Ethics and climate change policy

by Judith Curry

Every aspect of climate change is shaped by ethical dispute: from scientific practice to lobbying and activism and eventually, at national and international levels, the setting and implementation of climate policy. – Peter Lee

Context

I’ve been collecting material addressing the ethical dilemmas that climate scientists face. Previous essays that I’ve written on this topic can be found under the ethics tag.  I was motivated to start working on a post entitled Professional Ethics for Climate Scientists upon seeing that Michael Mann has an invited presentation at AGU this week: Professional Ethics for Climate Scientists.  We have had some fun with this one on twitter, but there are some very serious concerns that I have on this topic.

Peter Lee on Ethics and Climate Change Policy

While preparing that post, a remarkable essay came to my attention by Dr Peter Lee, entitled Ethics and Climate Change Policy published by the GWPF. From the biosketch blurb:

Dr Peter Lee is a principal lecturer in ethics and political theory at the University of Portsmouth. He specialises in the politics and ethics of war and military intervention, the ethics of remotely piloted aircraft (drone) operations, and the politics and ethics of identity. He is the author of TruthWars: The Politics of Climate Change, Military Intervention and Financial Crisis.

This essay provides a very good overview of the messy connections between ethics, knowledge and politics in the climate change debate. The whole essay is well worth reading. Below are some excerpts (JC bold) that address topics that I’ve been writing about:

Every aspect of climate change is shaped by ethical dispute: from scientific practice to lobbying and activism and eventually, at national and international levels, the setting and implementation of climate policy. The protagonists at every stage will claim that theirs is the ethical, or more ethical, position, and for a number of reasons. Some will claim to base their arguments and actions on superior values – secular or religious – than their opponents; others will claim that their motives are somehow purer, better informed and more altruistic than their selfish adversaries. Others will concern themselves with altering a predicted or imagined future without fully understanding the implications of their actions in the present or the interim.

The two approaches that will be used in making ethical assessments in the sections to follow attach different levels of importance to the ‘ends’ or outcomes that are being pursued – say, saving the world from climate-induced disaster – and the ‘means’ adopted by scientists, activists, vested interests and politicians in the process.

Steve Schneider’s double ethical bind

Equally indisputable is the gradual merging of climate science with political concern. By 1989 the distinction between the objective pursuit of scientific knowledge about global warming and the politics of science-based climate activism had broken down to the extent that Professor Stephen Schneider, an early lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), could write on the double ethical bind [link].

Schneider’s words have since been fought over, selectively redacted and sometimes misrepresented by climate change advocates and opponents alike– alarmists and sceptics, in their extreme forms. For the latter, the claim that climate scientists ‘have to offer up scary scenarios [and] make simplified, dramatic statements,’ is taken to be an admission of fraud. On some level it may well be, but it is also a statement of great candour that gets to the heart of the relationship between climate science, ethics and climate policy.

In ethical terms, the two most significant phrases set out by Schneider are these: ‘As scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method’, and, ‘we’d like to see the world a better place’. There is a danger, however, for those whose priority is achieving what they see as the ‘correct’ political as opposed to scientific ends (based on personal values, interests and motivations); established scientific processes, codes and balanced considerations can be marginalised or ignored, eventually leading to the ends being used to justify questionable means.

Consequently, Schneider’s description of climate scientists being in a ‘double ethical bind’ is inaccurate. Climate scientists face an ethical choice: do they conform to established ethical standards of scientific practice or do they sacrifice those standards in favour of actions and statements that will be more likely to shape public opinion and climate policy in their preferred direction? For scientists there is no such thing as a balance between ‘being effective and being honest’; once scientific honesty is violated it damages trust to the extent that it can undermine any good intentions and negate anticipated effectiveness in the long run. It is theoretically possible to be both, but not in Schneider’s terms. Omitting the ‘doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts’ is not a morally neutral act; it is a subtle deception that calls scientific practice into disrepute. If such actions took place in any other field, for example pharmaceutical research and the testing of new medicines, the scientists would not only be branded unethical but would most likely be stripped of their positions by an oil or tobacco company and went on to ‘prove’ that their products were harmless would be ridiculed and ignored. However, Schneider’s words in 1989 have served as an invitation to climate scientists to dilute or violate the ethics of scientific practice while – and this is important to grasp – viewing their actions as ethical because of a desire to make the world a better place. The irony here is that some climate scientists may be undermining their own arguments by adopting such an approach.

For policymakers these details matter, for they need to know if they are acting on the best of scientific knowledge, acquired through the application of the most rigorous of scientific practices and observation of scientific ethics, or whether well-intentioned scientist-activists are shaping climate policy on the basis of less-than-transparent scientific practices – and I refer here to even minor oversights or the exclusion of seemingly trivial caveats that may take on great importance in an unpredicted future – and unstated personal and political aims. Unfortunately for everyone concerned with climate change, regardless of individual views about the degree to which it is prompted by human conduct or a result of natural variation, it only takes a small number of high profile errors or examples of malpractice to undermine everyone’s trust: a crucial point when billions, perhaps trillions, of pounds and dollars could be spent erroneously.

JC comment:  There are some important and insightful points here, that cut to the heart of the issue surrounding the ‘double ethical bind’ better than anything else I’ve seen (see my 2011 essay Steven Schneider and the ‘double ethical bind’ of climate change communication.)

In my Uncertainty Monster paper, I made scientific and pragmatic arguments for understanding, assessing and reasoning about uncertainty in climate science.  Lee makes a moral argument: Omitting the ‘doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts’ is not a morally neutral act; it is a subtle deception that calls scientific practice into disrepute.

Consensus

In parallel with this philosophical shift emerged the increasingly influential concept of ‘consensus’ in climate science, which in turn was, and is, a powerful weapon when it comes to shaping climate policy. However, it is difficult to imagine a concept that is less suited to describing scientific processes and output than consensus. The most obvious problems with consensus concern who it is that is agreeing and how that agreement is reached, with each aspect bringing its own ethical challenges.

A tension exists at the heart of climate policy ethics: does climate consensus emerge purely from the application of science, traditionally understood, which then shapes policy, or does political and ideological agreement about what climate policy should be encourage scientists to depart from the strict methods that maintains the integrity of science? This ideological aspect of Climate Change was largely overlooked when the Climategate emails were leaked and critics poured over the texts looking for evidence of scientific fraud. Such critics looked in vain for a ‘smoking gun’ that proved global-scale cheating. It was not in the measuring, calculating and experimenting that the moral codes of science were violated, it was in the politicising of scientific actions, as historical scientific disinterestedness was sacrificed in what was intended by some, perhaps many, climate scientists as the pursuit of a noble, ethical cause.

JC comment:  This is an insightful and unique (as far as I can tell) perspective on the significance of Climategate

The science – the temperature reconstruction – supports Mann’s cause, opening him and other like-minded scientists to the charge that the cause also shapes their science. This interpretation of Mann’s climate activism is reinforced in his published writings where he states: ‘Scientific truth alone is not enough to carry the day in the court of public opinion. The effectiveness of one’s messaging and the resources available to support and amplify it play a far greater, perhaps even dominant role’. In ethical terms we see another example of a climate scientist who holds a strong ethical commitment to the policy dimension of climate change and its associated end of shaping public opinion and behaviour, appearing to prioritise the pursuit of those ends above the narrower moral codes of scientific discovery.

JC comment:  This is a very clear statement about the problems with advocacy by climate scientists – for previous posts on this topic at Climate Etc. see [link]

That is why the scientific consensus on climate change and the way it is reached and sustained has such crucial ethical implications for climate policymaking. It is not just scientific measurements, calculations, projections and so on that inform policymakers. The additional layers of often unacknowledged personal values, ideologies and collective aims are now part of the claimed scientific consensus too and these factors make it difficult to have robust but respectful disagreements: to question the science is to question the values of the scientists behind it; to question related ideological aspects of climate science held by scientists is deemed as questioning the science. What is not clear is how individuals or groups within the consensus can question or challenge the consensus in keeping with time-honoured scientific practice. If such challenges cannot be made and sustained without the abuse and coercion faced by Lennart Bengtsson, for example, then what is taking place is a political rather than a scientific process.

If climate consensus can only be achieved through negotiation, compromise and acceptance of the lowest scientific denominator, promoted through a further layer of simplification and explicit appeal to emotion over reason, it is difficult to avoid the charge of propagating disinformation, even when done with the best of intentions. Not only is the established moral code of normal science violated by overlooking scientific disinterestedness, but the promotion of that consensus depends on techniques of ‘selling’ rather than persuading.

JC comment:  Consensus has also been a major topic of the posts at Climate Etc. [link].  In my paper No Consensus on Consensus, I discussed the problems associated with a manufactured consensus.  Lee goes several steps further, with a charge of propagating disinformation.  Particularly when embellished with the 97% nonsense, the negotiated consensus is certainly misleading.  But ‘disinformation’?  This statement motivated me to revisit my previous post on Misinformation, Disinformation and Conflicts. Hmmm . . .

Ethics and uncertainty

So how are ethical decisions to be made in the face of repeated claims to scientific and political consensus, unknown unknowns within that claimed consensus, known unknowns (the ifs, buts, doubts and caveats) that are minimized by the consensus for presentational purposes, and also many known knowns that are either model-based (caveats apply) or suffused with subjective ideological, social, political or other environmental interests? There is not the space here to fully explore the idea, but suggest that there needs to be some link maintained between ethics, truth and politics, or ethics, knowledge and politics.

JC comment:  Again, I have approached this issue from a more pragmatic perspective, under the rubric of decision making under deep uncertainty.  Lee breaks new ground (as far as I know, anyways) regarding the ethics of decision making under deep uncertainty, with some profound conclusions regarding mitigation versus adaptation:

However, I would suggest that the strongest, most practical ethical approach is that which balances the pursuit of ‘good’ or idealistic goals with appropriate conduct along the way, namely a commitment to truth and knowledge, and openness about the extent of our knowledge.

Put more crudely, setting mitigation policy goals that cannot and will not be met, either because they are aiming beyond the scope of the knowable and do-able or because national political interests make them unrealistic and unattainable, is itself in practice less ethical than setting goals that are lower, but more readily achievable. I assume here that the greater the speculation and uncertainties involved, the weaker the ethical claim. Conversely, as the certainty increases, the stronger the ethical claim. If it is not apparent already, I am suggesting that a commitment to mitigation policies has a reduced ethical claim because of the unknowns and unknowables involved, whether those unknowns concern the future of the environment or the future of the poorest citizens on Earth. An ethical commitment to adaptation is at least rooted in actual events as they occur. To be clear, this is a commitment to actively preparing to respond to major climate-related events as they occur: developing technologies and skills as well as setting monies aside in dedicated funds, both nationally and globally. Governments and individuals have always done this through, for example, contingency funds.

JC conclusions

I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about this essay.  I haven’t previously encountered Peter Lee’s writings; I’ve googled him and it seems that climate change is a new topic for his writings.  Lee is a very welcome voice to the complex debate on climate change ethics.  I don’t agree with everything in his essay, but I found his overall perspective to be very fresh and I found some of his statements to be remarkably insightful.

In any event, it was a very timely antidote to Michael Mann’s AGU presentation.  I will be writing more on this topic; I look forward to reading your comments on this.

 

 

518 responses to “Ethics and climate change policy

  1. “it only takes a small number of high profile errors or examples of malpractice to undermine everyone’s trust”

    Climategate, anyone?

    Or how about “Mike’s ‘Nature’ trick”?

    Or “hide the decline!”

    • Climate model output that disagrees with real data does it for me.

      • David Springer

      • @ David Appell

        “Which output?”

        You make popesclimatetheory’s point perfectly.

        No matter WHAT happens to the Climate/Temperature of the Earth/Weather/etc, there is a model that predicted it.

        Since there are so many models, it is pretty easy to observe the climate in action, then pick one of the many models that RETROACTIVELlY ‘predicted’ what actually occurred closely enough that it could be argued that the observed climate was ‘not incompatible’ (favorite phrase of Climatologists) with the model predictions. Then have the sycophants in the media release stories proclaiming that ‘The climate models have been shown to be correct! The science is settled! Let the taxing and regulating begin.’

        Back to your original question: ‘Which output?’. I would think that it would be reasonable, given the wide range of predictions from the models, to settle THAT question before embarking on a policy to ‘Battle Climate Change’. A thought that is obviously not widely shared within the Political/Climate Science Complex.

    • catweazle666: what, exactly, was declining?

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Appell: catweazle666: what, exactly, was declining?

        Something important that they wanted “to hide”. Something, that, if well known, would have dramatically undermined their credibility.

      • Scott Basinger

        Hence the act of hiding, rather than explaining. So non-science.

      • It wasn’t temperature, in case you’re thinking of building that particular strawman

      • Answering a rhetorical question is usually a waste of time, but here goes…

        What was “declining” was the modern temperature, as projected by certain very important proxies. At a time when thermometer measurements showed global average temperature rising.

        The implication was that those proxies couldn’t be trusted to correlate with temperature, as (IIRC) the original scientists who provided the measurements used as proxies warned.

        Removing those proxies (again, IIRC) also removed most of the “hockey stick” shape from the “hockey stick”. Not by removing the modern temperature rise (the “blade”), but by removing much of the “straightness” of the “shaft”.

        Since the primary message of the “hockey stick” was the “unprecedented” nature of modern temperatures (or their “sudden” rise), what was “hidden” by “hiding the decline” was the fact that there’s no proof that modern temperature behavior is unprecedented.

        This is hardly news to anybody who’s dug into the subject, despite alarmist arm-waving and other tricks.

      • David Appell asks

        ‘What, exactly, was declining?’

        The tree ring growth.

        As I’m sure a veteran commentator like DA is well aware, the problem that was being hidden is that in recent years, the apparent correlation between tree ring size/growth and temperature had broken down. And as temperatures went up, tree ring size declined. It was otherwise characterised as ‘the divergence problem’

        And why was it so significant? The whole of Mann’s reconstruction rested on the fundamental assumption that in some way or other, tree rings were good proxies for temperature. And in a very handwaving way there were periods through history when they seemed to be vaguely in step and perhaps good enough to carry the illusion that there was some fundamental relationship that was being explored in the Hockey Stick..

        So when it became apparent that the correlation/relationship really had stopped working (if it was ever there at all) it raised the obvious question – if it doesn’t work now, why should we believe it ever worked? And without a good answer to that question then the whole basis of the HS and all other similar reconstructions fell. If tree rings do not consistently follow temperature what possible use is there to a ‘temperature reconstruction’ based on the rings? None at all.

        IIRC when questioned the best that the perps could manage in their defence was that ‘the divergence problem has been discussed in the literature’. Which is/was a complete copout. It had indeed been discussed. But being discussed is not the same as being fixed. Their discussions had been along the lines of ‘That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into, Mikey’

        And that Mike (presumably Mann) had to invent a ‘trick’ of concealment and that his coperps had learnt it and were happy to use it tto conceal the sad truth from the uninitiated shows just what a bunch of charlatans they are.

        And that, my dear Mr, Appell, is what is really being concealed…the lack of scientific integrity of Mann’s Men.

        That others who know full well what was done and why have consistently failed to condemn this ‘trick’ says volumes about their integrity too.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        From a post by Latimer Alder (@latimeralder) on December 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

        “And as temperatures went up, tree ring size declined.”

        _______

        But atmospheric CO2, which is plant food, was going up even faster than temperature. More CO2 means faster plant growth. Are trees not plants? Did the trees get tired of plant food and stop eating? Did the trees get sick?

      • Remind me to keep this short – they have the attention span of gnats apparently. Whatever you do – don’t mention anything technical like the divergence problem.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergence_problem

      • @max_Ok

        ‘Are trees not plants? Did the trees get tired of plant food and stop eating? Did the trees get sick?’

        Excellent questions. The sort of questions (among a host of others) you might imagine true scientists would have asked themselves once they discovered the divergence problem.

        And you might think that they would have paused and said to themselves

        ‘Ooh,err, there’s something going on here that we don’t understand. And until we really understand it, there’s no evidence that tree ring size is a proxy for any single variable…and certainly not for temperature. If that’s the case then any temperature ‘reconstruction’ will be worthless’. Let’s instead put all our efforts in trying to understand what’s going on’

        But that’s not what they did. Instead they deliberately embarked on a process of scientific deception. Mike (presumably Mann) invented a ‘trick’ to ‘hide the decline’. It was a piece of sleight of hand that concealed the unfortunate truth that there was no legitimate basis for their work at all.

        In other words, they sacrificed what little integrity they may have had in favour of making a big scientific ‘splash’. That others knew an turned a blind eye does not say much for them.

        But the rot does not stop there. We are assured that ‘peer-review’ is the gold standard of scientific quality. Yet here is an example of a very influential piece of work with an enormous logical flaw that apparently sailed through the process.

        After the Climategate scandal there were seemingly endless ‘independent reviews’ that also failed to spot the elephant in the bathroom. Seems to me that they cannot have looked very hard, nor very independently.

        ‘Hide the decline’ was only a smaller part of the ‘hide everything’ strategy that ‘climate science’ is still embarked upon.

        Hide the decline, hide the data, hide the methods, hide the results. Conceal anything inconvenient, exaggerate ‘bad’ things, hide ‘good’ things.

        Some may think these methods are a product of Schneider’s ethical dilemma. I prefer to think of them as the product of shysters and charlatans.

      • “what, exactly, was declining?”
        Honesty, openness, ethical standards, critical thinking…
        Oh, you mean which data?
        Sorry, my bad.

  2. It must feel great to know you serve the greater truth.

    • …fer the er greater good.

    • There are actually two issues:

      1. EPA/NSF Requests for Proposal that basically request studies that generate WWF/Greenpeace propaganda.

      2. Activist scientists that have a ax to grind.

      Government Funded science should only fund policy neutral objective studies. The bias at EPA and NSF poisons the well.

      The scientific bias can be mitigated by hostile review of government funded studies. Hostile review can be guaranteed by paying bonuses for identifying short comings in reviewed studies and large bounties for identifying scientific misconduct.

      The RFP process should by law require RFPs to use neutral language that does not hint at the desired outcome in anyway. The pro-AGW language in many of the current RFPs should be a firing offense.

      Removing activists from the grant process will be beneficial to science and to the tax payers. Biased studies with dubious methodology do not benefit the public. It is unethical to use tax dollars to fund WWF/Greenpeace propaganda.

      Unless the situation changes with the grants and research made more objective and the studies more properly reviewed, the climate change research program, all 2.658 billion of it, should be terminated.

      • Government Funded science should only fund policy neutral objective studies.

        In particular they should not fund any studies of the connection between CO2 and global temperature because the theory that there exists such a connection is not policy neutral.

      • “Government Funded science should only fund policy neutral objective studies.”

        A very bad idea – much better to insist that equal funding is offered to the opposing viewpoint and that all govt. documents that reference one of those studies must equally reference the other. As in, EPA Press Release: “CO2 causes $x billion in social cost, produces $y billion in social benefit”.
        This means the research itself and the results cannot be skewed by funding or selective quotation – that people have access to the data for both sides and can make informed decisions. Essentially, it enforces RP Jr’s “honest broker” position for science AND govt quotation of that science. Furthermore, any science that becomes policy prescriptive due to it’s results, would require a “red team” report before it could be used in creating policy.
        Consider how such a system may have affected, eg, the “vaccines cause autism” case.

      • much better to insist that equal funding is offered to the opposing viewpoint

        I’ve long felt that the Flat Earth Society should get equal funding. Ships vanish when far away not because the Earth is round but because of the elementary statistical fact that the further the ship the higher the highest wave hiding it.

      • The problem with government funding – and not just for climate research – is that cliques can acquire control of the decision making process and bias research in many ways. Science like all human activity is subject to fads and patronage. Fads can color what a committee determing which proposals are funded and which are not. Patronage can be worse since, committee members may be biased in favour of research by school, by theoretical view, by the fact that a program propoenent or advisor was once a respected or well-liked professor, or was a student of the same, or of the committee member. And no one has forgotten the catastrophe of William Proximre either.

  3. Deception of oneself is the issue here.
    We all deceive ourselves to make life more bearable.
    Hence when faced with the possibility of being wrong, with having deceived oneself, we turn to ways to cope with this.
    Honestly admitting one is mistaken is a big step, hard to do and humiliating if ones ethos is built on being right all the time.
    Denial of the problem leads to attacking those showing that there are problems and attacking their proofs and evidence.
    There is sufficient evidence to cause concern to anyone stating that the science is proven.
    Not just in the blogs and the number of people writing on them and reading them.
    But in the understanding that computer models cannot model the thousands of imponderable details thrown up by semi chaotic weather patterns and should not presented as fact for a theory.
    In understanding that there is a difference between climate in a bottle [add CO2] and climate in a complex world with negative feedbacks due to aerosols and cloud albedo.
    In understanding that the sensible, scientific people who argue these facts, rather than people who just espouse a cause, need to be listened to and have their concerns addressed.
    I am far to the right of Judith in my position on climate change but still agree that CO2 increase by itself leads to a warmer atmosphere.
    I know that more solar and wind energy and reducing power consumption are all beneficial to humanity in the long run.
    But lying to achieve these goals and lying about the reasons for setting these goals leaves a bitter taste.
    We are at peak knowledge at the moment, millions of bright brains with usable knowledge and resources. The more different ways we do things now, with the input of as much general ethics as possible will lead to the best future outcome.

    • angech – “Deception of oneself is the issue here…”

      Yes. We all do it.

      “We are at peak knowledge now.”

      We can do better, we can educate 6+ billion, then we will have even more minds contributing, but that will take energy, lots of energy.

      • “We can do better, we can educate 6+ billion, then we will have even more minds contributing, but that will take energy, lots of energy.”

        That’s a fantastic point of view. Thanks.

    • Angech, you had me until you said:

      “I know that more solar and wind energy and reducing power consumption are all beneficial to humanity in the long run.”

      “Beneficial”….. perhaps, but please help me understand how you KNOW that the capital committed to these activities could not have been put to even better use?

      Capital invested in solar power can not be invested in developing a vaccine for Ebola. Which is more beneficial to humanity in the long run?

      Life would be so much easier without so many uncertainties.

      • No problem here at all. The benefit is that fossil fuels, despite many decades / centuries of reserves are finite. At some time in the future these technologies are not just optional but essential. No harm in continuing their development now, whilst also using all available technology and existing energy sources to deal with the other immediate problems

  4. People learn over time to associate certain tags, labels, or signals with credibility. There is always a temptation for the possessor of such a tag to exploit this trust for short-term gain by misleading the credulous, even at the cost of future loss of credibility. This temptation is stronger when more of the reputation loss will accrue to other possessors of the same tag; that impact is an “externality” to the violator of trust. That’s why franchised restaurant chains have to have such strict rules about what franchisees can do in terms of ingredients, processes, etc., in order to protect the credibility of their brand promises.

    So the practical question is whether a decentralized institution such as academic science can maintain credibility against such deviators and what kind of distinctions science consumers make between different “brands” or tags–do they distinguish at the level of the individual, the degree, the university, the discipline, the school of thought, or what? And if there are significant “external” reputation effects within some of these categories is there anything that the members of that category can do to police or distinguish violators of that category’s credibility?

  5. Steve Fitzpatrick

    I am reminded of Potter Stewart’s famous comment about pornography, “hard to define, but I know it when I see it”, whenever the ethics of policy advocacy by climate scientists is considered; unethical behavior in scientific advocacy may be hard to define, but I know it when I see it. And I see it the late Stephen Schneider’s double ethical bind comment. And I see again and again in the countless defenses that have been offered for Schneider’s odious take on advocacy.

    As with experts in any technical field, people unfamiliar with the details are more likely to trust the technical judgment of climate scientists. But the trust in experts is a fragile thing, and advocacy is an easy way to lose that trust. When almost the entire field kowtows to a specific set of policy options, discounting all others, trust is destroyed, as well it should be. The field is dominated by people who hold strong green/left views, and those views are manifest in strident policy advocacy as well as most everything that is published in the field.

    It amounts to nothing more than a betrayal of trust when an ‘expert’ tilts the data and or presentation of that data to elicit a specific reaction from non-experts, and that is what has been happening in climate science since at least the 1980’s. What the public needs and wants are honest brokers. What they are getting in climate scientists are issue advocates. Defunding is the answer.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick wrote:
      “…unethical behavior in scientific advocacy may be hard to define, but I know it when I see it.”

      Sorry, a vague analogy doesn’t cut it. If you can’t discuss and identify your claimed “unethical behavior,” your argument is worthless. Quoting Potter Stewart just shows you don’t have a good argument, but are trying to claim legitimacy anyway.

      • You should have read beyond his first sentence before shooting off your mouth, davey. Read more, comment less.

    • Yes, we’ll said, right up until the defunding part. Smart funding is good, but tricky.

    • “It amounts to nothing more than a betrayal of trust when an ‘expert’ tilts the data and or presentation of that data to elicit a specific reaction from non-experts, and that is what has been happening in climate science since at least the 1980’s.”

      Specific examples?

      • The very fact that you are not familiar with the many examples says a great deal about you, David. Sadly, none of it is good.

        A real climate scientist (as opposed to a shill) interested in pursuing the truth would understand and address his opponents’ strongest arguments, and not try to sweep dirty laundry under the rug by pretending it doesn’t exist. The repeated inability to do so, which is brilliantly exemplified by your question above, indicates that truth is a secondary concern, at best.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Appell,

        Specific example?

        Please carefully re-read Schnieder’s ‘double ethical bind’ comment and note that he is talking about influencing public opinion (being ‘effective’) via scary stories, exaggerations, and downplaying uncertainty. What makes Schneider’s comment so very odious is that he is suggesting *other* climate scientists to use their expertise to mislead and coerce the public into doing things they would not otherwise do. What makes the field so very odious is that Schneider’s comment was and is defended as perfectly reasonable by climate scientists and their many camp followers. Like you, and most everyone on the green/left, Schneider did not believe the public has the right to choose a path free of coercion. Like you, and most everyone on the green/left, Schneider believed the ends justify the means. Any reasonable person must therefore conclude that, like you, and most everyone on the green /left, Schneider believed he was absolutely correct and no other POV could be legitimately held. The intellectual arrogance, dishonesty, and lack of self awareness are appalling.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        David Appell
        “specific examples”?
        one is enough

      • Steve, keep in mind it’s all willful ignorance for a political end as well. There might be a few clueless members of the green mob but more often then not many are well educated and even more privileged then either skeptics or the disinterested.

        So ignorance isn’t the right word at all. Seditious, traitorous, Marxist are the better more accurate accounting of the modern Greenshirt left that lives for this particular hobby horse AGW and is very well represented on this thread.

  6. “A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change,” Stephen M. Gardiner (2013)
    http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Moral-Storm-Ethical-Environmental/dp/0199985146

  7. I have not read this book, but it appears that it milks the extreme alarmism to the limit and well past the limit.

    • It’s a book that none but the diehard true believers will read, popes.

    • Pope: Maybe you should reading the book then. It’s written by a philosopher and is loaded with trenchant thoughts.

      • KevinK wrote:
        “All of us live in the current “climate”, nobody “owns” the climate…”

        Climate is an enormously valuable resource. If you don’t own it, what right then do you have to change it? How is that not theft?

      • David – “what right then do you have to change it?”

        I’m really surprised you would write that! We are part of the environment, including the climate, and as such our existence would change the climate, especially considering we are so numerous. That does not mean we have carte blanch to despoil the environment, but we have to find a reasonable compromise.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        + 100

        Indeed, if you don’t own the climate, what gives you the right to change it?

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        JustinWonder sez “That does not mean we have carte blanch to despoil the environment, but we have to find a reasonable compromise.”
        _________

        I’m really surprised you would write that. It sounds like you mean an agreement on how much we despoil the environment.

      • “That does not mean we have carte blanch to despoil the environment, but we have to find a reasonable compromise.”

        Why?

        If each human despoils the environment by X, what number N(X) of humans pushes the despoiling past a tipping point?

      • Max, since we are discussing ethics, truth, and knowledge, which would include self-knowledge, I thought I would share this with you:

        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-online-secrets/201409/internet-trolls-are-narcissists-psychopaths-and-sadists

      • David Appell | December 17, 2014 at 10:40 pm |
        “Climate is an enormously valuable resource. If you don’t own it, what right then do you have to change it? How is that not theft?”
        Easy. If you change it for the better then it would not be theft would it?
        It would be, philanthropic, and lauded.
        And changing it with increasing C02 might be for the better, the point is none of us know.
        15 all, with an ace.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Appell,
        “what number N(X) of humans pushes the despoiling past a tipping point?”
        Tipping point? What tipping point? Specific examples with supporting data please. The Earth’s climate is not a tall thin pole balanced on it’s end; it (and the life it contains) are quite robust. Please stop substituting your peculiar green philosophy for data.

      • “if you don’t own the climate what gives you the right to change it…”

        Max, ok, cub reporter, So revealing. Putting aside the question of whether we really are changing the climate in important ways, what gives us the right to cut down trees,, or farm the earth? Or do you believe we don’t have that right?

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Ah Ha ! Pokerguy gets caught agreeing humans can change the climate. I feel like I just caught a fish.

      • David Springer

        Appell – nearly everything you do from eating and breathing to using electricity in a computer, driving, and flying is changing the climate. What right do you have to change the climate.

      • @DS: What right do you have to change the climate.

        Did you just switch sides? I thought the people arguing that more human-generated CO2 would make the world a better place were assuming they had a right to change the climate.

      • So long as the change is to the better, it’s a right, nay, a duty.
        ===============

      • David Springer

        Rhetorical question, Pratt. But thanks for your interest.

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      JustinWonder saw an article titled “Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists,” and after reading two of my comments decided I’m one of ’em or all of ’em. I read the article and found it very interesting, I then decided JustinWonder is a thin-skinned hypocrite.

      • Now you would say that, wouldn’t you. Actually I do read your light weight posts and insults with amusement . You are clearly hear to taunt and do the other things described in the article, aren’t you Max? You know, a rabble rouser, a troublemaker, just trying to stir up a little action for fun by playing with the deniers minds a littlie, just for your own amusement .

      • I also found the article to be interesting Max_OK. I rather think, however, that Justin had crossed the line by citing it in the context that he did but perhaps in view of his relative inexperience we can let this one go.

      • While I’m pretty sure I had Max pegged as a troll within 2 or 3 posts, it’s hardly necessary to jump to that conclusion so quickly. Max has been trolling here for ages now.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        I think posters who use few words are more likely to be called trolls than those who use lots of words, as fewer people bother reading anything that’s very long. Most of my posts are short. I try to be concise because I want what I write to be read.

    • Alex I usually find your thoughts interesting but in this particular case perhaps you are overstating your position. Appearances can be misleading and one shouldn’t be certain that alarmism is being being milked to the limit.

      Ethics and morality introduces a subjective element to the debate on the science of AGW and whether or not cAGW is a warranted position to take given the evidence we have.

      While it may be true that the western world is currently “exporting” the emissions that are necessitated by their overconsumption of natural resources, the employment opportunities thus given to developing nations would have been nevertheless be most welcome for them.

      The current international situation certainly seems driven more by economics than by any conscious decision to make matters worse for the poorer countries and while a redistribution of the world’s wealth may seem desirable, it can never happen in practice.

      • >> a redistribution of the world’s wealth may seem desirable, it can never >> happen in practice.

        Deeply sorry to intevene, but this is patently false. Economy is NOT a zero-sum game and consenquently this is not about “redistribution”. It’s about the increase of wealth.

        And yes it is happening all around the world, Singapour, India and China being shining examples of it.

      • I understand your point but I never suggested that world’s wealth is a fixed quantity Occam, it generally moves up and down with the business cycles and associated movements in asset valuations from country to country.

        I like to think of the wealth in terms of per capita incomes of each country compared with the per capita incomes of the western democracies and the relative access of these populations to cheap electricity and a good education.

      • I probably jump the gun a bit quickly. My apologies to you, it seem we are pretty much in agreement.

        Take care,

      • @Peter Davies
        ” the western world is currently “exporting” the emissions that are necessitated by their overconsumption of natural resources, ”

        What? Overconsumption? How was that arrived at?

      • Overconsumption of natural resources as for example the labour saving devices to be found in the average western home, the number of cars in their garage, the number of TV sets, computers, lap tops, iPads, mobile phones etc to be found in the average western household. The amount of food that is consumed and wasted is also a matter for some concern.

      • David Springer

        Shallow thinking. So called over-consumption in the west (a subjective measure) is balanced by recycling, reforestation, clean air and water acts, energy efficient technology invention, and perhaps most importantly a low fertility rate. Non-hispanic white fertility rate is below the replacement rate in the United States. In general western nations have far lower rates:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sovereign_states_and_dependent_territories_by_fertility_rate#Country_ranking_and_comparison:_1970_and_2013

      • David you would be famliar with Annie Leonard’s film “The Story of Stuff” I presume? While the message is exaggerated somewhat, it remains true that there’s far too much unneccesary consumption in western societies. I find it quite offputting to walk through the department stores and to see all the junk that people buy but that is what largely drives most modern economies..

        The low birthrates come with prosperity and the understanding that it is not neccessary to have a lot of children so as to ensure comparative freedom from want when people get older. High birthrates are a form of home based social security.

      • @Peter Davies
        it remains true that there’s far too much unneccesary consumption in western societies.

        No, it remains true that that is an utterly groundless and vaccuous statement, oozing with the political correctness of the time. Or perhaps you’d care to advise what alternative expenditures would make the people in question happier? Burning some dollar bills maybe?

      • The grounds for that statement have been given upthread, perhaps if tuppence disagrees with Annie Leonard it may be opportune for him/her to explain why and to provide the grounds for his/her POV. I have been known to change my mind on many things but this would only be in response to reasoned argument and not snark.

      • Nice.

        Tuppence is making a run at Daniel for my favorite Climate Etc. commenter. It’s pretty close, but Daniel’s still in the lead.

        But having both comment in the same thread is pure gold.

        Thanks for the “extended peer review,” Judith.

      • Oh wow! Springer’s in this thread too?

        And to think, I will be able to tell my grandchildren that I was there to witness it!

      • This link updates on Annie Leonard’s current thoughts on consumerism and provides a rebuttal of some of the arguments of her critics. The concepts that are being discussed are most certainly normative and involves personal judgments about the corporate behaviour of some of our capitalist icons. http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/the-human-cost-of-stuff/annie-leonard-more-than-a-mindful-consumer

      • Oh wow! Joshua’s making noises yet again suggesting he doesn’t like us – or indeed Judith. How will we sleep at night?

        It’s right up there with his usual standard of wit and biting satire. Such subtle use of irony – again and again the same irony.

        I’m more your straight up tell it lie it is guy. I’d just like to just insult him – but nature already did worse than I ever could.

      • David Springer

        Never heard of Annie Leonard before but a quick check reveals she is a short sighted imbecilic flower child.

        The human race has the resources of the entire solar system to draw upon. There’s no other demand for any of it. It’s all ours. We haven’t scratched the surface yet.

      • This just keeps getting better: Daniel, Tuppence, Springer, Don, and Chief all in one thread!!!!!

        Effin amazing. What are the odds?

        You could search all the blog comment threads in the universe, hell, in all the universes, and not ever again find this concentration of quality “extended peer review.”

        Count your lucky stars, folkz.

      • What do you know – word perfect repetition. Can’t really compete with creativity like that.

      • The issue of plastic being a massive polluter of our oceans is something to be deeply concerned about. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxNqzAHGXvs. The effect on wildlife in the oceans is severe.

        There is a mass of plastic waste floating out in the mid Pacific which has been estimated to be the size of a small continent, at least twice the size of the US, which is an indication of how bad the problem is.

        I am, however, much less concerned that this thread has been hijacked by some of Judith’s more outspoken denizens who seem to enjoy the cut and thrust of the ad homs.

        And that’s where I will leave it. I need to to pay more attention to other things that I am working on.

      • David Springer

        Some people will believe anything. And then repeat it. Case in point, Peter Davies. Then when confronted they run. See Peter Run. Run Peter Run.

        http://io9.com/5911969/lies-youve-been-told-about-the-pacific-garbage-patch

      • Joshua,

        While that was an amusing quote from Springer, my favourite was when he declared himself a polymath.

      • Joshua > … but neither of you provides the same depth of “peer review” as to Tuppence, Springer, and Daniel. Sorry, guyz.

        Truly astounding comment from cut-and-paste cretin. It’s like any of us saying : Einstein doesn’t really cut it. Sorry, Al.
        What ARE those meds?

      • Our “overconsumption” does help many people in the rest of the world.
        If we stopped buying stuff, the rest of the world would suffer for it.
        The standard of living is rising in much of the world. That is due to the use of fossil fuel.
        Green stuff is growing better, all over the world, using less water, and much of that is due to the use of fossil fuel.
        The war against increasing CO2 is a war against all life on Earth.

    • In a review By G W PETTY on August 24, 2011
      I Read:

      Until very recently average global temperatures have been constant, plus or minus half a degree, for 10,000 years. Depending in part on future emissions, global temperatures will rise this century by between 1.1 C and 6.4 C.

      This is Hockey Stick. This takes out the Roman and Medieval Warm periods and takes out the Little Ice Age. The IPCC is not even allowed to use the Hockey Stick anymore. Temperatures have varied as much as plus and minus one degree and even plus and minus almost two degrees over the last ten thousand years. Modern temperature is well inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years. The future will follow the same cycle with the same bounds as the past ten thousand years. Temperature is in bounds and it is not even headed out. The moral storm is the lies that are used to blame man-made CO2 for a crime that has no supporting data.

  8. Dr. Curry, with respect,

    There is nothing ethical about taking an unproven (as of this date) hypothesis regarding “radiative gases” being able to determine/control the average temperature of the surface of the Earth and translating it into a “climate policy” that everybody else MUST obey.

    All of us live in the current “climate”, nobody “owns” the climate and nobody (no matter how strongly they believe in their “knowledge”) has any right to attempt to “control” the climate, unless and until they can demonstrate sufficient knowledge about said climate. Heck the unknowns about “the climate” currently override the “knowns” by about 100 to 1. And that does not even consider the “unknown unknowns”.

    I strongly believe in the law of gravity, but I do not tell anyone they “cannot fly” because the law of gravity says (with a much stronger consensus than climate science) that every thing that goes up WILL come back down almost always safely (unless we launch it with enough velocity to escape Earth’s gravity). BUT there is always the chance that a plane will not land safely. But none of us that believe in the consensus of gravity runs around spouting our “gravity policy” that everybody else must OBEY; nobody should ever jump up off the ground, heck they might break a leg. I think we could suggest “gravity offsets”, everybody that ever jumps up off the ground should pay a fee, to be used for those few poor folks that end up breaking a leg by ignoring our “gravity policy”.

    I think if those of us that believe in the consensus of gravity started enforcing our “gravity policy” nobody would be able to jet off to someplace exotic to “figure out how to control the climate”.

    The climate science community would be best served at this point in time (given the myriad of failed predictions) to concentrate on increasing our collective knowledge of the climate. And the climate science community might just learn a thing or two from the engineering community. No engineer worth their salary would ever propose any design that “traps heat”. The climate science community might be allowed to design a climate policy in a few decades when/if it might be more unequivocal that the knowledge actually exists to create a “climate policy”.

    Until then it is entirely unethical for a very small subset of the populace to be “spouting off” on what the “climate policy” that we all must follow should be.

    Cheers, KevinK

    • Fer a serf, the elephant in the room regardin’ ethics in science
      is when science is driven by politics, not curiosity, and when the
      politics fund the science ter git predained outcomes like that
      brief that was the raison d’etre of the IPCC.

      http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2014/11/02/ipcc-links-new-report-to-sneering-stephen-schneider/

      • I hate it when the lines jump about like that fer
        citizen _sap_serfs. Tsk!

      • That hits it on the head Beth, if Dr. Curry (others) can only allude to the motives (Agenda 21, Greenshirt ambitions, academic dream world, Club of Rome, U.N and armchair socialism) driving the AGW belief system then the debate is stuck on stupid. All facilitated by a left-wing media establishment (MSM) steering the discussion from any truth in the topic.

      • when the
        politics fund the science ter git predained outcomes like that
        brief that was the raison d’etre of the IPCC.

        Beth, would you estimate the funding that science receives from the IPCC at a kilobuck, a megabuck, a gigabuck, or a terabuck?

        My guess would be less than a kilobuck, but my guesses are often way off.

      • David Springer

        Beth didn’t imply the IPCC funded research. She was talking about the IPCC itself being funded. Pay better attention,

      • I have no idea how you read “when the politics fund the science” as “when the politics fund the IPCC”. The IPCC does not do science, it merely reports on it.

      • Funding the reports of what science *says* – keeping the politically correct bits in and the politically incorrect bits out. Simples.

      • The IPCC does not do science, it merely reports on it.

        And unscientifically affix’s cardinal numbers to subjective opinions a limiting quality.

      • Wrong question VP As DS notes, I didn’t imply they did.I
        said:
        ‘Politics funded the science ter git preordained *outcomes*
        like that brief that was the raison d’etre of the IPCC.’

        Herewith. The IPCC is a development via the UN. The
        IPCC’s main client is a UN Treaty signed by politicians
        in 1992 who had already decided human activity was
        warming the climate. Consequently the IPCC mission
        was to legitimize a UN Treaty and has recruited personnel
        with links to Greenpeace and WWF.

      • the IPCC mission was to legitimize a UN Treaty and has recruited personnel with links to Greenpeace and WWF.

        The current IPCC report lists about 750 contributors. Which of them are affiliated with either Greenpeace or WWF?

      • All of them. Which part of freakin’ gate and keeper don’t you understand?

      • The IPCC does not do science, it merely reports on it.

        The stuff the IPCC reports is not any kind of science.

        Real science is always skeptic.

    • 1+

      “Radiative gas” is a linear claim (more co2 warms) out of one side of the meme’s mouth while “science” admits it’s “complex”. AGW marketing is farce and should be condemned not equivocated. Without the double think the meme dies which is why leftist “consensus” is stuck with their talking points.

    • KevinK:
      “Until then it is entirely unethical for a very small subset of the populace to be ‘spouting off’ on what the “climate policy” that we all must follow should be.”

      On the contrary, Jerome Ravetz gave permission to do just that. E.g,
      Ravetz, Ph.D., Jerome. “The Post-Normal Science of Precaution.” Futures 36, no. 3 (2004): 347–57. http://www.iris.ufsc.br/projetopar/docs/RAVETZ.PDF

      Cass Sunstein took exception:
      Sunstein, Cass R. Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

  9. There is knowing, lying, and lying without knowing…

    Science, described by Niall Ferguson as one of the six “killer apps” that lead to the power of the west, defined by it’s methodogy, is designed to eliminate or reduce the influence of personal bias. Scientists, like all humans, have inherited the same capability for self-deception. Why do we lie to ourselves? If it is a universal trait it must confer some evolutionary advantage. Evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers has some interesting ideas about this in his book “Folly of Fools: The Logic of Deceit and Self-Deception in Human Life”.

    • The trait of lying to ourselves does not confer any evolutionary advantage, but the mechanism of our belief system does – and it’s this which gives rise to that trait.
      It’s that mechanism which tells us that it’s not a good idea to jump off a cliff or to cuddle a polar bear, even though we have no personal experience of such things.
      The problem is, as this mechanism responds to vague inputs, and knows neither logic nor reason, some of our beliefs can be completely and utterly wrong – but we will staunchly defend them, sometimes even to the death.

    • Piltdown man?

  10. David wrote;

    “Climate is an enormously valuable resource. If you don’t own it, what right then do you have to change it? How is that not theft?”

    Right back at ya Dave,

    “Gravity is an enormously valuable resource” (without it you, or I might be flung off the Earth’s surface and end up at some heck hole of a truck stop on Saturn) “If you don’t own it, what right then do you have to change it ?” Nobody has proven (beyond their own twisted beliefs) that “I” have changed it.

    Dave, when ever you move from one side of your room to the other side YOU HAVE CHANGED THE GRAVITY FIELD OF THE ENTIRE EARTH. Stop moving immediately, until such time as all of us “consensus gravity believers” can determine the effect you are having on OUR gravity policy.

    Thank You in advance for your immobility.

    Cheers, KevinK

    • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

      Walking across rooms is as damaging to the environment as burning coal.

      Stay in bed.

    • Kevin, that’s a ridiculous analogy. No human or group of humans can change the Earths’ gravitational field beyond than an extremely miniscule, inconsequential amount.

      Thought the best effort of humans might be doing it through climate change:

      “Dwindling Antarctic ice messing with Earth’s gravity: Blame climate change,” Rhodi Lee, Tech Times | October 5, 1:28 AM

      http://www.techtimes.com/articles/16973/20141005/dwindling-antarctic-ice-messing-with-earths-gravity-blame-climate-change.htm

      • “Scientists can now look at changes in ice mass in small glacial systems,” ESA said. “They have found that the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region.”
        David that is a ridiculous article.
        Consider this. The ice loss is putative only dependent on an algorithm with massive uncertainty such that there may actually be a gain of ice in the West Antarctic.
        Second, say it was correct, the ice sheet pressing on the Antarctic caused the crust to bulge out in a circle around the ice gain increasing the gravity there concentrically hence causing no actual change in the effective gravitation outwards. When the ice melts in the far distant future the land will tectonically rebound and assume its former gravitational equanimity. Nothing has been gained or lost just temporarily put on hold.

      • To quote from AR5 WG1:
        “While surface melting will remain small, an increase in snowfall on the Antarctic ice sheet is expected (medium confidence), resulting in a negative contribution to future sea level from changes in surface mass balance.”

        All the hysteria is fine – but if it gets warmer the increase in the East Antarctic ice sheet will dominate the SMB trend.

  11. Excellent post. While not expressed as eloquently nor as tightly constructed, the themes by Lee have been brought up numerous times by skeptics for as long I have followed this issue. The reference to Potter Stewart above is an apt one. If writings or behavior by a scientist doesn’t comport with what a reasonable person’s expectations of that scientist are, then that in itself is reason enough for condemnation of and a loss of trust in that scientist. The product is one measure of a scientist. The other is their conduct. Both must reach generally accepted standards.

    • “If writings or behavior by a scientist doesn’t comport with what a reasonable person’s expectations of that scientist are, then that in itself is reason enough for condemnation of and a loss of trust in that scientist.”

      Do you realize how many important scientists throughout history haven’t met the requirements of the first half of your claim?

    • I am going to have to agree with David Appell on this one. Einstein is a pretty good example here. His science was done openly and he questioned his own conclusions. He did exemplary science. I don’t hear anyone claim that he was not a great scientist. However, I think you would be hard pressed to say that he would meet a reasonable person’s expectations in his behavior. In fact, he seemed to purposefully do things that would violate norms of his time. Not in his execution of science, but in other things. I think that this distinction needs to be made. The ethics of science that this paper is talking about is a different ethics than moral or cultural ethics. Further, IMHO the product (with all the data, calculations, etc.) is the only measure of science. You can be a jerk, social misfit, etc. and still produce good science. The problem comes in when the product is tilted, massaged or otherwise manipulated. This is the heart of the claim … that the product was unethically presented, not that the people presenting it were flawed. They are two different things.

      • Yes I understand your point. Icky personal behavior was not my emphasis. It was that the public perception of scientists, who may be good scientists and produce good science but then engage in trying to destroy the opposition or to inflate the dire consequences of not acting on climate change. It is the ancillary behavior associated with their role of detached objectivity and then moving into different capacities as spokesmen or advocates for their science, that I was addressing. Einstein’s morality as a husband should have no bearing on the public’s view of his science. Today, far too many climate scientists are blurring the line and moving into political advocacy for their scientific views.

  12. Curious George

    Ethics is a luxury which only rich or strong can afford.

  13. John Vonderlin

    There are two aspects I especially like to see in advocacy science assertions. First is prolific usage of such terms as “I believe, I think, it appears to me, seems like, suggests to me, etc.’ in prefacing the assertions they make. The second aspect is substantial usage of qualifiers like “much of, mostly, probably, partly, etc.” in their assertions.
    The first group of phrases lets me know that the person making the assertions is aware that it is only their opinion, no matter how right they feel they are. This leaves me less defensive if my opinion is different and usually more open to trying to evaluate their assertions objectively.
    The second group of qualifiers lets me know they are aware of the finer aspects, uncertainties or even exceptions to their assertions. I’m a firm believer that the deeper you dig in analyzing almost any circumstance the more you realize it’s more complex than you thought it was initially. I appreciate any scientific advocate acknowledging that right up front.

  14. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Cold-wave-hits-north-India-30-die/articleshow/45556609.cms

    Almora had not recorded such snow in over 40 years. In Pithoragarh, for over nine years, snowfall has not been so heavy and so early. And there were reports that Bageshwar had broken a 46 year-record.

  15. Andrew Russell

    David Appell: “ ‘It amounts to nothing more than a betrayal of trust when an ‘expert’ tilts the data and or presentation of that data to elicit a specific reaction from non-experts, and that is what has been happening in climate science since at least the 1980’s.’

    Specific examples?”

    Examples:
    – Yamal
    – Upside-down Tijlander
    – Hide the Decline
    – Gleickgate
    – Glaciergate
    – 28gate
    – short-centered principle compenents analysis
    – Secret FTP directories entitled “CENSORED”
    – “Why should I make the data available to you, when
    your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”
    – “Mike, can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4?”
    – “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin
    and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what
    the peer-review literature is !”

    Need any more?

  16. This was good: “…as historical scientific disinterestedness was sacrificed…” “A member in public practice shall be independent in the performance of professional services” We think independence has value. It’s a lack of having a personal interest in the outcome.
    With this criticism:“…setting mitigation policy goals that cannot and will not be met, either because they are aiming beyond the scope of the knowable and do-able or because national political interests make them unrealistic and unattainable, is itself in practice less ethical than setting goals that are lower, but more readily achievable.”
    the louder you turn up the volume, the less that gets done. This suggests they don’t have an effective strategy nor do their allies. I might read the above to mean to me that, they ethically failed by over reaching. This situation may have been avoided with a more traditional scientific professional caution. They seemed to have entered an area their not effective in.

    • “This was good: “…as historical scientific disinterestedness was sacrificed…” “A member in public practice shall be independent in the performance of professional services” We think independence has value. It’s a lack of having a personal interest in the outcome.”

      Disinterestedness since when?? Disinterested like this?

      “God does not play dice with the Universe.”
      — Albert Einstein

      Can you really have read Judith’s blog in the last year or two and believe she is “scientifically disinterested?”

  17. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

    There are two presentations on ethics at the 2104 Fall AGU Meeting:

    Professional Ethics for Climate Scientists

    Climate Change: Ethics and Collective Responsibility

    These two are only a small proportion of theof climate-related presentations at the AGU Meeting. For more, follow the link to “Section/Focus Group”:

    https://agu.confex.com/agu/fm14/meetingapp.cgi#ModuleProgramBook/0

    I look forward to learning what Michael Mann has to say about professional ethics for climate scientist. Being ethical is trying to do the right thing, and when he tried, he was accused of fraud and compared to a child molester.
    Some scientists might wonder if trying to do the right thing is worth it.

    • People can write anything (and they can get sued for it, too.)

      In your own judgement, is Mann akin to a child molester? Did he commit “fraud?”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Michael Mann definitely did commit fraud. I’ve explained this before, with all necessary details and sources. I’ve even provided some of them to you in previous exchanges we’ve had, where you promptly vanished (then later denied I ever provided them).

        It’d be nice if people acting as though it’s ridiculous to accuse Michael Mann of fraud would ever respond in a meaningful manner when a case for fraud is clearly laid out. Would you care to try?

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        I read Brandon Shollenberger’s accusation that Michael Mann committed fraud. The introduction and closing left me scratching my head.

        Brandon leads with this:
        “I’m not sure there’s any argument to say Michael Mann’s work isn’t fraudulent. I tend not to do it myself because I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s certainly a defensible position. Consider:”

        Brandon then quotes a lot of things Mann said and supposes he (Brandon) knows what Mann was thinking. (a link is in his post upthread)

        Brandon Close with this:
        “We don’t have to call what Michael Mann did fraud if we don’t feel like focusing on the word, but if we are going to focus on the word, what Mann did was fraud.”
        _____

        I’m afraid Brandon has jumped the shark. I can’t help be wonder if he had read this a year or two ago, he himself would find it embarrassing.

      • Max_OK, while it’s fine to be confused by a post, I think you’ll find saying, “I’m confused” does little to convince people the post is wrong. It might help if you actually raised some sort of rebuttal. Or David Appell could. Or anyone really.

        As it stands, it seems whenever a case is actually laid out, all there is is deafening silence.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Brandon Shollenberger has challenged me to “raise some sort of rebuttal” to his argument titled Michael Mann Committed Fraud. I accept his challenge. I will first reproduce Brandon’s argument in its entirety, then follow with my rebuttal.

        “MICHAEL MANN COMMITTED FRAUD
        I’m not sure there’s any argument to say Michael Mann’s work isn’t fraudulent. I tend not to do it myself because I don’t think it’s necessary, but it’s certainly a defensible position. Consider:

        1) When Michael Mann published his 1998 temperature reconstruction, he said: the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.

        This statement was untrue. Mann’s results were entirely dependent upon a relatively small amount of tree ring data. Not only do we know this now, we know Michael Mann became aware of it shortly after publishing his paper. On page 51 of his book, Mann tells us after MBH98 was published, he performed tests that:
        revealed that not all of the records were playing an equal role in our reconstructions. Certain proxy data appeared to be of critical importance in establishing the reliability of the reconstruction–in particular, one set of tree ring records spanning the boreal tree line of North America published by dendroclimatologists Gordon Jacoby and Rosanne D’Arrigo.

        It’s not clear how Mann managed to make the false claim in his original paper, but he was obligated to inform people of its falsity. We could perhaps forgive not correcting an earlier mistake except Mann went on to publish his 1999 paper, extending the 1998 reconstruction back another 400 years. By building upon his 1998 paper while knowing it made false claims about his results, Mann committed fraud.

        Anyone reading MBH99 would be directed to MBH98 for information about the reconstruction. MBH98 contained important claims about his results Mann knew to be false (at the time he published MBH99). It is perfectly reasonable to say by directing people to information about his results he knew to be false, Mann committed fraud.

        2) Michael Mann was responsible for text in the IPCC TAR which said:
        Mann et al. (1998) reconstructed global patterns of annual surface temperature several centuries back in time. They calibrated a combined terrestrial (tree ring, ice core and historical documentary indicator) and marine (coral) multi-proxy climate network against dominant patterns of 20th century global surface temperature. Averaging the reconstructed temperature patterns over the far more data-rich Northern Hemisphere half of the global domain, they estimated the Northern Hemisphere mean temperature back to AD 1400, a reconstruction which had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests.

        Mann knew perfectly well his reconstruction failed r2 verification, a test he used multiple times in MBH98. By saying his reconstruction “had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests” while hiding the fact his reconstruction failed one of his own cross-validation tests, Mann committed fraud. That was fraud even if we ignore the fact Mann went on to lie about it and repeatedly try to cover up the fact he did calculate those scores.
        We don’t have to call what Michael Mann did fraud if we don’t feel like focusing on the word, but if we are going to focus on the word, what Mann did was fraud.”
        ___________

        MY REBUTTAL:

        Item 1), paragraph 3. Brandon says “ This statement was untrue. Mann’s results were entirely dependent upon a relatively small amount of tree ring data. Not only do we know this now, we know Michael Mann became aware of it shortly after publishing his paper”

        Brandon, you imply Mann would agree with you that his “statement was untrue.” I don’t know whether he would or wouldn’t. If he doesn’t you are putting words in his mouth. You say “we know Michael Mann became aware of it shortly after publishing his paper.” No, I don’t know what “it” is and I don’t know when Mann, if ever, became aware of whatever you think “it” is.

        Item 1) paragraphs 5 and 6. Brandon in paragraph 5 said “We could perhaps forgive not correcting an earlier mistake except Mann went on to publish his 1999 paper, extending the 1998 reconstruction back another 400 years. By building upon his 1998 paper while knowing it made false claims about his results, Mann committed fraud.” In paragraph 6, Brandon goes on to say “It is perfectly reasonable to say by directing people to information about his results he knew to be false, Mann committed fraud.”

        Again, Brandon presumes Mann would entirely agree with him about a mistake being in the 1998 paper and the nature of the mistake. Brandon also implies the reconstruct in the 1999 paper was not a revision of anything in the 1998 paper, just a extension of the period covered in the 1998. I haven’t checked on this, but if it was a revision of the 1998 reconstruct why would it be necessary for Mann to explain what “revision” means.

        Item 2), paragraph 3. Brando said ‘Mann knew perfectly well his reconstruction failed r2 verification, a test he used multiple times in MBH98. By saying his reconstruction “had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests” while hiding the fact his reconstruction failed one of his own cross-validation tests, Mann committed fraud. That was fraud even if we ignore the fact Mann went on to lie about it and repeatedly try to cover up the fact he did calculate those scores.’

        Brandon, regarding “r2,” an actual correlation can have a misleading r2. As I recall, this was why Mann preferred to use the “RE” statistic. Shouldn’t a scientists be allowed to choose what he believes is best without being accused of fraud?

        I presume the “lie” you are talking about was the accusation by McIntyre and McKittrick (sorry if I misspelled the name) that they observed Mann telling a lie in a meeting. Is it possible they misunderstood Mann or he replied to a question he misunderstood or he simply made a mistake in answering? I presume there were several people at the meeting. Do others attending the meeting make the same accusation?

      • Max OK’s “rebuttal” is bizarre. He says things like:

        Brandon, you imply Mann would agree with you that his “statement was untrue.” I don’t know whether he would or wouldn’t. If he doesn’t you are putting words in his mouth. You say “we know Michael Mann became aware of it shortly after publishing his paper.” No, I don’t know what “it” is and I don’t know when Mann, if ever, became aware of whatever you think “it” is.

        Yet despite quoting my entire post, he somehow failed to address the fact I quoted Michael Mann acknowledging the very point I made right after what he quotes. I even provided an exact citation for the quote so it could be verified. I provided a quotation and reference demonstrating my point. Max_OK’s only response is, “I don’t know.”

        He then goes on to say:

        Again, Brandon presumes Mann would entirely agree with him about a mistake being in the 1998 paper and the nature of the mistake. Brandon also implies the reconstruct in the 1999 paper was not a revision of anything in the 1998 paper, just a extension of the period covered in the 1998. I haven’t checked on this, but if it was a revision of the 1998 reconstruct why would it be necessary for Mann to explain what “revision” means.

        Which again amounts to nothing more than, “I don’t know.” That Max_OK is unaware of basic points about the topic in question does not somehow amount to a rebuttal of specific and accurate points made about the paper.

        He then goes on to say:

        Brandon, regarding “r2,” an actual correlation can have a misleading r2. As I recall, this was why Mann preferred to use the “RE” statistic. Shouldn’t a scientists be allowed to choose what he believes is best without being accused of fraud?

        Which simply ignores what I said. Even if Michael Mann preferred a particular test, the undisputable point is he used R2 verification scores when they were favorable and hid them when they were not. He then told people his reconstruction “had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests” despite the fact his reconstruction failed his own tests.

        Even if Micahel Mann preferred the RE test, that in no way rebuts anything I said. You don’t get to promote the results of a test when it gives good results then ignore its results when they are bad.

        Max_OK’s final “rebuttal” is:

        I presume the “lie” you are talking about was the accusation by McIntyre and McKittrick (sorry if I misspelled the name) that they observed Mann telling a lie in a meeting. Is it possible they misunderstood Mann or he replied to a question he misunderstood or he simply made a mistake in answering? I presume there were several people at the meeting. Do others attending the meeting make the same accusation?

        Yet this ignores the fact Michael Mann has never challenged this accusation by Steve McIntyre. Had McIntyre been wrong in accusing Mann of lying, surely Mann would have made an issue of it. Moreover, Max_OK’s “rebuttal” is once again in the form of, “I don’t know” as at least one other person (this one on the committee Mann was speaking in front of) spoke of Mann’s lie.

        And that is the quality of the arguments you’ll get in defense of Michael Mann. I laid out a clear case for fraud. The only “rebuttal” anyone has ever tried to give for it amounts to little more than, “I don’t know anything about this subject so you might be wrong.”

        It seems Mann’s supporters believe being completely ignorant of a subject means they can be sure people they disagree with are wrong.

      • Max_OK, trying to dissuade Brandon of his convictions is a waste of time. Brandon knows the truth when he sees it, just like the huge number of Australians that know that “a dingo stole my child” was a lie.

        Brandon knows more than the courts, and will be happy to justify his position until you’re blue in the face. Lots of luck convincing him otherwise.

      • Vaughan Pratt, jumping into a discussion for no purpose other than post derogatory remarks about a person is pretty pathetic. It certainly does nothing to rebut anything anyone says, unless it was something nice about you.

        At the point someone behaves in such a petulant manner, people should just assume he or she is the problem. It’s usually true.

      • Much worse than that. The idea that – if you want to be a smartass you have first to be smart – otherwise you are just a huge ass – is apropos to Maxy to many decimal places.

        Arguing that Maxy is anything but hugely intellectually superficial – intolerably unlettered and laughably incoherent is like arguing that Mao was a great human being. IMO – he is either 15 years old and a great triumph of progressive education or 25 – a great triumph of progressive education and really, really slow.

        I’m embarrassed for Vaughn.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Brandon, thank you for replying to my rebuttal of your argument that Michael Mann committed fraud. I will try to address all of your points, quoting from each point and giving my reply.

        Brandon: “Yet despite quoting my entire post, he somehow failed to address the fact I quoted Michael Mann acknowledging the very point I made right after what he quotes.”

        My reply: No, Brandon, you didn’t quote Michael acknowledging your point, you presume he acknowledged your point. A quote of him acknowledging your point would be “I’m Michael Mann, and I acknowledge Brandon Shollenberger’s point, or a similar statement by him.
        _______

        Brandon: Which again amounts to nothing more than, “I don’t know.”

        My reply: Brandon that was a non-reply to my following question : I haven’t checked on this, but if 1999 was a revision of the 1998 reconstruct why would it be necessary for Mann to explain what “revision” means.
        ________

        Brandon: “Even if Michael Mann preferred a particular test, the undisputable point is he used R2 verification scores when they were favorable and hid them when they were not. He then told people his reconstruction “had significant skill in independent cross-validation tests” despite the fact his reconstruction failed his own tests.”

        My reply: “R2” scores can be informative, but sometimes these scores are misleading, so it seems reasonable to use “R2” when the scores inform and not use them when they mislead. I wouldn’t call not using “R2” scores hiding them.

        In your comment about “his reconstruct” I believe you are claiming Mann said something was true when he knew it not to be true. How do you know what Mann knew ?
        _______

        Brandon: “Yet this ignores the fact Michael Mann has never challenged this accusation by Steve McIntyre. Had McIntyre been wrong in accusing Mann of lying, surely Mann would have made an issue of it.”

        My reply: Brandon, I can’t accept your suggestion you know what Michael Mann is thinking. And unlike you, I am skeptical about his critics being reliable reporters.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Hugh Jass said on Dec. 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm

        “Arguing that Maxy is anything but hugely intellectually superficial – intolerably unlettered … ”
        _______

        That’s a lie. I lettered in football and wrestling.

      • I had in mind the other definition – Maxy

        Ya heard the one about the monkeys – typewriters and Shakespeare?

        Keep talking, someday you’ll say something smart.

      • Rob,

        That moniker of yours shows a surprising degree of insight.

      • It’s the company i keep Michael. Birds of a feather. I have asked Judith to clip some wings for years. Obviously she likes it this way.

      • There is a problem though – it fails to clearly differentiate you from the many other huge arses that make up the climate ‘skeptics’.

        Maybe some numbers would help?

        It’s arguable that you are the No. 1 huge arse. But there are so many contenders – cwon, Daniel, Springer, Lang….

        Maybe a poll is in order?

      • CE may be a pucker of arseholes – but very few have Michael’s single minded ambition – his entire presence is dedicated to it – coupled with such an utter lack of any flair or originality.

        So yes – he is right – no contest at all from that quarter. Vote 1 – Hugh Jass.

      • David Springer

        “is Mann akin to a child molester?”

        No. Mann is much worse.

      • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Michael.

      • Max_OK, I think your latest response to me is more than sufficient for anyone reading. Not only have you failed to contribute any new information or points of discussion, you’ve demonstrated no awareness of any aspect of the case I’ve made.

        You, of course, may disagree. So might others. I don’t think many will though. I also don’t think any who would would listen to anything I have to say on this matter anyway. As such, I’m going to have this be the ending point and just let people judge for themselves.

        Feel free to take the last word.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Vaughan Pratt: Max_OK, trying to dissuade Brandon of his convictions is a waste of time. Brandon knows the truth when he sees it, just like the huge number of Australians that know that “a dingo stole my child” was a lie.

        Brandon knows more than the courts, and will be happy to justify his position until you’re blue in the face. Lots of luck convincing him otherwise.

        Was anything that Brandon Shollenberger wrote in that interchange actually false?

      • Was anything that Brandon Shollenberger wrote in that interchange actually false?

        Q: Has any court found Mann guilty of fraud?

        A: Yes, the court of public opinion. Hence the analogy with the dingo case. Admittedly not a perfect analogy since for a while even the judicial courts deemed her guilty.

        If Brandon is right about fraud then the courts got it wrong.

      • One more time round the ol’ dance floor.

        ‘Ace of Diamonds, Jack of Spades,
        Meet your partner & all promenade.
        All join hands and circle to the south,
        Get a little moonshine in your mouth.
        All join hands and circle wide,
        spread right out like an old cow hide.’

        Speak right up it sure is fine
        you won’t hang – hide the decline.

        Yee-haw.

      • You are confused, doc. Brandon hasn’t said anything about dingos being frauds.

      • The absurdity keeps on coming with Vaughan Pratt’s latest comment:

        If Brandon is right about fraud then the courts got it wrong.

        I’m at a loss as to what he is thinking. No court has ever presided over a case trying Michael Mann for fraud. As such, no court could possibly have gotten it wrong (or right). Even if that weren’t true, courts routinely fail to find guilty people guilty. Everyone knows this. And even if that weren’t true, there are statute of limitations on most actions. All one has to do to get away with something is not get caught for a long enough time. And even if none of that were true, not all fraud is criminal.

        Pratt’s comment once again shows how weak the defenses of Michael Mann are.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Brandon Shollenberger said in his post on December 20, 2014 at 6:42 pm

        “Feel free to take the last word.”
        ______

        Thank you, Brandon. I would not be surprised if foes of Michael Mann found your argument compelling. However, as you know, I believe your argument is based on supposition, and therefore I don’t accept it.

      • However strong the argument, those wedded to the opposite will find it risibly feeble.

      • It’s just that hiding data, hiding declines, and arranging for evidence of all this to be destroyed, do not cross Vaugh’s line of what constitutes science fraud. And so say virtually the other climate scientivists, whose conspicuous looking the other way tells us all we need to know about the integrity of that body of ‘science’.

    • PS: Mann’s presentation was on Tuesday.

  18. “Omitting the ‘doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts’ is not a morally neutral act; it is a subtle deception that calls scientific practice into disrepute”
    Hear, hear!

  19. When even moderate projections of population growth and per capita CO2 growth lead to 700 ppm and still rising by 2100, you realize that either you do something about reducing per capita emissions or you defend 700 ppm as OK in some way. That would be despite this level not being seen in up to 50 million years when sea levels were 70 m higher due to having no stable glaciers in those conditions. Also, 600 ppm is not much better and that already requires some action to move off fossil fuels and significantly reducing per capita emissions by 30-50% by century’s end. When you look at ethics, you judge those of handing the 2100 generation a 700 ppm climate, several degrees warmer, with rising sea levels to adapt to, or whether anything can be done to mitigate that by developing appropriate technologies, and encouraging those to spread rapidly while discouraging those that are part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The ethics come down to how many hundred ppm worth of climate change you want them to have to deal with. Ramping down per capita CO2 emissions is just a common sense target when you do the numbers.

    • Ho hum, that is one of those scary scenarios, that Schneider wrote about.

    • Jim D,

      Via what method?

      My buddy likes this: http://citizensclimatelobby.org/files/CCL_Carbon_Tax_Position_Paper.pdf

      I like offering subsidies to entities that address it voluntarily. I’m juxtaposing the renewable oriented subsidies towards CO2 (et al) mitigation. Seed money for one and seed money for the other. Seems like it addresses at least some of the politics/ethics. While there may exist a consensus of some who purport that CO2 is causing warming, can we not agree there is no certainty? So let’s work with what we have, not what we predict.

      You predict that we’ll offer 700 ppm CO2 and “warmer temps” in your post. I’m comfortable that the CO2 levels will be passed on, but can you state to the highest scientifically acceptable level that temps WILL be warmer in 2100?

    • Matthew R Marler

      Jim D: When even moderate projections of population growth and per capita CO2 growth lead to 700 ppm and still rising by 2100, you realize that either you do something about reducing per capita emissions or you defend 700 ppm as OK in some way.

      There are other alternatives, such as to investigate all the known unknowns. For example, is CO2 increase driving the temperature increase? There is plenty to look at there. Is the temperature increase to date bad, by openly debatable criteria of good and bad? If CO2 is the driver, how much increase will there be by 2100, on the best estimates? Will that be bad by the same criteria of good and bad? Will the increase in temperature (of whatever cause) produce more rainfall? More cloud cover? Is the threat from an increased mean temperature greater than the threat from the continuing alternations of drought and flood — and should labor and money be diverted from the projects that address the other threats.

      If you regard a bunch of important things as unknown, then the moral imperative is to learn more. And if you regard increasing CO2 as a danger, then the moral imperative is to rank it with other dangers, based on thorough considerations, before diverting resources away from other important projects and enterprises.

      Ramping down per capita CO2 emissions is just a common sense target when you do the numbers.

      Nothing sensible, either “common sense” or intelligent, can follow from ignoring the unknowns. The three most important: (1) how does the hydrological cycle (cloudiness, humidity, rainfall, etc) change in response to increased CO2 and increased warming? (2) which of the anticipated changes are indeed bad, and how bad compared to other threats?(3) what effects would actually follow from an attempt to reduce CO2 emissions per capita?

      • @ Matthew R. Marler

        “Is the threat from an increased mean temperature greater than ……….”

        We might also discuss whether the threat from an increased mean temperature is greater than the threat posed by cutting ACO2 emissions by 50-90+% (depending on which scare story you are reading at the time).
        Without the slightest evidence that reducing or ELIMINATING ACO2 will have ANY measurable effect on the temperature of the earth over any time frame examines.

        Or are the advocates maintaining that cutting emissions by the amount that they recommend will have NO negative consequences and therefore poses NO threat?

    • The people who plead ignorance about the effects of CO2 are basically saying OK, let’s persist with increasing per capita emissions and let it reach 700 ppm which we don’t know the effects of. This is a reckless attitude. We don’t know at all what lies ahead so let’s continue on this path. A sane approach is to slow down when not sure, not go full speed ahead. For most, this means just joining in encouraging the major emitters of the world to ramp down. The skeptics don’t even want to say that lower per capita emissions would be a good idea. Ethics are just your moral guiding principles. Most are morally averse to driving the global environment off the road of its past and into a side ditch. Some are not, or are just blind to the broader consequences of their own reckless behavior.

      • That is fairly sensible, jimmy. Except the parts where you felt the need to denigrate the intelligence and ethics of most skeptics.

        I am going to offer you some friendly advice. Drop the other crap and just go with this:

        “A sane approach is to slow down when not sure, not go full speed ahead. For most, this means just joining in encouraging the major emitters of the world to ramp down.”

      • Don, that is the key part, but also I note that skeptics keep denying that anything about CO2 and its effects climate is known with a lot of certainty, and that doesn’t help them as people to listen to. It is self-defeating to use the we-don’t-know-anything-but-listen-to-us-anyway argument.

      • There you go again, jimmy. Tarring skeptics with a broad brush. It’s not working. If you want to help the cause, shut up.

      • Don, I was trying to help the skeptics by pointing out that uncertainty is not a good tactic. People never follow the uncertain guy.

      • Jim D,

        If by chance this refers to me, I’d ask you to look back at this:”I like offering subsidies to entities that address it voluntarily. I’m juxtaposing the renewable oriented subsidies towards CO2 (et al) mitigation. Seed money for one and seed money for the other. Seems like it addresses at least some of the politics/ethics. While there may exist a consensus of some who purport that CO2 is causing warming, can we not agree there is no certainty? So let’s work with what we have, not what we predict.

        No thoughts on this at all?

      • Danny Thomas, subsidies are often criticized because they can be taken advantage of without producing results. You need national goals, and results-oriented incentives, i.e. rewards. Otherwise you are just throwing money at the problem (see Australia).

      • So is a carbon tax considered a reward? http://citizensclimatelobby.org/files/CCL_Carbon_Tax_Position_Paper.pdf

        Unless I missed it, I didn’t see your preference between my offering, my buddy’s preferred carbon tax, or a third option of your choosing should it exist.

        We currently offer a per generation unit tax incentive for solar (which would not exist w/o), so why not the same for mitigation? Per giga of CO2 = tax deduction?

      • The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

        The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization.
        http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

        The relationship between access to modern energy services and quality of life is well established. Affordable and reliable grid electricity allows factory owners to increase output and hire more workers. Electricity allows hospitals to refrigerate lifesaving vaccines and power medical equipment. It liberates children and women from manual labor. Societies that are able to meet their energy needs become wealthier, more resilient, and better able to navigate social and environmental hazards like climate change and natural disasters.

        Faced with a perceived conflict between expanding global energy access and rapidly reducing greenhouse emissions to prevent climate change, many environmental groups and donor institutions have come to rely on small-scale, decentralized, renewable energy technologies that cannot meet the energy demands of rapidly growing emerging economies and people struggling to escape extreme poverty. The UN’s flagship energy access program, for example, claims that “basic human needs” can be met with enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day.

        A reconsideration of what equitable energy access means for human development and the environment is needed. As this paper demonstrates, a massive expansion of energy systems, primarily carried out in the rapidly urbanizing global South, in combination with the rapid acceleration of clean energy innovation, is a more pragmatic, just, and morally acceptable framework for thinking about energy access. The time has come to embrace a high-energy planet. http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

        The rational approach is unchanged. Technological innovation leading to cheap and abundant energy. Progress on economic, social and environmental fronts leading to greenhouse gas mitigation amongst the least important global objectives.

        In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. IPCC TAR WG1 14.2.2.2

        In the meantime these tumultuous internal processes at the core of climate – and climate models in different ways – suggests two things. First that the evolution of climate this century is unknowable. A simple fact..

        Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation. http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        Secondly it suggests that the lack of warming may persist for decades.

        Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        Despite the desperate grasping at straws that is so revealing of the mindset of true believers – it remains true that temperatures peaked early in 1998.

        Is there stance astonishingly unscientific, reprehensively irresponsible and profoundly immoral? I believe so.

      • Danny Thomas, paying an industry to stop emitting so much with tax money (carbon or regular tax) is not the best use. That can be achieved by regulation as in the US which puts the burden on the industry to clean itself up rather than the taxpayer. You need to also find alternatives. Subsidizing the growing use of alternatives or building nuclear power up. Some aspects of revenue-neutral taxes can be adopted, such as subsidizing fuel/power for the poor (fuel stamps). But you need fuel and energy efficiency standards if you are going to get anywhere.

      • Jim D,

        Shouldn’t it then be the same when it comes to subsidies for renewables? In other words, no subsidies, but put forth regulation that solar/wind sell their work product for the market rate? What’s the difference in application? I don’t understand why the differentiation? Is not this: “paying an industry to stop emitting so much with tax money” effectively what we do when we subsidize renewables? I’m not advocating doing away with subsidies (yet) for renewables, but evening the playing field for the stated goal of CO2 mitigation, how would this not be effective and fair?

      • Danny Thomas, subsidies are often criticized because they can be taken advantage of without producing results. You need national goals, and results-oriented incentives, i.e. rewards. Otherwise you are just throwing money at the problem (see Australia).

        Australia exceeded Kyoto commitments by a considerable margin. Both sides of government have the same 2020 target. The difference is that one side was in a shambles for many reasons – not least a carbon tax collapsing under the weight of internal contradictions. The other side using tried and true methods to deliver objectives at the lowest cost.

        http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/conservation/tender-and-auctions-conservation-payments

        The difference is a huge cost that was passed on to the taxpayers or a much smaller cost that will be kept on the government books will work to achieve sustainable, low cost greenhouse gas reduction.

        They just don’t like the politics – you just can’t call climate change cr@p even if it is.

      • Danny Thomas, subsidies are often criticized because they can be taken advantage of without producing results. You need national goals, and results-oriented incentives, i.e. rewards. Otherwise you are just throwing money at the problem (see Australia). that was a quote from Jimmy Dee

      • Danny Thomas, the difference is that renewables are the future and fossil fuels are the past. We need to encourage steps in the right direction, not the wrong direction. Subsidies are a way of encouraging the right behavior and getting a new industry going or allowing them to survive in a competitive world market. We don’t want to be importing new technologies. It is forward thinking. And I would include new nuclear technology in this.

      • Jim D,

        Please correct if I misunderstand.

        Does CO2 mitigation, as you see the need, fit this: ” Subsidies are a way of encouraging the right behavior and getting a new industry going or allowing them to survive in a competitive world market.

        It seems there is a need to “flip a switch” and have this transition happen. Exxon is a smart operation, and they will be out front with the technology once it’s commercially viable on alternative (known and not yet known) sources. I have no expectation that Exxon will not morph as the market dictates. Until then, why not incentivize for “right behavior” on CO2 mitigation for the interim until those alternatives catch up in the market.

      • A recent analysis from the Center for Global Development, for instance, estimates that if $10 billion were invested in renewable energy technology in sub-Saharan Africa, then 30 million would gain access to electricity. If the same amount of money was given to gas-fired generation, it would supply around 90 million – or three times as many people.

        Commitment to a high-energy planet, the authors argue, “empowers growth and development using the broadest array of energy services, technologies, and policies that can meet the manifold needs of developing societies.” http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

        Here’s the recent study.
        http://www.cgdev.org/blog/natural-gas-vs-renewables-opic-whats-tradeoff

        Jimmy is another one who imagines that slogans are a substitute for actual substance.

        Although we are in favour of actual investment in energy innovation – this doesn’t generally extend to subsidies for uneconomic technologies. Even if they are fossil fuels.

        “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
        Michael Oppenheimer

        “Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
        Professor Maurice King

        “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
        Maurice Strong,

        “Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
        Amory Lovins,

        “A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
        Paul Ehrlich

        Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
        Paul Ehrlich,

        “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
        Maurice Strong

        The last one is a book plot pitch according to Jimmy Dee.

        Progressive nut jobs have a very different agenda

      • Danny Thomas, certain types of CO2 mitigation can be encouraged by subsidies or by regulations. Different governments would have different methods. I am not against public money going towards making coal cleaner, but there is a valuation there on whether it is better to do that than shift to gas, for example, which would be a regional decision depending on all available options. This is why the EPA policy leaves it to the states about how best to achieve the goals, and gives different goals to different states.

      • ‘By 2030 phase out fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption.’ Copenhagen Consensus – post 2015 MDG – phenomenal goals

        Try to get it Jimmy – we are not really interested in susidising industry of whatever kind. Now if there were research that promised to make it cheaper and less carbon intensive – that might be a different matter.

        Try to catch up – and not just repeat slogans.

  20. ‘In a world of limited resources, we can’t do everything, so which goals should we prioritize? The Copenhagen Consensus Center provides information on which targets will do the most social good (measured in dollars, but also incorporating e.g. welfare, health and environmental protection), relative to their costs.’ Copenhagen Consensus

    I have been pondering this for decades. It is the core of environmental science – how to reconcile environment, society and development. It was expressed as well as anywhere in the Brundtland report – although seemingly more honoured in the distortion. “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Where the UN defines the needs of people for power as enough electricity to power a fan, a couple of light bulbs, and a radio for five hours a day – the distortion from the original ideals of the Rio Summit are profound. It illustrates how far we have come from meeting the social, economic and environmental aspirations of either today’s or tomorrow’s people.

    The recent “Living Planet’ report from the World Wildlife Fund says this.

    ‘Biodiversity is declining in both temperate and tropical regions, but the decline is greater in the tropics. The tropical LPI shows a 56 per cent reduction in 3,811 populations of 1,638 species from 1970 to 2010. The 6,569 populations of 1,606 species in the temperate LPI declined by 36 per cent over the same period. Latin America shows the most dramatic decline – a fall of 83 per cent.’

    As an environmental scientist – there is little doubt in my mind that this is broadly correct. It echoes results of studies from many areas of the world over many decades. The causes are fairly obvious.

    The proportions seem reasonable as far as it goes – although climate change is likely over estimated. And what are the solutions proposed?

    – Preserve natural capital:
    Restore damaged ecosystems, halt the loss of priority habitats, significantly expand protected areas.

    – Produce better:
    Reduce inputs and waste, manage resources sustainably, scale-up renewable energy production.

    – Consume more wisely:
    Through low-footprint lifestyles, sustainable energy use and healthier food consumption patterns.

    – Redirect financial flows:
    Value nature, account for environmental and social costs, support and reward conservation, sustainable resource management and innovation.

    – Equitable resource governance:
    Share available resources, make fair and ecologically informed choices, measure success beyond GDP.

    It is all a bit airy fairy. Let’s instead focus on increasing the resources available to build food security, decrease population pressures, conserve and repair ecosystems and reduce pollution. The Copenhagen Consensus offers as an alternative 12 phenomenal (benefit/cost ration >15) ways to save the world by 2030.

    1. Increase by productive employment opportunities for all, reduce barriers to productive employment for all including women and young people.

    2. Reduce by by 50% or more malnutrition in all its forms, notably stunting and wasting in children under five years of age.

    3. End the epidemics of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases, reverse the spread of,and significantly reduce deaths from tuberculosis and malaria.

    4. Achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, with particular attention to the most marginalized, assuming a gradual increase in coverage over time, focusing first on diseases where interventions have high benefits-to-costs.

    5. Ensure universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health for all, including modern methods of family planning.

    6. Ensure universal access to access and complete quality pre-primary education

    7. Ensure equal access to education at all levels.

    8. Ensure increased access to sustainable modern energy services.

    9. Phase out fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption

    10. Build resilience and adaptive capacity to climate induced hazards in all vulnerable countries.

    11. Promote open, rules-based, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading and financial systems, including complying with the agricultural mandate of the WTO Doha Round.

    12. Improve market access for agricultural and industrial exports of developing countries, especially Least Developed Countries, and at least double the share of LDCs’ exports in global exports by 2020

    These goals have the seeds for real progress in mitigating greenhouse gases – including black carbon, methane, nitrous oxide, CFC’s and tropospheric ozone – and reducing carbon dioxide by agricultural soil improvements and ecosystem restoration. But the real social and economic progress – the crux of the central ethics dilemma of our day is in real progress towards meeting legitimate social, economic and environmental aspirations.

    ‘Today, over one billion people around the world—five hundred million of them in sub-Saharan Africa alone—lack access to electricity. Nearly three billion people cook over open fires fueled by wood, dung, coal, or charcoal. This energy poverty presents a significant hurdle to achieving development goals of health, prosperity, and a livable environment.

    The relationship between access to modern energy services and quality of life is well established. Affordable and reliable grid electricity allows factory owners to increase output and hire more workers. Electricity allows hospitals to refrigerate lifesaving vaccines and power medical equipment. It liberates children and women from manual labor. Societies that are able to meet their energy needs become wealthier, more resilient, and better able to navigate social and environmental hazards like climate change and natural disasters.’ http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

    Climate change is far from being the key ethical issue of our age – it is little more than a very unfortunate diversion.from rational social, economic and environmental objectives. I’d suggest we ignore it and get on with the business in hand.

    • Women’s rights are key – access to education and employment increases family income and lowers fertility.

      Most ot the deforestation is for farming soy, palm oil, rice, and beef in the third world.

      In the first world, access to high density fuels like nuclear and fossil fuels has led to an increase in forested land. North America is a net carbon sink.

      I like your website, btw.

  21. From a San Francisco Chronicle OpEd:

    Global-Warming True Believers Are In Denial

    “The problem, Harvard Professor Robert N. Stavins wrote for the Wall Street Journal, is: “Symbolic actions often substitute for truly effective actions by allowing us to fool ourselves into thinking we are doing something meaningful about a problem when we are not.” Disinvestment also does nothing to reduce energy use.”

    http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/saunders/article/Global-warming-true-believers-are-in-denial-5964057.php

  22. There is not a soul on earth who knows what the climate will be like or how it will change a year or ten or a hundred years from now.

    So I guess the only ethical thing is to save the jet trails and buffets and not have a climate change conference or policy. Not a single one.

    One sandwich at a time, just refrain. Go study and observe something till you actually know something. And buy your own lunch, if ethics are a big deal with you.

    • Moso

      That’s so not true. Doug Cotton knows it will warm to 2028 and then cool for 526 years in a 934 year cycle. HAP knows it will warm and cool a little but basically stay within the Holocene range. Stefan the Denier sticks his head in the oven and arse in the fridge and maintains an ideal and unchanging temperature. C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la gare. There may be others – I’ll have to get back to you.

      Me – I’m a catastrophist (in the sense of Rene Thom) and it’s a hard rainy day when I can’t get someone to buy me lunch. But this still beats hell out of genteel poverty in a bush hut in the NSW north coast hippie hinterlands growing ‘woody weeds’. If you have ever read Barbara Baynton you’ll know why. Baynton’s bush studies are the only examples there are of Australian Gothic. It’s not a genre we generally get.

      • Steve Schneider shared that universal problem of not knowing what future climate would be like. The difference is that he got caught not knowing while trying to seem to know.

        There’s been reform and progress since then. Climate science is now about not getting caught not knowing. It’s about predicting generalities and things which have to happen anyway (drought in California, Australia, monsoon failures in India, Western Pacific horror cyclones etc) and only half-attributing fresh disasters to AGW (“…while we cannot say that any single event is etc, nonetheless this latest event is consistent with models etc.”).

        The modern operator knows to leave many back doors open, including the back doors marked ALWAYS SOMETHING OF A SKEPTIC and ONLY SAID THAT TO RAISE AWARENESS and THE VOLCANO DID IT.

      • Moso,

        That’s just so wrong – you just don’t get it do you?

        Everything is consistent with global warming – cold – warm – wet – dry – meandering jet streams – more ice – less ice – Australia losing at cricket to the English and rugby to the Kiwis – Kylie Minouge – etc etc.

        No need to apologise – just get it right next time.

  23. From the point of view of science, the two things that stand out and which I have not seen expressed so clearly are the problems with Schneider’s Double Ehtical Bind, and to my view what the climategate-emails really revealed: the existence of an ‘old boys’ network of high level climate scientists.

    The latter, although may be understandable – it is in every bit a part of
    human behaviour, and part of group dynamics as anyone who has been working in a large organisation can attest – it nevertheless is problematic from an ethical point of view. It is not completely new, I have for example seen Roger Pielke Sr. long ago arguing (complaining) about the scientific climate estblishment acting as were it an oligarchy. However, an analysis as this one and embedding the issue in a broader context I have not seen before.

    My take on Schneider’s Double Ethical Bind is that as expressed by Peter Lee here: there is none. You either adhere to established scientific standards, or you don’t. Personally I don’t even understand why any scientists would even consider giving up scientific standards. Nevertheless, that every scientist has a choice here is something that scientists don’t discuss (nor do I think most of them are aware of it). Yet there are clear dangers involved in giving up those standards. Of which the most important one is I cannot trust those who have given up on scientific standards as they will have a preference for certain scientific results: the ones that support a preferred political direction.

    If anyone wants to understand why people have started to distrust scientists (in any field, but definitely in climate science), this is an important if not crucial issue to consider.

    It’s all about trust: it arrives walking but leaves riding.

  24. “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”
    There is no bind here , either one tells the truth or one acts like a human being. The human being wins every time. The smart human being becomes Solomon’s treasurer.

  25. Planning Engineer

    His first two sentences summarize the major issue I’ve tried to describe for power supply.

    Ethics is about making choices, something everyone does every day. For the idealist it is about choosing between good and evil, while for the pragmatist it means choosing between lesser evils and greater evils. ,,,

    • Well said. Wise words

    • This also could describe yesterday’s decision by the Cuomo Administration to ban hydro-fracking.

      For the idealists in the Cuomo administration it is choosing between good and evil. Acting New York Health Commissioner Howard Zucker said “I cannot support (fracking) in the great state of New York.” Zucker said studies showed harmful health effects from fracking, and there were not enough long-term studies to show the effects over time. “The bottom line is we lack the comprehensive longitudinal studies, and these are either not yet complete or are yet to be initiated,” Zucker said. “We don’t have the evidence to prove or disprove the health effects, but the cumulative concerns of what I’ve read gives me reason to pause.” He said after studying all the analysis, for him it came down to one question: Would he want to live in a community that allows fracking? “My answer is, no,” he said. “We can’t afford to make a mistake,” “The potential dangers are too great.”

      For the pragmatists elsewhere it means choosing between lesser evils and greater evils. New York State Senate majority leader Dean Skelos said “The decision implies that at least 30 other states, Senator Schumer and the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency are wrong about the health impacts and do not care about the well-being of millions of American citizens, and discounts the successes that are occurring in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.”

      For cynics it could also be a purely political decision driven by an Administration more concerned with votes, appealing to base support and political ambition than anything else.

      • Planning Engineer

        rogercaiazza – I think it applies to every resource decision of that sort. Off shore wind,massive solar farms, nuclear power, coal plants, combustion turbines, hydro generators, fracking, mining, farming…. All types of project endeavors have environmental costs that accompany their benefits. The distribution and magnitude of costs and benefits will vary by locations and differing areas will properly weight the various factors differently as well.

        Different solutions for different areas is a good thing. It’s a huge problem that the “idealist” gets the same answer no matter what.

  26. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING CLIMATE-CHANGE NEWS
    Ethical Heavy-Weights Speak Out

    Pope Francis: Climate Change
    “A Serious Ethical and Moral Responsibility”

    What you are going to debate affects the whole of humanity, in particular the poorest and future generations.

    More than that, it is a grave ethical and moral responsibility.

    The effective struggle against global warming will only be possible with a responsible collective answer, that goes beyond particular interests and behavior and is developed free of political and economic pressures.

    The consequences of environmental changes, which are already felt in a dramatic way in many States, especially the insular ones of the Pacific, remind us of the gravity of negligence and inaction.

    The time to find global solutions is running out.

    We will only be able to find adequate solutions if we act together and in agreement.

    Hence, there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act.

    Conclusion  Pope Francis’ long-range morally-grounded community-oriented science-respecting worldview — a worldview that concludes “there is a clear, definitive and ineluctable ethical imperative to act” — contrasts strikingly with the selfish quibbling short-sighted science-rejecting worldview of climate-change denialists.

    That contrast is increasingly evident to everyone in the whole world, eh Climate Etc readers?

    Observation  The light-weight fluff that GWPF/Peter Lee are spewing sure is a lot less challenging than foresighted science-respecting reason-and-action, eh Climate Etc readers?

    \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}

    • Planning Engineer

      Pope Francis might do as much for the poor of the third world with this pronouncement as Pope Paul the VI did with Humanae Vitae.

    • Jan Stunnenberg

      @ ‘Fan’,
      I already thought, this climate thingy was some kind of a religious belief system. But thanks anyway for this supporting information.

    • FOD
      “That contrast is increasingly evident to everyone in the whole world, eh Climate Etc readers?”
      Ah, no. The Pope may think of himself as a moral heavy weight but in reality, he’s a bureaucrat and wears morality like a personality…it goes with the turf and is just about as deep as the greens. (either :)).

      You get no points for citing the Pope’s ignorance or are you saying straight from God’s lips to the Pope’s ears? Are you? If not, his authority is non-existent in this matter. And if you are saying that then….

  27. “It is theoretically possible to be both, but not in Schneider’s terms. Omitting the ‘doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts’ is not a morally neutral act; it is a subtle deception that calls scientific practice into disrepute. If such actions took place in any other field, for example pharmaceutical research and the testing of new medicines, the scientists would not only be branded unethical but would most likely be stripped of their positions by an oil or tobacco company and went on to ‘prove’ that their products were harmless would be ridiculed and ignored. However, Schneider’s words in 1989 have served as an invitation to climate scientists to dilute or violate the ethics of scientific practice while ” – Peter Lee

    Well, Lee has got this completely and stupidly wrong.

    Schnieder wasn’t talking about the practice of science, but about the difficulty of dealing with media who have a strong preference for sounds-bites and how to deal with that in science communication.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      No, Lee has it completely right. Schneider was telling other climate scientists to influence public policy via scary stories, exaggerations, and downplaying uncertainty. The details do not matter, it is the intent that counts.

      • Interesting – all this discussion of what Schneider meant…

        “Vested interests have repeatedly claimed I advocate exaggerating threats. Their “evidence” comes from partially quoting my Discover interview, almost always – like Simon – omitting the last line and the phrase “double ethical bind.” They also omit my solutions to the double ethical bind: (1) use metaphors that succinctly convey both urgency and uncertainty (pg. xi of Ref. 3) and (2) produce an inventory of written products from editorials to articles to books, so that those who want to know more about an author’s views on both the caveats and the risks have a hierarchy of detailed written sources to which they can turn. What I was telling the Discover interviewer, of course, was my disdain for a soundbite-communications process that imposes the double ethical bind on all who venture into the popular media. To twist my openly stated and serious objections to the soundbite process into some kind of advocacy of exaggeration is a clear distortion. Moreover, not only do I disapprove of the “ends justify the means” philosophy of which I am accused, but, in fact have actively campaigned against it in myriad speeches and writings. Instead, I repeatedly advocate that scientists explicitly warn their audiences that “what to do” is a value choice as opposed to “what can happen” and “what are the odds,” which are scientific issues (e.g. p. 213 of Ref. 3). I also urge that scientists, when they offer probabilities, work hard to distinguish which are objective and which are subjective, as well as what is the scientific basis for any probability offered. For such reasons I was honored to receive, in 1991, the AAAS/Westinghouse Award for the Public Understanding of Science.”

        I would think that people who are interested in what Scheider meant would take the time to research what Schneider says he meant.

        I would think that certainly, and academic who is writing on the topic of what Schneider meant would take the time to quote Schneider on what he said about what he meant.

        I would think that people who are installing themselves in a position of moral superiority, on the basis of assumptions about what Schneider meant, would feel a moral obligation to find the evidence to justify their assumptions.

        I mean we are talking about ethics here, aren’t we?

        What is ethical behavior?

      • Yeah, you might think that in the process of some moral grandstanding about ethics, Judith might have gone to the trouble of checking if Lee had given a fair and reasonable summary of Schneider’s position.

        Would be the ethical thing to do?

        And who is this Lee clown??
        Could you invent a more blatant and example of begging the question?
        “mitigation policy goals that cannot and will not be met, ….is itself in practice less ethical than setting goals that are lower, but more readily achievable. I assume here that the greater the speculation and uncertainties involved, the weaker the ethical claim. ….I am suggesting that a commitment to mitigation policies has a reduced ethical claim because of the unknowns and unknowables involved, whether those unknowns concern the future of the environment or the future of the poorest citizens on Earth. An ethical commitment to adaptation is at least rooted in actual events as they occur.”

        This isn’t even weak tea.

        Piss-weak? Perhaps.

      • It’s funny that Schneider waited several years before explaining what he really meant

      • ==> “It’s funny that Schneider waited several years before explaining what he really meant

        What does that have to do with passing judgement on what Schneider meant without referencing his explanation?

        And what does that have to do with the scientific “ethics” of an academic writing a report that prominently references what Schneider meant, w/o discussing Schneider’s explanation about what he meant?

        Please stay on topic.

      • Oh, that was a year after the fact. Probably why little Joshie didn’t provide a link. It didn’t take Gruber that long to “clarify” his candid comments.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Judith correctly noted in 2011: ” the double ethical bind arises when a scientists tries to influence the public and policy. It does not arise when a scientist interacts with the media to discuss their latest research finding. This is why advocacy by scientists presents problems both for the scientist and for society. These problems can be managed to some extent (e.g. see Pielke Jr’s The Honest Broker), but the end result can backfire on the individual scientist as well as the policy for which they are advocating.”
        It is trying to ‘influence public policy’ by trading on their technical expertise (and offering scary scenarios) that is the issue here. It is dishonest. It is deceptive. It is arrogant. It should be disavowed by climate scientists.

      • Michael –

        There’s more:

        “It is strange that The News should accuse me of trying to hide scientific uncertainty through this quote, when by the very nature of explaining the dilemma I am being unusually forthright in trying to show how all scientists face a bind when forced to communicate in short sound bites in the media what the essence of a controversial complex problem is. IT IS HARD to imagine how this constitutes hiding the truth when it’s plainly stated. Obviously, the absence of the last sentence of the Discover magazine quote in the editorial totally misrepresents my views. Ironically, The Detroit News quoted me as the “good guy” several years ago in an editorial on “Nuclear Autumn” (June 30, 1986), a term I coined in toning down the nuclear winter debate.
        In that editorial, Carl Sagan was portrayed by The News as the evil overstater, and Starley Thompson and I, the wise and circumspect cautious scientists. I never have, and still do not believe or say that ends justify the means or that truth should be abandoned for a good cause – and what cause is more compelling than making nuclear war and its horrors more publicly known?
        What I mean by the “double ethical bind” was not even represented in the Discover quote, which only provided a partial snapshot of my views. The “bind” that scientists face is that it is impossible to expect a complicated issue to be fully elaborated on in the public and popular media and thus a scientist who tries to explain to non-specialists the nature of controversial science, particularly that with policy implications, has to find a means to communicate effectively and honestly. To me that means using familiar metaphors.”

      • Michael –

        There another relevant quote from Schneider – where he provides explanation for what he meant – stuck in moderation.

        Keep in mind, when you read that quote after Judith frees it from comment prison, that Lee must have read that additional quote prior to or during the time he wrote his report.

        Interesting notion of “ethics,” eh?

      • Interesting.

        somehow the delay in Schneider’s response justifies an academic writing a report, many years later, about Schneider’s statements without referencing how Schneider explained his statements when they were misconstrued.

        “Skeptics” are a very creative lot. They find all kinds of ways to say “Look!!! Squirrel!!!!!”

      • Heh.

        Check out the date on this clarification.

        http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/DetroitNews.pdf

        Looks like some folks think that it’s skeptical to double down on a lack of due diligence by failing to perform due diligence!

        How ethical!

      • I mean “several years,” 9r “a year after the fact,” a gap of about two months, well what’s the difference?

        Why nit-pick between squirrels, eh?

      • Except that the one from which you drew your quote in your comment to which I replied is dated 1996:

        http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/199608/upload/aug96.pdf

        It’s funny how one only really remembers years after the event what they were really thinking at the time.

      • A Schneider quote from the link Joshua provided:

        “I never have, and still do not believe or say that ends justify the means or that truth should be abandoned for a good cause – and what cause is more compelling than making nuclear war and its horrors more publicly known?
        What I mean by the “double ethical bind” was not even represented in the Discover quote, which only provided a partial snapshot of my views. The “bind” that scientists face is that it is impossible to expect a complicated issue to be fully elaborated on in the public and popular media and thus a scientist who tries to explain to non-specialists the nature of controversial science, particularly that with policy implications, has to find a means to communicate effectively and honestly. To me that means using familiar metaphors.”

      • By the way, that link was Lee’s source, so he must have read the quote above before he wrote:

        “However, Schneider’s words in 1989 have served as an invitation to climate scientists to dilute or violate the ethics of scientific practice while – and this is important to grasp – viewing their actions as ethical because of a desire to make the world a better place. The irony here is that some climate scientists may be undermining their own arguments by adopting such an approach.”

      • Seems like “the quote above” is stuck in moderation. It was from Joshua’s Detroit News link, page 3, 3rd paragraph.

      • It’s funny to watch the contortions of the usual clowns as they attempt to defend the indefensible. We know what Schneider meant. Just as we know what Gruber meant. But we would be amused if you could find some more BS ex post facto “explanations” for us, joshie.

      • ==> “Just as we know what Gruber meant.”

        Squirrel!!!!!

      • Don, you either trust Schneider’s explanations or your own imagination. I see you chose the latter.

      • At this point, it seems clear that Lee has deliberately distorted Schneider’s views.

        And this Curry describes as: “There are some important and insightful points here, that cut to the heart of the issue surrounding the ‘double ethical bind’ better than anything else I’ve seen”

      • At this point, it seems clear that Lee has deliberately distorted Schneider’s views.

        Which views would that be? His 1989 views, or his 1996 ones?

      • Phatboy, they are consistent.

      • I didnt see Schneider distancing himself from his quote “offering up scary scenarios”. They are still doing it 25 years later and that is one reason the credibility of the establishment has fallen on hard times. That says it all about ethics.

      • They’re about as consistent as chalk and cheese.
        But hey, I know how futile it is to go against someone’s beliefs, so let others judge for themselves – the links are there.

      • Care to point out the inconsistencies, phatboy?

      • I never said there were specific inconsistencies.
        What we have here are two separate attempts to gloss over the issue.

      • Phatboy, so you rather believe you own imagination that Schneider’s own words?

      • No, his words are there for all to see.
        Except you guys seem to imagine that they say something different.

      • Yes, like:
        “I never have, and still do not believe or say that ends justify the means or that truth should be abandoned for a good cause …”
        Dec 1989.

      • “Don, you either trust Schneider’s explanations or your own imagination. I see you chose the latter.”

        You are as silly and disingenuous as joshie and mikey. I did not imagine what Schneider said in a candid moment that caused a stink and required his CYA ex post facto contrived BS “explanations”. If he had made the explanations at the time of the original statement we are discussing, we wouldn’t be discussing it now. You don’t just get to take s__t back. Self-serving ex post facto “explanations” don’t mean squat. Stop the clowning.

      • If you have been misrepresented or simply misunderstood, you are justified to set the record straight.

        Gosh, this blog clearly attracts some ethically challenged individuals.

      • What did you expect him to say?

        He would have gotten a lot more mileage out of apologising for possibly misleading people with his ill-chosen words, instead of his feeble attempts to shift the blame onto the media – that’s what you would expect from a third-rate politician.

      • The discussion was over a long time ago.

      • I don’t presume to know precisely what Schneider did or didn’t mean.

        I could be that he meant something other than what he said he meant. Seems less probable to me than him meaning what he said he meant, but it’s possible.

        What I find more interesting, and I must say amusing, is the reaction to what he said.

        What we have here are “skeptics” climbing on their high moral horses to determine, with complete uncertainty, that Schneider meant what they say he meant rather than what he said he meant. And they do this despite that rather obviously, as “skeptics,” for them to interpret Schneider’s true meaning in the way that they do could very likely be a manifestation of confirmation bias. It certainly would be a situation where “motivated reasoning” might be in play. One would think that a skeptic, and not a “skeptic” would bend over backward to control for confirmation bias – but instead what we have here are self-described “skeptics” ignoring any potential for motivated reasoning – to be absolutely certain of conclusions that just happen to be consistent with confirmation bias. Seems quite unskeptical to me, yet they call themselves “skeptics.” C’mon – you have to admit that’s amusing (not to mention beautifully unintentionally ironic).

        But what’s even more beautiful is that we have “skeptics” (including Judith), holding up a report written by an academic, who writes on the subject of interpreting Schneider’s statements without even referencing Schneider’s explanation for his statement. It’s one thing to not believe Schneider’s explanation for one reason or another (even amusing ones like the proof that his explanation was bogus is because he offered it two months after the original statement). But it’s another thing for an academic to be so sloppy in his treatment of Schneider’s statement so as to not even discuss relevant evidence related to what Schneider meant.

        And of course, it is also beautifully unintentional ironic that self-described “skeptics” would find such sloppy academic work praise-worthy. And to put the beautifully ironic icing on top of the cake of beautiful irony – this all takes place in a discussion of ethics.

        Ethics, I say…

        It may be same ol same ol, but it’s still a work of art and a thing of beauty.

      • From phatboy: “What did you expect him to say? He would have gotten a lot more mileage out of apologising for possibly misleading people with his ill-chosen words…”

        Hi phatboy. I had to read your statement twice due to threading. Without an adequate appreciation of context, your “him” could be misconstrued as referring to Peter Lee. According to Michael, Lee may have misled people by quoting without proper context or clarification. As I read your logic Lee should apologise for this possibility. And also according to your logic you will need to apologise to anyone who thought you were referring to Lee instead of Schneider – and by extension, I will have to apologise for anyone confused by this mess. To save time, I suggest that anyone writing anything include a disclaimer, to wit:

        *Any or all words attributable to me and not limited by my corporate affiliations, publications and late night poker buddies that are deemed offensive, misleading, in poor taste, lacking clarification and without appropriate error bars and particularly those involving “trick”, “hide” or “decline” as dictated by the definition of definition and the meaning of meaning shall henceforth be covered by John Cleese’s apology in “A Fish Called Wanda”.

        There. An ethical response at last.

      • Phatboy on Scheider;
        “Which views would that be? His 1989 views, or his 1996 ones?”
        “They’re about as consistent as chalk and cheese.”
        “I never said there were specific inconsistencies.”
        And then runs away – “This discussion’s over!”

        Nice work!

      • I see you left out the bit about “very rabid people”.
        If you condone such trollish behaviour then you’ve now also reduced your credibility to zero.

      • The trolls are desperate to rehabilitate Schneider. Pathetic.

      • Schneider = Gruber

      • “I don’t presume to know precisely what Schneider did or didn’t mean.”

        Joshua gets selective

      • Ammonite:

        I missed your 3:19 post earlier.

        My vote for the best Climate Etc. comment of the month, and in the running for the Best. Climate. Etc. Post. Evah!*

        *Any or all words attributable to me and not limited by my corporate affiliations, publications and late night poker buddies that are deemed offensive, misleading, in poor taste, lacking clarification and without appropriate error bars and particularly those involving “trick”, “hide” or “decline” as dictated by the definition of definition and the meaning of meaning shall henceforth be covered by John Cleese’s apology in “A Fish Called Wanda”.

      • After the fact, Scheider tried to take it back, but the mask had already slipped.

      • I don’t presume to know precisely what Schneider did or didn’t mean.

        I could be that he meant something other than what he said he meant. Seems less probable to me than him meaning what he said he meant, but it’s possible.

        What I find more interesting, and I must say amusing, is the reaction to what he said.

        What we have here are “skeptics” climbing on their high moral horses to determine, with complete uncertainty, that Schneider meant what they say he meant rather than what he said he meant. And they do this despite that rather obviously, as “skeptics,” for them to interpret Schneider’s true meaning in the way that they do could very likely be a manifestation of confirmation bias. It certainly would be a situation where “motivated reasoning” might be in play. One would think that a skeptic, and not a “skeptic” would bend over backward to control for confirmation bias – but instead what we have here are self-described “skeptics” ignoring any potential for motivated reasoning – to be absolutely certain of conclusions that just happen to be consistent with confirmation bias. Seems quite unskeptical to me, yet they call themselves “skeptics.” C’mon – you have to admit that’s amusing (not to mention beautifully unintentionally ironic).

        But what’s even more beautiful is that we have “skeptics” (including Judith), holding up a report written by an academic, who writes on the subject of interpreting Schneider’s statements without even referencing Schneider’s explanation for his statement. It’s one thing to not believe Schneider’s explanation for one reason or another (even amusing ones like the proof that his explanation was bogus is because he offered it two months after the original statement). But it’s another thing for an academic to be so sloppy in his treatment of Schneider’s statement so as to not even discuss relevant evidence related to what Schneider meant.

        And of course, it is also beautifully unintentional ironic that self-described “skeptics” would find such sloppy academic work praise-worthy. And to put the beautifully ironic icing on top of the cake of beautiful irony – this all takes place in a discussion of ethics.

        Ethics, I say…

        It may be same ol same ol, but it’s still a work of art and a thing of beauty.

      • OMG! Joshie is playing the unintentional irony card, again.

        WTF is this:

        “I could be that he meant something other than what he said he meant. Seems less probable to me than him meaning what he said he meant, but it’s possible.”

        How about the possibility that he meant exactly what he said? He only backtracked after being hit with a s–t storm. You clowns think that ex post facto self-serving flip-flops are context, or evidence. Get serious.

      • John Carpenter

        “holding up a report”

        Joshua, Judith calls it an essay. Big difference between a report and essay. Reports provide information without argument. Essays are arguments supported by information. So is Lee making an argument here or just providing information? It appears Lee presents arguments and not pure information.

        With that in mind, does this give me the right to question your ethics? Do I now hold a position of moral superiority over you to question your ethics in making a good faith argument because it appears you mischaracterized the essay for a report? Further, to use your idea, it appears you did not even look up the difference between a report and an essay, yet you have concluded with no uncertainty that this is a report of factual information in which Lee has made substantial errors in reporting Schneiders’ words thus calling his ethics in question. Yet clearly he is putting forth arguments. Arguments about what he thinks Schneider meant. Arguments are made in essays, not reports.

        You may see this as a red herring, but this idea that Lee is reporting what Schneider meant rather than arguing what he thinks he meant is at the heart of whether Lee made any kind of ethical error. It’s the difference between someone presenting information as fact (which if presented falsely would be considered unethical) or as an argument (which can be refuted and challenged and as such may not be unethical).

        I am interested on your take of this.

      • John –

        I get your point.

        When I evaluate a student’s essay, I judge it on the quality of the arguments they present. If they present a one-sided argument that fails to address obvious counterarguments that should be deconstructed and argued against and dispatched, then they might be good quality one-sided arguments, but ultimately, quality of the essay is limited. If I compare a good one-sided essay with an essay that presents a quality argument in the context of deconstructing counterarguments, then I’d say that the second essay, all factors like quality of writing, being equal, the latter essay would be stronger. .

        As such, I would tell the student who wrote the one-sided essay that they made a good argument such as it was, but that they failed to really identify a thesis, and as such, their essay was not of a high quality.

        I wouldn’t promote such an essay as being a particularly informative treatment of the topic at hand.;

        Unless I was being an advocate, and felt that the essay as a one-sided essay, did a good job of promoting my advocacy. But even then, I’d feel more comfortable promoting an essay that had done a good job of countering obvious and important counterarguments.

        This is particularly relevant given the topic at hand, and given the discussion of ethics.

        ==> “Reports provide information without argument. ”

        Hmmm.

        I’d say that a thorough report, one worthy of note, one that contributes value to a larger discussion, should do a good job of providing a full range of information – including the important counterarguments in support of different views related to that information.

        ==> “yet you have concluded with no uncertainty that this is a report of factual information in which Lee has made substantial errors in reporting Schneiders’ words thus calling his ethics in question. ”

        No. I think that this is an essay of limited value, because it presents an opinion on a topic without addressing obvious counterarguments. it fails to represent the full range of relevant evidence. Again, if there are two essays on a topic where I am aware of the obvious evidence for counter arguments, and one essay presents a well-expressed opinion without addressing that countering evidence, and another presents the same basic opinion including addressing the obvious counterarguments, I would deem the former a relatively weak essay. I would tell the student to go back and do more research, and include a section where the obvious counterarguments are addressed.

        ==> ” but this idea that Lee is reporting what Schneider meant rather than arguing what he thinks he meant is at the heart of whether Lee made any kind of ethical error. ”

        Hmmm.

        No, not really. Schneider can still report or write an essay on what he thinks Schneider meant, even if it is counter to what Schneider says he meant. He can give us an analysis of why Schneider’s contention about what he meant doesn’t hold water (and hopefully, it would be better than the laughable arguments presented by the “skeptics” in this thread).

        Your point about my insinuation about Lee’s ethics is fair….but part of my point isn’t so much that Lee’s ethics are questionable, so much as Lee’s air of superiority about assessing ethics is questionable. Read Rud’s comment elsewhere in this thread (did you know he’s written a book, one that contains chapters?). I am not making a “certain” argument as to Lee’s ethics so much as arguing that his approach to ethics is simplistic, and undermined by his very own approach to a very related issue – the treatment of uncertainty and counterarguments.

        And no, I don’t think that it is a red herring. I think that your comments is very much on point.

      • John Carpenter –

        Heh:

        No, not really. Schneider can still report or write an essay on what he thinks Schneider meant, even if it is counter to what Schneider says he meant.

        ?

        Let’s see if you can figure that one out!

        Obviously…it should read….”…Lee can still report or write an essay…”

      • John Carpenter –

        By way of some background that informs my opinion here.

        One thing that kills me is when I’ve worked with undergrads who turn in an essay in the form of the 5-paragraph essay format that they learned by rote in preparation for standardized testing.

        When I suggest to them that their essay could be strengthened if they first considered counterarguments thoroughly, and then second, included a debunking of some of the most salient counterarguments in the essay itself – they often stare back in blank confusion. They say something on the order of “why would I mention counterarguments, wouldn’t it weaken the strength of my essay? My high school teachers always told me what they were looking for was the strength of the argument I made. They wanted to see the passion of my opinions.”

        That last part was particularly amusing, because 9 times out of 10 the students weren’t really writing the essay to express an opinion they were passionate about, but to fulfill a required assignment: Meaning that they had to write a convincing fake passionate argument. I always get a chuckle out of that.

        So they are so out of touch with the actual task at hand (as opposed to just jumping through hoops) that they don’t even realize that if readers are taking their essay seriously, they would likely see that their essay failed to address obvious and important counter-arguments.

        Fortunately the geniuses who design standardized testing are beginning to incorporate the profound insight that having students memorize contrived 5-paragraph essay formats doesn’t actually prepare them very well for deep learning through writing, and they’re beginning to incorporate the importance of considering the inclusion of debunking or at least address counter-arguments.

      • Joshua, thanks for the reply. I guess i didn’t see quite the air of superiority, but I will admit to not reading the whole essay, so maybe i missed something. I agree with what you say about writing in a balanced way, it makes for a more considered opinion or report. I still feel that argument is different than reporting and is not held to the same rigor of ethical treatment as such because it is opinion vs fact. Lee has an opinion, you might not agree or like it, but it’s hard to argue its unethical per se if it neglects to present all sides or deconstructs counter arguments, it could simply be viewed as weaker by some. Which is what you pointed out. Obviously ones own bias can influence whether one overlooks the lack of balance or takes particular note of it.

      • John Carpenter –

        ==> “Lee has an opinion, you might not agree or like it, but it’s hard to argue its unethical per se if it neglects to present all sides or deconstructs counter arguments, ”

        I’m not really disagreeing with you there. And I wasn’t arguing with certainty that Lee’s approach is unethical, because I don’t think that discussion of ethics are well-supported by simplistic, binary conclusions – particularly when they hinge on necessarily subjective interpretations about what someone else means.

        I was suggesting that there is a beautiful note of unintentional irony in Lee’s treatments of ethics, and in the reflexive reaction by “skeptics” to promote a simplistic approach to ethics, that leaves out obvious counter-arguments, from within a larger argument that it is unethical to dismiss uncertainty in order to support strong advocacy.

      • ==> ” Obviously ones own bias can influence whether one overlooks the lack of balance or takes particular note of it.”

        No way!

      • Yes Joshua, Lee is not constrained to fit his argument into a few paragraphs in a newspaper article or 30 seconds in front of a TV camera, which is the kind of situation Schneider was referring to. Instead, he has 45 pages to his disposal. Nevertheless, he chooses to omit essential information that would seriously undermine his position.That is irony!

      • So that leaves us with two options: either those omissions are unethical, or the essay is self-refuting.

      • We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.
        Stephen Schneider

        So we have a circle jerk consensus that Schneider’s post hoc rationalisation of what remains the core strategy of ‘the team’ to sell ‘the science’ and ‘the policy’ negates the arguments of Lee?

        Not terribly honest but +10 for earnest umbrage and tendentious ad hoc rationalisation. Would it be churlish to note the lack of ethics in choosing not to be honest?

      • Wow! Delta Dawn here thinks that (s)he can defend Lee by omitting even more of what Schneider said. That is beyond irony!

        Well, Curry clearly gets the kind of audience she deserves.

      • No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.
        Christine Stewart

        We don’t really need Schneider as an exemplar of the big climate lie – or delusion – whatever. There are many other mouthpieces.

      • Who’s Christine Stewart?

      • I think it is unethical to beat up on dead guys that can not defend themselves.

        But what I get from Schneider’s comments is that if you are going to tell scary stories, you have to have evidence that they would be true.

        In any extent that predictions of the future can be considered to be true.

      • Josh: “I would think that people who are interested in what Scheider meant would take the time to research what Schneider says he meant.”

        I would think that if he is unable to convey what he really meant in a “sound-bite”, he should give up on telling others how to do it. That his attempt to “get the message out” failed to convey his latter stated real message indicates he has no clue how to get the real message out, so why lecture others on it?

      • “The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
        Michael Oppenheimer

        I’m sure he didn’t really mean it.

      • Bob Droege, Schneider had many years to defend himself while he was alive.
        And what makes you and others here imagine that the surrounding controversy began and ended with what Lee wrote?

      • “And what makes you and others here imagine that the surrounding controversy began and ended with what Lee wrote?” – phattie

        Who said it did?

      • Really?

      • Phatboy,
        As should be clear from the several quotes of Schneider we have provided here, we are fully aware that Lee and in extension Curry are hardly the first, and likely not the last, individuals misrepresenting what Schneider meant.

      • The first one to attempt to misrepresent what Schneider said was Schneider himself.

      • So phatboy, the best you can manage is: “I know what Schneider meant, and if he contradicts me he must be lying”. I feel pity for you.

      • kneel63-

        ==> “I would think that if he is unable to convey what he really meant in a “sound-bite”, he should give up on telling others how to do it. That his attempt to “get the message out” failed to convey his latter stated real message indicates he has no clue how to get the real message out, so why lecture others on it?”

        Yeah – Maybe so.

        On the other hand, Judith has also complained of the difficulty of getting her message accurately portrayed by the media, and she certainly isn’t shy about advising other scientists about how they should be communicating – so maybe it isn’t uncommon for people to find that their recommendations to others don’t always work out?

        BTW – it was hard to tell from the verb tenses you used there…you do realize that he’s dead, right? I mean in actuality, he has “given up on telling others how to do it,” in a manner of speaking.

      • ==> “I know what Schneider meant, and if he contradicts me he must be lying”

        It’s amusing what some “skeptics” consider to be skepticism, not to mention respect for uncertainty.

        Ever notice how Mr. Monster just disappears whenever “skeptics” want him to?.

        .

      • Note that my previous comment contained a paraphrase.

        As for Schneider telling others how to communicate: he doesn’t really. He’s discussing the difficulties involved.

      • ==> “We don’t really need Schneider as an exemplar of the big climate lie – or delusion – whatever. There are many other mouthpieces. ”

        Shorter Delta = “Squirrel!!!!”

      • This really is rather silly!

        We have here a crowd of the usual CAGW apologists trying their hardest to obfuscate the obvious, what Schneider was talking about when he said what he said.

        For instance, regarding his quote:

        .. we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have … Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest

        we are told to believe that he was merely thinking out loud about a private dilemma he was pondering. That all the words like “we need to ..” and “each of us ..” or ” we have to.. ” don’t refer to others than himself, and even then only to his thoughts, not really any actions he would consider..

        And that the repeated imperatives about needing to “get some broadbased support” in order to “to capture the public’s imagination” and accomplishing that via “loads of media coverage” followed by the suggestions to accomplish that through “offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have” also merely are private thoughts about things he really wouldn’t ever consider practicing himself, let alone suggest that others do. That’s what we’re offered to believe!?

        And finally, when Schneider discusses

        .. what the right balance is between being effective and being honest

        whereafter he ads:

        .. I hope that means being both.

        this again should not be read as striking “the right balance [..] between being effective and being honest” with the hope and caution
        to try to (mostly) being both.

        Instead it is suggested that there is no, and never was any conflict between being honest and accomplishing those goals mentioned (which anyway weren’t goals, just privately held wishes)

        As I said, this is just silly,

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Joshua proclaims  “What is ethical behavior?”

      Joshua asks a mighty good question!

      Here is that same question, expressed in a more mathematical form …

      ————

      Crudial Question  What Bayesian weight should Climate Etc readers assign to the postulate The long-term effects of climate-change will be appreciably worse that IPCC projections?

      Common-sense  Analyses that zero-weight the postulate “IPCC projections are too conservative” just plain ain’t worth much.

      Everyone appreciates *THAT* sobering-yet-unassailable statistical reality, eh Climate Etc readers?

      \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}

      • It’s worth a closer look at Le’s “morally superior” ethics in context.

        So adaptation is ethically superior to mitigation? We are better to ‘wait and see’ and then react when it’s clear there is a problem. Do we apply this to SLR – when people are drowning, then we react? That’s better than acting with foresight to what we know is likely?

        ‘Body count’ ethics. Looks a bit shabby to me.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Fan, thank you for the video. Oreskes was good.

  28. Climate Researcher 

     

    This is indeed a well written and insightful essay.

    I pick up on the quote “it is difficult to avoid the charge of propagating disinformation” and briefly outline how easy it is in fact to level that “charge of propagating disinformation.”

    Firstly, as we read on some other climate blogs also, it is very apparent that either (a) a planet’s temperature is primarily determined by incident solar radiation, or (b) it isn’t.

    Even Michael Mann and colleagues must have realised that the actual mean radiation penetrating Earth’s surface is only about 163W/m^2 and that gives temperatures around -40°C. The “disinformation” they decided to promulgate then came down to the false claim that the radiation occurring between the surface and the troposphere somehow helps the Sun to raise the surface temperatures to higher maximum temperatures each day. Well that’s a lot of raising to do from -40°C especially when that radiation between the surface and the troposphere is in general a process which cools the surface. You only have to consider data from a planet without a surface to realise all this is utter garbage, not just “disinformation” or mistaken concepts. It is deliberate deception because they hound down all valid counter arguments.

    So they must realise it’s all wrong because they go out of their way to try to rubbish the correct physics which explains why (b) is in fact correct.

    Valid physics is based on correct understanding and use of the laws of physics. It is a lack of understanding of such things as thermodynamic equilibrium, entropy and energy potentials which has meant that climatologists (with limited education in physics, and far less understanding) have got their physics wrong and got the world into a horrible mess, wasted billions and cost many lives.

    There is no valid physics which can be used to prove carbon dioxide could raise the surface temperature, not even by a tenth of a degree.

    All the climatology literature (such as in the IPCC website and Pierrehumbert’s book) is based on the false assumption about how the back radiation flux can supposedly be added to the solar flux and the total then used in Stefan Boltzmann calculations to “explain” the 14°C to 15°C mean surface temperature.

    Pierrehumbert’s calculations very clearly fail to deduct the solar flux that is absorbed by the atmosphere, and so you never see the real figure of 163W/m^2 being used to get -40°C for the surface temperature. Then in the imaginary Earth without water vapor and other greenhouse gases, he still deducts about 30% for albedo, even though 20% is based on reflection by clouds which of course would not exist without water vapor. The plain fact is that these greenhouse gases prevent nearly half the solar radiation reaching the surface.

    Common sense (and empirical evidence) tells us that the most prolific “greenhouse gas” water vapor obviously forms clouds that shade us and cools the surface by a few degrees, rather than doing most of that incorrectly calculated “33 degrees of warming” which the IPCC loves to scare us with.

    A totally different paradigm involving gravity it what is really at play.

    Have a Happy (and dry) Christmas everyone.

    • “Well that’s a lot of raising to do from -40°C especially when that radiation between the surface and the troposphere is in general a process which cools the surface. ”

      Heat transfer from me to my blanket is, in general, a process that cools me. Yet, strangely, I am warmer at night with a blanket than without. Your theory of physics seems to imply that my blanket does not keep me warm.

      Sigh.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Bob
        beg pardon
        never quite understood the blanket analogy
        500 ppm seems a really thin blanket
        at 460 now, another 40 brings apocalypse?

    • “There is no valid physics which can be used to prove carbon dioxide could raise the surface temperature, not even by a tenth of a degree.”
      _____
      Pseudoscience Statement of the Day Award! Congratulations on giving readers here a perfect example of why real scientists often shy away from engaging with this kind of mentality.

      • Pseudoscientific concepts:
        Use of vague, exaggerated or untestable claims
        Over-reliance on confirmation rather than refutation
        Lack of openness to testing by other experts
        Absence of progress
        Personalization of issues
        Use of misleading language
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience

        Is this what Dr. Curry has been saying to some extent?
        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  29. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Omitting the ‘doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts’ is not a morally neutral act; it is a subtle deception that calls scientific practice into disrepute.

    ——–

    BREAKING NEWS
    James Hansen gets it right!!!

    Global Temperature Update Through 2013
    J. Hansen, M. Sato & R. Ruedy / 21 Jan 2014

    Conclusion  Record global temperature is likely in the near term.

    However, the rate of future warming will depend upon changes of the tropospheric aerosol forcing, which is highly uncertain and unmeasured.

    Good on `yah, James Hansen (and colleagues)!

    For science-respecting climate-change discourse — sustained through four decades — that consistently has been well-reasoned, unfailingly polite,and scrupulously uncertainty-acknowledging!

    Everyone appreciates that outstanding commitment, eh Climate Etc readers?

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  30. Andrew Russell

    Here is a good example of the “ethics” of UN organizations: The Green Climate Fund wants $10 billion AND immunity from prosecutions for whatever they do with it.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/12/18/10-billion-un-linked-climate-change-fund-wants-immunity-from-prosecution/?intcmp=latestnews

    • Why do something illegal or expose yourself when you can just “administer” the billions away?

      Why risk criticism by, eg, implementing conservation measures to stop mudslides on Leyte?

      Why risk activity when you can just be an activist?

    • Climate justice is the replacement for the oil for food scam. Only this time they want it official that they intend to steal it all.

  31. ” the greater the speculation and uncertainties involved, the weaker the ethical claim. Conversely, as the certainty increases, the stronger the ethical claim.”

    Not quite. This statement may confound two separate risks of policy calls based on scientific conclusions. The first is uncertainty, as discussed. The second is that, regardless of scientific accuracy, the policy recommendation may run counter to other values. It isn’t just that uncertainty affects our assessment of “the future of the environment or the future of the poorest citizens on Earth.” Even with complete certainty, people simply put different values on environmental health and the alleviation of poverty, and the two goals frequently conflict — or at least present different priorities.

    If that’s correct, then the scientist proposing large-scale policy changes has two separate ethical constraints. First, she must fairly disclose the uncertainties of her scientific support. Second, she must explain the non-scientific value choices which are the basis of any priority claim on public resources. The second task isn’t always that difficult, but it requires explicitly making political choices and separating them clearly from scientific analysis.

    [Maybe reason actually works. I found myself completely changing some strongly held assumptions in the course of crafting this comment. Someone please tell me that I’m wrong …]

    • Sorry Toby, but you are quite right (and reason does work). In fact it may be argued that science, or fact generally, no matter how strong, makes no ethical claims. Rather, values are required and they must be disclosed and argued for separately. This is the fundamental is-ought distinction which helps to define the field of ethics. But the quote is correct that given the values, factual uncertainty weakens the ethical claim.

  32. ‘As scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method’ ~Professor Stephen Schneider

    We can no longer take such statements at face value. Because the concept of honor and integrity in science no longer has any meaning, it would be foolish to assume honesty and courage of climate scientists: from now on, they will have to prove it –e.g., “In our view,” argue George Ellis and Joe Silk (Scientific method: Defend the integrity of physics), “the issue boils down to clarifying one question: what potential observational or experimental evidence is there that would persuade you that the theory is wrong and lead you to abandoning it? If there is none, it is not a scientific theory.” The Earth is not a greenhouse.

    Also I prefer to describe CO2, methane (CH4,), nitrous oxide (N2O), ozone (O3), and the chlorofluoro carbons (CFC’s) as minor absorbing gases rather than greenhouse gases because glass houses become hot mainly by keeping the heated air from mixing with cooler air outside rather than by absorption in the glass. Atmospheric absorption by these gases definitely does warm the earth. The controversy is about how important they are compared with natural causes. ~Donald C. Morton

  33. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS
    Poisoning the wells of public discourse
    !!! KOCH BROTHERS UNMASKED !!!

    One group dominates
    net neutrality comments

    A letter-writing campaign that appears to have been organized by a shadowy organization with ties to the Koch Brothers inundated the Federal Communications Commission with missives opposed to net neutrality (NN).

    Anti-net neutrality commenters mobilized in force and comprised the majority of overall comments submitted, at 60%.

    We attribute this shift almost entirely to the form-letter initiatives of a single organization, American Commitment, who are single-handedly responsible for 56.5% of the comments in this round.

    Non-form-letter submissions had a similar sentiment distribution as comments in the first round, at less than 1% opposed to net neutrality.

    Question I  Are BigCarbon/BigCapital astro-turfing campaigns moral?

    Question II  Does moral practice require that denialist web-forums voluntarily disclose BigCarbon/BigCapital revenues?

    Question III  Is climate-change denial associated to net-neutrality opposition on web-sites that receive BigCarbon/BigCapital revenues?

    The world wonders … and BigCarbon/BigCapital adamantly opposes citizens who seek answers.

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      • Deniers get ad hominem attacks from global warming alarmists (for whom its just simple-minded politics if not religious zeal).

      • What is it: (1) no global warming and no catastrophe or (2), global warming an no catastrophe? “[W]hat potential observational or experimental evidence is there that would persuade you that… [AGW] theory is wrong and lead you to abandoning it?” George Ellis & Joe Silk

      • Add the graph showing declining incidence of tornadoes and you will have a trifecta.

      • What if modernity brought us the catastrophe climate alarmists warned us about and it came and went but humanity never knew it happened? Still a catastrophe?

      • Wag, the MO is always the same. The political arm (mob in illustrated here in many forms: Joshua, Michael, Fanboy etc.) never have an ethical acknowledgement of the their political corruption or government authority agenda. On the other hand they see the word “ethics” and they can never shut up with every straw-man, expert opinion as “science” and internet board filibuster imaginable.

        The entire warming agenda starts with a common fallacy religiously adhered to by the mob; “co2 drives climate and warming” and the reaction of the elite warming science community? Two mouthed support or crickets. It’s a clear case of a fringe idea with a political purpose they all share being massaged instead of policed.

        The warming community, apologists and useful idiots really don’t have an ethical base to begin with. Post normal science leads us to post-normal ethics for the most part.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        cwon14 “[inchoate rant redacted]”

        Climate Etc readers owe a debt of thanks to cwon14, for plainly showing what deep-rooted opposition to representative democracy looks like.

        Good on `yah for a needed lesson, cwon14!

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      • … in this instance the, inchoate rant being the, voice of reason. common sense and embrace of existentialism?

      • If lefties didn’t slander, they’d have nothing to say.

      • stan –

        Is that your entry for the unintentional irony award?

      • So the progressive defense of the big climate lie is after all just a dead cat bounce.

      • John Vonderlin

        Stan,
        As a proud left hander I find your usage of a common term for my laterality as political shorthand for a part of the political spectrum you dislike hurtful, possibly slanderous. I guess you are just another callous right hander with poor empathy skills. I bet you even use my first name as a term for toilets and prostitute’s customers. For shame.

      • We were Vonderlin if you would be insulted or not.

      • FOMBS deigns to share Dr Seuss and a couple of progressive frothing at the mouth – vilifying and denigrating – a journalist because she doesn’t share their politics. Gosh that never get’s old.

        http://www.bloombergview.com/contributors/megan-mcardle

        Nor does it ever contribute anything to rational discussion.

      • Democracy and communism are two different systems Fanboy. You have yet to demonstrate you know the difference.

      • Any one who want to take a reading on the moral character of Fan should go to the link he willingly supplied.
        Marxist drivel from beginning to end. Not inchoate, but certainly incoherent, intolerable, insufferable, inane and infantile.
        It’s like a parody of bad journalism…guilt by association and the proof is in the sneer.
        What Fan’s notion of representative democracy is is lost in this bizarre character assassination he wants you to read of a journalist who is a Libertarian and therefore, connected to Koch money as though that were, per se, an act of evil or a state of evil. It’s hard to tell which but with the devastating evidence presented you know the article was written for the True Believer. What evidence? The journalist admitted her husband worked for Reason magazine. Does anyone need to know any more to grasp how evil and duplicitous is this journalist? Well, then, how about the FACT that, in growing up, she “… was able to attend Riverdale Country School, the most expensive prep school in America, according to Time magazine. Today, annual tuition at Riverdale runs over $40,000.” There you go. Evil incarnate.
        The organization that did this groundbreaking investigative work to uncover the evil alliance between this journalist and the Koch foundation is called S.H.A.M.E.
        This has got to be the bottom of the barrel of intellect. The moral fervor and flavor given off by their rancid prose is that of the old Politburo of the Soviet Union, the current leadership in North Korea and many current, Ivy League, academic lounges.
        If you can read the whole thing without bursting into paroxysms of laughter then…you’re taking it far too seriously.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Daniel unleashes comedic denialist demagoguery  “Marxist drivel … character assassination … True Believer … duplicitous … evil incarnate … rancid … Politburo … North Korea … academic lounges (?)”

        Lol … you had us at “Marxist drivel”!

        Seriously Daniel, aren’t *ALL* of your buzzwords fifty years old (and more?)

        The world wonders … at the pathetic irrelevance of 21st century denialist demagoguery.

        \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}

      • …you lost me at, seriously.

      • ‘In This Changes Everything Naomi Klein argues that climate change isn’t just another issue to be neatly filed between taxes and health care. It’s an alarm that calls us to fix an economic system that is already failing us in many ways. Klein meticulously builds the case for how massively reducing our greenhouse emissions is our best chance to simultaneously reduce gaping inequalities, re-imagine our broken democracies, and rebuild our gutted local economies. She exposes the ideological desperation of the climate-change deniers, the messianic delusions of the would-be geoengineers, and the tragic defeatism of too many mainstream green initiatives. And she demonstrates precisely why the market has not—and cannot—fix the climate crisis but will instead make things worse, with ever more extreme and ecologically damaging extraction methods, accompanied by rampant disaster capitalism.’

        http://www.amazon.com/This-Changes-Everything-Capitalism-Climate-ebook/dp/B00JHIDON6

        It’s a very new battle in very old cultural war in fact. Decadently reduced to prog porn by fringe extreme progressives in these latter days – but still annoying noise that distracts from adult policy positions.

        Do you have the prog porn affliction? Take the prog porn quiz.

        Are You Addicted to Prog Porn?

        Rate every answer as follows: Never: 0 | Occasionally: 1 | Often: 2 | Most of the time: 3

        Do you spend more than 11 hours a week watching MSNBC?

        Does your reading of the Huffington Post have a negative impact on your relationships?

        Does trolling on the Internet get in the way of your work or seeing friends and family?

        Do you ever choose to watch the Daily Show over hanging out with friends or family?

        How often do you imagine yourself being Barack Obama as a way of making yourself feel less depressed or bored?

        Do you ever feel like you should try to stop listening to NPR?

        Do you ever have problems formulating your own original thoughts in a conversation?

        Do you fantasize about what you’ve read on the Daily Cos to get in the mood for human interaction?

        Have you discovered that now you need to visit Communist Party websites to get the same buzz?

        – See more at: http://thepeoplescube.com/peoples-blog/prog-porn-elizabeth-warren-mug-from-wonkette-t15523.html#sthash.lN1ibNTj.dpuf

        FOMBS spews out the same fringe propaganda on an endless loop.

      • Another day, another Rob Ellison sock-puppet?

      • The best way to lie – Michael – is to tell the truth . . . carefully edited truth.

      • You’ve got that down pat.

      • nottawa rafter

        Dawn
        I watched her interview the other day. My head hurt so badly I needed to lie down. Then my wife put a wet towel on my forehead. First migraine of my life.

      • FOMD –

        Please leave Daniel alone.

        I love that guy. #1 Climate Etc. contributor!

      • Here’s a list of words that you might find appealing: sycophantic, ingratiating, obsequious, fawning, servile, groveling, subservient, cringing, humble, hypocritical, insincere, gushing, effusive, unctuous, oily.
        They are words that come to mind when I read your posts.

        Try listening to someone who has something interesting to say instead of drawing from the sources of pap you constantly use.

      • Daniel –

        That’s actually a pretty nice clip. Not that her points are particularly profound (e.g., that you learn from failure)…but she lays them out nicely.

        I particularly like the “blamestorm” phrase – gonna “borrow” that. Pretty well describes much of what we see here at Climate Etc.

      • “That’s actually a pretty nice clip.” You’d better check with your buddy, FOMBS who directed people to a site doing character assassination of her.
        She displays one heck of a lot more cogency, saliency, intellect and character than FOMBS or S.H.A.M.E ever has.

        “Pretty well describes much of what we see here at Climate Etc.”

        Pretty much what we see from the acolytes in the Church of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. It would be hard to pick the nastiest, most blame game playing member in the Watermelon crowd. Would it be a member of the clergy like Michael Mann with his constant whining, drivel, law suits and just outright nastiness or perhaps the special brand that Hansen wields. Not to mention Stephen Schneider, one of the foulest slingers of invective. Or would it come from the pews of True Believers like the folks at SkepticalScience or the BBC. So many to choose from.

      • The reeking stench from the left just keeps getting stronger. No wonder they go after the low information voter.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        jim2 complains of “reeking stench” in climate-science

        FOMD Fun Facts  Precisely *ZERO* scientific preprints have *EVER* used the demagogic phrase “reeking stench”.

        In particular James Hansen’s numerous climate-change preprints find no use for this phrase.

        Good on `yah, James Hansen …

        … for decades of diligence that send forth the fair fragrance of reasoned respectful responsible climate-science!

        Hint  Perhaps climate-change denialists should look closer to home, for the source of a “reeking stench” in climate-science discourse?

        \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 source of a “reeking stench” in climate-science discourse?

        UN… EU?

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Wagathon is curious about “the source of a ‘reeking stench’ in climate-science discourse?”

        Wagathon, you are right to wonder!

        Gosh, who knew that the CATO Institute started out as the Charles Koch Foundation?

        Oh the things that we learn …

        … here on Climate Etc!

        \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}

      • 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.

      • You should listen to this instead of the fatuous Marxist nonsense you sent people to.

      • Great keynote speech – it requires patience but is worth it. I like the idea of ambassadors. Flaming idealogues create havoc. Former ambassador Bolton is amusing but was justifiably fired – diplomats need to be diplomatic. Sadly, blogs seem to attract psychopaths like sh&t attracts flies.

      • Oops! Either I messed up or threading is broken. My post was a reply to Daniel’s post of the Megan McCardle keynote speech on YouTube

      • ‘The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species – its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.

        The German and Australian governments pretend to be green. When I show German officials the evidence that the coal source must be cut off, they say they will tighten the “carbon cap”. But a cap only slows the use of a fuel – it does not leave it in the ground. When I point out that their new coal plants require that they convince Russia to leave its oil in the ground, they are silent. The Australian government was elected on a platform of solving the climate problem, but then, with the help of industry, it set emission targets so high as to guarantee untold disasters for the young, let alone the unborn. These governments are not green. They are black – coal black.’ Jim Hansen

        ‘They’ seem to have totally lost the plot – the big reeking stench here is
        is the scary scenarios that are use to justify transformations in economics and societies in vague utopian ways by fringe extremists who have long ago lost the war. Tweedledum and Tweedledee rattling imaginary sabres as foils to the fear of the future.

        Most amusing is how wrong *The Science* is.

        “Some say compared to Bononcini
        That mynheer Handel’s but a ninny;
        Others aver that he to Handel
        Is scarcely fit to hold a candle.
        Strange all this difference should be
        ’Twixt Tweedledum and Tweedledee.”
        – John Byrom

      • FOMD

        Is craven sycophancy your idea of mod-dern? Upbeat? Surfing the latest meme?
        I’m afraid that if I have to compete on knowing the ‘in’ crowd lingo, you’ve won.
        Thank god.

      • David Springer

      • Hmmm … and then we have Obama today bragging at his news confefence how the US is the number one producer of gas and that under his administration gas and oil production is way up. Obama = Koch

      • I use “have-a-heart” traps and bring our critters to local golf course, does this make me a climate criminal??;

        http://joannenova.com.au/2014/12/kill-the-squirrel-to-save-the-planet/

        Kill the beaver and save the planet? The Geenshirt slogan for 2015??

      • How about not selectively picking a basin and not specifying land-falling in determining whether on not something is observed.

        Data on all hurricanes and cyclones would be better, and more ethical.

      • …would be better, and more ethical.

        “Anyone who’d like to argue that the world is experiencing a “new normal” with respect to tropical cyclones is simply mistaken. Over the past 4 years, the world is actually in the midst of a very low period in tropical cyclone landfalls — at least as measured over the past 43 years.” ~Pielke, Jr.

      • I wonder why there is no trendline on that graph?

        You had a trendline on the other graph because it supported your hypothesis, what about a trendline on this one, would it support your hypothesis or not?

        I am in the too early to tell camp.

      • …too early to tell is resolved in months if you’re pregnant, but for other things… there’s no telling: how many years would it take?

      • To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
        Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
        To the last syllable of recorded time;

        / Macbeth.

        Seventeen years is tooooooo sooooooon to
        weaken consensivity and let’s face it, yer can
        wait to the last syllable of recorded time and
        that’s toooooooo soooooooon tooooooooooooo..

        / The Team..

      • For some things the answer is as long as it takes.

      • ”The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.” Michael Oppenheimer

        ”Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.” Maurice King

        ”Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.” Maurice Strong,

        This is Joshua’s squirrel at the heart of the ethical divide. A philosophy of limits versus economic growth and sustainability. Without economic growth – social and environmental progress is impossible.

      • The Left is a cesspool of the intellect as the quotes you provide show. And there are many more like them that simply reinforce the recklessness with which the Left paints the world and devises solutions to its problems, both real an imagined.
        The one consistent thing about the Left is its worship of stasis. Growth but managed growth and the management by technocratic elites who tell everyone else how much and at what rate. The corollary of stasis is authoritarianism. They go hand in hand and won’t work one without the other. This is the intellectual core of the Left.
        Based on fantasies and Faustian deals they think we should be grateful for their efforts and sneer when we aren’t. Thus, Obama, Pelosi, Gruber, Mann, Schneider, Strong, Rifkin, Erlich, Carson ad infintum and all of the groupies and acolytes they attract who want the world to stop, to be orderly, to not change, to be guaranteed and perfectly safe. And all the opportunists who hitch their wagon to the Left like Hollywood, the UN, academia, etc. It’s a worldview and I understand the appeal. Guarantees, never any risk or loss, never any pain or anguish. It’s seductive. And wholly destructive.
        It is today’s opiate of the masses. Give us your wealth, relinquish your freedom and we guarantee an order to the universe, one without challenge, without messiness, without risk where everyone is equal and happy and tip toeing through the tulips. Let us run the world and there will be plenty for all, no discord or war, no pain or suffering.
        EVERYTIME the stasists have gained the power they lust after it has resulted in a blood bath and the only thing equal for the masses was the pain and suffering they endured at the hands of the eloquent elite.
        How many times does humanity have to be whacked across the head with a 2×4 before they give up this fatuous, asinine fantasy?

      • Daniel- Long, overly broad generalizations criticizing a group only make the writer of the comment appear clueless.

      • Historic data does not support this dark alarmist view.
        More and more people have enjoyed better and better.
        The forecasts that said we have enough people and any more will cause a disaster, have always been wrong. More people work together better to make everything better for more people. More people can figure out more better ways to support everyone. The upper bound is not in sight.

      • nottawa rafter

        :)

      • Sounds like ISIS logic.

    • John Vonderlin

      Fan,
      “poisoning the wells of public discourse?” What a strange metaphor. Form letters generated by special interest groups are a time-honored technique in such matters. I’ve engaged in such efforts myself on the opposite side of the spectrum from the Koch brothers usual interests. It is easily recognized by the tabulators and based on everything I’ve read through the decades and my own lack of success at influencing policy, not very effective. Hookers and cash work much better than trash cans full of form letters.

      • Indeed, the greens are bragging that they generated over 3 million form letter comments on EPA’s latest coal killing proposal. These are of no value and just clog up the regulatory process. But they are a standard green practice.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      John Vonderlin notes “Hookers and cash work much better than trash cans full of form letters [at suborning democracy]”

      That BigCarbon/BigCapital are energetically deploying *BOTH* strategies is as evident as … one … Two … THREE!

      *EVERYONE* appreciates *THAT* BigCarbon/BigCapital reality, eh Climate Etc readers?

      Grand juries, especially!

      \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}

      • Matthew R Marler

        A fan of *MORE* discourse: Grand juries, especially!

        Do you think that grand juries are inherently more or less respectable, reliable, etc than petit juries?

      • MM,

        This is off topic, but grand juries are in fact much less reliable than petit juries. About 25 years ago New York’s chief justice, in talking about grand juries, said that he could indict a ham sandwich if he wished. Almost always, only one side(the prosecution) is permitted to introduce evidence before a grand jury.

        JD

      • Matthew R Marler

        JD Ohio: About 25 years ago New York’s chief justice, in talking about grand juries, said that he could indict a ham sandwich if he wished. Almost always, only one side(the prosecution) is permitted to introduce evidence before a grand jury.

        Two grand juries are in the news recently because of indictments that they did not vote. When I served on a grand jury, there were several times that we didn’t vote indictments because there was no case.

        Back to the original, what exactly was FOMD’s point, do you you reckon?

      • ==> “When I served on a grand jury, there were several times that we didn’t vote indictments because there was no case.”

        Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.

    • Matthew R Marler

      a fan of *MORE* discourse: Question I Are BigCarbon/BigCapital astro-turfing campaigns moral?

      Yes. You have a right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and such petitions have been a standard part of US public debate since the Constitution was ratified. The “morality” does not depend on the identity of the initiator of the petition.

      Question II Does moral practice require that denialist web-forums voluntarily disclose BigCarbon/BigCapital revenues?

      No. Disclosure laws do not, and ought not, depend on the positions advocated or articulated.

      Question III Is climate-change denial associated to net-neutrality opposition on web-sites that receive BigCarbon/BigCapital revenues?

      No. Only a tiny number of cranks deny “climate change” outright, though a few CO2 alarmists think that only CO2-induced climate change exists; nothing can be learned from such a tiny cohort.

    • Neutron Powered, High Side Sideways Racer

      Steyer, Thomas $73,970,834

    • But Fanboy isn’t a conspiracy theorist? (nut)?

  34. The common good of mankind was given at least equal billing four decades ago, though that no longer appears to be the case in much climate change activism and literature [comparing the Rio Declaration of the ’80s to the 1972 Stockholm Declaration]. A forceful criticism of this shift in priorities was articulated by Dr. Patrick Moore, an early member of Greenpeace who said on BBC Radio 4: ‘The “green” [in Greenpeace] is the environment and that’s good as well, but they lost the concern for humans’, before going on to add, ‘they have turned in, basically, to an evil organization’. ~Peter Lee

  35. A fundamental problem is that everyone tries to deceive (lie if you will) all the time. Women wear makeup. Men speak with authority about the ability of the quarterback when they really are not that sure. People tell jokes to get attention. People brag. In science, the end of a paper (or particularly a press release) tries to spin the research as important (“may lead to insights on cancer…”) when no one knows the impact of the research until much later. Everyone must use their own judgement to evaluate claims about beauty, ability, knowledge, power at all times. Appeals to authority are an attempt to short-circuit the normal critical faculties that everyone uses on a daily basis.
    In the context of climate change, there is a temptation to claim (or believe) that a certain scientific result forces a particular real-world action. But the people making this conclusion are often lacking knowledge about crop yields, natural disasters, economics, technology etc. upon which a proper response depends. The fit of the science claim to one’s world views can also lead to uncritical acceptance of public statements that 4 degrees warming will make the Earth uninhabitable and other silly statements (hotter means colder winters, etc.). In addition, this “forcing” view of what science says usually ignores 1) the uncertainty and 2) alternatives such as adaptation or the resilience benefits of additional economic growth. Very few people possess the restraint to shut up when they don’t know what they are talking about.

  36. Science Misconduct (wiki Swedish definition)
    “Intention[al] distortion of the research process by fabrication of data, text, hypothesis, or methods from another researcher’s manuscript form or publication; or distortion of the research process in other ways.”

    It is hard to argue ethics – but you can define misconduct.

    My previously offered solution is to take 10% of government grant money and red team all government funded research.

    Findings of misconduct would get the researcher banned from government grant funded projects from 5 years to life. Cherry picking data and failure to disclose negative results for example would come under misconduct.

    Finding that the study result was invalid (bad methodology, statistical errors etc.) would be a black mark for future grant submissions.

    There would be a 50% bonus to red team members for finding misconduct or invalidating the study.

    The barely above single digits level of study reproducibility is unacceptable. I don’t care if scientists are biased or incompetent – we shouldn’t be funding them in either case.

  37. When science isn’t science-based: In class with Dr. John Ioannidis

    For Ioannidis, the key reason for this exaggeration and misrepresentation in research can be summed up in one word: bias.
    http://www.macleans.ca/society/life/when-science-isnt-science-based-in-class-with-dr-john-ioannidis/

    • When science isn’t science-based

      Has there ever been disruptive science that the establishment accepted immediately as “science-based”?

      Insisting on all research being “science-based” will bring scientific research to a halt.

  38. I have read and reread Peter Lee’s essay. While there is much good food for thought and some noteworthy takeaways, in the end I think there is also a significant deficiency. And that is in the underlying presumption of what ethical means. Beyond some Platonic ideals inapplicable to the real world, it is difficult to find a universal meaning of ‘ethical’ which then enables practical ‘more or less ethical’ judgements. There seem to be at least two fundamental problems preventing general ‘ethical’ utility.

    First, notions of what is ethical always seem to contain hidden presumptions resting on unstated beliefs and prior value judgements. These can reasonably differ between otherwise like minded people. As these are often first principles beliefs, they are neither arguable nor compromisable. As a simple, deliberately controversial example, doctors performing early term abortions are in unethical violation of the medical ethics Hippocratic Oath — but ONLY if one beliefs that life absolutely and always begins at conception. This ignores the rate of first term spontaneous abortion (NIH says about half of all conceptions in the US), at least half of which contain gross chromosomal abnormalities meaning there wasn’t an incipient ‘life’ at conception in the first place at least one fourth of the time. And that narrow reasoning itself ignores the bigger Supreme Court reasoning concerning the ‘ethics’ of ignoring or honoring the potential Mother’s own wishes, and the subsequent implications for her ability to properly raise the potential child, itself having major (negative) societal consequences…. According to which ethical view it would be unethical for doctors to deny early term abortion requests.
    Ethics is inherently mostly relativistic, with little in the way of ‘absolute’ least common denominators upon which most could agree. (of course there are exceptions that prove the rule. Life isn’t simple.) This problem seems especially fraught in climate change.

    Second is the simple economic notion of shadow costs, related to but not exactly the same as opportunity costs. These prevent any easy determination of ‘more or less ethical’ even if there were an agreed notion of what is ‘ethical’. These are the implicit unaccounted ‘costs’ inherent in making any actionable decision whatsoever. As a simple example, any decision to expend resources on A means they are not spent on B, imposing ‘lack of B’ shadow costs. Full shadow cost ramifications are seldom evident, let alone explicitly considered in decision making. A recent concrete example is Planning Engineer’s posts on the grid stability ‘shadow cost’ of increasing proportions of intermittent renewables. At heart, this second issue is part of what deadlocked Lima.

    The first Lee paragraph quoted by Judith actually illustrates both problems, although not as clearly as this comment’s examples. So does Hansen’s “saving our children’s children” ethical plea not to build KXL. (He felt so strongly he got himself arrested in a KXL protest in front of the White House.) Not only is there a presumption that the not yet extant great grandkids need saving, there is no cognizance of the time value of money (a not so shadowy cost). The real shadow cost of not building KXL is that Canada has already permitted a doubling of pipeline capacity to its west coast for export to China, while CNOC already spent $18 billion buying Athabascan production capacity. Not building KXL means less North American oil used in North America, and a strengthened energy supply for China. The oil is going to get used either way. Essentially the result of the State Department review.

    Bottom line, I find crisper things like the definition of academic misconduct (Marcotts hockey stick), fact based full cost/benefit (impact of intermittency on grid stability), and Feynman’s admonitions in Cargo Cult Science to be sufficient conduct guides without getting too deeply into murkier ethical considerations.

  39. A discussion about the ethics and morality of over-stating the uncertainty also merits some lengthy discussion. Some monsters can look very scary, and scientists can act as magnifying glasses to overstate the size and importance of uncertainty relative to the risk.

    Where is the sweet spot in representing uncertainty in the most accurate and ethical way– neither under-stating nor overstating it so that policymakers can accurately weigh risks, with the political spin and lobbyist noise filtered out.

    • Uncertainty is certainly a problem. It is not true that we know nothing, but neither is it true that the GCMs produce precise and reliable output like a laser beam. It then needs and is receiving considerable debate exactly what it is we DO know. I have submitted a ms on the epistemology of this question. What is clearly unethical to me is to completely hide uncertainty (no confidence intervals), to hide code and data, and to selectively report results. I was told in no uncertain terms by my Masters & Ph.D. committees that I must discuss literature that disagreed with my thesis, not just what supported it. Guess IPCC authors did not have such good advisors. Ethics also in my mind requires one to follow Feynman’s admonition to avoid fooling yourself–a very tough proposition.

      • Great points Craig and you had some good advisors. An honest rational skeptic realizes that everything they think they do “know” is a provisional kind of truth or knowing, and should have a confidence interval associated with it. Thus, even if enough data seems to support a theory, I can only accept that theory as provisionally true until such time as enough new data would cause me to abandon or alter that stance. Even more so, rather than focus on data that supports your “truth”, you should focus on finding the exceptions or the data that does not. That’s where the potential for knowledge to expand comes from. But some things that we “know” can have consequences attached to them, depending if we are wrong or right about them. Anthropogenic climate change is potentially about the most significant thing we can be right or wrong about. This complicates the issue as something that could potentially have such wide-ranging consequences carries an emotional component that is hard to ignore for human scientists.

      • What inspires resistance is not so-called ‘global warming’ but the catastrophic scenarios posed as a justification for transformation of economies and societies.

        The rational responses remain the same – and don’t relate primarily to ‘global warming’ but involve technological innovation and progress on social and economic development and environmental conservation.

        ‘Global warming’ is a sideshow – an unfortunate distraction from the real issues of the planet – and in a way that perversely undermines progress on this issue.

      • @ Delta Dawn

        “What inspires resistance is not so-called ‘global warming’ but the catastrophic scenarios posed as a justification for transformation of economies and societies.”

        Exactly!

        Or, as it was explained on another thread:

        “………………“policy based evidence making”.

        Consensus Climate Science condensed to one phrase.

    • The tricky bit is that the sh*t happens when all policymakers are dead. Should the poor of the present really pay for the problems of the wealthy?

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

    ‘Scientific truth alone is not enough to carry the day in the court of public opinion. The effectiveness of one’s messaging and the resources available to support and amplify it play a far greater, perhaps even dominant role’

    I’m new to this, unaware of statements like this
    makes me uncomfortable
    “messaging”?
    I’m up to here with messaging
    maybe that’s why I come to CE
    don’t get the feeling I’m being played
    hope I’m right

    • John –

      Who do you trust to present “scientific truth?”

      • Who do you trust to present “scientific truth?”

        I look at the evidence provided by people who offer different Theories and I decide which Theory matches real data the best. I trust those who present Theory and Matching, Real, Data that makes sense.
        Water is Abundant, if you use water, in all of its states, to control Earth Temperature, you get a lot of points. If you use a trace gas to control Earth Temperature, you get no points.

      • If you were ever on a Jury. You listened to the “Experts” and “Witnesses” and decided who you trusted the most based on the information they presented. You do not need to be an expert in any field to be on a Jury.

        You can listen to the Theories and look at the Data and educate yourself to make reasonable determinations of what is right. You can even determine that the 97% consensus is a crock.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Joshua
        I trust in Gaia, but still tie up my camels

        Judith Curry a little bit
        Micheal Mann not a bit

    • John, I think the point being made is that being right is just the starting point if you have to convince millions of people. Getting your point across is difficult and expensive.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        I get the point
        he crossed from science to advocacy
        forget him
        I got politicians and NGO crusaders for that
        and FOMD posts another Koch brothers yawn
        no one’s trying to convince me or any “millions”
        any Bravo Sierra “carbon mitigation” will be decided by a small number of urban elites
        not my favorite people
        you probably only read my words because Judith Curry is not a crusader
        and an “advocate” only for science

        will repeat
        had it up to here with “messaging”

      • http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/tv/article4446150.html#/tabPane=tabs-383c4c27-1

        Others use a more blunt term: weather porn. The extra time spent on these stories can’t be explained by an increased frequency of or interest in bad weather, and they’re rarely used in context of a discussion about climate change, Tyndall said.

        “If Ginger Zee reported in the role of climatologist rather than meteorologist, I would praise ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’s’ decision as a daring intervention into a crucial national and global debate,” he said. “Instead, she is more like a pornographer.”

        A quote from news consultant Andrew Tyndall, who monitors the content of the broadcasts, about the newscast of Ginger Zee, ABC’s meteorologist.

        There are two problems here – the disgusting nature of the comment and the attitude that American audiences have to be bombarded constantly with mindless inaccurate global warming propaganda.

  41.  
    Washington Post: Data from Rutgers University Global Snow Lab show the fall Northern Hemisphere snow cover extent exceeded 22 million square kilometers, exceeding the previous greatest fall extent recorded in 1976.


    Fall snow cover extent in the Northern Hemisphere, 1967 to 2014 (Rutgers Global Snow Lab)

     

    • Increased precipitation is expected with rising temps.

      • …must have been colder in the Southern Hemisphere.

      • nottawa rafter

        Michael

        IPCC said there will be fewer cold weather events. Looks like yet another
        fail by an organization whose foundation is based on a pandemic of failure.

      • R. Gates | December 18, 2014 helps you Michael “I can only accept that theory as provisionally true until such time as enough new data would cause me to abandon or alter that stance. Even more so, rather than focus on data that supports your “truth”, you should focus on finding the exceptions or the data that does not.”

        Increased precipitation is expected with rising temps.
        Decreasing snow is expected with rising temps.

      • angech,

        Not necessarily.

        Increased precip, can be increased snowfall.

      • Increased precip, can be increased snowfall.
        No, it can lead to increased snowfall when the temperature gets colder.
        Like America at Christmas this year.
        You do not get a lot of snowfall in the tropics no matter how much the precipitation increases.
        Because, I guess, it is Hot.

      • angech,

        are you serious?

  42. Let me try again – without using the idi_t words in quotes.

    It’s time to stop just worrying about climate change, says Paul Gilding. We need instead to brace for impact because global crisis is no longer avoidable. This Great Disruption started in 2008, with spiking food and oil prices and dramatic ecological changes, such as the melting ice caps. It is not simply about fossil fuels and carbon footprints. We have come to the end of Economic Growth, Version 1.0, a world economy based on consumption and waste, where we lived beyond the means of our planet’s ecosystems and resources.

    The Great Disruption offers a stark and unflinching look at the challenge humanity faces-yet also a deeply optimistic message. The coming decades will see loss, suffering, and conflict as our planetary overdraft is paid; however, they will also bring out the best humanity can offer: compassion, innovation, resilience, and adaptability. Gilding tells us how to fight-and win-what he calls The One Degree War to prevent catastrophic warming of the earth, and how to start today.’ http://paulgilding.com/the-great-disruption/

    Let me google that for you – http://lmgtfy.com/?q=climate+catastrophe+a+transforming+moment

    There is no disjoint between Schneider – ‘… we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts…’ – and millions of other expressions of the same idea. Catastrophic scenarios are offered up to engender support for fundamental transformation of societies and economies. There is a cohort of true believers who are essentially utterly convinced that the world is going to hell in a handbasket and that the fault can be laid at the door of democracy and capitalism. All we can do is reiterate that the world does not want radical transformation of politics, economies and society. The dangers are evident and the progress we have made to freedoms and security far too important to lightly put at risk

    The rational response – to the many diverse humanitarian and environmental issues facing humanity are obvious – https://judithcurry.com/2014/12/17/ethics-and-climate-change-policy/#comment-656298 – and it includes continued economic growth and technological innovation, Especially in energy sources. New energy sources are the key to the future – one that is already well underway.

    The alternative ideology of death and despair is a stark contrast.

    ”The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
    Jeremy Rifkin,

    “Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idi_t child a machine gun.”
    Paul Ehrlich

    It seems much more a millennialist psychopathology than a rational political and economic philosophy. But make no mistake – this is an ongoing battle for the future. One that started in he 19th century and will continue – seemingly hydra headed – into the future under whatever other rationale emerges post climate change.

    “I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
    John Davis

    I suspect that ethics aren’t high on their agenda.

    • The progressive forces have adopted the information tactics of evil totalitarian regimes of the past, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. Of course they don’t think the regimes that promoted this idea were necessarily evil or that the socialist basis of these regimes is necessarily bad, indicating that their sense of ethics and morals is somewhat compromised.

      There is a theory on the left that man is destroying the planet and that his numbers and affluence must be reduced. Since America is a large and affluent country they seem to like to start here.

      This explains most of their irrational policies. Take energy, it is obvious that cheap available reliable energy benefits the US. Progressives are doing their damnedest to make energy unreliable expensive and scarce. This is crazy. The US spent most of the 20th century working to make cheap reliable power available at the touch of a button to enrich the lives of all Americans.

      The progressives want Americans to live lives of false scarcity and want. They have to lie quite long and hard to rationalize this.

      • Progressives want the workers to share in the wealth they produce for the rich. They think that a wealthy country should have no one living in poverty, and they believe in a fair wage for a full-time job, and that the wealthy should not have lower tax rates than the middle class via loopholes. Energy likewise needs to be affordable for the poor as a basic necessity along with healthcare and a place to live. The progressive theme here is that a civility of a country is defined by how the least wealthy of their people live.

      • No, Jim D
        Stripped of spin, ‘progressives’ basically want the workers to seize by force, wealth created by others. Organised crime, iow, aka socialism.

      • Tuppence, I think you have them confused with the comrades of the communist revolution. Progressives are democrats first of all, and they believe in government by the people, for the people. Corporate influence on elections and politicians is another thing that progressives are decidedly against.

      • No Jim, it’s you that’s confused.
        The plundering of some by others using the state, elected or otherwise, is still just organised crime, a totalitarian arangement. Called ‘progressive’ to dupe folks.

      • Tuppence, you have lost me. Who is being plundered? Were the Republican administrations involved too? Is everyone too left for you?

      • OK, Jim you must be completely new to politics or still in junior school maybe. It’s the money the state seizes by force from some purely to give to others. More or less like what gangsters do. Also called ‘welfare’ sometimes.

      • Tuppence, do you call any form of taxation plundering? Is there any country being run according to your ideal?

      • To repeat:
        It’s the money the state seizes by force from some purely to give to others

        Grasp that and you have my answer.

      • Tuppence, you are opposed to welfare? Are there any countries that don’t have welfare systems for their poor, sick, and elderly? Most nations have these societal responsibilities that probably outrage you.

  43. Seriously Judith? You deleted a comment that seriously – dispassionately and objectively – discussed the ethics of climate change – and allow endless partisan twaddle to persist.

    It is simply not worth participating here any further.

    • “Spoke too – browser problem it seems – rather than the usual moderation issues.” – Indi.

      Damn, things were looking up for a bit.

    • I delete posts that insult other commenters directly by name, which is a violation of blog rules.

      • I suggest arbitrary quality control might be a better option. Get rid of empty twaddle, endless repetition of the same forms of ridicule and denigration from the same people, the same – and insanely misguided – comments for the 1000th time.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Delta Dawn
        I fear that under your proposed rules
        all human communication might cease
        like snow
        :)

      • I stressed arbitrary – aim for a civilised and tolerant ambiance. Something with a little intellectual depth or cultured drollery perhaps. An eSalon rather than a dog pound.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Delta
        BTW just caught your post up thread
        outstanding
        +me 99%
        (just not the one that would end all human communication)
        ’cause alas I am a mongrel
        :)
        again, appreciate all at CE and grateful for being tolerated

    • I suggest that Rob and Delta Dawn get a room.

      Critical thinkers might assume that I mean for Rob to do something completely different.

      Yours Truly
      A Space Cadet

  44. Yes, there has been global warming, so the GWPF is legitimate enough to require our respect, although not without some qualification.

    Two periods of global warming occured I’m the 20th century: 1910 to 1940 and 1970 to 1997, the first was undoubtedly due to increases in carbon dioxide (CO2), while the second was at least partly due to the first by slow propagation through the oceans. The S hemisphere is mostly water so most of the extra heat was generated in the N hemisphere.

    Ome would expect that our mathematical models would by now be able to faithfully reproduce current average global temperatures, but this is not so – the IPCC models all exaggerate their predictions, also indicating a lack of understanding and validation of climate models. Could this be because the IPCC is trying to make a point?

    There appears to be no fundamental reason why the models should not be more accurate, at least for global average temperature and it is the responsibility of the UNFCCC to make this happen.

    • So you’ve managed to measure and separate out the natural effects from the manmade. A Nobel prize at the very least I imagine ( a real one, not the one for political correctness given to Gore and the IPCC ).

      • @ Tupppence

        “So you’ve managed to measure and separate out the natural effects from the manmade. A Nobel prize at the very least I imagine.”

        Nah, cancel the Nobel Prize.

        Piece of cake. The time honored tradition of Climate Science has been to simply declare, ex cathedra, that (x) effect was natural and that (y) effect was anthropogenic and take co-ordinated action to destroy the professional and personal reputations of anyone who has the temerity to suggest otherwise.

  45. It is ethical to look at data, especially when it is as cool as this! Global CO2 concentrations from NASA:

    http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/oco2/pia18934/#.VJNFpGt5mSM

    • JustinWonder | December 18, 2014 at 8:41 pm | Reply
      It is ethical to look at data, especially when it is as cool as this! Global CO2 concentrations from NASA:

      http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/oco2/pia18934/#.VJNFpGt5mSM

      Well, it would appear from the NASA image that CO2 emissions from rainforest burns are greatly underestimated..

      Other than China there is no major CO2 source in the Northern Hemisphere.

      • Other than China there is no major CO2 source in the Northern Hemisphere.

        Look again at that NASA image. The highest CO2 level in China is about 400 ppmv. The lowest level in the contiguous US is about 395 ppmv, only 5 ppmv less. With CO2 increasing at 2.3 ppmv per year globally that’s not a large enough gap to infer that there are no other major NH CO2 sources.

        CO2 is a well-mixed greenhouse gas.

        According to the Emissions by Country pie chart (bottom of page), China produces 23% of world CO2 emissions, the US is in second place with 19%, and the EU third at 13%. Add 6% for each of India and Russia, 4% for Japan, and 2% for Canada and you’re up to 73% in the Northern Hemisphere (not counting South Korea, the Middle East, etc.), of which China produces 23%.

      • Well Mr. Pratt, technically you are correct, but lets look at the map again.

        There is no frickin’ way less than 27% of world’s CO2 emissions would paint the Southern Hemisphere as red as a CSI slasher victim.

        What is happening in the South is the burning of the rainforest to clear land to grow biofuel (as encouraged by environmentalists). It seems pretty obvious the level of emission from rainforest destruction is a significant CO2 source even if it doesn’t show up in your funny chart. If you look at time lapse it is worst in September (their spring time).

      • –Other than China there is no major CO2 source in the Northern Hemisphere.

        Look again at that NASA image. The highest CO2 level in China is about 400 ppmv. The lowest level in the contiguous US is about 395 ppmv, only 5 ppmv less. With CO2 increasing at 2.3 ppmv per year globally that’s not a large enough gap to infer that there are no other major NH CO2 sources.–
        It seems to me that since China emits twice as much CO2 as US and in the US the emission occurs over larger area, it makes sense.
        But then again there several region which are about the same as China,
        and China has very high emission in fairly small region.
        Or seems one has to have very concentrated amount CO2 to show up.

        So say a ocean area say 100 times larger area than China but emitting 1/5 as much per square km and so whole region could be 20 times more than China.- but the satellite not see much difference.

        Or it appears one has to really high intensity to detect a 5 ppm difference. Of course there greater differences than 5 ppm occurring regionally all over the place, but to get the signal globally and over averaged month period they be large and persistence. Or perhaps one could say they have to be so large that they overwhelm environment conditions which absorb or dissipate concentrated levels of CO2.

    • There is a large annual cycle of CO2 over vegetated areas, so looking at one month, it is easy to be fooled. The maximum occurs over vegetated areas at the beginning of the growing season, so in the NH that would be May, and in the SH, November. The annual global CO2 max is in May because the NH has much larger vegetated areas. What you see here is part of this annual cycle. May would have shown the NH with more. The maximum then declines due to uptake by the growing plants. The annual cycle amplitude is 6 ppm.

  46. “In ethical terms, the two most significant phrases set out by Schneider are these: ‘As scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method’, and, ‘we’d like to see the world a better place’.”

    No. The most significant phrase in Schneider’s piece was this:

    “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

    Once ethics becomes a subjective choice, it ceases being ethics at all.

    But it is heartening to see so many of those who have been too sophisticated for “morality”, looking for a substitute without admitting it.

    • Mr. Ethical –

      Who writes elitist arguments about the inferior intelligence and morality of hundreds of millions of people he’s never met, in practically every comment.

      It’s all about ethics!!!

    • garyM

      ‘“Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

      Once ethics becomes a subjective choice, it ceases being ethics at all.

      #############

      you see your non sequitor.

      each of us do in fact have to decide. it’s not like you decide for me. the fact that we have to decide doesn’t render the choice subjective. you do in fact have to choose. Nobody chooses for you. The fact that I may choose X and you may choose Y doesnt make the ethics subjective. Let me put it this way. Even in math there are certain propositions that one cannot decide.
      That doesnt mean math is subjective. What it means is that the system cant produce an answer for every question. go figure.

      Schneider poses an ethical dilemma. they are fun. what calculus does one use to balance honesty against other values?

      Next I suppose you will tell me that it’s unethical for a cop to go undercover, or that its wrong to lie to a terrorist to get information out of him.
      we balance being honest against other values all the time. That doesnt mean that being honest is a subjective ethical requirement..would you lie to save the life of a loved one? fun question. you might not. I might. That doesnt mean that being honest is just a subjective issue like liking chocolate ice cream. And it doesnt mean that saving a life is merely subjective. Nope. Its good to tell the truth and its good to save a life.

      It would be nice if their were a system of ethics to decide every dilemma for you so you wouldnt have to choose. but you do in fact have to choose.

      • David Springer

        ‘“Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

        This assumes a premise that being dishonest makes one more effective.

        I object to that premise. I believe honesty is the best and most effective policy.

      • Steven, Gary’s comment was related to a specific statement by a particular scientist. It makes passable sense, in context. Scientists/academics have a code of ethics, at least we are told so. Lying to terrorists is unlikely to come up, but it’s probably covered in the fine print under*exceptions. Do scientists get to choose which parts of the Ethical Scientists’ code to follow, or make up their own personal code? I guess they can deviate at will, if they want to be unethical and risk getting canned. It’s their choice.

      • Steven Mosher,

        “each of us do in fact have to decide”

        vs.

        “Schneider poses an ethical dilemma.”

        First you reduce his comment to a tautology, then you see it as an ethical dilemma? And you accuse me of a non sequitur? Usually when you take both sides of an argument, there is at least some lapse of time between them.

        His point wasn’t that we all have to decide whether or not to be ethical. That has never been debated by anyone. Ever. If there is no choice involved, it is not a matter of ethics. The whole point of ethics is that some choices are objectively wrong.

        What he clearly meant, in context, was that each person decides for himself when the end justifies the means. That the decision of whether a given choice is ethical, is subjective, up to the individual. In which case, as I said, there is no ethics at all.

        I find it amusing that those who are the most ardent in claiming there is no objective morality, get offended when someone suggests that they are amoral.

        If lying is not a moral issue, why get your panties in a bunch when someone points out that your side in a debate openly advocates lying? Who was it who once said there is no categorical difference between lying and telling the truth?

        Cue the Final Jeopardy music.

      • Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Mosher says “It would be nice if their were a system of ethics to decide every dilemma for you so you wouldnt have to choose. but you do in fact have to choose.”
        _______

        When facing an ethical dilemma, my system is choosing what’s best for me. It works pretty well unless I’m not sure what’s best for me.

        I remember once choosing what I thought would be best for others instead of me. I soon regretted that choice.

      • Fortunately, we have gary around to tell us how to evaluate morality and ethics “objectively.”

        Thanks god.

      • “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
        Sir John Houghton

        You can chose to lie or not to lie – although defining lying as ethical takes a special mindset. They don’t seem to get that this is the essence of the moral choice – and the choice to lie is one that can be be hocus pocused away by looking beyond the choice to lie to the act of choosing. As if that poor ethical choice was morally acceptable and really – up to the individual to make in an individual moral and ethical framework. Astonishing amoral nonsense – the choice is to lie or not.

        The philosopher Immanuel Kant said that lying was always morally wrong. He argued that all persons are born with an “intrinsic worth” that he called human dignity. This dignity derives from the fact that humans are uniquely rational agents, capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their conduct by reason. To be human, said Kant, is to have the rational power of free choice; to be ethical, he continued, is to respect that power in oneself and others.

        Lies are morally wrong, then, for two reasons. First, lying corrupts the most important quality of my being human: my ability to make free, rational choices. Each lie I tell contradicts the part of me that gives me moral worth. Second, my lies rob others of their freedom to choose rationally. When my lie leads people to decide other than they would had they known the truth, I have harmed their human dignity and autonomy. Kant believed that to value ourselves and others as ends instead of means, we have perfect duties (i.e., no exceptions) to avoid damaging, interfering with, or misusing the ability to make free decisions; in other words – no lying.

        A second perspective, virtue ethics, also maintains that lying is morally wrong, though less strictly than Kant. Rather than judge right or wrong behavior on the basis of reason and what people should or should not do, virtue ethicists focus on the development of character or what people should be. Virtues are desirable qualities of persons that predispose them to act in a certain manner. Fairness, for example, is a virtue we may choose to strive toward in pursuit of fulfilling our human potential. In virtue ethics, to be virtuous is to be ethical.

        – See more at: http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v6n1/lying.html#sthash.0SXTTx2L.dpuf

        It seems obvious for a start that the notion of fairness has never crossed Maxy’s moral horizon.

      • “This assumes a premise that being dishonest makes one more effective.”

        No it doesnt. it presupposes that one may face a situation where honesty and effectiveness come into conflict.
        all that’s needed is uncertainty over the effectiveness.

      • Well – strictly it does say that the choice is between being honest and being effective.

      • Gary

        ” The whole point of ethics is that some choices are objectively wrong.

        What he clearly meant, in context, was that each person decides for himself when the end justifies the means.”

        actually that is not the whole point of ethics. There may be certain ethical questions that are not decideable. As i said, math is objective and there are definately undecidable propositions in math. Does that make it subjective? nope.

        Second of course each person decides for himself. Does someone decide for you?
        THAT you choose for yourself does not render the decision un ethical or subjective. Do your think there are a set of rules that decide for you?

        In short, One can argue that ethics are not subjective and still maintain that there are situations in which an ethical system is either silent orr gives conflicting indications.

        That in fact is the STUFF of ethics. the very heart of ethical understanding.

      • Kant

        ‘ This dignity derives from the fact that humans are uniquely rational agents, capable of freely making their own decisions, setting their own goals, and guiding their conduct by reason. ”

        I’m especially fond of kant. Primarily because under his system we cant have ethical obligations toward animals since they are not rational beings in his conception. Ethical obligations can only be had toward other rational beings.

        Basically, in Kant’s scheme you can torture kittens.

        So, here is an ethical question. If you are a kantian and a kitten killer asks you where the best place is to find kittens he can torture, it would be unethical to lie and say you didnt know.

      • Don

        “Steven, Gary’s comment was related to a specific statement by a particular scientist. It makes passable sense, in context. Scientists/academics have a code of ethics, at least we are told so.”

        well I will say that you at least know how to make an argument, as opposed to garyM.

        gary likes to pretend he understand what it means for ethics to be objective or subjective. But never mind him.

        As you well know having spent some time in a field where you have to make life and death decisions, honesty is the best policy hmm 99% of the time. And the interesting cases are those where honesty appears to be in conflict with other values. Like preserving life. It’s easy to go all kantian and say.. never lie. But those who have actually faced hard choices know differently. It’s kinda like loving two women. but I digress.

        The point you bring up is more interesting that pedestrian “end justifies the means” discussions. because it gets to the heart of the matter.

        That question is this: when you choose the profession of science aren’t you really choosing an ethical system that says “honesty does trump all other values” That is we know the field of ethics is littered with all sorts of interesting dilemmas ( mostly around lying ) And we know that ethical well meaning people come down on all sides of this question. That fact doesnt make ethics subjective as gary Suggests. It makes ethics hard.
        of course it would be easy if there was a formula for calculating the good.
        of course it would be easy if there was a cook book, or good book that laid it all out. Like math. instead we got something different.

        The issue with schneider’s comment ( on ONE interpretation ) is that many folks see the person who chooses science as a career, as a person who values truth and honesty above all else. So, that
        if you had a scientist and you asked him how to build a bomb to destroy all of humanity, he would be bound to tell you the truth and whole truth, regardless. Or if you took that scientist and told him you were going to give his dog x milligrams of poison, a scientist should tell you the truth and point out that 3x milligrams was the lethal dose. because a career choice should stand in for your entire identity as a human being?

        interesting question.

      • Steven,

        Do you consider Doctors to be Scientists and of high ethics?

        First, do no harm? Subjective?

        Would it be “unethical” (knowing you plan to poison his dog) for the scientist to keep quiet about the amount of poison you’re providing? Replace the dog with yourself (or one of them girlfriends). Is it a lie by omission to not give the amount of poison needed to kill the dog if not specifically asked?

      • If a man shoots his dog because the animal is no longer capable of service, he does not fail in his duty to the dog, for the dog cannot judge, but his act is inhuman and damages in himself that humanity which it is his duty to show towards mankind. If he is not to stifle his human feelings, he must practice kindness towards animals, for he who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. (Kant, LE, 212 (27: 459)

        It is a short step – that we have taken long ago – to the idea that animals deserve moral consideration as a right of sentient beings. This speaks to the core of our humanity as Kant apparently recognised.

        But the discussion was on lying – and we certainly can’t lie to a cat.

      • Delta Dawn | December 19, 2014 at 12:37 am |
        “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.” Sir John Houghton.
        OK could this be taken as a plain statement saying when a disaster is truthfully announced people will listen? And if it is not a disaster should anyone care? He did not explicitly say that announced disasters were untruthful, did he?

        “You can chose to lie or not to lie – although defining lying as ethical takes a special mindset. They don’t seem to get that this is the essence of the moral choice – and the choice to lie is one that can be be hocus pocused away by looking beyond the choice to lie to the act of choosing. As if that poor ethical choice was morally acceptable and really – up to the individual to make in an individual moral and ethical framework. Astonishing amoral nonsense – the choice is to lie or not.”

        You have at least 2 people to consider and probably a whole lot more [Parents,friends, mentors to name a few] when you decide to lie to someone.
        The person[s] you are lying to may be implicitly needing you to lie to them because of circumstances. You may need to lie to them to further your own ends in a good or bad way. The lie may not hurt them and may be helpful to them in a situation. The lie might save your life.
        Children and adults lie a lot of the time as a convenient way to manage their life situations.
        We also lie to ourselves to help us get through the trial of life.
        Because we put a high value on the truth, and our society and superego [same Parents,friends, mentors etc] do as well, we suffer when we lie.
        Ethics is a matter of how much you suffer as to how much the prize was worth. The pain never ends but is not always unbearable. If unbearable you have recognized the ethical wrong of a situation.

      • ==> “But the discussion was on lying – and we certainly can’t lie to a cat. ”

        We can entice a cat, that has been a treasured pet for many years but now has a terminal disease, say, or perhaps simply because it is no longer the kitten that we got at the SPCA and we no longer find it cute and we find it annoying, into a carrying case with food, so that we can close the door and then take it to the vet to have it euthanized.

        Since you’re an arbiter of intellectual depth, I have no fear that you will be able to extend your expertise to judge the ethics of each case.

      • Unfortunately dawn kant is being inconsistent there with the application of his test for the morality of an action.

      • More to the point dawn. Kant holds that animals are mere things. We cannot have moral obligations toward them. The obligations he speaks of are all indirect. There is no direct moral obligation to them.

        The fact that we pause over this should tell you something

      • Steven, I prefer not to go off into the philosophical weeds on this one. Don’t see any need to get into hypotheticals. Schneider was a scientist. He says right here that he is ethically bound to the scientific method…blah…blah…blah:

        “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

        Well, he is also a human being and that puts him in a ‘double ethical bind’. That’s nonsense. He is not even in a single ethical bind. If he wants to be a dishonest propagandist, he resigns his scientist job. That’s what he should have been told by his employer and the rest of the scientific community. Instead, he has been honored with a science communication award bearing his name. Is this a prime example of the unintentional irony thing that joshie is always yammering about? What are the criteria for the awarding of the Steven Schneider Trophy? How many points for ‘best in scary scenarios’? And we are supposed to take these people seriously.

      • Don.

        How odd it is to find you being the most rational commenter on a thread.
        just kidding.

        ““On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

        I think Schneider lays it out pretty clearly. He sees conflict between his identity as a person, someone who wants a better world and his identity as a scientist, someone who is bound to telling the whole truth, even when he believes this may lead to a less better world.

        Let’s make this even simpler

        Suppose one scientist says “we know F=MA” and another says
        “Well, we actually this formulation doesnt hold exactly as one approaches the speed of light”

        Is the first guy lying? Well if he is trying to teach engineers how to build bridges, he is not lying. He’s not telling the whole truth. He’s leaving out some detail that he judges, as a teacher, won’t be useful to student bridge builders. His scientist side may say “tell them about relativity”. His teacher side says “teach them enough to build bridges”. What about the second guy? is he really telling the WHOLE truth? nope.

        Put another way. you never tell the whole truth when explaining things. there aint enough words.
        So one is always making a pragmatic choice about the amount of truth one needs to tell.

        So there is an interesting question about what one can omit from a description and still remain “honest”. Or what counts as the whole truth

      • “I think Schneider lays it out pretty clearly. He sees conflict between his identity as a person, someone who wants a better world and his identity as a scientist, someone who is bound to telling the whole truth, even when he believes this may lead to a less better world.”

        Doesn’t that mean Schneider recognizes that his identity as a person is wrong?
        If telling the truth about CO2’s impact on climate means you don’t get what you want policy wise, it means what you want is unnecessary.
        Scientists IMO are not some uber class of ethical perfection, they are people. Science, however, is ultimately the business of giving people information that they can use when making decisions. The conscious decision by a scientist to declare that false information is “science” in order to influence decision-making is unethical. It is unethical in large part because it destroys the credibility of science.

      • Don’t judge me by what I actually say, Steven. I often feign irrationality to scare people.

        Anyway, you are getting off in the weeds again. Schneider was a scientist, sworn to the code of science. In his infamous statement, he clearly affirms that he is bound to that code. He forthrightly describes the code to which he is bound-whole truth and nuthin’ but. OK, I will get hypothetical:

        What if Schneider had been a medical researcher, who believed he had discovered a drug that was a significantly better treatment than other drugs for x nasty ailment. Naturally he wants to get his discovery into widespread use asap to alleviate human suffering. But there is a glitch in one of the late stage clinical trials. Bad side effects in some patients. Well, Schneider scientist-researcher is also human and he is sure his drug is good for the folks, so he hides the potential safety issue. People in the real world have died from such breaches of scientific ethics.

        Scientists know what to leave out and what to include, in the whole truth. Schneider said it “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts”. We can think up circumstances where it might not be practical, or even ethical, for a scientist to tell the whole truth, but I am sure you will agree that the communication of climate science to the public and to policy makers is not in that realm.

      • ==> “Don’t judge me by what I actually say, Steven. I often feign irrationality to scare people.”

        Oooh. Tough guy. So many people he’s scared.

        Happened “often.”

        Hilarious.

        Delusions of grandeur much?

      • “Scientists know what to leave out and what to include, in the whole truth. Schneider said it “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts”.

        Really? and how do they know this.

        Have you EVER seen a scientist or anyone else for that matter include ALL the doubts, ifs and or butts.

        Clearly, we can invent cases where a person omits or covers up a relevant fact ( that patient dying in clinical trials for example ) And clearly no one ever includes all the doubts with every statement they make.

        For a brief while I spent some time in his shoes or what imgaine are his shoes. When reporters would ask me to talk about climate gate

        R: so was it fraud
        SM: no.
        R: So there was no wrong doing?
        SM: no.
        R: Huh explain?
        SM: [ starts explaining]
        R: In 15 seconds, you dont get a minute to explain. roll tape
        SM: Noble cause corruption.
        R: what’s that
        SM: [starts explaining]
        R: that’s too complicated, is it fraud then?
        SM: no
        R: help me out here, you have 15 seconds.
        SM: sorry.

        I am saying that he doesnt know what to include. that scientists arent trained to know whatto include when talking about the science to the public.

        And ya, so he comes off saying stuff that sounds like he is shading the truth

      • gary Still not getting it

        “What he clearly meant, in context, was that each person decides for himself when the end justifies the means. That the decision of whether a given choice is ethical, is subjective, up to the individual. In which case, as I said, there is no ethics at all.”

        The fact that people decide for themselves ( how else could they decide)
        says nothing about whether the choice is ethical or subjective.

      • John Daly on Stephen Schneider’s own words, re the ethical
        dilemma regardin’ offerin’ up scary scenarios.

        During the Ice Age Scare of the 1970s, Schneider was one of it’s foremost advocates. He published a book titled “The Genesis Strategy” at this time, warning of the coming glaciation, and wrote glowing a testimonial on the back cover of a popular `Ice Age’ book of the time – (Ponte, Lowell. “The Cooling”, Prentice Hall, N.J., USA, 1976), in which the author claimed that the climatic cooling from 1940 to the 1970s was but the precursor to the main event – the coming Ice Age.

        Schneider was one of the first in the scientific community to warn of the impending Ice Age with this paper –

        Schneider S. & Rasool S., “Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols – Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate”, Science, vol.173, 9 July 1971, p.138-141

        Here are the opening paragraphs of that paper –

        ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE AND AEROSOLS:
        Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate.

        Abstract. Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Becuase of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 deg.K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.

      • Struck a nerve there, eh joshie? I am not surprised that you are the one who felt the need to proclaim that you ain’t scared. Boo! Gotcha! Oh, the unintentional irony! You made my day, joshie. Booo! Gotcha, again!

      • Yeah, I’m real scared, Don. Internet tough guyz are so scary.

        http://tinyurl.com/lq4kv8o

      • mosher still not getting it

        Schneider was saying that each person decides for himself whether lying is ethical.

        He is NOT saying each person decides for himself whether to be ethical by being honest, or unethical by lying.

        But then you know that. You just hate being embarrassed when you get caught engaging in self-contradictory pseudo-logic.

      • Can’t you see that Kant saying you shouldn’t shoot your dogs because it is dehumanising implies that you have carte blanche to torture kittens?

        Such compelling logic can’t be denied. Nor can the pr
        ecept that telling the *perfect* lie is ethical is you choose it to be.

    • Finish the quote

      something about doing both

      • Are you talking about the infamous Schneider quote? Here is the whole thing, again:

        “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”

        Did we include the part you like, dredge? The sentence about hoping to strike a balance between honesty and dishonesty, that follows the stuff about: of course needing to get lot’s of media attention and having to offer scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.

        What is the ethical bind here, dredge? If a scientist honors his scientific ethics, he ain’t in a bind. What’s he talking about a double ethical bind? What is the conflict between being effective and being honest? Is this the type of double ethical bind one is in, when he is being unfaithful to both his wife and his mistress? Enlighten us, dredge.

      • More importantly, and problematically for the disinformers like Don, is that Schneider wasn’t talking about doing science, he was talking about the difficulty of discussing the scence in the media with it’s soundbite obsession.

      • Something about hoping to do both – if at all possible – but I doubt that’s high on the agenda.

      • You are in good form, mikey. Schneider didn’t once mention that he is a scientist, didn’t utter a word about science/ scientific ethics, or the conflict between his scientific code of ethics and his humanity. If anybody imagines he saw the word science or scientist in that quote, we want some of what he is smoking.. Thank you, mikey. We couldn’t make it without you and your kind.

      • You don’t get it Don, Schneider was arguing that being honest and effective means you don’t tell any lies.

        He was arguing against being dishonest.

        You could try to be civil.

      • And if you want to mis-spell my name, it’s Druggie.

      • I see your point, bobbie. When Schneider spoke of advancing the climate scientist-alarmist-activist agenda:

        “So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.”

        He actually meant the opposite of what he plainly said. Here you go:

        “We don’t have to offer up scary scenarios…etc…etc and we do need to be sure to mention any doubts we might have.”

        And when Saint Schneider proclaimed:

        “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

        He really meant:

        “We need to appear to be somewhat honest, if we ever hope to be effective.”

        That’s all I have for you, bobbie. Keep spinning.

      • So – the very same thought bubble crossed your mind again Michael. Sure it’s not an echo?

      • Steve Fitzpatrick

        The humor in all this seems lost on some. Schneider spoke a bit too honestly about the need to mislead the public to advance a green policy agenda. It brought on a hurricane of well deserved condemnation.

        Of course Schneider meant what his plain words said. He was not misquoted, and the statement itself provides plenty of ‘context’. Of course he was shocked (and no doubt horrified) by the outcry that followed. Of course he tried to later (months to years) walk back his statement, like any good politician would.

        His behavior was absolutely typical of politicians, but quite odd for a scientist. Maybe there is useful information is this.

        Schneider’s odious statement was culpable in the same way as Phil Jones’ email message to Mike Mann to “delete all AR4 email messages” was culpable. The difference is that Phil Jones showed some class, and maybe a bit of honest regret, and backed away from the limelight when his unethical statements became public. Schneider had no such class, and insisted to the end that he hadn’t really, really (honest, cross my deepest heart of hearts) meant to say what he plainly said: it is OK to scare and mislead the public for a good green cause.

        What a coward. What a worm.

      • Steve,

        you’re not even worth Stephen Schneider’s little finger nail.

      • The reality is that climate change only comes up in public when scary things happen. In the US it was Katrina, Irene and Sandy that brought the subject up. The public only notice things when they hit the news, and in that sense Schneider had a realistic perception of what it takes. A record warm 2014 won’t have the same impact on the public as a coastal flood that affects people’s homes.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Michael,
        Sorry, I do not reply to people on this blog who don’t have the courage to tell us who they are. Seems to show a lack of conviction, you know. Why should others take what you write seriously if you feel you have to hide because of it.

      • Jim D | December 19, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
        “The reality is that climate change only comes up in public when scary things happen.”
        Even when the scary things are not caused by Climate change, like Hurricane Katrina. And unethical people link them.
        By the way, when was that?. Overdue for another good scare I guess.

    • No. The most significant phrase in Schneider’s piece was this:

      “Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

      When SS puts it that way it almost seems like he’s talking about the difference between engineering and science.

      The role of engineers is to have an effect. That of science is to understand the truth about nature (or about computers and computation in the case of computer science).

      Seems to me there’s a conflict of interest here. Can you understand nature while simultaneously trying to have an effect?

      Quantum mechanics says no: you can’t observe without changing what you’re observing. Another conflict. Damn.

  47. What is ethical about suing people based on unicorns?

    From the article:

    Climate change is very likely to have helped make 2014 Europe’s warmest year since the 1500s, scientists have found.

    In a move that could eventually pave the way for law suits against companies burning fossil fuels, researchers at Oxford university found global warming had increased the risk of such a record being set by at least a factor of 10.

    Read More7 industries at greatest risk from climate change

    Other teams working independently in The Netherlands and Australia said the odds had been boosted by 35 to 80 times.

    Carl Court | AFP | Getty Images
    Though there are still two weeks of the year left, temperatures have already been so high in so many countries that 2014 is expected to be the hottest on record in Europe and globally.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/102275124

  48. Pingback: oh dear | asoliduniverse

  49. Schneiders “double ethical bind” is just plain and simple noble cause corruption.

  50. Judith, you appear to raise your eyebrows at Lee’s “propagating disinformation”, and then write of your preference for the rubric “Decision-making under deep uncertainty”. You say this is more “pragmatic”, but it’s not clear to me why that should be. Lee’s formulation seems admirably pragmatic to me, in all the senses I can imagine.

    The difference is surely between the frankly deceitful character of “propagating disinformation”, and a mere – and possibly inadvertent – failure to deal properly with “uncertainty”. Between deceiving the public and the government about what they knew to be the truth, and merely deceiving themselves.

    Aren’t you being just a bit coy, at the expense of scientific clarity? A desire to avoid personal censure is doubtless admirable, but there comes a time…

    Thanks again for a great blog.

  51. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Schneider

    Is 2014 as the warmest year a Schneiderism? Simplified and dramatic statement with absolutely no mention of doubts in support of a scary scenario?

    What’s wrong with this picture?

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1975/mean:12/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1975/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:2002/trend

    • Nor any mention of what makes it the warmest is inside the error bars. Foretelling Armageddon with statistically insignificant data seems apropos of what?

  52. If you work for Genghis Khan your ethics is “Surrender or we kill you all.” What, exactly, is unethical about that?

  53. Ethics
    December 16, 2014 at Arctic Sea Ice Blog
    “Finally, everyone here will be pleased to know that I caught an Arctic specialist carelessly using the r-word yesterday and got prompt agreement from him (with a couple colleagues listening in) that using it is bad, bad, bad.”
    Funny thing ethics I would have said using it is good, good, good.
    Freedom of speech and all that.
    It is a sad world when one has to have ones ethics pushed in one’s face, rather than a free scientific debate.

  54. It’s about leftist culture in academic “humanities” but which board clown is going to argue it doesn’t apply to “climate science” at the “consensus” level??;

    http://the-good-news.storage.googleapis.com/assets/pdf/psychology-political-diversity.pdf

    Any discussion of climate debate ethics should start somewhere around here.

  55. Ethics? Bah, this is the easy stuff. It’s generally on autopilot after about age 5. Generally.
    =========

  56. Fan

    I am familiar with most of Dr Hansen’s work but I don’t have it immediately to hand. If you want people to read something it is reasonable that you provide a link (that works) to whatever you want us to read. Too often your links are dead or don’t go to the place you claim. I do make the effort too read them, which is more than most people here do, so why not make my life easier?

    Anyway, you didn’t seem to reply to my response when it appeared the Senator you referenced was correct and Dr Hansen was wrong as the latters own data ( that you linked to) shows a pause.

    https://judithcurry.com/2014/12/17/ethics-and-climate-change-policy/#comment-656508

    tonyb

  57. Imho, ethics is simply the latest hammer to attack skeptics with. About a year ago, I ran into a PhD in scientific ethics who made the Orwellian claim that any climate change skeptic–regardless of credentials–was ipso facto discredited. I also noticed a rather blatant change in the Environmental Science textbook and in the course materials: the words “frontier ethics” and “sustainable ethics” replaced the words “western worldview” and. “environmental (or deep ecology) worldview”. To me, the implication was obvious, we are taught to be tolerant of the worldviews of others while we do not need to be tolerant of unethical people. I haven’t seen the shift yet in the Meteorology textbooks (although I recently rejected the Pearson textbook because of a ridiculous section on Michael Mann).

  58. John Vonderlin

    After a number of days of running statistical model simulations on my stupor computer I have formulated the hypothesis that after 300 comments on any given post there is a vanishing likelihood that the average comment has any relevance to the post’s subject. Given that premise I would like to join the Free-For-All by saying, “I am quite content to be thought a fool by others, but shall keep my mouth shut anyway.” Oddly, my calculations also indicated that 749 angels can dance on the head of a pin as long as they are not doing the Frug.

  59. From the article:

    Deniers are not Skeptics

    December 5, 2014
    Public discussion of scientific topics such as global warming is confused by misuse of the term “skeptic.” The Nov 10, 2014, New York Times article “Republicans Vow to Fight EPA and Approve Keystone Pipeline” referred to Sen. James Inhofe as “a prominent skeptic of climate change.” Two days later Scott Horsley of NPR’s Morning Edition called him “one of the leading climate change deniers in Congress.” These are not equivalent statements.

    As Fellows of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, we are concerned that the words “skeptic” and “denier” have been conflated by the popular media. Proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims. It is foundational to the scientific method. Denial, on the other hand, is the a priori rejection of ideas without objective consideration.

    Real skepticism is summed up by a quote popularized by Carl Sagan, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Inhofe’s belief that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” is an extraordinary claim indeed. He has never been able to provide evidence for this vast alleged conspiracy. That alone should disqualify him from using the title “skeptic.”

    As scientific skeptics, we are well aware of political efforts to undermine climate science by those who deny reality but do not engage in scientific research or consider evidence that their deeply held opinions are wrong. The most appropriate word to describe the behavior of those individuals is “denial.” Not all individuals who call themselves climate change skeptics are deniers. But virtually all deniers have falsely branded themselves as skeptics. By perpetrating this misnomer, journalists have granted undeserved credibility to those who reject science and scientific inquiry.

    We are skeptics who have devoted much of our careers to practicing and promoting scientific skepticism. We ask that journalists use more care when reporting on those who reject climate science, and hold to the principles of truth in labeling. Please stop using the word “skeptic” to describe deniers.

    http://www.csicop.org/news/show/deniers_are_not_skeptics

    • jim2, “Real skepticism is summed up by a quote popularized by Carl Sagan, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Inhofe’s belief that global warming is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” is an extraordinary claim indeed.”

      “On 10 January 1991, a paper appearing in the Journal Nature, stated Paul Crutzen’s calculations that the setting alight of the Kuwait oil wells would produce a “nuclear winter”, with a cloud of smoke covering half of the Northern Hemisphere after 100 days had passed and beneath the cloud, temperatures would be reduced by 5-10 Celsius.[30] This was followed by articles printed in the Wilmington morning star and the Baltimore Sun newspapers in mid to late January 1991, with the popular TV scientist personality of the time, Carl Sagan, who was also the co-author of the first few nuclear winter papers along with Richard P. Turco, John W. Birks, Alan Robock and Paul Crutzen together collectively stated that they expected catastrophic nuclear winter like effects with continental sized impacts of “sub-freezing” temperatures as a result of if the Iraqis went through with their threats of igniting 300 to 500 pressurized oil wells and they burned for a few months.[5][29]

      Later when Operation Desert Storm had begun, Dr. S. Fred Singer and Carl Sagan discussed the possible environmental impacts of the Kuwaiti petroleum fires on the ABC News program Nightline. Sagan again argued that some of the effects of the smoke could be similar to the effects of a nuclear winter, with smoke lofting into the stratosphere, a region of the atmosphere beginning around 43,000 feet (13,000 m) above sea level at Kuwait,[31] resulting in global effects and that he believed the net effects would be very similar to the explosion of the Indonesian volcano Tambora in 1815, which resulted in the year 1816 being known as the Year Without a Summer.
      He reported on initial modeling estimates that forecast impacts extending to south Asia, and perhaps to the northern hemisphere as well. Singer, on the other hand, said that calculations showed that the smoke would go to an altitude of about 3,000 feet (910 m) and then be rained out after about three to five days and thus the lifetime of the smoke would be limited. Both height estimates made by Singer and Sagan turned out to be wrong, albeit with Singers narrative being closer to what transpired, with the comparatively minimal atmospheric effects remaining limited to the Persian Gulf region, with smoke plumes, in general,[1] lofting to about 10,000 feet (3,000 m) and a few times as high as 20,000 feet (6,100 m).[32][33]” From Wiki

      Scientists seem to have that human tendency of not being right all the time. They also have that human tendency of believing the are right all the time. It doesn’t take a vast conspiracy or evil intent to create a Hoax, just enough people to truly “believe”.

      Though some Hoaxes are fun and enlightening.

      Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Disruption/Carbon Pollution could easily be mistaken as a Hoax, given the constant name changing and how it is portrait as causing everything from shrinking penises to the potential extinction of coffee trees

  60. It is said:
    “Beauty is in the eye of beholder”
    I would add
    Morality is in the mind of beholder.

    • “Morality is in the mind of beholder.”

      In which case we are left with no recourse but to shoot each other.

      Civilization depends on and proceeds from the notion of ‘objective’ morality. Not mystical mumbo jumbo nor capitulation to nihilism, but to the ability to answer in an objective way, what constitutes rational self-interest for every individual. Given that premise, our job is to work out the details and they have hardly been all worked out, but when considering what premises are available upon which to base an ‘ethics’ it seems one that starts with an axiom that an objective ethics is possible offers a helluva lot more potential for what we want, for what serves the life of a rational, sentient being, than one that says it’s a matter of your bowels, or random electrical impulses in your brain or that your mind that tells you to murder my children is the moral equivalent of my mind telling me to protect yours.

  61. Lauri Heimonen

    Judith Curry,
    I appreciate your pragmatic logic concerning your action in order to improve certainty of climate sensivity. You have already made hypothetical model results of temperature be replaced by empiric observations. As a result of that the climate sensitivity would be only about half of the model-based assessment by IPCC. As I see the climate sensitivity caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions becomes even more questionable as you scrutinize what is the real anthropogenic share of increase of CO2 content in atmosphere.
    JC comment: ”Again, I have approached this issue from a more pragmatic perspective, under the rubric of decision making under deep uncertainty. Lee breaks new ground (as far as I know, anyways) regarding the ethics of decision making under deep uncertainty, with some profound conclusions regarding mitigation versus adaptation:
    ‘I assume here that the greater the speculation and uncertainties involved, the weaker the ethical claim. Conversely, as the certainty increases, the stronger the ethical claim. If it is not apparent already, I am suggesting that a commitment to mitigation policies has a reduced ethical claim because of the unknowns and unknowables involved, whether those unknowns concern the future of the environment or the future of the poorest citizens on Earth. An ethical commitment to adaptation is at least rooted in actual events as they occur. ‘”
    Judith Curry: ”by Donald Morton (https://judithcurry.com/2014/12/15/will-a-return-of-rising-temperatures-validate-the-climate-models ): ‘The present temperature plateau has been helpful in identifying the need to consider natural contributions to a changing climate, but the basic problems with the models have been present since their beginning. Whether or not the plateau continues, the current models used by the IPCC are unreliable for predicting future climate.’

    Judit Curry ; https://judithcurry.com/2014/12/09/spinning-the-warmist-year : ”Matt Ridley has a subsequent article in The Times: Beware the corruption of science. Subtitle: ‘Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology rather than seeking the truth.’”

    As to ”the truth”, researchers have not expressed any evidence based on empiric observations according to which the trend of recent multidecadal global warming could have been controlled by anthropogenic CO2 emissions to atmospere. On the contrary there are available appropriate, particular observations in reality, on the basis of which there can be proved that influence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on global warming has been too minimal to be distinguised from zero; look e.g. at my comment https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/04/carbon-cycle-questions/#comment-198992 :

    a) ‘The present temperature plateau’ proves that a trend of global warming does not take place, although the content of CO2 in atmosphere is even exponentially increasing.
    b) The recent increase of CO2 contentent in atmosphere has been controlled by natural warming of sea surface, especially on the areas where sea surface CO2 sinks are.
    c) The anthropogenic share of the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere is about 4 % at the most. Even this 4 % has been caused mainly by the warming of sea surface on the areas where sea surface sinks are.

    I see no reasons, even no ethical reasons, for the mitigation policy adopted by UN, institutional scientists, politicians and mainstream media. Natural warming and natural rise of CO2 content in atmosphere can not be prevented by curtailment of anthropogenic CO2 emissions to atmosphere.

  62. I really don’t have a moral problem with lying, if necessary to save the world. The problem is with Megan McArdle’s Law: “After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.”
    Politicians have this problem. Scientists generally don’t. It’s a really bad idea to convince the rest of us that you are politicians.

  63. The number of extinction events on Earth due to alien invasion, so far as we know, is zero. So, that could mean it’s overdue. Government scientists should research the matter, post haste, PDQ, before it’s too late, spare no expense, full speed ahead as the precautionary demands!

  64. Right – forgot about the nesting.

    The clip you linked in your 8:14 comment was pretty good.

    The one you linked in your 11:06 comment, however, was pretty pathetic.

  65. @Lee
    The most obvious problems with consensus concern who it is that is agreeing and how that agreement is reached

    Yes. The point is that the single (consensus) view, emanates from people having a single paymaster (the state); one, moreover, that has a huge and blindingly obvious vested interest in a particular finding (ie CAGW).

    This is ideological aspect that was overlooked in the examination of Climatetgate. This and the widespread chicanery commited by the managers of of Mann et al, in covering it all up; and also the climate science community as a whole who just looked the other way (and still do). Thereby providing strong evidence that cheating is indeed widespread in the consensus position, contrary to what Lee desperately wants to say (does he too get government checks?)

  66. Lee breaks new ground (as far as I know, anyways) regarding the ethics of decision making under deep uncertainty

    How about decision-making under deep vested interest ?

  67. Of course, Dick Feynman called this Cargo Cult Science — saying:

    QUOTE But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

    Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

    In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another.

    END QUOTE

    They taught science and the scientific method correctly when I was in Junior and Senior High School — during the great Race to Space. The emphasis was on “disinterestedness” — not having a prior opinion but rather having one’s ideas dictated entirely by the results of rigorous scientific investigation — both your own and those of others.

    Ethics is one of my lifetime studies (as well as a past profession) — I agree with Peter Lee on the whole and in particular with his interpretation of Climategate.

  68. David Springer

    bob droege | December 19, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Reply

    “How about not selectively picking a basin and not specifying land-falling in determining whether on not something is observed.”

    How about you get a clue? Hurricanes that don’t make land-fall are inconsequential.

    • David Springer,
      If the hypothesis is that AGW causes more hurricanes then you measure all hurricanes.
      Whether a hurricane makes landfall is rather stochastic.
      If you limit your data you limit the strength of your analysis.

  69. blueice2hotsea

    Feynman: True science is ethical.
    Marx: Communism is a non-ethical science.

    Feynman: And science is analytical, quantifiable and falsifiable.
    Marx: Communism does not need equations or tests.

    Feynman: Communism is not science!
    Marx: Not physical science. But I’m a social scientist.

    Confused: I am both a communist and a physical scientist!
    Feynman: You are an oxymoron.

    Confused: And climate science is a baffling conundrum. When is ethical behavior forbidden, mandatory or optional?
    Marx: Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and honest.

    Feynman: Hoo Boy!