(Mis) communicating science in public controversies

by Judith Curry

Bringing uncertainty to the public debate or putting the credibility of climate science at risk matters less to them than interest groups misusing or the public misinterpreting their results. – Senja Post

A very interesting new paper has been published in the Public Understanding of Science [link].

Communicating science in public controversies: Strategic considerations of the German climate scientists

Senja Post

Abstract. In public controversies on scientific issues, scientists likely consider the effects of their findings on journalists and on the public debate. A representative survey of 123 German climate scientists (42%) finds that although most climate scientists think that uncertainties about climate change should be made clearer in public they do not actively communicate this to journalists. Moreover, the climate scientists fear that their results could be misinterpreted in public or exploited by interest groups. Asking scientists about their readiness to publish one of two versions of a fictitious research finding shows that their concerns weigh heavier when a result implies that climate change will proceed slowly than when it implies that climate change will proceed fast.

Excerpts from  the section on Findings:

The climate scientists assessed the causes of climate change, its past and present volatility, future consequences and calculability in ten items. For the present purpose, it suffices to say that the climate scientists have little doubt about the human impact on the climate but are more or less split on its extent and danger as well as on the reliability of future climate projections. Based on their judgements, their degree of conviction of the publicly held assumptions that climate change is man-made, dangerous, unique in history and calculable was determined. 

On a five-point scale, most climate scientists (72%) more or less agreed that “climate scientists should tell the public more clearly that many questions about climate change are still unresolved”. Few (9%) more or less disagreed and about a fifth (21%) were indifferent. 

Correlations confirm that the more the German climate scientists talked with journalists and published articles in the media, the less they approved of discussing unresolved questions in public. They were also the more engaged with the media the more they were convinced of the publicly accepted frame of climate change, i.e. that it is man-made, dangerous, historically unique and cal- culable. There may be at least two reasons for these relationships. On the one hand, journalists may prefer scientists definitely and unambiguously confirming rather than questioning the public frame of climate change. On the other hand, being aware of journalists’ preferences, the climate scientists may be the more encouraged talking to journalists the more certain and convinced they are of the publicly held assumptions about climate change. Another explanation may be that climate scientists who consider climate change a dangerous threat are motivated to act politically and speak up in public. Plausibly, all three factors apply and interact. How far this is the case should be determined by future research.

When deciding to give their results to the media, climate scientists likely consider the dynamics of the public debate – e.g. the potential effects of their findings on social or political actors or the general public. The climate scientists rated several objections to publishing a fictitious research result in the media. Two versions of the fictitious finding were created. One confirms the estab- lished assumptions about climate change, implying that climate change is proceeding faster than expected and the situation thus at least as dramatic as assumed. The other version contradicts the established views, implying that climate change is proceeding more slowly and the situation not as dramatic as assumed. The two versions were distributed randomly among the respondents.

A knowledge gap in climate science was exploited to construct the fictitious finding. Based on this, two versions of the finding were formulated:

Suppose a geologist conducted measurements to explore how the soil in the Northern hemisphere influences the climate. His measurement data show that the soil’s capacity to store CO2 has been considerably

a) overestimated    b) underestimated.

The geologist concludes that climate change could proceed

a) faster    b) more slowly

than expected.

Both versions were improved with the help of a full professor of geology to ensure their plausibility. None of them yielded any critical comments or remarkable response refusals, indicating that respondents considered them realistic. To explore the climate scientists’ objections to publishing the respective result in the media they were asked:

Suppose the geologist’s finding was published in a scientific journal. Now he wants to publish it in a newspaper, concluding that climate change will proceed

a) faster      b) more slowly

than expected. One can have several objections to his decision. How relevant or irrelevant do you consider each of the following?

The objections referred to possible undesirable effects on the public interpretation of the result, the credibility of climate science or the fictitious scientist’s career. Bringing uncertainty to the public debate or putting the credibility of climate science at risk matters less to them than interest groups misusing or the public misinterpreting their results.

Their answers differ in the two versions of the finding. When the result indicates that climate change is proceeding more slowly rather than faster the climate scientists are more worried that the finding “could be exploited by interest groups” and “misinterpreted in public” – though the latter difference is not significant. The climate scientists’ ratings of the remaining objections follow the same pattern, though with small differences. When a finding indicates that climate change is proceeding more slowly rather than faster than expected, they are slightly more worried that it “may provoke criticism among his peers”, “might bring too much uncertainty to the public debate” and could “put the credibility of climate science at risk”.

 Overall, climate scientists object to publishing a result in the media significantly more when it indicates that climate change proceeds more slowly rather than faster than expected. This gives reason to assume that the German climate scientists are more inclined to communicate their results in public when they confirm rather than contradict that climate change is dramatic. Yet one has to bear in mind that the above objections may not amount to climate scientists’ overall readiness to publish a result in the media. In any case, their fear of interest groups seems to play some role in hindering climate scientists from communicating their findings in public.

JC reflections

I find this paper to be extremely illuminating, and I particularly like the methodology used and the care that Post used in interpreting the results.  I would like to see much more of this sort of research.

This paper illuminates a bias introduced in the public debate on climate change, and I suspect that this bias feeds back into biasing the actual scientific research of many of those scientists most active in interacting with the media.

I can relate to the issue of ‘strategic considerations in communication.’  I played this game for 6 months, from Aug 19, 2005 (Webster et al. paper) to February 2, 2006 (WSJ ‘brain fossilization’ article), in context of the ‘war’ being fought over hurricanes and global warming.

After realizing the insanity and stupidity of this little war, I decided that I was only going to worry about appropriate communication of uncertainty and protecting scientific integrity.  Of course I paid a professional price for this, and the survey respondents were right to worry  that it “may provoke criticism among his peers”, “might bring too much uncertainty to the public debate” and could “put the credibility of climate science at risk”.

But there are much bigger things to worry about here, both with regards to the science and the policy process. Playing such ‘strategic’ games puts the credibility of climate scientists at risk.

330 responses to “(Mis) communicating science in public controversies

  1. Curious George

    “The climate scientists fear that their results could be misinterpreted in public or exploited by interest groups.” Enough said.

  2. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    Executive Summary:
    This paper illuminates a bias introduced in the public debate on climate change, and I [JC] suspect that this bias feeds back into biasing the actual scientific research of many of those scientists most active in interacting with the media.

  3. That’s extremely interesting, Judith. Thanks for posting. Can’t say I find the conclusion surprising, even though some people have spent years saying this simply doesn’t happen.

  4. “although most climate scientists think that uncertainties about climate change should be made clearer in public they do not actively communicate this to journalists”

    The big problem with being honest about uncertainty is that the whole of AGW falls apart if we do.

    The first to fall will be the crucial correlation between cumulative emissions and surface temperature
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2725743

    and the second will be the IPCC carbon budget that ignores the IPCC’s own stated uncertainties in natural flows
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2654191

    • Chaam Jamal said:

      The big problem with being honest about uncertainty is that the whole of AGW falls apart if we do.

      Kind of like any other religion or faith-based system, no?

    • That’s funny. When we talk about the huge uncertainty in sensitivity, you ding dongs demand more certainty.

      Clowns.

      • Meh, ding dongs. Deep fat fried Twinkies dusted with powdered sugar rule.
        =================

      • That is because the uncertainty is used to promote fear. If there was more certainty, there would be less fear.

      • Isn’t science supposed to provide more certainty in fields of study?

        Andrew

      • I have followed this blog since its inception, and have yet to see a denizen, ding-dong or otherwise, “demand more certainty”. We’re perfectly unconcerned by the way the weather is behaving, and have no need to “demand” anything from a bunch of swivel-eyed arithromancers (h/t?). Patiently pointing out that all aspects of your crazy theories demand greater certainty than they presently have before being allowed to impair the welfare of mankind does not qualify as “demanding more certainty” – it’s the politest way of telling you to buzz off and stop bothering us until you have something that resembles a rigorously scientific case. The fact that you seem unable to understand the difference is not our problem, but yours.

        Clown? Nah, clowns are smart – they KNOW when they behaving ludicrously.

  5. Special interest groups would hold little power if the public understood that there is a range of valid opinion, not simply that the argument is simply scientist vs. denier.

    I am disappointed at the number in the skeptical community, including scientists, that characterize the argument exactly that way.

    If anything it is a problem scientists have allowed to happen. To allow advocates within the community to take center stage. Judith, you play an important role in bridging the two sides of the debate.

    • bridging the two sides of the debate
      There is one consensus side, by definition.
      On our skeptic side, there are many sides, we do not have consensus, except we all agree the consensus side is wrong.

      Science should not require consensus, then science stops.
      We do need to study to see which skeptic theories have merit.

      • Oddly, in real life, the most common answer I receive from folks who are willing to engage in discussion concerning CAGW is just that … doubt concerning the issue is meaningless since concensus has been reached.

        It’s really rather astounding.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        “Science should not require consensus, then science stops.”

        Consensus tells us what most scientists think. I like to know what most scientists think.

        “We do need to study to see which skeptic theories have merit.”

        Why not? If a skeptic theory has merit, it could become a consensus theory.

      • Menns,

        Here’s the answer — thanks to a couple of mathematicians — to the question I closed my last comment with.

        First, from Ivars Peterson’s MathTrek in Science News:

        It’s likely that Tolstoy was familiar with the work of Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749–1827)….

        The success of Newton’s laws of motion made it possible for Laplace to envision a completely transparent, deterministic world in which the entire past and future lay within reach. In principle, everything was predictable, and the finest detail accessible to calculation. You could construct yesterday’s or tomorrow’s world from what you knew today.

        — IVARS PETERSON, “Tolstoy’s Calculus,” Science News

        Another mathematician, Paul Vitanyi, explains that while Tolstoy accepted Laplace’s determinism, he nevertheless rejected Laplace’s Prometheanism:

        An issue for Tolstoy is unknowability and uncertainty: he is not really seeking a usable model so much as a reductio ad absurdum to show the futility of the quest for explanations of wars’ outcomes.

        All in all, this is not a matter of saying that the future is in the laps of the gods, but rather that it is deterministic and determined precisely, but practically and possibly in principle unknowable by humans.

        Much like Laplace’s viewpoint in the Essay where a demon knowing the positions and velocities of all particles can perfectly predict the future and reconstruct the past, while to the imperfect human mind not all information can be available in a snapshot and so it is reduced to ignorance or at best probabilistic reasoning.

        — PAUL VITANYI, “Tolstoy’s Mathematics in ‘War and Peace’, Cornell University Library
        http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/math/0110197

      • Consensus tells us what most scientists think. I like to know what most scientists think.

        Fine, but having an opinion, based on the opinion of others is certainly not science and history is ripe with erroneous consensus.

        Now, it’s true that many of us lack or let atrophy the fluency with differential equations necessary to follow some physical arguments.

        But you can and should still strive to think for yourself, not just accept the consensus.

      • The future lies in the lapse of the gods.

      • Laughing and lapsing, at any rate, in the clouds.
        ================

      • Whom the gods …

        We envy the gods their longevity,
        not recognizing that they envy us,
        envy the heightened drama of existence
        that comes with knowledge of life’s brevity
        – over before you know it,
        – got to have something to show for it,
        serious ambition, love, and dynasty,
        creativity, can’t just sit around
        like gods on Olympus clouds, dreaming
        up low tricks to play on us below.

        Those gods! Can’t keep their jealous eyes off us,
        entertain themselves by fooling us,
        mortals existing just for their sport.
        Stuff of Greek tragedy, they have to fill
        all those tomorrows and tomorrows
        of eternity with something, theatre
        of the absurd. Sometimes they even come down
        to earth, like goddam randy Zeus, making
        more mischief, more mayhem via god children,
        like Herakles, son of Zeus, whom Hera makes mad
        so that he kills his wife and children in
        a frenzy. And then there’s Helen, daughter of Zeus.
        Time to bring on the Trojan Wars

        bts.

      • They have stolen my virgins and are trying to throw them in the volcano; the Gods will be appeased, they’ll show it in the clouds.
        ==================

      • Max tells us:
        “Consensus tells us what most scientists think. I like to know what most scientists think.”

        The problem is that Max doesn’t bother reading the hundreds to thousands of papers to know what scientists think (defined as their summaries and conclusions from their research).

        Instead, he relies on a consensus as reported by Stephan Lewandowsky (not a scientist), John Cook (not a scientist), Greg Laden (not a scientist), Dana “Scooter” Nuccittelli (not a scientist), Ed Markey (not a scientist), Sheldon Whitehead (not a scientist), Al Gore (not a scientist), President Obama (not a scientist) … the list is nearly endless. You might find a dozen or so real scientists who refer to the consensus on a regular basis. Want to bet how many Max can name?

    • Menns said:

      Special interest groups would hold little power if the public understood that there is a range of valid opinion….

      Ah, but as James Madison said, “All governments rest on opinion.”

      Thus who controls opinion, controls power.

      As a result, controlling opinion becomes the primary means of politics in a democracy.

      Anarchists spend a great deal of time dissecting the methods by which our opinions are controlled by the powers that be, and especially in a top-down, elitist democracy like our own. Mind control is an entire indudtry. An entire science.

      But, despite the vast amounts of money and effort devoted to controlling public opinion, the engineers of consent have only had limited success.

      Here’s an outstanding documentary by an anarchist who delves into the matter:

      Psywar: The Real Battlefield is the MInd

      http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/

    • Menns said:

      ….there is a range of valid opinion, not simply that the argument is simply scientist vs. denier.

      I am disappointed at the number in the skeptical community, including scientists, that characterize the argument exactly that way.

      If anything it is a problem scientists have allowed to happen.

      Scientists are to blame for human nature?

      Man is, by nature, a tribal animal. This is how he has survived.

      In addition, given any random population, the number of bona fide skeptics is not very great. (I said “bona fide” skeptics because most people who claim to be skeptics are not skeptics at all, but the very opposite.)

      The human mind cannot grasp the causes of phenomena in the aggregate. But the need to find these causes is inherent in man’s soul. And the human intellect, without investigating the mulitiplicity and complexity of the conditions of phenomena, any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, snatches at the first, the most intelligible approximation to a cause, and says: “This is the cause!”

      — LEO TOLSTOY, War and Peace

      Do you know the history of this passage in War and Peace, what was going on at the time in the scientific community which inspired Tolstoy to write this?

      • If more scientists had spoken up earlier, instead of allowing the activists to create a narrative of half truths and dogma, then they would not now feel the need to assess their work in terms of how it will be viewed by non-scientists.

        Folks in the so-called skeptic community such as those at A skeptics guide to the Universe and Bill Nye share the simplified, polarized view of scientist vs denier. I just finished listening to Niel Degrasse Tyson explain that, while consensus doesn’t justify science, all of the data clearly shows a problem (it does not) – once again reinforcing the consensus view.

        What those who believe in consensus view never seem to do is to explain the science in any depth. When I first looked into global warming I read several books on the CAGW side; each time I felt that they just skimmed the surface, never explaining the concepts in any depth. It wasn’t until I read WUWT, Climate Audit and, later, Climate etc did I start to learn about the science.

        When I speak to liberal friends, rational, engaged, thoughtful people, they never seem to understand the science in any depth. Almost as if it were axiomatic that CO2 emissions lead to disaster.

  6. These partial mea culpa studies and surveys (groan) are just keeping the ball in play. It’s supposed to be a revelation that there are uncertainties and unresolved matters? If that applies to tiddly-winks it’s bound to apply to very big things like climate.

    We know they dunno lots. So what’s with all the angsting over percentages of how much they dunno and percentages of who’s prepared to say as much? Not knowing how much you dunno is part of not knowing when the subject is fantastically complex, right?

    Then there’s this juicy bit of “communication”:
    “…it suffices to say that the climate scientists have little doubt about the human impact on the climate…”
    Of course, like so much science non-communication, this is followed up by some vague qualifying about extent etc so you don’t really know if the first bit is a sly consensus message or just a truism. But, hey, that little consensus message gets through anyway.

    By the way, as long as we’re getting all precise with numbers and percentages, what about a precise definition of “climate scientist”? Let’s list the things a “climate scientist” ought to know lots about and see who is one, shall we? I’m guessing they’d know heaps about cloud, magma, deep hydrosphere, asthenosphere, orbits, natural history, trends/cycles/extreme events an in the historical period…Can’t wait to meet one of these guys!

    • The consensus definition of a climate scientist is, by definition, “one who agrees”

    • mosomoso

      I think the only climate scientists i.e. those that know ‘everything’ (to date) about the climate, are the IPCC, in as much they have access to all the pieces of a extremely complex jigsaw, where many of the pieces are missing.

      Do they assemble the pieces correctly? Well, they have no picture of the finished article on the box and those creating the individual pieces seem to change the shape and the picture on them frequently.

      So will the final product look different to the current expectations? I suspect so. How different? Good question.

      tonyb

    • > … Plausibly, all three factors apply and interact. How far this is the case should be determined by future research

      A rather droll comment from the author(s) of the paper …

      I mean, how can one usefully “research” this when you cannot trust any of the answers ?

    • Speaking precision with numbers and percentages…

      “On a five-point scale, most climate scientists (72%) more or less agreed that “climate scientists should tell the public more clearly that many questions about climate change are still unresolved”. Few (9%) more or less disagreed and about a fifth (21%) were indifferent.”

      72% + 9% + 21% = ?

      • Jeff, perhaps the “more or less” agreers overlapped more or less with the “more or less” disagreers. More or less. And I did say “perhaps”. Maybe it’s more or less still unresolved – and I did more or less say “maybe”. Perhaps. I’m largely (81.67%) indifferent. Or thereabouts.

        If you press these push-pollers about their figures and definitions they may even quote a famous American statesperson:

        “At this point, what difference does it make?”

        Can’t argue with the Benghazi defense!

  7. Oliver K. Manuel

    Thank you, Professor Curry, for your continuing effort to protect the integrity of climate science.

  8. “After realizing the insanity and stupidity of this little war, I decided that I was only going to worry about appropriate communication of uncertainty and protecting scientific integrity. Of course I paid a professional price for this, and the survey respondents were right to worry that it “may provoke criticism among his peers”, “might bring too much uncertainty to the public debate” and could “put the credibility of climate science at risk”.

    But there are much bigger things to worry about here, both with regards to the science and the policy process. Playing such ‘strategic’ games puts the credibility of climate scientists at risk.”

    Thanks Dr J.
    Profiles in Courage.
    So now that you staked your ground and won credibility, what are you going to do with it ?
    One brave soul forces the door open. A 1000 creates a movement. If you could wave your magic wand, what would you require in the field of climatology?

  9. ” Overall, climate scientists object to publishing a result in the media significantly more when it indicates that climate change proceeds more slowly rather than faster than expected.”

    In the corporate world, such misinformation published quarterly and annual reports, may be prosecuted in the courts as a form of fraud.

    • Funny that huh … models are used alot in the financial field. I’d argue that because money is at stake, the financial field was and is ahead of most scientific endeavors concerning their use.

      If I went and tried to raise money based on the IPCC success rate in prediction, I would be laughed out of most offices.

      Meanwhile, science pods along claiming to know more than it does. Fascinating disconnect.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        If I went and tried to raise money based on the IPCC success rate in prediction, I would be laughed out of most offices.
        ______

        I don’t know about that. If the IPCC predictions were stock market forecasts, you could say returns were lower than predicted, but money was made. I don’t imagine anyone would find not losing money hilarious.

      • Max, a closer analogy would be that the IPCC returns were below the central bank interest rate – in other words, all that time and effort would have been much better spent elsewhere.

      • If the IPCC predictions were stock market forecasts, you could say returns were lower than predicted, but money was made.

        Shorting was the only way to make money on:
        “For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2C per decade is expected for a range of emission scenarios.” – IPCC AR4

        If you were long, you lost.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Now that temperature data are available for 2015, Jonathan and Eddie should take another look at Hansen’s projections, and think about ways to make eating crow palatable.

      • Now that temperature data are available for 2015, Jonathan and Eddie should take another look at Hansen’s projections, and think about ways to make eating crow palatable.

        Here ya go:

    • Well, deliberate misinformation (and putting your thumb on the scale is misinformation) is fraud.

      1. Why would scientists want to only want to release “pro-warming” information?
      2. What gained by scaring people about a non-problem?
      3. How do we go about enforcing current laws/regulations against research misconduct – or strengthen them so the guilty are punished?

      If scientists are not going to present information objectively, honestly, and completely when working on studies paid with taxpayers dollars – we should not be paying them.

  10. Perhaps someone can explain where the odd notion started, that scientists are gatekeepers for information paid for with public funds?

  11. “Overall, climate scientists object to publishing a result in the media significantly more when it indicates that climate change proceeds more slowly rather than faster than expected. ”
    I am sure this does not apply to all scientists. There are some media outlets that are happy to publish lower estimates of sensitivity or more about doubt, and some scientists who will only talk to those media because they know that is what they want to hear. All scientists have an audience depending on which way they tend to think.

    • Lovely attempt at misdirection there, Jim. Try to sidetrack the conversation by inserting a false equivalence. Really admirable, but contributes exactly zero to the discussion. IMO, (and it’s just MO) if you don’t have anything of substance to add, just don’t post.

      Your attempted equivalence fails completely because of the way in which media outlets that are willing to publish lower estimates of sensitivity are slimed by the “consensus” community. Remember, we are told that the consensus consists only of climate scientists who believe in imminent global catastrophe, and anything to the contrary is “conspiracy ideation.”

      This paper begins to explain why other voices, who believe in anthropogenic warming but not in imminent catastrophe, don’t get heard.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        Fizzy, if you haven’t heard em’ how do you know they are there? If you have head em’ why do you say they can’t be heard?

      • I am saying they do get heard. You clearly don’t go to the right media for your climate news if you never hear them. Try WSJ, Fox News, right-wing radio, etc. Perhaps these sources are harder to find outside the US, but the UK has some sympathetic journalists too.

      • The joke on Murdoch is that he found a niche market for Fox, half of America.
        =============

      • “I am saying they do get heard. You clearly don’t go to the right media for your climate news”

        Jimmy D,

        Why would you have to go to right wing media to get info on low sensitivity? Why wouldn’t it be in left wing media too?

        Andrew

      • BA, the mainstream media listen to the mainstream scientists. That’s just the way it is.

      • “BA, the mainstream media listen to the mainstream scientists.”

        Jimmy D,

        I didn’t say anything about mainstream media. I said left-wing media.

        Andrew

      • JD finds an identity, BA attempts to distinguish. Enjoy the show.
        ==============

      • BA, I think this post was complaining about the mainstream media and the mainstream scientific view that they have a tendency to reflect.

      • ” I think this post was complaining about the mainstream media and the mainstream scientific view that they have a tendency to reflect.”

        Jim D – you need to back and read it this time. That is not what the post is talking about.

    • “BA, I think this post was complaining about the mainstream media and the mainstream scientific view that they have a tendency to reflect.”

      Jimmy D,

      Just out of curiosity… do you think alternate scientific views should be reported in the mainstream media?

      Andrew

      • Such as what?

      • “Such as what?”

        I’m speaking philosophically/generally. Subjects like nutrition, medicine, history, technology, biology… anywhere opinions differ.

        Do you think various sides of each story should be presented?

        Andrew

      • If something has any credibility to it, I think it will gain support and the media can’t ignore it once it has support from a number of scientists.

      • “If something has any credibility to it, I think it will gain support”

        Credibility isn’t the question. The question is should alternate views be reported, credibility or not?

        Andrew

      • If it is one scientist that no one else believes, it is not worth bothering the public with. These are the decisions the media make regularly. They need independent support of an idea to report something.

      • “If it is one scientist that no one else believes, it is not worth bothering the public with.”

        What if the scientist is right, though?

        Andrew

      • That’s where he needs to show people his evidence to convince other scientists that can judge it for themselves, and maybe reproduce it independently. Look what happened to cold fusion or the recent speed of light debacle.

      • “he needs to show people his evidence”

        So why can’t this be done in the mainstream media?

        Andrew

  12. “The climate scientists fear that their results could be misinterpreted in public or exploited by interest groups.” Enough said.

    “The climate scientists fear that their results could be properly interpreted in public and exploited by interest groups seeking to understand what is really correct.” Enough said.

  13. One quote in the paper caught my attention: “Striving for balance in reporting, US journalists have given equal prominence to voices confirming or denying the human influence on the climate, thus putting dis-proportionate emphasis on doubt about anthropogenic climate change “.

    But then you can look at the IPCC reports and find them filled with clear statements of confidence levels and degrees of certainty about different aspects of climate science. Searchable PDFs, too – so you can find things like “There is very low confidence in current estimates of the skill of the AMOC hindcasts.” or “There is very high confidence that globally averaged changes over land will exceed changes over the ocean at the end of the 21st century by a factor that is likely in the range 1.4 to 1.7.”

    Both from the AR5 WG1 report. Frequent, documented communication of levels of certainty and confidence, from expert volunteers reviewing the available published literature.

    So yes, more research on how scientists react to manipulation or over-simplification of their findings is in order – perhaps we can end up with a public able to understand that science always has uncertainty – even when certain conclusions are virtually certain.

    • “perhaps we can end up with a public able to understand that science always has uncertainty – even when certain conclusions are virtually certain.”

      Afterall, the practice of science is nothing more than a attempt to answer some of the uncertainties .. to understand what you don’t know and recognize what you do.

    • b fagan, “So yes, more research on how scientists react to manipulation or over-simplification of their findings is in order – perhaps we can end up with a public able to understand that science always has uncertainty – even when certain conclusions are virtually certain.”

      That would be nice but there is a uncertainty snowball rolling down a hill effect. No feedback CO2 sensitivity is about 1.21 +/- 0.25, water vapor feedback is about 2x(nfbCo2) +/-1, and water vapor is dependent on surface temperatures not CO2 only, so any “natural” or “unforced” variability should have the same amplification as CO2e “forcing”. That is neglecting clouds, aerosols, black carbon etc.

      Then you could add that CO2 forcing is a touch non-linear so it doesn’t apply uniform forcing which is pretty much the basis of all the higher estimates i.e. “ideal” conditions which have about the same probability as absolutely no impact at all.

      The real fun would begin if you apply that to policy design to avoid “dangerous” and its buddy “catastrophic” impacts.

      • It’s important to not confuse policy and science. “Dangerous” and “catastrophic” are policy-related decisions along a scale of risk vs. expenditure. Scientists might simply point out that storm surges will continue to break records as sea levels rise – that’s simple addition – more water = more encroachment up a shore’s slope.

        “Catastrophic” is what the result of that surge might do – and how much it will cost in lives and money to deal with. So Miami continuing to install pumps to counteract increasing flooding isn’t science – it’s policy.

        Sea level rise of a meter by 2100 or 2150 isn’t a “catastrophe” in science terms, but tell that to people who own expensive structures a meter above sea level.

        So the uncertainty in science doesn’t mean we haven’t got enough information to present policy makers with what they need to make policy. Policy is simply assessing all the known risks and trying to prepare. The policymakers have to decide how much risk is presented by all possible outcomes, and what to do based on that. Big messy process, but it’s how it gets done. Waiting another 10 years to see if things might really get bad is not a responsible policy choice at this time – there’s too much valid risk identified that require actions that take a long time.

      • b. fagan, “It’s important to not confuse policy and science. “Dangerous” and “catastrophic” are policy-related decisions along a scale of risk vs. expenditure.”

        Indeed it is, unfortunately prominent climate scientists have crossed that threshold because the primary funding is via government which happens to be pretty political most of the time. In some Utopia there may be no confusion.

        The Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 had a storm surge of about 10 feet and the Labor Day 1935 storm surge was about 19 feet, so obviously no one in their right mind would build down there :( I guess they just don’t understand risk vs reward very well.

      • B Fagan writes:

        “Scientists might simply point out that storm surges will continue to break records as sea levels rise –“

        But since we can’t even reliably tie an increase in the rate of sea level rise to CO2 it is only speculation as to what damage is caused by AGW.

        “Sea level rise of a meter by 2100 or 2150 isn’t a “catastrophe” in science terms, but tell that to people who own expensive structures a meter above sea level.”

        The rate of rise will need to triple in order to rise by a meter by 2100. If it does triple, local areas will have a very long time to adapt by building better infrastructure. It is possible that weather patterns would be positively impacted in many areas.

      • b Fagan,

        “Sea level rise of a meter by 2100 or 2150 isn’t a “catastrophe” in science terms,”

        It certainly is a large amount over the time period from a science standpoint. It also contains a very high level of uncertainty, as current rate of annual SLR will give us a grand total of …. wait for it … 8 inches by the end of this century.

        Are there models which project a 1 meter rise by 2100? Sure. In fact you can find projections claiming up to a 10 meter rise. But all of the observed data says otherwise. The point of this post is whether or not scientists are willing to communicate the latter, or the large amount of uncertainty in the 10 and 1 meter projections.

  14. richardswarthout

    I have been reading “The Brain” by David Eagleman” and believe it explains the behavior of the German scientists. I’ll explain with some excerpts:

    I start with an excerpt that lays the groundwork; He says “What does your brain need to function normally? Beyond the nutrients from the food you eat, beyond the oxygen you breath, beyond the water you drink, there’s something else, something equally important: it needs ther people. Normal brain function depends on the social web around us. Our neurons require other people’s neurons to thrive and survive.” He expands “We are deeply social creatures. From our families, friends, co-workers, and business partners, our societies are built on layers of complex social interactions. All around us we see relationships forming and breaking, familial bonds, obsessive social networking, and the compulsive building of alliances….All of this social glue is generated by specific circuitry in the brain: sprawling networks that monitor other people, communicate with them, feel their pain, judge their intentions, and read their emotions.

    Later, he explains that “Our brains make social judgements constantly” and “As we grow, our social challenges become more more subtle and complex. Beyond words and actions, we have to interpret inflection, facial expressions, body language.

    Finally, in this, my effort to understand the behavior of the scientists, I am drawn to Eagleman’s descriptions of group selection, ingroups, and outgroups. The scientific evidence that physical pain can be felt when a person is kicked out of a group and the meanness, and even cruelty that an ingroup can inflict on an outgroup. All the result of the normal functioning brain.

    Richard

    • The desire to belong is an incredibly strong need among primates.

      • Any herd animal, and we are herd animals. We’ve been stampeded through fear and guilt toward a precipice, and there are those who’ve bellowed maliciously together, and not just from fear, but from the urge to control, and the thrill of the run.

        Not good for the herd, and it is beginning to turn.
        ============

      • As the decades have passed I tend to see the movement of the herd (the need to belong) as a multiplying effect. It continues gaining momentum till the mass movement begins to demonstrably threaten the herd. I think it’s similar to what you describe. Ultimately I view the movement as a pendulum that maxes in one direction before it swings in another.

        I suspect that a dropping standard of living for the herd quickened by the cost of the ruse ultimately swings this particular pendulum movement.

        One man’s view.

      • The fear is passing but the alarmists continue to shriek and bellow. It is all becoming ludicrous. The fear will be gratefully staved by the lack of alarming consequences, and the guilt will be gradually salved by appreciation of the benefits of warming.
        ===========

      • Of course cooling, which is as naturally likely as not, will bring the benefits of warming into very sharp relief. Dismally sharp, woundingly edged.
        ============

    • I haven’t read Eagleman’s book but I did 12 years of graduate work in Social Psychology and the social sciences. The one thing that is central to our cultural membership is language. The very thoughts in our head are formed by the language we think in, their meaning and their nuance are all social constructs. So yes our beliefs are, with very, very small exclusions, the thoughts inculcated by our group membership and identifications. The exclusions are EARNED opinions generally derived from our close study about a subject, usually having to do with our work or our strong interests. Climate beliefs have become a very important signifier of that membership. Unearned opinions are the vast majority of everyone’s opinions. These beliefs constitute the norms of that membership. The more polarized, the greater the importance in differentiating us from the the other, the greater their influence.

  15. There are 7+ billion living on earth today, but according to Dr Goklany’s studies death rates from extreme events have dropped by 97% since the 1920s. So how is this possible if we live at a time of rapid and dangerous AGW? Surely this disproves the nonsense we are force fed by so called scientists, pollies and the media every day?
    Somehow we actually live in a much safer world compared to 100 years ago and remember there are many more humans living in high risk areas on the coasts than in earlier times. Amazing what a little bit of common sense will tell you.

    • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

      ngard 2016, there may be a flaw in your analysis. From the 1920’s until now extreme events would have been mostly a result of nature rather than AGW. Scientists are concerned about the harm from AGW in the future, not back 90 years.

      • So we’ve seen zero impact from co2 in extreme events since 1950? So when in the future do you think we’ll see an impact? Trenberth told a University Nsw meeting that every extreme event has some built in component of CAGW, NOW. Who do we believe you or him? Of course common sense tells us that we live in very safe times compared to any period over the previous one hundred years.

      • ngard2016,

        Well, as Hannah Arendt noted:

        Totalitarian propaganda raised ideological scientificality and its technique of making statements in the form of predictions to a height of efficiency of method and absurdity of content because, demagogically speaking, there is hardly a better way to avoid discussion than by releasing an argument from the control of the present and by saying that only the future can reveal its merits.

        — HANNAH ARENDT, The Origins of Totalitarianism

      • Scientists are concerned about the harm from AGW in the future, not back 90 years.

        Here’s where you could think for yourself.

        What harm? And why hasn’t it appeared after 70 years of global warming? If global warming is a problem, why isn’t summer a problem, when half the globe warms by 14C? Why are pronouncements always in the future?

        Why does the satellite data indicate no significant change in global drought?
        Why does the hurricane data indicate no significant change in energy?
        Why does the US tornado data indicate a decrease in strong events?
        Why does the US temperature record indicate fewer 100 degree days?
        Etc. etc.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        @ ngard2016

        So we’ve seen zero impact from co2 in extreme events since 1950? So when in the future do you think we’ll see an impact?
        ________
        I didn’t say that. I said “From the 1920’s until now extreme events would have been mostly a result of nature rather than AGW.”

        You say “Trenberth told a University Nsw meeting that every extreme event has some built in component of CAGW, NOW. Who do we believe you or him?”

        There’s no disagreement between what I said and what Trenberth said, so you can believe us both.

  16. MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

    Maybe I would understand the excerpts better if I weren’t sleepy. I gave up on the following paragraph:

    “Their answers differ in the two versions of the finding. When the result indicates that climate change is proceeding more slowly rather than faster the climate scientists are more worried that the finding “could be exploited by interest groups” and “misinterpreted in public” – though the latter difference is not significant. The climate scientists’ ratings of the remaining objections follow the same pattern, though with small differences. When a finding indicates that climate change is proceeding more slowly rather than faster than expected, they are slightly more worried that it “may provoke criticism among his peers”, “might bring too much uncertainty to the public debate” and could “put the credibility of climate science at risk”

  17. Amongst all things a human craves, it is certainty. Simple. Complete. All encompassing. No loose ends.

    Without certainty, our minds run wild; fantasies, monsters and boogie men under the bed are frequent thoughts that visit us when we are uncertain. So certainty is a value and we cling to those who appear to provide certainty when all else around us appears chaotic.

    And so, the science is certain, settled, and more important, directed to a specific conclusion. We now know what before was not known; we now know who are our enemies; we now know what it is we have to do to overcome our enemies. It is clear. It is certain, and we can act to defend ourselves. These are clear messages.

    Of course I am a bit worried that the whole package of uncertainty is now wrapped up in a bow and ready for our consumption: hook, line and sinker. I ascribe such certainty to those who provide it, like the climate scientists of today.

    These are the villains; the ones we have to worry about. The ones who provide us with the whole package, their confidence in the whole picture. Their certainty of their message. These are the bad actors we have to worry about; as, they provide certainty in an uncertain world.

    In these circumstances, reality is harsh, unless of course, you let your mind run wild.

    • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

      RiHo08 says
      “Amongst all things a human craves, it is certainty. Simple. Complete. All encompassing. No loose ends.”
      __________

      Well, I don’t know about that. If I could be told with certainty the date I will kick the bucket, I wouldn’t want to know. I could probably think of other things I wouldn’t like to be certain about.

      Perhaps you refer to people wanting certainty before acting. I like it, but if I insisted on basing my actions on certainty, I wouldn’t do much.

      • Max: You do have a certainty in your discussion. You do know that you will die; you just don’t know when. To me the bottom line is do folks live in fear of death, or accept it as part of life. Everything else in life has some inherent uncertainty, some of which we have control over, some not. Scaring the folks about the uncertainty they can’t control (e.g.. climate) is a political control game.

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        RiHo08 says
        “Scaring the folks about the uncertainty they can’t control (e.g.. climate) is a political control game.”
        _______

        Scientists are trying to control me politically with their warnings about global warming.

        Ha Ha, that’s a good one.

    • RiH
      You are, of course, spot on. Humans want simplicity and certainty. I see it all the time when people avoid the hard work of exercising the brain. Just like I avoid exercising the rest of my body anytime I can get away with it.

      Don’t pay any attention to Max, he is sleepy. I, on the other hand, just woke up and sharp as a tack. For a few hours at least.

    • RiHo08,

      Thoughtful people don’t make good advocates.

      That conclusion is not original to me. I read it somewhere, but can’t put my finer on where.

    • And so, the science is certain, settled, and more important, directed to a specific conclusion.

      Well, actually no. The science isn’t settled.. Well, actually it is but there is a lot of lying about it.

      For almost 40 years no one tried to bound GHG forcing. No “Global Warming” grant money should have been released for the plethora of cockamamie global warming studies until the forcing level was known. Until the actual forcing level was bounded within reason, say 10%, it is impossible to know if there is a potential problem. As a result we got dumb studies where they gave more CO2 to plants then cooked them as a “stressor” so they would underperform. This year we got the first study that tried to measure CO2 forcing and “surprise” it is clear why they were dancing around the forcing issue instead of bounding it. The forcing is pretty low.

      The forcing was about 1 W/m2 in the 20th century (22 PPM = 0.2 W/m2). This should be causing some massive changes to IPCC documentation. They guessed high. Let’s see if factual evidence intrudes on the IPCC guessing.

    • RiH008,

      Maybe many people crave certainty, but at the risk of appearing to agree with Max (purely random chance), I disagree that everyone does. I believe a lot of people are just fine with some level of uncertainty. Granted some are capable of handling more than others. I’ve learned that things are never as certain as people might think or wish for. Expecting uncertainty to pop up helps make you better capable of dealing with it.

  18. Professor Curry: “Playing such ‘strategic’ games puts the credibility of climate scientists at risk”

    IMO that ship has sailed. After 28 years of climate scientists campaigning for public policy action to prevent CAGW (or at least their leaders doing so), the field’s credibility has been put at stake — and hence at risk.

    Since there has not been — and probably will not be — strong public policy action to limit warming to 2C from pre-industrial levels, the public will eventually learn if the forecasts are correct. Correct or wrong, someone will lose big on the outcome.

    • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

      But not us. We will be pushing up daises.

      • But not us. We will be pushing up daises.

        People tend toward static analysis, which is a reasonable starting point.
        Then if they consider change, it’s typically of a single variable against “all else being constant”. But all else is never constant either.

        While we’re entertaining model runs of what CO2 will be in 2100 and what the effect might be, this will also be going on:

        It alone ( in addition to all else in the world changing ) will have enormous consequences. A yuge consequence will be what is the value of human labor when a much cheaper and more efficient replacement is available (within a decade)? And how will human population respond?

        Fretting about global warming would appear to be an idle indulgence.

      • ‘Energy’ was the new ‘Labor’ and all the old lies told about ‘Labor’ have been told about ‘Energy’. It seems that computing power may become the newest ‘Labor’. Let the lies begin again, a farce of robots after the tragedy of humans.
        ============

      • MAX_OK, Citizen Scientist

        I usually don’t agree with kim, but I agree with Kim on “computing power may become the newest ‘Labor’.”

    • It is worth pointing out that the climate of the original Fabius Maximus changed from cool to warm during his lifetime.

      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=96eFAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA156&lpg=PA156&dq=roman+climate+in+200bc&source=bl&ots=Rr7lycRU4n&sig=0-MRisgOG5zsfnnPwxrBje-xtPA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwin9Z2eg-jKAhVD8RQKHYmHBMoQ6AEIHzAB#v=onepage&q=roman%20climate%20in%20200bc&f=false

      The roman epoch generally varied from a period when glaciers had almost disappeared to ones where they were advancing, and every condition in between. Sea levels were generally higher than today, although levels changed with the variations in glaciers.

      Tonyb

    • Since there has not been — and probably will not be — strong public policy action to limit warming to 2C from pre-industrial levels, the public will eventually learn if the forecasts are correct.

      Either that or you will learn that the current action (or whatever does get done) was more than “strong” enough.

      I’m always amused at the denial coming from many on both “sides” of the climate “debate” when it comes to the effect of actions that have been going on for decades.

    • AK,

      The thing is that not everybody buys into the Prometheanism that the surrealists, futurists, Cosmists, Blacksmiths, and a whole plethora of other more orthodox intellectual movements of the modern era do. But granted, I do acknowledge that the Promethean ethos is wildly popular in American culture.

      Nevertheless, the realists, even though a minority, see the world quite differently than Positivists and Progressives do.

      This, for instance, is what Reinhold Niebuhr had to say:

      There are evidently limits to the achievements of science; and there are irresolvable contradictions between prosperity and virtue, and between happiness and the “good life” which had not been anticipated in our philosophy. The discovery of these contradictions threatens our culture with despair….

      For, from the later Puritans to the present day we have variously attributed American prosperity to our superior diligence, our greater skill, or to our more fervent devotion to the ideals of freedom. We thereby have complicated our spiritual problem for the days of adversity which we are bound to experience. We have forgotten to what degree the wealth of our natural resources and the fortuitous circumstanc that we conquered a continent just when the advancement of technics made it possible to organize that continent with a single political economic unit, lay at the foundation of our prosperity.

      — REINHOLD NIEBUHR, The Irony of American History

      And here’s Hannah Arendt on the subject:

      The notion that there is such a thing as progress of mankind as a whole was unknown prior to the seventeenth century, developed into a rather common opinion among the eighteenth-century hommes de lettres, and became an almost univerally accepted dogma in the nineteenth….

      [In the seventeenth century] progress was not unlimited… Beginning with the nineteenth century, however, all such limitations disapperared. Now, in the words of Proudhon, motion is “le fait primitif” and “the laws of movement are eternal.”…

      To be sure, a guarantee that in the final analysis rests on little more than a metaphor is not the most solid basis to erect a doctrine upon….

      However, these disadvantages, which were only rarely noticed, are more than outweighted by an enormous advantage: progress not only explains the past without breaking up the contimuum but it can serve as a guide for acting in the future… Progress gives an answer to the troublesome quesiton, And what shall we do now? The answer, on the lowest level, says: Let us develop what we have into something better, greater, et cetera. (The, at first glance, irrational faith of liberals in growth, so characteristic of all our present political and economic theories, depends on this notion.)…

      I do not need to add that all our experiences in this century, which has consistently confronted us with the totally unexpected, stand in flagrant contradiction to these notions and doctrines, whose very popularity seems to consist in offering a comfortable, speculative or pseudo-scientific refuge from reality.

      — HANNAH ARENDT, On Violence

      • Bah, there’s always been progress; it’s shown an awful habit to be circular, though. Cheap energy briefly suspended the law of gravity, and its tangent may be trending inwardly curvaceous again.
        ============

      • Kim,

        A far more modest doctrine than “progress of mankind” is “sustainability of mankind.”

        But could it be that “sustainability” is just one more secular myth of the Modernist-Enlightenment creed?

        Adam Curtis in his most recent documentary takes the doctrine of sustainability to task. Here’s Wikipedia’s review of the documentary:

        Part 2. ‘The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts

        “In the 1960s, an idea penetrated deep into the public imagination that nature is a self-regulating ecosystem, there is a natural order,” Curtis says. “The trouble is, it’s not true — as many ecologists have shown, nature is never stable, it’s always changing.”

        This episode investigates how machine ideas such as cybernetics and systems theory were applied to natural ecosystems, and how this relates to the false idea that there is a balance of nature…

        Arthur Tansley…became convinced that, as the brain was interconnected, so was the whole of the natural world, in networks he called ecosystems, which he believed were inherently stable and self-correcting, and which regulated nature as if it were a machine….

        The ecology movement also adopted this idea and viewed the natural world as systems, as it explained how the natural system could stabilise the natural world, via natural feedback loops….

        Howard T. Odum and Eugene Odum were brothers who were both ecologists. Howard collected data from ecological systems and built electronic networks to simulate them. His brother Eugene then took these ideas to make them the heart of ecology, and the hypothesis then became a certainty. However, they had distorted the idea and simplified the data to an extraordinary degree. That ecology was balanced became conventional wisdom among scientists….

        By the 1970s, new problems such as overpopulation, limited natural resources and pollution that couldn’t be solved by normal hierarchical systems had arrived. Jay Forrester stated that he knew how to solve this problem. He applied systems theory to the problem and drew a cybernetic system diagram for the world….

        This became the basis of the model that was used by the Club of Rome, and the findings from this were published in The Limits to Growth. Forrester then argued for zero growth in order to maintain a steady equilibrium within the capacity of the Earth….

        At the time, there was a general belief in the stability of natural systems. However, cracks started to appear when a study was made of the predator-prey relationship of wolf and elks. It was found that wild population swings had occurred over centuries. Other studies then found huge variations, and a significant lack of homeostasis in natural systems.

        George Van Dyne then tried to build a computer model to try to simulate a complete ecosystem based on extensive real-world data, to show how the stability of natural systems actually worked. To his surprise, the computer model did not stabilize like the Odums’ electrical model had.

        The reason for this lack of stabilization was that he had used extensive data which more accurately reflected reality, whereas the Odums and other ecologists had “ruthlessly simplified nature.”

        The scientific idea had thus been shown to fail, but the popular idea remained in currency, and even grew as it apparently offered the possibility of a new egalitarian world order.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_Watched_Over_by_Machines_of_Loving_Grace_(TV_series)

        The documentary can be seen on the internet here:

        http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/all-watched-over-by-machines-of-loving-grace/

      • There is a lot of energy in the universe, and I have long contended that man will not ultimately use all of it.
        ==========================

  19. I find this paper to be extremely illuminating, and I particularly like the methodology used and the care that Post used in interpreting the results.

    Really? Almost all concerns were rated as being closer to irrelevant then relevant and the difference between the concerns when the paper suggested slower than and faster than was not statistically significant for any reasonable definition of statistical significance. So, scientists who publish in controversial areas are sometimes slightly concerned that their work might be mis-represented in the media. Fine, but I don’t think that’s a huge surprise.

    • Sounds like more research is needed :)

    • “Almost all concerns were rated as being closer to irrelevant then relevant and the difference between the concerns when the paper suggested slower than and faster than was not statistically significant for any reasonable definition of statistical significance.” This is a good point and Dr. Curry should have mentioned it. Post should have mentioned that it means that her results are very minor.

  20. Overall, climate scientists object to publishing a result in the media significantly more when it indicates that climate change proceeds more slowly rather than faster than expected.

    The were 5 possible concerns, 4 of which showed no statistical difference between slower and faster, 1 was significant at the 0.1 level. I suspect the author should read this post by Dorothy Bishop.

    • I agree that the conclusions the paper reaches are based on pretty weak statistical foundations. The most that can be said is that there is a small but consistent tendency to defend the current AGW paradigm.

      I found it much more interesting that the first paragraph of section 6 suggests there is no consensus at all among the scientists surveyed that AGW is “man-made, dangerous, [and] unique in history”.

      The second paragraph in the same section finds a clear consensus (72%) that the scientists feel that uncertainty in climate science is under reported.

      I think these two paragraphs are much more interesting than the rest of the paper.

      • I found it much more interesting that the first paragraph of section 6 suggests there is no consensus at all among the scientists surveyed that AGW is “man-made, dangerous, [and] unique in history”.

        Except that is a bit of a strawman. It’s not really possible to scientifically define if something will be dangerous or not (there may be some cases where it is obvious, though). If you add the word “dangerous” it’s not surprising that there isn’t really a consensus.

      • I’d say it’s no more difficult to define ‘dangerous’ than any of the other terms that, for example, Cook et al have claimed to find an overwhelming consensus for.

      • The strawman is aTTP’s repeated assertion that the words “dangerous” (able or likely to cause harm or injury) and “catastrophic” (involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering) are not commonly tossed around by anti-CO2 advocates in the climate debates. If global warming isn’t dangerous, it isn’t a problem.

        Either get a life or get a dictionary.

      • The strawman is aTTP’s repeated assertion that the words “dangerous” (able or likely to cause harm or injury) and “catastrophic” (involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering) are not commonly tossed around by anti-CO2 advocates in the climate debates.

        This is simply not true. I’ve never ever asserted that “dangerous” and “catastrophic” are not used by anti-CO2 advocates in climate debates.

        If global warming isn’t dangerous, it isn’t a problem.

        This is silly. Trying thinking harder. Do you have no interest in thinking about this at any depth?

        Either get a life or get a dictionary.

        Why not stop strawmanning people? If you don’t know what that means, look it up.

      • Oh dear, Ken seems to have forgotten that the C in CAGW was made up by those nasty den**r types:

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/12/13/a-closer-look-at-scenario-rcp8-5/#comment-751248

      • Oh dear, Jonathan, seems to have forgotten how to think critically – or, maybe, never knew how to. Do you want try thinking about this a little more, or is strawmanning others the best you have? My guess is the latter, but feel free to prove me wrong.

      • Ken, your repeated insinuation that climate alarmism and/or catastrophism is the work of sceptics is not a strawman. It is demonstrably wrong. Stop it.

      • Ken, your repeated insinuation that climate alarmism and/or catastrophism is the work of sceptics is not a strawman. It is demonstrably wrong. Stop it.

        Your repeated claims that I’ve said something that I’ve never said is a strawman. Stop it!

        This isn’t complicated. Try actually thinking, just this once. I’ll even help. Scientifically, there is a term typically called “AGW”. Scientifically, there is no such thing as CAGW. It is a term used by those I shall politely call “skeptics”. This does not mean that noone uses the words “catastrophic” or “dangerous” in the context of AGW, and I’ve never suggested otherwise (try reading harder if you think I have). If you ask scientists about “dangerous” AGW you’re unlikely to get any kind of consensus, since it is not only ill-defined, but clearly also conditional (it depends on many factors, such as what we actually do). Similarly, there is a difference between the possibility of it being dangerous, and it being dangerous.

        This post does a decent job of summarising the issue.

      • This tactic is from gradually guiltier consciences.
        =============

      • You can deny that the consensus climate science is about something other than death trains, existential threat, catastrophe yatta..yatta..yatta, but we know you are lying kenny.

      • Don:

        Nailed it.

        Ahh, quite useful. I’ve misinterpreted you. Apologies.

      • Rice, a worn out tool.
        ================

      • “Scientifically, there is no such thing as CAGW. It is a term used by those I shall politely call “skeptics”.”

        There you go again, Ken. As was demonstrated in the thread I linked to, this is simply wrong. You really do have a major mental block over this, don’t you?

        I am perfectly willing to accept that the term ‘dangerous’ is undefined, and therefore unlikely to provoke a strong consensus. But compared to the rubbish Cook et al publish, this study is really quite rigorous.

      • I have tried to nail down the skeptics on what they mean by “catastrophic”. Is it 4 C of temperature rise or meters of sea-level rise? Where is their threshold of “catastrophic”? I never get an answer, so it makes the term worthless if both sides can’t even define a common meaning for it.

      • Jim D:

        The only ones pretending to be confused by “dangerous” and “catastrophic” are you and aTTP. Skeptics didn’t make up the scary scenarios, they are simply responding to the public pronouncements from the high priests of Climatedom.

        As I pointed out to you before, the official, IPCC-endorsed point-of-no-return is 2 degrees C.

        Your mileage may vary.

      • Try to nail down the alarmists on what they mean by “existential threat” “greatest threat faced by mankind” “death trains” “dead polar bears falling from the sky” yatta..yatta..yatta, little yimmy disingenuous. Skeptics are not the ones claiming we have to decarbonize the world’s economy to save the planet. Oh, the humanity! And the walruses!

        Save the planet from what, yimmy?

      • Don, if your threshold for any action at all is an existential threat then that is your problem, and you are not framing the issue of climate change properly in your mind. It is not all or nothing. It is degrees of change requiring a more nuanced view of what is really happening, and what can be done.

      • Jimd

        As the ipcc, various governments and official research facilities such as the met office all say that anything over 2c rise will be disastrous I think we can take that as being the valid criteria.

        As official estimates go anything up to 10 c, with most at three to five degrees, we can safely say that is the ‘ catastrophic’ element that means the use of the acronym CAGW is valid

        Tonyb

      • tonyb, it is not a step function at 2 C either. There are different degrees of disastrousness and some occur before 2 C, but more and more occur after, and depend on how you want to define disastrousness in the first place, which I don’t see skeptics willing to do. Is it disastrous if only a few million people are affected, or how about a billion? This is why CAGW is so hard to define. It is not a step function that the term implies. It is a graduated worseness with each degree of temperature, but the skeptics can’t seem to think in those terms of every degree of mitigation counting in some significant way.

      • My threshold for action is convincing evidence that we have a significant problem. I am waiting for it, while the alarmists run around like Chicken Littles hollering about a phony 97% consensus on tipping points, existential threat, walruses etc. and thoroughly discrediting themselves with the hyped up hysteria. And then having a series big crucial last-chance lavishly expensive soirees and doing essentially nothing. You people need to get serious.

      • My threshold for action is convincing evidence that we have a significant problem.

        Make sure the message mappers capture it so clearly.

      • Jim D: I have tried to nail down the skeptics on what they mean by “catastrophic”.

        You are going at it backwards. It has been Ehrlich, Holdren, Schneider, Hansen, Schmidt, Gore and all the people calling for dissenters to be investigated, imprisoned, hanged and such who invented the claims of catastrophes. All the dissenters contributed was the letters “CAGW” to distinguish claims of catastrophe from “Benign Antrhopogenic Greenhouse-GAS Induced Warming”, “natural climate change”, “lukewarming” and everything else.

        Nearly every skeptic who writes here has proposed actions: more irrigation and flood control; more investment in diverse energy sources; construction of more nuclear power plants; and others. Even “business as usual” has been recommended as a better course of action than sacrificing resources to expensive wind farms and solar farms.

      • and Then There’s Physics: Except that is a bit of a strawman. It’s not really possible to scientifically define if something will be dangerous or not (there may be some cases where it is obvious, though).

        Are you saying that no one is advocating the redistribution of $trillions in order to avoid dangers, some listed and some vaguely anticipated?

        Of course you are not saying anything so blatantly false — you have gone into the lexicographic swamp and tried to waste all our time on the various concepts of danger and dangerous.

        Advocates of CO2 reduction have written and spoken of many dangers resulting from more CO2, but object to the abstract name “dangerous”. Advocates of CO2 reduction have written and spoken of many catastrophes to result from more CO2, but object to the abstract appellation of “catastrophic”. Whatever you call the class of terrible events that we have to try so hard to avoid, the one word that applies to all of the warnings is “exaggerated”.

      • MM, that is where there is a disconnect. I ask the skeptics if they think we should be worried about 4 C of warming or meters of sea-level rise, and they think it is some kind of trick question, so they avoid answering. Depending on the answer, it is either an area of common ground, or it sharpens the differences in the debate in a very helpful way.

      • JA,

        There you go again, Ken. As was demonstrated in the thread I linked to, this is simply wrong.

        No, it’s not. The only people who use the term CAGW are people who I shall politely call “skeptics”, or people like me pointing out that it doesn’t really exist; not as some kind of well-defined scientific concept.

        You really do have a major mental block over this, don’t you?

        No, not really.

        opluso,

        As I pointed out to you before, the official, IPCC-endorsed point-of-no-return is 2 degrees C.

        No, it’s not. It really isn’t.

      • “I ask the skeptics if they think we should be worried about 4 C of warming”

        Shouldn’t they be more worried about 8 C of warming?

        Andrew

      • Ken,

        I realise that I owe you an apology. I hadn’t noticed that you are now pretending that all along you were just objecting to the exact term “CAGW” instead of climate catastrophism in general.

        Forgot who I was talking to.

      • Dr. kenny rice is practicing a kind of not quite subtle enough deceit that is not serving the cause well. However, we do appreciate his buffoonery for the entertainment value.

      • This reminds me of creationists and transitional fossils – fossils that are transitional in form between two groups of animal.

        For ideological reasons creationists cannot accept transitional fossils exist. Their tactic is to simply deny each given fossil is transitional, insisting that each is a fully formed animal kind.

        The reveal that they know what they are doing, rather than just being ignorant, is to ask them “Okay, what would a transitional fossil look like then?”. They shut down. It is not a question they can answer, because to answer the question would sabotage their tactic of denial.

        Similarly this question of “Well what would dangerous emissions look like?” is one that climate skeptics seem very hesitant to answer.

        They *know* there’s a trap there, but it’s a trap laid by themselves and their biased approach to the subject.

      • It’s getting to be like Groundhog Day. Here we go again.

        https://newrepublic.com/article/121907/limiting-global-warming-2-degrees-celsius-wont-save-us

        The goal of international climate negotiations is “to avoid dangerous atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.”

        http://paristext2015.com/2015/06/1-5-degrees-celsius-or-2-degrees-maybe-its-turtles-all-the-way-down/

        …we can understand 1.5 degrees C and 2 degrees C as the quantitative measures of the undefined phrase ‘dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system’ from the UNFCCC.

        http://adrastia.org/2-degrees-is-too-high-ipcc-united-nations-may-2015/

        …the latest discussions between the experts of the UN, members of the IPCC, the World Meteorological Organization and the Hadley Center seem to conclude that the value of 2 degrees of warming would not be a safe limit. From 1.5 degree, climate change would already enter a nonlinear evolution stage, with irreversible global effects, particularly hostile to life as a whole.

        http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/sb/eng/inf01.pdf

        The ‘guardrail’ concept, in which up to 2 °C of warming is considered safe, is inadequate and would therefore be better seen as an upper limit, a defence line that needs to be stringently defended, while less warming would be preferable.

        http://www.c2es.org/science-impacts/ipcc-summaries/fifth-assessment-report-working-group-2

        The report identifies a set of key risks related to climate change that span regions and sectors (e.g., water, food, health), and constitute “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”

      • Dear Mr Nicehat,

        The sceptics aren’t the ones claiming dangerous warming is a thing, so how could we define it? The creationists could just as well ask you to define their God.

        P.S. Creationists are nutters.

      • nebakhet writes_

        “Similarly this question of “Well what would dangerous emissions look like?” is one that climate skeptics seem very hesitant to answer.”

        Dangerous emissions would result in significant negative net changes in the climate for humans. This would mean different changes in the climate in different regions depending on the specific area. It could be a significant increase in severe storms in that area or a significant change in annual rainfall etc.

        Realizing that the changes in the climate will not be universal means that some places will benefit while other areas will suffer harm. Can you point me to the information that you consider reliable that show where the climate will be better vs worse for humans.

        No you can’t

      • opluso, so the question goes to you. Do you consider a 4 C rise dangerous or several meters of sea-level rise dangerous? If so, what are you complaining about with terminology. If not, why not.

      • Jim D: I ask the skeptics if they think we should be worried about 4 C of warming or meters of sea-level rise, and they think it is some kind of trick question, so they avoid answering.

        There is no reason to think that anthropogenic CO2 is going to produce either of those in less than 150 years, if at all.

        And all the while that you object to the label “CAGW”, the CAGW crowd is warning of multiple catastrophes.

      • MM, that is the usual dodge. Lots of scientists think otherwise regarding these, but anyway, I’ll take that as passing on the question.

      • Poor yimmy. The ersatz leader of the free world, Obama, says that he has the best climate scientists advising him and the virtually unanimous consensus among that crowd is that ACO2 produced “climate change” is an existential threat. Maybe little kenny thinks that is not about impending catastrophe, if we don’t do what they tell us, but you know what existential means. Right, yimmy? So Obama is lying, or he is really being told that by climate scientists. Which is it, yimster? Answer honestly and correctly and we rate you a little higher in credibility than we do little kenny, who is just engaged in semantic quibbling and such buffoonery.

      • Don, did I say no one uses the word “existential”? No. Hansen also uses terms like this too. Even if it was existential for some populations, would you care? Some wouldn’t, and those mark themselves as exactly the ones not to listen to on climate.

      • Obama, says that he has the best climate scientists advising him and the virtually unanimous consensus among that crowd is that ACO2 produced “climate change” is an existential threat.

        Don, do you have a quote where Obama says it is an “existential threat?”

      • And whether or not climate change is an “existential threat,” the Pentagon at least believes poses a significant threat.

        http://www.defense.gov/News-Article-View/Article/612710

        WASHINGTON, July 29, 2015 — Global climate change will aggravate problems such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership and weak political institutions that threaten stability in a number of countries, according to a report the Defense Department sent to Congress yesterday.

      • In the context of Obama, the word existential came up in terms of what ISIS is NOT to the US (unlike the Republicans who are afraid of this possibility). What Obama said is that climate change is a bigger threat to the US population. He may mean more widespread impacts in the population than terrorism, perhaps meaning diseases like Zika, etc., or storms like Sandy, that undoubtedly affect more people.

      • You are not very bright, yoey. And I don’t owe you any quotes. The Pentagon does what Obama tells the Pentagon to do. I just covered this:

        https://judithcurry.com/2016/02/06/week-in-review-science-edition-31/#comment-763653

        I didn’t say that you said no one uses the word “existential”, yimmy. I asked you a question. You haven’t exactly answered honestly, so your credibility rating will remain down there with kenny’s, bouncing around zero.

      • It’s fascinating how the alarmist crowd misuses DOD planning for CAGW as a justification for the cause.

        Arguably, members of the military are the ultimate public servants. They don’t get to debate the right or wrongheadness of a directive. Many in the military are very bright and are additionally trained in critical thinking, but they have to subjegate their line of thinking to follow orders.

        They fight for the right for others to choose.
        It’s an amazing sacrifice. Don’t misuse that sacrifice.

        Rant over.

      • Don, I have an answer in moderation above your last question. We’ll see it in due course. I think I can guess at the offending word.

      • It is not only the DOD but the oil industry for whom this question was apparently already settled in the 1980’s.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oil-industry-trade-group-knew-about-climate-change_us_56b4ea8de4b01d80b24619a9

      • I’ve read over 300 posts today. I think it was a poster named Flynn who coined the phrase Wiggle Worm … deny, divert, confuse. Many of the alarmist crowd fits the definition.

        I suppose I can appreciate the 5th column tactics from a warfare point of view and I hope the rewards are worth it. Be careful though. If you practice the tactic for too long, you become a shell of the person you were meant to be.

        Carry on.

      • Dear Mr Nicehat,

        I was idly wondering which ancient Egyptian ruler you had named yourself after, so I Googled you.

        Imagine my surprise to find you’re not actually a Pharoah at all. It turns out you’re an anonymous internet coward who defends those who call for anyone who eats meat to be murdered.

        Stay classy.

      • Jim D: MM, that is the usual dodge.

        That is not a dodge, it is a direct answer to your question. There is no good reason to worry about anthropogenic green house gases causing a 4C temp rise or “meters” of sea level increase any time soon. No reason to think that “urgent” action to prevent them is required.

        Why do you call it a “dodge”?

      • Jim D | February 8, 2016 at 5:37 pm |
        It is not only the DOD but the oil industry for whom this question was apparently already settled in the 1980’s.
        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oil-industry-trade-group-knew-about-climate-change_us_56b4ea8de4b01d80b24619a9

        The Columbia researchers who prepared the report for API predicted global temperatures would rise by up to 4 degrees Celsius over the next hundred years.

        Interesting article.

        It points out the actual harm caused by the global warming bias.

        Yet another example of why we need hostile review of studies used for legal/governmental purposes.

        Further the bias for global warming should be treated as research misconduct. Flagrant misconduct should result in tort claims by the industries harmed.

        There isn’t any way CO2 is going to cause a 4°C rise. It takes a biased presentation of the facts to make the case the CO2 induced temperature rise will increase 1°C or that the CO2 rise isn’t beneficial.

        There is a small beneficial warming that accompanies more CO2. It was about 1 W/m2 last century (22 PPM = 0.2 W/m2) and might be 1 W/m2 this century.

      • Don, you are telling me the Obama administration told the Pentagon what to put in the report? It is all made up? It’s a conspiracy?

      • MM, it didn’t answer the question whether you consider a 4 C rise or a few meters of sea-level rise dangerous. I still don’t know the answer to that, and it was a direct question. But anyway, OK, you don’t want to answer that. Fine.

      • btw Here is the report. Trying to fool Congress by making things up is playing with fire. But anyway..

        http://archive.defense.gov/pubs/150724-congressional-report-on-national-implications-of-climate-change.pdf?source=govdelivery

      • Poor, yoey. I hate to tell you, but the Pentagon is a building. The DOD (Google it) wrote the report. The DOD is controlled by Obama appointed apparatchiks. He didn’t appoint any climate deniers. They know what the boss wants and doesn’t want. No conspiring necessary. Now please carry on with your buffoonery, private yoey.

      • I dare say the DOD would right that report with or without Obama. Just more goodies in their war chest!

      • What goodies? Battery powered MBTs?

      • You are saying the report ordered by Congress was made up, That is nothing in it is factually correct. Do you expect me to believe that?

        How about this report during the Bush administration. Was it all made up?

        http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/us/15warm.html

        A report, scheduled to be published on Monday but distributed to some reporters yesterday, said issues usually associated with the environment — like rising ocean levels, droughts and violent weather caused by global warming — were also national security concerns.

        “Unlike the problems that we are used to dealing with, these will come upon us extremely slowly, but come they will, and they will be grinding and inexorable,” Richard J. Truly, a retired United States Navy vice admiral and former NASA administrator, said in the report.

        The effects of global warming, the study said, could lead to large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water. All could lead to direct involvement by the United States military.

        The report recommends that climate change be integrated into the nation’s security strategies and says the United States “should commit to a stronger national and international role to help stabilize climate changes at levels that will avoid significant disruption to global security and stability.”

        The report, called “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” was commissioned by the Center for Naval Analyses, a government-financed research group, and written by a group of retired generals and admirals called the Military Advisory Board.

      • Jim D: MM, it didn’t answer the question whether you consider a 4 C rise or a few meters of sea-level rise dangerous.

        You asked whether skeptics should be worried about them, and we should not be worried — if they happen at all they will not happen rapidly. You asked skeptics to supply a “threshold” for the word “catastrophes” as used to lump together the catastrophes predicted by the catastrophists who advocate reducing CO2.

        I think that this is of a piece with your discussion of a 50-100 year time frame for phasing out fossil fuel use. You are not serious, and no one takes you seriously who reads you regularly. It’s of a piece with your disinclination to agree that current climate (at 400 ppm CO2) is better than the climate of 1880, for which there has been plenty of evidence presented.

      • That shows some initiative, yoey. But we were discussing the recent DOD report. And you are lying about what I said, as is your nasty habit.

        I didn’t say they made anything up. They are not climate scientists. They were given the CAGW scenario: rising sea levels, droughts, flaming forests, cats sleeping with dogs, WTF ever. They were tasked with saying how that stuff would affect national security yatta..yatta..yatta.

        They do not question the validity of the scenario, or say it’s BS that they don’t want to be bothered with, because they are too busy planning for real threats and dealing with a lot of other politically correct BS. They dutifully give the expected response.

        You are the kind of joker Obama has appointed as apparatchiks at DOD. Undersecretary for PC Foolishness. That’s all the time I have for you, yoey.

      • MM, the BAU timescales are faster than you think, 3 C by 2100 with a commitment to 4 C, and sea level rise around a meter and not being stoppable by then. Given that the scientists can put the timescales of change up against the timescales of action and see a need to do something starting now, you would seem to be hoping they are wrong when you oppose early action. This started because the skeptics want to use a term they call CAGW without defining what catastrophic is in their own words. Now that you have agreed about dangerous levels at least, but are not yet trusting the scientists on the timescale, I think we have made progress on where the disagreement is. It is just the timescale, not the possibility of a danger.

      • Jim D: It is just the timescale, not the possibility of a danger.

        That probably applies as well to the risk of a meteorite hitting Shanghai.

        Meanwhile, the case for a 4C global mean temp increase and more than 400mm sea level rise between now and 2125 is very poor. And the case that they will be catastrophic is poor. With present models and empirical relationships, a 4C temp increase will produce a 25% increase in rainfall, with substantially enhanced plant growth.

      • When we were on course for 700 ppm, those chances were very high, but if Paris is successful, the chances are just now going down, no thanks to the skeptics who still rail against doing anything.

      • I sometimes think Ken Rice is all of Dorothy’s companions rolled into one.

      • Joseph,

        It isn’t a case of the administration telling DoD what to write. What they do is to provide a starting point – i.e. what assumptions they are supposed to use in the course of coming up with their report.

        So if they are told to assume 1 meter of sea level rise, they say Yes Sir, or Aye, Aye and proceed to give a report of what will happen. They are not endorsing a 1 meter rise in sea level. They are not claiming that wars are going to happen due to global displacement of millions of people.

      • Excellent description of how it works Tim.
        I was going to add more, but you did such a fine job of being succinct.

  21. The Royal Society and NAS joint report also tells us that there is nothing we can do to mitigate their CAGW for thousands of years, even if we stop all co2 emissions today. Stopping all emissions today rather makes COP 21 look like the full wimpy event. Of course Gore’s adviser Dr James Hansen called it BS and a fraud and I think everyone would have to agree with him if they read question 20 of the RS and NAS report below. Isn’t it amazing what these IPCC scientists really believe? And so much for their taking action on CAGW. Here’s their question 20———–

    20.” If emissions of greenhouse gases were stopped, would the climate return to the conditions of 200 years ago?
    No. Even if emissions of greenhouse gases were to suddenly stop, Earth’s surface temperature would not cool and return to the level in the pre-industrial era for thousands of years.

    fig9-small
    Figure 9. If global emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take a long time for surface air temperatures and the ocean to begin to cool, because the excess CO2 in the atmosphere would remain there for a long time and would continue to exert a warming effect. Model projections show how atmospheric CO2 concentration (a), surface air temperature (b), and ocean thermal expansion (c) would respond following a scenario of business-as-usual emissions ceasing in 2300 (red), a scenario of aggressive emission reductions, falling close to zero 50 years from now (orange), and two intermediate emissions scenarios (green and blue). The small downward tick in temperature at 2300 is caused by the elimination of emissions of short-lived greenhouse gases, including methane. Source: Zickfeld et al., 2013 (larger version)

    If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to ‘pre-industrial’ levels due to its very slow transfer to the deep ocean and ultimate burial in ocean sediments. Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, implying extremely long-term commitment to a warmer planet due to past and current emissions, and sea level would likely continue to rise for many centuries even after temperature stopped increasing (see Figure 9). Significant cooling would be required to reverse melting of glaciers and the Greenland ice sheet, which formed during past cold climates. The current CO2-induced warming of Earth is therefore essentially irreversible on human timescales. The amount and rate of further warming will depend almost entirely on how much more CO2 humankind emits.”

    • The Royal Society and NAS joint report also tells us that there is nothing we can do to mitigate their CAGW for thousands of years, even if we stop all co2 emissions today.

      That’s why there’s so much focus recently on remediation (deliberately negative “emissions”).

    • “If emissions of CO2 stopped altogether, it would take many thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to ‘pre-industrial’ levels due to its very slow transfer to the deep ocean and ultimate burial in ocean sediments. Surface temperatures would stay elevated for at least a thousand years, …”
      Now there is an hypothesis that we will test in the coming decades, and if it proves false, the house of cards will tumble. The success of past predictions don’t give this one much chance.

    • If emissions were to stop or reduce substantially, CO2 levels could go down to 390 or even 380 ppm within decades because there is a natural uptake process that will continue.

      • Jim

        So based on your position, why doesn’t it make more sense to delay substantial CO2 mitigation unless or until there is clear evidence its increase is actually resulting in a worse climate?

      • We are pushing tipping points, areas of irreversibility. That is why. Policies done sooner rather than later have a braking effect where we don’t skid past those, and substantially reduce their likelihood. Heading into a fog of increasing uncertainty, why not apply the brakes rather than go full speed ahead?

      • Jim D writes

        “We are pushing tipping points, areas of irreversibility.”

        What tipping points? What is irreversible?

        Where is the climate getting worse vs. getting better?

        You do not know, but you advocate an expensive course of action anyway.

      • “We are pushing tipping points”

        Which tipping points would those be, in scientific terms?

        Andrew

      • Greenland melt rates, Antarctic ice shelves collapsing, both related to sea-level rise rates are the most obvious ones. Other things are more gradual but still change in proportion to warming: ecosystems disappearing, diseases spreading, farming becoming more difficult in areas, increasing heatwaves, floods, storms.

      • “Greenland melt rates, Antarctic ice shelves collapsing”

        These can occur naturally though, right?

        Andrew

      • “Study predicts massive sea level rise from global warming”

        Perfect JCH, we’ll see if Jimmy D weighs in on this and determines if it’s “credible” and worthy of mainstream reporting or “not credible” and therefore can be ignored.

        Andrew

      • In the past these have happened during warming conditions, and what we are forcing now is warming at a faster rate over a longer period than has been seen in the record. It doesn’t take a genius to connect this to past episodes of sea-level rise.

      • So Jimmy,

        Is this story credible or not?

        Andrew

      • It has happened at that rate in the last 10000 years, and with what we are doing to accelerate to process, yes that could happen.

      • A newer study now says…

        http://www.prepsure.com/news/scientists-mapped-the-movement-of-greenlands-ice-sheet/

        moving slower over the past 9,000 years, now what do you say?

      • I don’t know about that Jim D. Here at Climate Etc. we have a polymath and dozens of people who are smarter than Taleb. Some are so smart they can actually communicate with the thinking in Feynman’s dead brain as they seem to know exactly what he would think.

        Trenberth thinks they need to add 25% more crayon to this:

        Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said he was “unimpressed with the paper,” adding that he plans to publish a paper demonstrating that the rate of ocean warming in the past 40 years was about 25 percent more than found in current Nature Climate Change study and that more of it is being stored in the deeper ocean than estimated.

      • You both fail to actually provide a meaningful response.

        1. Sea level has been rising for centuries and there is no reliable evidence of acceleration in the rate of raise. Further, where has the “climate” improved for humans as a result of changes in conditions as a result of the sea level rise vs. worsening?
        2. Is the “climate” worse or better for humans in Greenland? You have not shown any information about where the ‘climate will be worse for people as a result of CO2 or the evidence that is based upon.

        Bottom line- You and others simply BELIEVE that the “climate” will be worse overall for the USA and the world as a result of more CO2. Please—just try to show any reliable evidence to support your beliefs—there is not anything reliable. Show upon what data you will describe how the climate will change in any specific place.

        Think and do not just believe. You and nobody else knows how the weather patterns will change to impact the climate in any particular location.

      • The sea-level rise rate is already double what it was in the 20th century. Does that not give you pause?

      • Arch – The findings, which researchers said do not change the fact that the ice sheet is losing mass overall and contributing to sea level rise, were published in the journal Science.

        The results of the study are completely unsurprising. Think about it.

      • You play your rigged little game. It’s pointless.

      • “yes that could happen”

        So speculative is still credible in your mind.

        Andrew

      • “yes that could happen.”

        Let me know when this credible story gets mainstream coverage.

        Andrew

      • They are not even the first to say it.

      • That could happen. So it is also possible that weather patterns could change in a manner that would be more favorable correct?

      • “the new study developed four potential scenarios for the next 10,000 years”

        Wow. This is extremely credible stuff. Eh, Jimmy D?

        Andrew

      • Jim D

        Stop lying.

        The rate of sea level rise has been about a foot per century since the satellite era. There have been short term variations up and down but no noticeable increase in the rate.

      • The rate of SLR 1900 to 1990 is ~1.2mm py. The rate since 1993 is ~3.3mm py, and the rate during Jason 2 is ~4.24mm py.

        The rate of heads in the sand is at an all-time high.

      • JCH writes

        “The rate of SLR 1900 to 1990 is ~1.2mm py.”

        LOL– bull. You write BS. There is only unreliable data prior to the satellite era.

        So you believe that somehow the rate went up magically in late 1992 at the start of the satellite era.

      • I believe that you do not a have a freakin’ clue what you are talking about, and that you simply make assertions based upon your political agenda.

      • JCH writes–“I believe that you do not a have a freakin’ clue what you are talking about, and that you simply make assertions based upon your political agenda.”

        My response- If you were replying to me then I point out you have written nothing of substance. I pointed out that you gave incorrect information.

      • JCH

        “Like many others, I had in mind the ongoing dramatic retreat and speedup along the edges of the ice sheet, so I’d assumed that the interior was faster now too. But it wasn’t,” MacGregor said.”

        Assumed, is the operative word. What else has been assumed with AGW science? Remember 2035?

      • A certain scientist has often stated that the rate of SLR in the first half of the 20th century often was about the same as rate of sea level rise seen today. I can’t remember the name. Judith somebody I think. I think she has a blog. She linked to this graph, which shows the rate of SLR can change rapidly:

        I guess she’s full of bull.

      • it’s inevitable, it’s physics. This is a planet that is warming.

        Unfortunately skeptics seem to be stuck 50 years behind the science.

      • “it’s inevitable, it’s physics.”

        It’s claims all the way down.

        Andrew

      • JCH

        Nice try to cover your BS but it won’t work.

        You previously wrote that the rate of raise prior to the satellite era was lower than today and now you are agreeing with Judith that we can’t really see a change. You also try to point to the short term trend of increase as meaningful which statistically it is not.

      • She likes the green one… Jevrejeva. ~1.9mm p yr, 20th century.

      • JCH | February 8, 2016 at 2:24 pm |
        A certain scientist has often stated that the rate of SLR in the first half of the 20th century often was about the same as rate of sea level rise seen today.

        Either the certain scientist is right or you have to explain why higher sea level isn’t slowing the earth. The length of day was shorter in the 21st century than the 3 preceding decades.

        Since 1900 the pole has moved about 10 feet. So there is some argument to be made the sea level rose in the 20th century. In the 21st century however, polar drift, much like the Tasmanian Wedgetail Eagle has been going in ever decreasing concentric circles.

        It is hard to make a defensible argument that the 21st century has had a high sea level rise. It is almost like it paused or hiatused or something.

      • Jch

        I think you got the name wrong. It was the renowned expert on sea level changes -Simon Holgate- that made that quote. I remember posting, with his permission, the email he sent to me confirming that fact, which linked to his paper on the subject

        Tonyb

      • Tony B – Simon Holgate did a similar study, but the graph, which is from the IPCC, is from an article posted on Climate Etc.

        Sea Level: ‘Global sea level has been rising for the past several thousand years. The key issue is whether the rate of sea level rise is accelerating owing to anthropogenic global warming. It is seen that the rate of rise during 1930-1950 was comparable to, if not larger than, the value in recent years. Hence the data does not seem to support the IPCC’s conclusion of a substantial contribution from anthropogenic forcings to the global mean sea level rise since the 1970s.

      • Jch

        So you seem to be agreeing with me?

        As for that picture of Judith, I have said before that to get anywhere she needs to wear a crisp white lab coat with two pens in the top pocket….

        She looks like a civilian, not a climate scientist… ):

        Tonyb

      • Well, the quote is Prefessor Curry’s senate testimony. This is Holgate’s graph:

        Jevrejeva works at the same lab.

      • What was apparently the released graph in the article

        http://meteo.lcd.lu/globalwarming/Holgate/sealevel_change_poster_holgate.pdf
        The mean rate for the twentieth century calculated in this way is
        1.67±0.04 mm/yr. The first half of the century (1904-1953) had a slightly
        higher rate (1.91±0.14 mm/yr) in comparison with the second half of the
        century (1.42±0.14 mm/yr 1954-2003).

        More than half of the sea level rise (1.9 rate vs 1.4) occurred in the first half of the 20th century.

      • That’s 8 cm in 49 years from 1904, 7 cm in the next 49 years, when we have had 7 cm in just the last 25 years. I call that an acceleration.

      • Jim D,

        “We are pushing tipping points, areas of irreversibility. That is why. ”

        Except that we don’t know that. Some people worry this might be the case. But they can’t point to any known mechanism by which this might happen.

        I personally think this tipping point / irreversibility argument might have gotten better traction if it were not for all of the other exaggerations about the threat of a changing climate.

      • Your on a roll Tim. They had initial momentum, but they overreached. Made too many claims that didn’t happen and cried wolf. Alarmists don’t know what to do with the resistance that they themselves are likely responsible for creating.

        Ommmmmmmm

      • So JCH does another of his little numbers games.

        Why don’t you provide the references to the two SLR numbers you post? 1.2mm is the tidal gauge number and hasn’t changed much post 1992.

        3.3mm is the satellite number and hasn’t changed much since 1992.

        Both references are fairly steady as to rate, with the only issue being which is the more accurate. If we are using the data in regard to policy decisions, I always recommend the larger number. Better safe than sorry. Unfortunately for Jim D, JCH and a host of others, 3.3mm a year isn’t likely to get folks excited. That’s why they have to rely on model projections.

  22. Emotive and worldview bias is rampant in the Consensus. For instance one would hardly expect objectivity from these scientists, after having read their outpourings:
    http://www.isthishowyoufeel.com/this-is-how-scientists-feel.html

    • After having committed to such emotive messaging in the public domain regarding worry and danger from AGW, how could they ever track backwards to a less alarmist position if the uncertainties harden up in that direction?

      • Easy, blame the skeptics, you know, those deniers. See Ken Rice in this thread expose his guilty conscience with this tactic.
        ===============

      • Are you talking about the scientists who yell emotively (alarmingly?) about the damage to the economy, or the risk of world government or that kind of thing? There are a number of scientists like that, and they seem so invested in their position. They seem quite certain, too, that mitigation efforts will be more costly than other numbers indicate. They also seem quite firm in their stated opinion that all of the risks (if they admit them at all) will somehow come in at the low end of the estimated ranges. Acidification, sea level, regional impacts – you name it, and they seem dead certain that it’s all OK and we can just keep on burning fossil.

      • Paleontology has not yet shown the limits of benefits of warming, and always shows the detriment of cooling. A warmer world sustains more total life and more diversity of life. Acidification and sea level rise have been vastly overblown; regional impacts will necessarily vary, as they have always done with climate change.

        The future is not alarming; get over yourself, we are.
        ========================

  23. Might I suggest what is needed is not papers on the public understanding of science, but instead the academic understanding of science.

    Because it seems to me the public understand the nature of “science” far better than do academics. For they know that “science” is little more than a group of people in academia calling themselves “scientists” – of whom many have extremely crack pot ideas – very like the “mad scientist” genre of horror films.

    And they also intuitively know that such “scientists” are nothing of the sort unless or until they have concrete data and experiments to prove their crackpot ideas.

    So, the public have a very good understanding of the nature of “science”, so the problem is not that the public fail to understand “scientists” – it’s that the so called “scientists” are often not worth listening to.

  24. JC reflections: “I find this paper to be extremely illuminating, and I particularly like the methodology used and the care that Post used in interpreting the results. I would like to see much more of this sort of research.”

    I think it helps when you come from a culture that lost WWII, saw the dramatic collapse of their economy, found they had murdered millions of people and did so much evil in the name of “science”.

    In contrast, the UK and US have since WWII, been pushing science like some religion (against the interests of engineering). So, it is almost inconceivable that such a study would take place in the US & UK where science is still (wrongly) put on some pedestal and even this kind of questioning research would be condemned – let alone daring to come to a conclusion that actually criticising academics (wrongly termed “scientists”).

    So, whilst I would love to see the study repeated in the US/UK, I do not believe it would be tolerated to question the infallibility of “scientists”.

    • Interesting comments. I had lost focus of the research origin.

      • kim’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law is that the first person to invoke the law in an incipient discussion of authoritarianism automatically loses the debate. More significantly, it signifies an uneasiness to discuss absolutism. As Max Beloff might say, though he used the thought while speaking about absolutism, the history of climate science is just beginning to be written.
        =======================

      • Godwin’s Law is meant to describe irrational references to Nazi Germany in an argument. Clearly Scottish Skeptic needs to use the history of Germany to make his point, so you have made a very poor point. The use of the term ‘Denier’ is more along the lines of what Godwin’s Law describes.

      • …and Then There’s Physics,

        Well if the shoe fits, wear it.

        The Nazi’s cornerstone precept of “racial hygiene” gave birth to their policy of “racial cleansing” that led to the murders of millions.

        It was developed by German physicians and scientists in the late 19th century and is rooted in the period’s Social Darwinism that placed blacks at the bottom of the racial ladder….

        Although notions of race have a long history, it was ironically the Scientific Revolution followed by the Enlightenment and then the Age of Reason, emphasizing science and rationality, that were the wellsprings for biologically based racism….

        This concept of intrinsic value or defect (popularized in the 1860s as Social Darwinism) was clearly articulated by Sir Francis Galton (1822–1911) in “The science which deals with all influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race (8)⇓ .” He coined the word “eugenic” (relating to or producing improved offspring) and proposed that “races” were in a struggle for survival of the fittest….

        It is important to remember that the Germans looked to U.S. antimiscigenation and sterilization laws as models for their racial laws.

        Antimiscigenation laws in the U.S. had a history dating back to the colonial period. As late as 1957, Virginia trial court Judge Leon Bazile sentenced an interethnic couple who had married in Washington, D.C. to jail writing, “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” This decision was eventually overturned in 1967….

        Despite the outrage at Nazi racial policy, Allied authorities were unable to classify sterilizations as war crimes, because similar sterilization laws had been enforced in some states since 1907 and had been upheld by the Supreme Court.

        In Buck v. Bell (1927), the majority decision, written by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., used modern opinions of science to support the Virginia sterilization law: “It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from breeding their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting Fallopian tubes… Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

        Although compulsory sterilization ended after the war in Germany, in the US, 11 African-American girls were sterilized in 1972. The Oregon Board of Eugenics, which was renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, the last forcible sterilization occurring in 1981…

        It is little recognized that the scientific framework [of cleansing defective individuals or groups from the society] did not rise de novo with the Nazis but had evolved over the previous 80 years from the related notions of eugenics and Social Darwinism….

        Leo Alexander, in his 1949 article “Medical Science Under Dictatorship” (NEJM), suggested that, “Science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship (28)⇓ .”

        I am proposing the inverse, that Politics under Science becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of that Science.

        This article also touches on a potentially dangerous relationship between science and society that we tend not to recognize. As Ludwick Fleck noted in 1935 in Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, “This social character inherent in the very nature of scientific activity is not without its substantive consequences. Words which formerly were simple terms become slogans; sentences which once were simple statements become calls to battle. This completely alters their socio-cognitive value. They no longer influence the mind through their logical meaning—indeed, they often act against it—but rather they acquire a magical power and exert a mental influence simply by being used (29)⇓ .”

        — FRANCOIS HAAS, “German science and black racism—roots of the Nazi Holocaust”, FASEB Journal
        http://www.fasebj.org/content/22/2/332.full

    • Sounds like an engineer simply grumbling about the field of science. Of course, by your statement about the public’s “intuitive” understanding of scientists, you should be prepared to accept the same opinion of engineers – because large numbers of “the public” have a very fuzzy ability to see any difference. Scientists? Engineers? They’re the people who take lots of math in school.

      Scientists are highly trained people who take years of school to learn how to explain and understand things.

      Engineers are highly trained people who take years of school to learn how to design and make things.

      You comments just sound like team rivalry.

    • who in the 80s predicted the earth would warm and continue warming through to the present day and beyond?

      James Hansen.

      There’s a reason these scientists are nailing it

  25. The bias in the news medias’ reports is a business decision. They are organizers of anxiety for a living. They tell you what you should be worried about and where your true concerns should lie.

    Climate science is free-riding on that need of the news businesses for audience to get funding, just as politicians do for their various crises.

    The fix is to attack the audience for the MSM as ridiculous people, so that the authority over public debate is separated from the news business, and free-riding is no longer possible.

    The news as it exists is an entertainment choice of a minority of the population. A minority big enough to pay the bills of the news biz, but not big enough to edit a real public debate.

  26. What exactly is misleading. Here is a ‘fact check of the democratic debate:

    Sanders wrongly claimed that “not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real.”
    Two of the Republican presidential candidates, not to mention more Republicans in Congress, have said climate change is real and humans contribute to it.

    In fact many republicans in the Senate in saying Climate change is real:

    In a surprise, the Senate’s leading skeptic of climate science, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), voted in favor of the amendment — but made clear he doesn’t believe humans are the primary driver of climate change.

    The GOP “yes” votes also included three of the GOP’s leading contenders for the White House: Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

    Republicans backed Inhofe’s stance in a second vote, rejecting an amendment from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) that stated, “climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.”

    The “significantly” in the provision is what many Republicans pointed to as a point of contention as they blocked the amendment in a 50-49 vote, short of the 60 that was needed for approval.

    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who voted for Whitehouse’s amendment but rejected Schatz’s, said the inclusion of “significantly” was “sufficient to merit a ‘no’ vote.”

    Five Republicans broke with the party line and voted for Schatz’s amendment: Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.). Kirk and Ayotte are up for reelection in 2016.

    In an attempt to provide political cover for Republicans, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) put forward an alternative that expressed the sense of the Senate that the Keystone oil pipeline would not significantly impact the environment or contribute to global emissions. The provision included a line stating that humans contribute to climate change but without the word “significantly.”

    Fifteen Republicans voted for that amendment, including Paul, making him the only 2016 contender to go on record as saying that human beings contribute to climate change.

    The other Republicans who voted for Hoeven’s measure were: Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), John McCain (Ariz.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Dean Heller (Nev.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Mike Rounds (S.D.) and Murkowski, Graham, Collins, Ayotte, Kirk and Alexander.

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the climate change votes “a step forward” for Republicans.

    So what Sanders said is categorically wrong and he knows it:

    “not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real.”

      • Agreeing there was once a snowball earth and a hothouse earth is no big deal, and it is not the same as agreeing ACO2 is the control knob.

      • Read the specifics. Senator Sanders said;
        “Sanders wrongly claimed that “not one Republican has the guts to recognize that climate change is real.”
        Two of the Republican presidential candidates, not to mention more Republicans in Congress, have said climate change is real and humans contribute to it.”

        But at the time of the votes her said; “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called the climate change votes “a step forward” for Republicans.”

      • “more Republicans in Congress, have said climate change is real and humans contribute to it”

        I believe most (not all) would agree that climate change is real and humans contribute to it.

        I am still looking for proof that; “ACO2 is the control knob” Do you have it JCH?

      • Do you have proof that it is not?

      • No, nor would I necessarily dispute it. I simply asked is there proof?

      • Well, Mosher seems to indicate one can rig up a bottle rocket with similar science and shoot down a fighter traveling evasively at great distance and speed.

      • I seem to recall, and I could easily be mistaken, that Mosher had a form of ‘proof’ that CO2 ‘was a knob’ not necessarily from Brentwood.

      • “Well, Mosher seems to indicate one can rig up a bottle rocket with similar science and shoot down a fighter traveling evasively at great distance and speed.”

        I think we’re waiting for Mosher to schedule his demo of this.

        Andrew

      • There are many knobs.
        C02 is ONE OF THE KNOBS
        the sun is knob
        aerosols is a knob
        land use is a knob

        IF you leave the c02 knob alone the climate will still vary
        IF you turn it UP and hold the other knobs constant, temperature will
        go up.
        We CANT as a practical matter hold the other knobs constant
        We CANT as a practical matter find times in the past when all the knobs
        are held constant while c02 changes
        We cant as a pratical matter make sense of the past climate without
        a c02 knob.

        There are many ways to project the results of turning the c02 knob up.
        None of them results in a colder world.

        If you turn the c02 knob up 2X, you will most likely see warming of 1.5-4.5C.

        Its not that hard

      • “None of them results in a colder world.”

        But it still could get colder, and does, all the time, in lots of places.

        Andrew

      • Warmer vs. colder is generally NOT the key characteristic of the climate in most regions.

      • None of them results in a colder world.

        Until there is a colder world. And then they will be sitting around asking themselves “Now, what were those theories about the cause of the Ice Age?” Only then, there will be a little more interest in the question.

        How comforting it must feel to believe you have all the answers. Even if you don’t.

      • “There are many ways to project the results of turning the c02 knob up.
        None of them results in a colder world.

        If you turn the c02 knob up 2X, you will most likely see warming of 1.5-4.5C.”

        Thus spoke Egothustra.

      • ordvic

        The legislative machinations outlined puts the politician in a sweet spot.
        “I voted for it before I voted against it” followed by “I voted against it before I voted for it.” followed by “I voted for it before I voted against it.” followed by…….
        Depending on the audience, of course.

      • Turning the CO2 knob only benefits us and the biome with mild warming and great greening. All the other knobs, some more powerful, are capable of warming and cooling.

        So, moshe, we’re supposed to demonize AnthroCO2 and waste lives and fortunes pursuing the will-o-the-wisp of climate control? I think you have no idea of how absurd you and many of the alarmists have become.

        I said many years ago that if we are false-footed into mitigating a warming that isn’t coming instead of adapting to a cooling that is coming, then there will be Hell to pay, and the statement will come by pony express, pale horses and more.
        ==================

      • “Turning the CO2 knob only benefits us and the biome with mild warming and great greening.”

        Environmental change is the enemy of ecosystems.

        Turning any climate knob sufficiently will shift biomes into different states. Inevitably many of the species currently living in those biomes will no longer be suitably adapted to them, while Invasive species which are will move in and wipe them out. Vast mixing on a global scale on top of pollution and habitat loss stresses may even lead to a mass extinction event.

      • “Environmental change is the enemy of ecosystems.”

        WRONG– you ignore beneficial changes. Silly to hope for no changes- they WILL occur- it is called science.

      • Claims claims claims.

        Andrew

      • Mass Extinction Event

        Like the plague infested rat?

        Promise?

      • WebHubTelescope

        “I said many years ago that if we are false-footed into mitigating a warming that isn’t coming instead of adapting to a cooling that is coming, then there will be Hell to pay, and the statement will come by pony express, pale horses and more.”

        Dim lil kim

        The fossil fuel age is almost over, especially with regard to crude oil. There’s not much left — UK North Sea is bottoming out, Bakken is a flash in the pan, etc.

        So you better find some energy alternatives fast, otherwise it’ll be you that will pay… LOL.

      • Steven,

        Were does this one come from? “We cant as a practical matter make sense of the past climate without
        a c02 knob.”

        All of the others I agree with. This one not so much.

      • from noa$$hat,

        “Environmental change is the enemy of ecosystems.”

        Ecosystems don’t have enemies. They are not a conscious entity. Attributing human attributes to things like the environment are one of the signs of an enviro-loon.

        The environment changes. Sometime slowly, sometimes very quickly. Humans have proven very good at introducing change. “Ecosystems” don’t care. Because they can’t.

      • Tim

        Astute. Although, I have to admit, I am concerned about the loss of significant habitats. Man should do a better job of minimizing his footprint. Agree/disagree … can one be considerate of this issue without being an eco-loon ?

      • tmg

        “Were does this one come from? “We cant as a practical matter make sense of the past climate without
        a c02 knob.”

        Good question. It comes from Alley’s original talks about the control know.

        If you go to you tube and search for richard alley control knob, there as a couple of AGU talks on it.

        Basically, c02 is the missing puzzle piece to understand past climates.

        If you cant find the link just pester me and I will dig it up for you.

        TIA

      • “Basically, c02 is the missing puzzle piece to understand past climates.”

        Translated: We don’t understand past climates.

        Andrew

      • Ecclesiastes 10:1
        eg Broeker 1993.

      • Knute,

        I agree that we can do better with how we treat the world we live in. The motto of the non-profit science education group I’ve been associated with the past 20 years is “Scientists for a day, Stewards for a life time. Note that several years back we scrubbed all references to “environmental” because the term had collected so much baggage – to the point that it had no place in material involving science.

        Steve,

        Thanks for the reference. I’ll look it up.

      • Make sure you find something that explains Alley’s Rock-Weathering Thermostat Hypothesis, tim. That’s a good one. And the one where he does the Milankovitch dance. He is interesting. Not a Bore, like Gore.

  27. Alan Longhurst

    Just a thought. If all ‘climate scientists’ were required (as a condition of being granted public funds) were required to read a chapter of HH Lamb each morning before breakfast, how rapidly would the consensus change?

    • HH is not relevant to the future.
      What we know:
      1. More c02 will cause warming.
      2. In the past it has been both warmer and colder.
      What we want to understand
      1. How much c02 will we likely add
      2. How much warming will this cause
      3. Will this cause damage, if so how much

      HH addresses none of those questions.

      • 1. Less than two doublings.
        2. Not very much, less than 2 degrees C.
        3. None, there will be net benefit.

        AnthroCO2 is a blessing, a verdict the plants have delivered and we must accept.
        =================

      • “How much c02 will we likely add?”

        Evidently not as much as folks worry about.
        Eddie been telling folks about this for some time:

        China’s CO2 emissions likely fell 3% in 2015 — and that trend looks set to continue

        And why it’s happening in most of the developed world ( CO2 followed demographics almost to the year in China ).

        So when global CO2 emissions start falling, and accumulations still are growing, but more slowly, will panic continue?

      • Alan Longhurst

        If we didnt have models, and if we had read HH Lamb, then the observations wouldn’t be worrying us. And we’d know that fussing so much about what’s gone on in the last 25 years or so is not the way to understand anything serious about our influence on climate which must be real.

    • SM

      HH not relevant to the future? Apparently that view is prevalent in the field. Which may account for the state of the science. Where else do they throw one of their giant scholars under the bus. Who cares what those who preceded us did. What do they know. We are the future. Sounds to me like every new generation of adolescents.

      Using HH work sets a baseline and influences attitudes about priorities for research. Falling for the Hockey Sti
      ck sets another baseline and shapes

      research priorities. Is this warming unprecedented? Which history do you accept. Using one history or the other can influence the estimates of attribution proportionality

  28. IPCC was created by the UN in 1988.
    The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).was signed in 1992 and ratified by 196 countries. The Kyoto protocol was agreed in 1997 and ratified by 192 countries.
    “The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system”.(excerpt from UNFCCC website)
    This means that the truth was said 24 years ago.
    Why do we need any more climate scientists, or any additional publication about faster, more, less, or slower?
    (I know, I know: irony should never be used in public communication)

  29. David L. Hagen

    Further confirms bias in climate science. For similar discussion see:
    Can High Moral Purposes Undermine Scientific Integrity
    Lee Jussmin et al., The Social Psychology of Morality, Ed. J. P. Forgas et al.

    In this chapter, we review the basic processes by which moral purposes can sometimes motivate immoral behavior, and then suggest how moral agendas can sometimes lead social psychologiests through an array of questionable interpretive practices. These practices can be used to advance a moral agenda, by permitting researchers to interpret the data as supporting that agenda even when it does not . . .

    Confirmation Bias
    Margit E. Oswald and Stefan Grosjean give a good discussion in
    Ch 4 in “Cognitive Illusions: A Handbook on Fallacies and Biases in Thinking, Ed. Rudiger F. Pohl

  30. David L. Hagen

    Consequences: Clinton going to Pledge to Stop Fossil Fuels

    After the democrat debate in Durham, New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is questioned by a climate activist if she would stop accepting campaign contributions from ‘fossil fuels’. Clinton responds, “I’m going to pledge to stop fossil fuels. That’s a lot better.”

  31. The old proverb, “all’s fair in love and war,” has to with what is justifiable in achieving your objectives. Looking a little deeper, it also connotes matters of life and death, circumstances of survival or at the least, what is necessary in a highly-charged socio-political environment.

    So, the first thing that is necessary is that the Left must create this sort of environment: life and death, survival and emotional upheavals: suspicion, prejudice, envy, superstition, hatred, climate-voodoo…

    Then, I think, the objective is obvious: ‘the war’ in the US is about whom shall determine utilization of scarce resources and to what end? Global warming has nothing to do with natural science. It’s all political science, complete — Himmler science, complete with occultism and anti-American propaganda.

  32. richardswarthout

    Downthread I wrote:

    “Finally, in this, my effort to understand the behavior of the scientists, I am drawn to Eagleman’s descriptions of group selection, ingroups, and outgroups. The scientific evidence that physical pain can be felt when a person is kicked out of a group and the meanness, and even cruelty that an ingroup can inflict on an outgroup. All the result of the normal functioning brain.”
    richardswarthout | February 8, 2016 at 12:15 am | Reply

    I now add this, drawn from Eagleman:

    “So our drive to come together into groups yields a survival advantage – but it has a dark side, as well. For every ingroup, there must exist at least one outgroup…An understanding of ingroups and outgroups is critical to understanding our history. Repeatedly, all across the globe, groups of people inflict violence on other groups, even those that are defenseless and pose no direct threat.”

    What is going on in the brain? Eagleman explains “From a neuroscientific point of view, the important clue is that other brain functions, such as language and memory and problem solving, are intact. That suggests it’s not a brain-wide change, but instead only involves areas involved in emotion and empathy. It’s as though they become, in effect, short-circuited: they no longer participate in decision making. Instead, a perpetrator’s choices are now fueled by parts of the brain that underpin logic and memory and reasoning and so on, but not the networks that involve emotional consideration of what it is like to be someone else. In (neurosurgeon Itzhak Fried’s) view, this equates to moral disengagement. People are no longer using the emotional systems that under normal circumstances steer their social decision making.”

    Hence “witches” were burned to death in Salem and Michael Mann’s brain has allowed the disparaging use of the word “Heretic”.

    Richard

    • Richard,

      Recent research in neuroscience, evolutionary biology, psychology, economics and other related fields has undoubtedly taken a wrecking ball to the assumptions upon which the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason doctrines were built.

      Nietzsche once wrote that “We are illogical and therefore unjust beings from the first, and can know this: this is one of the greatest and most insoluble disharmonies of existence.”

      Now scientists are coming around to the same conclusion.

      As Jonathan Haidt noted in a recent article, “automatic and unconscious processes can and probably do cause the majority of our behaviors,” behaviors “that we thought we were controlling consciously.”

      People can’t “stop themselves from making up post-hoc explanations for whatever it was they had just done for unconscious reasons.”

      “These findings suggested that emotion played a bigger role than the cognitive developmentalists had given it.”

      Haidt goes on to point out that:

      Studies of everyday reasoning show that we usually use reason to search for evidence to support our initial judgment, which was made in milliseconds. But I do agree with Josh Greene that sometimes we can use controlled processes such as reasoning to override our initial intuitions. I just think this happens rarely….

      http://edge.org/conversation/moral-psychology-and-the-misunderstanding-of-religion

      More shocking, however, is what we use our ability to reason for:

      The basic idea is that we did not evolve language and reasoning because they helped us to find truth; we evolved these skills because they were useful to their bearers, and among their greatest benefits were reputation management and manipulation.

  33. The two bolded highlights are important:
    Bringing uncertainty to the public debate or putting the credibility of climate science at risk matters less to them than interest groups misusing or the public misinterpreting their results.

    Overall, climate scientists object to publishing a result in the media significantly more when it indicates that climate change proceeds more slowly rather than faster than expected.

    This is complementary to Schneider’s recommendation that simple recitation of the reliable knowledge be adorned (or whatever) with exaggerations in order to stimulate public action to reduce CO2.

    The study has to be replicated to be relied upon, but there are similar themes in the public discourse.

  34. Nobody cares about yesterday’s weather. Lousy research is deservingly unmemorable. What ought to be troubling is the impact of poor science today in the here and now

  35. In Science today — Europe planted trees to mitigate climate warming but the trees increased carbon emissions and increased the temperature:

    http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6273/597?_ga=1.120998031.608264113.1432341831

  36. Interesting graphs from the Royal Society showing all the models for SLR for the next 300 years. If you believe all their models we can say there is no SLR problems for the next 300 years. All Antarctic models show a negative SLR. Bit of a bummer for the urgers and extremists, trying to get us to waste endless trillions $ to fix a non problem?
    So if even their modelling shows no chance of their CAGW for 300 years, then why are we pouring trillions $ down the drain for a guaranteed zero return?

    • Occasionally financial proposals like the above make it through the idea maze. They are called tax writeoffs and normally they get co-opted in someone or others favorite NPO.

    • <I.n presently available continental ice-sheet models, the dynamical response has a time-scale of centuries (Huybrechts & De Wolde 1999; Ridley et al. 2005). Recent observations (summarized by Alley et al. (2005); see references therein) of acceleration of glaciers behind the collapsed Larsen B ice shelf, of ice streams in the Amunden Sea sector of West Antarctica, and of many Greenland outlet glaciers suggest that the time-scales for ice-dynamical changes may be much shorter. Such accelerated flow leads to increased ice discharge into the ocean, but the relevant dynamical processes are not properly understood nor included in continental ice-sheet models, the main difficulty being the treatment of grounding-line migration in response to increased melting of ice by the ocean. This therefore represents an important uncertainty for predictions of sea level, but one which is beyond the scope of this paper to address.

  37. Some Ausralians, Parker and Ollier, (not from CSIRO) have weighed in this month on sea level rise, and not the news alarmists wanted.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2016/02/08/sea-ice-and-sea-level-update/

    • Australian Parker is also Australian Alberto Boretti, Fiat engineer. And he doesn’t weigh in with that much weight.

      At very best, his jumbled paper indicates that a) warming Arctic loses ice mass and b) the rate fluctuates with natural variability possibly driven by various influences.

      But he quotes some of his own prior “work” and casually states GISS warms their data. I agree with Tamino’s post on Parker/Boretti.
      https://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/making-up-stuff/

      • BF I suppose you think that NOAA is making stuff up when they show Sydney SLR is just 0.65mm per year and Brisbane is just 0.09mm year? And have you looked at the RS graphs showing all modelling for SLR for the next 300 years above from Antarctica and Greenland? Where’s the impact from co2 to be found? Here’s Sydney from NOAA showing SFA SLR. ——-

        http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_global_station.htm?stnid=680-140

      • The graphs came from a study that was not of all factors, and… showed up to 7 meters of SLR from Greenland.

      • Tamino is your source. Really? You are just referring to defenders of the models rather than dealing with gauge observations. BTW, this is Parker and Ollier, and not making stuff up.

      • ngard

        Why is no one answering your questions about Sydney et al? They can’t. When confronted with actual on the ground physical evidence, they wimp away with their tails between their legs. Morner is one of the most esteemed Sea Level scientists in the world and he is asking the same questions as you. No one is capable of providing a scientific based coherent explanation for Sydney, or for many, many other locations globally that don’t fit the hysterical claims of warmists.

      • LMAO. In and of itself, it’s nothing.

        Sydney:

    • b fagan – that was hilarious. I ran into Albert Parker while checking on citations of Carling Hay’s recent paper. Mr. Albert P. did not like it.

      • JCH your 7 m Greenland SLR is nonsense, just look at the scale on the graph. Who do you think you’re kidding?

      • It’s in the paper.

      • And the paper came out when the IPCC was saying a little more than a foot by 2100. No dynamics.

      • Changes in ice-sheet topography and dynamics are not included, but we discuss their possible effects. For an annual- and area-average warming exceeding Embedded Image in Greenland and Embedded Image in the global average, the net surface mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet becomes negative, in which case it is likely that the ice sheet would eventually be eliminated, raising global-average sea level by 7 m.

        The paper is a relic.

  38. To JC or anyone. Is there any good detailed summary of the Judith Curry huricane saga? I run across bits and pieces, such as comment threads with Dr. Curry and Chris Mooney (he wrote a book called Storm World). Seems like an interesting story.

  39. Breaking NEWS!

    The greenhouse conjecture about CO2 has now been smashed by experiments.

    It has been discovered that the assumption that 390W/m^2 of backradiation and solar radiation is not enough to explain the mean surface temperature of 288K because we now know by experiment that the Earth’s surface is not a flat blackbody upon which the Sun shines uniformly night and day from equator to pole, as would be required to get 288K.

    Sadly (for those whose income depends on the old 20th century false assumption by James Hansen) we now realize that the Earth is spherical and thus receives variable flux which, even if it did have a mean of 390W/m^2, would only produce a mean temperature less than 5°C. This comes from new understanding (never apparently known in climatology circles) that the Stefan Boltzmann calculations are based on temperature being proportional only to the fourth root of flux. Hence all the high (well above average) flux in the tropics isn’t pulling its weight as it doesn’t drag the mean temperature up in proportion to its contribution to the mean flux.

    It’s not hard to understand – except by those with pecuniary interests in not understanding.

  40. More PR studies about Greenland SLR. But I suppose JCH will always hang on to his Gore inspired 7 metres delusion. Amazing what some people choose to believe.

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/s/sealevelgreenland.php

  41. David L. Hagen

    Obama Miss-Communicated Paris as a “binding” executive action.
    US Bound by Climate Change Deal That Skirts Constitution, House Panel Told

    President Barack Obama bound the United States to an international agreement on climate change, but the administration’s decision to circumvent Congress to implement the deal has lawyers questioning its constitutionality.

    Despite legally binding elements in the Paris Protocol, which require Senate ratification, negotiators worded the deal in a manner that enables Obama to handle it as an executive agreement and avoid congressional input.

    “The president’s decision to treat the Paris agreement as an executive agreement instead of a treaty is just his latest use of executive power to achieve an end that he knows full well would not pass congressional muster,” Steven Groves, a lawyer who is an expert on treaties at The Heritage Foundation, testified Tuesday before a congressional committee.
    . . . .

  42. Bringing uncertainty to the public debate or putting the credibility of climate science at risk matters less

    The message here seems to be that bringing uncertainty to public debate, and undermining the credibility, are inherently wrong.

    So even if the reality is uncertainty, and that climate science lacks credibility, these inconvenient facts should be hidden from the public. Such dishonesty to sustain the ‘consensus’ is urged, because honesty might derail the overriding but unadmitted desired political outcome.