by Judith Curry
Last week’s Hearing was a sad example of what passes for debate and deliberations by the U.S. Senate. In any event, it provides an interesting case study of why the U.S. cannot bridge the partisan divide and figure out how to deal sensibly with the climate change issue.
In case you missed it, the Chair of the Senate Budget, Sheldon Whitehouse, has immortalized on youtube his questioning of me at the end of the Hearing: Chairman Whitehouse Presses GOP Witness in Budget Hearing on Climate Change and Insurance Markets.
I expected SW to go after me, which he has often done to Republican witnesses. In my written testimony, I added a paragraph at the end of my biosketch to defuse any accusations of being in the pocket of ‘big oil.’ When SW introduced the witnesses, he thanked each one and said he was looking forward to their testimony – including the other Republican witness. In introducing me, he simply stated my name and my positions. The writing was on the wall from the very beginning of the Hearing. However, I did not expect the inanity that ensued.
It seems that Senator Whitehouse thought that his grilling of me was some sort magnificent ‘takedown’: mischaracterizing things that I had written over a decade ago, out of context references to my use of alarmist trigger words “hoax” and “corrupt” in interviews and obscure blog posts, unpublished graphs that I have never seen before, words of ‘wisdom’ from Exxon in the 1960’s, etc.
Apart from the issue that almost none of this had anything to do with my testimony and much of the time I had no idea what he was talking about, he gave me about 30 seconds to respond to each of these, saying that I could respond later in writing. The day after the Hearing, his staffer emailed me with follow up questions from Senator Grassley (see my responses: Judith Curry response to Senator Grassley questions) and that “I will also be sending you a transcript of your remarks from the hearing in the next few days, to make minor edits to” – I have yet to receive this transcript.
In any event, that doesn’t sound like I will really have a chance to respond in the Congressional Record in a meaningful way, as promised several times by Senator Whitehouse. So I am responding here on my blog, to show how pointless such behavior is in the Halls of Congress where serious issues should be debated in a serious manner.
My 2014 Congressional Testimony
SW brought up my my 2014 Testimony before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which compared statements made by the IPCC AR4 (2007) with the IPCC AR5 (2013), which led me to conclude that the AR5 presented a weaker case for anthropogenic warming than did the AR4.
SW read off my summary bullet points without mentioning the substantial documentation I provided in terms of direct quotes from the AR5, and then proceeded to attempt a refutation of my 2014 Testimony by mischaracterizing my statements and bringing up recent observations, e.g. that the Antarctic sea ice was currently at a record low level.
Here is the text from my 2014 testimony that are direct quotes from the IPCC AR5:
“[T]he rate of warming over the past 15 years (1998–2012) [is] 0.05 [–0.05 to +0.15] °C per decade which is smaller than the rate calculated since 1951 (1951–2012) [of] 0.12 [0.08 to 0.14] °C per decade.”
“It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm yr–1 between 1901 and 2010, 2.0 [1.7 to 2.3] mm yr–1 between 1971 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm yr–1 between 1993 and 2010. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950.”
“It is very likely that the annual Antarctic sea ice extent increased at a rate of between 1.2 and 1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012. “There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, due to the incomplete and competing scientific explanations for the causes of change and low confidence in estimates of internal variability.”
SW asks how these conclusions have held up over time. The historical temperature and sea level data remain as they were (well for the most part), and the slow but irregular creep of warming has continued.
Senator Whitehouse used the recent record low in Antarctic sea ice extent as a refutation of statements in my 2014 testimony. The IPCC AR5 statements about Antarctic sea ice that were cited in my 2014 Testimony have generally stood the test of time. Here is text from the IPCC AR6 WGI Report (Section 220.127.116.11.2):
“AR5 (2013) reported a small but significant increase in the total annual mean Antarctic SIE [sea ice extent] that was very likely in the range of 1.2–1.8% per decade between 1979 and 2012 (0.13–0.20 million km2 per decade) (very high confidence), while SROCC (2019) reported that total Antarctic sea ice coverage exhibited no significant trend over the period of satellite observations (1979–2018) (high confidence). SROCC noted that a significant positive trend in mean annual ice cover between 1979 and 2015 had not persisted, due to three consecutive years of below-average ice cover (2016–2018). SROCC stated also that historical Antarctic sea ice data from different sources indicated a decrease in overall Antarctic sea ice cover since the early 1960s, but was too small to be separated from natural variability (high confidence).”
Nowhere in the IPCC reports do they attribute any decrease in Antarctic sea ice extent to human caused warming.
Discrepancies between climate model projections and observations
During the Hearing, I was presented with a figure purporting to prove that climate models in 2004 had accurately predicted the global average temperature since then.
I did not recognize that particular figure, but I knew that the CMIP3 models used in the 2007 IPCC AR4 were found by the AR5 to have over predicted the temperatures for the period 1999-2012. I also knew that the CMIP3 climate models were heavily tuned to the historical temperature record (which explains the good agreement prior to 2004). I subsequently found out that this figure was published in a blog post with no clear description of exactly how the model-observation comparison was done.
Here is the relevant figure from the IPCC AR5. Figure 11.25 compares climate model projections with observations of global surface temperature anomalies through 2012.
Figure 11.25 shows that near term climate projections for the period 1999-2012 were much warmer than the observed temperatures, with several years dropping below the 5-95% envelope of the climate model simulations.
With regards to the CMIP3 simulations used in the blog post and diagram presented by Senator Whitehouse, the IPCC AR5 has this to say:
“However, the implied rates of warming over the period from 1986–2005 to 2016–2035 are lower as a result of the hiatus: 0.10°C–0.23°C per decade, suggesting the AR4 assessment [CMIP3 models] was near the upper end of current expectations for this specific time interval.”
Ed Hawkins is the IPCC author who prepared Figure 11.25. He updated the Figure with temperatures through 2021. This later period included the extremely warm temperatures associated with the super El Nino in 2016. The year 2016 barely made it to the midpoint of the climate model range; compare 2016 with 1998 (a previous super El Nino), which slightly exceeded the upper boundary of the 5-95% range.
Trigger words: corruption and hoax
The most inane part of the questioning was challenging me on my use of two trigger words for climate change alarmists – “corrupt” and “hoax”.
SW stated: You’ve accused the IPCC of corruption. Do you stand by that accusation? He did not prove a direct quotation, I have no idea exactly what he is referring to even after a google search of the relevant words.
In a 2010 interview for Discover Magazine, I made the following statement:
“There is a substantial level of public interest in investigating the issues raised by Climategate. These issues include: wanting an assessment of the reliability and accuracy of the historical and paleo temperature records/reconstructions; wanting an assessment of whether the IPCC was corrupted and whether their conclusions are reliable and can be trusted as the basis for international carbon and energy policy; and whether there are some “bad apples” in the climate research community that need to be weeded out in the sense of not being in positions of responsibility as journal editor, IPCC lead author, administrator.”
This statement was subsequently exaggerated inappropriately in a 2010 Scientific American profile on me:
“Few scientists would claim the IPCC is perfect, but Curry thinks it needs thoroughgoing reform. She accuses it of “corruption.” “I’m not going to just spout off and endorse the IPCC,” she says, “because I think I don’t have confidence in the process.” “
A 2012 interview with oilprice.com made the following statement, which correctly reflects my concerns about the IPCC process.
“Judith was a one time supporter of the IPCC until she started to find herself disagreeing with certain policies and methods of the organization. She feared the combination of groupthink and political advocacy, combined with an ingrained “noble cause syndrome” stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress, and corrupted the assessment process.”
Around the same time of these interviews, the UN InterAcademy Council (IAC) began a thorough review of the IPCC’s policies and practices, in response to issues raised by Climategate. The IAC invited me make a presentation on my concerns. Also around the same time, the U.S. Natural Research Council Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy invited me to make a presentation on my concerns about the integrity of climate science in light of Climategate.
While the IPCC has instituted several of the changes recommended by the IAC, I remain very concerned about the politicization of the IPCC . For the past 15 years, I have been an advocate for the integrity of scientific research and assessment processes.
At this point, the IPCC WGI on the physical basis of climate change maintains some measure of objectivity, although the Summary for Policy Makers is politicized and cherry picks the findings. As evidenced by the recently published IPCC Synthesis Report, it seems that science has left the room, with the emphasis on weakly justified findings on climate impacts driven by extreme emission scenarios from WGII, and politicized policy recommendations on emissions reductions from WGIII.
The “hoax” issue is even more inane.
Senator Whitehouse made the following statement: “Curry has agreed with Trump’s description of climate change as a “hoax”, writing in 2016 that the UN’s definition of manmade climate change “qualifies as a hoax.” This is a blatant misrepresentation of what I wrote.
In a 2016 blog post title “Trumping the climate,” I examined President-elect Trump’s statements on climate change and his frequent use of the word ‘hoax’.
Lets first look at the definition of ‘hoax’, here are a few I spotted by googling:
- a humorous or malicious deception.
- to trick into believing or accepting as genuine something false and often preposterous
- a plan to deceive a large group of people
- a deliberately fabricated falsehood made to masquerade as truth.
With these definitions in mind, here are two examples that qualify as hoaxes that I have previously written about:
- The UNFCCC definition of ‘climate change’ arguably qualifies as a hoax: climate change is a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.[link]. This perversion of the definition of ‘climate change’ was designed to mislead people into thinking that all climate change is caused by humans.
With regards to #1, here is my concern. The UNFCCC has redefined the term “climate change” away from the traditional definition used in the geological, atmospheric and oceanic sciences, to make a distinction between climate change—attributable to human activities altering the atmospheric composition (mainly CO2), and climate variability—attributable to natural causes. This redefinition of “climate change” to refer only to human-caused changes to the atmospheric composition has effectively eliminated natural climate change from the public discussion—the common parlance refers to “climate change,” with no mention of natural climate variability. As a result, any change that is observed over the past century is now implicitly assumed to be caused by human emissions to the atmosphere. This assumption leads to connecting every unusual weather or climate event to human-caused climate change from fossil fuel emissions. This redefinition of “climate change” by the UNFCCC is a deception and misleading, which has arguably contributed to Trump calling climate change a hoax.
Why anyone thinks this is worth discussing in a Congressional Hearing is beyond me.
EXXON and the American Petroleum Institute
I was shown an indecipherable diagram that was created by EXXON at some unspecified date, but presumably in the 1960’s or 1970’s. SW characterized this graph of CO2 concentrations and temperatures as being a ‘model’ that turned out to be pretty accurate. Two lines both having the same trend do not constitute a model, or imply anything about causation.
I was also read a statement that was made in 1968 by a report commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute, warning that continued increases in CO2 could cause harm from warming the climate by 2000.
The point is this. Our knowledge of climate change was in its infancy in the 1960’s. What Exxon or anyone else ‘knew’ at this time was associated with a very weak knowledge base, and is irrelevant to the current scientific debate on the issue. We have understood the basic mechanism of the atmospheric greenhouse effect since the 19th century; the key questions remain as to its magnitude and its importance relative to natural climate variability.
The IPCC’s First Assessment Report published in 1990, which reflects the best assessment of our knowledge several decades subsequent to the Exxon ‘model’ and the AIP Report, included the following summary judgment:
“The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability Thus the observed increase could be largely due to this natural variability, alternatively this variability and other human factors could have offset a still larger human-induced greenhouse warming. The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.”
My 2007 Washington Post op-ed [link]
Senator Whitehouse asked me if I stood by my 2007 op-ed, after reading aloud the part about risk and risk management. This is actually something of relevance for this Hearing.
“But if the risk is great, then it may be worth acting against even if its probability is small. Think of risk as the product of consequences and likelihood: what can happen and the odds of it happening [JC addendum: also need to add strength of the knowledge base in assessing risk]. A 10-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 is not likely; the panel gives it a 3 percent probability. Such low-probability, high-impact risks are routinely factored into any analysis and management strategy, whether on Wall Street or at the Pentagon.
The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced. [JC qualification: I stand by this statement, but it is most definitely not an endorsement of rapidly transitioning to wind and solar power].
There is no easy solution to this problem; the challenge is how best to develop options that are feasible, efficient, viable and scalable. Lomborg is correct to be concerned about the possibility of bad policy choices. But I have yet to see any option that is worse than ignoring the risk of global warming and doing nothing.”
I was wrong about trusting the IPCC on polar bears, and I was wrong in most of my criticisms of Lomborg. However, my statements about risk hold up fairly well after 16 years. I would add the following nuance from my more recent perspective of having written a book on this topic: “Climate Uncertainty and Risk,” specifically with regards to “doing nothing:”
Acceptable risk requires no management. Risks are tolerable if activities are considered as worth pursuing for the associated benefits. For tolerable risks, efforts for risk reduction or coping are welcomed, provided that the benefits of the activities are not lost. Burning fossil fuels has historically been considered a tolerable risk. Climate change risks have been characterized as acceptable, tolerable, and intolerable by different individuals and constituencies – clearly an ambiguous situation. As described in my written statement, judgments of intolerable risks from climate change relate to mistakenly conflating the slow creep of global warming (an emerging risk) with consequences from extreme weather and climate events (emergency risks).
The slow creep of warming is best characterized as a tolerable risk. If we can eliminate this risk by reducing fossil fuel emissions in a way that does not incur further harm, then this should be welcomed. However, plans to rapidly dismantle our power infrastructure and replace it with unreliable wind and solar power risks producing greater harms than any conceivable impacts from climate change. My written testimony refers to this as “transition risk.”
Volcanoes and climate change
SW’s only mention of my written testimony is a question regarding volcanoes, in response to my statement:
“Plausible scenarios of natural climate variability in the mid-21st century (not included in the climate model simulations) point to a slowdown in the rate of global warming driven by: an expected solar minimum, the possibility of explosive volcanic eruptions, and a projected shift in multi-decadal ocean circulation patterns.”
SW asked a question about whether I expected volcanoes to save us from global warming. My take on this is consistent with the IPCC AR6 WG1 Box 4.1:
“Typically, three in every four centuries have experienced at least one eruption stronger than –1 W m-2 (Pinatubo or larger). The volcanic aerosol burden was 14% lower during the 20th century compared to the average of the preceding 24 centuries, whereas the 13th century was among the most volcanically active, with four eruptions exceeding that of Pinatubo-1991.”
“Due to the direct radiative effect of volcanic stratospheric aerosols, large volcanic eruptions lead to an overall decrease of GSAT [global surface air temperature], which can extend to multi-decadal or century timescales in the case of clustered volcanism.”
“Given the unpredictability of individual eruptions, volcanic forcing is prescribed as a constant background loading in CMIP6 models. This means the effects of potential large volcanic eruptions are largely absent from model projections, and few studies have addressed the potential implications on 21st century warming. One study considered future scenarios with hypothetical volcanic eruptions consistent with levels of CE [Common Era] volcanic activity under RCP4.5 and found that climate projections could be substantially altered. Although temporary, close to pre-industrial level temperatures could be experienced globally for a few years after a 1257 Samalas-sized eruption.”
“Clustered eruptions would have substantial impact upon GSAT [global surface air temperature] evolution throughout the century, and could have far-reaching implications, as observed for past eruptions.”
JC message to Senator Whitehouse
If you are going to attempt such a takedown in the future, I suggest that you need better staffers. The questions on “corrupt”, “hoax”, Exxon, and API were truly inane. If you are attempting to prove something such as 2004 climate model projections matching observations, you should rely on a better source than a blog post. In any event, all this seems to have impressed the 80 or so clueless commenters on your youtube clip. But it won’t impress serious people.
Climate change is a serious issue. Depending on your perspective and values, there will be much future loss and damage from either climate change itself, or from the policies designed to prevent climate change. Conflicts surrounding climate change have been exacerbated by oversimplifying both the problem and its solutions. And from mischaracterizing the risks from climate change.
Constructively working with your Republican colleagues is essential for accomplishing anything that could help reduce our vulnerability to extreme weather events and the slow creep of warming. A good start would be to provide some modicum of respect towards witnesses invited by Republicans and carefully considering the arguments made in their testimony. Hearings are an opportunity for Senators to actually learn things from the expert witnesses.
So sorry you had to endure this.
Your experience is just another example of the ongoing battle between neo-Marxism and traditional liberalism from the roots of people like Smith, Locke, and Mises.
“Climate change is a serious issue”.
It certainly is but it has been cooped to gain total power over citizens as climate influences everything thus if you claim you can control climate, you can control all of mankind.
I think Sheldon Whitehouse gives the impression of being a True Believer, and is tactically immune to any contrary evidence.
Whether that is real or not would require reading the Senator’s mind.
A typical behavior of Whitehous, scion of monied, well positioned ancestors etc. “Dr. Curry can you substantiate the statements and claims you are making” …. oops, your time is up !! “
Hilarious! Clearly they did a lot of research, which is a testimonial to Dr. Curry’s importance. They were gunning for her but only fired blanks.
You were there as a “straw woman” to be attacked using mischaracterizations of previous statements and publications. You knew it, they knew it but you had no choice, the political theater spectacle had to go on in totally predictable fashion. I applaud your courage to speak in front of these clowns holding the levers of power.
As a Chairman, Whitehouse has to be taken somewhat seriously but beyond that not so much. He has little influence on the Senate as a whole because they know he is an extremist alarmist.
This hearing was a microcosm of the entire debate. One side trying to inject science and objectivity into the discussion while the other side with fingers in their ears not wanting to discuss anything but their preconceived ideas and partisan agenda.
The biggest disappointment for me was the intellectual no shows by the minority party. Most of the GOP members were not in attendance and those who did show up displayed no grasp of the complexities in the actual conflict.
But then, what’s new.
I applaud your patience wiht this aftermath, maybe some good might yet come out of it..
I would like to make two short comments
>> With regards to the CMIP3 simulations
>> an indecipherable diagram that was created by EXXON
There are reasons why CMIP6 models differ from CMIP5, for example a better parametrization of clouds. Older models are obsolete as they do not reflect this planets any better than the scribbles of 4-year olds. You could ask a bunch of them to draw spaghetti graphs and screen them afterwards and might come up with very similar results.
>> an assessment of whether the IPCC was corrupted
I would like to ask anybody who does not see problems with the science as presented in the IPCC report to explain the use of the Cape Ghir series in figure 1a of IPCC6 SPM. Already this very first figure in the current report is dubious.
As S. McIntyre points out (https://climateaudit.org/2021/08/11/the-ipcc-ar6-hockeystick/) that this is by far the dominating series.
It is used to create this figure and is used without any regards that it does not at all match existing local temperature records.
Also, I believe, since it is a deep sea water based proxy, taking this figure serious would imply that all global warming is based on an Atlantic cycle.
Whitehouse is also on the Senate judiciary committee. His understanding of constitutional law is extremely pathetic in spite of being on the committee for the past 20+ years.
One thing extremely common with politicians on both sides of the Aisle is that their mental thought process becomes so focused on talking points that they have completely lost the mental capacity to understand the actual subject matter. Whitehouse embodies that deficiency.
Whitehouse is a walking and babbling sad commentary on how broken most of our institutions are. We truly live in an age of propaganda and censorship and routine defamation. I was gratified however that Judith continues to do the right thing and this detailed response should appear in the Congressional record. Senator Grassley might help you get it in.
Thank you for undertaking this trip to a purgatory. Everybody will follow shortly, I am afraid that 2020s USA might be a reincarnation of a 1930s Germany, with minor substitutions.
There are a number of agendas the progressive mystique has advanced and now find that their audience for such vocalizations diminishing. Climate change is one of them so the vehemence for advancing such progressive causes is escalated as the sand slips through their hands while they increase their grip. Aging monarchies; social redistribution of wealth regimes; social movements to extract revenge on a race or ethnicity, people who aspire or attain leverage over others represent examples of Lord Acton’s meme: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is an illusion that compromise and collaboration towards an agreed upon goal are worthwhile, and such goals are not cards on this table. So, we play with the cards with which we are dealt, and in this case, the person sitting behind the dais, believes they have a winning hand; ie, they can tell the future and they will win so they see no point in conceding any ground.
It is funny though, that the inevitable grind of time leaves its history as consequences. Poorly crafted policies will become in evidence just because we never live long enough to keep modifying our prophesy to fit the actual circumstance.
I enjoy reading the arguments that push back on convention, but, that is because I am a contrarian by nature.
Dr. Curry, Having experience with federal governments, Canadian and American, may I make a suggestion? Don’t take this lying down, fight back. And this is the way to fight back: Write a letter addressed to both Chairman Whitehouse and Ranking Member Grassley addressing the questions. Start with something like, “As Chairman Whitehouse has invited me to do, I would like to address certain questions that arose during the hearing with the assurance, as stated by Chairman Whitehouse, that this response will also be included in the Congressional Record.” Also then also send copies of the cover letter and your responses to all the members, both Democrat and Republican, of the Committee. So, Chairman Whitehouse either has to include your response in the Congressional Record; or, deny that he asked you to respond in writing with the promise that it would be done.
I’m, reminded of, “CHRIS LANDSEA WITHDRAWS FROM IPCC AR4”
PS – Whitehouse was disgusting – disgraceful.
Don’t give up the ship! Reason is not yet dead in this country. More and more “common folk” are waking up.
Pingback: Senate Budget Committee Hearing: JC responds - Climate- Science.press
I echo the calls for you to make sure your response goes into the public record of the hearing. What Whitehouse did was absurd and juvenile. As your response shows: there’s no there there. It makes him look like the fool he is.
Thank you for defending the values of a free society.
Who invited you to the meeting? This sounds like a set-up.
I was invited by the Republican Ranking Member, Senator Grassley
Obviously Whitehouse and his ilk see you as a material threat and attempted the equivalent of a character assignation. I bet one or more of you Congressmen would be able to get this in the Congressional record. At any rate, you can wear this as a badge of honor. You have inspired panic in the Climate Doomers!
Surely someone reading this blog would know how to create a PAC given a voice by Fox news and Sky. Are there no Gretas to give it a face. The efforts so far look like a garage band hitchhiking to LA, brave and determined but ignored.
A lost opportunity to learn something useful. But not surprising. The issue is that if one accepts that there is no urgency and technology will catch up and improve things in the coming years, then the whole battle against opposing interests becomes weaker. We are talking about power, and if you threaten power you will be silenced. As political scientists know, agenda setting is a fundamental aspect of power, and here we are talking about which agenda gets set. Unfortunately power often prevails over science, at least in the medium rum.
> We are talking about power, and if you threaten power you will be silenced.
We need to keep in mind that they are cowards. And those that refuse to debate them are cowards, too. A sustained interaction will always show this.
“In democratic countries the science of association is the mother of science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.” Tocqueville
I was struck by the committee Chairman’s complete lack of curiosity about the implications of RCP4.5 vs. RCP8.5. That is an important conversation. Coupled with the piece by Joachim Dengler and John Reid it strikes me that we have a really manageable problem, but we won’t take yes for an answer.
When you speak to SW or reply to their questions, you are not speaking to SW because SW as you know will not be listening. You are in fact speaking to the third parties who may be listening. Always when ‘speaking’ to an SW make sure that you are aiming at the third parties.
I believe you’re correct, Mike. Even though Whitehouse is a fervent ideological believer, nonetheless, he was merely a surrogate to present the Lefts orchestrated case. It was preordained that they were going to make a political poster from this event to frame Dr. Curry one way or other.
Truth isn’t a collectivist value. Honestly the hearing wasn’t truly about climate risks anyway. Climate is a media, something to emotively paint with because it has gravitas for control.
Meanwhile the Climate Doomers shove under the rug the real dangers of offshore wind to wild life.
A federal fisheries council acknowledged that some power cables for offshore wind turbines could harm certain fish, according to a letter seen by the DCNF.
Multiple recent studies have demonstrated that a variety of commercially popular fish can be negatively impacted by their exposure to magnetic fields emitted by high voltage direct current cables, which can confuse their ability to navigate and in some cases leave them exposed to predators.
“We were previously aware of this study and agree that it has concerning implications for the possible effects of high voltage direct current cabling on larval behavior and resulting predation rates,” Thomas Nies, executive director of the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC), said in a January 18 letter.
I found this blog a very informative summary of a number of tenets of climate change and associated definitions. What I can’t understand is why the IPCC summary reports are so allowed to be so inflammatory and apparently in contradiction to the report itself?
Because their political paymasters demand it. One cannot read the scientific section and at the same time believe the political SPMs.
In my experience, it is a mistake to presume that the purpose of a “hearing” in Congress is to “obtain information” on issues of importance. CongressPeople can and do “obtain information” in private meetings with sources of information attended by the Member themselves or sometimes just their staff. The only purpose, again in my experience, of a public hearing is to provide an avenue for the Members to be seen on camera saying things that can be used to satisfy the base of supporters, and more importantly, the base of major donor organizations.
I have had a few direct experiences in this matter. One that opened my eyes happened several decades ago in which I was involved in technically evaluating some whistleblower claims of fraud within certain DOD programs. We had met several times one week with the staff of a committee chair, several times attended by the Member themselves, all leading up to the testimony in a hearing by a particular general, for whom I was working in a technical capacity on the particular issue at hand. The Member and their staff were briefed in depth on the technical aspects of the fraud claims and the relevance of classified information to the general issues involved, which was minimal. It was made clear that the issue of classification was quite irrelevant to the technical merits of the fraud claim, but to even identify which information was classified and why would itself not be possible without revealing the nature of the classified information itself. At the end of the staff meetings, it was made quite clear that classification had nothing to do with the technical details of the allegations of fraud.
During the actual hearing, the Member pointedly asked the general several repeated questions along the lines of “You are aware that Section xyz of US Code makes it illegal to use claims of classification to shield fraudulent activity. Why is the DOD doing so in this case?” To which the general had to be polite and reply “I can’t address that issue directly in open hearing, but I would be happy to discuss it with you in closed proceedings.” The Member asked the same question three times, worded slightly differently each time, to which the general had to say politely (that is the main and hardest job of a DOD official testifying before Congress, remaining polite) that they could not discuss the issue in open hearing but would be happy to in closed proceedings.
The Member in question I had seen (with my own eyes) previously clearly understand that the answer to their questions was that 1) classification was not being used to hide allegations of fraud and 2) the nature of the classified information involved was such that the question could not be answered in open hearings. Nevertheless, the Member got themselves on camera saying what they said at the minor expense of embarrassing a general who was just doing their job. That was the first time I had witnessed a Member of Congress knowingly lie in a case where I and everyone in the room, including the Member, knew they were lying and all understood (except me in my then-naivete) that the lie was of no importance, what was important was how it played to the CCTV audience.
Since then I have had a few other similar experiences and am now long jaded to any possible noble information gathering purpose of hearings. Fortunately, I no longer am involved in such things. But do not harbor any illusions that the purpose of a “hearing” is for the Members to “hear.” It is just the opposite, it is for them to be heard.
Dr. Curry, you may get this twice, I’m an old(er) guy and often fumble new technology Oh well. May I suggest that you write a letter addressed to both Chairman Whitehouse and ranking member Grassley? The letter would start by thanking Chairman Whitehouse for his offer to respond in writing in regard to clarifying your testimony. The contents of the letter would essentially consist of your blog post, edited as needed. The idea is to get your response on the Congressional Record. There’re a couple of reasons for this. The first is that it clarifies your testimony. The second is that we counter-alarmists, whether we be ‘deniers’ or ‘warmists,’ can then leverage your clarified testimony in our arguments. I mean, being able to quote you is great, but also being able to add “…testimony to the Senate Budget Committee,” adds an additional trenchant element to a comment. Also, once your remarks are formally on the Congressional Record, they can’t be edited or deleted. I would also send copies of your letter the other members of the committee. There’s a reason for including the Ranking Member as an addressee and copying the members of the committee. The reason is that you might well need someone on your side to ensure that your clarifications are actually included in the Congressional Record. (It seems unlikely that any Democrats on the committee will support adding your clarifications, however, one or more of the Republican members may well add their support to adding your clarifications.)
In predicting future temperature rise there are three major steps: (1) future emissions, (2) fraction of emission remaining in atmosphere, and (3) temperature rise due to CO2 remaining in atmosphere.
The “science” is in parts 2 and 3. Part 1 is based on projections of world economics, energy costs and demand, status of peace, governmental policies, and tension, or war in global relations. It is not science.
Part 2 can be approximated as around 50% as a first approximation.
Based on the observation that as of 2015, total cumulative CO2 was roughly 1280 Gt (from baseline late 1800s). That produced a claimed delta-T of 1.15 C from late 1800s to 2015. Thus, one could argue (if the entire delta-T was due to CO2) that you get a delta-T of 0.000894 C per cumulative Gt of CO2 emitted.
The way the IPCC addressed part 3 is buried in 1700 pages. But if you take the plots of delta-T and emissions from SSP1-2, SSP2-4, SSP3-7 and SSP5-8 vs. year, and plot delta-T vs. emissions (at the same year) you get a nice straight line. (I would show this if I knew how to put a graph on a posting). That graph starts at delta-T = 1.15 (in 2015) on the vertical scale and 0 cumulative emissions (starting at 2015) on the horizontal scale. Then the data for delta-T vs. cumulative emissions beyond 2015 form a nice straight line, and lo and behold, the line is fitted by:
Delta-T (from late 1800s) = 1.15 + 0.000894 (Gt CO2 beyond 2015)
In other words, their projections (SSP1-2, SSP2-4, SSP3-7 and SSP5-8) all use essentially the same algorithm to convert cumulative CO2 emissions to delta-T, and that algorithm is the same as that experienced from late 1800s to 2015, assuming that the early temperature rise was 100% due to CO2.
So, the only “science” in the IPCC Report is the conversion of each cumulative Gt of CO2 emitted to a temperature rise of 0.000894 degrees C. That’s it.
The rest of the report is estimating future cumulative emissions based on projections of world economics, energy costs and demand, status of peace, governmental policies, and tension, or war in global relations. Part 1 is not science.
“Based on the observation that as of 2015, total cumulative CO2 was roughly 1280 Gt (from baseline late 1800s). That produced a claimed delta-T of 1.15 C from late 1800s to 2015”
IPCC “science” falls apart faster than a cheap suitcase.
CO2 emissions are a rough estimate in the 1800s
The atmospheric CO2 level is a rough estimate until 1958
There was no global average temperature in the 1800s — just a very rough estimate of the Northern Hemisphere average temperature falsely claimed to be an accurate global average temperature
No one knows the effect of manmade CO2 emissions since the 1800s. Attributing the entire very rough estimate of the average temperature change to CO2 is not science — it is merely a worst case assumption.
The IPCC is 90% politics and 10% scince
the organization serves no useful purpose.
Climate scaremongering since 1988 serves no purpose outside of leftist politics of power and control.
thecliff etc.: I knew there was a reason that I stopped posting on this site and you just reminded me. Thanks
Judith Curry’s experience with a lawmaker who might well have been or will be part of the ongoing legislation dealing with climate change and mitigation should put to the fore a consideration for placing uncertainty bounds on the likely success of that process.
Government historically has a bad track record in dealing with what is considered a major problem whether the extent of it be real, exaggerated or invented. There is certainly more chance of error in the progressive domain of legislation where the issue of attacking a problem has from the start the concession that government action rules over private initiative.
Advising the UK, Australian and Queensland governments on economic and other policies, I have seen some honourable exceptions, but bad decisions, not taking full regard of the public interest tend to predominate; exceptionally so in Australia’s current government, unfortunately..
The weak to nonexistent Republican support of Dr. Curry’s testimony indicates they are either not equipped or, more likely, do not care to prioritize Climate Change or its effects in their legislative agenda. It’s an embarrassing shame.
Agreed. Sadly, from where I sit across the pond, my impression is that republican skepticism has everything to do with the partisan nature of the politics than genuine understanding of the issue – and tbh the same can be said of democrats. Belief aligns to your team, rather than what you can assess from evidence.
Personally, I am politically left leaning, yet having very carefully assessed the evidence myself, my views align to Dr Curry’s almost exactly. I disagree with nearly everything else politically motivated skeptics have to say other than climate.
In fact, Dr Curry is my science “hero”. She has followed where the evidence takes her as honestly and courageously as any scientist of any field I can think of, in all of history. It’s always balanced and nuanced reflecting the nature of things. God knows where this debate would be without her.
In fact, Dr Curry is my science “hero”. She has followed where the evidence takes her as honestly”
Climate change means CAGW
There is NO evidence of CAGW
Therefore, NO ONE can follow the evidence of CAGW
Vaclav Smil wrote in one of his recent books some to the effect that the alarmist reach delusional conclusions commingled with a few solid facts.
In the case of JC, its seems to be a case of knowing a lot of solid facts and an acknowledgement of what facts are not known. Its the acknowledgement of what facts are not known which inflames the ire of the alarmists.
I think every rational person agrees that greenhouse gases have an effect on the planet. The unknown remains is how much an effect.
> Agreed. Sadly, from where I sit across the pond, my impression is that republican skepticism has everything to do with the partisan nature of the politics than genuine understanding of the issue – and tbh the same can be said of democrats. Belief aligns to your team, rather than what you can assess from evidence.
True. But what does that say? Today there are many issues in contention between the left and the right. And by contention I mean exactly what you have said, that they are identified by respective values. I would say that you leaning left and I leaning right have identified common values in how Judith conducts herself. She has not only assesses the scientific evidence, she assesses the cultural milieu where science is produced.
As has been said before, culture is upstream of politics. And I would add science, as well. Climate and covid most certainly need to be assessed on the science. Yet we’ve seen that politics have had, and will have, a major role in how science is produced and disseminated. Those political views, our beliefs, are developed and contested in our culture.
We are ALL motivated by our beliefs. The trick is to not let contradictory ones keep us from seeing reality.
Dr. Curry, Thank you for your service and efforts to help save America. SW, the rest of the Democrat’s and EPA appear to not understand the severe harm they are causing for our country to decline in prosperity and influence in the world as they reduce and restrict the needed energy sources to keep America strong. Meanwhile, China and Russia are gaining increased influence. Thank you again.
I usually do not like JC articles. But there are other very good articles here, so I do read them and recommend them to others.
This is an exceptionally good article about the trials and tribulations of a real scientist being risiduled by a politician.
This scenario was easily predicted in advance.
The coming climate crisis belief is not based on facts, data and logic (science) so can not be refuted with facts, data and logic (science)
Modern climate change is about 90% politics, based on junk science), and 10% real science
The real science minority is declared to be settled science and is not debated — it consists only of the fact that humans can affect the climate in several ways — the exact size of those effects are unknown.
The CAGW belief is in the 90% politics. It is a data-free prediction that has been wrong since the 1979 Charney Report
Polite people like JC, unsophisticated on the subject of politics and propaganda, don’t naturally respond to climate change alarmists with Saul Alinsky style ridicule of their always wrong scary climate predictions.
But they should
For 40 years, Climate Realists have tried to debate climate science. It was obvious after one year that approach does not work. Because CAGW was NEVER about climate science.
CAGW is just climate propaganda — a prediction of climate doom intended to create fear, making people easier to control. Which has almost nothing to do with real science.
Attack the 90%
— The consistently wrong CAGW predictions and the people who made them. Prove that humans can not make accurate long term climate predictions — we have 100 years of evidence to prove that.
Ignore the 10%
— Evidence of harmless AGW
Land use changes
Arbitrary revisions to historical temperature data that create warming out of thin air.
After ridiculing the scary climate predictions, the next important subject is the actual, harmless global warming from 1975 to 2015, that most people did not notice. Followed by no global warming from 2015 to 2023 (UAH data), in spite of the largest eight year period of manmade CO2 emissions in history.
Record CO2 emissions over eight years
But no global warming over those eight years
That news is censored by the mass media
Put in on the Congressional Record !
Mention it two or three times !
There are some hysterical news stories about heat waves in India approaching the human limit. Heat waves in India are nothing new. Wikipedia lists several. A recent one was a whopping 0.4 C higher than one in 1956. You can’t blame that on climate change. I could just be instrumental error one way or another.
I for one am tired of all this maudlin, hysterical BS.
Politicians can be the most devious of people at best and your evidence obviously ruffled the feathers of Sheldon Whitehouse to the extent he resorted to the usual attack strategy upon your reputation (assisted no doubt by an artificially intelligent fast reader of your blogs and relevant other material).
Although it may feel and seem strange at first, I do believe you, Dr Curry, have given the senator an even greater headache than he already had after almost two decades of calling climate change mitigation policy “a calamity” before he then had to listen to your testimony – like it or not. He is disturbed and that comes across in his meaningless and tetchy response. He cannot argue with you and os he argues against you just to keep his own side ‘believing in him’ (note well).
That’s an A+ for you, Dr Curry, in my books.
This is about right.
BTW, For those of us who enjoy interacting on this forum, Judith has a patreon page and it is very easy to go there and make a contribution. Running this blog takes a lot of time and we should show our gratitude.
Judy, I just read all the comments following the Whitehouse YouTube link:
IMO, you are being too polite. The vast majority of the comments and commenters indicate ignorance as to the evidence but a blind commitment to the narrative of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change. I added a few counters but I gave up.
I actually thought you did very well in your responses despite Whitehouse’s deliberate cheap shots and numerous misrepresentations.
If any of the insurance people present asked for your services, I would double or triple your prices – with their inflated prices based upon inflated risk assessments they can certainly afford it.
… proving that the global warming alarmism meme is all political and social science and not natural science which also confirms what most everyone has come to understand — Western academia is thoroughly corrupted and no less so than in the days of Galileo when the church established what was truth and was the final arbiter between fact and fiction.
Reading through the comments on Sentator Whitehouse’s hearing on YouTube yesterday, every single one fell in Senator Whitehouse’s favor. Some wanted to elect him President! I thought that was odd and tried to post a link to your comments, but it has yet to appear.
I then tried to post a comment pointing out that none of the graphs in Poorly Zeroed ever appear in these forums, and that one was also not posted.
Today, the dam on alternate comments seemed lifted, and some of your supporters managed to get a few somewhat objective thoughts posted. At that time, I snuck in a plug for your book in a way that masqueraded as a criticism for you, and of course, this one made the cut. Hope it helps you sell a book or two…
Inviting an expert, throttling their ability to speak, and then using favorable comments as a Greek Chorus turns YouTube into a circus.
John: I also noted the late appearance of more favorable comments. I put it down to Judy’s referencing the Whitehouse’s YouTube video – it is why I went to look.
What I saw was that any reasonable comments were immediately subjected to ad hominem attacks. It felt to me like it was orchestrated with the same commenters appearing with different names. Few of the commenters had any idea of Dr. Curry’s stellar background.nor the integrity she has consistently demonstrated.
Pingback: Senate Budget Committee Hearing: Judith Curry responds – Watts Up With That?
Pingback: Judith Curry responds – Watts Up With That? - USA weather forecast
Dr. Curry,I am not an atmospheric scientist, only a concerned citizen who has followed the climate issue for years. I have found you and your site to be a great source of rational, evidence based discussion on the subject. What you were subjected to had nothing to do with addressing scientific truth for the purpose of government policy. It was pure pandering to the renewable energy, “Big Tech” consortium and their financial contributions to Senator Whitehouse and his political party. Beyond that and perhaps more frightening, I see a fundamentalist climate religion that demands complete adherence to every detail of their theology without exception.
Pingback: Judith Curry responds – Watts Up With That? - Lead Right News
Dr. Curry, I hope you will soon comment on the new IPCC report.
Pingback: Judith Curry responds – Watts Up With That? – The Insight Post
You have my ongoing admiration for being calm in the presence of antagonistic, inaccurate, inane drivel aimed at you. I doubt that I could have resisted a little barb back to SW. Stoicism is difficult.
In case you are asking yourself it it was worth the time, please accept a vote that it certainly was. For a sports analogy, you prevented a slam dunk several times, in the sense that lesser responses from you could have convinced SW that he came out best. He did not. Nobody came out well, some because they were not bright enough and sadly others because they were prevented from showing their best.
Thank you for your contribution to good science. Geoff S
So, Judith, after a few days of letting this simmer, how does it feel to be in the same crosshairs as Matt Taibbi and Michael Schellenberger were a couple weeks prior? ;-)
Ms. Curry is a nice person but she is very unsophisticated on the this description of how she was treated in Washington was fascinating reading.
The sad fact is this article could have been imagined before going to Washington.
It should have been expected that a Climate Realist would be:
Have their motives challenged
Have their sources of information challenged
Quoted out of context to ridicule them
Have “their science” refuted by the Appeal to Government Scientists Logical Fallacy (the “Scientists say” argument)
It was obvious in advance that Democrats would character attack Curry rather than debating her science.
I wish she would learn that CAGW is unrelated to science
Meaning a science debate about CAGW is impossible.
CAGW is just a belief, expressed as a prediction
A belief that can not be falsified
Like a belief in God.
The CAGW predictions have been consistently wrong since the 1979 Charney Report
Ms. Curry believes it is proper to directly answer questions that are asked of her by hostile Democrats. In that regard, she was the fool.
If given an opportunity to talk, on the Congressional record, Curry DOES NOT HAVE to answer any question directly. She can say whatever she wants to say. And she should have done that.
Her response to every question ought to be a short speech ridiculing the history of 100% wrong climate predictions. And also mentioning the lack of global warming since 2015, despite the largest amount of manmade CO2 emissions during any eight year period in history.
Leftist politicians generally don’t ask questions or answer questions. They make short speeches disguised as questions, and make short speeches disguised as answers. Leftist spokespeople do the same thing. They also lie and deceive whenever doing that promotes their leftist narrative. Truth is not a leftist value.
Leftist politicians are hostile questioners — that was known in advance — they put conservatives on defense. Doing that is a Saul Alinsky strategy.
Conservatives do not have to answer hostile questions or charges from leftists. That is not how you deflect the Alinsky ridicule strategy. It seems that only one Republican knows how to do that: Donald Trump. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know when to stop, attacking both Republican rivals and Democrats, But no one is perfect.
One question I have:
Where were the Republicans during this inquisition?
They don’t seem to be helping to refute CAGW at all.
Honest Climate Science and Energy Blog
Judith, your article in today’s The Australian is getting only positive comments. Well done.
PS: you are also cited in the lead Editorial.
A simple response re volcanoes would be, ”Volcanic activity is to chaotic to be predicted and any cooling and other climatic effects from a major increase in volcanic activity would likely do far more harm than the warming it offset.”
Or, the frame it in terms of missed benefits from warming.
Judith … just saw this. Be careful …
I spent some time when the video was playing, watching the SW aide behind him and to his left, the one producing the posters. I was waiting to see a smile or a grin, anything more than the stony faced, ‘detrmined to get a result’ look. I wonder what range of salary such types have. Does one get paid a lot for making elementary posters from outdated material, even material shown to be probably wrong or doubtful? Geoff S
FYI: I have deep resprect for Judith Curry’s scientific work; I am not sure why she dodged questions here,
As a Democat 100% I do not believe in AGW catastrophe, I think the IPCC reports are corrupted to varying extents, and just heavily flawed elsewhere but I support vaccine mandates, better gun control laws, banning of the ArmaLite-15 to all citizens, and I support fully accessible humane, legal abortions. I think anyone who thinks the government can force births is an anti-intellectual and dangerous to women’s rights. I’m very much anti Trump and anti-GOP, but AGW is based upon shoddy pseudoscience and made up numbers.
My real point is this is not a Democrat/Republican issue and Dr. Curry did say some of the things SW asked her about, and his her right to have said them-why backpeddle and jump on the GOP train of dodging questions? Stick to the science.
Can you give an example of where you saw Judy dodging a question? Please give which version of the video of the SW/JC exchange you are referencing and a time stamp. I did not see Judy dodging. I did see her confused about one or two of the questions and their intent.
I do not want to drag this out or make this seem like I am not in support of JC’s debunking of Mann;s Hockey Stick and other ridiculous IPCC reports. I read all of her interviews in print and have watched all the interviews over the years on YouTube, and have read her research over many years.
If you perform a Google search there are statement JC has made that are in line with the questions asked. There is nothing wrong with her saying what she said. I will say it again: The IPCC report has deeply flawed results/projections and at points it is fraudulent and greatly exaggerated. JC has made similar comments over the years, and this is all I am saying.
I think JC is one of the smartest and honest scientists and especially with regards to climate change, GHGs, and debunking alarmist claims. That being said I know what I read and saw/heard in her plethora of interviews over the years.
I am not going to just post a bunch of links or get bogged down in minutae. That is all.
I am not sure she dodged the questions as much as the format of the senate hearings is not conducive to getting complete and thorough answers. Yes and no questions are terrible format for getting honest answers. gotcha questions are designed to get deceptive responses to make witness look bad. I say that as an individual that has testified multiple times in court as an expert witness in civil cases (accounting / tracing type cases).
Joe you might well have a point. I watch interviews closely.
Your fight against the corruption of science for political purposes is an inspiration. I wish you all the luck and good fortune you need in the ongoing struggle.
Please think carefully before appearing at a hearing or other venue that is controlled by self serving politicians. The chances of changing their minds is less than zero. Worse, your testimony or interview may be manipulated to serve their purpose, not yours.
IMHO your effort is wasted in Washington. If you managed to score some points the press will bury it.
There are other ways to effect change. The public will never understand the minutia of thermodynamics but 3 feet of snow is well understood. Weather events may give folks like you better opportunities than testifying to the climate demagogues in DC.
I wish I had more ideas to help you. Keep fighting. You have my support.
Pingback: Anhörung des Haushaltsausschusses des Senats: Judith Curry spricht | EIKE - Europäisches Institut für Klima & Energie
Pingback: Sleazy Money: Eurocentrist and fossil fool disinformation artist Alex Epstein is now hiring | Red, Green, and Blue
Pingback: The Hearing That Could Not Hear - Climate- Science.press
John Ridgway has a post on cliscep.com on this hearing. He points out that three quarters of the 20 cm sea level rise since 1950 in New York city is due to Subsidence:
Pingback: I love our planet and there is NO ‘climate emergency’ – Newsfeed Hasslefree Allsort
I do not know if bridging the partisan divide is possible. To me climate change is just an excuse for anti-fossil fuel policies. The real culprit is US liberals want to destroy the US industry for perceived past crimes against humanity, before we even get to the potential climate issues. Or at least phase-out the industry in blue states.
It’s not so much liberals but dishonest and deceived scientists controlling the narrative; it really takes all sorts of energy sources: Natural gas, oil, solar, wind, geothermal… coal use is in decline and with good reason but we do not have the technology yet to phase it out yet. There are some Democrats and even Republicans who put too much faith in AGW to be sure, but it did not start as a claim by a political party.
Do you still think there is any benefit in participating in these Senate or Congressional hearing? If so, please tell us why.
Maybe we have to try to bring sanity to this madness. Perhaps the alarmist promoters like Whitehouse really believe the approach of an Apocalypse. But I’m not sure if either.
The US Senate is loaded with silly old men (and women) who have plenty to say on GW, but have little knowledge about climate science. A bit like the House of Lords . .
Pingback: Judith Curry to Senate (and Senator Whitehouse): Cool It!
The sense of our politics is become more about circus atmospheres & winning points so that a party can then reap in more fund-raising. Politicians by their nature are now well-based in any field & they are addicted to this carnival atmosphere. It has not helped the country. The reason the greens were able to have so much momentum on this is because when the word fossil fuel was introduced as the culprit, it became fodder to them because they hate anything that makes a profit. Essentially they reject capitalism. The goal of our govt is indeed to control every sector of our life. That is their vision. They view themselves as the omnipotent appropriators on earth. I wish they would just meet in the middle & not be so obscessed with this & get out of the alarmist mindset. How about amplify the grid with everything so that when it’s under stress, there is no interruption. The other hi tech can be used to capture, scrub, reflect, conserve, repurpose. Little do people know is that if a chance arises that they can take over the grid nationally, then they can force any fiat they want on the public in terms of co-opting behavior. So this is just a repeat of all that has occurred in previous history…the overreach of those in charge. What I would find stunning having watched some of this stuff, is several major secretaries & project heads could not even answer Rep Lamalfa’s query as to how much co2 is in the air. You mean they had not the slightest curiosity to look this up in a text or on NOAA? That really goes to show that the reason why these people perform robotically is because it creates a job for them.