Discussion thread – improving the interface between climate science and policy

by Judith Curry

I’m looking for ideas and discussion on ways to improve what I regard to be a broken interface between climate science and policy.

I’m preparing a new document (I’ll be able to post it next week).  I’m struggling with how to frame some recommendations for improving this situation.  Here is some text along with recommendations to kick off the discussion.  I look forward to your comments.

We need to rethink the contract between scientists and government, and develop a new model for the 21st century, particularly for policy-relevant science.  This is needed to insure the integrity of science and to improve the basis for science to inform the policy process.

Here are my recommendations:

  1. Embrace science as an iterative process, not a collection of ‘facts.’ Scientists should engage the public across the political spectrum and invite them to engage in the process of science.
  2. Universities need new incentive structures for faculty members working in scientific fields that are policy relevant, that focus on careful management of bias and uncertainty, public engagement, responsible interactions with the media, and participation in the policy process as an honest broker.
  3. Scientists need a much better understanding of the policy process, the role that science plays, and how complexity, pluralism and uncertainty in science is accommodated in the policy process.
  4. Scientists need better guidelines on the ethical implications of using their expertise for political purposes and a code of conduct for communicating uncertainty and making public, and responsibilities for making public statements related to their expertise.
  5. Bias and advocacy by institutions that support science such as professional societies is a major concern for the integrity of the scientific processes. These institutions should be incentivized to support debates at professional meetings and to adopt parallel evidence-based analyses for competing hypotheses.
  6. For policy-relevant science and regulatory science, more formal methods of uncertainty characterization and management should be used in scientific research and assessments.
  7. For policy-relevant and/or regulatory science where there is substantial uncertainty or disagreement about key conclusions, a Red Team or Team B approach should be used for assessments to clarify the strength of the arguments and key areas of disagreement.
  8. While federal funding for science rightfully targets certain topics that are policy relevant, narrow framing of research priorities on topics where there are widespread uncertainties and debate can bias the research. Funding for Red Team or Team B approaches would help avoid such biases.
  9. Funding priorities in climate research that support fundamental observing systems (surface and satellite-based), fundamental climate dynamics research and research to improve short-term climate predictions (sub-seasonal to interannual) would support improved climate modeling systems and lay the foundations for disruptive advances in our understanding of the climate system and our ability to predict emergent phenomena such as abrupt climate change.
  10. Social science research is needed to analyze ways of incorporating scientific understanding with all of its uncertainties into complex decision making related to wicked problems.

375 responses to “Discussion thread – improving the interface between climate science and policy

  1. What a surprise. The good Dr. J. is once more trying to convince us that “what we got here is a failure to communicate”, as they said in Cool Hand Luke.

    The problem is not one of communication. It is one of trust. Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists, and for good reason. They’ve lied to us over and over. They have predicted everything from New York being underwater to disappearing atolls to climate refugees to starvation and drought. None of it has come true. They’ve been crying “Wolf” for three decades now, and nothing has happened.

    The idea that we can fix the problem of the Boy Who Cried Wolf if we wold only “Embrace science as an iterative process” is hilarious. Nobody wants to “embrace” someone who has repeatedly lied to them.

    It’s not a communication problem of any kind. It’s a liars and cheaters problem, which is whole other kettle of fish, and requires a whole different solution.

    w.

    • > Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists

      Citation needed.

      • David Springer

        Here ya go. Thanks for asking!

      • David Springer

        Still taking us literally but not seriously, eh? Some people never learn.

      • > Still taking us literally but not seriously

        Who’s us, Big Dave – Geert Wilders fan club or Freedom Fighters in general?

        When the distrust in scientists is as low as teh Donald’s approval ratings, I don’t think Willis’ confidence in extrapolating from the contrarian echo chamber to the population in general is warranted.

      • Willard. You’re immediately illustrating one of the problems. You’re assuming a political standpoint and you’re describing people as contrarians. You’re exhibiting your own bias. Simply re-engage with those whom you disagree with and you may find that some of us are quite bright. At least bright enough to have a discussion with. As Judy is highlighting the closed shop end of discussion approach. Is not going too well. Stifling debate has never forwarded science and it never will.

      • > You’re assuming a political standpoint and you’re describing people as contrarians.

        I don’t, dear Bunny. It simply follows from JeffN’s counterfactual. Incidentally and as a matter of fact, JamesH is (or at least was) a Republican.

        Thank you however for your unsollicited advice. My own would be to read harder.

      • RE: Willard’s reference to trump’s popularity ratings

        that will happen when MSM fill the airwaves 24/7 with conspiracy theories and talk about the grave threat to our democracy.

        84. That’s the number of times the US has tried to influence or interfere in the elections of other countries since the end of WWII. That does not include coups and other attempts involving armed force. Just elections.

        Here are the pertinent facts:

        No one has come forth with proof that any of the leaked emails were false, manufactured or altered. In other words, whatever impact release of hacked emails may or may not have had, it would have been entirely due to the content of the emails themselves. That’s on Clinton, the DNC and Podesta, not the Russians.

        The influence claim is based on a so far unsubstantiated claim that voters either changed their vote (or decided not to vote) because of the released emails. The relevant term here is unsubstantiated. Not a single piece of evidence has been brought forth to support this claim. In fact a study following the election on the possible impact of “fake” news concluded that it had no influence whatsoever. To believe that the emails were instrumental in changing the results of the election requires one to believe your average voter is not intelligent enough to reach reasonable conclusions. Exactly the sort of belief our so called “elites” seem to have in abundance.

        No evidence has been produced showing the Russians were able to hack voter rolls or ballots. Again, leaving us with only the flimsy hypothesis that Russia managed to accomplish a mass brain washing of American voters.

        We already know half of the people who voted did not do so for Trump. We also know that we are becoming increasingly polarized – a situation corporate media seems happy to contribute to. It is becoming very clear that said media overwhelmingly fall into the did not vote Trump category. Taking all of this into account, along with the constant negative coverage, one should expect 50% approval rating as the best Trump can ever hope for.

    • Very true. The predicament of the Main Stream Media and Climate Science is the same: a catastrophic loss of the public trust. Too much agenda and not enough content. Your paper should be about how to regain that trust. This recovery is necessary for Climate Science, but not for all science. For example, the public has a lot of trust in Rocket Science. If they think they can get people to Mars in the near future, the public will accept that. No need for a communication strategy. Just evaluate the cost and decide if we want to do it or not.

      • I would question that, but then I come here from Rand Simberg’s aerospace blog where we roll our eyes at the Senate Launch System. ^_^

        Nutrition science is another low-trust area, which is kind of ironic because diet is something that kills us by the millions, yet people are happy to jump onto pretty much any quack diet that comes along while screaming bloody murder about emitting plant food.

      • GT, how true. Let me add a very personal experience data point to your comment, in the general nutrional arena. My common law wife (aka significant other, as we are both divorced, she is a devout Catholic yet still takes communion) was stung by a swarm of ‘bees’ a few years ago near our North Georgia mountain cabin in the Chatahoochee National Forest. She developed anaphylatic shock and I barely got her down the mountain to an ER clinic in Blue Ridge before she died. She actually said goodby on the way down.
        As one of several comsequences, she developed what has been diagnosed as anxiety disorder. (Makes sense). She has seen psychiatrists, endocrinologists, GPs, and even PhD specialists in acupuncture treatment of anxiety disorder, seeking treatment. Nothing worked. So she was eventually referred to a nurse practitioner specializing in nutritional therapy up in tony Palm Beach. The NP prescribed $3000 worth of blood chemistry exams. My other went in to review the results and came home in tears. Redlined toxic levels of arsenic, gluten allergy that affects the brain, all kinds of BS stuff. I took those written NP reports (with annotated comments) and spent several days methodically researching the medical literature on them. Mostly complete garbage designed to sell thousand of dollars per month of nutritional supplements. The only valid blood report was a marginal low Vitamin D (very plausible here in South Florida since vD is produced by tanning and her skin is so shot she wears SPF 40 at the beach under a shirt).
        Charlatans everywhere. Thank goodness for the internet, which properly used puts all valid knowledge at our fingertips. The NP disappeared in a huff. She is lucky I did not sue to invalidate her license to practice.

      • ristvan – Good story, thanks for sharing. DYDD is still the iron rule of life.

    • Willis
      Further, the perpetrators of this mind numbing CO2 fiasco are still out there employed in the same positions. The only thing that has changed is the chief scientific interpreter with Obama being replaced by Trump. The battle or the war has not been won, it is just on hold until an alternative scientific interpreter is elected..

      A comment in a recent WUWT post, pointed out, there are hundreds of these new scientific recruits leaving educational institutions, ready to continue the good CAGW fight.

      My admiration goes to Dr Curry, who has held a steady and reasoned centred unbiased position through thick and thin.

    • Willis wrote, ” Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists … ”

      The editors of the New York Times and New Yorker do.

      Fort McMurray and the Fires of Climate Change
      http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/fort-mcmurray-and-the-fires-of-climate-change

      Shed a Tear for the Reefs
      Reports that the Great Barrier Reef is dying come ever more frequently, ever more urgently. There is no mystery about the reason — it’s global warming, caused by the fossil fuels we burn.

    • David Springer

      Stop worrying about the interface. Improve the science and the interface will take care of itself.

    • Re: Willard – “Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists”

      Not entirely true. I propose a sociological proposition: there are many retired scientists who are skeptical about global warming theory because they no longer have a vested interest in the outcome of any research. So there are some retired scientists, Curry among them, who would garner trust by the public.

    • W. ==> Please, “in your comment you QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all be clear about your subject.”

      Your rant is aimed at Dr. Curry, “The good Dr. J. is once more trying to convince us that “what we got here is a failure to communicate”” yet she is doing no such thing, neither overtly or covertly — if you feel she is, please quote her words that say so.

      [Hint: The post is about the climate science/policy makers interface.]

    • “It is one of trust. Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists, and for good reason.”

      Unfortunately it’s not just climate scientists ahat nobody trusts, after the fiascos with fats and sugar where there is clear evidence of gross misconduct by the scientists involved:

      The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to play down the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show.

      The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that five decades of research into the role of nutrition and heart disease, including many of today’s dietary recommendations, may have been largely shaped by the sugar industry.

      Then there was the 2008 crash, when the highly educated mathematicians assured us that they had abolished bust, the ramifications we are still suffering.

      And now there is this:

      More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. Those are some of the telling figures that emerged from Nature’s survey of 1,576 researchers who took a brief online questionnaire on reproducibility in research.

      http://www.nature.com/news/1-500-scientists-lift-the-lid-on-reproducibility-1.19970

      Is there any wonder scientists are suffering a crisis of credibility?

      Those are the scientists whose research is based on concrete experimentation too, not based on totally unproveable computer games climate models of processes of which the IPCC had this to say:

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

      IPCC’s Working Group I: The Scientific Basis, Third Assessment Report (TAR), Chapter 14 (final para., 14.2.2.2), p774.

    • =={ Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists, and for good reason. }==

      Amazing how often Willis makes that comment with either (1) offering no evidence at all or, (2) presenting lame evidence that doesn’t come close to backing up his claim.

      Here’s one of the many pieces of related evidence which Willis has no way to reconcile with his facile conclusions.

    • Kip Hansen | March 20, 2017 at 7:29 pm

      W. ==> Please, “in your comment you QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all be clear about your subject.”

      Your rant is aimed at Dr. Curry, “The good Dr. J. is once more trying to convince us that “what we got here is a failure to communicate”” yet she is doing no such thing, neither overtly or covertly — if you feel she is, please quote her words that say so.

      [Hint: The post is about the climate science/policy makers interface.]

      My apologies, I thought that was obvious. She said that she wants to “improve the basis for science to inform the policy process.” Note that in this context, “inform” means “successfully pass information to”.

      She also says that scientists need “a code of conduct for communicating uncertainty”, and that “institutions should be incentivized to support debates at professional meetings”, and Social science research is needed to analyze ways of incorporating scientific understanding with all of its uncertainties into complex decision making related to wicked problems.

      Again I say, the problem is not lack of debate or a lack of ways to communicate uncertainty or a lack of ways of incorporating climate data into complex decision processes.

      The problem is lack of trust, and that is not fixable by debates and codes of conduct for communication. The Pew Poll measured said that only 39% of US adults “trust [climate scientists] a lot to give full and accurate information”.

      I note that the WordPress similarity algorithm for related posts has given us

      “Communicating climate science reconsidered
      In “Communication”

      , so even the bots are able to recognize what the post is about.

      Thanks for the question, Kip.

      w.

      • Yes, “Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists,”, yet 67% of the American public want scientists to play a major role in policy-making regarding climate change:

        http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/05/many-americans-are-skeptical-about-scientific-research-on-climate-and-gm-foods/ft_16-12-05_climate_gmfoods_policymaking/

      • Willis –

        Just curious, what % of the American public do you suppose trust [“skeptics”] a lot to “give full and accurate information on climate change.”

        My guess is far fewer than have that level of trust in climate scientists. What do you think?

        In general, communication from the scientific community is far more trusted than communication from other segments of society. Funny, how you neglect to mention that when you talk about how “Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists,”

      • w. ==> I see you have chosen to intentionally misunderstand not only the details but the very topic of the essay — to give yourself an opportunity to engage in your favorite rant. Allowable only because Dr. Curry does allow pretty much a “free-for-all” in comments here.

        Just don’t let us see the ““in your comment you QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all be clear about your subject.” bit at the end of any of your posts in the future — I fear some may think that your intentions were “obvious” or may even use your silly “the WordPress similarity algorithm” excuse against you.

      • > The Pew Poll measured said that only 39% of US adults “trust [climate scientists] a lot to give full and accurate information”.

        That’s quite an accurate statement you got there, Willis:

        You may have forgotten to mention that only 32% of the pollees said “not all well.”

        Incidentally, this number is not far from teh Donald’s approval rating.

        Quite a coincidence.

      • Kip Hansen | March 21, 2017 at 11:16 am |
        Kip Hansen said:

        w. ==> I see you have chosen to intentionally misunderstand not only the details but the very topic of the essay — to give yourself an opportunity to engage in your favorite rant. Allowable only because Dr. Curry does allow pretty much a “free-for-all” in comments here.

        Kip, you asked me to quote what I was referring to. I did so, as you were correct in your request.

        Now, you have claimed that not only have I misunderstood, but I have done so deliberately, as if you can (a) look inside my mind, and (b) someone has appointed you to judge the purity of what you find there.

        Charming. FOAD.

        Just don’t let us see the ““in your comment you QUOTE THE EXACT WORDS YOU ARE REFERRING TO, so that we can all be clear about your subject.” bit at the end of any of your posts in the future — I fear some may think that your intentions were “obvious” or may even use your silly “the WordPress similarity algorithm” excuse against you.

        Kip, as I have asked many times of others, I did myself. I quoted exactly what I was referring to. Yes, I assumed it was obvious, but in fact it wasn’t.

        Since I’ve done what I asked of others, your ORDER that I not put the same request at the end of my posts is in keeping with the rest of your arrogant posturing. The fact that you don’t like my answer doesn’t give you the right to order me to stop writing what I write. That’s just the voices in your head telling you that you rule the world … I’d advise not paying so much attention to them.

        In short?

        FOADIAF

        w.

      • w. ==> An astonishing load of nonsense, even for you.

      • Kip Hansen | March 21, 2017 at 8:14 pm |

        w. ==> An astonishing load of nonsense, even for you.

        It should not surprise you when an honest man doesn’t react well to you falsely accusing him of “deliberately misunderstanding” something.

        That’s an accusation that I’m lying. I think you are a jerkwagon to toss around such bogus accusations about my honesty without a scrap of evidence to back them up.

        When someone does that, I do my best to hit back twice as hard. I won’t have some random scumball falsely accuse me of deliberate misunderstanding something. Perhaps you let people falsely accuse you without replying, Kip, I don’t know.

        But I don’t, and I don’t respond peacefully to such underhanded accusations.

        Don’t like it?

        Don’t care …

        w.

      • Joshua. Firstly. Climate science shouldn’t be trying to ride the coat tails of reputable science. There does need to be some root and branch change first and more than a few mea culpas. Re-engagement in debate would be a good start. So, both our beloved hostess and Willis have a point. Indeed the only person bereft of a valid point would appear to be you.

    • weird.

      I read Fall et al, Anthony’s paper. he posted the code, he posted the data.
      I trust him. Where is aristotle. If nobody trusts climate scientists, and I trust anthony, then… ah never mind the syllogism you get the point.

      I also trust you willis.
      And I trust Judith
      And I trust steve Mcintyre
      and I trust Nic Lewis.

      Their work might be wrong, but I trust them as much as I trust hawkins, thorne, zeke, rohde, many others.

      I trust them…well, sort of.. all these folks, and more, supply their data and their code.
      That lets me forget the stupid unscientific question of trust. It lets me check. Someone who gives me their data and gives me their code has given me their POWER.. and I dont need to hire a Red team, I just do the red team work. I dont need to get personal about “trust” that would be a silly way to judge science.

      • Steven Mosher | March 20, 2017 at 10:12 pm | Reply

        I trust them…well, sort of.. all these folks, and more, supply their data and their code.
        That lets me forget the stupid unscientific question of trust. It lets me check. Someone who gives me their data and gives me their code has given me their POWER.. and I dont need to hire a Red team, I just do the red team work. I dont need to get personal about “trust” that would be a silly way to judge science.

        Steven, you and I don’t have to deal with the issues of trust because we know enough to read the data and run the code and judge it for ourselves.

        The great mass of the general public, on the other hand, don’t have that ability. So they have to deal with it on a basis of trust.

        And that’s why in the survey I quoted it asked how much people trust climate scientists. Because that’s all most folks have to go on …

        Best to you and yours,

        w.

      • Exactly, Mosh. It is for the same reason that our team trusts you. (Our upcoming followup of Fall et al. will do likewise.)

      • > I dont need to get personal about “trust” that would be a silly way to judge science.

        Writing presentations for lawyers, testimonies for political hacks or reports for energy think tanks may increase your need for the INTEGRITY brand.

      • Willis wrote, “The great mass of the general public, on the other hand, don’t have that ability. [to read the data and run the code and judge it for ourselves.]”

        Nor do the politicians that write the checks.

        Two successful business leaders that I admired for their technical knowledge and abilities were Lee Raymond (CEO ExxonMobile after 30 years at the company, PhD Chemical Engineering) and Jack Welch (CEO GE after 20 years at the company, PhD Chemical Engineering). It would be difficult to BS either out of any of the corporation’s money.

      • Trust is always earnt it shouldn’t be expected. Publishing data and methods should be considered essential. As should acknowledgement of error and bad practice. Some climate scientists have various issues with all of that. Yet still expect the trust that science on the whole has earned.

      • Roving,

        my dad is fond of saying there are only two types of engineers – Chemical Engineers and those who wish they could be.

    • It is indeed “a liars and cheaters problem” Willis, although somehow I doubt we’ll agree on who’s producing all those porky pies!

      Perhaps mere facts are not enough?

    • Judith is appealing for a change in scientific culture and a self-policing by journals and scientific societies (and individual scientists) with improved policies for government funding (as she sees it). Not the same as saying the skeptical side should be the first to reach out and communicate/collaborate with the alarmist side. I doubt such a culture change will occur in the near future, except for a few years, possibly a change in funding priorities, but what she advocates is exactly what is needed. Those on the other side may say there is no problem, that they are the enlightened few saving the planet from the evil skeptics funded by big oil, but we can always hope that over time some new standards will develop. Nature may help with this (Mother Nature that is).

      • Anyone in the scientific community that isn’t reaching out is missing out. I almost always learn more from my critics than from those with whom I agree.

        Discussing the Watts’ team pre-release (and the recent AGU presentation) with those who found (great) fault with it helped us address criticisms and correct flaws. Batting it back and forth between the VeeV, Doc Connolley (and even Sou), etc., and their respective crews has been enormously valuable to our team’s work. The paper would be the worse off without it.

        Anyone who refuses to “communicate/collaborate” with the “other side” (whichever other side that may be) is going into the ring with his foot in a bucket of cement.

  2. The way I see it there is only one person you would have to convince that AGW is real or fake, President Trump. He’s made up his mind it’s not real and he never changes his mind. We should all just avoid the discussion until the next administration.

    • There is the rest of the world to consider as well. And stuff like Schneiderman’s Martin Act investigation of Exxon. And the EPA endangerment finding. Waiting for the next administration just says it is all political policy. It isn’t. Climate science has made most policy relevany science disreputable. A present example is the question, is glyphosate a carcinogen, which is headed down the same very unfortunate legal pathway as silicone breast implants.

    • Jack

      But there’s no time. We have been told there was everything from 5000 to 100 days to save the world. All long since expired. Surely we can’t wait until Trump’s four year term is up or everything will have gone to pieces?

      Or perhaps the issue isn’t as urgent as some make out?

      tonyb

  3. Judith,
    Good on you. Please carry on. I look forward to your paper.
    Two cautions:
    1. Do not reduce the issues to the need for “better communication.” To do so is to fail.
    2. Do not assume that policy-making is well-formed. It is not. It needs to be re-imagined as much as does the place of science within it.

    • I strongly agree with your point 1.

      I agree with the first two sentences of point 2, but not the last, i.e.:

      [Policy-making] needs to be re-imagined as much as does the place of science within it.

      It is totally unrealistic to imagine policy making can be “re-imagined”. Forget that idea. What is needed is to provide properly justified, valid, relevant evidence to policy analysts. The evidence required is costs and benefits of global warming or cooling, the costs and benefits of proposed polices to control it, and the probability the policies will deliver the expected benefits.

    • In my view “climate scientists” are not the villains in this. What about the journalists, science journalists in particular who always put an alarmist spin on every climate story? Also, what about the myriad of funding agencies, policy advisors, technical consultant and science bureaucrats generally? These people have always had a problem in demonstrating the “relevance” of science to their political masters; climate change was a wet dream for them. Few of them have a clue about what comprises real science, real research. The real problem is that, thanks to people like Al Gore, climate science became highly politicised before all the data was in, before anyone had had time to even think about it. Great for funding in the short term – a disaster for science in the long term. Judith, your proposals would help a lot in this regard. Let’s hope someone takes notice. This could be a tipping point.

      • What about institutional press release authors? A recent study showed that misrepresentation begins at the universities where scientists are employed. Journalists (including many science journos) rarely read past the press release. They often just paraphrase it. Where press releases spin journalists follow. Many modern press releases are spin.

  4. I don’t think any set of changes to the climate science policy interface will solve the fundamental problem. The UNFCCC was founded on the premise of CAGW. Therefore most of the ensuing ‘science’ was irretrievably biased, or worse. The biases were plainly exposed by Climategate. The or worse includes Mann’s infamous hockey atick and Marcott’s academic misconduct in his 2013 Science paper, subject of two guest posts here at the time.
    There are procedures/consequences for scientific honesty or dishonesty. They all failed. None of the 2010 recommendations to improve the IPCC were implemented. More evidence that the climate science process is rotten to the core. It started with a political ‘answer’ and worked backwards to justifications in violation of the true spirit of scientific inquiry.

    That said, Red team scrutiny of specific aspects of climate science might help eliminate some of the rot. Elimination of pal review might help some. Better description of uncertainty would certainly help, both observationally (the Schmidt 2015 hottest evah fiasco is a specific example), and concerning models (the Christy chart of the actual tropical troposphere as measured by ballons and satellites versus CMIP5 is an example).

    • RI – couldn’t agree more that the initial fundamental problem is the statement of the problem… going back to UNFCCC and the dialogue leading up to … such as James Hansen and others presentations on the dire future due to global warming). The UNFCCC protocol defines (declares) the problem to be manmade greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) and those are the primary cause of global warming… and furthermore that uncertainty should not be a reason to not take preventative measures to limit manmade causes. IPCC acknowledges that understanding of natural causes is limited. The problem was narrowly defined whereas it should have started out saying “there are a number of or many causes of climate change among which manmade causes are but one, climate science should be directed at understanding all causes of climate change and appropriate measures defined to best address including proper assessment of cost/benefit.

      • I really like your last sentence, thx

      • The UNFCCC did what it did because, at the time, it claimed the issue required “urgent” policy action. Now that we know this isn’t true*, it’s time to reassess what the purpose of climate change science is. I still support doing climate science, but let’s be clear- it’s ultimate purpose is to let us know how important it is to reduce emissions and how urgently it is necessary to do that.
        This could be anywhere from “it’s not important or urgent” to “it’s critical and urgent” somewhat important but not urgent. Every study trying to narrow uncertainty is essentially trying to answer this question.
        For this reason I also suggest that climate science has matured to the point where it’s (past) time for a scientific evaluation of alternatives to CO2 emitting energy sources. The simple fact is that certain people push catastrophic scenarios only because they’re the only way to justify their goofy “solutions.”
        I’ll put it another way- if science tells us natural gas and nuclear power are the obvious paths to reducing emissions you will see the political parties switch positions on the control knob. Overnight, Joshua and Willard will not want “action” to address this allegedly urgent need to reduce emissions and Peter Lang and Exxon will declare it the most important issue of the day.
        *We know it’s not true because the Rio Summit was 25 years ago, the “solutions” the most climate-concerned wanted don’t work, the solutions they opposed do, and the “climate concerned” haven’t changed their tune on solutions. They’re quite willing to wait another 25 years for solar panels and international treaties.

      • > if science tells us natural gas and nuclear power are the obvious paths to reducing emissions you will see the political parties switch positions on the control knob.

        You mean, like what James Hansen is suggesting?

        Your counterfactual doesn’t even hold in the reality we know, JeffN.

      • Dr Curry and Danley Wolfe:

        I have a slight disagreement with this statement:

        “climate science should be directed at understanding all causes of climate change and appropriate measures defined to best address including proper assessment of cost/benefit.”

        I don’t believe it’s humanly possible for an individual (or a specialty) to grasp the complexities of the climate, DEFINE APPROPIATE MEASURES AND CARRY OUT PROPER ASSESSMENT OF COST/BENEFIT.

        Over the last decade I’ve seen “climate scientists” anoint their specialty as an overarching repository of humanity’s knowledge. I see individuals who clearly have no idea about how to understand risk and uncertainty, engineering, cost estimating, project management, economics, geography and demographics, trying to impose half baked “solutions” to problems they don’t really understand.

        If there’s one thing all of these scientific institutions need to learn and see on their screen savers is that climate science is only a contributor to a much broader effort, and that they need to understand their limits.

      • Willard
        “Your counterfactual doesn’t even hold in the reality we know, JeffN.”
        That must be why the warm are eagerly shutting down nuclear power plants in Germany, New York and Connecticut.

        You know James Hansen’s complaint was about his fellow warmers and their fealty to “Easter Bunny solutions” right? You knew that right?

      • > You know James Hansen’s complaint was about his fellow warmers and their fealty to “Easter Bunny solutions” right? You knew that right?

        Which complaint, JeffN?

        Oh, you mean JamesH only had one complaint?

        That he did not have anything to say about the very same contrarian crap peddled more than twenty-five years ago that we see daily here?

        Really?

    • Curious George

      The UNFCCC is the foundation of the broken interface. To quote Professor C.N. Parkinson, “The institution is for all practical purposes dead. It can be founded afresh but only with a change of name, a change of site, and an entirely different staff. The temptation, for the economically minded, is to transfer some portion of the original staff to the new institution – in the name, for example, of continuity. Such a transfusion would certainly be fatal, and continuity is the very thing to avoid.”

    • Rud,

      I don’t think any set of changes to the climate science policy interface will solve the fundamental problem. The UNFCCC was founded on the premise of CAGW. Therefore most of the ensuing ‘science’ was irretrievably biased, or worse.

      I agree!

  5. The interface isn’t broken, it’s working as intended.

    • Sadly true. The problem is intended by whom? Christina Figueres gave a clear and specific answer. By those who would destroy advanced economies and redistribute wealth.

  6. We got the Paris agreement which, like the Montreal Protocol, is a just another example of science informing policy. It took longer than it should have, and perhaps could be more effective, but I would not fault the scientists for that. They did their part.

    • jimd

      So how’s the healing of the ozone hole going?

      https://ozonewatch.gsfc.nasa.gov/

      tonyb

      • Maybe you want us to go back to pumping Freon? As with CO2, they are finding better ways that are less harmful.

      • Jimd

        I am not advocating pumping freon merely pointing out the current state of the ozone hole

        Tonyb

      • Tony,
        From your link:

        Looks like the Montreal agreement stopped the rise, but we’ll be stuck with the stuff for a long time yet. There’s a moral there.

      • Nick
        yes, but is the moral that there have always been sporadic ozone holes and we measured it at one of its peaks, or that the cause was correctly diagnosed and dealt with or that there might be things happening that we don’t yet know about?

        I do not have the answer but bearing in mind the hype we had about the susan solomons paper last year when the media said the hole was now definitely declining-when it wasn’t-the truth is difficult to find.

        tonyb

      • Nick Stokes,

        Looks like the Montreal agreement stopped the rise, but we’ll be stuck with the stuff for a long time yet. There’s a moral there.

        Yes. But there is major difference. It has not been shows that CO2 emissions are harmful or that substantial global warming, if if does occur, is harmful.

      • Nick
        The level of CFC’s in the atmosphere were just as high prior to the “hole”, same low temperatures below -78C, all the same. Try putting the temperature anomaly profile alongside the ozone hole profile you will se a striking resemblence. The only thing that changed was atmospheric temperature. Doesnt hot air expand ???, Hasn’t there been an increase in temperature and total ice in Antarctica over the same period, both transported in. Sometimes things are very simple.

        The tradgedy of the montreal protocol is that it reduced understanding of atmospheric transport, and embedded a set of beliefs similar to the CO2 myth.

        I believe that the essence of scientific analysis is to always keep an open mind

      • The hope is that the ozone will recover to pre-CFC 1980 levels in 2050-2070.

      • An interesting goal. Since we’ve only been measuring with satellites since 1978, it does seem as if the benchmark is a bit….nebulous.

      • Charles

        As you know, we were only able to start measuring the hole in the mid 1950’s. When I asked both Cambridge University and the Max Planck institute a few years sago whether the hole could have existed at times prior to that they said it was possible but their models thought it unlikely.

        As far as I am aware no reliable method has been found to definitively demonstrate whether the ozone hole is a modern problem or not.

        If Jimd knows of one I would be interested to see the peer reviewed paper.

        tonyb

      • Beat me to it Tony.

      • timg56

        I expect that Jim is compiling a list of peer reviewed articles as we talk. If you see his reply please let me know. And Vicky Verka of course.

        tonyb

      • Nick Stokes said, March 21, 2017 at 2:24 am:

        Looks like the Montreal agreement stopped the rise, but we’ll be stuck with the stuff for a long time yet. There’s a moral there.

        No, the drop in lower stratosphere ozone content since the late 70s is well-correlated with the large volcanic eruptions of El Chichón (1982) and Pinatubo (1991):



        And I’m sure you know this, Nick.

    • “We got the Paris agreement…”

      Not for much longer Jimbo, if this is anything to go by.

      Climate change financing dropped from G20 draft statement

      Opposition from the United States, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a reference to financing programs to combat climate change from the draft communique at a G20 finance and central bankers meeting.

      A G20 official taking part in the meeting said on Friday that efforts by the German G20 presidency to keep the wording on climate change financing had run into resistance.

      “Climate change is out for the time being,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-g20-germany-climatechange-idUSKBN16O1S1

      • US emissions are already declining. Can Trump stop that trend? I don’t see how. This is neither related to Paris nor the CPP. It is just the energy industry doing what works best and coal is not part of that equation. On the other hand, recent events suggest Trump is trying to make sure that the US is not at the forefront of new energy technology and still making gas-inefficient cars that no one will want to buy from us, which looks to be his plan for the future.

      • catweazle666

        “Can Trump stop that trend?”

        Why on Earth would he want to?

        You appear to have some very strange ideas about President Trump.

        On second thoughte, you seem to have some very strange ideas – period.

      • He wants to send people back down the coal mines, abandon fuel efficiency standards and defund research into renewable energy. To me, it looks like he is trying very hard to make American emissions great again.

      • 65% non-OECD and rising seems about right.

        The reason for US emissions decline is economic activity decline and cheap gas.

        As usual your reality is questionable Jimmy D.

      • It wasn’t OECD versus non-OECD. You didn’t read that correctly. It was those that signed up to do something (INDCs), and they had to account for at least 55% for it to go into effect. In fact the INDC countries exceed 80% of total emissions.

      • You are imagining things Jimmy – the operative word was developing.

      • ‘exempting’ does not apply to countries that have put forwards an INDC. Quite the opposite. As I mentioned, just between China and the US, they have 40% of the emissions as two non-exempt countries, so what does he mean by ‘exempt’? It just doesn’t add up.

    • Jim D:

      Which aspect of the science was it that “informed” the policy of an agreement exempting the developing countries (responsible for over 65 percent of global emissions) from any obligation – legal or legal, now or in the future – to reduce their emissions?

      https://ipccreport.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/cop-21-developing-countries-_-2.pdf

      http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0958305X16675524

      • It only went into effect when the signers added up to 55%, so this is not consistent with your number. Also the US and China make up 40% between them, and they both signed up, so how you get 65% for those other countries, I don’t know.

      • Robin Guenier

        Jim D – you said:

        … how you get 65% for those other countries, I don’t know.

        OK, I’ll explain.

        1. Under the terms of the Paris Agreement – in accordance with Article 4.7 of its parent treaty (the UNFCCC), the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” and the Agreement’s own Article 4.4 – “developing countries” are exempt from any obligation to reduce their emissions. It’s an unambiguous provision that was insisted upon in pre-Paris negotiation by India and China in particular.

        2. There are about 140 developing countries, responsible for over 65 percent of global emissions. Essentially all of them are parties to the Agreement. Therefore, as I said, countries responsible for 65 percent of emissions are exempt.

        3. China is one such. Therefore it, like all the others, is exempt. (China BTW is responsible for 29 percent of emissions.)

        4. You have the strange idea that putting forward an INDC somehow overrides that exemption. It doesn’t. Two points: (i) under the terms of the Agreement (Article 10) the INDCs are voluntary and non-binding – and they’re wholly uncoordinated; and (ii) in any case, a careful review of developing countries’ INDCs reveals that few (if any) of the developing countries (and certainly none of the big emitters) are indicating an intention to make absolute emissions cuts.

        (See this)

        So I’ll ask you again: what aspect of the science “informed” an agreement that exempted the developing countries, responsible for over 65 percent of global emissions, from any obligation to reduce those emissions?

  7. I’m afraid there’s no quick and neat fix after the credibility disaster that climate science has backed us all into. Give it a couple of generations, and our respect will rise above that of a used car salesman.

    All credit to you Judith, everyone else stood safely on the sidelines and well out of the danger zone.

    Pointman

  8. Pingback: Discussion thread – improving the interface between climate science and policy – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  9. Other than for all of them on both sides of politics to just shut up, sit down and start minding their own business, what else would you recommend. Oh, you mean they should ensure adequate funding for climate research? Okay.

  10. The politicization of climate science is not the disease, it is a symptom.

    Progressives are progressives first and everything else, including climate scientists, second.

    Climate scientists aren’t the chief practitioners of fake news, CNN and the NY times are. From the Jornolist, to providing debate questions to the Clinton campaign to screaming headlines of the Obama investigation of the Trump campaign, to the follow on screaming headlines that there was no such investigation, progressive journalists trade integrity for “impact” on a daily basis.

    College campuses have a fake hate crime “crisis”, in which students paint swastikas on their own buildings, send themselves hateful emails, and other fake outrages to make themselves apparent victims and push their political agenda of silencing free speech on campuses.

    Half of all published medical research proves to be wrong, for some supposedly unknowable reason. It is just an accident that so much of it pushes progressive causes du jour with the constant abuse of statistics as science.

    Integrity is a relative term to post-modern progressives, which includes a large number of Republicans by the way. Think Marco Rubio and George Bush and their promises to voters in immigration. Think Paul Ryan and almost every other current GOP congressman and their promises to repeal Obamacare. Not to mention “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “premiums will go down $2,500 for every family.”

    Judges re-write the law according to their personal preferences (including supposedly conservative John Roberts and Anthony Kennedy), refusing to allow the stupid law to stand in the way of their exercises of power.

    Vanity has been transformed from a deadly sin to a cardinal virtue. (Lust and envy have received similar promotions.)

    There is nothing you can do within our current culture. Children are taught that their country is built on racism, sexism, homophobia and greed. They never hear of the founding principles of this country, or what the founders sacrificed. They only hear they were stupid, evil men who built a society solely for their own benefit (even though so many of them died willingly to build it). Christianity is attacked on every front, while impotence before radical Islamic terrorists is preached as virtue.

    There is a rot in our culture. It would have been a miracle if climate scientists who depend directly on government for their funding had not sold their integrity like everyone else to advance themselves.

    And as we all know, scientists don’t believe in miracles.

    • The USA has never had an open debate and reached a conclusion about whether the government should be responsible for citizen’s health.

      The USA has been migrating towards the government being the primary source for years however. The people seem to want the government in that role.

    • I think the root-cause of our difficulties lies with an utter lack of integrity. This fundamental flaw allows rationalization of all manner of lies, so long as the underlying dogma is served.

      In my opinion, the higher education system is irredeemably corrupt. Drain the swamp; zero out all federal grants. Replace it with private funding, with investors receiving tax write-offs for providing capital. Such a market driven system would have lower tolerance for nefarious wastes of research dollars utterly de-coupled from actual societal needs.

      It is one thing when you are using other people’s (taxpayer) money when they have no say so in the matter. Quite another when you are actually held accountable. In my opinion “accountability” and “government” are mutually exclusive.

    • GaryM,

      +1

    • excellent post Gary. Can I add one thing? The post-modern progressive has no idea why it is he lives in prosperity- he thinks his food comes from grocery stores, his water from the tap, his electricity from the plug in the wall and the government can triple the amount of services it offers simply by raising taxes on everyone except him and his friends.
      Worse, he’s incurious about these things, while has no desire to know anything about them, he demands to have the absolute authority to dictate how they operate at his whim. These are the people who live in New York City who think it’s perfectly reasonable to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas and shut down the nuclear power plants and the coal plants. Because…. well, because someone just like him at the Huffington Post wrote that it would be cool and his bartender is just certain it would work based on his extensive readings of comments on Democratic Party forums.
      I was talking with a guy I work out next to at the recreation center who is a plumber/electrician. He said you’d be surprised at how often people call him to come out to change light bulbs and the filter in HVAC. And they’re always young.

  11. Scientists – by which you appear to mean academics – should stick to science and not get involved in policy.

    let’s put it this way – would you expect someone without single qualification relevant to science pontificate about science? The answer I hope is no. So why should academics who have no formal policy relevant qualification or experience relevant to policy making be allowed to pontificate about areas where they are clueless?

    KEEP THEM OUT OF POLICY – and employ people who have qualifications and experience relevant to BOTH science and policy making.

    • SS, I agree with your practical suggestion. The only problem would be finding scientists particularly in climate related areas. Although there are many who are held out as scientists there is very little evidence of the use of the scientific method.

      • I know several people qualified for the job. One is sitting here with an MBA and 10 years working and studying climate and engineering, I sleep with another – a PhD scientist with decades of relevant government experience and I have other family members in government.

        The problem isn’t a lack of people – it’s that academics with no skills or qualifications, get involved in issues of policy which they are incompetent to deal with. And the result is they present policy entirely by and for the benefit of academia and because they have no idea how real economies work or even society outside academia they are largely harmful to general society.

        And at the other end we have the problem of civil senior civil servants who have no respect & even at times utter disgust for any civil servants who have specialist expertise and who in any sane world would be the obvious choice to work in some areas.

        But politicians don’t want civil servants who actually understand what a load of utter scientific garbage the politicians are pushing on them.

        The result is we have government servants who are entirely and completely incompetent to judge the scientific issues, dealing with politically motivated amateur “policy gurus” who are likewise entirely incompetent to judge the policy issues and economic impacts.

        And we wonder why subject like climate are such a complete mess.

        (And now I will go back to doing something totally unrelated to climate).

      • Scottish Sceptic.

        Well said

        +10^3

      • its too funny. Every scientist I know in climate science uses the scientific methods.

      • Further, and in case my earlier comment does not survive moderation.

        Oh Mosher the Great and Powerful. Grant this wish. Please confirm that you consider that Michael Mann has always met the gold standard in use of the scientific method.

      • Steven, you wouldn’t care to set out the basics of the scientific method would you?

      • Oh, Steven one more thing. You talk about “every scientist you know in climate science”. Are there any people holding themselves out to be scientists in the field of climate science who in your view do not deserve the title of scientist?

      • Up thread I wrote a comment similar to Scottish Sceptic’s but I think I was a bit less diplomatic.

      • “Oh Mosher the Great and Powerful. Grant this wish. Please confirm that you consider that Michael Mann has always met the gold standard in use of the scientific method.”

        That’s too funny. You obviously never followed my criticisms of his work.

        Steven, you wouldn’t care to set out the basics of the scientific method would you?

        I’ve done so many times here and at WUWT. Go do a search. The first thing I would tell you is that there is NOT one universal method. There are basically tools and methods and that any so-called universal method is an idealization and not itself an observed practice. Put another way, if you want to know what “the” method is start by observing what actual successful scientists do. Philosophical attempts to impose a single prescriptive method haven’t really worked.

        “Oh, Steven one more thing. You talk about “every scientist you know in climate science”. Are there any people holding themselves out to be scientists in the field of climate science who in your view do not deserve the title of scientist?”
        Off the top of my head? Lindzen and Happer

      • Moshher the Great and Powerful. You appear to say that science is what scientists do. That is the most circular and meaningless definition of science that I have ever seen.

        It is the type of faulty reasoning which has so damaged the good name of science.

        And with your circular and meaningless definition, how is it that Lindzen and Happer are not scientists?

        Is it because you are Mosssher the Great and Powerful and we should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?

    • “So why should academics who have no formal policy relevant qualification or experience relevant to policy making be allowed to pontificate about areas where they are clueless?”

      Because they have the same rights as any other voters. In the US, their right to say whatever they want about policy is protected by the First Amendment, even while the demagogues among them try desperately to deprive others of those same rights.

      The problem is not scientists advocating for particular policies. It is their dishonesty in doing so. And as I argued above, the problem is by no means limited to climate scientists. They are a symptom, not the disease.

    • SS

      KEEP [scientists] OUT OF POLICY

      +1

    • SS and GaryM,

      The way to achieve it is to establish a code of ethics for scientists, equivalent to the code of ethics Professional Engineers are required to abide by.

      • Peter, not that I have any particular objection to a code of ethics for scientists, but the scientific method was once considered the gold standard of scientists, wasn’t it?

        Maybe the code could be really brief: follow the scientific method.

      • +1

        And include in the standard, a clear explanation of the method and the acceptance criteria for each step in the process.

        So there can be no confusion or misinterpretation of what is required, perhaps the requirements should follow this:

        Requirements analysis and validation to determine that each stated requirement is:

        Correct. (A requirement is correct if no errors of fact exist in the requirement).

        Complete. (A requirement is complete if it provides all of the information necessary to enable the requirement to be implemented, including all constraints and conditions. This information may be either a part of the requirement, or be contained in other requirements that are logically linked and traceable to the subject requirement).

        Consistent. (A requirement (or set of requirements) is consistent if the requirement (or set of requirements) is not in conflict with any other requirement (or set of requirements), and all expressions of connectivity correspond).

        Clear. (A requirement is clear if it can be readily understood without semantic analysis).
        Unambiguous. (A requirement is unambiguous if there is only one semantic interpretation).

        Modifiable. (A requirement exhibits the property of modifiability if necessary changes can be made completely and consistently; and the same requirement is specified only once).

        Traceable. (A requirement exhibits the property of traceability if it allows for an unambiguous audit trail to one or more parent or child requirements).
        Testable. (A requirement is testable if a finite and objective process exists to verify that the requirement has been satisfied in the end, or in an intermediate, product).

        Feasible. (A requirement exhibits the property of feasibility if it can be realised within natural physical constraints; it can be realised within the state of the art as it applies to the project; it can be realised within the upper limits of cost of the product and schedule for the project; and it can be realised within other absolute constraints applying to the project).

      • A worthy list Peter. It reads like a check list for peer reviewers. Certainly research done with an eye to such matters could only enhance the reputation of science.

      • May I suggest this set of principles – for a starter:
        The principles of science

  12. The contract should be between the scientists, government and the people, in a language that all can understand.

    There is a very recent example that neither the government and the scientists cannot be trusted. It is the people that ultimately pay for the closed door discussion and regretable outcomes.

  13. When Feynman investigated the Challenger disaster, he found that NASA administrators had claimed the chances of an accident were orders of magnitude less likely than rank-and-file NASA engineers believed them to be, including in statements to the family of Christa McAuliffe. There’s a very powerful natural human tendency of policy to drive the science as one’s position gets closer to the former and farther from the latter. You can see something happening in the climate literature (e.g. the Storch survey vs the IPCC).

    There also need to be empirical checks at every level, real ownership of predictions, real acknowledgement of failures like the Hansen 1988 predictions of temperatures as a function of policy. More science-based policy, less policy-based science.

    • Again, Feynman cannot defend himself. You’ve hijacked the reputation of a dead man. It’s very unlikely he would agree with climate skeptics.

      • Right, Feynman would be so down with ‘consensus’ science.

      • JCH, Feynman’s comments on Challenger are public record. You may look them up if you like. There was even a demonstration of the O-ring problem on TV, as I recall.

      • And while I made no claims on Feynman’s opinion in the above comments, it’s telling that the response is to assume I did and then claim, without any argument, that Feynman would agree with AGW believers instead (ironically committing the sin you falsely accused me of) and without even a hint of what he would agree with or why. This is precisely the sort of sloppy thinking Feynman criticized throughout his career (and indeed, made a career of criticizing).

    • I think Feynman’s motto would be to “speak truth to power”, or “when you see something, say something”. He was not afraid to point out dangers or inconvenient truths to those in power.

      • Feynman was considerably more articulate than that.
        “Learn from science that you must doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”

        “We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.”

      • You can follow what he did, and what he did was point out dangers where he saw them. One was on how to store uranium safely, and the people in power listened and did not just dismiss him (thankfully).

      • Yes, I do think he would be exceptionally wary of experts like Richard Lindzen, John Christy, Roy Spencer, Steve Koonin, and Judith Currry, etc.

        Anybody can hijack a dead man.

      • Jim D, If you credit Feynman’s own anecdotes about his work at Oak Ridge, his main contribution was insist to authorities that (despite the obvious security concerns) the workers had be told something about what they were handling (particularly the effect of water on criticality) so that they didn’t accidentally kill everyone and/or lose the war. Like the Challenger episode, it’s a classic tale of opposing established authority, with some fairly obvious parallels to the situation of government agencies carrying out climate policy today.

        JCH, I already addressed your claim above, you’re merely repeating your errors. As this is not very interesting I think I will take the advice of the FAQ and not reply to you further.

      • It is not “opposing established authority”, it is informing them with science that they don’t know, and they accepted that he knew more than they did. There is a difference.

      • And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science. …

        Screams UAH.

    • except hansen 1988 is largely correct.

      • I would love to see Hansen’s 1988 model run 50 times with actual green house gas concentrations, volcanic eruptions, etc. Did anybody ever try it?

      • Steve, in 1988 Hansen predicted if we carried out certain policies, the result would be certain temperatures, and produced a widely-disseminated graph of those temperatures. The policy that was actually followed did not result in the predicted temperatures. That was a failure to connect science and policy.

        The dodge that “Hansen 1988 is largely correct” illustrates why these disconnects between science and policy happen — in policy what you got wrong is usually far more important than you what got right. Newtonian physics is largely correct, and was an amazing advance in its time, but some predictions were wrong and required modification by relativity, such as in the famous Michelson–Morley experiment — and that’s fine until your policy is that rocketry calculations should be based on the presence of luminiferous aether. Hansen’s predictions of global temperature (and policy recommendations) were clearly wrong, even if parts of his model are defensible, or even brilliant, and as your comment highlights there’s little indication that the extent to which the uncertainties of Hansen 1988 were obscured at the time is being properly understood or avoided today in policy.

      • fernandoleanme — that’s an interesting sidebar, since was Hansen was predicting the effect of policy when he spoke to Congress, his prediction necessarily had to predict the relationship between policy (emissions) and GHG concentrations, and those predictions (like the dependent temperature prediction) turned out to be wrong.

        For the record, here’s Hansen 1988 prediction vs UAH satellite temperature readings (through 2010). Hansen predicted the topmost trend as the result of “business as usual” policy (and later called it “conservative”).

        And here’s notes from the hearing. Note where the word “emissions” appears.
        http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Environment/documents/2008/06/23/ClimateChangeHearing1988.pdf

      • Let’s call this relevant only because Hansen’s testimony remains a high profile policy interface. The above graphics are poor because the hindcasts are not relevant as a prediction and because the graphics don’t indicate trends.

        Since the beginning of 1988,
        Scenario A : 3.0C/century
        Scenario B : 2.9C/century
        NCDC Observed: 1.7C/century
        Scenario C : 1.4C/century

        So there’s been luke warming. Dissatisfying to most ( distinctly warming but warming that’s distinctly moderate in the context of the prediction ).

        Another point on this topic that I’ve started but terminated several times:
        Science interfacing policy at all is fraught with bias.

        In The Myth of the Rational Voter, one of the points the author makes is that policy becomes irrational because all policies have implications. Voter emotions ( greed, fear, anger ) arise when they consider these implications ( taxes, benefits, etc. ).

        In “climate change”, two identifiable policy courses come to mind: 1.) dictates on CO2 emissions and 2.) Laissez-faire.

        Some fear the dictates lead to dictatorial government and erosion of liberty.
        Others fear that inaction will lead to climate disaster.

        Without pronouncing on the merits of either outcome, it is the fear ( and other emotions that come from the policy interface ) that are the problem – quite anathema to the dispassionate observer status of a scientist.

      • Yep.

        Scenario A : 3.0C/century
        Scenario B : 2.9C/century

        GISSTEMP(1200km): 1.8C/century
        NCDC Observed: 1.7C/century
        GISSTEMP(250km): 1.7C/century

        Scenario C : 1.4C/century

      • catweazle666

        “except hansen 1988 is largely correct.”

        You have some very perverse ideas about what constitutes “correct”.

      • Eddie — Good points. Here’s Ira’s chart with trends, which goes to 2013 iirc.

      • BTW, keep in mind everyone, since we’re talking about policy Hansen also made some other predictions in that context based on his 1988 study, particularly re drought and sea level rise (some are in the hearing notes), which also proved to be, shall we say, overly enthusiastic.

    • One other notion I should have mentioned is prediction markets. One reason that the Simon-Ehrlich bet is so famous is that it was one of the few widely publicized testable predictions in the intersection of ecology and economics.

      Prediction markets are something good empiricists on any side of an issue should happily flock to, particularly those who believe strongly enough in certain outcomes to bet on them. They can also provide useful hedging functions.

      Prediction markets in temperature and sea level would certainly be interesting, and perhaps significantly advance the connection between science and policy.

  14. I don’t think we can ignore the lack of honor and integrity in science and that when we lack respect for the truth and turn a blind eye to government-sponsored fear and propaganda for ideological purposes — the scientific method be damned — we transcend correlation and become the sole cause of our demise. It isn’t always the case that everything about a hoax is false. Skeptics of Western global warming are really aware of obvious mistakes that fall within their particular areas of expertise and most skeptics take issue with the picture of impending calamity that global warming fearmongers always try to paint.

    • Quite so Wagathon, but there are very few skeptics among the so called scientists. Put into plainer English there are very few scientists among the so called scientists.

    • most skeptics of global warming are not skeptical.
      methodological skepticism entails questioning your OWN beliefs, not the beliefs of others.
      Most skeptics have never questioned their own beliefs.

      • Mosher,

        You don’t question your own beliefs.

      • An Obama supporter who describes himself as “100 per cent Democrat,” [Freeman] Dyson says he is disappointed that the President “chose the wrong side.” Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere does more good than harm, he argues, and humanity doesn’t face an existential crisis. Climate change, he tells us, “is not a scientific mystery but a human mystery. How does it happen that a whole generation of scientific experts is blind to obvious facts?” ~Andrew Orlowsky

      • “I would say those things [things not measurable or findable] aren’t science. They don’t belong in science. But you can still have interesting speculations that may be useful in unforeseen ways – but if it’s not verifiable, it’s not what I would consider science.” ~Freeman Dyson (ibid.)

      • Don’t think that’s true and you yourself are an exemplar of that. You had one point of view on the Luke side of warm and now hold another view that’s more on the warm side. Conversly many sceptics were once warmists. We are all capable of re-assessing of world views. Thought you didnt like sweeping generalisations?

      • David L. Hagen

        Steven Mosher

        The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.
        Richard Feynmann Cargo Cult Science, Caltech 1974

  15. Item 5 in your list is particularly bothersome. The notion that professional scientific societies need to be provided with incentives to encourage and facilitate open debate of competing ideas strikes me as pandering. These societies need to be reformed, but what kind of “incentives” does it take?

    I fear they have become nothing more than trade unions and are hopelessly beyond salvage.

    • Agree. The Koonin committee revisiting the AGU climate statement is proof positive that it was all policy politics and no science.

      • ristvan,
        What happened with the Koonin committee statement when he left?

        Did they just stop and did the American Physical society revise the statement of understanding?/

        thanks Scott

      • It disappeared. Not a peep beyond Koonin’s op ed. No change in the previous policy statement that caused Nobelist Gaiever to resign from APS. Apparently the leadership didn’t like Koonin’s conclusions, so disappeared them.

      • stay tuned, we will here more from Koonin shortly

      • One of the members of the committee said they found his arguments to be weak.

      • They have a 2015 statement out of that process.
        https://www.aps.org/policy/statements/15_3.cfm

      • The Koonin committee is what got me hooked on CE. I have read the entire transcript several times.

        The APS handling of this was unconscionable!

        Both Koonin and Curry have been too restrained in their response to this farce.

        Maybe they both think that they still have something to add.

      • I too read the transcript multiple times and return to it regularly. I don’t see why these scientific controversy issues should not be handled by even handed presentations like those.

        Even Santer, Held and the proCGAW positions were professional and polite without name calling of deniers like slander.

        I remain convinced by Curry, Christy and Lindquist but was very interested in the other respectful discussions.

        Nothing like Mann. I think Jones from the Met moved to respectful discussions according to tonyb.

        We shall see what the future shows.
        Scott

    • OK, you don’t like what the AGU, AMS, NAS, RS, etc. say on climate change. Does that go for industries with equally robust climate statements like Apple, Google, Unilever, BP, Shell, Exxon, etc? What is your plan to get them to back down?

      • The plan is Mother Nature and a bit more time.
        Except for the now cooled 2015-16 El Nino blip, no warming this century except by Karlization. CMIP5 running so hot even Santer’s November 2016 paper with the erroneous tropical stratosphere adjustment only reduced the discrepancy to 1.7x. SLR not accelerating. Polar bears thriving. Tuvalu still a tourist destination. Planet greening. California drowning. SA blackouts thanks to too much wind and not enough grid inertia. German Energiewende producing more, not less CO2 while devastating the two largest conventional generators. Abengoa bankrupt. Sun Edison bankrupt. Google tried for years to go green before realizing it wasn’t possible and giving up. China and India ignoring the whole kerfuffle.
        Face it Jim D. Ma Nature will have the last word. Given all the indicators, great for the planet and the energy economy but you probably won’t like it.

      • Part of the problem with the skeptical approach is that they follow the Monckton parade that involves a lot of conspiracy theory thinking. Their scientific arguments have been weak to ludicrous, so they really need to cut the extremists loose and up their game if they want anyone to listen.

      • Your first problem is that I actually dispute Monckton frequently and publicly, usually at WUWT. OK, here also as in a previous guest post reducing then solving properly his silly irreducible equation paper. Boy was he not happy.
        Your second problem is that introducing Monckton in response to my Ma Nature factual observations answer to your question introduces a straw man. Which means you don’t have a factual response to my simple answer, with lots of observational supports. You cannot, because each supporting observation is well documented and true.

      • I am pointing out your problem, which is that your most vocal people on the UN front, blogs, and talk radio are people like Monckton. It’s dead on arrival. He is a conspiracy theorist about the UN and world government, and you need to lose these people for your own good. How you do it, I don’t know, because they are part of your system and fairly well embedded in your movement. Judith is asking for answers to doing things better, and that is your most visible problem. Cut them loose. They dirty the debate, making it just mudslinging, and take it off the subject of science.

      • Monckton is not ‘my problem’. Monckton is his problem. Your problem is my three specific ebooks. Especially the last one, Blowing Smoke, which has a Judith Curry foreword. You want to debate me, get it cheap at Amazon. Kindle and read it carefully.
        Skeptics do not speak with one voice, unlike warmunists. I violently disagree with Sky Dragons. I strongly disagree with those who claim there is no GHE. I disagree with those that say there is no evidence for GHE, because there might be some if one looks closely. Call me a weak lukewarmer at an observational TCR ~1.3 and ECS ~1.65.
        The warmunist one voice ‘science is settled, we are doomed unless’ is precisely what will prove its undoing via Mother Nature. You bought into the catechism, now you have to live with it. There never was an equivalent skeptical catechism. You attempt to tar with far too wide a broad brush. You need to learn more sniper tactics.

      • Mother Nature will just confirm we should have started acting years ago, but Paris was a move in the right direction and guided by the science in an effective way. The scientists did their job with that and conveyed what they knew together with the uncertainties.

      • Jimd

        Monckton certainly does not speak for me or many sceptics. He may have an audience at certain blogs and sometimes he makes good points but on the whole it is difficult to take him seriously

        Tonyb

      • Curious George

        I like “robust climate statements”. What a farce. Make Mother Nature cooperate with you. I have seen too many statements.

      • I see that many skeptics are not fazed by 2016 or continued record-breaking events. It’s just a flesh wound in the words of the Monty Python black knight. Pause gone – no matter, didn’t need it anyway.

      • Curious George

        Jim D – have you seen frozen Niagara Falls recently?

      • At the surface temperature is measured as sensible heat – but the energy flux is both latent and sensible heat. In a drought latent heat decreases and sensible heat increases.

        In Europe, drought conditions expanded through Central Europe and up to the North Sea. For the second month in a row, the European Union’s crop monitoring service lowered the corn yield forecast for this year. In Asia, drought continues throughout central Russia and a ring from the Indian sub-Continent around eastern China and Mongolia. In China, drought in the northwestern Gansu Province led to implementation of the government’s level-IV emergency response plan. In Africa, short-term drought eased slightly in the western part of the continent while continuing to strongly impact South Africa. In South Africa, there has been a culling of hippo and buffalo herds due to the poor condition of vegetation. In North America, drought remains entrenched along the western coast as well as through New England and the US Southeast. In the US Northeast, the apple crop has suffered due to the drought with noticeably smaller fruit produced this year. In South America, drought continues in Brazil as well as from the equator down along the Andes. Irrigation water for farms was restricted in Espirito Santo, where rivers were largely dry. In Oceania, drought continued nearly unchanged. https://www.drought.gov/gdm/current-conditions

        Satellites measure oxygen excitation in the troposphere and don’t have the drought artifact. So how much confidence is there that 2016 surface records are reliable? This is the RSS record with a 13 month running mean.

        The atmosphere has only 4% of the energy content of the planet – the oceans have 90%.

        So there has been a little cooling and a little warming. The recent warming is due largely to solar variability in the 11 year cycle and ENSO cloud feedbacks – discernible in CERES products and that’s why satellite data is needed. Has there been net warming since 1998? Perhaps not. Where will it go next? A resurgence of the La Nina normal – perhaps over centuries.

        The science is available – but not to Jimmy apparently. Jimmy holds fast to the catastrophic narrative for which taxing and regulating energy is the primary recourse. It is all such obvious nonsense.

        Climate shifts provide a more robust rationale for reducing pressures on the system – but the solutions there are obviously technological, ecological and agricultural.

    • Mark Silbert

      I fear they have become nothing more than trade unions and are hopelessly beyond salvage.

      +1

    • I agree with your ‘reformed’ point

      • In January 2014, Koonin organized a symposium in Brooklyn, N.Y., to which he invited six climate experts. Three are well-respected by most scientists.

        The other three—John Christy, a climate scientist at the University of Alabama; Judith Curry, a climatologist at the University of Georgia; and Richard Lindzen, an emeritus physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—are well-respected by climate skeptics and are often challenged by the climate science establishment.

        These scientists were invited because the APS committee wanted to rebut a claim that skeptics often make—that mainstream scientists are willfully silencing dissenting voices, Rosner said.

        The skeptical scientists got a fair airing at the APS’s symposium, where the attendees could separate the wheat from the chaff, Rosner said. The attendees were trained physicists, and at the end, they understood that the skeptical scientists’ “critique of science itself was extremely weak,” he said. …

        Weak on physics, good at underhanded, cheap-shot politics.

        So stay tuned for more of that from Koonin, just like we got more of that from the NOAA whistle blower.

  16. Dr. Curry:

    I suggest you read C. P. Snow on The Two Cultures before finalizing anything. Both the science and the values side of the compact between them are broken. Fixing one won’t fix the other and will do little to nothing to the overall problem. Responding to what’s happening with the climate should be as much value- as science-driven. For example, draconian actions to “save the planet” seem to place no value on the lives of the poor.

    I personally find it ironic when my academic friends bemoan the supposed biases of industry, given that the scandals in climate science seem to be all on the academic side.

    • plodinec,

      Responding to what’s happening with the climate should be as much value- as science-driven. For example, draconian actions to “save the planet” seem to place no value on the lives of the poor.

      I disagree. Using a “values approach” just continues the IPCC approach. The yappy left control the agenda and spread their ideology using fear mongering.

      IPCC AR5 WG3, which is supposed to provide factual information on the costs and benefits of climate change, is actually mostly about values and moral arguments and. Chapter 3, which is about the costs and benefits, effectively says there is lack of evidence showing that global warming is harmful. It could be net beneficial.

      Therefore, instead of using “values” arguments, I’d suggest we should stick rigorously to rational economic analyses based on objective, valid information.

      • Yet, in fact, policy making is an exercise in prioritization. That means values necessarily come in – they are the bases for our choices. I agree with you about the yappy left, but that just means that the rest of us have to speak up, otherwise their values will prevail. BTW, I’m a radical moderate – I’ll fight for the Aristotelian mean!

      • plodinec ,

        I agree with you that values are a relevant part of some policy analysis – such as, choosing between socialist or capitalist leaning policies, or public or private funding, or allowing everyone to have guns and shoot each other whenever they feel threatened or insulted. But values does not have a role in rational policy analysis regarding whether or not global warming is a threat, or even net damaging. We need rational, objective analysis to sort that out. It’s not being done and the important relevant research has been neglected for decades. if the work had been don, there’d be no argument – I suspect there;d be no valid case to support the contention GHG emissions are harmful.

  17. I believe some examples on how a scientist decidea what to study can be illuminating – especially those that are truth telling.

    Here is my own example. When I was looking to focus my doctoral fieldwork about urbanization in Latin America, I encountered several policy related possibilities. One such premise revolved around a cause and effect relationship between urbanization causing difficulties in absorbing poor from rural areas, increased squatter settlements and poor infrastructure, and leading to a hotbed of political activity and a fertile ground for communist organizing. That literature was developing in the early 1970s and before.
    My reaction was to shun policy driven research in favor of a theoretical-methodological framework.
    So, from my perspective, there was too much invested in the fight against communism (which is all well and good), but it clouded my ability to ask questions about the social realities of those I studied. Yes, the ‘hotbed’ was there but not in truncated way that the policy community wanted to hear.
    My sense is that the Curry quest to rethink the government / research interface is a good endeavor but will stumble on the truncation process – at the policy end that demands too much precision where complexity, variation and distributional aspects of reality (at this point in time) resists such precision.

    • thanks, i like the wording in your last sentence.

    • “My sense is that the Curry quest to rethink the government / research interface is a good endeavor but will stumble on the truncation process – at the policy end that demands too much precision where complexity, variation and distributional aspects of reality (at this point in time) resists such precision.”

      If that is the case then JC’s suggestion regarding scientists becoming interested in policy would be invaluable if it led to researchers whose findings are being truncated shouting out loudly and publically, “Not in my name!”

  18. A side conversation on this thread caused me to think of three things perhaps relevant to judith

    Firstly it helps no one to believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists are involved in some sort of hoax or conspiracy. Recently Phil jones and several scientists at the Met office plus NOAA and the caitlin survey have been exceptionally helpful to me in obtaining information. Are they sending me information with one hand and pulling the wool over my eyes with the other? I think not.

    Secondly, that in certain aspects of the science nowhere near as much is known of certain subjects as is sometimes claimed.

    Thirdly, even though in science the ‘uncertainty’ monster and his bigger brother the ‘I don’t know the answer’ monster roam iin full view to any observer, highly exaggerated information is still passed on to policy makers leading them to believe they have 5000 or 100 days to save the world. This caused successive British prime ministers to swallow the Very expensive green pill , neglect our energy supplies, try to assume global leadership in the debate (Blair) go off on husky rides (Cameron) or claim there is only a 100 days to save the world (Gordon Brown)

    To our relief Theresa May is far too busy on Brexit to either save the world or dream up new green initiatives.

    Tonyb

    • Tonyb
      I missed commenting to you last week when you spoke of how much helpful information Phil Jones of MET responds to you. But that was not always the case, as when he directed collaborators to delete e mails and defend “the CAUSE”. People can change and it can be greatly appreciated.

      I also don’t believe a deliberate and malicious pooling wool over eyes or thumb on scale occured on a wide scale. But certainly some did and hid or destroyed contradictory data. It is great that the situation is much improved insofar as intergrity and collaboration are concerned but one still must be cautious because of past documented behavier.

      I enjoy your dry as a martini, ironic and iconic comments.
      Scott

      • Scott

        Thank you. Yes, some behaved badly as climategate showed.

        Most have learned their lessons. Phil jones has just retired. He couldn’t be more helpful and as he was a protege of Hubert lamb, whose observations on wind I am trying to find more details of, he is a mine of knowledge and generous with his time.

        Tonyb

    • Tonyb, three excellent observations. On the third, I slightly disagree. TM will have to direct some attention to the 2008 CCA in the two years following March 29 (Article 50 day). Reason is, GWPF and Paul Homewood point out the current plan is to import via non-existant interconnectors 24% of UK electricity by 2025. Brexit has something to do with that, methinks.

      • Rud

        Theresa may has shown little interest in green issues to date.she is keen for the deal with the Chinese to go through regarding nuclear power plants but I suspect that it will be decades before they come to fruition.

        In the meantime we need to put in place real grown up power stations rather than the sporadic windmills or solar panels that generate so little power because of our latitude.

        Governments of all persuasions have kicked the energy can down the road but they can’t put it off any longer. Mind you by 2025 Brexit may actually have happened and if she is stil prime minister she may have had time to deal with other matters.

        I have arranged to go out for a meal next Wednesday the 29 th march which is our independence day as finally clause 50 is triggered.I shall go to a French restaurant drink Italian wine and tip the polish waiter just to show there are no hard feelings and it is the EU we hate, not Europe.
        Tonyb

      • March 29th is also James Hansen’s 76th birthday, so you can celebrate that too. Currently the UK gets significant cross-channel energy from France which has a reliable nuclear supply. I would hope that the UK could accelerate their own nuclear program because I am not sure what deal they can negotiate with France for their energy outside the EU.

      • Jimd

        Unfortunately in 2015 France caught a severe case of ‘greenitis’ which is well known to send people mad.

        They aim to cut nuclear energy from 75% of the energy mix to 50% .

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx

        So whether or not they will have spare energy to sell is debatable. Mind you! with Junkers determined to give Britain a very bad deal so no other inmates follow us out of the madhouse! we may well have invaded the continent by then and seized control of France’s northern reactors as we reassert our right to the French territory held by King Henry.

        We won’t mention any of that though in our letter triggering article 50

        Tonyb

      • What France is doing makes sense. They use nuclear as a stop-gap until other forms can match their reliability and then use them because they are safer. Britain could do likewise. The US has natural gas as a stop-gap and back-up for renewables. The US actually has more nuclear power capacity than France or Japan (who have turned most of theirs off now), but it is a lower percentage of its total than France. Germany made a poor decision not to go nuclear due to Fukushima. It was an overreaction. Hansen and Emanuel favor nuclear and I happen to agree with them.

      • Tonyb
        good points about France. England held large swaths of France in Normandy and the Aquitane during Henry II Plantegenet, I think. What a fascinating time of history. Could we be on the verge of repeating the Northwest conquests of France or is this just tilting at windmills.

        Scott

      • Jim

        What other forms of energy match the reliability of nuclear? To that you must add cost effectiveness and ability to supply energy on a continuous basis. You obviously can’t mean solar or wind so perhaps you are referencing tidal power?

        Unfortunately that technology and any implementation is many years down the road

        Tonyb

      • Further to climatereason’s point. Our nuclear regulator ONR has just begun the Generic Design Assessment for the Chinese HPR1000 reactor: http://www.onr.org.uk/new-reactors/reports/gda-quarterly-report-nov16-jan17.pdf

    • Perhaps a a few hundred modelers in a conspiracy of silence at the core of climate projections.

      “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of (perturbed physics) ensembles of model solutions.

      The IPCC opportunistic ensembles are nothing of the sort and they know it.

    • “Firstly it helps no one to believe that tens of thousands of climate scientists are involved in some sort of hoax or conspiracy.”

      Indeed. And also this touches on the heart of the difficulty Judith is confronting here. Emergent bias driven by emotive reactions to perceived existential issues, and affecting a large swathe of science and society, is much harder to deal with than a mere conspiracy. Every process or institution or safeguard put in place to resist such bias is itself subject to potential warping or takeover, including the law itself. Passionate (and honest) mass belief is far harder to combat than individual dishonesty (some of which will occur in every human enterprise). While transparency, pluralism, integrity, independent oversight and such are useful bolsters against bias, I suspect there is no magic answer to this age-old battle.

  19. I suggest an eleventh recommendation for scientists (which should have been the first, but hey, stuff gets forgotten!) : –

    “Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.”

    Put another way: –

    “It’s not about ends, folks – it’s only ever about means. For God it is about ends, but for humans the means are our only ends.”

  20. I have but one mere suggestion. It seems to me that all scientists should be required to take a Civics Class and a follow-up advanced civics class. Then the link to policy can be established because Civics teaches not only the process but also the mechanics of the political and social process.

    After ;leaving academe in 1993, I was president of a marine consortium and a state sea grant director for three years. I learned the interface “on the job.” I also found that both elected and appointed (staff) people in state legislatures and congressional offices were more than helpful in teaching me the ropes and e had some successes. But in reality, what I learned reminded me of some of what I learned in a civics class in high school.

    One other comment. When taking science to non-scientists, talk about it at a level of a freshman science course and use plain English, not jargon.

    George Devries Klein, PhD, PG, FGSA

  21. I don’t trust any “scientist” who doesn’t carry professional liability insurance. This is what separates the adults from the children.

  22. Unless science is in sync with social objectives it is at risk of policy irrelevance. Economic growth and stability is the key concern of Americans – and more generally liberal (in the international sense) democracies and aspirant peoples globally.

    The alternative urban doofus hipster plan involves social and economic engineering to bring about less wealth and less consumption. Their vision involves narratives of moribund western economies governed by corrupt corporations collapsing under the weight of the internal contradictions – leading to less growth, less material consumption, less CO2 emissions, less habitat destruction and a last late chance to stay within the safe limits of global ecosystems. And this is just in the ‘scholarly’ journals. Social and economic disruption on a massive scale is fundamental to the plan – economic collapse they argue is a transitional opportunity.

    Nor are they short of support in high echelons. ““This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution. That will not happen overnight and it will not happen at a single conference on climate change, be it COP 15, 21, 40 – you choose the number. It just does not occur like that. It is a process, because of the depth of the transformation.” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary UNFCCC

    Of course COP21 was nothing of the sort. It was in fact when the world definitively chose a high growth path regardless of the fuel. Real solutions on emissions are technological, ecological and agricultural. Relevant science builds on those solutions and robust economies deliver.

    On climate we know what the future will bring. Dragon-kings (extreme events) at climate shifts – that may or may not be initiated by greenhouse gases. This is not merely an interesting speculation – the idea is the most modern and powerful in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. Whatever the cause – global hydrological and climate variability – extreme drought, extreme floods and extreme temperature changes such as has not been seen in the past century – will occur again. The next climate shift seems likely within a decade – and the scope and direction are intrinsically unknowable. Dragon-kings in Chinese mythology – four of them in coral castles guarded by crab generals and shrimp soldiers – bring us floods and droughts at their whim.

    I would be the last to suggest that there isn’t more uncertainty in a system with the internal dynamics of Earth’s climate – and much more scope for severe and rapid change than a 2 degree warming target – amidst other impossible things – implies. The solution, such as it is, is to build prosperous and resilient communities. As the biblical Joseph tells us – to avoid catastrophe in the times of need requires a wise and honest person to manage things in the times of abundance. Global economic growth provides resources not just for the technological innovations on electricity (26% of global greenhouse gas emissions) and liquid fuels (13%) that are inevitable but also to fuel the creative destruction of capitalism that transforms productive systems. The other sources of greenhouse gases, and black carbon, are a messy human problem of management of the global commons. They are solved by the most modern theories and models of human behaviour in the broader context of development, population, technology, agricultural production and environmental conservation and restoration.

  23. Dr Curry
    Your point # 9 – What is required in satellite based observation.

    In my opinion there is a real need for real time (or as close as possible) abservation of the heigth and density of the of the tropopause. Importantly, is the movement caused by the temperature movement below or above, as this has considerable impacts on atmospheric circulation.

    This will open a new door of understanding relating to atmospheric circulation and the consequences of rapid atmospheric movement.

    The OCO-2 satellite images appear to have been too challenging, but at least a real visual record exists.The only outcome so far is an increase in sales of Panadol head ache relief.

  24. Judith

    What can climate science provide to “Policy Makers” that is more reliable than their looking at the historical records?

    Can the science reliably predict significant changes in rainfall patterns at regional or local levels for say the next 5 decades? What can “climate science” actually predict reliably over what timeframe that is meaningful over the next 50 years?

    • “Can the science reliably predict significant changes in rainfall patterns at regional or local levels for say the next 5 decades?”

      No:

      North American Climate in CMIP5 Experiments: Part III: Assessment of 21st Century Projections

      “Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 is a scenario of long-term, global emissions of greenhouse gases, short-lived species, and land-use-land- cover which stabilizes radiative forcing at 4.5 Watts per meter squared (W m- 2, approximately 650 ppm CO2-equivalent) in the year 2100 without ever exceeding that value.”

      “We have examined 21st Century projections of NA climate in CMIP5 models under the
      761 RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. …

      “Although many projected changes in NA climate are robust across CMIP5 models, substantial disagreement in some areas helps to define priorities for future research.”

      “The sign of mean precipitation changes across the southern U.S. is inconsistent among models. Models disagree on annual mean precipitation changes in the NA monsoon region. Models disagree on snow water equivalent changes on a regional basis, especially in transitional regions where competing effects occur due to greater snowfall and warming temperatures.”

  25. I work in this area. It seems to me the starting point is upskilling the policy side in managing risk under uncertainty. Best practice policy analysis identifies for the politicians the uncertainty and the risks in an even-handed way, and where uncertainty is high it includes in its portfolio of responses steps to reduce that uncertainty (and steps to manage the risks of acting precipitously).

    I’m less sure about the desire to reform science and its role in advocacy. People will be advocates, particularly if they spend their lives immersed in a field. The check on that is that the political system and to a lesser extent the public recognise lobbyist for what they are worth and either uses them or ignores them as it suits, as some climate scientists turned lobbyists are discovering.

    The issue for the science system is the allocation of funding, both the amount that goes into an area and who gets it within that area.

    The trick here is to reduce the extent of the bottom-up selections (that can be and are captured by narrow discipline elites) and instead have a top down framework that is explicitly policitcal and driven by wider political goals. Thus (for example) goals to enhance economic growth and reduce poverty should sit alongside environmental considerations in any research funding strategy, and as I’ve noted emphasis should be given to reducing the uncertainty rather than simply projecting the extremes of it forward for little useful purpose ( a high volume of current research in climate science).

    I should add that the above should not be interpreted as diminishing the importance of opportunities to do work driven by scientific excellence and curiosity. The above comments deal with where the government is seeking to fund applied research.

    • What you have described is the way the UN operates. It has its UN Development Program with a goal to reduce global poverty and increase health and the UN Environmental Program that has some close overlaps in goals. Most people would agree with the UNDP’s sustainable development goals. Some of these have scientific needs.
      http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals.html

      • Curious George

        “Best practice policy analysis identifies for the politicians the uncertainty and the risks in an even-handed way.” How does that work? Is a UNFCCC – founded science better than a tobacco-industry founded science?

      • Of course, the UN has no financial interest in the outcome of their science. Their success is measured by their SDGs which should be the goals of all of us.

      • Curious George

        The UNFCCC objective is to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.

      • …and not just for fun, but because they care about all the global communities that are critically affected by climate change.

      • Most people would certainly nor agree with UN goals on practically anything.

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

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

        And the UN sustainable development goals are a grab bag of 169 objectives formulated by special interest groups – many of which have benefits less that the cost. And which they seek to impose regardless of the impact on people. The example is Greenpeace and the Sierra Club opposing fossil fueled energy development in Africa. It is classically the well meaning idealist descent into darkness.

        The alternative is unilateral foreign aid spending on 19 important goals that have a cost benefit/cost ratios greater than 15. Including opening up trade. The difference is between considered policy and interest group enthusiasms.

        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/post-2015-consensus/nobel-laureates-guide-smarter-global-targets-2030

        So no we are not on board – but chart a more humane and ultimately sustainable path.

      • So your objection to the UN’s SDG is to pick some from them and prioritize them? Fine with me. Everyone can pick their own priorities according to their own preferences, just as long as you support carrying them through too.

      • No Jimmy – the choice is between wasting scarce aid and achieving thde highest value objectives. I don’t support wasting money on special interest group enthusiasms.

        “An Expert Panel including two Nobel Laureates has reviewed this research and identified 19 targets that represent the best value-for-money in development over the period 2016 to 2030, offering more than $15 back on every dollar invested.”
        http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/expert_outcome_one_pages_combined.pdf

        We can discuss what taxing pollution from energy means if you like.
        I don’t have any problems discouraging particulates, ozone and sulphate emissions – for which there are technological fixes.

      • OK, good to hear.

      • Any way you agree with SDGs is just great. Some would just question anything the UN says needs doing on principle, but you even support some stuff. Good.

      • you haven’t quite got it Jimmy – UN crap – Copenhagen Consensus best ways of not completely wasting $2.5 trillion we are spending anyway better.

        Trade and economic growth are still overwhelmingly the ways to reduce poverty.

      • Trump is a fan of zero help for developing countries or anything the UN does, so from the US perspective this is a moot point.

      • David Springer

        Sustainable development goals can all be easily achieved by zero or negative population growth, right? That way technological progress continues and raises living standards because the dividends accumulate to a fixed number of beneficiaries. In other words the boat gets bailed out faster than it refills.

        Many nations today have flat or negative population growth. Why don’t we identify those, figure out why, and what we do to get that to happen for all nations?

      • Per capita emissions also increase with development, so you don’t get out of the problem that way. The development has to include per capita reductions in emissions, and that is possible with modernizing energy and fuel.

      • David Springer

        Let’s get started here. Any patterns or regional issues, good or bad, evident to you?

      • David Springer

        Let’s get started here. Any patterns or regional issues, good or bad, evident to you?

    • upskilling the policy side — I like it. interesting point also about bottom-up and top-down

      • xx. While federal funding for implementation may rightfully target a certain action, or industry which may prove a wise investment, the framing of priorities and policies should not exclude the necessary development of legal and practical solutions. Where there are widespread uncertainties and debate, stakeholder concerns must be included and the issues addressed, and not ignored.

        Several comments have pointed out some of the fundamental failings of the present process such as the need for upskilling. Others have pointed out another that has the same result as lack of skill, but is different. The result is product failure. The cause is abandonment of a working system in order to meet political values. The working system historically been a required stakeholder involvement.

        In the environmental area, government Departments have bypassed or ignored such stakeholders as industry, states, and engineers in order to obtain a desired result. The Clean Power Plan, ozone rules, renewables have had fundamental issues with capability, legal and physical. An example is the CPP, where the law is pretty straight forward. The CAA and amendments were about sources, and applied to those sources. The requirement for implementation was to the source, not the requirement to build another source to offset emissions. Renewables have their problems of cost, use, environmental damage, and at this point are not practical. The real problems are caused by bypassing a working system in the desire for a result in spite of legalities or practicalities. Reducing the stakeholders involvement, creates an adverse group that will be able to oppose policy in the present and in the future. Especially with the likelihood of problems occurring when formulating policy from science with large uncertainties.

  26. Embrace science as an iterative process, not a collection of ‘facts.’

    The process is advocated because it produces the best facts, that is it produces the closest approximations to the truths that we seek. An important part of the process is the rigorous testing of claims that certain propositions can be taken as “facts”, either best approximations or even “good enough” approximations. An important part of the history of science is the long list of claims that did not survive the tests, leading to the caution that untested claims can not be regarded as “facts”.

    A part of the problem of the CO2 debate is that some claims were made before they had been tested, such as the claim that warming since 1880 or so had harmed plant life, that increased atmospheric CO2 would harm marine organisms that use CO2 derivatives as constituent materials, or hurricane energy transfer had increased dramatically. In common terms, some scientists jumped to baseless conclusions and advocated policies before much of the process had been carried out.

    In our republic, Congress is the interface between science and policy. When scientists take it upon themselves to exaggerate in their public policy writings or testimony to Congress, Congress will stop believing them. But working out policy will always be a messy and time-consuming process.

  27. “9. Funding priorities in climate research that support fundamental observing systems (surface and satellite-based), fundamental climate dynamics research and research to improve short-term climate predictions (sub-seasonal to interannual) would support improved climate modeling systems and lay the foundations for disruptive advances in our understanding of the climate system and our ability to predict emergent phenomena such as abrupt climate change.”

    With the current state of US politics, this is an area where Judith may be able to make a difference with a well worded letter to key committee members like Smith and Cruz, because Trump is basically zeroing out these types of programs and they need defending rather than defunding. These influential committee chairs may listen to Judith more than to someone like Titley or Schmidt and certainly not Mann or Hansen, and I think they can protect the programs given the right argument. If you can put in a word for EPA and DOE science, that would be great too.

    • She holds no sway at all… try for once to figure it out. She’s been used.

      • You may be right. The framing of the letter would be important. It can’t be just to forward climate change knowledge. That would be a killer for these committee chairs. It has to be something along the lines of more observations could help to disprove what the IPCC said. Christy and Spencer could plead their case for satellites too. Perhaps they can focus more on looking for greening and just not mention melting ice and sea-level observations.

  28. Judith, many of your proposed points seem helpful to me. Yet once they are established, if that can be managed, what is to stop them being eroded again when new contentious science prompts culture behaviors writ large (e.g. like the climate change domain) or small (e.g. like the consensus on saturated fats)?

    The law has battled to stay independent of cultural waves for much longer, and maybe this is where to look for guidance on ways to resist or mitigate short-term (years to decades) detrimental cultural waves. So perhaps:

    Separate the oversight of science from the state (and hence from universities too as I guess these are often arms of the state). Like the judiciary.

    Prevent the oversight institution from commenting on science except where it makes specific considered recommendations. Again like the judiciary.

    Give the oversight institution teeth regarding government or corporate science that has social impact, yet make the institution the servant of society, not of themselves like the current scientific societies, or the government or corporations.

    Scientists above a certain level, whether employed by the state or the private sector, must obey a protocol when engaging the media, which allows only such information as is necessary to educate the public regarding the science process (similar to lawyers and the legal process), yet not advocate for any outcome of socially conflicted science in progress. This is similar to your recommendation, but promoted to a professional necessity not a just a guide.

    The institution must decide which science follows social protocol (e.g. stem cell research and climate science, practically anything medical), and which does not need to (I presume black hole research and new silicon devices, most materials science). Also whether and how much Red Team effort must be adopted.

    Where statistics is involved (in much science it seems), the institution frequently audits, via independent analysis by house statisticians who do not know what the data represents.

    Funding the system should I guess come from private and public sector.

    The institution has no power whatsoever to declare any science right or wrong, of course, only to say whether process has been appropriately followed, or inappropriate bias has occurred.

    One can’t slavishly follow the law domain I guess, in another overlapping domain doctors and surgeons have strict protocols to maintain patient confidentiality, and theoretically also objectivity regarding only the best interests of the patient, so another place to look.

    These are just thoughts right off the top of my head and not well considered, they may get shot down. But ultimately it is cultural bias that is the enemy. Science as a process is generally approved of by all, and hence there should be support for its independence and protection as a hugely useful tool of society. Only particular scientific findings are in dispute and subject to bias; each political or other cultural group is pro the science it likes (values alignment), but anti the science it doesn’t like (value clash).

    • Curious George

      Andy – a great idea. But even the law is not flawless. I am not a lawyer, but a “deep pocket” doctrine looks very wrong. Then McDonald’s has to pay a million to one Stella because they sold her a coffee that was hot. She did not order lukewarm coffee.

      I assume that you refer to a U.S. legal system. It is no longer about what is right and what is wrong; it wades through a morass of technicalities. Recently a federal judge blocked an Executive Order on immigration, without even bothering to refer to an underlying law.

      • Indeed the law is subject to issues and flaws too. Not least litigious culture, particularly in the US. And no judge is completely free of bias. Yet speaking generically the law has a long tradition of resisting cultural bias, and notwithstanding mixed success, probably better process for doing so than any other function in society. It is also formally iterative, via the appeals process, hence there’s more chance of zeroing in on justice after a couple of swings. Maybe this could also be adopted for investigation of the science process (not the answers!) in socially conflicted domains.

    • thanks andy your points about governance of all this point to some important issues

    • “Scientists above a certain level, whether employed by the state or the private sector, must obey a protocol when engaging the media, which allows only such information as is necessary to educate the public regarding the science process (similar to lawyers and the legal process), yet not advocate for any outcome of socially conflicted science in progress.”

      <– Much disinformation is put out in press releases written by communications specialists who are employed by universities. Scientists do not write their own press releases. Most journalists never read beyond the press release.

      • A good point. But in my admittedly limited direct experience in this area, the Marcom and Press people never write what literally doesn’t exist in the material initially given to them. They pretty much always simplify, may well exaggerate, and even misframe (although the latter is generally caused by misunderstanding rather than deliberate motive, and can be corrected in iterative passes, which in my experience always occur). Yet in the corporate domain I’ve occupied at least, the originator of the material always has veto; I don’t know whether this is the same for universities. But for sure any protocol for socially conflicted science must include the entire chain via which communications are created, not just the scientists themselves. And for universities this also comes back to their level of independence and funding arrangements; biased press releases are in part a result of the need to attract more (typically government) funding.

  29. It is a waste of time Dr. Curry, this is not a business or sociopolitical issue; It is a scientific matter. It is either right or wrong, and we know that the science is and has been way too wrong. I do not see how you can build bridges between the climate scientists and the public or their representatives in government.

    • Nabilswedan, what is presented as science may be right or wrong or it may not be science at all. The prime example is the publication of papers setting out to prove the hypothesis correct or assuming it to be true.

  30. Quote: Science as a process is generally approved of by all, and hence there should be support for its independence and protection as a hugely useful tool of society.

    Yes, that was Judith’s point #1. What Judith left unsaid was who is to do the embracing. Scientists deserving of the name have been disturbingly silent as the good name of science has been damaged. Those who claim but do not deserve the title of scientists will not easily relinquish their titles.

  31. The science policy/interface may not improve until someone fixes the media translator.

  32. =={ Universities need new incentive structures for faculty members working in scientific fields … }==

    Speaking of facile assumptions about incentives for academics…. since John Ioannidis is a fav among many “skeptics.”

    A paper describing the work will be published online March 20 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The lead author is Stanford senior research scientist Daniele Fanelli, PhD, and the senior author is John Ioannidis MD, DSc, professor of medicine and of health research and policy.
    […]

    On the other hand, studies by highly cited authors who published frequently were not more affected by bias than average. Research by men was no more likely to show bias than that of women. And scientists in countries with very strong incentives to publish, such as the United States, didn’t seem to have more bias than studies from countries where the pressure was less..

    • ‘There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and analytical modes; when there is greater financial and other interest and prejudice; and when more teams are involved in a scientific field in chase of statistical significance. Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.’

      http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124

      In the ‘canonisation of false facts’ – Josh is a trendsetter.

  33. Fortunately most science isn’t as politically charged as climate science, otherwise the starting point for many of Dr. Curry’s ideas to succeed would first require the step of establishing diversity through political affirmative action for faculty hires, not feasible within a reasonable timeframe, if at all. Without political diversity in the sciences it would be difficult for climate science to cultivate ideas 7-8. Alternatively it’s just as important to have fair minded politicians managing grant appropriations so that a hypothesis is fully challenged. Politicians only want the truth to be told, right?

    Cynically, without diversity, it seems that politically sensitive sciences will forever be in the hands of politicians and those scientists aligned who can help sculpt a narrative. There will always be honest brokers, but If you’re dealing with policy, often built on the back of beliefs, or wants, then advocacy is the end game; science in this light is a powerful tool to stamp policy with a pedigree of it being unreproachable, it trumps truth.

    Little to no diversity to facilitate challenge equals no science.

  34. The government needs to create a set of standards for climate research the government would consider when creating policy. There is a parallel to consider already when a government policy is issued regarding education research. There should be something similar for climate research. In other words, only high level gold standard research will be considered. The following link sends the reader to a well defined set of standards that must be part of the research design before it will be considered instructive towards policy making at the state and school district level. In climate there is a lot of chaf research that should be dismissed. A set of standards will help governing bodies only consider results from gold standard research designs.

    https://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/Docs/referenceresources/wwc_procedures_v3_0_standards_handbook.pdf

    • Pamela Gray,

      Which government should set the standards? The ideological Left who want to us to believe the world will end if we don’t join their religion, or the rational Right?

  35. First, I confess I was not able to read all the replies here. So apology in advance if I duplicate earlier comments.

    While the guidelines suggested by JC seem eminently reasonable, politics is not a reasonable environment. This may well a notably more unreasonable period than times in the past. The degree of polarization is certainly more extreme and abrasive than it was at some other times in the past. But in any event, when politics does get raucous — as it inevitably does now and then — reasonable guidelines are unlikely to hold up.

    Based on long observation and experience, I suggest a general principle to guide the quest for a solution to politicized science: Science is prone to being more politicized when the stakes are higher.

    The pertinent ‘stakes’ may involve money, freedom, cultural values or identity, security, survival, or authority. Any of these entail the use or efficacy of power. And Lord Acton’s apothegm applies: “All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

    If sufficiently powerful interests seek to conscript science — which is to say scientists — to serve their purposes,it is unlikely that science and many scientists will effectively resist.

    What then can be done?

    I suggest an answer may be found in the way policy has often handled other, stubborn forms of sin: Labeling.

    Consider tobacco as an example. Prohibition of tobacco use proving socially infeasible, an entity more or less independent of either tobacco merchants or their adversaries dictates that a warning label is applied to each package, alerting the consumer to the tangible possibility that use of the product may sicken or kill them.

    JD Power rates the reliable and customer satisfaction delivered by various products and services by customer surveys. Morningstar gives investors evaluations of the risk and rewards from various financial products. A variety of websites provide customer ratings and reviews of many products and services. And so on.

    Now I realize that the process of identifying risk and labeling it is not pristine. It sometimes relies on science itself. But resting on the principle of ‘caveat emptor’ it leaves people free to ‘buy’ what is being offered, or not.

    So a step forward to address the problem JC raises here might be to convene an independent body of respected individuals or diverse backgrounds to identify and rate the degree to which particular fields of science are politicized — that is prone to being influenced by forces external to the science itself. Note that it should not be the mission to judge the direction in which output of the scientific work may be skewed, but just the degree. This may help consumers judge how reliable the pronouncement of the science are.

    It should be evident that the more independent the judges are from the research and particular political interests that are involved, the more robust the rating of political distortion is likely to be seen by users.

    I have no illusions that this solution is ideal. To the extent the body of judges has significant impact, that will instill it with power. And power corrupts.

    That leads us back to the Roman poet Juvenal’s question: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Who will watch the watchers?

    • I don’t agree with this approach. It will be taken over by the Eco-evangelists, like everything else.

      What is needed instead is for economists to step up and do the analyses of the costs and benefits of GHG emissions and of proposed policies – including stating the uncertainties on their results. They will demand the relevant input data needed from scientists and other disciplines: e.g. ECS, projected emissions rates, total available fossil fuels, damage function, participation rate, discount rate.

      I suspect if these analyses were done rationally and objectively, they would show clearly GHG emissions are not a problem we need to be concerned about. That is, GHG emissions and global warming is more likely to do no harm, or be net beneficial, on balance across the World economy and for the world population’s well-being.

      • Maybe they need to do an exercise which includes serious engineering, cost estimating, project planning, etc just for a couple of countries, say Jamaica and Pakistan? I find it sort of funny to see so many comments which jump from ivory tower science to economic models and skip over the critical items. They also need to get their feet wet trying an exercise on a few well defined nations to see what they learn about the work processes involved. I’m afraid that most individuals and organizations trying to develop policy just don’t know how to get the numbers to inform their decisions.

      • Fernando.

        Nothing rational can be done to evaluate the positive or negative overall impacts of global warming until we have a valid damage function. This requires a quantification of economic impacts per degree of global warming. As IPCC Ar5 WG3 points out, minimal research has been done into this most basic information needed for rational policy advice. You won’t get anything useful by your suggested approach.

      • I agree with Peter Lang on CBA. Enviros have tried to discredit CBA big time for the last 30 years with the “precautionary principle” and its derivatives such as the “precautionary approach” (sic). Billionaire foundations spend big to support green spin doctors who promote notions like “renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuel”, and “Portugal / Germany / Denmark / Costa Rica / blah now run on renewable energy so everyone must do it”.

        Cost benefit is akin to garlic, the cross and stake all in one to enviros.

      • Peter, I don’t really want them to estimate the cost of global warming. I want them to work out what it will involve to take Jamaica and Pakistan to zero emissions in say 80 years. That of course requires sounder cost estimates than they have ever done. And it’s easy to show what it costs using today’s technology extrapolated reasonably. I think the exercise will show its crazy to spend much on it.

      • Fernando,

        I want them to work out what it will involve to take Jamaica and Pakistan to zero emissions in say 80 years.

        Why do you want that? What is the rational justification for it? If we don’t know that GHG emissions are damaging – and we don’t – there is no rational justification to support such a hugely expensive undertaking as you are advocating.

      • I don’t think doing the cost estimate and planning study for Jamaica will cost more than ten million u$$$ds

      • So, you want Jamaica to waste ten million u$$$ds with no rational justification other than you want it?

      • Robin Guenier

        “It is a a key part of what I am arguing.”

        Which, if we’re right, means that much of this thread may be interesting – but, from a global perspective, it’s of limited (if any) practical importance.

      • Robin Guenier

        (This was intended to be a response to Peter Lang.)

      • Robin,

        I don’t understand what point you are trying to make and I suspect you haven’t understood my point.

        I agree with you that the vast majority of the world population couldn’t care less about the west’s CAGW obsession. I doubt 1% of the world’s adult population (i.e. 50 million people) would support spending money on policies to try to change the climate (if given the choice).

        However, I disagree with the point you seem to be trying to make – i.e. that debating and trying to influence the public, media, scientists and policy makers in the west about the importance of doing rational economic analyses and using CBA is irrelevant. I am trying to make the point that estimating the global economic impact of global warming GHG emissions and mitigation policies is extremely important.

        I don’t know whether you understand how important it is.

        IEA recently released a report saying it would require a carbon price of $190/ t CO2 to achieve the Paris Agreement: http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/Perspectives_for_the_Energy_Transition_2017.pdf .

        However, world participation in carbon pricing is currently 12%. EU participation is 49%. If that is all that EU can achieve in decades of EU ETS, what chance is there of the world achieving 80% to 100% participation rate. The answer is NONE!!!

        No consider the cost penalty to participants to achieve a given global reduction in GHG emissions when participation is less than 100%:

        Participants in the carbon pricing scheme would have to pay 3.5 times more than they would if all countries participated and all GHG sources were included. Figure derived from: Nordhaus, 2008, “A Question of Balance” (6), Chapter VI, p118, and Nordhaus ‘Lab notes specification of participation function’ (7), p33

        At 12% participation rate the cost penalty to participants is 45 times. Therefore, if the required carbon price to achieve the Paris Agreement is $190/t CO2 at 100% participation, then the price for participants at 12% participation would be $190/t CO2 x 45 = $22,800/t CO2.

        At 20% participation, the participants would have to pay penalty of 18 times . the carbon price for participants would be $190/t CO2 x 18 = $3,420/t CO2.

        Caveat: I do not know that the IEA estimate of $190/t CO2 is based on 100% participation rate.

      • [Repost with corrected formatting]

        Robin,

        I don’t understand what point you are trying to make and I suspect you haven’t understood my point.

        I agree with you that the vast majority of the world population couldn’t care less about the west’s CAGW obsession. I doubt 1% of the world’s adult population (i.e. 50 million people) would prioritise spending money on policies to try to change the climate over their own immediate needs (if given the choice).

        However, I disagree with the point you seem to be trying to make – i.e. that debating and trying to influence the public, media, scientists and policy makers in the west about the importance of doing rational economic analyses and using CBA is irrelevant. I am trying to make the point that estimating the global economic impact of global warming GHG emissions and mitigation policies is critically important for justifying public expenditure on policies.

        I not sure whether you understand how important it is. To add some explanation and quantification:

        IEA recently released a report saying it would require a carbon price of $190/ t CO2 to achieve the Paris Agreement: http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/Perspectives_for_the_Energy_Transition_2017.pdf .

        However, world participation in carbon pricing is currently just 12%. EU participation is just 49%. If that is all the EU can achieve after decades of operating the EU ETS, what chance is there of the world achieving 80% to 100% participation rate. The answer is NONE!!!

        Now consider the cost penalty to participants to achieve a given global reduction in GHG emissions when participation is less than 100%:

        Participants in the carbon pricing scheme would have to pay 3.5 times more than they would if all countries participated and all GHG sources were included. Figure derived from: Nordhaus, 2008, “A Question of Balance” (6), Chapter VI, p118, and Nordhaus ‘Lab notes specification of participation function’ (7), p33

        At 12% participation rate the cost penalty to participants is 45 times the price at 100% participation. Therefore, if the required carbon price to achieve the Paris Agreement is $190/t CO2 at 100% participation, then the price for participants at 12% participation would be $190/t CO2 x 45 = $22,800/t CO2.

        At 20% participation, the participants would have to pay penalty of 18 times . the carbon price for participants would be $190/t CO2 x 18 = $3,420/t CO2.

        Caveat: I do not know that the IEA estimate of $190/t CO2 is calculated assuming 100% participation rate.

      • Robin Guenier

        Peter:

        I wholly agree that it’s critically important to try to justify the West’s public expenditure on climate change in the light of our best estimates of the likely impact on our economy of what may happen elsewhere in the world. But your carbon price example – demonstrating the vast penalty that would be incurred by minority participants – illustrates I believe, not the value of developing or discussing the details of a carbon price “solution” (which is a typical item of discussion on this thread), but the absurdity of our even trying to participate in a scheme which is of no interest to most of the world and which is of dubious benefit anyway. It’s that kind of discussion that I regard as being of possible interest but limited practical importance. That would not be true of a discussion that truly tried to get to grips with how the world’s intentions regarding climate change might impact on us.

      • Robin

        You seem to still miss the point. You seem to be starting from a premise that global warming is dangerous. The point I am making is we don’t know that. There is a lack of evidence to support that contention. That is the key point you seem to have not picked up from the comments I’ve been making. Do I need to give you links again?

        Start with my 12 comments starting here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/11/25/week-in-review-science-and-policy-edition-3/#comment-826495

        Then this: https://judithcurry.com/2017/01/29/the-threat-of-climate-change/#comment-836115

        And other comments on that thread.

      • Robin Guenier

        You seem to be starting from a premise that global warming is dangerous.”

        No, Peter, I’m not. I’m a lawyer, not a scientist – it would be arrogant of me to claim to know whether it’s dangerous or not – or indeed whether it’s predominantly man-made. However, I find it interesting that Chinese scientists (judging by views expressed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and by some senior officials) would appear to be unconvinced that mankind is responsible for global warming.

        In that context, you may find this interesting: https://ipccreport.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/note-on-paris-agreement.pdf

        I’d welcome your comments.

    • Lewis J. Perelman,

      Would you agree that for climate policies to succeed they must be maintained until the job is done?

      If we accept that global warming will be a net negative impact for the global economy and human well-being (I don’t accept that, but will proceed on that assumption for the sake of argument here), policies will have to be sustainable for many decades to a century. And they will have to be sustainable universally – i.e. all countries must remain committed. For this to be achieved, the policies will need to be seen to be delivering benefits in virtually all countries over all time periods.

      At the moment there is a lack of evidence to support the premise that global warming is dangerous or even and overall negative. Until that is addressed and people can fully understand that the evidence is valid, I can’t see that a majority of people in most countries will support hugely economically damaging climate policies.

  36. stevefitzpatrick

    Hi Judith,
    The task you have set for yourself is a difficult one, especially considering the level of distrust that critics of climate science have toward climate scientists. The truth is that most people who enter the field are already highly motivated to ‘save the Earth’; they are by no means representative of the general populace, and they are strongly inclined to be advocates for reducing CO2 emissions. The substantial uncertainty in sensitivity only facilitates advocacy…. and calls for public policy based on the worst case scenario. Advocate scrientists and large uncertainty are a toxic combination if your objective is sensible public policies. The scientists are not going to change (they will remain advocates), so reduced uncertainty is the only real path to sensible policy. And that means focusing on the areas where incertainty is greatest: aerosol effects and to a lesser extent ocean heat uptake. These two dominate the total uncertainty; reduce them by a factor of three, and empirical sensitivity estimates will be good enough that public consensus become far more likely. Science is poorly equipted to answer political questions, but that is what climate science has bee trying to do since the late 1980’s. Only better empirical data will move this issue out of the sphere of science and into the sphere of politics .politics… where it belongs.

    • Stevefitzpatrick,

      And that means focusing on the areas where incertainty is greatest: aerosol effects and to a lesser extent ocean heat uptake. These two dominate the total uncertainty

      Wrong! These are not the greatest uncertainty. the greatest uncertainty is the impacts of warming and increasing CO2 concentrations. We don’t know if increasing CO2 concentrations and global warming are net beneficial or net harmful. Until that major issue is resolved there is no rational justification for policy to reduce emissions.

    • thx, i like this statement “Advocate scientists and large uncertainty are a toxic combination if your objective is sensible public policies.”

    • An addendum here is that if a culture gets a strong enough grip in a domain (which is enabled to happen in the first place through a wide window of uncertainty spawning emotive projections with high selective value), then this culture will cause a change in perception of uncertainty. Hence the flood of authority messaging about the certainty of imminent calamity.The high selective value encourages advocacy, which finds its ultimate expression in a certainty of calamity.

  37. Although we might be able to make some improvements in the science, I see the problem lying heavily with the politicians. When I hear some of the things coming out of their mouths, I realize that they are completely at the mercy of their own staff experts and whatever resonates with their constituents. Between their ignorance and their cowardice, I have little hope that their policymaking will improve.

    • No. There is not valid, rational persuasive case to justify the belief that GHG emissions are damaging. If you believe there is, show me.

      [Understand this is about impacts, not climate science!]

      • I think you are overstating your case, here. I believe there are several rational, scientifically well-founded justifications for such a belief. If there weren’t, the warmistas would be treated like nut jobs. One is founded on the fact that they do have a warming effect which, in the aggregate, can be expected to lead to higher sea levels. In some areas, that would be devastating. Another is the non-warming effect: ocean acidification. If this disturbs the food chain in a negative way, that is potentially a huge amount of “damage”.
        You might not think the arguments for these effects are valid, and you may be right. But there are a lot of smart people who are concerned, and the potential problem gets a hell of a lot of money thrown at it, which is a pretty good indicator that powerful, intelligent people take it seriously. The arguments are simple and plausible. Are they “valid”? I have no idea. But in the real world, that is only one consideration–perception counts just as much.

      • Wrecktafire,

        One is founded on the fact that they do have a warming effect which, in the aggregate, can be expected to lead to higher sea levels. In some areas, that would be devastating. Another is the non-warming effect: ocean acidification. If this disturbs the food chain in a negative way, that is potentially a huge amount of “damage”.

        Your assertions about the impacts of sea level rise are statements of your beliefs, not statements of fact.

        Sea level rise will be very slow. The rate infrastructure changes and the rate people immigrate to find better life far exceeds the rate of change of sea level rise. Figure 3 here https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0613-3#page-1 shows that global warming would be net beneficial to at least 4C GMST increase (excluding energy cost, which may well be wrong). The cost of sea level rise for the World is estimated to be negligible – US $200 billion in 2100 for a o.5 m sea level rise by 2100.

        The impacts of acidification are highly uncertain.

        If you want to support your point that GHG emissions or GW will produce negative rather than positive impacts you need to refute Tol 2013 Figure 3.

  38. Since I strongly believe that the Global Warming theory is strongly influenced by money and power better science will not be an option. The snake oil salesman will not accept science that says his product is worthless, nor will the climate scientists accept that they are using junk science to produce fear mongering.

  39. Judith.

    Regarding climate science, the main issues I suggest need to be fixed are:

    1. Scientists need to recognize that science cannot provide policy analysts with the relevant information they need for rational policy analysis. Engineers and other disciplines provide costs of projects and economists estimate the overall economic benefit or cost of global warming or cooling, and the costs and benefits of proposed policies. Scientists feed the required information to these and other disciplines so economists can provide the relevant information needed for rational policy analysis. It seems most climate scientists do not understand how they fit into the process.

    2. Too many climate scientists allow their ideological beliefs to influence their research. For example, when researching the impacts of climate change, they are inherently inclined towards studying and reporting on the negative impacts and tend to ignore studies that show the positive impacts. There are few studies into the positive impacts of global warming.

    3. An excessive proportion of research funding is used for modelling instead of data collection and analysis. The proportion needs to be substantially towards data collection – especially data collection to derive, justify and validate the damage functions needed for estimating the benefits or damages of global warming/cooling. This is the most important area of climate science needed to justify “climate policies”.

  40. In the US, the majority of the scientists, scientific societies, industries, and public believe we should reduce emissions, but 0% of the Republican congress members would agree. The problem is squarely with the nonrepresentativeness of the “representatives”. When you can swing some Republicans that mental roadblock is lifted, and then some science can be discussed without wasting the time of the scientists on this brickwall of a congress. Now similar politicized anti-science attitudes at the top will also hamper science at the DOE, NASA, NOAA and the EPA. It is naive to assume that there is an interface to be improved when that interface is actually an impermeable wall on the policymaker side. They have their minds made up and science is not going to be a factor.

    • Jim D: In the US, the majority of the scientists, scientific societies, industries, and public believe we should reduce emissions, but 0% of the Republican congress members would agree.

      BUT:

      TA March 15, 2017 at 1:50 pm [from WUWT]
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-15/republicans-break-ranks-with-pledge-to-fight-climate-change

      Republicans Break Ranks With Pledge to Fight Climate Change

      “Seventeen conservative Republican members of Congress—10 of them in their first or second terms—are bucking long-time party positions and the new occupant of the White House. They announced on Wednesday that they’re supporting a clear statement about the risks associated with climate change, as well as principles for how best to fight it.”

  41. IMHO, the key is transparency.

    If standards for scientific transparency were set and enforced, the dishonest brokers who tailor their results would be more obvious than they are now. Obviously, this comes at a cost, but when the policy implications are extremely costly, there is no excuse for any opacity at all.

    As much as I hate to conclude with a bumper sticker: “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. Justice Louis Brandeis

  42. Social science research is needed to analyze ways of incorporating scientific understanding with all of its uncertainties into complex decision making related to wicked problems.

    When “social science” (i.e. fake science) is involved, how do policy analysis distinguish fact from ideological belief?

    • There is a branch of sociology called the sociology of science that hasn’t yet been corrupted. I also goes by the name of Science and Technology Studies (STS), IIRC.

      • How is it relevant? What can sociology tell us about whether or not global warming or CO2 emissions are net beneficial or net damaging for the world economy and human well-being up to say 4C increase in GMST?

        I suggest is nothing valid and relevant.

  43. – The problem seems to be politics corrupting science and not the other way round. Actually the scientific method was invented to immunize truth-seekers from bias. So no. 6 above is a good idea. Banning scientists from involvement in politics were a good idea. It will not work but should perhaps nevertheless be made into some kind of standard. Perhaps there will be a new fundamentalist scientific movement of that kind at some point. Call it scientific protestantism.

    – The problem occurs mostly with complex issues. Perhaps it should be made clear that reasonable complexity reduction of complex matters is in general impossible. So don’t ask scientists to supply simple policy ready answers. There are none.

    – The best policy makers can do in dealing with complex issues may be to simply keep society efficient so that it can mobilize resources if actual problems arise. Currently they’re falling over each other to do the opposite.
    No idea how to pay for social security promises and pensions in ten years time but busy throwing money after a questionable project supposedly cooling the climate by a tenth of a degree in 100y by as yet unknown means.

  44. It should be mentioned that the media have in principle a major role in policy discussion processes. It should be their vocation to critically monitor whats going on an to give a comprehensive picture of arguments and counterarguments and facts and alternative facts (what a fruitful concept !).
    Their complete failure on this task in a supposedly free society is a major disgrace. What’s the sense of freedom of press if it is isn’t put to use?
    Then why fight totalitarianism at all?

    • Whenever the media has tried to give a hearing to the skeptical side, it has been battered by protests from its readership (e.g., PBS’s interview of Anthon*), accusations of providing “false balance” (because consensus) and technical letters demanding in effect that the recipient disprove this or that aspect of the warmist case, something no media producer is ready or able to do. So the media has been AWOL in part because it’s been intimidated—and because it doesn’t want to lose a portion of its audience.

  45. Certainty comes from faith, rather than the reverse, Wittgenstein noted.

    Communicating uncertainty then means communicating lack of faith, if I’ve got the negations right.

    I’d say though that uncertainty might be a scientists’ cover word for its not being a science at all, say to avoid noticing that.

    • rhhardin
      Uncertainty evaluation is at the core of the scientific method of hypothesizing models and comparing them against data.
      Study BIPM’s GUM: Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement; and NIST’s Uncertainty of Measurement Results

      • Curiosity is at the core of the scientific method.

      • David L. Hagen

        rhhardin Uncertainty evaluation is present at each of Richard Feynman’s steps of the scientific method.

        Here’s how Feynman described real science:
        “In general, we look for a new law by the following process. First, we guess it (audience laughter), no, don’t laugh, that’s really true. Then we compute the consequences of the guess, to see what, if this is right, if this law we guess is right, to see what it would imply and then we compare the computation results to nature, or we say compare to experiment or experience, compare it directly with observations to see if it works. 

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make any difference how beautiful your guess is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are who made the guess, or what his name is… If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.” (emphasis added)

        The critical thing to note is that any theory no matter how compelling, or how wise its originators are, or how many scientists think it’s right a theory, is not true if it doesn’t match experimental data.

        Global Warming and the Feynman test By Tom Trinko
        You can’t tell if “it doesn’t match the data” without analyzing the uncertainty – even at the “gut feel” level.

      • Feynman does not say if it agrees, it’s right.

        It has to make sense as well.

  46. Dr Curry:

    I very much appreciate your critical effort here. A few thoughts:

    1. From debiasing to creative conflict. In addition to iterative, you might emphasize even more that science is dialectical: meaning, that whatever the socially relevant issue – climate, alzheimer’s, inner city juvenation – there are competing theories of practical consequence. It is not only imperative to fund competing inquiries, but to create fora that brings proponents of those inquiries together for debate and joint problem-solving. This goes beyond red team. The very idea of “scientific consensus” should be scrap-heaped as anathema to science.

    2. From public policy to social problem-solving. Your essay seems to valorize science at academia over other sources of science, and governmental policy over other means of solving big problems. To the extent that private sector enterprises develop in response to social need (and fund/manage scientific inquiry accordingly), they are instrumental to the debate and to the solutions. I would urge that your umbrella concept be social problem-solving, with public policy and private enterprise being co-equal partners in defining problems and solving them. Academic elitism (as if they are not self-interested) is part of the problem.

    3. From now to then. Your eventual paper may well define the systemic problem of bias and the medieval orthodoxy in the academy of the kind that eventually prompted you to sacrifice your high position at Georgia Tech. If not, I would encourage you to make it so – it is a powerful story – and show how these solutions you are proposing respond fully to the corrupted processes of the present, laid out in vivid detail.

    Hope that helps.

  47. Dear Dr. Curry,

    First I applaud the reach out. It will be difficult to get support given the deeply entrenched bias that exists on this topic. All the more important that you find fellow scientist that embrace objective, quantitative analysis.

    There is an overarching theme in your points, that is the ability to address the uncertainty inherent the analysis of not well understood processes. I believe that due to the press and public’s difficulty in dealing with uncertainty, the message has been dumbed down to sound precise and unquestionable. I am amazed at the number of politicians and policy makers that have taken the position that all is known and without uncertainty.

    So one key process to put in place is the ability to improve the transparency of the analysis being done and insist that before it can be “published” and pushed into the public domain, the specific analysis must be reproducible by others. That means making all the data, statistical routines, etc., available to others. That also means requiring a discussion of the uncertainty inherent in the analysis. If this is done, perhaps the piling on of others in the field will be reduced and the number of independent verifiable analyses increased.

    However, taking uncertainty into the realm of policy making is a compounding challenge. My experience has been that most of the cost/benefit analysis in policy making is deterministic. Further, the cost analysis tends to reach well beyond the direct measures but to include indirect measures that have even greater uncertainty surrounding them. For example, my limited understanding is that the public health costs of reducing generation from coal is focused on particulate matter not the impact of CO2. Aren’t there better, more cost effective ways of reducing particulate emissions that don’t require the shutting down of 40-50 percent of our current generation. I am not sure how to change the way this analysis is performed but I am sure that its current flawed approach is leading to imposing unreasonable costs without a clear path to the benefits and without regard to alternative uses of the money spent.

    But perhaps the biggest need is for a better policy modeling framework that employs a broader systems analysis, incorporates explicitly uncertainty and yields a clear path to a flexible, robust and economical outcome. It you believe as I do that the key to our sustainable future (in the US and rest of the world) is to be able to build and re-build our cities to be environmentally sustainable (water, air, food and shelter) and economical to live in for all income groups then we need analytical processes and public education to support the identification of the policies that will lead to this outcome. Few models if any provide policy makers with a path; a series of decisions, time sequenced to lead to the outcomes desired. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t currently have the data and models to support this type of policy making.

    If we can bring science (climate and otherwise) together with better soft science like social science and economics, then we, the country and perhaps the world, will have a chance at improving the decisions of our policy makers.

    So I embrace what you are trying to do here. It will be hard to remove the existing biases. However, if successful we will spare the misplaced investments and achieve a more livable future. If there is a way that I can assist with my limited knowledge and resources, I would like to do what I can as I believe this is the most important challenge facing us in the US and rest of the world.

  48. Dr. Curry,
    There are two issues you only seem to touch on but which have a large influence on this problem and need improvement. 1) Quality assurance of both the source data (includes collection and preparation as well as manipulation ex post facto and supporting context). 2) The popularization of findings by an ill-informed media with motives other than building the knowledge base that informs policy-making. Failure of either one to properly represent scientific findings decreases the likelihood of good decisions being made.

  49. The proper relationship between science and policy, i.e., politics, is: a complete separation. Politics will always corrupt science because politics is always about the exercise of arbitrary power, power backed by cops and soldiers with guns. Science will only be used and abused by arbitary power.

    Policy-relevant science is simply an oxymoron.

  50. These last few comments speak to the need for a return back to classical research design and investigative methods. So I refer back to my upstream example of just that kind of guiding document. Else we end up with dog and pony demonstrations with colorful graphics spread before a policy panel that in reality say absolutely nothing valid or reliable. The education field is awash in low hanging fruit, ergo a set of minimal standards that mirror good research methods to winnow out published junk science from the policy discussion is essential.

  51. curryja
    1) Require objective open data:
    W. Edwards Deming “In God we trust; all others bring data.”
    2) Require independent objective evaluations of models against data.
    See: TheRightClimateStuff.com

    We, a group of retired and highly experienced engineers and scientists from the Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station eras, have volunteered our time and effort conducting an objective, independent assessment of the AGW alarm and reality of the actual threat. We have reviewed hundreds of reports and technical papers relevant to the subject matter, and discussed key issues with experts on both sides of this controversy. . . .During our pioneering years in the US manned space program, scientific controversy over complex technical issues was commonplace at numerous times when NASA needed to make critical spacecraft design and operational decisions affecting safety of astronauts. We have unique skills and experience in problem identification, specification, root cause analysis and rational decision-making applicable to public policy decisions related to the AGW concern.

    3) Require validated models for public policy.

    To aid in monitoring the AGW concern, we have developed our own simple, but rigorous, earth surface temperature model using Conservation of Energy principles, similar to the way we analyze surface and internal temperature of spacecraft. We have validated the model with 165 years of atmospheric GHG data and data on earth surface temperature variations. We have used this model to forecast what we believe will be the maximum, but small and non-harmful effects on earth surface temperature, from continued un-restricted use of fossil fuels, until they become too scarce and costly to meet the growing energy demand of our planet.

    We expect a world-wide, market-driven transition to alternate sources of energy generation will be completed by 2150, leaving less than 600 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, 50 percent more than current levels.

  52. My two cents:

    I suppose there is room for improvement anywhere, but I’m afraid it would all be superficial and temporary.

    The real problem is who gets to decide what the role/size/scope of gov’t is supposed to be? There are intractable philosophical oppositions at play here that will never go away. Its just people wanting power.

    Andrew

  53. What seems to be missing, Dr. Curry, is allowing for the fact that policy making is an intrinsically adversarial process. It is like litigation only far more freewheeling, so every side has its experts, who always disagree. Moreover, the experts have to take strong positions, which precludes acknowledging uncertainty. Thus science intensive policy issues like climate change always bring forth advocacy.and skepticism.

    • The way that the US has used in the past was for the stakeholders to have a say in the final results. I find it a fair assessment when persons have concern about the scientist, the public, the politicians skewing the result. It would be a fair assessment to recognize that the stakeholders have a vested interest. That only means their POV needs to be included, as well.

      Dr. Curry, rather than “creative conflict”, environmental issues have in the past been “Resolution Through Conflict”. The position of the consensus, and the bypassing of stakeholders has abandoned a working system.

  54. Speaking of science and policy implies a fundamental contradiction, or a fundamental conundrum.
    Dr Curry: when you embraced science, did you do it motivated by a potential policy influence that you could have one day? Did your teachers and professors think along such lines?
    What is odd in climate science is a unique situation, never encountered in any other scientific field but in religious congregations: the scientific objective as well as the interpretation of research output has been put in the hands of a panel of experts, the IPCC, under an official mandate to take care of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Science to be read and settled. The fat lady has sung.
    The scientific community as such should not be concerned about policies (scientists as citizen yes, everybody does, but this is not the question here). It is not its role to agree or disagree on policies but to explore the unknown, to distinguish between hypothesis and validated theories (until falsified…), and to remain aware of all incertitude.
    Many times, you have criticized advocacy research. This is the crux.
    I would not put the blame on the research community; grant application is an inescapable art. Advocacy research comes into play when scientists cross the policy line; such escapades into incompetency happen more than once. But the principals deciding on R&D priorities (and not their spin-doctors, NGOs, etc.) are those who must make sure that research will be conducted without prejudices; and of course, to be free of prejudice themselves.
    Policymakers bear the responsibility of the mandate they are giving to panels of experts. If they ask them for advice, then the composition of such panel must be as heterogeneous as possible, capable to handle controversies not by resolving them but by showing where science is and where it is not. Thus, they must verify that the experts will behave as such, not as a consensus-seeking body like IPCC.
    But if policymakers ask experts to confirm their preconceived bias, as it was done while constituting the IPCC or signing the UNFCCC, then they are bad policymakers and the experts accepting such mandate are bad experts, whatever their science credentials might be.

  55. Judith: You called for debates at conferences hosted by scientific societies (item 5) and the use of red and blue teams (items 7 & 8), which implies an implicitly debating situation. What would be better would be an institutionalized organization set up to hear debates about scientific matters, primarily with the intention of allowing minority opinions to have a place to make their case and to cross-examine their opponents. This sort of organization was proposed back in the 1970s under the name of a “science court.” (Though it would not be part of the legal system.)

    On August 19, 2014, you wrote about this idea:
    “I’m certainly in favor of this general idea, but I can easily see this falling into the usual rathole for climate science if groups like the NAS are put in charge. Your thoughts on this?”

    Here’s my response to that worry (which I posted at the end of an inactive thread here a year ago, and on WUWT a few days ago). I follow it (beneath a double line), with my thoughts on certain organization details.

    Here’s an initiative any college or scientific society could take that would end the gridlock. Let there be two, three, many voluntary science courts! I.e., dozens. Universities and/or scientific societies and/or think tanks and/or a collaboration of them would sponsor one or more independent science courts. Most of these courts would specialize on a single topic or group of related topics. A university’s professors would usually hear cases over the summer vacation; emeritus professors could be active year-round. Cases could be “in session” for months, as each side responds to the other side’s claims or thinks of improvements to its own case. Cases could be re-opened after two or three years, say, if important new findings or interpretations have occurred.
     
    Science courts specializing in the same topic could collaborate (i.e., supply judges for the same case). Everything, or almost everything, could be done over the Internet, using sophisticated software, and be archived there. Georgia Tech could be the pioneer. It needn’t supply all or most of the judges—it would just supply the sponsorship, the technical infrastructure, and the initial Oomph to get things rolling. Maybe it could collaborate with the Climate Dialog site. A science court could be built on that site’s software, modifying it to include judges as part of the process.
     
    If one of the sponsors of a science court appointed biased judges, another sponsor could have its judges review the transcripts and issue its own decision, criticizing the prior court’s ruling. Fear of being publicly corrected in this way, and being proved wrong later in public, would tend to keep biased panels closer to the straight and narrow, and to keep universities from appointing biased members.
     
    In the debate over global warming, cases should be broken down to manageable subtopics, like the Hockey Stick, acidification, UHI, arctic ice, corals, storms, CO2 fertilization, peer review, bias in govt. funding and publication, purported Big Oil funding of a “well-funded, well-organized” skeptic movement, the 97% consensus, warmist predictions, the hot spot, the stratosphere, oceanic cycles, the efficacy of wind and solar power, nuclear power, extinctions, aerosols, methane, arctic permafrost, polar bears, feedbacks, isotonic adjustments, Antarctic ice shelves, the Pause, flooding and drought, snowfall, glaciers, sea level, volcanoes, wildfires, beetles, homogenization, temperature records, ocean cycles, the sun, geo-engineering, diseases, refugees, etc.
     
    Transcripts of these hearings could be posted on the Internet. Getting all of both sides’ arguments together online would be the greatest benefit of such courts, more than their judgments. And science fans could get hooked on reading them. The controversy would spice up the topics treated, so it might also tempt members of the public to read them (and thereby to indirectly learn more about science).
     
    Hearings needn’t be about socially important and hotly contested matters. They could be scientifically valuable anyway, as a way of clearing the air, getting tidbits of new ideas on the record, and getting a feeling for current thinking on a topic. These hearings would presumably be conversational and low-key. (Or maybe not!)
     
    Science courts are needed because there are no formal forums for extensive debate about scientific topics, especially ones where “received opinion” reigns supreme. Journals do not provide one; they are interested in findings and review papers instead.
     
    Universities OTOH would worry about damage to their reputation in the future if they were to endorse currently favored dogmas that had weak points that might in time prove fatal, or that competing science courts might consider to be disconfirming. So they’d be inclined to be cautious and hedge their conclusions. They’d tend to avoid hopping on bandwagons. (Importantly, their thorough findings and meticulous reasoning, with all cards on the table, would help to sink “fringe” claims too, and strengthen valid consensus POVs.
     
    If multiple science courts were in existence, many erroneous claims in many fields would have been refuted, weakened (or strengthened), modified, or at least clarified, much earlier than they were. (Even if a court’s main finding were only that more research is needed in certain areas, that would be greatly beneficial.) These include claims, many still active, for and against these topics:

    SCIENCE:
    Continental drift.
    Uniformitarianism in geology.
    Raymond Dart’s important 1924 fossil (ignored by the mainstream).
    Piltdown man (skeptics were marginalized).
    Rogue waves (anecdotal reports ignored or denied by experts).
    ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT:
    Cold fusion / Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.
    Forest fire management.
    Biofuels.
    DDT.
    Acid rain.
    GMOs.
    PSYCHOLOGY:
    Psychoanalysis’s effectiveness.
    Behaviorism, which was dogma for decades in American psychology departments.
    Hypnotism.
    Lie detectors. (Pretty much settled by a scientific society’s report on the topic.)
    HEALTH:
    The government’s anti-fat, anti-salt, pro-starch nutrition advice.
    Tobacco. (I.e., science courts could have been warning about it a decade before the surgeon general’s report.)
    “Pseudo” sclerosis (denial of the reality of multiple sclerosis).
    Lyme disease (severe underestimation of the number of victims).
    Drown-proofing technique (underplayed by expert consensus).
    Heimlich hug (opposed and underplayed by expert consensus).
    Biological cause of stomach ulcers (opposed by expert consensus).
    Asbestos.
    Breast implants.
    Swine flu, SARS, Mad cow disease, Ebola.
    Vaccinations.
    Radon.
    POLITICAL-RELATED:
    Nuclear winter.
    Topics in criminology, such as gun control, the drug war, mandatory minimums, etc.

    Here are additional topics Henry Bauer thinks are not getting a fair evaluation (from his book, Dogmatism in Science and Medicine): “Unwarranted dogmatism has taken over in many fields of science: in Big-Bang cosmology, dinosaur extinction, theory of smell, string theory, Alzheimer’s amyloid theory, specificity and efficacy of psychotropic drugs, cold fusion, second-hand smoke . . . .”

    Unofficial science courts finesse the objections many people have to an officially designated court. And I sense that the time is very ripe for such science courts. There are thousands of colleges worldwide. I can easily see 0.1% (20) jumping on this—as a start! I can see it getting to 1% in five years, and becoming an established institution.

    I Googled for: “Science Court: A bibliography” and got four useful links at the top of the page:

    1. Science Courts… and Mixed Science-Policy Decisions
    http://ipmall.info/risk/vol4/spring/taskfor.htm
    The Science Court Experiment: An Interim Report*:
    (* Reprinted with permission from 193 Science 654 (1976))
    Task Force of the Presidential Advisory Group on Anticipated Advances in Science and Technology**
    (** The task force is composed of three members of the presidential advisory group — Dr. Arthur Kantrowitz (chairman), Dr. Donald Kennedy and Dr. Fred Seitz – and [16 others])

    2. The Science Court is Dead; Long Live the Science Court!
    http://ipmall.info/risk/vol4/spring/field.htm

    3, Symposium Index – The Science Court – Pierce Law Center IP Mall
    http://ipmall.info/hosted_resources/RISK_Symposium_ScienceCourt.asp

    4. The Science Court: A Bibliography. Jon R. Cavicchi*.
    http://ipmall.info/risk/vol4/spring/bibliography.htm

    Notes / afterthoughts:

    (E.g., dowsing could be tested by having dowsers attempt to locate underground pipes on multiple, undisclosed-in-advance campuses.)

    • Psychic phenomena.
    • Citrus fruits vs. scurvey
    • Fad diets like high-fiber, etc.
    • Recovered memory therapy.
    • Big Bang theory.
    • Plasticity the adult brain to repair itself
    • Vioxx
    • AIDS (e.g., was the general population at risk of catching it?).

    =================================
    =================================

    1. For important issues that embody many distinct controversies, like climatology, there should be several courts to hear them; or at least the issues should be debated and decided separately and sequentially.

    2. In important controversies, there should be many judges on each panel—say a dozen. Or maybe two or three dozen, in the case of climatology, to ensure they constitute a good average.

    3. Judges should have lots of free time to devote to their task. E.g., this would favor those who are retired or semi-retired, or who have been given a sabbatical for the purpose.

    4. Judges should be appointed by different sorts of sources, such as by scientific societies, by the science court’s own officials, and by a partial panel of the judges themselves. (E.g., ten judges might appoint the remaining two.)

    5. Not all judges should be members of the specialty under discussion, as long as the specialty isn’t too abstruse.

    6. Sessions should be conducted over the Internet, partly by videoconferencing. The Internet makes a science court much more practical, primarily because participants needn’t be gathered together physically. And Internet sessions can stretch out for months, allowing time for issues to be thoroughly explored and re-explored.

    • Those are some deep thoughts Mr. Knights.
      Item 5&6: It would be helpful to have an Artificial Intelligence climate expert program on the internet conference. Plan to spend over 200 million if you want the best AI people working on the project. You really need at least one unimpeachable expert witness to keep things honest.

    • Roger, very good, intriguing thoughts; but they presume an honest quest for truth and discovery. Unfortunately, relative to climate science, whoever takes a skeptical position in the debate, or even question orthodoxy, would immediately be labeled a big oil shill, discredited, and displayed in the proverbial town square to be mocked and ridiculed; ultimately to be branded a heretic.

      In the spirit of what you’re talking about was the 2015 senate hearing: Data or Dogma, which Dr. Curry participated in. Although Dr. Curry and Mark Steyn et al held their own it was a mockery of a hearing. AGW pundits had no intention of letting daylight into the discussion. That’s the crux of the difficulty relative to improving the interface between policy and science. You have to have people genuinely interested in truth, without it you’re no longer talking about a quest for good science and policy.

      When looking to improve the interface between policy and science one would probably be better off studying counterintelligence and antiterrorism as tactical source material to move the ball forward.

      • Roger Knights

        Mop-Up-Crew (@jungletrunks) | March 21, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Reply
        Roger, very good, intriguing thoughts; but they presume an honest quest for truth and discovery. Unfortunately, relative to climate science, whoever takes a skeptical position in the debate, or even question orthodoxy, would immediately be labeled a big oil shill, discredited, and displayed in the proverbial town square to be mocked and ridiculed; ultimately to be branded a heretic.

        In the spirit of what you’re talking about was the 2015 senate hearing: Data or Dogma, which Dr. Curry participated in. Although Dr. Curry and Mark Steyn et al held their own it was a mockery of a hearing. AGW pundits had no intention of letting daylight into the discussion.

        Science courts would not resemble a senate hearing. There would be a moderator, agreed to by both sides. He would snip or block ad hom remarks. And there would be two levels of comments, with outsiders’ comments appearing in a separate section of each thread, at the bottom, as on the Climate Dialog site. (Perhaps outsiders’ comments wouldn’t be allowed at all, but only those of the opposing teams.)

        There would be judges, mostly appointed by both sides in conjunction perhaps with the moderator(s). If either side felt the lineup of those officials was unfair, it could refuse to participate. These judges, like the moderator(s), would be scientists, although not all of them would necessarily be climatologists. Warmists would not be in charge of moderation or judging, or be allowed to heckle. The procedure would be neutral, mimicking what happens in a courtroom.

  56. Judith Curry:

    ”I’m looking for ideas and discussion on ways to improve what I regard to be a broken interface between climate science and policy.”

    As I see, earlier or later, the present intitutional, blind belief in threatening anthropogenic warming will be replaced by the truth according to which the emissions from fossile fuels have so minimal influence on climate warming that it can not be distinguished from zero.The sooner even majorities of institutional scientists and politicians can be made understand this, the better it is. Judith Curry, the activity of yours on ”a broken interface between climate science and policy” shall be regarded as one of key measures.

    Judith Curry, you say that ”we don’t know how much of recent warming can be attributed to humans”. I have been trying to think, what could be a key issue to solve the kind of problem. As far as I am aware that is related to striving for dynamic balance between CO2 emissions to atmosphere and absorptions of CO2 from atmosphere to other parts of environment; and in addition CO2 content trends in atmosphere seem to follow trends of climate temperature and not vice versa; https://judithcurry.com/2017/03/11/scott-pruitts-statement-on-climate-change/#comment-841843

    I have understood that IPCC was set up by UN politicians in order to clear up the cause of recent climate warming, which was believed to be caused by anthropogenic CO2 emission to atmosphere, especially from fossile fuels. Lack of any evidence in reality made IPCC scientists turn to climate model results. The main problem seems to be deep uncertainty of models caused by models itself and more especially by poorly known parameters. When assuming the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere caused by fossile fuels there the dynamic balance between CO2 emissions and CO2 absorptions seems to have been replaced by static balance between CO2 emissions from fossile fuels and CO2 content in atmosphere – like putting CO2 into a bottle. At first they assumed that all the CO2 emissions from fossile fuels to atmosphere remain there. But as the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere was smaller, they assumed that the rest was dissolved to oceans – like a part of CO2 into water in the bottle.

    As we well know CO2 content in atmosphere is controlled by striving for dynamic balance between all CO2 emissions from sources to atmosphere and all CO2 absorptions from atmosphere to other parts of environments. If the emissions are more than absorptions, the CO2 content in atmosphere is increasing, but if they are less, the CO2 content in atmosphere is decreasing.

    Recently the CO2 content in atmosphere has increased about 2.2 ppm a year. As the total amount of CO2 emissions to atmosphere has then contained only about 4 % CO2 from fossile fuels, in this yearly increase of 2.2 ppm in the atmospheric CO2 content there has been only about o.o88 % CO2 from fossile fuels, at the most.

    You see that already influence of the CO2 emissions from fossile fuels on the recent increase of CO2 content in atmosphere is minimal. Even though the total increase of CO2 content in atmosphere would dominate the present climate warming, the share of CO2 content from fossile fuels would there be too minimal in order to cause any threat of climate warming. In addition, according to geological and recent observations, trends of CO2 content in atmosphere follow trends of climate temperature and not vice versa. There are no observations in reality, according to which cutting of anthropogenic CO2 emissions could have prevented or lessened climate warming. As, for instance, CO2 cuttings according to the Kyoto protocol have caused only losses, the same kind of failures can be expected concerning cuttings based on the Paris agreement.

  57. Judith: Schneidner has provided the science community with a clear definition of the difference between ethic science (the whole truth, with all of the caveats) and policy advocacy (using scary stories to get lots of publicity, hiding doubts). IMO it is unprofessional for scientist to fail to inform his audience (a Congessional hearing, any talk or article) whether he/she is speaking as an ethical scientist or an advocate. Experience has taught us that no one can meet the mutually contradictory demands of these two functions at the same time. The climate gate email show the difficult scientists have switching roles.

    The IPCCs SPMs are clearly not scientific documents by Schneider’s standards for ethical science. They lack caveats. Every projection needs to begin with the phrase, “If our AOGCMs are correct, then …” Then reasons why climate models might be wrong need to be discussed. Ethical scientists don’t let politicians control the wording of their abstracts. Ethical scientists don’t publish the abstract of a paper six months before the paper can be read (though they do so for talks at meetings, which are not peer reviewed formal publications.) Ethical scientist would make it clear that the normal standard for scientific publication is “extremely likely”, and that other qualifiers are educated guesses that may assist policy maker, but fall short of traditional evidence needed to draw a scientific conclusion. (Policy makers often need to act on inconclusive evidence, but scientists don’t rush to judgment without strong evidence.)

    • Ethical scientist don’t stop making a best estimate or climate sensitivity withou clearly explaining why and the implications for the projections made by climate models.

    • Scientists have different traditions from politicians or attorneys for discovering “the truth” or deciding best policy. As Schneider describes, ethical scientists are expected to tell the whole truth with all the caveats. No one expects politicians or attorneys to do so (which is one reason why the latter professions aren’t perceived by the public as being as respectable: ambulance chasing lawyers for example). For this reason, politics and the law insist upon equal time for both sides to present their case. Ethical reporters are (or used to be) required to publish comments from both sides of an issue.

      If advocates who are also scientists refuse to act like ethical scientists (as defined by Schneider), then the political establishment must set up your Red Teams. When scientists behave like politicians and attorneys, equal time for both sides to present their case is essential. Right now we have the worst of both traditions: scientists who feel free to present only part of the truth and no tradition of equal time for both sides.

      In convicting rising CO2 of causing CAGW, the IPCC is serving as prosecutor, judge and jury, and there is no effective defense attorney present. That is how totalaritarian societies work.

  58. Judith, I am not an academic and don’t understand how any real scientist can behave as climate “scientists” do, using their over funded science to support a massive deceit on the generating facts by law for fraudulent profit.

    It’s really all about the massive easy money that the prescribed snake oil solutions, many of which can only make emissions avoidably and expensively worse, unsustainably, are claimed to justify. So reason is unlikely to break out while the trough is being filled with easy money by law the pigs passed for their cut of the subsidy money.

    Your most telling idea is the funding of teams, who set out to scrutinise alternative hypothesis to the AGW CO2 causes, and the gain applied to CO2 and Water vapour in the models assumptions, for example. BUT if the first set were real scientists were this would not be necessary. They rely on their supposed unbiased scientific to justify their deceit. Why would they even consider a red team? Why would the politician insiders support the truth coming out? No upside for them.

    NB: I would also want the actual forecast changes by 2100 to be incuded in every public climate change statement, so the public can see how catastrophioc they middle range predictionsare, versus other global problems, or spending the money on defences rather than subsidising what makes things worse by law, etc.. Hope that is clear, typos excepted – and run, Just an expert with an opinion and a typewriter.

  59. The political process vis a vis policy looks for problems that the government can attempt to solve whether those problems be real or invented. The attempts to solve may or may not ever come to fruition but that will not necessarily bring the attempts to a halt. The involvement of science is at the point at which evidence can be provided for a need. That evidence in a partisan environment will be adversarial in nature and a partisan bid will be made with only favorable evidence while the counter arguments are expected to come from the other side. Unfortunately the debate will not be at a level of that science will normally be performed and the arguments put forward will often be more emotional than reasonable in nature. The uncertainty of the evidence will not necessarily be presented or weighed.

    There may be those who will disagree with my pessimistic assessment of the political/policy process, but I would suggest I could elicit from all of you examples of a government action that was not favorable to your political leanings being very much along the lines I have described. Therefore in my view I can assume that the political/policy process will be picking and choosing from the scientific evidence and doing the same when it comes to implementing attempts to mitigate a problem.

    It is important that we keep the great divide from the potential at least for science to reason and the natural tendencies for the political process to pick and choose both from an evidence standpoint and what one sided evidence has the most appeal to the voting public.

    I think that scientists without a political agenda could indeed attempt to keep these debates on a reasoned track. I doubt that in general that climate science and the politics related to it are any different than that for other sciences. The difference for climate science is the very nature of dealing with a chaotic process where we have only one realization of a potential of many and must either depend on difficult to prove as valid models that with multiple runs under different conditions could create a better understanding of the earth’s potential realizations or a model of the earth’s single realization where we can extract the deterministic trend, cyclical and red and white noise components. It is these areas that I see the great weaknesses in climate science failing to dig deep into these problems in attempts to narrow the uncertainties with better modeling and analyses and heaven forbid finding regime changes in our thinking. At the fundamental publishing level I see a lack of or maybe even an avoidance of doing the required sensitivity testing that can give a better measure of the uncertainty involved.

    In the end I think it might be for climate science to heal thyself and for the political process to be scrutinized and then scrutinized some more and taken for what it is.

    • I think that scientists without a political agenda could indeed attempt to keep these debates on a reasoned track.

      I disagree because it is not science that is needed by policy analysts. It is the economics of no mitigation vs the proposed mitigation policies. Economists provide that information to policy analysts, not scientists. Scientists have near zero understanding of how to evaluate the totality of the positive and negative impacts of a change of GMST.

      Look at Tol (2013) Figure 3 (bottom panel) to see the outcome of such analyses: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-012-0613-3#page-1

      Free access to Tol (2011) Working Paper with same chart: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

      • In my view economic models are in the end more intractable than those that could potentionally be constructed for predicting at least some climate variables. Climate science is semi soft while economic empirical modeling is soft with too many assumptions required. Economic theory as presented by the Austrian school could helpful in suggesting general paths for policy – but unfortunately would be totally out of the whelm of the current economic thought of looking first at heavy goverment involvement.

      • kenfritsch,

        I agree with you about the many assumptions and the uncertainties inherent in economic modelling and projections. However, the economics cannot be avoided. In making the final decisions as to which policies to invest in, Governments are advised by their Treasury’s about the economics costs and benefits of proposed policies. Treasury and governments have to prioritise the allocation of their available funds. This is done through the budget process. This cannot be avoided.

        Governments can get away with ideologically driven policies that do more harm than good for a period, but other countries around the world will not commit to such policies . The governments that commit to bad policies are eventually disadvantaged – as is happening to the EU as a result of its policies. The EU ETS will eventually be dumped because the world is not going to go that route.

        Can I urge you to look at:

        1. Figure 3 (bottom panel) here: http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/sites/default/files/climate_change.pdf

        2. This comparison of the IAMs (and note that FUND is the most sophisticated):

        3. FUND: http://www.fund-model.org/home
        Go to Versions http://www.fund-model.org/versions
        Select FUND3.9 and then Documentations and Tables. Take note of the damage functions – particularly for energy consumption as that is the only negative impact according to Tol Figure 3 (bottom panel) in the first link above.

      • When it comes to a discipline providing the preferred political answer from an ideological standpoint economists are past masters and scientists who wish to go that route are only beginners. Correcting past policy errors prescribed by the economist class only occurs over very long periods of time, after disasterous results and much shoveling of more expenditures at the problem. That economists get involved in these processes is not my point, but rather what are our past experiences with these processes.

  60. These are mine recommendations:

    §1 A scientific argument consists of clearly stated premises, inferences and conclusions.

    §2 A scientific premise is verifiable. Premises and their sources are identified and readily available for independent verification.

    §3 A scientific inference is logically valid.

    §4 A scientific conclusion is deduced by application of axioms, definitions and theorems or measured properties and scientific concepts that have already been verified or validated.

    §5 A scientific concept consists of statements that are logically valid conclusions deduced from premises that are themselves logically valid conclusions, axioms, definitions or theorems.

    §6 A scientific concept is well-defined and has a well-defined capability of prediction within a well-defined context.

    §7 A scientific concept can only be validated by comparison of predictions deduced from that concept with measurement results. Whenever predictions differ from measurement results, by more than the combined uncertainty of the measurement results and the claimed capability of the concept, there must be something wrong with the concept – or the test of it.

    §8 A scientific concept can only be referred to as validated for the context covered by the validating tests.

    §9 A scientific statement is based on verifiable data. Data and precise information about how that data was obtained are readily available for independent verification. Whenever data are corrected or disregarded, both uncorrected and corrected data are provided together with a scientific argument for the correction.

    §10 A scientific measurement report contains traceable values, units and stated uncertainty for well-defined measurands in a well-defined context.

    §11 A scientific prediction report contains values, units and claimed capability for well-defined measurands in a well-defined context.

    https://principlesofscience.wordpress.com/2017/02/26/the-principles-of-science-v7-5/

  61. How do those who argue for ‘values’ as a primary input to policy analysis justify the cost of values judgements that cause government to waste huge amounts of public money funding irrational policies – such as carbon pricing and incentives for renewable energy?

    Some new insights into the costs of all this are offered by a new study undertaken by the renewable urgers at the International Energy Agency http://www.irena.org/DocumentDownloads/Publications/Perspectives_for_the_Energy_Transition_2017.pdf . While promoting its favoured renewable solution the IEA tells us that to meet the Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emission reductions the carbon price that the developed world will have to impose is US$190 per tonne. In addition the IEA goals require regulatory measures, which it describes as, “broader and deeper global efforts on technology collaboration to facilitate low-carbon technology development and deployment”. The IEA says this “may” increase economic growth, presumably by reducing living standards to fund the higher capital requirements.

    Fantasies aside, the IEA blueprint means 3-6 fold increase in the wholesale electricity cost as well as all those reliability problems that Elon Musk and other regulatory tax gatherers can’t seem to fix.

    Source: Alan Moran on Catalaxy Files http://catallaxyfiles.com/2017/03/21/190-carbon-tax-needed-to-meet-paris-agreement/

  62. “6. For policy-relevant science and regulatory science, more formal methods of uncertainty characterization and management should be used in scientific research and assessments.”

    That one would have been easy, if the Climate Change industry had cared about following international guidelines: This is how the climate industry should have reported uncertainty!

  63. Judith, I’ve been following your blog for sometime and appreciate it. I stopped reading the comments sometime ago and rarely comment I would suggest that you follow Pielke Sr’s lead and stop printing all comments. They distract from your message and create an non useful polarization. Pielke almost always republished comments I made that I sent him in a private email.
    Stick to the science. Too many commenters are just trying to push a political view point and are just repeating scientific talking points. This creates an artificial dichotomy. Talking to real people, views on climate have little correlation with other political views.

    • martinkokus | March 21, 2017 at 9:18 pm |

      Judith, I’ve been following your blog for sometime and appreciate it. I stopped reading the comments sometime ago and rarely comment I would suggest that you follow Pielke Sr’s lead and stop printing all comments.

      I just love it when the elite show up.

      They are so predictable in their demands that someone should shut up the polloi, so the voices of our betters can ring out across the land without let or hindrance from the vox pop.

      Wonderful.

      w.

      • +1

      • Willis

        Sounds like the European elite trying to shut all us British hoi polloi up about Brexit whilst trying to demonstrate the only worthwhile opinions are their own.

        tonyb

      • Thank you all for making my point far better than I did.

      • Mtkk
        Problem with your suggestion is as tonyb says, “someone should control the process more actively”. Time consuming for Dr Curry and almost requires a constant present. Free ranging discussions allow participants to just skip or skim political or no value added discussion. Better to keep in mind the time demands of controls vs allowing open input.
        Scott

    • martinkokus | March 22, 2017 at 9:53 am |

      Thank you all for making my point far better than I did.

      You’re welcome, martinkokus. It seemed you were having a bit of trouble pronouncing “clueless wanker”, so I thought it would be charitable to give you a hand until you got up to speed.

      w.

      • catweazle666

        It seemed you were having a bit of trouble pronouncing “clueless wanker”

        I usually pronounce it as “pompous tw@”, Willis.

    • martinokus

      It is always good to hear from infrequent commentators, but it appears that you had no point other than trying to shut down conversation on what has always been a free ranging blog attracting comments from many diverse views.

      What do you believe my political view point to be?

      tonyb

    • If you follow JC you’ll know she runs the blog to communicate with people. Communication is a two-way thing; talk and listen.

  64. Joshua | March 20, 2017 at 8:41 pm |

    Yes, “Nobody but nobody trusts climate scientists,”, yet 67% of the American public want scientists to play a major role in policy-making regarding climate change:

    http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/12/05/many-americans-are-skeptical-about-scientific-research-on-climate-and-gm-foods/ft_16-12-05_climate_gmfoods_policymaking/

    Yes, and only 27% of the country believes in the 97% consensus … dueling percentages.

    In any case, hey, I’m with the 67%. I think mainstream climate scientists like Dr. Judith should play a major role … I just don’t trust the alarmist wing one bit. They’ve proven by their words and actions that they are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their ends. They are driven by politics rather than science. Many of them are nothing but Democratic operatives with PhD’s, or Greenpeace moles with PhD’s, and sadly, far too often their allegiance is to their ideology over their science.

    And sadly, the entire field has been tarred with the same brush of Noble Cause Corruption, whether deserved or not for any given individual.

    As a result, the problem climate scientists face currently is best described by Megan McCardle of the Atlantic:

    After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.

    Now, there is a possible path back from that … but it has nothing to do with communication or improving the “science/policy interface”, and everything to do with contrition …

    Best to you,

    w.

    • I don’t think Judith considers herself part of the mainstream, and the way to tell is when she says she isn’t.

    • Willis –

      Going back to your always amusing extrapolation from your own views about climate scientists to your ill-founded and unsupported views on public opinions about climate scientists:

      Check this out:

      I always promise myself not to get surprised by the illogic of public opinions about climate change…but check out that interactive graphic..and look at the contrast when you toggle from “Global warming is happening” to “Most scientists think that global warming is happening” and then to “Trust climate scientists about global warming.

      Not factoring in potential ambiguities in how the questions are interpreted…..those data suggest that a whole lot of people think (1) that “global warming” is happening despite that (2) they think that “most scientists” don’t agree that “global warming is happening”… and (3) that is even though they “trust climate scientists about global warming.”

      Ok. That is just bizarre.

  65. I believe that there is precedent when an entrenched religion, as climate change has become, requires a reformation and provides a pathway for implementing reforms.

    Martin Luther..”strongly disputed his understanding of the Catholic view on indulgences, that freedom from God’s punishment for sin could be purchased with money. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517.”

    “His translation of the Bible into the vernacular (instead of Latin) made it more accessible to the laity, an event that had a tremendous impact on both the church and German culture. It fostered the development of a standard version of the German language, added several principles to the art of translation,[5] and influenced the writing of an English translation, the Tyndale Bible.” Wiki

    Essentially, he was addressing the common people and not so much the hierarchy of the Church. He provided a common language for people to read the Bible.

    Transpose the 16th century issue to today’s climate change, we need a common language. Not everyone who needs to know about climate change is a scientist (ie,facile in Latin) so science language needs to be accurate, sans forays into the esoteric. Robert Ellison at times has recently provided a thematic construct that is easy to understand and follow. Whether his hypothesis is correct we will see since he provides a prediction and a time frame. If there are several other thematic constructs that seem to explain the current data, they also should be written, again, to be read and understood by the many. The issue will not be who is “correct”, rather, becoming aware that there are multiple narratives that people, press and policy members can comprehend. Salvation will come from being aware that there is uncertainty. Working towards a solution, ie, what most closely fits the data, is the province of the process of science.

    Multiple plausible narratives can be updated as warranted.

    I am afraid that the question regarding universities and in particular addressing the entrenched Raise, Promotion & Tenure system requires more than a “haircut” in financing climate research. A Thirty Years War may be required to reduce the size of the budget that the Federal Government provides. We see the handwriting on the wall already as there is a proposal to reduce university “overhead” portions of each and every research grant. Where will the make-up money come from? From business/industry of course only now it will be much more explicit and transparent. I have no doubt that university professors will accommodate. And, what will these newly minted climate scientists do when the Federal climate well is dry? Some may even adventure to “lesser” ranked colleges and universities and teach, using their skills of scientific inquiry in a broader context.

    • ‘I am afraid that the question regarding universities and in
      particular addressing the entrenched Raise, Promotion & T
      enure system requires more than a “haircut” in financing
      climate research.’

      Institutions have a tendency
      to become a hive …
      tribal humans likewise
      tending thus. Take the
      Royal Society and motto,
      ‘Nullius in Verba,’ it’s
      now become an institution
      defending a consensus.

  66. “Bias and advocacy by institutions that support science such as professional societies”

    And especially universities and other government-funded institutions.

  67. Read through all the comments. Three general thoughts.
    1. The ‘science problem’ was improperly posed at the outset. It needs to be reframed. AGW is but one of multiple possible causes of climate change. Ultimately, the scientific attribution problem, not the ‘religious’ AGW control knob attribution.
    2. There should not be much of a direct science/policy interface. Science tries to explain how the world works, including outlining what is not known or is uncertain. Policy is about chosing solutions to problems, or chosing not to have a solution to a nonproblem. That means there has to be a middle group (engineers, economists interfacing to both, translating science into possible realistic solution options and cost benefitting them out for policy makers. An example. Engineers: renewables are intermittent and that becomes a big problem with rising grid penetration. We now have South Australia as an example of how big a problem this can become. Economists: the grid cost of resolving intermittancy is whatever. (See guest post True Cost of Wind for an example of this sort of interface provided by an engineer and an economist.)
    3. There is an underlying bias/agenda honesty problem on both sides as well as the interface translation that needs disinfecting sunlight. Mechanisms might include red teams, ‘courts of inquiry’, and other commented ideas. Gets at the pal review problem on the science side, and for example the subsidy problem on the policy side. Steve McIntyre is a one man red team for paleoclimate. Solyndra and Abengoa show the need on the policy side for equivalent sunshine mechanisms.

    • ristvan:

      If climate change is a problem, it’s a global problem. And, if it’s a global problem, what matters are global solutions. And that’s no longer a question of “choosing solutions”: the international community chose those in 2015 when it enacted the Paris Agreement. It’s therefore more than a bit late for your “middle group” (engineers and economists) to start choosing policies now – however worthy, experienced, wise or accomplished that group may be.

      And what did the international community choose in 2015? Very simple: that the developing world (comprising 82 percent of the global population, all its 3 billion poorest people and responsible for over 65 percent of global GHG emissions) was to be exempt from any obligation – legal or moral, now or in future – to reduce those emissions. It’s high time the West came to terms with this reality – rather than, for example, fiddling about with red teams, ‘courts of enquiry’ etc.

      https://ipccreport.files.wordpress.com/2016/08/cop-21-developing-countries-_-2.pdf and http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0958305X16675524.

      • RG, you start with two IFs and then launch into Developed nation culpbility. I object both to your ifs on scientific grounds, and any culpability. The reason the developed economies developed and the disadvantaged did not is multifold social: we value science, we reject corruption, we strive to advance rather than play the victim card. Current real comtrast examples include Zimbabwe, Cuba, Vemezuela, and Noth Korea.
        Get real, if you want to argue here. Else take your ridiculous PC pablum elsewhere I won’t find it.

      • Robin Guenier,

        Is this the point you’ve been alluding to all along – i.e. that the developed world is culpable despite having lifted the living standards, reduced famines, reduced infant mortality and disease, increased education and health increased life expectancy etc for the whole world?

        How do you think the people in the developing countries would be living now without electricity, cars, ships, trade and modern medicines? Where would they be now if not for the Industrial Revolution?

        I fear you may be gullible and perhaps not capable of objective, rational analysis.

      • I think that if you read a little bit more closely – and behaved less objectionably – you would find that the point is that the world at COP21 chose development and economic growth regardless of the fuel. This is the reality alluded to that is outside of the narrow parochialism of most of the discussion thus far. And it is the starting point on policy.

      • Robin Guenier

        ristvan:

        I don’t for a moment regard the developed world as “culpable”. And I agree entirely with your characterisation of the developed vs. disadvantaged worlds. No, my point is that – for good or ill – the participants in the Paris Agreement agreed, reluctantly on the part of the West (essentially the US and EU28), that the “developing” countries (absurdly including for example China, India, South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia) are under no obligation, now or in the future, to reduce their emissions. It’s a reality – harsh for anyone who believes GHG reduction is essential – with which Western policymakers seem to be finding it hard to come to terms.

      • Robin Guenier

        Peter – you said:

        Is this the point you’ve been alluding to all along – i.e. that the developed world is culpable despite having lifted the living standards, reduced famines, reduced infant mortality and disease, increased education and health increased life expectancy etc for the whole world?

        No, it’s certainly not – see my reply to ristvan. I made an accurate observation – that the developing world comprises 82 percent of the global population and all the world’s poorest people – but, in so doing, I wasn’t implying that that’s somehow the West’s fault. On the contrary, I have a no doubt that, were it not for the Industrial Revolution and the western values identified by ristvan, things would be very considerably worse.

      • Robin Guenier

        Robert I. Ellison – you said:

        ”… the world at COP21 chose development and economic growth regardless of the fuel”

        Well, yes, that’s true … in that fossil fuels were of course not made mandatory for the developing world. The problem – or more accurately the problem for those who believe substantial reductions in GHG emissions are essential – is that policy makers in the developing world seem not to share the West’s concern about CAGW. And that’s why, led by China and India, they successfully insisted on reaffirming the UNFCCC principle that, unlike the West, they were under no obligation to make GHG reductions. And they’re acting accordingly.

        (And Robert: what have I said that you find so objectionable?)

      • Why would you think I was speaking to you when I said objectionable?

        You will find that the US – for instance – has embraced a gas to advanced nuclear strategy. Strip the global warming rhetoric and it is mostly about sensible energy pathways.

      • COP21 commitments are all voluntary of course.

      • Robin Guenier

        Robert – you asked:

        Why would you think I was speaking to you when I said objectionable?

        Because your comment was inset under mine. So it wasn’t me – phew, I was quite worried!

        As for COP21 commitments being voluntary, that’s true of course. But the requirement that the developed countries “should continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute emission reduction targets” is vastly more stringent than the provision by which developing countries are merely “encouraged to move over time towards” reduction or limitation targets. And, in any case, Western countries (quite rightly) make a habit of feeling obliged to meet such commitments – it’s a good example of what ristvan had in mind when he distinguished the developed from the disadvantaged.

  68. The science is about as settled as it is going to get. Climate shifts in the Pacific Ocean with global implications for hydrology and radiative flux feedbacks.

    “The use of a coupled ocean–atmosphere–sea ice model to hindcast (i.e., historical forecast) recent climate variability is described and illustrated for the cases of the 1976/77 and 1998/99 climate shift events in the Pacific. The initialization is achieved by running the coupled model in partially coupled mode whereby global observed wind stress anomalies are used to drive the ocean/sea ice component of the coupled model while maintaining the thermodynamic coupling between the ocean/sea ice and atmosphere components.” http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00626.1

    Although at this stage Mojib Latif suggests that it is about as reliable as tossing a coin.

    We know little of how the system evolved in the 20th century and so cannot make credible attributions. What little data there is says that ocean warming in the 1990’s was overwhelmingly caused by changes in shortwave forcing. The last few years of warming – following early century cooling – in Argo are associated with El Niño and reduced cloud cover.

    What is known is that El Niño intensity and frequency peaked last century and it is suspected that high solar activity is implicated. A return to a La Niña normal over centuries – and a global cooling influence – is on the cards this century.

    On the other hand – adding greenhouse gases adds instability to the abruptly shifting climate system – by first principles.

    “Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.” https://www.nap.edu/read/10136/chapter/3#14

    It is the difference between a static and a stationary climate. A static climate is unmoved unless acted on by an external forcing – in a formulation reminiscent of classical physics. Stationarity recognizes periodic shifts over a very long time in climate means and variance that are driven by internal dynamics of an ergodic dynamic system.

    In any case the solution for forcing or chaotic triggers is economic growth and economic stability, trade, technological innovation and economic and agricultural productivity. Rich economies have far less impact on environments and have resources to solve people problems and to invest in the future.

    Many technological innovations are required in brick kilns, cement manufacture, transport, electricity, efficiency and agriculture. Something that was my first reaction back in 1990 – and something seemingly well within the grasp of the technological monkey.

    Agriculture and forestry are key technologies in building a positive future. Carbon sequestration in soils has major benefits in addition to offsetting anthropogenic emissions from fossil fuel combustion, land use conversion, soil cultivation, continuous grazing and cement manufacturing. We can conceivably return 100 billion tonnes of carbon (360 billion tonnes CO2-eg) to soils and ecosystem – of the 180 billion tonnes of carbon lost since 1750.

    Restoring soil carbon stores increases agronomic productivity and enhances global food security. We can reverse desertification and restore forests. Increasing the soil organic content enhances water holding capacity and creates a more drought tolerant agriculture – with less downstream flooding. There is a critical level of soil carbon that is essential to maximising the effectiveness of water and nutrient inputs.

    Global food security, especially for countries with fragile soils and harsh climate such as in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, cannot be achieved without improving soil quality through an increase in soil organic content. Wildlife flourishes on restored grazing land helping to halt biodiversity loss. Reversing soil carbon loss in agricultural soils is a new green revolution where conventional agriculture is hitting a productivity barrier with exhausted soils and increasingly expensive inputs. Reversing environmental degradation is something of tremendous importance in its own right.

    With COP21 people definitively choose economic growth and technological innovation. But then it was probably always too late to put that Jack back in the box.

  69. gallandyjakobsen

    Dear Judith Curry,

    I am very impressed about your clear message to free science from political demands for specific results. I am a Danish -retired – teacher and have been engaged in the international wind power resistance since december 2012 and have followed your link and facebook site in months.

    The Danish government has paid for a health investigation just to get the confirmation that wind turbine noise is harmless. It is true, this is the meaning and expectation of this and has been written just like this in clear words to the country’s communities. Now the time has come, where the first results from the first of 5 articles will be published in a scientific paper. The results will not be known before this. That was the deal from the very beginning of this health research.

    The independent scientists are in real trouble now, because the wind industry, the communities, the government and the wind turbine neighbors expect a kind of clear decision from the team. But of course: they can’t do it like this.

    I have send your link to their leading scientist Mette Sørensen, because the team should know, they are not alone! It is just insane to expect these few scientists to support Danish and other politicians in their decisions about the Danish energy politics. Politicians have not understood or don’t want to understand, how scientists work and that there are and will be many more articles about this item. We are not surprised about Danish politicians’ lack of interest to speak with all the families, who already have been forced to leave their homes because of wind turbine noise.

    Best wishes

    Greta Gallandy-Jakobsen

    vind-alarm-danmark.eu

    2017-03-20 17:33 GMT+01:00 Climate Etc. :

    > curryja posted: “by Judith Curry I’m looking for ideas and discussion on > ways to improve what I regard to be a broken interface between climate > science and policy. I’m preparing a new document (I’ll be able to post it > next week). I’m struggling with how to fram” >

  70. “9.
    Funding priorities in climate research that support fundamental observing systems (surface and satellite-based), fundamental climate dynamics research and research to improve short-term climate predictions (sub-seasonal to interannual) would support improved climate modeling systems and lay the foundations for disruptive advances in our understanding of the climate system and our ability to predict emergent phenomena such as abrupt climate change.”

    This should be the main priority, including at multi-decadal AMO scales, and with the regular occurrence solar minima, as these govern dominant regional climatic and weather pattern changes, regardless of relatively small increases in non-condensing GHG forcings. Sweeping it all under the rug of ‘internal variability’ and being mainly concerned with the effects of rising CO2 is an obstruction to the emergence of the science required to understand and predict such changes.

  71. Perhaps part of the issue is cultural. That is, there is a tremendous value given to understandings that change our view of the world in dramatic ways. I say cultural, because I think it affects just about everything. Art, Music, Politics, Consumer Goods, and even Science.

    Years ago, I read a book “The Story of Art,” in which the author took a very long look at Art from Egyptian to Modern times. It’s a great book, but as time progressed suddenly there were so many different kinds of art: Primitivism, Cubism, Abstraction. Throwing paint on canvas is considered art. At the end of the book, the author cautioned that perhaps art was being lost for something else (note, I think Judith, this is the kind of approach you would appreciate, as the author clearly wanted to make art accessible).

    Modern Classical music is much the same way, in my view. While it is interesting, it isn’t enjoyable, and it isn’t understandable. It’s cliquey.

    I think somewhere along the way, people decided the past was old and stupid, and so all the old ways were suspect. Therefore, new ways needed to be invented, and to be worthy they had to disprove the past. And the tremendous perception of innovation speed with data communications, chips, and software, and odd business models enforces this belief.

    I sometimes wonder about String Theory, for instance, and saw a debate between a Science philosopher and particle physicist. The particle physicist made the point that with particle physics, you can predict a particle, test for it, and prove it exists, or rule it out probabilistically. He asked the Science philosopher how to do that with String Theory, to which he condescended: “Well, you could build a linear accelerator between here and Alpha Centauri, and if a cow came out the other end you would know String Theory is wrong.” So much for the supremacy of the null hypothesis! (Now, in fairness I work with a particle physicist who worked at SLAC, and he tells me that some are trying to find a way to disprove).

    Climate science seems to me to be similar. As an example, I think Judith had a post in which the argument went something like this. If warming isn’t as much as predicted, then that’s because of unaccounted internal processes and the amount of warming because of CO2 is more than 100% of observed warming. Observations are so yesterday, we have massive compute power (which is not so massive, I might add). I think many Climate Scientists assume the models are correct and the null hypothesis is wrong but hard to disprove, and so that step is bypassed. (Personally, I suspect there are enough natural experiments that occur, such as El Nino, volcanoes, solar variation to test by observing if the right observations could be made).

    In summary, I would say Scientists should be more critical of trendy approaches. Why has it taken so long, for instance, for criticism of the models to surface? So much is based on the models. I think it is cultural: the desire to be on the edge of a new wave, and not enough of the old fuddy duddies saying “You must follow the process.” The special case that Climate Science may roast the earth should not be exempted, nor because it is hard to run experiments. If we are worried about roasting, then we must know, because changing the world is a very hard thing to do! The appropriate observations should be funded. We do not need fancy new “Precautionary principles” to guide us, in my estimation.

    I think the reason Climate Science is in the state it is in, is on account of this cultural imperative to rush to the next amazing thing. Only by changing that culture, by asserting scientific rigor, by admiring the hard work that comes from interest in the subject itself, will the output of science provide the clear signals to policy makers.

    In any event, that’s my view on this subject. And, I must say, I am incredibly appreciative of what you do, trying to make climate science accessible to many, to wade through the very difficult issues, especially considering the tremendous criticism you have had to endure. And that is regardless of whether the worst case scenarios of warming are true or not.

  72. Hi Judith,

    It’s interesting that you bring up this subject. As a geophysicist with a minor in Science and Technology Policy (STP), I spoke directly with the Chairman of the SAGEEP conference I attended this week about STP and the need to bring STP discussions into technical conferences. I did this independently of your post (I didn’t know you posted this subject).

    Scientists should understand that the generation of new knowledge is inherently a social process, and as such knowledge of STP concepts should be taught to all scientists and engineers. I know this will be painful to many, and even shunned by those who do not understand the inherent nature of knowledge generation. For me, my STP training was highly enlightening and has allowed me to understand the full range of interactions between scientists, and various other public groups.

    In general, we need to inform scientists of the interplay between science and policy, and the key roles scientists can play in the discussions surrounding scientific controversies. Importantly, we need scientists to understand what advocacy is, how a scientist can transition from a science arbiter or honest broker to an advocate or even a stealth advocate. We need to show how scientists as advocates influence the public, how scientists as advocates for a particular knowledge outcome influences policy, and why skepticism concerning particular scientific advocacy is healthy for science as a whole.

    Thanks.

  73. It is extremely important to communicate knowledge uncertainty with respect to climate change. It is clear to me that the numerical modeling component of the climate change controversy has completely lost uncertainty of knowledge communications. The uncertainty of the models and their results from their origin to the communications of the model results to policymakers and the public is woefully inadequate. Admittedly, the public and policymakers may not understand uncertainty very well, if at all. That is where uncertainty communications is crucial. We, as scientists, must learn to make uncertainty understandable to the public. We must also communicate the growth in model uncertainty as model predictions of the future advance farther and farther from the present climate state.

    It should be understood that the degree of knowledge certainty and confidence in numerical models increases the further away from the actual model creator the knowledge communicator is. In other words, a scientist that has little or no knowledge of the actual details in a numerical model should show some amount of knowledge skepticism concerning model future predictive results. However, the reverse occurs. A scientist from another discipline may show complete confidence in a model without fulling understanding the uncertainty that is built into it. In effect, the scientist suspends his scientific skepticism in favor of a particular knowledge outcome. This thrusts the scientist into acting in the role of an advocate. This advocacy is likely based on the presumed epistemic authority of the knowledge generators, under the assumption that they are not acting as scientific knowledge outcome advocates, continued research funding advocates, or policy advocates.

    Policy advocates also minimize knowledge uncertainty in order to achieve high knowledge certainty for the expressed purpose of achieving a political goal. This is where scientists must counter the uncertainty minimization effort of political and scientific outcome advocates.

    In essence, it is essential for advocates that uncertainty about an outcome be lost in advocacy communications. We, as scientists must recognize this and counter it.

  74. Policy makers need clarity of information, and the communication to them by scientists (the topic here) needs to be clear in what is said. The very definition of Uncertainty by IPCC includes “ambiguously defined concepts or terminology”.
    The very term Climate Change needs to be addressed, and from it, policy makers can ask the scientist (if the scientist failed to do so):

    “What is it here that we can do something about? What are you showing me here that is due to our actions and policies, that is not due to nature? If we can do something, we can plan to do it. If nature is doing this, we can plan to adopt to it.”

    The above can be paraphrased as Null Hypothesis for policymakers.

    Increasingly, Climate change is being ambiguously defined. Does it include anthropogenic or not. Communications using the term should say what they mean. In https://theconversation.com/youve-been-framed-six-new-ways-to-understand-climate-change-2119 Natural variation is shown as a version of Climate change. So ambiguity needs to be removed.

    IPCC intends to separate the natural and anthropogenic, and frankly that is beneficial in terms of the task of setting policy.

    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/518.htm
    “Climate change
    Climate change refers to a statistically significant variation in either the mean state of the climate or in its variability, persisting for an extended period (typically decades or longer). Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use.
    Note that the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in its Article 1, defines �climate change� as: �a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods�. The UNFCCC thus makes a distinction between �climate change� attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition, and �climate variability� attributable to natural causes.
    See also: Climate variability.”

    Clarity in the form here the is recommended,
    “The Atlantic Ocean thermohaline circulation multi-decadal variability is suggested as a major cause of Arctic temperature variation. Further analyses of long coupled model runs will be critical to resolve the influence of the ocean thermohaline circulation and other natural climate variations on Arctic climate and to determine whether natural climate variability will make the Arctic more or less vulnerable to anthropogenic global warming.”
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL038777/full

    Approaches in the form here is recommended,
    http://horizon.ucsd.edu/miller/download/climateshift/climate_shift.pdf
    “To advance our understanding
    of mankind’s potential influence on climate,
    the study of various natural climate variations is of
    paramount importance. ”

    The interface can be improved.

  75. Hi, Judith, I’ve been away and just seen this, having been heavily involved in the policy-making process, I hope to respond shortly.

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