Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying

by Judith Curry

There is a disturbing story coming out of the University of Washington surrounding Cliff Mass.

In preparing this article, I have received material from a member of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington. I also ran into another member of the Department while at the AGU meeting this week, who corroborated these events. I conducted a 30 minute phone interview with Cliff Mass.

Who is Cliff Mass?

Cliff Mass  has been a faculty member in the University of Washington Atmospheric Sciences Department since 1982.   His research focuses on numerical weather modeling and prediction, the role of topography in the evolution of weather systems, and on the weather of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to his research publications, Cliff Mass has published a popular book entitled ‘Weather of the Pacific Northwest.’

 Since 2008, Cliff Mass has maintained a popular blog Cliff Mass Weather and Climate. Mass posts regular articles on meteorology, Pacific Northwest weather history, and the impacts of climate change written for the general public.

He has 13,000 twitter followers. Mass also has a weekly radio show with 400,000 weekly listeners (!)

Cliff Mass – climate ‘denier’?

 Cliff Mass has been characterized as a ‘sort of’ climate denier. The first reference to this is a 2015 article Cliff Mass: Scientific lies and the new climate deniers. 

“He is also a dangerous new breed of climate skeptic. He has made a theme of downplaying the role of global warming in extreme weather events, and in exposing what he calls “overzealousness” in the scientific, media, and activist community.”

A 2017 article in Stranger entitled Why does Cliff Mass believe scientists and leftist journalists are exaggerating the dangers of climate change?

“Cliff Mass is not a climate denier, but he is their ally, which is as good as being a climate denier.”

 The accusation of ‘denier’ got more explicit when Sarah Myre testified before the State of Washington House of Representatives: Can you be a climate scientist and an advocate? 

“In February 2017, Sarah Myhre traveled to Washington’s capital, Olympia, to give testimony to the state House of Representatives Environment Committee. There, Representative Shelly Short, a Republican from northeastern Washington, asked her to comment on her colleague Mass’ unwillingness to link recent wildfires, droughts, and hurricanes to climate change. Myhre responded that she and many of her colleagues saw Mass’ recent views “as coming from a denialist or contrarian place.

The Cascadia Daily states:

“Seattle weather guy and climate change denier Cliff Mass”

 So, what does Cliff Mass have to say about climate change, in his own words? From an interview with the UW Alumni magazine and summary from the Wikipedia (based on my knowledge of Cliff’s opinions and writings, this is correct):

 “According to Mass, “Global warming is an extraordinarily serious issue, and scientists have a key role to play in communicating what is known and what is not about this critical issue.

Mass has stated publicly that he shares the scientific consensus that global warming is real and that human activity is the primary cause of warming trends in the 20th and 21st centuries. He has been critical of the Paris Climate accord for not going far enough to address the negative impacts of climate change. However, Mass is also frequently critical of what he has characterizes as exaggerations of the past and current impacts of climate change in the news media, including the attribution of individual extreme weather events to global warming.”

The most recent ‘denier’ claims are associated with Cliff’s statements about the causes of the recent California fires: Cliff Mass: Climate change is real but . . .

“But Mass takes issue every time someone points to local extreme weather and says “that’s caused by climate change.”

The extremes we’ve seen in Seattle, around the region and even across the U.S. — most of them anyway — are caused by anomalous weather patterns, not climate change, Mass said.

There are, of course, those who would argue that by nitpicking such details, Mass only feeds ammunition to climate change deniers. Mass doesn’t want to downplay global warming; he just doesn’t want to stretch the truth to try and out-extreme those who would deny it. “So global warming’s very serious,” Mass said. “But it’s coming up in the future, not right now, for us.”

Sarah Myhre is not happy with Mass’ recent statements about the California wildfires. From an article by James Delingpole: Brown Fiddled While California Burned:

“One Dr Sarah Myhre – who, gloriously, bills herself as a “public scholar scientist advocate communicator” [actually, you know, just “activist” would have done] – tweeted at him “This. Is. Pure. Propaganda.” And then told a Washington radio station that had given him airtime that giving Cliff a “platform” was a “form of violence.”

So in summary, Cliff Mass accepts the consensus science. However he breaks with the ‘activists’ in terms of thinking it is a bad idea to falsely claim that extreme weather events are caused by AGW.


Most unforgivably, Mass broke with the progressive activists in terms of not supporting the latest carbon fee initiative in Washington, I-1631. Mass has long advocated for some sort of carbon tax: How to make a carbon tax work in Washington 

Mass was a strong supporter of a previous carbon tax initiative (which was voted down). His concerns with I-1631 are described in three blog posts:

I don’t pretend to be an expert on I-1631 and I am not passing judgment here, but I will say that Mass’s position is well-supported and defensible.

For a perspective from the supporters of I-1631, I refer to Sarah Myhre’s article in the Stranger entitled New carbon tax initiative drafted with more color and less white supremacy. Reducing CO2 emissions seems to be a relatively minor factor; climate policy has become a crusade to change the balance of power:

“When climate policy is written by white men in a closed room, that is white supremacy.”

Things got really ‘interesting’ as a result Mass’ blog post ‘If you worry about climate change . . .’ , which had this statement:

“The initiative hardwires money to certain special interest groups–the left-leaning supporters of the measure. A minimum of ten percent of the money goes to Indian tribes, who are exempted from paying any carbon fee by the initiative. Labor advocates got a fifty million dollar fund, replenished annually, for worker support programs. And to provide funding to the social action groups pushing the initiative, 35% of the money goes to “pollution and health action areas” of minority and “vulnerable populations.” There is more, but you get the message (see the picture below).” [The picture was pigs at a trough.]

Mass’ point was that special interest groups were hardwired for a good portion of the funds. He wanted an image that illustrated ‘political pork’ and special interest groups feeding at the public trough and so he used the pigs at a trough image.

While there were no complaints about the image in the blog comments, a few of the activists at the UW claimed it was racist. Imagery of pigs at a public trough has been used for over a century, and has never been used to refer to minorities as far as Mass could identify. ‘Pigs at a trough’ is about the well-connected and privileged. Mass decided to be sensitive to the ‘feelings’ of thee activists and pulled the image. Then Mass received a number of messages after he pulled it, accusing him of giving in to mob rule. There was nothing racist or anything else inappropriate in the text, and no one has suggested there was. Apparently the mention of the phrase ‘Indian tribes’ in the same paragraph that references an image of pigs at the trough is sufficient to trigger an accusation of racism.

Note: I-1631 was voted down in the November election.

Department of Atmospheric Sciences

Any scientist that is active in the public debate on climate change (no matter what their actual position in the debate) will invariably be subject to attacks on twitter, the blogosphere and even by journalists. That is part of the noise associated with the public debate on climate change. This noise shouldn’t matter, in the overall scheme of things.

However, it is a different kettle of fish when people from your own university, and even your own Department, go after you publicly, with the objective of stifling your freedom of speech. And then when University administrators get involved, a threatening situation can emerge.

A number of University of Washington graduate students have taken a vocal stance against Cliff Mass, particularly on twitter. These same activist students that were so upset about the pig picture participated in online character assassination, calling Mass every name in the book over the past six months because they are unhappy with his rejection of 1631 and his research/blog posts on wildfires and attribution of extreme events.  They have accused him of deception, being on the payroll of oil companies, purposely obfuscating with multiple twitter accounts, racism, misogyny, tokenism, Trumpism. They  are hypersensitive about any indirect criticism of their ‘side’ but are fine with name-calling and personal attacks on those they disagree with.

The attacks ramped up when a group of students complained to the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Rather than meet with Cliff Mass to discuss, the Assistant Dean sent a mass email to the faculty of the Atmospheric Sciences Department, with the following lede:

“a recent blog posting by a member of our community on a personal website included imagery and text that was racially insensitive and caused offense to a significant number of members in the departmental community.”

No attempt was made by this Assistant Dean to meet with Cliff Mass, or to understand that there was no racism evident or intended, and that the image in question was quickly removed from the blog post.

I will not ‘name and shame’ any of the graduate students here, who in any event are probably proud of their behavior. (JC note to students applying for jobs: search committees will check your social media presence). However, one graduate student in particular gets a ‘dishonorable’ mention here: Alex Lenferna, a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Philosophy Department with a Certificate in Atmospheric Science. He wrote a blog post that is basically a ‘hit-job’ on Cliff Mass, owing to his failure to support I-1631, including playing the ‘racism’ card. The blog post includes an image: Cliff Mass ‘hearts’ oil.

I won’t dignify Lenferna’s slime by reproducing any of it. This blog post is significant, however,  because the Atmospheric Sciences Department Chair (Dale Durran) sent a mass email to the Department faculty including the link to Lenferna’s post, and voicing concern about Mass’ behavior and ‘racism’, and including the image Mass ‘hearts’ oil.

The Chair then called a general Department-wide meeting about the blog post Mass wrote, with the event billed as ‘controversy.’ An ombudsperson was enlisted to run the meeting, but the Chair took over, serving as inquisitor and critic. The Chair prevented Mass from finishing his opening comments and hectored Mass throughout the meeting. The activist students were true to form, hurling all kinds of insulting, personal and inappropriate remarks.

So what is going on here? Is the Department of Atmospheric Sciences making a stand against political activism by its faculty members? Hardly. In fact, the Chair, Dale Durran, pressured each of the faculty members to sign a statement supporting I-1631. This statement was published by the Seattle Times :

“Some know they must stop smoking, but can’t, and it wrecks their health. As spelled out in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, humanity has been acting like a chain smoker. Initiative 1631 gives us the chance to change. The opposition to I-1631 is largely concerned with the politics of taxing and spending. These are important matters, but they should not be endlessly debated in lieu of taking action. I-1631 is the third major effort to discourage carbon emissions in Washington state.

Science shows carbon emissions remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years, warming and dramatically changing the climate. Because of the way carbon accumulates, the emission reductions required to hold future changes in climate below any given level become more drastic with each year we wait to begin serious cuts.

Unlike the carbon emitted while waiting for a perfect law, passing I-1631 does not represent an irrevocable hundreds-of-years commitment. After a short period, I-1631 could be amended to make it even better.

Now is the time to take a big step to kick our carbon habit.

Dale Durran, professor and chair, and 21 other professors in the Atmospheric Sciences Department at the University of Washington, Seattle (the views expressed here are those of the authors and not UW)”

While many of the faculty members appear to have signed this enthusiastically (based on their signatures on other lists related to I-1631), I’ve been told that several faculty members felt uncomfortable signing this. One of the faculty members I spoke with said they felt compelled to sign the letter since they didn’t want to stand up to Chair; this individual told me they voted against I-1631.

There are several people in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences that don’t like Cliff Mass (including, obviously, the Chair). They are concerned about his status as Washington’s ‘celebrity’ scientist – being either envious of this status or concerned that this status makes Mass relatively immune to ‘pressure’ from Departmental leadership. But most fundamentally, they seem to dislike that his blog is getting in the way of their own political advocacy. 

JC reflections

The climate change advocacy disease seems to have affected many of the UW faculty and graduate students.  Apart from the issue of activism potentially getting in the way of scientific objectivity,  the big issue here is that the Chair attempted to ‘institutionalize’ this activism with the I-1631 support letter. I have to say I find this very inappropriate behavior for a Chair, and I’m surprised that the higher administration didn’t reprimand him for this (in the old days I would have been reprimanded for this at Georgia Tech, but under the current administration, who knows). Faculty members were pressured into signing that letter,  since the Chair controls their reappointments and promotions, salary, teaching assignments, etc. The public ‘shaming’ meeting is beyond the pale, particularly the Chair’s behavior during this meeting. After this behavior, I cannot imagine how the UW faculty and administration can have any confidence in the leadership of their current Chair.

And finally, a closing comment about Cliff Mass. While this can’t be fun for him, I’m not too worried about Cliff Mass: Cliff has friends in high places and an enormous ‘bully pulpit’ in terms of his blog and radio show. Trying to take him down isn’t going to work.

I have much more to say on this situation and the broader implications, I will write more in a follow on post.



148 responses to “Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying

  1. I wonder when they are going to get back to burning heretics at the stake?

  2. Climate science is not just playing out in the arena of pubic debate that gets rough and nasty sometimes. Something more than a debate that’s being lost by skeptics is happening.

    There seems to be an active push to poison the well before any debate can get started, and indeed consensus climate science is succeeding is stifling debate altogether. How does it do this? Skeptics are painted as paid-off, anti-science, depraved, deranged, or a combination of these things. This is the picture the general public has of skeptics, and I think it’s no accident that this narrative is the predominant one.

    I think there’s something insidious in this and I don’t think it’s simply a matter of debate getting a bit nasty and vicious. I don’t know who orchestrates this and why, but I have a strong suspicion that PR (public relations) firms are involved in shaping public perception on climate. It seems there are those in power and authority who have a vested interest in convincing the public of catastrophic climate change. Personally I think that the money to be made, by both those on the left and on the right, in wheeling and dealing what will be a huge commodity market in carbon trading, might be motivation. Big banks would have the wherewithal to pay PR firms. I’m speculating, but it seems to me that the way the public has been bamboozled in fairly sophisticated and most likely involves professional PR activity.

    We’re not at the level of Lysenkoism, but I do think that the philosophy of stifling dissent that’s promoted by Oreskes and others deserves a name of its own, whether that be “Oreskeist” or “Oreskianism” or “Oreskeism” or something else. I think “advocacy science” is too kind.

    Oreskeism: the practice of stifling scientific debate by poisoning the well and ad hominem attacks, and by cherry-picking evidence to make it appear that all the facts are on one side.

    My two cents.

    • It’s worse than Oreskeism. It’s Myhreism!

      • And she bears the gifts of the Magi: she’s frank, incensed, and Mhyre…

      • I don’t know what it is, but it’s weird.
        It has the fingerprints of professional PR work that specializes in filtering out narratives to the media and other outlets, which is essentially what all PR firms do. It seems to me that this is the real reason that 97% of people who are left of center believe that catastrophic climate change is indisputable, and that all skeptics are depraved.

        The weirdness is so weird that it doesn’t seem to be just random weirdness, but maybe that’s just me.

        There are lots of PR firms out there that specialize in shaping public opinion and in working behind the scenes. They get paid well for doing so.

      • Don “It seems to me that this is the real reason that 97% of people who are left of center believe that catastrophic climate change is indisputable, and that all skeptics are depraved.”

        It gets even weirder when you realize that every one of those 97% assume that whatever action is taken won’t cost them anything or impact their employment or lifestyle. They’ll be able to drive a car to a job where they write content for the internet. They believe solar panels and windmills will allow them to sit in their air conditioned or heated homes streaming unlimited movies or games from millions of internet servers on windless nights. And they can eat imported grapes, with an imported beer, while they chat with their friends on 5G networks with iPhones made in China.
        And they think you’re dumb if you don’t realize that Republicans are the only things preventing this from happening today.

      • I think UW’s (students and faculty) behavior is more akin to Stalinism, Maoism, Socialism, or Fascism. It’s not about climate change at all; it’s about using raw political power to force a permanent change in the powerful elites ability to achieve hegemeny over the rest of us. They think they are more enlightened and more intelligent than the rest of us. They only want people to robotically agree with them. They don’t like independent thinkers and actively seek to destroy them. The powerful elite think the rest of us are just ants that must do their bidding.

        It sounds trite or ridiculous or insane, but the US is in the way. The reduction of the US to a low power oligarchy or single party dictatorship is one of the ways to achieve complete hegemeny. Massive wealth transfer via carbon taxes is one of the key tools that the elite could deploy that would help facilitate their goal of total hegemeny. Ridiculous you say. Were Stalin, Hitler, Mao, and other dictators not serious threats to freedom? Preposterous you say, it can’t happen today; we have elections and the peaceful transfer of power. We have checks and balances; we have the freedom of speech (Do we really have that freedom?). I remind you that Hitler was voted into power by the German population.

        Sorry to be so blunt, but we must not be confused about the real hidden agenda. The real objectives are hidden because if it were openly advocated for, it would be soundly rejected by all. Independence of thought and expression is crucial to freedom and applies to scientific integrity as well.

        The vitriol from the radical catastrophic climate change advocates comes from their fear of those who are independent thinkers that can expose their rouse, and ultimately help to support rational public policy instead of the radical shifts toward the hegemeny that they seek. Be assured that these advocates are simply tools that are being used by the elites to achieve their objectives. I am also sure that many of the tools are unaware of their tool status.

        Be aware of who you are dealing with; know and understand their agenda. Advocacy is not a problem as long as its properly disclosed. Stealth advocacy is always a problem, and is inherently dishonest.

      • That’s so alarming.

      • What we are witnessing is the slow death of representative democracy and the great republic called The United States of America.

      • Allan @ 7.35 I agree,

      • This is so frightening. I even more alarmed. A slow death. Oh gawd!

    • Don32 wrote:

      We’re not at the level of Lysenkoism.

      No, Don, I think it is actually worse than Lysenkoism.

      Soviet scientists who failed to protest Lysenkoism were simply saving their lives, not courageous but certainly forgivable.

      American climate scientists who lie have less excuse.

      N.B. I think the earth has warmed in the last two centuries and that anthropogenic CO2 has contributed to the warming. But to pretend that climate science can currently state definitively that anthropogenic global warming will be catastrophic… that is lying.

    • I do not agree that the skeptics are losing the debate and certainly not that 97% of liberals are alarmists. Polls indicate that about 80% of Democrats accept AGW (and 20% of Republicans). Overall about 50% of the people are skeptics.

      We skeptics are playing for a draw and doing very well at that. In politics a draw is a loss for those advocating radical action, so they are losing nicely. Some things will always be done in favor of AGW because in a democracy every squeak gets some grease, but it will not be much. It is a permanent political standoff, like gun control.

    • Don132
      “Climate science is not just playing out in the arena of pubic debate that gets rough and nasty sometimes. Something more than a debate that’s being lost by skeptics is happening”.

      Don, there is NO debate occurring. There is a global agenda in play with a small pocket of highly qualified scientists and skeptics responsibly offering alternative opinions based on real data and real world observations.

      Folks can call it every type of “ism” known and unknown, Thousands of graduates are leaving Poland over the weekend, emboldened with a new hope and crowd hype and commitment to virtually every country in the world. The train rolls on.

      This is above science.

    • Don 132, I mostly agree with you. I love the term “Oreskian.” I will start using it.
      Something new is happening. As the evidence for CAGW gets weaker, there is less tolerance for dissent. It is well funded and professional. It is mostly nonscientists but good writers. Take a good look sometime who is in these think tanks and research institutes.

  3. This very much mirrors the tactics surrounding the LBGTQ+ controversy. One might think the leftist movements across academia are coordinating their activities at the informal level.

    I know it has become a cliché but the Chinese Cultural Revolution with all of its tactics comes very much to mind.

    • Keith says, “I know it has become a cliché but the Chinese Cultural Revolution with all of its tactics comes very much to mind”. You make a good point using Asian history.

      Progressive’s seem to think this type of political obstruction is new found and indicative of a genius’s thinking. Korean history during the 1400’s is also a playbook for understanding today’s intolerance and never ending political obstruction.

      Political elites and Confucian scholars decided to destroy a King and a brilliant scientist that disagreed with them. They were out smarted and failed because a small group held firm to their beliefs. Today the King and scientist are recognized as two of the greatest leaders of the 15th century.

  4. Judy: Excellent example of the nature and evolution of Lysenkoism. I would also add that “pigs” were an essential metaphorical component in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, which remain my favorite political tract.

  5. Roy W. Spencer

    Thanks for taking the time to make us aware of this situation, Judith. Very sad situation.

  6. The apparent condition of ‘denialism’ as now used to try and underwrite accusation with psychological legitimacy in various socially conflicted domains especially involving science, is so poorly framed (and tested for) that essentially it doesn’t exist in terms of this commonly understood usage. It’s become purely an emotive rallying flag, which suppresses opposition because anyone thinking of such is left in no doubt by this term that the full weight of huge emotive stigma would becoming their way if they did oppose. Nobly motivated yet seriously mistaken academics and science defenders have played a large part in this framing. Their understanding of the relevant factors in play and their tests for denialism are both deeply flawed, and essentially legitimise anyone to call out any group as deniers. Most accusations have long since skipped the inconvenience of the tests anyhow, which even though they’re wrong may still get in the way of accusing individuals rather than groups. Now academia suffers from the running flame it helped light; how many in the department at UW and in wider academia have aided by silence events to go so far, because they’re afraid that the dreaded label could touch them too? Most will presumably not have the helpful support base that Cliff Mass enjoys.

    • Andy: “Now academia suffers from the running flame it helped light…”

      This is always the case with radicalism and revolution. Because emotional attachment and tribal affinity become the drivers taking over from reason. Invariably, the most extreme take reigns of leadership as they are the most motivated and ruthless. The only productive revolutions are the ones that produce individual liberty as a by-product. They are the tiny exceptions, one of a thousand.

      The religiosity in the left is scaring the right into not trusting any message. The leftist press in the USA has lost half the country. There will be no progress on any issue until radicalism falls out of favor or succeeds in taking power. They know this and are doing anything imaginable to seize it. We are yet to see if over-reaching kills the movement before it succeeds.

    • Perhaps the best understanding of ‘denialism’ is the denying that what government climate scientists, do bears any more than a passing resemblance to science / the scientific method.

  7. The left always ends up eating its own.

  8. I find that all the antics by the followers of the IPCC is extremely political, rather than being scientific. As an Engineer, I am well grounded in the Scientific Method and stand in support of it’s continuance. When will the proponents get back to the basics – like the empirical scientific evidence to “prove” that atmospheric temps are caused by the increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations? Without that basis – everything we do, globally concerning the elimination of fossil fuel use to the increased use of solar and wind generated electricity will be for naught. So far, with vast sums of money being spent in this field, the results have yielded extremely small results.

  9. Michael Lorrey

    They are eating their own. I left Seattle in 1996 in part because the politics was turning crazy leftist then. I am only shocked that they have not already built gulags to reeducate recalcitrant citizens who do not toe the party line.

    • Both Alan Dershowitrz and Stephen Cohen are now favored guests on the Tucker Carlson show on FoxNews. (For those not “in the know,” Cohen is married to Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left Nation magazine.) Both men, both formerly liberals if not outright leftists, are being shunned by the Left for their sane views on Russia (Cohen is one of the country’s leading Russia experts).

      One by one, sane leftists are being forced to the right by the not-so-sane SJWs.

      By the way, my own kids were both admitted to UW. Fortunately, they also got into higher-rated schools.

  10. This one story, about this one individual, at this one university, encapsulates all that is wrong with the climate change debate. But, in a larger sense it reveals much about our own culture and how a democratic society should and should not deal with conflicting opinions. Burning heretics? Yes, in a way. Anarchy? Yes, in a way. There are no redeeming features of any this. I’m sure many believe they have been chosen to save the world. But at what cost? Our own democratic ideals?

    From Myhre’s statement and her history of political activism to those actions of the students, it’s something we’re so accustomed to that it’s become normative behavior. Frighteningly, for many in our society it doesn’t set off alarm bells. In fact, they’ve rationalized so much about the discourse, they probably secretly condone it. The adults in the room seem to have abdicated their traditional roles of gatekeeper for the appropriate way to treat dissenting views. The dean’s actions are almost incomprehensible. They would have been 50 years ago. But with this pandemic of group think syndrome, it’s just another sorry story of how we have devolved into an unthinking mob.

    Sick. Sick. Sick.

  11. Michael Lorrey, I was born and raised in Seattle. It was “crazy” left all my life. I left in 1964 to attend College on the East Coast – and remain. Well removed from Seattle politics.

  12. Mass is a superb scientist. The attacks on Mass clearly illustrate how the alarmists’ “consensus” position is built on unscientific bullying, and shoot the messenger campaigns aimed at marginalizing anyone who disagrees

  13. Intellectual fascism at it’s best! Cliff is in the alarmist camp but refuses to embrace unscientific scare mongering so is on the enemy list.

  14. Unfortunate but not surprising. My own interactions with Cliff have always been helpful and informative. Posted a speculation elsewhere that his California wildfires post coild get him in trouble at radical UW. Turns out the carbon tax was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
    Warmunism at its finest on full inquisition display.

  15. Lest you believe that this is an anomaly, let me assure you that we are witnessing the assertive birthing, by neo-Jacobins, of a “New Terror.” Young hotheads, cruelly unaware of the value of life and liberty, moving apace towards a very unpleasant future for us “normies”

    I include above a link to a magnificent historical recreation of the single year reign of terror of the committee for public safety. Ordinary people, five of them, two young, one. barely out of his teens (St. Just). Terrifying cruelty buttressing a certainty in their rightness, and a willingness to cauterize bourgeois elements to allow the “new man” to emerge. Well worth the hour it will take you to watch, and Simon Sciama’s commentary is worth the price of admission by itself. The parallels to the “Bien Pensant’s” opinions of rational skeptics and other unsavory self-determinants are there for all to see.

    Most terrifying is Slavos Zizek’s commentary casually advocating the morality of killing opposing bourgeoisie (including, I’m sure, ‘deniers’). A modern, relatively young political philosopher who argues forcefully that the revolution did not succeed because it was not sufficiently violent in burning out all human obstacles. Terrifying, when you think on it.

    Dangerous times, “Si Vis Pacem….”

    • Zizek is now being denounced as a crypto-right-winger.

      It does remind me of Marx’s comment that history repeats itself — the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

      Our current-day leftists may or may not succeed in wrecking civilization before they finish devouring each other. But, at least we can have the pleasure of laughing at them.

  16. From the atmospheric science aspect, Cliff Mass’ blog is a bastion of reason and understanding. He applies dynamics expertise to simply and concisely explain why most adverse weather events are erroneously ascribed even in small part to AGW.

    On the “politically correct” aspect, I’ve been thinking about group identity from an evolutionary-philosophical-political perspective. Sebastian Junger appeared with Joe Rogan, describing his book “Tribe”. Junger describes the evolution of humans within small ( around 40 member ) tribes. It’s speculation, but it seems likely most tribes were also clans – more closely genetically related. Since membership was not only advantageous, but almost necessary, we’re highly evolved to tribe membership.

    Junger also relates how tribal membership is emotionally satisifying. But he also touches on modern problems. Evolution from clans of 40, to villages of hundreds, to towns of thousands, to nations of millions in environments far removed from nature obviously removes the advantages of the behaviors we are evolved for. Populism divides by defining nation in us-versus-them. Cultural populism divides by native-versus-immigrant. Socialist populism divides by rich-versus-poor. This same dynamic appears to occur with the PC assault on Cliff Mass. Much PC attempts to create groups of oppresor-versus-oppressed. The purity of group identity believer-versus-denier appears to be yet another example.

    This is all at odds with reason, but that may be our natural state. Emotion may be the motive for finding reason, but Cliff Mass reason far exceeds anything conjured by the groups ignoring and seeking to silence him.

  17. Professor Mass is hardly a “denier,” “supremecist,” etc. he is a good scientist that does good work. Plus, he shares some of the work he does on his blog, much like Dr. Curry does.

    People like this Sarah Myhre need to grow up, and quit it with the childish name-calling. We’ve moved along quite nicely since 1965, and people like Sarah take society backward, not forward.

    The fact that this article even had to be written (and rightly so) is sad.

  18. RE PIGS: A non technical observation. Pigs are a great analogue for the renewable energy boondogglers. The whole climate change legalised protection racket is based on the false assertion that global warming = renewable energy subsidies. This enables the endless $billons pa pouring into the subsidy troughs and the UN run climate catastrophe industry, through legislation based on the forecasts of flawed statistical models that aren’t happening in fact. “The CO2 goes up to 11”.

    The current squealing is still the pigs fighting for their share of the easy money. This will get ever louder as the fraud is exposed by the lack of anything happening in the real world and ever more considered public scrutiny of renewable costs and actual effects. on energy supply . It will get much worse as the pressure to end this legalised fraud grows . As a farmer observed “have you ever tried to remove pigs from a trough when there is still food in it?”

    PS Words of wisdom from the IPCC: “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    PPS Science fact. The “missing heat” isn’t missing, or hiding in the oceans, etc. . It only ever existed in the virtual reality of computer models, and was never really there. That is why they didn’t find it.

    Perhaps these activist students have spent too much time in the virtual reality world of their Play Stations and not enough time understanding the difference between deterministic science and computer models. Clue: One works on proven laws that are 100% repeatable by any independent tester. The other uses statistical predictions that amplify preferred solutions using programmers guesses. Which should we rely on?

  19. Thanks Judith for this post. I was unaware of most of this. The Department chair will probably get away with this because Washington is becoming a one party state with Democrats controlling all branches of state government. Our attorney general is a strong left wing activist.

    This problem is not new of course with such merchants of smear having a long history for example at Skeptical Science, which I suspect few actually read anymore except those who contribute to the site.

    Gavin Cawley was a prime example of the aggressive use of the smear in addition to having been quite technically wrong in a number of cases. He has moderated his tone I suspect because he perceives that these tactics are not working, but the tendency toward witch hunting is as old as mankind.

    The latest is that you are being criticized for saying “CO2 is not the climate control knob” in a speech. Of course the statement “CO2 is the control knob for the climate” is not really a scientific statement anyway in that it has no quantification. But nonetheless, inquiring minds want to know.

    • > inquiring minds want to know.

      What, DavidY – whether Judy’s “control knob” comment in the sense that “but chaos” is now her scientific hypothesis regarding AGW, or whether it’s just a slogan to work a contrarian crowd?

      I also note that you finally rediscover victim playing, and wonder how you think teh Donald won if not by smears. Enquiring minds want to know.

    • dikranmarsupial

      Well the deletion of that comment makes it clear that the moderator is happy for unfounded accusations to go unchallenged. Ironic given the topic of the blog post. Shame we all can’t just stick to the science.

    • That’s the firenado. The entire forest is at greater risk due to poor forest management practices, 100 million dead trees, undergrowth that has built up into an explosive fuel reservoir and the growing interface of humans and their activities that increase the probability of these fires starting to begin with. Even Moonbeam acknowledges better forest management is essential to reducing the probability for these disasters.

      • Yes, recent devastating fires in Queensland arose largely because of bans on controlled burning and limits in the width of firebreaks, devastating the environment (and many homes) in the name of protecting it.

  20. Re: “However, it is a different kettle of fish when people from your own university, and even your own Department, go after you publicly, with the objective of stifling your freedom of speech
    The climate change advocacy disease seems to have affected many of the UW faculty and graduate students.”

    Or, it could be that some people are still afflicted by “freeze peach” disease.

    • Professionals and intellectuals don’t do what is being done to Cliff Mass. Scientists confident in their work don’t need to.

      • Re: “Professionals and intellectuals don’t do what is being done to Cliff Mass. Scientists confident in their work don’t need to.”

        Yes, I understand that some people don’t want to be harshly criticized for what they say and don’t like it when others are harshly criticized. That still doesn’t make this a free speech issue. Free speech does not imply freedom from harsh criticism. In fact, free speech implies that people have the legal right to harshly criticize you for what you say and do. That doesn’t mean they have a legal right for every forum to give a platform to what they say.

      • The problem here Sanakan is public institutions like Univ. of Washington officials trying to intimidate faculty. Pressuring them to sign a political petition is probably illegal. Intimidation is a preferred tactic of totalitarian regimes everywhere. It’s much cleaner than bad publicity resulting from arrests.

      • I think everyone should be open to “harsh” criticism. Most of the left disagrees (it’s illegal in parts of Europe to criticize a certain religion for example).
        But I also expect professionals and “intellectuals” to offer criticism that is honest and coherent as well as harsh. Dr. Curry has demonstrated with this post that is not happening.
        What is happening is unprofessional, is anti-intellectual, and scientifically inaccurate. Perhaps even worse is that it’s the mark of a cause that’s not serious.

      • Re: “The problem here Sanakan is public institutions like Univ. of Washington officials trying to intimidate faculty. […] Intimidation is a preferred tactic of totalitarian regimes everywhere. It’s much cleaner than bad publicity resulting from arrests.”

        There’s a tedious double-standard /r special pleading going on with so many on the political right. They’re fine with people having the freedom to harshly criticize folks that much of the right disagrees (ex: using terms like “alarmist”), people using language that offends minority groups (ex: Jordan Peterson intentionally referring to trans people with pronouns they reject), and so on. They don’t call the “intimidation”. They don’t call it a limit on the freedom of others, even if it creates an environment where some groups feel less comfortable speaking up.

        But the second someone they view as an ally is harshly criticized, then harsh criticism becomes “intimidation”; it becomes a limit on freedom of speech.

        Seriously, people need to grow up. Someone harshly criticizing you is not a limit on your free speech. It is not “intimidation”. It is someone exercising their legal right to speech. People have a legal right to use their speech to try and skew what you do. That’s one way criticism works. If you think the criticism is flawed, then explain why it’s flawed. But don’t pretend as if your free speech has been infringed, you’ve been intimidated, etc.

        I think this video puts it rather well, though I won’t post it here, since I’m not sure if it’s allowed:

        “Does the Left Hate Free Speech? (Part 1) – ContraPoints”, especially from 6:25 to 11:03

        Re: “Pressuring them to sign a political petition is probably illegal.”

        If they broke the law, then a case should be filed and punishment should result. If people just used their legal right to free speech to advocate for a petition (in a way that violated no laws), then get over it; it would not then be a free speech issue. You can debate them by claiming the petition is immoral, scientifically unjustified, etc. But don’t pretend that it’s a matter of “freedom of speech” or “intimidation”.

      • Re: “I think everyone should be open to “harsh” criticism. Most of the left disagrees (it’s illegal in parts of Europe to criticize a certain religion for example).”

        Oh please don’t tell me you think that criticizing Islam is illegal in some parts of Europe. If you do, then provide a shred of evidence for that claim.

        If people are going to make stuff up to create some silly narrative of most leftists oppose free speech, then serious discussion is going to go nowhere.

      • Atomsk’s Sanakan:Seriously, people need to grow up. Someone harshly criticizing you is not a limit on your free speech. It is not “intimidation”. It is someone exercising their legal right to speech. People have a legal right to use their speech to try and skew what you do.

        Some of the “criticisms” of Mass were blatant falsehoods. Does Mass have a case for libel/defamation, along the lines of with Mann v. Steyn?

      • AS says this:
        “(ex: Jordan Peterson intentionally referring to trans people with pronouns they reject),”

        Check your facts. Jordon Peterson has never intentionally referred to trans people with pronouns they reject. In fact he is on video record as saying he will call anyone whatever pronoun they prefer. Makes me suspect that most of what you write is not truthful.


      • Atom-san
        Exactly which of us are you imagining was born yesterday?
        Has Cliff Mass been subject to nothing more than “harsh criticism”?
        In academia when is harsh criticism ever only harsh criticism?
        It’s always much more ambitious than that as you well know.

    • Sanakan,

      My “shred” of evidence you asked for below: google Geert Wilders

      • Or worse, the false imprisonment of Tommy Robinson in the UK for OBJECTIVE reporting of the facts of a case of public interest before a court of “justice.” Now, I don’t intend to hijack this thread, but as an American of Hungarian descent, I am moving there to defend freedom from EU-globalist oppression. My ancestors fought 200 years way back when, and then more than 50 more, more recently: and again…? Over my dead body!

      • And Bridget Bardot and etc etc etc. But this is Atomsk we’re replying to who lives in the world of post-normal science and policy where our betters may both say and do things that they may flatly deny saying and doing five minutes later because “truth is relative”

  21. Judith Curry wrote, “Mass also has a weekly radio show with 400,000 weekly listeners (!)”

    There is a story behind that as well.

    Mass writes:

    I had some personal experience with Mr. Hansen three years ago. As many of you know, I was on KUOW for nearly 15 years, but was “fired” by Steve Scher for speaking about a topic other than weather (I defended the UW’s admission’s policy when I was moved to the Week in Review segment one day). You heard it right, I was ejected from the UW’s public radio station for defending the UW from non-factual attacks by the Seattle Times. But let me tell you some details not generally known. On the Monday, following the “firing”, Steve Scher called my office, obviously very upset. He apologized for his email firing and admitted to me that he made a mistake. He wondered whether he was going to be fired, particularly with the huge public outcry that ensued. I told him I did not want to see him fired, that he lost his temper as everyone does at time, and that I would come back to the program if he wished. He said he might be willing to do that and that he would call me back.

    The next day, I called Mr. Hansen to see if the situation could be fixed. By that time, a major signature campaign for my return was ensuring and KUOW had to shut down its call-in lines because they were overwhelmed. I told Hansen about my conversation with Steve and Hansen replied that I was never coming back to the station. …

    KUOW: A Major Public Radio Station Stumbles

  22. Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  23. Bring on carbon taxes, bureaucrats. This is France’s answer. America’s should be even more interesting:

  24. Cliff Mass discovers the “Iron Rule” of climate alarmism: Never point out errors in newsworthy talking points.

  25. Curious George

    While I sympathize with Dr. Mass, this says more about the University than about him. An institution paying a salary to an Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is all about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – not about a higher learning.

  26. Thank you Dr. Curry. This is straight from the Saul D. Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” playbook. Rule #13 “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Virtually every Climate Skeptic who has dared to speak publicly on the issue has been a victim of this tactic.

    • This is straight from the Saul D. Alinsky “Rules for Radicals” playbook.

      Not only that, but also the totalitarian insistence on strict adherence to delusionary beliefs is highly reminiscent of Soviet communism. Unequipped to produce credible results in the present, it severely punished those who expressed disbelief in a “bright tomorrow.”

  27. Pingback: Cliff Mass: Victim Of Academic Political Bullying - The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  28. “The climate change advocacy disease…”

    Indeed, such advocacy as it is practiced, is a disease, a disease of the mind.

    Such mind diseases are usually acquired from repetitive exposures, as one exposes some creature to a process which interrupts cognitive activity again and again. Inevitability, the cognitive immune system to such assaults is overwhelmed and the disease takes hold, manifest as an unrestrained demand that others have to accede to one’s particular view.

    The differences between people who succumb to this cognitive disorder, with varying degrees of unawareness or disregard for their being out of bounds, has to do with their underlying emotional stability, prior mind strengthening (logical thinking), self-control behaviors that precede the assault.

    There are otherwise intelligent people who can’t get past some perturbation or chaotic experience in their lives; hence, they launch into an issue with all emotional flags waving. It makes you wonder: what have they been smoking?

  29. Dr. Curry

    The “in moderation monster” has again captured my otherwise highly thought through prose. I did quote yourself, is this cause for alarm?

  30. The reality of situations like this is that most have to prioritise feeding their children and paying their mortgages, even if that means bending their principles a little bit. Most are not so brilliant that five other institutions are begging them to relocate with a bumper package. They have to toe the institutional line.

    Academic Institutions put their staff under surveillance. Most do not have the honour to inform those they are surveilling, but you can test this very easily by typing controversial views on a blog site on your home computer BUT NOT POSTING. Only those engaging in keystroke hacking will know. The other obvious theiretical way is to visit a porn site. These are the two best known triggers for snoops to jump into action.

    When sidling insinuations emerge, you know you are under surveillance. I suggest you contact the Dean and ask them to highlight the clauses in your contract where you have agreed to be put under surveillance without explicit consent. If they puff up threateningly, your next response will be cc’ed to your Senator and you will be finding a particularly forthright legal professional to clarify things to your satisfaction. It may become very, very embarrassing for your recalcitrant institution….

    You will rapidly find out that Universities are not open and honest centres of academic enquiry, they resemble Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project.

    You would be well advised to assume that parasites monitor all your professional web searches, know every online journal article you have read and will have access to every document you create on work ICT machines. You would do well to assume that spongers will both steal your enquiry lines, then seek to trash you for academic advantage. It is the way of the world….much better to have a laptop never connected to the internet for your key work.

    Standing up for defenceless people where the West goes a-bombing is a bad set of principles for academic medical researchers to hold. Much better to callously disregard them yet write many grant proposals proposing to save lives twenty years hence. Very hypocritical but commonly regarded as pragmatic.

    The fact that the atmosphere above Gaza is completely integrated into the atmosphere above Israel does not mean you can secure grants whilst criticising Israel. Much better to let the Middle East pan out the deadly way it will anyway.

    The most important criterion for academic scientists is RELENTLESSLY NARROW focus of intellectual curiosity.

    Apart from that, behave like a junior politician and vote the way you are told to vote.

    Unfortunately this is only easy to do if you are a moral wastrel……

  31. Academia is seriously damaging its reputation. Watch your back Judith.

    To think that these students will wind up with letters after their names is appalling. But with some of the current output from the academics it appears some of them already have.

  32. Another example of the problem Johnathan Haidt’s Heterodox Academy was founded to fight. Do universities exist to pursue “social justice” or search for the truth through the scientific method or vigorous and open debate over ideas? It isn’t clear why the public should want to support the University of Washington if it chooses to operate in a partisan manner.

    • UW wouldn’t back up Elizabeth Loftus when she was under fire there for criticizing the Recovered Memory movement, now quiescent under the treat of lawsuits. (Another witch hunt that establishment liberals quailed from criticizing.) So she moved to a school in SoCal.

      Eliminating federally backed student loans would be a good first step to cutting back on these aeries of the anointed. Even better would be a law forbidding employers from taking college graduation into account when hiring prospects. Enrollment would drop 50%.

  33. The IPCC is a perfect example of Edward Bernays at work. He was the master at manipulating the mases. He was also a fervent believer in creating “World Government” Another fervent believer in ” World Government” was Maurice Strong. His first attempt at getting the UN to become such a government was UNEP but when this got no traction he created the IPCC. A body of like thinking activists that control the funding of climate science, what gets published and who gets the prime spots at conferences. It became clear from the early days that if you were in academia and wanted a career then you MUST tow the party line or else you were finished.

  34. “Reducing CO2 emissions seems to be a relatively minor factor; climate policy has become a crusade to change the balance of power”

    I completely agree with this statement.

    The consequences behind those who wish to facilitate changing the balance of power isn’t something most people are plugged into, which means there’s little contemplation to the ramifications thereof as a society. People are focused on paychecks, understandably.

    “When climate policy is written by white men in a closed room, that is white supremacy.” This is a disturbing statement, not for it just being said, but rather because of how widely similar expressions are said and believed; which elevates it to astonishingly disturbing. There are innumerable other divisive cultural examples of like language that serves to expand group polarization. Such statements are used as a tactical devise to leverage global ideology. It’s stigmatizing, that’s the very goal of it. Identity politics now seems mundane, expected, an every day media immersion; it’s acceptance is a troubling driver of ideologically driven indoctrination.

    My belief is that CAGW advocacy is one of many global community organizing tools used behind a veil to facilitate global change, that many climate advocates themselves can’t see how they’re being played. Ideology is easily amplified in politics when it’s fueled within a vortex of group polarization, to manipulate sympathetic parties, and populations; cults are birthed in this way. Cult conscripts by definition are incapable of rationalizing outside the bounds of their ideological distortion bubbles. Such phenomena within todays social global construct is more ominous than the threat of warming by far.

    The world is on the precipice of a potentially large fascist movement, bigger than any previously witnessed. A critical mass of society falling in line behind global government centralization is the only thing lacking to cement the deal. I’m not sure what will stop it, though Brexit is a good first start. Recognition that it’s a holistic societal phenomena not tethered to specific issues, like AGW, is also important. I’m pretty sure most here may consider this crazy talk. I would encourage individuals to consider that once group polarization occurs on a national, or worse, global level, that it’s the biggest first step, demonstrable historically, leading to humanities most egregious manifestations of politically armed atrocities. A global manifestation of fascism, once entrenched, is likely unresolvable. What nation is left to battle it? In a discussion of risks, this threat should be an important consideration.

    The slope to fascism begins with “group polarization”. From the evolution of ideological cult and critical mass comes a stepped process of severity to remediate opposition. One can use their imagination to extrapolate possibilities. The frequency of extreme societal judgments serves as a litmus to measure the degree of societal extremes; quotes like the one Dr. Curry presents are sobering relative to their frequency. Some of the desires of the far Left are written, all that one must do is first believe a critical mass of followers is possible; otherwise how can one prepare to counter forces amassing that would make reliving history inevitable?

    Group polarization is an art in the hands of those ideological sculptors who manipulate populations. For how group polarization manifests itself, if one wants to get into the weeds:

    Some excerpts:

    “If deliberation simply pushes a group toward a more extreme point in the direction of its original tendency, do we have any systematic reason to think that discussion is producing improvements?”

    “…we can safely assume that group polarization sometimes occurs via a kind of informational cascade, as the statements of particular people begin a cascade process that culminates in extremism. The difference is that for cascade effects, what is crucial is the very fact of the belief, not its grounds, whereas for persuasive arguments to work, what is crucial is that arguments be offered and be found persuasive.”

    “it is certainly troublesome if diverse social groups are led, through predictable mechanisms, toward increasingly opposing and ever more extreme views. As we have seen, group polarization is intensified if people are speaking anonymously and if attention is drawn, through one or another means, to group membership. Many Internet discussion groups have precisely this feature. It is therefore plausible to speculate that the Internet may be serving, for many, as a breeding group for extremism.”

    “To work well, deliberating groups should be appropriately heterogeneous and should contain a plurality of articulate people with reasonable views”

    Does the latter sound like our institutions of higher learning?

  35. Did Cliff Mass ever complain that they were applying that treatment to skeptics? I guess he didn’t. German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller’s poem “First they came…” comes to mind.

    • Javier, Kevin Folta was at one time very fond of using the d-word. He advocated that climate sceptics be purged from academia and society in general. Then it happened to him, in the context of GMOs. I pointed out to him that he was just getting a taste of karma, and his use of derogatory names for climate sceptics seems to have dried up.

  36. Pingback: Exclusive: Scientist Bullied By University Of Washington Faculty, Students For Climate Change Heresies Speaks Out | The Daily Caller

  37. There is a word for those who are enforcing the climate consensus in the manner described above: “fascist.” If these people didn’t have their spiteful resentments, they wouldn’t have any life at all. Indulging in intellectual lynchings and destroying people’s careers should have no place in science and any scientist who is caught indulging in it should be fired. They are no longer capable of objective judgement.

  38. The Reign of Terror is in full swing. Batten down the hatches and sit tight. It’s not worth becoming a martyr over. The only consolation being that all the Jacobin leaders themselves went to the guillotine.

  39. Hit those unthinking fasciasts with this:

    Have you ever seen actual evidence that man’s CO2 is causing serious global warming?

    Before you answer, please read this:

    –Evidence of warming IS NOT evidence that man’s CO2 is the cause.
    –Warming is NOT evidence of its cause
    –Unusual weather occurrences are not evidence of its cause
    –Correlation is not causation
    –An expert’s assertion is not evidence.
    –Majority belief is not evidence
    –Government assertions are not evidence.
    –“What else could it be” is not evidence
    — Polls are not evidence
    — Climate models are not evidence

  40. I think we need a new award for university academics who get into serious trouble or preferably are fired, viz., The Kamikaze Academic of the Year award for anybody crazy enough to commit academic blasphemy. In fact we should start encouraging old academics who are near retirement to do their duty and commit academic suicide, by blasphemy, for the sake of our younger academics who cannot afford to take any risks. To be eligible for the KAotY award you would need to register your intention first. For those who get fired by Accident, like Cliff Mass perhaps (and me), one would only be eligible for the lesser AKAotY award. If you registered but Failed to get fired you would be eligible for the FKAotY award The magnitude of your failure would determine the prize, but you might be asked to try again and do it properly.

    So is anybody out there who is close to retirement and who is willing to make the sacrifice? You actually have a duty. We are all behind you.

    Just in case you’re wondering, I am serious about this. I have a feeling crowd funding could be raised if we could get some of the big names who look at this blog interested

    Peter Ridd
    FAotY candidate

  41. Tullius Cicero

    Th thing bout bullies is that they tend t end up in a ditch. Think hard before bullying. If ya call someone a “denier”, yer a dangerous religious fanatic, and u will be watched. Ifn ya accuse “racism” when th accused has said nothing about race, yer a fukn ree-tard. Combine ree-tardation w religious fanaticism, then your chances o meetin th ditch double Think bout it, commies. Think hard.

  42. This is just more stupid religious extremism and to think that they are encouraging more of these fanatics all around the world is a real problem.
    This could/should be countered by a series of proper debates, but these people understand clearly that they would lose in the long run and would fight tooth and nail to avoid this free exchange of ideas.
    Many of their more loopy and extreme claims don’t even pass the pub test.

    • “This could/should be countered by a series of proper debates”

      Now is the time for Trump to allow the EPA and Koonin to stage such debates. The time is ripe.

      (These should be a series of private, narrowly focused debates similar to the debates on the Dutch Climate Dialog site, to clear the ground, and then a lengthy, multi-pass, shorter series of tag-team debates on the big questions, such as how affordable are renewables, how good is the temperature record, etc.)

      • The fastest way to end this is to have the debate be focused on solutions- the actual alternatives, not the policies to implement them.
        97% of the 97% will find a new hobby if nuclear is the answer. Just ask James Hansen.

      • Roger
        The debate – there is almost zero chance of that occurring in any country. There has not been one change in the IPCC forward direction. POTUS Trump has just been an inconvenience. The Dems will be back soon. They will make up for lost ground.

        Cliff Mass is still free to say whatever he wishes, just not at that university. This is not that unusual in the corporate world. Does the Boss not have a right to maintain a direction and protect the universities interests.

      • ozonebust: “Cliff Mass is still free to say whatever he wishes, just not at that university. This is not that unusual in the corporate world. Does the Boss not have a right to maintain a direction and protect the universities interests.”

        Within the realm of what one can say between the corporate world and university, by nature of the fundamental functions for which they separately operate, they don’t relate relative to protections of free speech. The corporate world is top down command and control. One can’t necessarily say anything and remain employed in the corporate world either on or off corporate premises, if it goes against corporate culture and a litany of other caveats; though the speech that may get you fired is usually protected by the constitution. While the constitutional aspect is the same for the university, diversity of intellectual thought in higher education not only must be encouraged, but exploited on or off campus; it’s fundamental to the product of higher education. Diversity of thought is the fodder for enlightenment. A universities best interests aren’t best served by a single, or select points of view, unless the university is controlled by a de facto politburo where command and control of thought is central to its mission, if such becomes the case, it must be rooted out for any democracy to survive.

        Establishing a shadow politburo, not in the form of government, but rather via education; is a brilliant stepping strategy. There aren’t really any converts per se, only unpolluted product.

        For the Left, the want of democratic survival, sovereignty, individual liberty; or not, are the very questions intentionally avoided in public discussion in the drive towards “a crusade to change the balance of power”.

      • Jungletrunks
        Thank for your reply.

  43. If I may? Please do not use this blog post as your permission to start harassing any of the people named in it. At this point Dr. Curry has already capably laid out the facts and the conclusions to be drawn, and Dr. Curry has the moral high ground. If you feel the need to threaten or call people vile names, you’re no better than some of the people highlighted in the OP. And in my experience, Dr. Myhre has a point about sexism in STEM, which Dr. Curry has also written about, so don’t be That Guy who has to go prove her point for her. Keep it civil, keep it about the facts.

    Why, oh why, does Dr. Myhre insist on attacking non-deniers as deniers (Mass, Curry, perhaps others)? Why does she never argue data or method, relying instead only on obvious fallacies such as appeals to emotion, appeals to authority, ad hominem, ad populum, etc.? I think the answer is that she values narrative over truth to advance AGW Manichaeism. As a student of history, I keep thinking of the Committee of Public Safety, Leninist and Stalinist purges, and the infighting among the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War: all ended badly for precisely this type of insistence on purity of thought.

    Part of her method is to use the rhetoric of faux feminism (faux because I don’t believe all feminists act this way — perhaps there is a better way to say it?) to turn any dispute away from science and towards her identity as a woman. Even if you don’t introduce gender into the discussion, she and her followers will call you “abusive” and “misogynist” and accuse you of many unfalsifiable things because this is the only tool in their toolkit. Take for example if I were to label her responses “immature”: that could be used to launch an attack from the very true premise that men have routinely sidelined women with such rhetorical tricks to undermine their self-confidence and eventually push them out of STEM through one of the holes in the leaky pipe. However, sometimes a behavior has a proper name and should be identified as such, regardless of the gender of the person thus described. For example, I would call Dr. Curry’s tone mature and Dr. Mann’s immature, so it’s not a male v female observation. I disagree with Dr. Mass’ conclusion about wildfires, yet I would call his blog post mature, so it’s not that I only label things with which I agree one way and vice versa. She therefore jumps from a true premise (historic misogyny) to untrue or irrelevant conclusions (someone is attacking her because she’s a woman, nevermind that she may have started it and that the other person’s argument is completely gender neutral). This allows her to avoid having substantive discussions with people who disagree with her and simultaneously to assume the role of victim. It happens to be a self-perpetuating narrative she can tell herself: “I am acting righteously in attacking these heretics, they are attacking me for acting righteously, and thereby they confirm my righteousness.”

  44. From Miriam-Webster:

    Definition of bigotry
    1 : obstinate or intolerant devotion to one’s own opinions and prejudices

    Never occurred to me before how much bigotry there is in the climate change “debate”. And I put that word in quotes because there is none and the reason is bigotry.

  45. Most unforgivably, Mass broke with the progressive activists in terms of not supporting the latest carbon fee initiative in Washington, I-1631…

    And that, presumably, was before the Paris riots– sounds like a scientifically prudent fellow with honor and integrity and deserving of the presumption that, “any good scientist ought to be a skeptic,” and undoubtedly would also share Dr. Freeman Dyson’s belief that, “environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion,” and that scientists must rediscover how real science is done.

  46. Pingback: Climate activists show us why they lose - Fabius Maximus website

  47. Many in the scientific community – and elsewhere – have lost their way … uninterested in truth if it conflicts with the global warming narrative/industry.
    Thank you again, Judith. Give ’em curry.

  48. Here is a recent example from the HuffPo, by Gary Yohe and the inimitable Michael E. Mann that nicely illustrates what Mass is criticizing. Our esteemed authors declare:

    In 2014 the IPCC told us that our ability to attribute observed and projected climate change to human activity across the U.S. and the rest of the globe had progressed to the point that we could look to specific past extreme weather events and explore the contribution of human activity to their intensity and pattern. This ability is called forensic attribution, and it is, if anything, overly conservative.

    To exploit this new opportunity, we’ve looked at data from hurricanes that have made landfall in the United States over the past three decades.


    The rest of the article is (unintentionally) funny. For example, they declare:

    Also this year, Hurricane Michael caused economic damage more than 1,000 times the historical average for the region.

    They seem to hope that innumerate readers will believe that climate change has made hurricanes 1,000 times more powerful, rather than realizing that extreme events are always much more, well, extreme than average events.

    But the funniest thing in the Mann article is the goofy claim about US history from a period both Judith and I remember:

    Opposition to the Vietnam War exploded with the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Their release convinced the American people that thousands of Americans were losing their lives in a lost cause, and they were appalled. A president was toppled. Another was impeached. The “toppled” Prez would seem to be LBJ, and the impeached one Tricky Dick Nixon.

    Except… well… you see, uh, LBJ left office in January 1969, well before the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. And, Nixon was most assuredly not impeached but rather chose to resign in August 1974 before the Congress could impeach him and remove him from office.

    I, and any member of my generation, remember it all well. Most of us, (right-wingers as well as left-wingers, by the way) were relieved to see both men go.

    Let me put this bluntly: Mann and Yohe are as dumb as the day is long: they do nto even have the sense to make a quick check of Wikipedia to avoid a doublel historical blunder that any historically literate reader will see.

    Be assued that the rest of their article reflects the same level of intelligence.

    As Schiller said, “Against stupiditiy, the gods themselves contend in vain!”

    • The blockquote did not close properly: here is the corrected form:

      But the funniest thing in the Mann article is the goofy claim about US history from a period both Judith and I remember:

      Opposition to the Vietnam War exploded with the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Their release convinced the American people that thousands of Americans were losing their lives in a lost cause, and they were appalled. A president was toppled. Another was impeached.

      The “toppled” Prez would seem to be LBJ, and the impeached one Tricky Dick Nixon.

      Except… well… you see, uh, LBJ left office in January 1969, well before the release of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. And, Nixon was most assuredly not impeached but rather chose to resign in August 1974 before the Congress could impeach him and remove him from office.

      I, and any member of my generation, remember it all well. Most of us, (right-wingers as well as left-wingers, by the way) were relieved to see both men go.

      Let me put this bluntly: Mann and Yohe are as dumb as the day is long: they do nto even have the sense to make a quick check of Wikipedia to avoid a doublel historical blunder that any historically literate reader will see.

      Be assued that the rest of their article reflects the same level of intelligence.

      As Schiller said, “Against stupiditiy, the gods themselves contend in vain!”

      • It’s even worse than that, so you must be almost as “stupidity” as Mann is. After the Pentagon Papers were released, the American public, knowing that there had been a break-in at the Democratic headquarters (the ties to Nixon where blaring like a fire alarm,) and knowing the contents of the Pentagon Papers release, still reelected Nixon in a landslide.

      • Yeah, LBJ did topple one president though. Unless you think the Oswald story adds up.

      • JCH wrote to me:

        It’s even worse than that, so you must be almost as “stupidity” as Mann is. After the Pentagon Papers were released, the American public, knowing that there had been a break-in at the Democratic headquarters (the ties to Nixon where blaring like a fire alarm,) and knowing the contents of the Pentagon Papers release, still reelected Nixon in a landslide.

        Sorry, I’m not sure what your point is: I was simply pointing out that Mann and his pal really got the historical facts wrong in a way that they could have easily checked. They didn’t. Proof that they are sloppy. Not good in terms of taking anything they say seriously at all.

        (And the Pentagon Papers reported on the actions of the Truman/Ike/JFK.LBJ Administrations: they were completed prior to Nixon’s taking office and so had nothing at all to say about Nixon.)

        As to why Nixon was re-elected. Well, the whole period was very complicated: McGovern was a horrible candidate — check out the Eagleton disaster or the “Demogrant” debacle if you want to see what I mean. I know a lot of people who hated Nixon but nonetheless voted for Nixon in ’72 because McGovern seemed like a moron because of all the unforced errors in his campaign. Furthermore, there was a huge “culture war” at the time, and McGovern was tainted by association with many of his own supporters — what you could call the “hippie factor,” which is ironic since McGovern had been an Army Air Force pilot during WW II — not a hippie at all.

        Also, the full truth about Watergate did not really hit the public until after the election. “Deep Throat” was feeding Woodward and Bernstein tidbits over many months, through and beyond the election. The Senate investigation did not begin until 1973.

        Anyway, most of us who were voters in 1972 (it was the first time I voted) knew we did not like Richard Nixon and knew that George McGovern had run a bizarrely disastrous campaign. It was not a pleasant choice. But, it was not until well after the election that we had the information that indicated that our President was indeed, in his words, a “crook.”

  49. I noticed that Mann is getting a climate communication award at AGU. This shows how the climate science community and the AGU are part of this politization problem. Mann is one of the more extreme in terms of irresponsible name calling and exaggeration. It dismays me that some scientific professional societies have become organs of political activism.

    • Curious George

      Climate is best communicated in a court of law, preferably in Washington DC. It guarantees years of publicity.

  50. Pingback: Climate Scientist Exposes 'academic political bullying' | PSI Intl

  51. Pingback: Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying | Watts Up With That?

  52. Pingback: Cliff Mass: victim of academic political bullying |

  53. Judith,

    I’m just taking a guess here, but I sure bet Dale Duran and the the other political “monitors” mentioned here would have profited handsomely from I-1631.

    In general, it feels as if the progressive agenda is trying to mirror this…

  54. Mass made the mistake of viewing minorities and unions as just special interest groups taking advantage of a situation for their own benefit (feeding at the trough) but in the world view of SJWs, these are victims and by virtue of their victim status are purified from human frailties like greed and corruption. The only possible motive for criticizing native americans must be racism. Thus the pigs meme, around for over 100 yrs, suddenly means something entirely different from before because this one woman said so.

    The pressure on the faculty to sign the petition is part of the operating procedure of universities now that simply assume that they are 100% right and that all right-thinking people agree. They cannot see that what they are doing is political because they deny that there are valid other points of view based on values, different tolerances of risk, and different assessments of facts. They simply cannot imagine that not everyone in the world thinks women make 75% the wages of men, that every white person is a racist, that 1/4 women on campus are raped or that climate change means the immediate end of the world. In their world their actions are compelled by these “facts” and anyone differing is crazy and/or evil. They are literally saving the world, according to them. The politicalization of universities (holding anti-Trump rallies as official events, banning conservative speakers, having classes on Toxic Masculinity or The Problem of Whiteness) should really cause their tax-free status to be revoked and for state schools the legislatures to take a look.

  55. In terms of this being, inter alia, a money-grabbing/diverting scam, the chart in the link shows that after vast expenditures on renewables, their share in total power output is negligible: huge costs have been incurred without benefit. Those in the scare camp have to shout ever louder to obscure reality.

  56. I am always saddened when I hear such stories, since it causes me to reflect upon the extent to which the battle for moral high ground (or certitude if you prefer; they seem to be the same thing in practice) has turned the tables on the rationally-minded mainstream. Cliff Mass, by asserting that there is no need to attribute recent extreme weather events to climate change, in order to justify action to mitigate it, is actually making the bolder demand for action than those that do make such an attribution. And yet he is a denier. However, he is not a denier because he denies the threat of climate change, he is a denier because he refuses to join the clamour for a simple narrative that everyone can understand – a narrative that, by virtue of its simplicity, is gaining hegemony. With victory in their grasp, no-one is going to jeopardize the cause by allowing reason, sophistication and moderation into the debate.

  57. It has often been said by climate activists that the science of climate change is settled; that the voting public supports quick action against climate change; and that it’s only been the opposition of fossil fuel interests and the politicians who support those interests which keeps America from quickly reducing its carbon emissions.

    Over on the Cliff Mass blog, this has been a recurrent theme for those climate activists who make a sport of denouncing his opinions. I’ve made the point there on that blog that the only possible means of substantially reducing America’s carbon emissions within the timeframe climate activists are now seeking is to put a stiff price on all carbon fuels.

    And even this won’t be enough. If America is to achieve an 80% reduction in our GHG emissions by 2050, a program of government-mandated carbon fuel rationing combined with strictly enforced energy conservation measures covering all sectors of the American economy must eventually be adopted.

    It is simply impossible to compress a hundred year’s worth of technological and economic transition away from carbon fuels into a thirty year time span without experiencing major collateral impacts.

    The question arises, is new legislation from the Congress needed to pursue this kind of highly aggressive, nationally-enforced anti-carbon program?

    The answer is no. The Supreme Court has ruled that the EPA has full authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate America’s carbon emissions; and further, that the process used by the EPA in 2009 to determine that CO2 is a pollutant was properly followed.

    The President and the EPA now have all the authority needed to pursue a highly aggressive anti-carbon policy, if they choose to do so.

    Here is a plan to reduce America’s GHG emissions 80% by 2050 using the existing legal authorities of the President as enabled by the Clean Air Act and by existing national security legislation. This plan is similar to the one that was being pushed by and by other environmental groups in 2009.

    In this version, the original plan is augmented by a system of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon. Moreover, the plan adds a provisional system for imposing direct government control over production and distribution of all carbon fuels, if carbon pricing doesn’t prove to be fully effective.

    Phase I: Establish a legal basis for regulating carbon dioxide and other carbon GHG’s as pollutants. (2007-2012)

    — File and win lawsuits to allow regulation of CO2 and other carbon GHG’s as pollutants under the Clean Air Act.
    — Publish a CAA Section 202 Endangerment Finding as a prototype test case for regulation of carbon GHG’s.
    — Defend the Section 202 Endangerment Finding in the courts.

    Phase II: Expand and extend EPA regulation of carbon GHG’s to all major sources of America’s carbon emissions. (2021-2022)

    — Issue a presidential executive order declaring a carbon pollution emergency.
    — Publish a CAA Section 108 Endangerment Finding which complements 2009’s Section 202 finding.
    — Establish a National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for carbon pollution.
    — Use the NAAQS for carbon pollution as America’s tie-in to international climate change agreements.
    — Defend the Section 108 Endangerment Finding and the NAAQS in the courts.

    Phase III: Establish a fully comprehensive EPA-managed regulatory framework for carbon. (2023-2025)

    — Publish a regulatory framework for carbon pollution under Clean Air Act sections 108, 111, and 202.
    — Establish cooperative agreements with the states to enforce the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations.
    — Establish a system of carbon pollution fines which is the functional equivalent of a legislated tax on carbon.
    — Establish the legal basis for assigning all revenues collected from carbon pollution fines to the states.
    — Research and publish a provisional system of direct carbon fuel rationing as a backup to the carbon fine system.
    — Defend the EPA’s comprehensive system of carbon pollution regulations in the courts.

    Phase IV: Implement the EPA’s carbon pollution regulatory framework. (2026-2050)

    — Commence operation of prior agreements with the states for enforcement of the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations.
    — Commence the collection of carbon pollution fines and the distribution of fine revenues to the states.
    — Monitor the effectiveness of the carbon regulatory framework in reducing America’s GHG emissions.
    — Adjust the schedule of carbon pollution fines upward if progress in reducing America’s GHG emissions lags.
    — Assess the possible need for invoking the provisional system of direct carbon fuel rationing.
    — Defend the EPA’s system of carbon pollution regulations against emerging lawsuits.

    Phase V: Implement the provisional system for direct carbon fuel rationing. (Start/End contingent upon Phase IV progress.)

    — Issue a presidential proclamation declaring that Phase IV anti-carbon measures cannot meet the 80% by 2050 target.
    — Initiate the provisionally established system for imposing direct government control over production and distribution of all carbon fuels.
    — Apply the Phase IV system of carbon pollution fines in escalating steps as needed to incentivize Phase V compliance.
    — Defend the government-mandated carbon fuel rationing program in the courts.

    Phase VI: Declare success in reducing America’s carbon emissions 80% by 2050. (If complete by 2050 or earlier.)

    — Assess the need for continuing the EPA’s anti-carbon regulations and the US Government’s mandatory fuel rationing program beyond 2050.
    — Defend the government’s anti-carbon measures against emerging lawsuits if these measures continue beyond 2050.


    Phase I of this plan was complete in 2012. The legal foundation needed to impose aggressive across-the-board regulation of all major sources of America’s carbon emissions remains in place awaiting the appearance of a president willing to use it.

    When Barack Obama was Chief Executive, his Clean Power Plan and his other anti-carbon measures might have achieved possibly one-third of his Year 2050 GHG reduction goal. But the remainder depended upon a highly uncertain combination of accelerated technological advancement and raw unvarnished hope.

    And yet, when Barack Obama had the opportunity and the means to move forward with the plan, he refused to go through with it. Nor were itself and the other AGW activist groups willing to push hard for adoption of their 2009 plan after their initial victories in the courts. From 2012 onward, those activist groups could have worked closely with the EPA using the ‘sue and settle’ process to put their 2009 plan into effect. Why didn’t they didn’t do it?

    Could it be that in 2012, President Obama,, and all the other anti-carbon environmental groups were afraid of massive political blowback if they had pushed for a program which can be highly effective in quickly reducing America’s carbon emissions — but at the expense of imposing great personal and economic sacrifice on most Americans?

  58. Thoughts and prayers.

  59. Thank you Judith, you are making a difference.

  60. I am reluctant to be critical of colleagues but the public “shaming” of Cliff Mass by his department has lowered the bar so far that I find it hard to be restrained. I am a former faculty member of the UW Atmospheric Sciences. I have maintained contact with the institution and the faculty over the years. Many of the faculty and staff I would count as friends. I have admired the accomplishments of the department as one of the best atmospheric science schools in the country. This admiration abruptly ended with the despicable behavior of the faculty towards one of its own.

    Cliff Mass is a most accomplished scientist and an “institution” in the Northwest. He is a person of integrity and a person who speaks his mind. Not everyone agrees with his point of view, and perhaps sometimes the forthright manner in which his opinion is delivered. But isn’t that what freedom of speech is all about? And isn’t the ability to make statement openly and freely the purpose and foundation of tenure?

    What is so disturbing is the use of the “the global warming hammer” to discredit Mass. The accusation is false as it turns out, but it is an easy weapon to swing especially in front of a receptive audience. Alas, I doubt we have seen the last of such shameful attacks.

    I do have two particular questions:

    Why did the Chair of the department go to such lengths to discredit and shame Cliff Mass? Was this inspired by an animus dominandi? After all, Cliff Mass is perhaps the best-known member of the faculty. The motivation of the Chair is puzzling!

    Second, where were the “adults” in the room? Why was there no objection by the senior faculty to Durran’s public hectoring? Why was there no insistence that Cliff Mass be heard and answer his accusers? It is hard for me to think that Jim Holton, Conway Leovy, Dick Reed, Bob Fleagle, Peter Hobbs …. would have allowed such a debacle to proceed.

    Perhaps the faculty were shell-shocked by the meeting. After a few days of deep breaths, the “adults”, and perhaps the university administration, may still gather courage to do something about the poor leadership of the Chair, publically apologize to Cliff Mass and return the department back on its proper course, although now, unfortunately, with its flag at half-mast.

    Peter Webster

    • Where were the adults in the room?

      That doesn’t apply to just that room or that university but to all of climate science. Indeed, where have they been when they were needed most. Only plausible conclusion:MIA.

    • One thing to bear in mind is how left wing Washington has become. Our attorney general is very activist left wing bringing all kinds of frivolous law suits against the Feds and anyone else who is not green enough.

      The problem here Peter I suspect is that a scientist (even a senior one) who is just trying to do his job may feel genuine fear of the legal consequences of running afoul of activist State, County, and City officials

      I do admire Cliff Mass though for having personal courage and integrity. It’s fantastic to see him standing up for himself.

  61. Pingback: Let’s help Cliff Mass | Watts Up With That?

  62. This is of course not a new social dynamic – and Cliff Mass is a big boy who has been defending himself for years against scatter brained AGW fanatics.

    “The scientific consensus is that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. Scientific opinion on climate change was summarized in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions on global warming at that time were as follows:

    The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the years 1971–2001.[5]

    “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities”, in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[6]

    If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100.[A]

    Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise.[7] The balance of impacts of global warming become significantly negative at larger values of warming.[8]

    These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations;[9] the consensus has strengthened over time[10] and is now virtually unanimous.[11] The level of consensus correlates with expertise in climate science.[12]”

    Any deviation from their consensus leads to excoriation in the nastiest, mean spirited, close minded and bad faith ways imaginable. Any hint of dynamical complexity and uncertainty draws their misplaced but vehement ire. How Sarah Myhre fails to draw the link between her paleoclimatological tipping points and the potential for extreme but natural variability is beyond me.

    But Cliff Mass is right in another way as well. They have not a skerrick of a practical response in mind. The answer – whatever the question – is to to build prosperous and resilient communities in vibrant landscapes. The best means is free markets and fiscally conservative government – the biggest risk is market mismanagement.

  63. ClimateWorks Foundation – WikiLeaks
    Here is the money and the big PR campaign. >$600 million a year for a decade spent worldwide to push global cap and trade and $12 trillion in renewables. They paid McKinsey&Co, the most influential management firm in the world, some $42.4 million for their “Design to Win” plan Local ENGOs are funded to make it look like it is a grassroots response (and thus their followers chip in – ‘useful idiots’ – so gullible, such a shame). Nisbet notes that most non-profit journalism and academics are funded by these billionaire foundations. So people toe the line.

  64. Once again the anti-science dishonesty that permeates and characterises the climate science emanating from those on government payrolls, proudly shows its head.

    Government has a virtual monopoly in this field, and is utterly determined that its own self-interest must dominate any conclusions and findings in the field. And that self-interest lies in fomenting CAGW alarmism, for that is the route to grabbing more and more taxes and powers for itself.

    Vital to that project is the silencing of any dissent, any less-than-total embracing of the CAGW catechism. Egged on by the left and other Big Brother ideologues. Expect this Climate Inquisition to continue.

  65. One correction on your article re: “While there were no complaints about the image in the blog comments, a few of the activists at the UW claimed it was racist.” As you probably know, Cliff Mass must approve comments before they appear, and the one I submitted was never approved, perhaps because my comment helped him realize that he stoked the controversy with unimperical emotional/political arguments, in that Initiative 1631 blog post . My comment read:

    “I agreed with Dr. Mass and his strong, rational arguments in support of the Carbon Tax initiative two years ago, and disagree with most of his weak arguments against the current initiative. I have never met him, but I believe that when Dr. Mass re-reads this post in a couple of years, after his emotions finally subside about environmental/left organizations torpedoing the erstwhile Carton Tax two years ago (as mine have – it’s water under the bridge), he will realize that his current arguments have become irrational. For instance:

    “”Even climate researchers are unwilling to reduce their carbon-emitting travel. I hate to admit it, but my climate research colleagues have the worst carbon emission profiles of anyone I know.” – This is an unsubstantiated claim, clearly stated out of feelings of hurt that Dr. Mass seems to be the lone opponent of this initiative among his colleagues, albeit the only one with a wide following, including myself. Certainly climate researchers do things to reduce (albeit not eliminate, which is maybe what Dr. Mass meant) carbon-emitting travel. And if his climate research colleagues have the worst emission profiles of anyone he knows, then Dr. Mass needs to get out an meet more people.

    “”The Yes on 1631 campaign is in a bind. The initiative itself is poorly written, hyperpartisan, will do little to slow global warming (.0001 degrees C!) and most folks understand the oversight board will not use the money wisely. So the Yes campaign has gone super negative in the public statements against the No campaign and its supporters.” – I’m surprised to see Dr. Mass so emotional that he is doing what I always find ironic, which is when people go super negative/belittling on their opponents for supposedly being super negative/belittling. Also, the statement “most folks understand the oversight board will not use the money wisely” cannot be substantiated; perhaps Dr. Mass meant “most people think…” but that can’t even be substantiated. Why is Dr. Mass all of a sudden devoid of research/fact?

    “The other commenters above covered the other flawed areas of Dr. Mass’ weak argument. I voted yes for similar reasons those commenters did, partially because I was looking to Dr. Mass for substantive arguments against the initiative. Instead, he glossed over the valid reasons not to vote for it, like the regressiveness of the taxation, and got personal against its supporters, emphasizing things that don’t matter.

    “I also voted for the initiative because I received at least one mailer every day from petroleum-funded opponents. I will not stand with them, and Dr. Mass shouldn’t either. He also shouldn’t be sounding off dog whistles to anti-Indian racists/nationalists. I’m not saying Dr. Mass is anti-Indian or racist, but the racists/nationalists love him for whining about the tribes having any say in how the carbon tax money would be spent. Same when he would regularly slam tribal-lead kayak protests against the Shell Oil project a couple years ago, just because hundreds of supporters in plastic kayaks showed up in support of the tribes.

    I’m looking forward to Dr. Mass letting water flow under the bridge and getting back to factual data.”

    • Well, wolfcampcollege, talk about unsubstantiated. I can understand why your comment might have been deleted by Mass. Everything you say is opinion and I couldn’t find a single substantiation or even any reasoning for your opinions. Taking your points one by one.

      1. Mass says: ”Even climate researchers are unwilling to reduce their carbon-emitting travel. I hate to admit it, but my climate research colleagues have the worst carbon emission profiles of anyone I know.” True in my experience as anyone who reads blogs of climate scientists knows they travel a lot to conferences. AGU this year is attended by virtually all the mainstream climate scientists.

      2. “”The Yes on 1631 campaign is in a bind. The initiative itself is poorly written, hyperpartisan, will do little to slow global warming (.0001 degrees C!) and most folks understand the oversight board will not use the money wisely. So the Yes campaign has gone super negative in the public statements against the No campaign and its supporters.” Mass’s statement is completely true and I know from first hand experience. I was constantly bombarded with negative ads portraying the evils of Big Oil and how we needed to punish them.

      3. Dog whistles that you claim Mass used. This is utter nonsense. The whole dog whistle thing is a lie designed to tar someone with prejudice when there is no evidence of prejudice. A dog whistle can’t be heard by people so saying its a dog whistle implies that those listening are dogs. That’s the worst form of prejudice isn’t it? Perhaps your statement is clear substantiation of Mass’ claim (point 2 above) that the Yes campaign went “super negative” on opponents.

      4. You failed to cover the large payments to special interest groups that will only marginally impact emissions. The tax was regressive and harmed those least able to pay.

      I have made comments at Mass’ blog many times and they always appear perhaps because they contain real substance and/or science. You will be more likely to have your comments appear is you try to make them more substantial.

  66. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #340 | Watts Up With That?

  67. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #340 |

  68. Further evidence that any consensus emerging from government climate science should be regarded as unsafe, unfit to be used in public policy formation.

  69. Judith Curry, you once again surpass yourself in cherry picking one (or a few) examples of what from a distance appears to some sort of bullying in the academia hierarchy to come to Cliff Mass’s reputational rescue, by necessity ignoring a well documented record in his own Blog of his own political grandstanding and demonizing. I wouldn’t be surprised that the gist of your drift is probable, but if the net result and intention is to place Cliff Mass on some sort of sacred pillar of the noble non conformist then I’m afraid your own research skills are as much in doubt as the usual parade of suspects here, such as Anthony Watts.

    Cliff Mass is only guilty, professionally speaking, of pointing out what the majority of his peers will also say, which is that relatively speaking, current day climate change effects are small in any extreme weather event, those events being mostly the usual “natural variability” swings that existed before and will still be there decades from now.

    In other words, he is guilty of nothing technically astray of mainstream climate science. What he is guilty of – arguably to the point of incompetence or misrepresentation of skill – is how he consistently, repeatedly and predictably frames these climate facts in terms of not just politics or societal risk, but even the implications for associated sciences, such as ecology or psychology, things he obviously has no skill in yet irresponsibly blogs about til the cows come home anyway.

    I would happily list a number of examples and will if you like but one juicy one is a Blog page devoted to suggesting that Climate change deniers should not be called “deniers” due entirely to some specious claim that it is only a slur somehow associating them with – get this – Hollocaust denial!

    Ask any psychologist if “denial” is an actual term reserved for a observable and predictable cognitive behaviour and you will only get an affirmative, Hollocaust or Climate change being only one of many circumstances where it occurs, yet Cliff refused all reasonable argument on this point, doggedly insisting that Climate change deniers deserve, unlike all the other deniers out there it seems, to be given special status as “doubters”, which apparently is a bit more respectable.

    Which begs the question: Exactly how respectable is doubting any more than denying, when the doubter typically is incompetent?

    Anyway, if you , Judith Curry, wish to debate this further I invite you to do so. I only ask the you research his prodigious record before hand. Like you, he does know his climate science but also like you, that is the general limits of his expertise. That is obvious if you devote a few weeks to observing all that he says. Like you, he has a responsibility to provide advise and opinion that corresponds with his proven skill. The rest is just wild speculation…. and it shows

    • v8a4y5v8a4y5

      You are aware that the denier/holocaust reference came about as a result of James Hansen making the unfortunate analogy? It even earned him a rebuke from the left leaning Guardian

      It is not a pleasant analogy and is not necessary. Some will take more exception than others. Sceptic, or doubter is fine. Nobody ‘denies’ climate changes and the only reason the ‘denier’ tag is used is to cast a slur on the beliefs and integrity of the other..


    • BTW v8, People would be more likely to wade through your verbose comments if you used proper grammar and sentence construction. Most people haven’t the time to fill in the blanks in your decidedly bad writing style. I gave up on this one after the first paragraph.

  70. Just to be perfectly clear, although it should be obvious, I assume based on Cliff’s professional credentials and published peer reviewed experience no issue with his professional skill. However, the following quote (from your own blog above) clearly indicates that he is striving for much more than purely meteorological accuracy:

    “According to Mass, “Global warming is an extraordinarily serious issue, and scientists have a key role to play in communicating what is known and what is not about this critical issue.”

    Cliff obviously is leaping feet first into risk assessment and communication. In both cases there is great doubt that he has the skill for either, as my above anecdote regarding “denialism” illustrates. There is also abundant, copious documented evidence all in his own blog that his efforts at “communication” are significantly biased against numerous “political” actors that uniformly are ” Liberal” in nature. By that I mean for every 100 examples he offers of Liberal malfeasance ( anyone from Jerry Brown to “protestors in petroleum product kayaks”) he mentions a Conservative example once. No, I have not run a precise statistical analysis but any glance at his blog reveals that general drift at about that proportion.

    While such a strange obvious bias does not excuse some of the more hysterical accusations against him I think it does to a great extent explain them, which ultimately indicates that his stated intention of skilled communication on such a critical issue is not just suspect but generally incompetent.

    I’ve suggested to him myself (as have others) numerous ways to “communicate” something other than a relentless naughty liberal list as a way to illuminate how all his scientific facts mean something “critical” but all to a stoney silence.

    You Judith Curry, ought to know by now that “communication” does not come easily just because you hammered away at a phd for a decade or two. You also know (or ought to) that scientific fact isn’t enough to challenge the politically entrenched. The fact that Cliff can’t seem to comprehend this is suspect at best, damning at worse. To say that his more right wing / libertarian blog groupies are delighted with his style and substance is an understatement. They consider Cliff Mass a reliable victorious warrior for their cause, which uniformly is that AGW is no big deal. In other words, regardless of how Cliff imagines his communications on such a “critical issue”, those who receive them interpret them otherwise. For an allegedly skilled communicator, Cliff appears to be deaf, dumb and blind to this unambiguous feedback.

    Not a good trait for any communicator of critical issues, I am sure you will not contest!

    Bruce Kay, faithful reader of the Cliff Mass Blog

  71. You can do it Judith.

    I see you are responding to comments elsewhere. I’ll just assume for now you are gathering your thoughts and doubt checking on the voluminous documented record of Cliff Mass’s efforts at communication.

  72. Oh Judy, please don’t pull a Cliff Mass on me.

    allow me to explain. Whenever Cliff found the criticism levelled at him to be somewhat overwhelming (i.e. correct) he was in the habit of either retreating to a stoney silence or – even more hilarious for an alleged professional disciplined to a culture of well reasoned debate and skepticism – a quick trigger finger on the old delete button.

    You know…… If nobody but me see’s it, it just never happened, eh?

    But hey you can’t blame him. As you yourself pointed out, it’s his “bully pulpit” and if a little judicious censorship is what it takes to keep your reputation unblemished, thats the privilege that comes with running your own blog!

    Waiting with held breath, BK

  73. Right Judy?

    Thats the privilege that comes with censuring your own Blog, I said.

    Halloooooooo Judy anybody home?

    Your new adoring Blog Follower, BK

  74. v8a4y5v8a4y5

    Judy here is another example of Cliff’s general bias and highly selective censorship finger:

    While he is not at all shy about trimming away well reasoned and substantive criticism from “lefties”, he is markedly less so, to the extent essentialy of providing a “safe space” for some rather spurious and often vindictive language, for “righties”.

    You can see for yourself in his more recent blogging and as an experiment ( I know scientists love those!) I will print here my own response to one example there, and we might see his censorship in action. I hope not but we (perhaps only you and me anyway) shall see:

    My text: “In regard to the regular commentor “Placeholder”:

    It should be obvious to all by now that “Placeholder” holds and expresses freely an animosity and general contempt for anyone who he perceives as a typical denizen of Seattle. In fact, this sentiment is often the entirety or no less than half of his prodigious communications, as is evident in his response to the above Eric Fisk.

    Speaking for myself, I don’t particularly mind this, as any libertarian minded person surely wouldn’t, considering our inalienable right to free speech.

    The one thing I do take offence at is that “Placeholder” is a name that somehow I doubt is written onto any birth certificate, Kenyan or otherwise, and as one can see written directly below in the rules and regulations and I quote:

    “This blog does not allow anonymous comments.”

    It seems to me only courteous (and apparently required) that if “Placeholder” is inclined to respond as he does to a person who not only shows respect to our intelligence through a well reasoned and respectful articulation of his thoughts but then signs with his name and an identifiable photo that “Placeholder” should at the very least sign his name with something a little bolder than a rather strange pseudonym.

    And if really honourable, an indication of which town he lives in…… and presumes to represent, it would seem.

    Signed: Bruce Kay of Powell River, BC

    • Since you are new here, I don’t allow attacks/insults on individuals, particularly other commenters. Discussing other bloggers and their policies is relevant on some threads (its ok on this one). You might be new to the climate blogosphere (apart from Cliff Mass); there are many other blogs run by climate scientists that are much worse than what you accuse Mass of doing. While not a regular participant, I find alot of value in Mass’ blog.

      Climate Etc. used to be unmoderated, ‘anything goes’ — it was a mess. that was a big mistake, It is much better now that I moderate. I do allow anonymity here, since some commenters are employed by universities or government labs, and are fearful of professional fallout. Also, in response to hosting Nic Lewis critique of Resplandy, I received this ‘charming’ email:

      “May you be looking them straight in the eye when they point a gun at you . . . ought to be convicted and summarily executed”

      I don’t expect any commenters here to open themselves up to that kind of personal threat.

      In the old days, I received about 500 comments per day. Early on, I made it a policy not to respond to comments (other than occasionally), but to let the disscussion flow among the commenters. I would have time for nothing else if I replied to comments. If someone has a serious question that they want my response to, they send me an email. I am not interested in responding to people that are grandstanding and trying to play ‘gotcha.’

      All blogs are different.

  75. I’m afraid it is relevant. Not “insults” exactly, although if you like many Americans are not fully conversant with the generally inoffensive yet challenging on the introspection conversational norm of “taking the piss” then perhaps you can be forgiven for mistaking such for “insult” ( which incidentally is not at all absent from the norm here, even if seldom directed at you nor using the unambiguous language you describe.)

    No what I’m talking about is if you intend to “talk about other blogs” such as Cliff Mass (the dispute described is entirely about his blog) as well as defend him on certain claims using certain investigations that can only be considered incomplete ( not to mention out to lunch if you include James Dellingpole of Brightfart News!) then you must, if given the chance, pursue the full context, which is what I am offering up here by the bucket load.

    OK? Sorry to hear about your work load but I assumed you being retired had at least as much time as your regulars and as I have hinted, you being a scientist disciplined to a ethic of robust, transparent and yes potentially assertive challenge, i figured you’d get around to it eventually.

    Which of course is a good thing because then I no longer need to speculate, often as such as a slave to our lesser intuitions and biases, under the illusionary influences of the false positive or the false negative, which either silence or censorship is.

    To that end, thank you for ceasing the selective censorship of my posts and finally opening up a dialogue on a perfectly relevant topic which is:

    Do you think now, given my examples that perhaps Cliff’s style and substance of communication is directly relevant to the volume of criticism he receives? My criticism of him is exactly that. not his expert opinion but how he politicizes that opinion, consistently avoiding all opportunity for a broader and more inclusive context, which could well be the basis of the professional ethics complaint brought against him.

    I don’t know any more than you or anyone else here, but given all the well documented evidence, is it not a reasonable suspicion?

  76. Yes I know…. “grand standing” again.

    Well think of it this way. When you publish a paper and launch it like a grenade into public sphere, you also as you characterize it “let the disscussion flow among the commenters” which of course we all recognize as “peer review”.

    Of course if no substantial conflict arises, so it should remain, if you have better things to move onto. However if after volumes of “no conflict” such as the vast balance of this particular blog post some substantive conflict arises…

    from your peers

    I assume you might set aside less pressing projects and focus like a laser on the criticisms to see if in fact your hypothesis may be at risk. As well, considering that this is a public topic launched forth into the public domain, all further debate would continue not via private email but as it started:

    in public.

    I realize your spidey sense might suspect a “gotcha” in all this but like Sarah Palin you started it all with your “gotcha’s” on the UW ethic’s committee. Either way if you still follow my analogy, would you also accuse your professional peers of a “gotcha” simply by revealing criticism of your paper?

    No I don’t pretend to be your climate peer but I do suspect that in the realm of communication, risk, psychology and maybe cajun cooking I am. I hope you find none of this insulting, only reasonable!

    • If evidence to the contrary of any of my statements appears in the comments, I revise my main post. A few minor edits might have been made after the original posting.

      People not ‘liking’ Mass or his style of communication is not the issue that I raised.

  77. v8a4y5v8a4y5

    It is not a matter of “liking”. As you would agree, the quality of a science paper (to continue with analogy) has nothing to do with the “liking” of the conclusions. It has to do with the competency of the process. As analogy were the scientific conclusions arrived at by valid process and in this case is “communication of scientific facts” really being processed as adequately as such a high authoritative standard should be held to?

    I don’t know how to make it any less ambiguous. You criticize the WU ethical committee’s conduct…. yet you only skim the surface as to exactly what that criticism is, weighing heavily it seems on the words of only one person that was directly involved ( Cliff Mass) along with the speculations of others who were no more experienced of the issue than you. I don’t dispute that you may be guessing right but thats all it seems to be – a guess, confidently held.

    Try this, another analogy: imagine that an employee of a corporation conducted themselves in a public way that the corporation considered as “unbecoming” of that corporation. If the corporation thinks that their reputation as “communicators of scientific facts” is not being adequately represented, don’t you think it is not just their right but beholden of them to investigate?

    Yes, no doubt a University is not exactly a corporation and perhaps Cliff is insulated by tenure anyway but surely there is a similar ethic of collaborative responsibility here, when the stated purpose is communication…. not deception

    • This isn’t a guess, I spoke with several key people involved, or heard second hand reports from reliable sources. I don’t shoot from the hip. No one close to this situation criticized the factual aspects of my post (apart from a minor criticism that one would infer the chair ‘forced’ the faculty to sign the statement).

  78. v8a4y5v8a4y5

    OK I’ll take your word for it. Like i said, guess or skill, I wouldn’t be surprised that essentially you are right, that the Libtard university crowd went off the deep end on Cliff. I wouldn’t be surprised because such hysteria is not really that uncommon these days. For instance while Trump deserves tons of criticism, a fair chunk of it is hysteria. The same goes for say Elizabeth Warren or the Shrillary. It is very much a sign of the times.

    Which leads back to my point. It’s sad to think the ethics committee (or whatever they are) can’t focus on an actual complaint of substance ( please refer to my list and there is more) rather than claim / insinuate / suggest all would be well if only he advocated for the carbon tax!

    Carbon tax cheerleading isn’t the point. The point, I say once again is that if such a influential pillar of authority purports to “communicate the scientific facts” to what amounts to a very large layman audience, he is professionally obligated to not just provide all due context but as I’m sure his boss would agree, avoid a very obvious partisan favouritism.

    I know if I was running that show that would be top of my list for any institute of higher learning. And if it was my corporation, he’d be long gone by now.

    • v8, I am having trouble finding your core point among the vast volume of words you have used here. Universities are not private companies and usually think of free speech as part of their core mission. This commitment is also essential for the proper functioning of science. There is nothing wrong with Cliff’s blog except to censorious interesectionality types.

  79. Rather incoherent v8. Cliff Mass doesn’t need you to read his mind or call him politically motivated. His accomplishments speak for themselves. You don’t seem to understand how science works through hearty debate.

  80. v8, Cliff was certainly justified in deleting your anonymous political smear. Perhaps learning enough about the science to constructively comment would be a challenge for you, but you might be more credible (its hard to be less credible than you have been on this thread).

  81. It’s not a smear 69. It is a substantive criticism, from one of his peers in the skill domain of communication. Go ahead, look at his webpage and consider exactly what he is communicating, then the degree of substance that he provides to substantiate his assertions. Also look at the last comment from a guy named MAC from Bellingham, which generally corroborates my own observations.

    No he is not justified in deleting valid peer review…. but he does. That is unethical of anyone claiming to be a scientist.