve a project or its results without these.

      • I think a jury trial on this would be very enlightening. Rud, with his legal background, could prosecute. Who would have the cohones to defend?

        Really, there is so much weight put on temperature records from the late 1800s through 1950’s that have been contorted and distorted by who knows how many people of unknown competence and agendas, that it seems almost ludicrous that temperature trends of less than a degree on a worldwide basis can be reliably distinguished. Rud nails it in his essay. Apparently he doesn’t buy the R Gates dismissiveness.

        I have dealt with my share of historical data analyses in almost 40 yrs. as an engineer/scientist in both defense and O&G. Getting useful/reliable results that are beyond reasonable challenge is problematic.

        I don’t mean to put you in an uncomfortable spot vis a vis some of the other denizens, but it seems to me that this is a very basic point that needs clarification. Not as juicy as sunspots, cloud dynamics or stadium waves but a heck of a lot easier to understand.

  51. I think Dr. Curry’s book shelf is a most worthwhile contribution. It has prompted valuable comments on the content of the “books”.
    If I may suggest more general topics:
    1) Scope could include climate (science), economics and history.
    2) Hardcopy books are valuable to trace changes in facts, argument, and conclusions from edition to edition. Example: A discussion of the Soviet Union’s Turnover Tax was omitted from later editions. That bureaucratic control, however, was revived by various versions of added costs on carbon emissions (Cap And Trade, Carbon Tax, Carbon Credit Card and Tax And Dividend).