Climate skepticism comes in many shades of grey


It has long puzzled me why so many people don’t accept the science. There is a tremendous difference in opinion about climate change amongst the lay public as compared to in the scientific community. I’m hardly alone in pondering the question of why (see e.g. this insightful post). It’s clearly an important issue if we are to increase the public’s understanding of climate change. Of course it is only to be expected that some people are skeptical: Naturally there is a spectrum of opinions. But that does not explain why that spectrum is so dramatically different between different groups of people (the lay public and the professional scientists in this case). To name a few plausible reasons:

  • Ideology can be a strong driver of how people view the science: Mitigation of climate change is seen as threatening by many libertarians, because they associate mitigation with government intervention, which they oppose.
  • Psychology can also be very powerful: To some it feels good to be the underdog and get celebrated by anonymous fans on the internet and phoned up routinely by newspapers, TV and other media (that counts for the ‘spokespeople’ only). Many people have a psychological predisposition to side with the underdog (that counts for their fans). The mitigation challenge is very great indeed, which means that it is psychologically favorable to downplay the problem (so as not to get depressed or feeling guilty about everything you do and don’t do). Recently I hear more often that people side with skeptics because they are ‘nicer’. A little odd, but if that plays a major role with presidential elections, than it’s only to be expected that it also plays a role in trusting scientists (or not).
  • Still others suffer from what I call professional deformation: Some well educated people from other disciplines view the science through the lenses of their own specialty, which, if they’re unable to take a bit of a helicopter-view of the situation, could skew their vision.
  • And of course some are just confused. With not a little help from the media, who, in an effort to provide ‘balance’, bias the coverage towards the “skeptical” compared to the mainstream view.
  • Then there are organized efforts at muddying the waters, which bear a resemblance to tactics used by e.g. the tobacco lobby. It is based on manufacturing doubt amongst the public regarding science that produces “inconvenient” results. This mainly applies to certain thinktanks and a few handfuls of individuals, but they exert a disproportionate influence on the media and public perception of the issues. The ‘tactics’ used are in more widespread use, whether consciously or not.

“Old skepticism”

This last category, organized denial and anti-science, could perhaps be seen as the “old skepticism”. It has its roots in history, notably the tobacco wars. It then spilled over to denying environmental issues, such as problems associated with DDT, asbestos, CFC’s, and now CO2. Fred Singer is one of the godfathers of this movement. Recognizing this historical context is important in understanding the nature and tactics of the resistance against science. But it also bears a risk.

Too often, anyone who disagrees with the scientific consensus is called an oil shill, or compared with the tobacco apologists. In most cases, these comparisons are totally off base (at least on the individual level) and counterproductive. Even though it is an important context, overusing this categorization for individuals can easily be dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Not everyone who is skeptical of AGW is in the pay of big oil or is consciously mimicking the tobacco strategies. If someone says that I’ve overused it in the past as well: Guilty as charged.

“New skepticism”

In the previous post I discussed a potential new form of skepticism, which according to some resemble “citizen scientists”. They are usually well educated and skilled people, who investigate specific issues of climate science (hockeysticks, anyone?) in more detail, and find them wanting. Nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s getting problematic if they conflate these details with what is known about the bigger picture, or if they started out with a deep suspicion that the science as a whole is faulty (e.g. for reasons such as stated above).

The more contempt they show for science, the more they argue the big picture of what’s known, the more they rage against emission reductions and talk about ‘world communist governments’ and other paranoid ideas like that, the less serious I take their criticism. Because to me, these are not characteristics of sincere skepticism; to the contrary.


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238 Responses to “Climate skepticism comes in many shades of grey”

  1. Nebuchadnezzar Says:

    Can I add another category to your list of sceptic types?

    I think there are those who simply find the sceptical picture appeals strongly to their common sense.

    If you see a photo of a temperature screen next to a barbecue, or a jet plane, it’s ‘common sense’ that it will read too hot and bias temperatures. If you then learn that the ‘climate scientists’ apply a correction to that data that makes it even warmer, it don’t sound right to you.

    Or think of the comically small numbers that get bandied about. Why should someone who lives in a town where the daily temperature range is 30 degrees worry about a 0.2degree/decade rise in global temperature?

    This is one area of science where people feel that their common sense, intuitive view of the world applies and there are those who are adept at feeding that.

  2. Deech56 Says:

    I think that there is a lot of common ground between the old and new skepticism, especially in the role played by ideology. Many of the people with whom I argue take a similar view towards the DDT ban, ozone hole and second-hand smoke. They’re not necessarily being paid, but they take a dim view towards any government intervention. Just look at the anti-AGW sentiment among the US “tea party” group.

  3. Bart Says:


    That category sure exists, but it equally exists amongst climate scientists, so it’s not an explanation of why there are so much more skeptics amongst the general public than amongst climate scientists, which was the question I was addressing.

    You may have it from hearsay about those temp corrections, but you can check for yourself that it’s nonsense.

    Your last point is a good example of where the common sense of Joe Sixpack breaks down in applying it to science. Climate changes may sound like small numbers compared to daily temp swings, but they are an entirely different cup of tea. 125,000 years ago global avg temp was 1 to 2 degrees higher than now, yet sea level was 6 meters higher. We’ talking about big changes in the environment as a consequence of relatively small differences in global avg temp. But I think you’re very well aware of that.

  4. Deech56 Says:

    Nebuchadnezzar, I would say that most of us are divorced from the natural world in ways that farmers and hunter-gatherers are not. There are signs in nature that are responsive to long-term signals; maybe that is where we should look for changes we can sense, not just measure.

  5. Scott Mandia Says:


    Check out my link about why there is so much misinformation.

    Be sure to visit point #3 and view the Kahan et al. (2007) study. Very interesting and makes much sense.

    Scott A. Mandia, Professor of Physical Sciences
    Selden, NY
    Global Warming: Man or Myth?
    My Global Warming Blog
    Twitter: AGW_Prof
    “Global Warming Fact of the Day” Facebook Group

  6. Tom Fuller Says:

    I would go so far as to add another category, those who believe in the science but not the scientists, when those scientists venture forth into the realms of policy advocacy. We are not skeptics as such, but we are different enough from both your position and the skeptics you describe to be included in your grouping as a separate position.

    Lukewarmers believe that AGW is real, but we cannot say anything relevant about CAGW at this time. The AGW that we can see is serious enough to have policy implications that should be addressed by serious efforts, but they should start with ‘no regrets’ policies that should be undertaken no matter what happens with temperatures.

    Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect. This (to my knowledge) includes Watts, McIntyre, Mosher and myself.

    When scientists act like opinion commentators, they get treated the same way. A lot of people, like myself, believe strongly that what happened at CRU was very, very wrong but does not change the fact that CO2 warms the atmosphere and we’re pumping a lot of it into the air.

    You really need to take a minute and analyse why you did not include this category. You correspond frequently with people who believe as I do. We have been explicit and repetitive about our beliefs.

    As consensus holders routinely try to class us in with avowed skeptics, it would have been normal to see us described here. Why didn’t you think of people like Lucia Liljegren and wonder where she fits?

  7. Eli Rabett Says:

    As in much else, follow the money. The Singers of the world require a support system.

  8. Bart Says:


    That’s a good point re lukewarmers. I’m not sure how to class ‘lukewarmers’. My point with this post was not classing people per se, but merely giving reasons for the different amounts of resistance against the mainstream scientific picture within and outside of science. Some skepticism is expected to be found within a spectrum of opinions. Perhaps ‘lukewarmers’ are the ‘natural’ part of this spectrum. I have to give this some more thought.

  9. Nebuchadnezzar Says:

    “That category sure exists, but it equally exists amongst climate scientists, so it’s not an explanation of why there are so much more skeptics amongst the general public than amongst climate scientists, which was the question I was addressing.”

    Scientific training innoculates (many) scientists against it, I think.

  10. dhogaza Says:

    “Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect. This (to my knowledge) includes Watt”

    That’s quite an egregious lie on Fuller’s part, given that Watt has explicitly stated his belief that the temperature record for the past century is unreliably and biased to show warming that doesn’t exist.

    Quoting Watts directly:

    “We observed that changes in the technology of temperature stations over time also has caused them to report a false warming trend. We found major gaps in the data record that were filled in with data from nearby sites, a practice that propagates and compounds errors. We found that adjustments to the data by both NOAA and another government agency, NASA, cause recent temperatures to look even higher.

    The conclusion is inescapable: The U.S. temperature record is unreliable.”

    This is a direct contradiction of what Fuller claims Watts believes. I don’t believe him regarding the other people he lists, either.

  11. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dhogaza, I have been biting my tongue since first reading Fuller’s post of 18:29 and the offending comment contained therein. Anyhow, I was busy with some admin stuff, and came here to set the record straight (again)– so I was very pleased to now read that someone else had stepped up to the plate to point out yet another egregious error by Mr. Fuller. Perhaps Mr. Fuller will try and encourage Watts to finally apologize to NOAA, b/c Fuller is alleged to be a man of honor you know….

    Nice post Dr. Verheggen.

  12. Steve Bloom Says:

    I think most “lukewarmers” aren’t what they claim to be. Fuller mentions Lucia Liljegren as a good example of one, but in a post a couple of days ago, and in the follow-up comments, she got right in touch with her inner Strangelove. See for yourself.

  13. plazaeme Says:

    If the central question is: why there are so much more skeptics amongst the general public than amongst climate scientists, I would indeed follow the money. Generl public will get poorer if the alarm is right, and climate scientists can expect more money the more alarm they provide.

    I don’t want to offend anyone, this is just a fact.

    As for reasons for skepticism, there are many for the layman. And the way the climate crisis has been sold, so far, is often forgotten. The idea of the end of paradise because of man’s sins, is a very old tale. And it never came to be true. We also have the inconvinient fact that lying doesn’t seem a reasonable way to sell the truth. No wonder there is some skepticism around.

  14. Deech56 Says:

    Tom Fuller, the term “CAGW” is not standard notation among the scientific community. What is meant by this? That climate sensitivity is lower than the consensus range? That we can manage in a warmer world? That current warming hasn’t been so bad? I also may discount an opinion about the stolen UEA e-mails from one who sought to profit from this episode.

  15. Ron Broberg Says:

    Most of the time when I see a commentator use CAGW, what I see is something like: “I believe in AGW but I still need to argue with someone. … and [Gore|Jones] sux!” :P

  16. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Re Bart:
    “That category sure exists, but it equally exists amongst climate scientists, so it’s not an explanation of why there are so much more skeptics amongst the general public than amongst climate scientists, which was the question I was addressing. ”

    I would say that it’s less among scientists because as a general rule scientists believe in the findings of other scientists unless they have a specific reason to believe otherwise. I’m not saying they never disagree, but all scientists follow the same basic methods that have been vetted for centuries, so assurance of quality in the outcome is generally more certain. Faith in the process, so to speak. If instead as the rule they doubted the outcomes of research in other fields, I think that would inevitably lead to doubt in their own methods and findings, since the process is common across disciplines.

    The general public has no reason to trust any particular group of scientists any more than any other, so the lower result shouldn’t be tied to specific scientific results but rather to how much in general the public trusts scientists. And I think theirs is a very monolithic viewpoint–I don’t know that the general public distinguishes between chemists, entomologists, and astro-physicists, but rather lumps them into the big bin of “science guys”. I’m not sure they know how fields and disciplines can be very distinct from one another and may not have much interaction. And so if they hear of “uncertainty” in “science” it applies everywhere equally.

    That always reminds me of my view of how that monolithic perception got that way in the first place–the character of the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. He was the only really visible scientist on TV, he knew everything about everything, therefore “All scientists know all science”. And Hollywood hasn’t helped–consider the scientists in the movie “The Core”–confidently discussing mission options across half a dozen fields at breakneck speed, and at the end, completely rewiring an entire ship (which they didn’t build) to run off a different power source in 10 minutes flat.

  17. Bart Says:

    Bill Stoltzfus,

    Very good point. I makes a lot of sense that scientists interpret science differently than non-scientists. However, amongst skeptics, esp the “new” kind (see previous post), I have the feeling that there are quite a few scientists from different disciplines amongst them.

    This post by Gareth is relevant to some things you raise.

  18. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Re Scott Mandia:

    Politics and personal bias (point #3 in the link you provided) is definitely a factor. I didn’t think much about global warming one way or the other until Al Gore’s public stance on it, at which point, since I think very little of him personally, I swung sharply to the skeptic side, still without really looking into it. Stupid? Yes. Childish? Yes. But that’s just how people are sometimes.

    Currently, in the past few months, I’ve been investigating and reading and trying to figure out what the actual science is. In the interim between then and now, every once in a while I would hear or see a news story or a comment from a friend to the effect that there is still uncertainty in the findings, and that reinforced what I already thought enough to keep me from thinking further. I couldn’t say how many things I heard during that same time that were not ambiguous and reflected the consensus position, because those weren’t the things that stuck in my mind. People have enough of their own problems to deal with that sometimes they just don’t want to find out how many more problems are out there–they’re complicated and time-consuming and no matter how much time you personally spend worrying about it you won’t solve it by yourself, so you get to feeling that it’s not worth worrying about.

  19. Tom Fuller Says:

    Maple Leaf, perhaps biting your tongue affected your thought processes, such as they are.

    Steve Bloom, if you have something to say about Lucia Liljegren, may I ask why you don’t engage her at her place of business? I don’t know why anyone would listen to your opinion on lukewarmers, given your evident bias, but if you think LL is disingenuous it seems appropriate that you would go to the source. Otherwise you risk looking like a mean-spirited gossip. I personally would place her credibility much higher than yours. But then I actually correspond with her and read what she writes, which I admit gives me an unfair advantage.

    Plazame, following the money actually leads you to places like BP, Shell and other big energy companies funding CRU and Exxon donating $100 million for Stephen Schneider’s study of global warming.

    Deech56, you may discount my opinion as much as you like–I notice that 100% of those who have said they would do so have not yet read the book. Are you the outlier here? CAGW is recognised by many in the climate science community, although they choose not to use it–but they do respond to it, usually quite quickly in fact.

    Ron Broberg, most of the time I see CAGW it is used to differentiate those who believe that global warming will prove cataclysmic or catastrophic from other, saner people.

  20. Ron Broberg Says:

    Tom, I can’t believe you are defending this lame bit of blog slang. It is a silly label used by silly people to create an artificial divide between “politicaly acceptable science” and “politicaly unacceptable science.” It is deragotary put-down, a form of tribalism. Which you demonstrate perfectly in your post above: “CAGW is used to identify those other, less sane people.

    If you wish to legitimize the term, I propose a test. What is the objective measure by which you can categorize one model result, projection, or prediction as catastrophic and another as non-catastrophic?

    Answer that in such a way that you can use the definition to categorize any general result and you will demonstrate the slang has some value. Fail to do so and continue using it, and you will effectively acknowledge that you are using intentionally derogatory and devisive language.

  21. Deech56 Says:

    Tom Fuller, you really didn’t answer my question – on what basis is the “C”? This paper is an updated look at the AR4 projections. Is this the scenario you are using as the “catastrophic” benchmark?

    The problem is that I see the term “CAGW” being bandied about and it almost seems like a straw man, since (to me) the term is so ill-defined.

    And no, I don’t have to read your book to know the subject matter.

  22. plazaeme Says:

    Yes, Tom Fuller; that is what I tried to say. climate scientists can expect more money the more alarm they provide. But I don’t really care who pays the money. I don’t believe in “good money” (government, Green Peace) and “bad money” (Big Oil). It’s just money. Will a random climate scientist expect the same money (publications, etc) whatever his results? I don’t think so. Some, many, or even the mayority of scientists may be cold enough not to get biased. But there is a bias in the money.

    The same think works for the general public, of course. But the other way; they will have less money the more alarm there is. I was just trying to make a simple guess about Bart’s question: Why the difference between both groups? May be the money.

  23. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dear Tom,

    “Maple Leaf, perhaps biting your tongue affected your thought processes, such as they are.”

    Thanks for demonstrating the vacuity of your ‘argument’ Tom.

    Now do you wish to officially set the public record straight about Watts and the SAT record, or do you stand by your error?

  24. Tom Fuller Says:

    Maple Leaf, this is so typical of you. I stand by what I wrote, not what you say I wrote.

  25. Pat Cassen Says:

    plazaeme –
    “Will a random climate scientist expect the same money (publications, etc) whatever his results? I don’t think so.”

    Please tell us what your idea is of how a climate scientist’s salary is determined, or how a scientist obtains a grant, or how that grant money is spent. That is, why do you believe that a scientist’s conclusions affects his/her monetary reward?

  26. dhogaza Says:

    Gee, Tom, this is what you wrote:

    “Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect. This (to my knowledge) includes Watts”

    And it’s a false statement … my quote of Watts is one of dozens if not hundreds that prove it wrong.

    Tom says:

    “the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate”

    Watts does not believe this. He is on record as not believing this.

    “evidence of the greenhouse effect”

    Watts doesn’t believe it’s warming. He thinks it’s an artifact of fraudulent manipulation of the surface temperature record.

    People can read, Tom. Quit lying, please.

  27. plazaeme Says:

    Hello, Pat Cassen. His salary and position may be related to the number of publications and citations. So being mainstream helps a lot. You may believe the results will not affect the number of publications, citations and grants, but, as the joke goes, if you want to study the Red Duck of Patagonia, you better propose something like The Perils of the Red Duck of Patagonia with ongoing Climate Change. It’s just common practice. Vox populi.

    Do an experiment. ¿How many climate scientists names would the common guy know in the eighties? ¿And how many now? Social relevance uses to have an effect on total income. Don’t you agree?

    And it is not only the direct relation between a particular scientist and his salary / grants. More alarm will bring more money to climate science as a whole. So, you would bet the rest of the colleagues will not be very happy with those saying “nothing happens”. Curiously enough, this lack of sympathies are just what we see.

    That is not exclusive of climate change, of course. But there are quite more economic (and political) interests depending in climate science results, than those depending in the Red Duck of P. And it doesn’t matter you or me liking it or not.

  28. Bart Says:

    ALL: If you have something substantive or half-interesting to say, please do so. But I’m not interested in hosting back and forth bickering. Take that elsewhere.

  29. Bam Says:

    Bart, I apologise for adding something that may lead to more bickering, but I believe at least one issue needs to be corrected. Tom Fuller suggests on this thread that Stephen Schneider received $100 million from Exxon do to research on global warming. This is incorrect. Stanford did receive $100 million and established the Global Climate & Energy Project (GCEP):
    Stephen Schneider, however, is not part of that project.

    Moreover, the GCEP is not aimed at studying global warming, but at various aspects of ‘alternative’ energy and carbon capture.

    I wish some journalists would actually do some investigation before they throw such blatant errors around. And I expect an apology from Tom Fuller to us and Stephen Schneider for disseminating this lie.

  30. dhogaza Says:

    ” More alarm will bring more money to climate science as a whole.”

    Baloney. Sound scientific evidence that sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is far lower than current estimates would:

    1. heap fame upon the discoverer

    2. bring immediate multi-billion dollar sighs of relief to every government in the world, as the impetus behind the need for quick action would largely evaporate.

  31. plazaeme Says:

    I agree with Bart, and I apologize.

    dhogaza. You didn’t say sound scientific evidence of low climate sensitivity would bring more money to climate science. And it doesn’t seem to me those few looking for evidence of low climate sensitivity are getting much atention.

    But we are in plain non interesting waters now, as Bart says.

  32. Pat Cassen Says:

    Thanks for the reply, plazaeme.

    “You may believe the results will not affect the number of publications, citations and grants…”
    Well, I do believe that the results might affect the number of publications, etc., and these in turn may affect position and compensation. But I don’t believe “being mainstream” is either necessary or particularly helpful. Quality, as measured, for instance, by scientific influence on the work of others, is what counts.

    “Social relevance uses to have an effect on total income. Don’t you agree?”
    No. It may happen in cases where a researcher can cash in via the private sector (e.g., biotech, perhaps), but this is not the case for climate scientists.

    “So, you would bet the rest of the colleagues will not be very happy with those saying “nothing happens”.
    Let’s just say I do not share your cynism with regard to the motivations or practice of scientists in the natural sciences.

    “…here are quite more economic (and political) interests depending in climate science results…”

    Signing off on this, with respect for Bart’s request.

  33. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dear Thomas Fuller,

    Sigh. The only distortion going on here is (yet again) by you Tom. You said:

    “Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect. This (to my knowledge) includes Watts, McIntyre, Mosher and myself.”

    A Ms. Evans attended a talk given my Mr. Watts in Australia a few days ago. She states:

    “Watts’ presentation focussed on his view that the temperature record is unreliable, suggesting that factors such as the positioning and the type of paint used on weather stations seriously undermine the accuracy of surface temperature measurements. “

    Now unless Watts has changed his position in the last few days, then the statement made by you here was incorrect.

  34. Deech56 Says:

    I’m hoping that this is back on topic, but I have been trying to get some understanding of this quote from Tom Fuller:

    Lukewarmers believe that AGW is real, but we cannot say anything relevant about CAGW at this time. …

    Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog[sic] believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect.

    Tom, I would like to have this translated into more scientific-speak. “CAGW” is not a term that I see in scientific articles, so its use means nothing to me. Is this related to climate sensitivity? Do “lukewarmers” believe in a climate sensitivity below 2 degrees C/doubling of CO2? It seems that if climate sensitivity is within the IPCC (or Charney) range, it doesn’t really matter if one thinks scientists say nasty things in e-mails or Mann is on shaky ground. That’s a pretty sound basis for thinking that we are at risk for difficult times ahead.

  35. dhogaza Says:

    “You didn’t say sound scientific evidence of low climate sensitivity would bring more money to climate science.”

    The NASA GISS team’s GCM has been slowly lowering its computed estimate of climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 from nearly 5C to about 2.7C.

    Do you think NASA’s spending less or cutting back the GISS team because of these results?

    “And it doesn’t seem to me those few looking for evidence of low climate sensitivity are getting much atention.”

    Especially from the denialsphere, when the work is sound as is NASA GISS’s.

  36. plazaeme Says:

    dhogaza we can continue endlessly without any further advance. Do you really think there are no good arguments for what you just said? And more, I will not talk with someone using terms as denialsphere. But I will not explain you the reason. If you are not able to get it by yourself, it’s not my fault.

    Deech56 has a more interesting and on topic point, as I see it. it doesn’t really matter if one thinks scientists say nasty things in e-mails or Mann is on shaky ground

    Scientifically speaking, I would say you are right. But the first sentence of Burt’s post is: It has long puzzled me why so many people don’t accept the science. And I guess he is not talking about climate scientists, but general public. It may be a rethorical question, or a sincere willing to understand it. If the later is the case, I am interested in the conversation.

    Imagine a judge on a trial, listening to oposing experts in a difficult and more or less obscure matter. This is comparable to the situation of laymen in the climate debate. And for this judge, it will definitely matter some nasty things written by some of the experts, and more so if one iconic expert is on shaky ground. He will also use many other indirect details, like scientists behaving like activists, using ad hominem and authority arguments, and other nasty details I am sure you have hear of. I think so.

  37. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Click to access Guangxi%20Sci%202010%2017%282%29%20148-50.pdf

    Don’t break out into a rash anyone! ;)

    Apologies if this has been posted here before

  38. dhogaza Says:

    Do you really think there are no good arguments for what you just said?

    Not interested in arguments. Evidence would be interesting, for instance a large stack of rejected papers and grant proposals. They don’t exist.

    You are aware, I imagine, that creationists make exactly the same argument as to why you don’t find published papers or funded research into Scientific Creationism, right? It’s as invalid regarding climate science as it is regarding biology.

    What gets funded is fruitful work.

  39. Eli Rabett Says:

    Pat, Pat Michaels has sure cashed in.

  40. plazaeme Says:

    dhogaza, I have never been interested in creationism or creationists, as I am a long time atheist. Is this interesting? Why would you imagine otherwise? Sort of an ad hominem?

    Evidence. What for? I didn’t use the argument -nor you talking to me- of rejected papers and grant proposals. I know there are, I don’t know if there are many. But I remember someone thinking in redefine peer-review. And people tend not to try something they know impossible.

    Sorry, I am certainly not interested in your way of arguing. So, yes, whatever, you are right and I am wrong. Happy? And it is too late in Europe; sleeping sounds quite better than talking to you.

  41. Deech56 Says:

    plazaeme, when scientists use “argument from authority” it isn’t a logical fallacy when they are actually authorities. They are fully capable of backing up their arguments with scientific papers.

    Why are people skeptical? I think it’s because they don’t see slow changes happening and people tend to ignore long-term rather than immediate dangers.

    My interest is really those who try to influence the public, and since Tom F. brought up the “lukewarmer” term along with the accompanying buzz word, I am interested in the follow-up.

    Anyway, a judge may opt to find his own expert advice, which is what the President or Congress does when faced with a scientific matter – and that expert advice is provided by the National Academy of Sciences. Oh, and scientists find your “in it for the gold” argument really obnoxious. I would suggest you save it for other venues.

  42. Scott Mandia Says:

    Scientists cannot get rich from public funding. I have two detailed blog posts on the subject:

    1) Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part I

    2) Taking the Money for Grant(ed) – Part II

    Private funding is where the money is and I would remind you that ExxonMobil alone shows a net profit of $2 billion per month and they would gladly pay a few paltry million $ for a study that overturns AGW. Funny, no such study exists even with this huge incentive. I wonder why?

  43. plazaeme Says:


    Sorry, I must be fast. Yes, it is a logical fallacy. This fallacy is not an error on the authority, but an error for the authority being the reason. And you forget the ad hominems.

    I am sure they are very capable of backing up their arguments. Never tought otherwise, nor did I consider they where not pretty good scientists. But scientists get things wrong, even with a consensus. Particularly in an inmature science (this could be another whole discussion). And, is far as I have seen, and I my be wrong, scientists of “the other side” are pretty capable of backing up their arguments too. So …

    Yes, the President of the Congress chooses his expert. Some people may not be very happy or may not trust too much polititians in general. Remeber we where trying to find a reason why so many people don’t trust in this case what you call “the science”. I am just trying to help. And of course, there is always the possibility the people is just stupid, or simply wrong. But what I see about it is what I am telling you. We don’t agree. That’s the life.

    Ah, and I didn’t use the “in for the gold argument”. The argument was the gold, if mainly in one side, produces easilly a bias. Sort of a human law.

  44. Chris S. Says:

    Shub @ 01:51

    Reference [6] WTF?

  45. Deech56 Says:

    plazaeme, I see you are not based in the US. The National Academy was set up over 150 years ago to provide science advice to policymakers. they call in experts in response to requests, and sometimes those who commission the studies get results they do not like.

    The difference between organizations such as the NAS and various contrarians is that mainstream scientists have a wealth of data and published literature from which to choose.

    So what are the “ad hominem” arguments used by experts?

  46. plazaeme Says:

    Sorry, Deech56, I don’t understand your question. I knew about US National Academy of Sciences. I don’t think what you explain means they can not get it wrong by a process of groupthink, particulary considering the political and economical intersts involved. If you say it is less probable NAS gets it wrong than a single scientist, I do agree with you. But the way you put it, it is an argument of authority.

    You see, there are two choices. You may be happy by trusting the more trustable. And I agree with you; for me NAS is about the best for the case. This is exactly what I did until a couple of years ago. But then you begin to see obvious exaggerations, uanaccaptable behavior (quite before Climategate), ad hominems (1), and all this things we have mentioned ad nauseam. So, being unhappy and worried with the situation, the next choice is listen other voices, and try to get the more of the discussion you can handle. And from where you can go no further, you use those indirect tools we talked about.

    We don’t need to agree. But I was interested in the question about why so many laymen are skeptics of “the science”, and wanted to particiate with my two cents. Thanks to Bart for the opportunity.

    One more thing. I don’t want to offend anyone, just to express something I think a lot of people share. Whenever I hear “the science says” or similar expressions, related to climate science, I jump from the chair. I do not think all sciences have the same maturity, or the same “credibility” for the general public.

    (1) On ad hominems: Deniers is my favorite one, and contrarians may be the second, because I find them particulary not clever. In any discussion both sides deny something, and have contrarians. So by using them you are saying only your side can be right. But this is what you have to demonstrate, and not the point where you start from.

  47. dhogaza Says:

    “dhogaza, I have never been interested in creationism or creationists, as I am a long time atheist. Is this interesting? Why would you imagine otherwise? Sort of an ad hominem?”

    It speaks to the vacuity of your argument, which is a standard among anti-science types. I could have just as easily said “homeopathy”, “astrology”, etc.

    And, no, it’s not ad hominem. Look it up.

  48. Tom Fuller Says:

    Deech, I must say you’re the first person I have ever seen who didn’t understand what was meant by CAGW, including climate scientists from the consensus side. It might be an interesting exercise to find out where it originated, but I don’t have time to do that for you.

    I, like everyone else who uses the term, refer to those who believe the effects of global warming will be dramatically worse than predicted by the IPCC reports.

  49. Rocco Says:

    Fuller’s latest claim is easily disproved with a simple google search:

    “The IPCC has been riding a runaway bandwagon of CAGW for several years now.”

    “Dr. Lindzen calmly eviscerates the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) and the IPCC “consensus””

    “The main chapters of the IPCC’s reports were written by around 50 true believers in CAGW”

    The term is relatively new (>2006) and effectively demonstrates the ongoing fallback of AGW denial. It is meaningless from a scientific point of view.

  50. Bam Says:

    Tom Fuller, I am still waiting for an apology to us and Stephen Schneider for your false claim Schneider received $100 million from Exxon for his global warming studies.

    I would also recommend that you develop a more skeptical stance towards some of the sources you are using (I’m pretty sure you did not do your own fieldwork on this one).

  51. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Bart, do you think that it might make a difference where people come in contact with discussions/data/teachings about climate change? I was thinking that perhaps having face to face contact with their sources, like professors at a university or seeing a visual presentation by an actual person, may have more influence than remote, disconnected learning. Tangible things associated with trying to learn new information sometimes cause us to pay closer attention, retain information longer, etc.

  52. Scott A Mandia Says:

    Tom Fuller says: I, like everyone else who uses the term, refer to those who believe the effects of global warming will be dramatically worse than predicted by the IPCC reports.

    The effects are already worse than IPCC projections so what does that say for CAGW?

  53. plazaeme Says:

    Hello, Scott A Mandia, I am interested in this part. What efects are worse than IPCC proyections? There are many IPCC proyections, one can get lost in the labyrinth, and I wuold like to know in which ones are you thinking, or you find more relevant.

    Many thanks.

  54. Eli Rabett Says:

    If you are interested in some catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, Eli has some on sale at 4x CO2

  55. Deech56 Says:

    Tom, the IPCC projections based on a climate sensitivity of around 3 deg C is pretty scary in and of itself. The people I see using the term “CAGW” tend to believe that the IPCC is alarmist. If you look at the Smith, et al. paper to which I linked and study the state of the cryosphere (in light of some recent projections), one might argue that the IPCC was being conservative.

    Maybe we need another definition for the term “dramatically worse”.

  56. Deech56 Says:

    But plazaeme, what ad hominems did the NAS use? Which stolen e-mails shed light on the NAS reports? There were a couple of articles in last week’s Nature about the various national academies and their role in answering scientific questions. Maybe they are trusted because they have a good track record. When discussing politics, one might look at differences in reports commissioned when different political parties held the White House or Congress. There may have been one slanted report, but you may have to read Oreskes and Conway.

  57. MarkB Says:

    Thank you Bam, dhogaza, Rocco, and others. Nice to see some good auditing of Tom Fuller’s random falsities.

    I think “ideology” is the most prevalent reason for denialism, from a numbers standpoint. Most “skeptics” in the general public don’t have direct financial ties to the fossil fuel industry (beyond those employed by it and perhaps some stocks buried within a mutual fund). They tend to speak of “economic collapse” if policies to reduce emissions are implemented (and they call scientists “alarmists”). This isn’t based on a qualified opinion or robust analysis, but on irrational fear of government. This leads folks to want to strongly deny the evidence. Such ideology plays a very strong role. On rare occasion, those with strong libertarian tendencies can identify their personal biases and break out of this line of thinking.

    The “psychology” reason is one I’ve thought about a bit. There’s a strong undercurrent of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. and other parts of the world (perhaps less so). A good education is looked down upon by a certain element of society. It’s David vs Goliath, where David is just your ordinary humble climate auditor seeking Truth and Goliath is the elitist establishment, fed by corrupt governments. Those believing many things (9/11, Moon landing, Obama’s birth certificate, Area 51/alien evidence suppression) are a government conspiracy of some sort tend to be prone to this, and it spans traditional political boundaries. This is tied to ideology in a sense – it all stems from distrust in government. There is no desire to distinguish between scientists, scientific organizations, and governments. They are all the same as far as the conspiracy nuts are concerned.

    So where do the media and skeptic bloggers come into play? They recognize society’s demand for global warming denialism, and are eager and able to meet the demand with manufactured controversies and pseudo-analysis. Facts don’t matter. All that matters is their readers/viewers/listeners keep coming back.

  58. Scott A Mandia Says:



    Sea level rise alone is well ahead of projections and by itself is likely to be catastrophic in many ways.


    As Deech says, 3C sensitivity is a game changer for many and I would classify 3C as catastrophic. 3C only includes fast-feedbacks.

    Dynamic ice sheet loss appears to be even worse than expected and perhaps not as long a feedback as thought. God help us all if we pass that tipping point.

  59. DanC Says:

    Bart: “It has long puzzled me why so many people don’t accept the science.”

    dhogaza 6/27 at 22:21: “Sound scientific evidence that sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is far lower than current estimates would…heap fame upon the discoverer…”

    “Scientific evidence” to disprove “current estimates”? When did we stop requiring the burden of proof… on the “estimate” makers?

    Eli Rabbet 6/28 at 23:55 “If you are interested in some catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, Eli has some on sale at 4x CO2”

    “Death, doom and disaster coming soon to a planet in your neighborhood
    Just when the denialists have convinced themselves that there is no problem here, keep moving, comes Steven Sherwood and Matthew Huber in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to point out that yes Virginia (GMU) and Roger, death, doom and disaster are saddling up and while they might not arrive before a couple of hundred years, the time horizon for climate change issues extends beyond 2100 and what is out there is seriously worrying.
    Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question. With 11–12 °C warming, such regions would spread to encompass the majority of the human population as currently distributed. Eventual warmings of 12 °C are possible from fossil fuel burning.” ”

    Yikes! That’s some scary “science”.

    carrot eater (Comment#46976) (from Lucia’s blog)
    June 25th, 2010 at 2:43 pm
    But nobody expects a trend of 3, 5 or 6 C per century at this time.”

    And you wonder why there are skeptics Bart?

  60. Bam Says:


    A rather relevant part of the post you quoted:
    “while they might not arrive before a couple of hundred years, the time horizon for climate change issues extends beyond 2100 and what is out there is seriously worrying.”

    As carrot eater noted “nobody expects a trend of 3, 5 or 6 C per century at this time.” Neither do Sherwood & Huber. Neither does Eli Rabbett.

  61. test Says:

    Thank you, Eli Rabett. But your link doesn’t fit in the worse than we thought idea, which is what I was looking for. At least at first (and quick) glance.

    Deech56, I will ask you a favor. Don’t change the terms of the discussion, nor my arguments. We could save a lot of time. I didn’t say NAS reports where using ad hominems. I said experts -and not few of them, are using crude ad hominems in the public discussion, which takes place in many other publications and media apart from NAS reports.

    you may have to read Oreskes and Conway. I’ll do, if you recommend it, thank you.

    Scott A Mandia

    Many thanks. I did read the Copenhagen Diagnosis at the time. Also followed some discussions on it. My general feelling, as I remember it, was there where mainly new projections, “worse than we thought”. Projection doesn’t sound as evidence or effect to me, But, in the light of you considering it as a relevant source for worse effects than IPCC projections, I wil reed it again.

    About sea level rise and ice sheets, dangerous statistical gymnastics could be a good definition of how I remember it. I didn’t know the link you provide, and I will have a look, trying to understand what you see in sea level rise and ice. Thanks again.


  62. Chris S. Says:

    Worse than we thought? An example:

    1998: No perceived risk of Bluetongue in the UK (slide 4)

    2002. Institute of Animal Health suggest the possibility of Bluetongue virus occuring in the UK:

    2006. Reports of Bluetongue in N. Europe: (slide 22)

    2007. IPCC AR4 states: “Increasing temperatures may also increase the risk of livestock diseases by (i) supporting the dispersal of insects, e.g., Culicoides imicola, that are main vectors of several arboviruses, e.g., bluetongue (BT) and African horse sickness (AHS); (ii) enhancing the survival of viruses from one year to the next; (iii) improving conditions for new insect vectors that are now limited by colder temperatures (Wittmann and Baylis, 2000; Mellor and Wittmann, 2002; Colebrook and Wall, 2004; Gould et al., 2006”

    2007. Bluetongue reported in the UK:

  63. Bart Says:

    Bill Stoltzfus,

    I think you’re very right. Personal interaction with others will make you see their PoV much easier, so “live” contact with scientists could do a lot in improving scientiofic literacy amongst the public.

  64. test Says:

    If we are talking about IPCC projections, whether it is now worse or better than we thought, I would expect facts / news from 2007 on, supposing we are talking about foreward projections.

    Bluetongue has been observed in Australia, the USA, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Its occurrence is seasonal in the affected Mediterranean countries, subsiding when temperatures drop and hard frosts kill the adult midge vectors. Bluetongue has been spreading northward since October 1998, perhaps as a result of global warming, which may promote viral survival and vector longevity during milder winters.

    Milder winters since 2007 in the UK? I’ll have to check that. Because may be the case is -from 2007 on, things have been way better than we thought on respect to Bluetongue problem.

    Any case, I don’t find this BT stuff very serious. IPCC has made loads of projections, predictions, scenarios, whatever. Many must be right by pure chance. So, I expect worse than we thought is related to the nuclear projections, and not to the very obscure, colateral, and quite arguable ones. And then, if this is a good example of a reason to be alarmed, no wonderm there are some skeptics around.

    Plaza eme

  65. test Says:

    Of course the very idea of sincere vs not sincere skepticism is rather peculiar. It really sounds like judging intentions, and by that, avoiding criticism. “Good boys” and “bad boys” stuff is fine … for a western.


  66. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Chris S: Don’t say I did not warn you. ;) The authors use Wikipedia only to refer to what a random walk is. That’s Ok really. “Random walk” is like a killphrase or the Vulcan death grip or something.

    I don’t know why so many people are serial-dating Tom Fuller, following him around wherever he goes.

  67. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Are there any studies comparing cultural differences about belief in climate change? Bart mentioned above about libertarians being opposed to government intervention, but you might take that a step further in the U.S. The culture here is much more one of the individual against everything else, the “one man with the great idea” that strives and eventually succeeds to become rich and famous. Not always as the underdog but as part of The American Dream.

    The focus on the family and cultural continuity in Eastern cultures is readily apparent, and contrasts highly with the individualism of the West. If climate change acceptance numbers are significantly higher in Eastern nations as opposed to Western nations, that may be one reason for the discrepancy. They may see it as more of an obligation to the family, whereas Americans see it as “How does this affect me?”

  68. Shub Niggurath Says:


    Click to access SixAmericas.pdf


  69. Hans Says:

    “They are usually well educated and skilled people, who investigate specific issues of climate science (hockeysticks, anyone?) in more detail, and find them wanting.”

    Thank you for the kind words.
    But I don’t fit in the category above.

    It’s is not about specific issues or details, but the whole IPCC-theory is flawed in many aspects:

    1. the observed warming from 1975-2000 is exaggerated by urbanization and global brightening
    2. natural causes may explain part of the observed warming from 1975 – 2000
    3. the projected CO2-emissions are impossible: peakoil occured in 2008, peak natural gas will occur before 2025 and peakcoal will probably occur before 2030. The business-as-usual-scenarios are pure theory
    4. climate-sensitivity and climate-models are still very uncertain: the influence of negative feedbacks is under-estimated.
    5. volcanoes and the sun are unpredictable.
    6. climatechange is invoked to use food as a fuel (biofuel)

    Please look at the bigger picture.
    Without the use of biofuels, the impact of peakoil would be even greater than the present recession.
    In the next decade not even biofuels can save us from an energycrisis.

  70. dhogaza Says:

    “I don’t know why so many people are serial-dating Tom Fuller, following him around wherever he goes.”

    I think you’ve got that backwards. Most of us are regulars before Fuller shows up.

  71. Bam Says:

    Err, Hans:
    1. The IPCC (or rather, the publications that the IPCC reviews) take into account all known factors, which includes urbanisation and changes in cloud cover and aerosols, to the extent possible. To claim the warming is exaggerated because certain factors are not properly taken into account, which you essentially do, will require you to provide evidence for that claim.

    2. And the toothfairy may really exist. Again, you’ll have to come with evidence, not just claims.

    3. Odd, how some people are called ‘alarmist’, and in comes Hans being ‘alarmist’ about peak oil, gas, and coal. I also strongly recommend you actually read the sections in the IPCC report on the various scenarios, and then tell us where and when it does not properly take into account ‘peak yyy’. Do note that coal reserves are a proven 100 years at current BAU. I don’t see where your “peak coal” in 2030 comes from. Wishful thinking?

    4. Please explain why you believe “negative feedbacks have been underestimated”. Is that because Richard Lindzen says so? That would be a rather poorly-balanced position to take.

    5. Yes, indeed, sun and volcanoes are unpredictable. You are aware that that works two ways? What if the sun becomes *more* active? Enhanced greenhouse effect from aCO2 combined with more incoming solar radiation. Not a good thing! Similar argumentation works for the volcanoes: are we just to hope that we suddenly get several stratovolcanoes with VEI 5 ? Because that is what is needed to get appreciable long-term cooling.

    6. Eh? biofuels are a *very* low percentage of the current energy supply. Moreover, if this is really worrying you, stop eating meat. Those darn cows and chickens and pigs are using much more “food” to provide you with “food” than biofuels.

  72. Tom Fuller Says:

    “I don’t know why so many people are serial-dating Tom Fuller, following him around wherever he goes.”

    Shub, it’s my devilish charm and good looks.

  73. Chris S. Says:

    Shub: Yes it is OK, you wouldn’t want them quoting from any standard texts on the subject when Wikipedia will do just fine. I note though that the method can also account for the stock market being a random walk and on that front you may find this interesting:

    ‘Random’ quote: “If we do a Random Walk a jillion times, each time generating a possible future evolution of the market(s), then analyze these jillion scenarios … we’re using a technique called Monte Carlo.”

    Do the papers contributing to the IPCC reports do Monte Carlo simulations at all?

    On the subject of Mr. Fuller – the guy is very difficult to avoid at the moment, he seems to be everywhere – must be plugging a book or something…

  74. Perspectiva y calentología « Says:

    […] ahorrarse la auocrítica y la perspectiva. Un buen ejemplo podría ser Bart Verheggen en su blog [–>]. Se trata de un científico que trabaja en lo del clima (aerosoles), y más civilizado que la […]

  75. Chris S. Says:

    Plaza eme.

    Sorry, I may not have been clear. You asked “What efects are worse than IPCC proyections?” I gave you the case of bluetongue because its spread was so far outside the range of possible scenarios it did not appear in the IPCC first, second & third reports. Of course you can feel free to dismiss this as pure chance, I mean the fact a tropical disease was recorded in Sweden is nothing to worry about in and of itself of course. (But keep an eye out for African Horse Sickness, Chikungunya, Crimea-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever and other diseases that could well follow the same expansion pathways as BtV.)

  76. Bam Says:

    Now that Tom Fuller has popped up again, perhaps I should try a THIRD time to get him to apologise (to us and Stephen Schneider) for falsely claiming Stephen Schneider received $100 million for his global warming research from Exxon. Or alternatively, to provide evidence for that claim.

    I can’t go elsewhere and ask him, because I might get accused stalking. To my knowledge I’ve never had a discussion with Tom Fuller before, but I’m surprised a supposed journalist is so blatantly ignoring a call to set the record straight. Bart, perhaps you can set up a OCCCC? (OurChangingClimateComplaintCommission) It took the PCC to get the Sunday Times to retract its faked story about the Amazon, what will it take Tom Fuller to retract his apparently faked story about Stephen Schneider?

  77. Bam Says:

    Chris S.: there is an issue with random walks in the climate system that makes the term “random walk” a rather unphysical description. To describe it rather simplistically: an increasing temperature equals a build up of energy in the atmosphere. That energy has to come from somewhere. It simply is not the same as a drunkard’s walk, in which the ‘decision’ to go one direction or the other requires the same “energy”. It’s a vectorial issue, unlike the climate system.

    It is possible, however, that some of the *forcings* are more “random walk”-like, and thereby indirectly yield a temperature profile that follows something that looks like a random walk. However, most of the forcings have a strong interaction, and several are simply not “random walk” (cf CO2), so it is unlikely.

  78. Bart Says:


    Some examples of where IPCC seemed to have underestimated the (impending) magnitude of changes in the climate system:

  79. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Chris S, (and Bam)

    The paper I linked to was an inside joke of sorts. If you go back a few pages on this very blog you might see an anomalous thread (is it still active?) that’ll explain the joke.

    Somehow, looking at the latest available information, and not even putting too much of effort into the business, it looks as though Simon Lewis is the one ‘faking’.

  80. Chris S. Says:

    Shub: I’m well aware of the thread in question – I may even have contributed, but can’t remember. I just thought you may be interested in the stock-prices-as-random-walk link. There’s another quote from there I like: “I think there’s a moral here: When possible, use the data … and not a mathematical proxy”.

    You didn’t answer my question about Monte Carlo simulations – I assume you covered that in the previous thread…

  81. Shub Niggurath Says:

    I have no way of ‘covering’ Monte carlo simulations. The reason for posting that link was because many commenters encouraged VS to publish his findings. I came across this paper where these authors actually did.

  82. Bam Says:

    Shub, interesting thread. Same problem as I noted here though, with none actually discussing that matter. Odd, since Rasmus Benestad already pointed that out several years ago.

    And regarding the Sunday Times retraction: I have seen absolutely zero evidence that Simon Lewis faked anything. In fact, I have seen the correspondence (it’s provided with the PCC complaint), and what he tells Jonathan Leake is remarkably different from what the final article made him say. The fact that the Sunday Times retracted and apologised also indicates it had done something that did not pass any test of credible reporting. A true retraction is very uncommon in the UK. Corrections yes, but a retraction? Hardly ever.

  83. Shub Niggurath Says:

    If no one else picks up on this, I’ll provide the evidence myself.

    If you put everything together, it appears to me that there is a perspectives issue at play here (unavoidable). Look at Lewis’ complaint letter and the emails back and forth between him and Leake – it is a good-natured exchange.

    But, over and above perspectives or whatever (between journalist-blogger/scientist-expert-advocate), the material facts do seem to support Leake. The Times screwed up.

  84. test Says:

    Sorry, Chris S. Yea, “effects” is not a good word without further explanation. In my game, you don’t discuss secondary effects before you have dealt with primary effects. Has there been milder winters than proyected by IPCC in UK sine 2007? Or where they less snowy? I don’t, know, but I would guess not. And if not, whatever happened sine 2007 with Bluetongue, it doesn’t fit the projection -or the reason given for that projection.

    Sorry again, but you know this rather well: there is a very extended peception that anything wrong that happens will be attributed to AGW, and anything good that happens will be or not seen, or attributed to something else. ¿Is this so? Probably not always, but probably too often.

    If I am talking about worse than we thought, I expect to see accelerating warming, instead of hiding, sea level rising in a long term trend clearly higher than last century, an ice free Arctic sooner than we thought, and so on. Imagine something happens to polar bears, and they disappear without a significant ice loss. Nobody knows the reason. IPCC projection will definetively be worse than they thought. You may find it very relevant. I will not.

  85. test Says:

    Oh, sorry. Test is Plazaeme.

  86. Bam Says:

    Eh what? Yes, the e-mail exchange is good-natured, but the good nature stopped when the Sunday Times did not even want to publish Simon Lewis’ comments.

    And the e-mails show:
    1. that Lewis corrected Leake when the latter claimed the IPCC statement was unsubstantiated. This correction was not in the article
    2. The article claimed Lewis called the WWF report a mess. The e-mails show he did not. He called the referencing a mess.
    3. the article at the very least suggests Lewis claimed the WWF report misinterpreted the Nature paper. Lewis didn’t, and he made that very clear to Leake.
    4. the article claims Lewis wants to ban reports from “pressure groups”. He doesn’t. Again the e-mails make it clear Lewis does not want *any* reports to be used as IPCC sources, only peer-reviewed literature.
    5. worse even, the following sentences in the article strongly suggests Lewis made a comment about the reports as bound to be based on cherry-picked information. Lewis made no such statement (at least not in the e-mails). In fact, in the e-mails he notes the possible *perception* of bias. Which is a different thing.

    Then add that the Sunday Times did not publish his comment to the article (it was deleted) *and* they declined to publish a letter in which he clarified the misconceptions that could come from the article in its last format. That definately is bad journalism.

  87. Chris S. Says:

    plazaeme did you read the links I gave? Particularly the slideshow. In the case of BtV the attribution for it’s spread lies squarely at the door of climate change – models, observational & lab studies all point in that direction.
    You may want to consider that since 2007 BtV has only been reported in low numbers (in at least one case this was down to the illegal import of vaccine from S. Africa – African cows, having higher natural resistance through prolonged exposure get a higher dose vaccine, one that will produce symptoms in naive cattle) this is down to a combination of uptake of vaccine and the weather conditions being less condusive to BtV spread. Does this mean the risk of outbreak is gone? I doubt it

  88. Eli Rabett Says:

    test darling, if making >3/4 of the world’s surface uninhabitable by people in 2-300 years ain’t worse than you think, you think pretty bad.

    Of course, in a hundred years or so, the great retreat to the arctic will start in places with nuclear arms like Pakistan and India. That will be a real treat.

  89. dhogaza Says:

    test (Plaza Eme as in the “M” in “Plaza Mayua”) is beyond reach, I think.

    Plaza Eme, as far as this goes: “Hide the decline: empeñarse en el error solo puede ser deshonestidad, cuando no cabe la estupidez”

    You might want to rewrite your post after reading Deep Climate’s surgical evisceration of McIntyre’s dishonest and libelous claims (Arthur Smith, a physics professor, had already done something similar in the past week or so, but Deep Climate has done so in much greater and well-documented detail).

  90. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Eh..I am talking about the email exchange that took place between Lewis and Leake before the Amazon researcher saw the newspaper article and ‘fipped’.

    Bam, let me give answers to your points one by one.

    The emails show that:

    1) that Lewis corrected Leake when the latter claimed the IPCC statement was unsubstantiated. This correction was not in the article

    Answer: No. The emails show that this is what Lewis *thought* was happening.

    2) The article claimed Lewis called the WWF report a mess. The e-mails show he did not. He called the referencing a mess.

    Answer: Wrong. Please don’t be put off by my terse answers. The above claim is wrong.

    4) The article claims Lewis wants to ban reports from “pressure groups”.

    Answer: Wrong. You are making the same mistake Lewis must have done. Leake actually waters down what Lewis, appears to convey in summa.

    5) worse even, the following sentences in the article strongly suggests Lewis made a comment about the reports as bound to be based on cherry-picked information.

    Answer: Same problem as (4)

    I haven’t gone digging about (3). Maybe even that is wrong? ;)

    If you pause and think for a moment, and then read Lewis’ long letter, you will clearly identify the real reason as to why he wrote the letter. Plus you are missing some details which will allow you to do that. Us bloggers should be fighting for both Lewis and Leake.


  91. Bam Says:

    I quote directly from the e-mails:
    1. “Your question is:
    “The question here is why the IPCC has included in its last impacts report a suggestion that 40% of the Amazon could be lost and replaced by for example savannah because of a slight reduction in rainfall. There appear to be no solid references for this in the scientific literature and it contradicts other reports.”
    Your statement is untrue, there is a wealth of scientific evidence suggesting that the Amazon is vulnerable to reductions in rainfall. The IPCC statement itself is poorly written, and bizarrely referenced, but basically correct.”

    Which by itself puts a major thick red line through the “bogus”-claim and the “unsubstantiated” claim.

    2. “I looked more closely – what a mess.
    The 40% claim is not actually referenced in the Rowell & Moore 2000 report (they use Nepstad to reference the specific figures in the next sentence).”

    There we go, criticism of the referencing. Combine that with the prior mail (too long to quote), and my point still stands.

    4+5. The article states “Scientists such as Lewis are demanding that the IPCC ban the use of reports from pressure groups. They fear that environmental campaign groups are bound to cherry-pick the scientific literature that confirms their beliefs and ignore the rest.”

    The e-mail from Lewis says
    “On your question 2: The IPCC would do well to just outlaw un-peer reviewed journal or book chapters from being citable in its reports to stop this type of thing happening again.” There is no single reference in any of Lewis’ mails that suggests he believes in “cherry-pick”.

    I have paused and thinked and read the whole complaint. The reason he wrote the letter is clear: he strongly believed (and has evidence) that he was misrepresented, that there was an inappropriate change to the headline which by itself already changed the whole meaning of the article (apart from some other changes), and he was not given the chance to comment on the article.

    If you believe bloggers should defend Leake, you suggest that it is OK to convey incorrect messages based on ideologically desirable outcomes. The only thing I would like to know is “who rewrote the article”. If it’s Leake, even more shame on him. If it’s somebody else, the Sunday Times editors have something to explain.

    In short: you are wrong, Shub.

  92. Shub Niggurath Says:

    You know what, if we keep at this, Bart’s probably going to call out on us for derailing.

    I am simply informing you that there is more information available out there that weakens Lewis’ case. Especially with regards to points (2).

    A simple misunderstanding of what Lewis thought was being asked of him, is responsible for (1). Leake was not asking Lewis’ expert opinion about the Amazon system!

    And to top it all, taking in all facts, the claim remain ‘unsubstantiated’ to date. See WUWT – two threads, the discussion at RC – again two threads dedicated to this mess, the primary literature, everything, whatever you can lay your hands on – the claim remains unsubstantiated. Lewis’ opinion, expert though he may be, in the end is just that – an opinion.

    Keeping just the above point in mind, Lewis’ case falls apart completely.

    I have a post in my blog that actually traces the pathetic origin of the nonsensical Amazon claim. I fail to understand why these experts are falling over one another defending it.

  93. dhogaza Says:

    I fail to understand why these experts are falling over one another defending it.

    Occam’s razor: the experts know what they’re talking about and you don’t.

  94. Tom Fuller Says:

    BAM, forgive me for not answering earlier. I have been traveling and not able to do anything serious.

    I’m not 100% sure, but I think you are probably right and I am certainly wrong, in the sense that I didn’t check Schneider’s source of funding before writing what I wrote.

    I apologise to you, other readers, and Schneider for my error. I am extremely happy (and fortunate) that it does not affect my other statements or thinking on this particular issue.

  95. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Tom, you are doomed! The climate birds will now twitter:

    “Climategate author apologizes for error, was not 100% sure of source”


    “Climategate author retracts claim – “source of funding unclear”


  96. Tom Fuller Says:

    Yes, I know. I have admitted error in the past, and some of those who track me down wherever I comment both keep a list and pretend I never admit my mistakes, which is one reason I can’t take them seriously.

    The funny thing is that once you have admitted any mistake they then pretend every comment on a weblog must be referenced as thoroughly as a scientific publication, and any side comment or attempt at humor gets attacked. Unless it comes from their side.

    The toughest one was when I made a mistake regarding Joe Romm, who I don’t think of as a force for good on this issue. But I was wrong–he did not predict incredible sea level rises. He just prominently featured others doing so.

    Advance warning to those who care about this minor sideshow–I will continue to make mistakes and will continue to comment on weblogs such as this. Apologies in advance.

  97. Bam Says:

    Well, finally he apologises. Good. Thank you. I am still interested in hearing what your source was, though.

    Shub, I can’t take wattsupwiththat even remotely serious. It is a good reminder how many people with an apparently otherwise functional mind can completely fool themselves, but that’s about it. And I’m starting to question your sanity, too. Clearly Leake did ask Lewis about his expert opinion. See the question from Leake that Lewis repeated and then responded to. Moreover, several Amazon experts corroborated the statement in the IPCC report, while I’ve yet to see an Amazon expert who claims the IPCC statement is bogus. I’ve seen many “blogperts” making large and sweeping statements based on their…….errr…..well, based on what exactly? This is why I asked you about your expertise in the field. It appears the answer to that is “none”.

  98. Tom Fuller Says:

    Rabett, if you believe that 3/4 of the earth’s surface will be uninhabitable in a couple of centuries, it conflicts with comments you are making elsewhere. It also seems very much like a religious statement, not a scientific one.

    Why do you believe this will be the case? Seriously. I do not like what you write on your website and in comments elsewhere, but I am truly curious as to what has made you believe that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases can under any circumstances make 3/4 of the earth’s surface uninhabitable.

  99. Tom Fuller Says:

    BAM, look at the difference in the import of two claims–mine about Schneider’s funding and Rabett’s about three quarters of this planet being uninhabitable.

    Which one is more deserving of scrutiny? Which one should be explained more fully?

    Stanford University, Schneider’s employer, did receive $100 million from Exxon for environmental studies. That certainly freed up internal funding for Schneider, so simple substitution suggests he benefits strongly from the exchange.

    Compare that with Rabett’s self-citation to his weblog where he talks about a paper published in PNAS that says that humans cannot live in a 35 C environment. Disregarding the fact that people do live successfully in those temperatures today, there is no discussion on Rabett’s site on how likely it is that this will happen (nor of the fact that the IPCC believes anthropogenic contributions to global warming will peak shortly after 2100 and begin to decline).

    He links to a link to a theoretical examination of human adaptation to temperature that does not assess its likelihood. Don’t tell Dubai about this, they might expire on the spot.

    Doesn’t Rabett’s blanket statement inspire at least as much curiosity within your breast as my statement about the source of Stephen Schneider’s funding? Or are you, too convinced that this will be the case?

    And if so, why on earth would you believe such arrant nonsense?

  100. Shub Niggurath Says:

    I pointed out those threads because Nepstad, Simon Lewis, Eric Steig, Samanta commented on them.

    Nepstad himself understand the weight behind the criticism, recognizes the fact that the controversy has not truly been put to rest (although he tries) but at the same time, open-minded enough to comment on WUWT, whereas you are content dismissing without examining the evidence.

    As for your misunderstanding about what Lewis thought, it can be sorted if you really read what Leake asked of Lewis and how Lewis seemed to percieve it (goes back to the perspectives I talked earlier).

  101. Hans Says:

    @Bam: there is no need to call me a “peakoil-alarmist”.
    I’m only here to add useful information.

    In my opinion the IPCC is not well informed on fossil fuel issues. There are better sources for information: Oilwatch Monthly published every month by Rembrandt Koppelaar will give you all the figures on oil production, oil consumption and biofuels.

    Currently 2% of all liquid fuels used worldwide is biofuel.
    That is 2 million barrels per day.
    If the world stops using biofuels, oil demand would rise by 2% (or more).
    The price shock would be comparable to spring of 2008.
    The economy could go into another recession.
    Biofuels keep the world-economy out of the next recession.

    If there is still plenty of oil left for 20 or 30 years, then why would we start using tarsandoil (very expensive) and why would we drill in seabed under 1500 m. of water (very risky and very expensive)
    As I mentioned before: peakoil occured in 2008, the oil era is ending.

    Please read Limits to growth (1973) by Dennis Meadows et al.
    It will open your eyes.

  102. test Says:

    Chris S.

    No, so sorry. I didn’t read the links, and I won’t. Free time is not unlimited, and I have to choose. I am not at all interested in the whereabouts of Bluetongue, whose existence I didn’t know until today. BT spread is worse than thought in mild winters? Really? Well, I’ll agree with you then. Things must be worse than we thought. Where they worse from 2007 on? Oh, no, but it doesn’t matter; they will.

    OK, BT problem may be worse, or not. But i’ll keep on looking at climate indexes. Temperature, sea heat, ice, sea level; this short of things. And thinking some tenths of a degree are not going to be a catastrophe.

    Eli Rabett, dear, making 3/4 of the worlds surface uninhabitable is definitively worse than I thought. In fact, I won’t be able to sleep tonight, considering your projection. I just didn’t know it.

    dhogaza, I told you I wasn’t interested in your way of reasoning. No, I might not want to rewrite my post, as my arguments do not depend on what McIntyre says, and I have no interest on reading the opinions of Deep Climate on Climate Audit. But If you want to refer which of my arguments are erroneous, I will most probably have the patience to explain you how the reasoning goes. Not that I suppose it is worth, though. And I would say this is way off topic, so better doing it somewhere else, instead of abusing Bart’s place.

  103. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dearest Tom,

    You claim “Compare that with Rabett’s self-citation to his weblog where he talks about a paper published in PNAS that says that humans cannot live in a 35 C environment. Disregarding the fact that people do live successfully in those temperatures today…”

    No they most certainly do not, please read the paper. They are talking about the wet-bulb temperature for goodness’ sakes! From the paper’s abstract:

    “Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation. Peak heat stress, quantified by the wet-bulb temperature TW, is surprisingly similar across diverse climates today. TW never exceeds 31 °C. Any exceedence of 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question.

    Sigh. Tom, why do you insist on misrepresenting the science? Are you simply ignorant, or willfully distorting. You obviously did not bother to peruse the abstract or Eli’s post.

    And Tom, if you are going to be graceful enough to apologize to Schneider, please do not follow up said apology with back-pedaling and more insinuations, hypothesizing etc. It makes your apology look insincere.

    And I note that you have still to acknowledge your glaring error about Watts and the global SAT record.

    These errors demonstrate that you are either incompetent, unqualified to speak to climate science or dishonest, or perhaps all three of the aforementioned.

  104. Tom Fuller Says:

    Maple Leaf, given your published statements about me, I’m surprised you want to communicate with me at all. At any rate, given your published statements about me, I have no desire to communicate with you at all. About anything. Ever.

  105. Tom Fuller Says:

    And Maple Leaf, in my last comment addressed to you, when you run back to Deltoid you may pass the same message along to the crew there.

  106. MapleLeaf Says:

    Dear Tom,

    I and others would be more than happy not to have to spend our time pointing out your errors. But such egregious errors in a public forum cannot go unchecked. Yet you continue make errors pretty much every time you post, sometimes serious errors. If you did not make errors, people would not have to call you on them…it is just that simple.

    Now, please, do grow up, show some professionalism and take responsibility for your errors/mistakes. We all make them, there is no shame in admitting to them and correcting them. The same cannot be said for refusing to correct the record when errors are pointed out to you.

    Resistance to accountability and lack of interest in setting the record straight seems to be one of the major issue that “skeptics”/contrarians often have. I’m not sure what shade of “skepticism” Bart would call that; certainly not true skepticism. The same “skeptics” demand accountability and error-free IPCC reports (as perhaps they should), but refuse to abide by the same rules and standards that they demand of others. Not only that, but they seemingly choose to ignore the myriad of errors committed by “skeptical” scientists (e.g., Easterbrook, Douglass, McLean, McKitrick etc.). A glaring double standard.

    Have a nice evening Tom.

    PS: You can address Bart of whoever you choose if and when you decide to correct the errors. No need to address me at all :)

  107. dhogaza Says:

    Maple Leaf, given your published statements about me, I’m surprised you want to communicate with me at all. At any rate, given your published statements about me, I have no desire to communicate with you at all. About anything. Ever.

    A resounding, fact-filled rebuttal to MapleLeaf’s post! I’m convinced!

    Scuttle back into the drain, please.

  108. Eli Rabett Says:

    Tom, Eli is sore wounded that you are lying again, true by omission, not noting the difference between ambient and wet bulb temperature, but significantly enough that your statement becomes a bunch of droppings.

    True enough that paper is what would happen in 2-300 hundred years, but you did ask for what would be catastrophic global warming. Catastrophic regional warming will come before that.

  109. Tom Fuller Says:

    Mr. Rabett, my question is do you believe that this will happen and if so, why?

  110. test Says:

    The thread has been quite more interesting than my best hope. And I’ll have to thank the participants for it. Of course, very particularly to Tom Fuller for his patience dealing with such nasty attacks and such vicious crowd. But his effort has been worth significant and very on topic information. Or say, very good confirmation of known facts. That is, IPPC supporters have a peculiar tendency to act as violent activists, pompous fools, and an uncivilized mob.

    No way to communicate in such circunstances. Not, at least, if you pretend to have a sincere communication, where a minor error stays an error unless proven otherwise, and does not become magically a lie and a motive to begin a lynching. I do think if warmists really care about the number of skeptics on dangerous CO2 hypothesis, they should begin to care about their own behaviour.

    So, I repeat my thanks. It has been very, very instructive. See you some other time, or maybe not.

  111. Bam Says:

    Tom Fuller: Stanford received $100 million for research on carbon capture and alternative energy sources. Hardly “environmental studies”. And internal funding? It was essentially a *new* research line at Stanford, and thus does not free up internal funding. In fact, based on personal experience, it may actually have taken away internal funding. I happen to work at a university that has received $100 million twice within a period of three years from a major company to establish certain research centers. Both have resulted in a significant amount of internal funding being diverted *to* those centers.

    Regarding Eli Rabbett’s reference: you may want to actually read what he writes, and try to understand it. It is clear he does not say what you claim he does. I thus see no need to go after him. Rather, I have to go after *you* *again*, although in this case it probably is your limited ability to understand these type of scientific publications, rather than you relying on bad sources (as I suspect to be the case in the Schneider-case). I consider the latter more damning for a journalist.

  112. Bam Says:


    I can see it is a matter of the real experts against the self-styled experts with no discernable expertise. I *have* studied the evidence, and prefer to rely on the opinion of the real experts.

    Regarding Leake versus Lewis: while it is possible that Leake and Lewis had a problem understanding each other, it is clear that
    a) the article was rewritten, containing a knowingly false headline (possibly not Leake’s fault), and additional comments Lewis had not approved and most certainly had not said
    b) Simon Lewis’ comment on the Sunday Times website was removed
    c) Simon Lewis’ letter to the Sunday Times was refused
    d) the PCC ordered te Sunday Times to retract and apologise.
    The last point shows that the PCC, not known to be very harsh on newspapers in the UK, does not subscribe to your point of view. I’ll leave it at that.

  113. Bam Says:

    Hans, why should I go after what Rembrandt Koppelaar publishes? One thing your analysis lacks is the cartel-formation by oil-producing countries, thereby controlling production (and hence price). It is also too simplistic to say that if biofuels could not be used, there would be 2% more fossil fuel use.

  114. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bam, I find it amusing that you are going all crazy on Tom for ‘comprehension and reading skills’ when you falter (somewhat) in the same department

    Let me inform you first of certain things – contrary to what you think, your sources do NOT have to approve of what you write in a newspaper. Secondly, Lewis is not the only expert in the whole world about the Amazon, such that since he has made his pronouncements, the final word on the Amazon is out and everyone has to fall in line with that. Lewis completely misses the point in what sense his expertise is being sought.

    These are issues of journalism and how it functions. In fact, these are secondary to the issue at hand – only being considered to understand Lewis seems to assume a journalist and a newspaper owe him.

    Leave (a) aside for the moment. The fact that someone else fiddled with his article helps Leake but he gets my support even without that.

    The PCC ordered the Sunday Times to retract and apologise? I wonder why you say that.

    Leake could have contacted Rowell before the article. He fell prey to addition of sentences he did not write (such things happen, unfortunately). But the main thrust of the argument is completely correct, and this is completely supported by the email record.

  115. Bam Says:

    Shub, ask 100 people who have not heard about this story to read the article, and I’m confident at least 95 will say the article shows that the claim in the IPCC report is wrong, and that Simon Lewis agrees with that statement. That would thus be the “main thrust of the argument”.

    The title already sets the scene: “bogus claim”. As THREE Amazon experts have noted (Lewis, Nepstad, Philips), it isn’t bogus. Right at the start already a violation of the Editor’s Code. The section at the end about ‘activist groups’ and the way Lewis’ comments are linked to bias etc. is misleading, too. Yet another clear violation of the Editor’s Code. This is regardless of whether it is mandatory to get people to approve certain quotes (I know it is not). Misleading is a violation of the self-imposed Editor’s Code. And it’s *deliberate* misleading, as Lewis (but also Nepstad) made it clear the claim was not bogus, and because Leake made things up about Lewis and his view on ‘activist groups’ and their reports. You now claim that Leake fell pray to addition of sentences he did not write, but then the question is: who did, and based on what?

    Regarding the PCC: It is possible it did not order anything, but that it “negotiated” a retraction. In my experience with the media, it is the only way to get the Sunday Times to retract an article. We’ll have to wait until the adjucation is published on the PCC homepage to see whether my hypothesis holds also this time.

  116. Eli Rabett Says:

    Mr. Fuller, Eli believes it COULD happen in a couple of hundred years, there is a lot of coal and shale out there. Moreover, even if a fraction of the Earth becomes no live territory you have a wonderful hunting ground for the four horsemen, famine, war, death and denial.

  117. Bart Says:


    That’s an interesting observation you’re making, e.g. when you say the following:

    pretend to have a sincere communication, where a minor error stays an error unless proven otherwise, and does not become magically a lie and a motive to begin a lynching.

    That’s a pretty good description of what happened following the CRU email affair: Some untactful and blunt things being said in private conversations, and some minor errors in the IPCC reports, that were magically turned into lies and a motive for lynching climate scientists and climate science.

  118. dhogaza Says:

    “the article was rewritten, containing a knowingly false headline (possibly not Leake’s fault), and additional comments Lewis had not approved and most certainly had not said”

    Headlines are typically written by copy editors, not article authors … when I used to write a natural history column for my local daily, The Oregonian, I would suggest a headline/title but invariably it would be published with something totally different.

    ” Shub, ask 100 people who have not heard about this story to read the article, and I’m confident at least 95 will say the article shows that the claim in the IPCC report is wrong, and that Simon Lewis agrees with that statement. That would thus be the “main thrust of the argument”.

    The title already sets the scene: “bogus claim”.”

    And the copy editor was quite likely a person who had not heard about this story, and read it the way you claim 95% of such people would read it.

    Which is quite likely why that copy editor came up with the “bogus claim” headline…

  119. Shub Niggurath Says:

    The main claim of the Leake article is that the ‘IPCC is wrong’?

    (Which by the way it is).

    No – the main claim is that the IPCC makes an assessment/claim about the Amazon, based on unsubstantiated material from WWF activists.

    Did Simon agree with this? Yes, he did.

    If we want to ‘judge’ a newspaper article, it should only be based on the material facts. Certainly this judgement should not incorporate the careless reading habits of hundreds.

    The same type of thinking underlies the defence of the IPCC:

    “The IPCC said something, which if really looked into, falls apart and is not even supported by literature. But if we read it slightly carelessly, it sounds true and matches what we as experts believe. So let us support it. The Leake article, if read carelessly, on the other hand trashes the IPCC and our support of it. So let us protest”

    You appear to think that the case against the Leake article is only what Lewis made it out to be, and we should all share that view. That Lewis offered his expert advice on the Amazon and this advice was not heeded.

    Let me ask you: Does Leake, anywhere in his article, get into what the real picture in the Amazon is, either this way or that? Does he say anything like – “the Amazon was said to be sensitive to rainfall, by the IPCC, but it is actually not”? If he had done that, that would have been misleading.

    Leake, or whoever it is, that inserted the lines, does not make up things about Lewis’ views on activist groups.

    I would simply suggest: please read Leake article with an open mind and sympathetic eye. The same thing with Lewis too. And forget about Lewis’ misunderstanding that his expert views about the Amazon were sought. Disregard the fact that Nepstad, Lewis, Boston University, Samanta and whoever else made statements for or against the statement using references after 2005 – they are immaterial. Go over the exact text of the Times retraction. I am sure you’ll come to see a different picture.

    With respect to this ‘experts’ business: Yes they are experts, but they are interested and involved parties as well. But they are not the only experts. And anyone can evaluate what they are saying and what the entire literature on the Amazon, available to us at this point is saying. What is the point of saying the ‘experts have decreed’?

  120. test Says:

    Hello Bart, Thanks for your comment.

    I do agree there has been some out of proportion reaction to CRU emails affair. I find it normal, when you see a closed defense of hiding the decline and other tricks as common scientific procedure. Or circling the wagoons. Or calling “deniers” to critics.

    It seems to be a “war like” situation, if comments in this thread are an example. You know what I mean: when everybody tryies to punch (verbally) the opposition, instead of trying to understand what they are saying, and their reasons. But it was you who was puzzled because so many people don’t accept what you call “the science”, not me. You seem to have a problem with skepticism, and I was trying to help you, not to help me. Thinking critics are deniars doesn’t usually help (I am not saying you think so)

    A “war like” situation is definitively bad for knowledge improvement, so it doesn’t help me, either. I thought, when I knew your blog, you had the same feeling. That’s why I have been reading it, and linking it.

    Way off topic: Is there any particular reason for Plazaeme not being able to comment with his name and IP?


  121. Bam Says:

    The retraction notes, amongst others:
    “A version of our article that had been checked with Dr Lewis underwent significant late editing and so did not give a fair or accurate account of his views on these points.”

    In other words: the meaning was changed due to our ‘editing’. I’m still wondering *who* put those new sentences in. If it was Leake, it is yet another example how one of his articles does not properly relay the science. It isn’t just climate science where he has been economical with the facts (“Africagate” was retracted by the Frankfurter Rundschau, noting it was a bogus -gate. Guess who reported it originally…), but also in several other areas of science. He even managed to completely misrepresent Richard Dawkins. Something anyone who knows Dawkins just a tiny little bit would see could not be right, he managed to get wrong. Too many of the same mistakes.

    You also stated:
    “And anyone can evaluate what they are saying and what the entire literature on the Amazon, available to us at this point is saying. What is the point of saying the ‘experts have decreed’?”

    Not even close to “anyone” will be able to get a reasonable idea of what the literature is saying, especially in such a complex field as forestry. There are simply too many issues that interact, of which the expert is much better aware, in particular the details. If I make a statement about system A, an expert will be able to see how that may impact B and C. That is, he can put the “finding” into the framework of the wider “body of knowledge”. The general population may be able to understand the statement about system A, but has no clue how that affects B and C. And thus it will not understand how an expert suddenly can make a statement on impacts of changes in A on system B.

    Note finally that I did not say “the experts have decreed”. What I noted is that I put more trust in the opinion of experts than in the opinion of people who have no discernable expertise. I also put more trust in people who do NOT try to put claims of bias into their line of argumentation, unless they clearly argument why such bias is to be expected. I don’t see any reason Simon Lewis, Dan Nepstad, the IPAM, and Oliver Philips would have vested interest in the IPCC being right on its statement.

  122. dhogaza Says:

    You know what I mean: when everybody tryies to punch (verbally) the opposition, instead of trying to understand what they are saying, and their reasons.

    Oh, we understand what people like mosher and fuller are saying, and we recognize and understand the dishonesty that forms the foundation of their arguments.

    And some of us were raised to not bother being nice to liars.

  123. Bart Says:


    There’s no reason I know off that your name could not be used to comment. If you try and it doesn’t get through, you can always email me via the link and I’ll check the spam folder.

  124. MapleLeaf Says:


    I think that you are confused. Please read my post at 01:12, especially the para starting with “Resistance to….”.

    I’m afraid that your defense of Fuller’s misrepresentations , distortions and errors (made in your post at 07:26) is a perfect example of the double standard that ‘skeptics’ live by, as noted in my post. An no that is not just my observation, it has been made by others too.

    “Skepticism” is healthy and productive, but only when applied properly. Far too often those “skeptical” of AGW, in many cases, apply their “skepticism” asymmetrically (as you seem to be doing here), and it seems that their goal is to obstruct (rather than advance) the science and obstruct/delay taking action to reduce our GHG emissions.

  125. Tom Fuller Says:

    Mr. Rabett, according to the paper that would require global warming of 10 degrees C. Are you actually saying you think that is even remotely possible?

  126. MapleLeaf Says:

    Actually Tom, that would be Dr. Rabett.

    Before doing so it might help to actually read the premise of their paper:

    “Despite the uncertainty in future climate-change impacts, it is often assumed that humans would be able to adapt to any possible warming. Here we argue that heat stress imposes a robust upper limit to such adaptation.”

    They go on to say:

    “Any exceedence of [Tw] 35 °C for extended periods should induce hyperthermia in humans and other mammals, as dissipation of metabolic heat becomes impossible. While this never happens now, it would begin to occur with global-mean warming of about 7 °C, calling the habitability of some regions into question.”

    If we continue on the current trajectory, we would very likely ultimately triple or perhaps even quadruple CO2 levels, which would almost definitely ensure that wet-bulb temperatures would approach or cross that threshold. IMO, this paper is a stark warning that adaptation is no longer possible once the wet-bulb temperatures start exceeding 35 C for extended periods. Personally, I’d prefer that future generations of people and fauna did not have to validate this paper’s findings.

    Dr. Sherwood’s email is provided with the paper at PNAS. So Tom, please go an argue with him and Dr. Huber.

  127. Hans Says:

    Bam: if you don’t want to know, fine. Fossil fuels are finite resource and we are already spending more money to extract less oil than we did two years ago. This trend will continue in the future until we realize that walking and cycling are cheaper.

  128. Eli Rabett Says:

    No, sorry, it’s Mr. Rabett and Dr. Somebody or Other. OTOH, Tom did appear to miss the second sentence:

    Moreover, even if a fraction of the Earth becomes no live territory you have a wonderful hunting ground for the four horsemen, famine, war, death and denial. So we don’t have to wait a couple of hundred years, one hundred may suffice to let loose the dogs of denial. And oh, yes, Eli is an optimist compared to these guys

  129. test Says:

    Thanks Bart. No, its not a big problem as to bother you, just a bit annoying to change user / IP (remote desktop, and so on). Thanks for the offer.

    dhogaza: ♫ ♫

    MapleLeaf: I am pretty sure you can provide loads of misrepresentetions, distortions and erros from many skeptics. For instance, from moi même if you knew where to find them. The pecularity of your argument is you seem happy with that. And you have a pretty good example of this double standard you attribute to skeptics, but from warmists, without apparent discomfort.

    You see, I think Tom Fuller was in a very minor error when saying …

    Most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog believe that CO2 warms the atmosphere and that the temperature record for the past century is not only accurate but evidence of the greenhouse effect. This (to my knowledge) includes Watts, McIntyre, Mosher and myself.

    ¿Waht is the error? The main argument of the paragraph -most of the people routinely vilified on consensus blog- or some of the examples provided? Obviously the later. Watts, as far as I know does not fit. I couldn’t say about Mosher. McIntyre does fit. Not in the part of the accuracy, but certainly on CO2 warming. Fuller himself should be supposed to know where he fits. And he explicitly said about the others: to my knowledge.

    I don’t know if the true is “most of”, or just “enough of”. But it would be an error of appreciation. ¿And the consequence?

    That’s quite an egregious lie on Fuller’s part, given that Watt has explicitly …

    There you have it. The fight has begun and the punches fly everywhere. Any perspective is lost.

    You see, you can point an error so it is not used as argument, or you can point the person so he can not speak again. What would you think it is happening here? What would you think calling someone denier is meant for? To convince, or to shut up?

    Sorry, but now it is warmists who have a problem. They could not shut skeptics up, as much as they tried. This tactic isn’t working any more. And it is a real pity. I think we need to listen to them, although I do not, so far, find any reason to belive their hypothesis is realistic. But the more they insist in shutting skeptics up, the less they will be listened. Thats not good.

    For me, the big question is: Do warmists keep their nasty way because of some short of inertia, or because they think they will not be able to sell their hypothesis in a civilized way. And in a civilized way it is the proponent who should convince others, and not try to shut them up.

    Doble standards? Skeptic, or “non consensus” climate scientists are a minority for sure. I don’t know if a very minor minority, or no so few, beacuse everybody is playing dirty games with the numbers. I and I say everybody; no double standards. But any proposal saying Lindzen, Chirsty, Pielke (just to mention only three) should not be listened because they are not “the science” is going to find a lot of skepicism. And more than just skepticism. Of course I would laugh at Lindzen if he said “the science says”. But never heard of. No double standards.

    So, Eli darling brings a link. Death, doom and disaster coming soon to a planet in your neighborhood. And we are supposed to read seriously such an extravagance. Have we all gone mad?

    Excuse me for the length.

  130. dhogaza Says:

    Sorry, but now it is warmists who have a problem. They could not shut skeptics up, as much as they tried.

    In the long run, outright liars like Fuller and Mosher are a benefit to science, so that last thing in the world I want to do is to shut them up.

    For me, the big question is: Do warmists keep their nasty way because of some short of inertia

    Yeah, denialists are nice, warmists are “nasty”. Good grief. You’re obviously not paying attention, or are as dishonest as Fuller.

  131. MapleLeaf Says:

    Hi Eli,

    Thanks, I’ll remember that :)

  132. Eli Rabett Says:

    test: Tu madre

  133. MapleLeaf Says:


    You seem to be confusing trying to stop the spread of misinformation by “skeptics’, with “shutting them up”. Mr. Fuller can post wherever he wishes so long as he respects the blog rules, he can run his own blog, twitter, have his own Facebook page, he has written a book and do not forget that he can write freely at Nobody is suppressing his views, to suggest that the “skeptics” are being silenced is ludicrous. People are simply taking issue with the many errors Fuller makes when he pontificates on climate science and the players involved.

    Mr. Fuller has made at least three errors on this thread alone, and there are many other examples on the web. Here he has made an attempt to address only one of the three errors, followed by much back-pedaling. I find it odd that fact does not seem to concern you in the least. It seems that you may be OK with the rhetoric, misinformation and distortion which is freely disseminated by the “skeptics”, but I for one am not.

    Also, the only “nasty ways” that I am familiar with have come from the calls to violence against climate scientists by “skeptics’ such as Beck, Limbaugh, Morano etc. Not to mention the death threats against Dr. Jones, Santer, Mann and other prominent climate scientists. And let us not forget the witch hunt by AG Ken Cuccinelli against Mann and PSU, and lat but not least Inhofe’s infamous list of 17.

    test says, “Death, doom and disaster coming soon to a planet in your neighborhood.”

    No, “not soon”– you are the one exaggerating and being an alarmist.

    Now, I do not wish to argue with you, and will let you have the last word on this.

  134. test Says:

    dhogaza, you are noy even dishonest: you are noy intelligent enouhg. Ever considered the convinience to learn the most basic logic?

    Fast lesson:

    – First pont. It’s very different what someone is doing and what someone is. Someone saying a stupidity is as different from a stupid, as someone denying something is from a deniar. “Nasty ways of warmists” refers to what they are -in this particular moment -doing, “Yeah, denialists are nice, warmists are “nasty” would have refered to their essence (from latin esse: to be).

    Second. You can discuss with someone who is denying something. In fact, if you have a discussion, you are discussing with someone who is denying something, and you yourself are denying something. That’s how discussions work. But by calling someone a denier, you are denying the possibility of a discussion.

    Eli darling

    test: Tu madre

    Good try, but bad luck. Try it again. ;)

    MapleLeaf: So I have to understand blog rules permit calling an irrelevant error an egregious lie. Good to know.

    No. I don’t thing I am confusing stoping misinformation and shutting up. I tried explain it:

    You see, you can point an error so it is not used as argument, or you can point the person so he can not speak again.


    As I said, deniers, contrarians, the listings, redefinning peer-review, or more recently tu madre (the meaning of this is not just son-of-a-bitch but a more strong “your mother is a whore”), all are working in the same direction. Shutting up the critics,

    If the only “nasty ways” you are familiar with are those you say, then maybe I am wrong, and the discussion is going OK. Not a problem for me as a citizen (political being), as things are not going bad for skeptics. But, as I said, a real problem for knowledge advance. So, you don’t think warmists have, and still are basically trying to shutt up critics? Fine with me. Keep on your doing, whatever it is.



    . Second:

  135. Bart Says:

    test/Plazaeme makes some good points regarding communication: Play the ball; not the person. Distinguish behavior from identity.
    I don’t agree with many of his views on climate change, but I do agree with his views on how to communicate.

    All: Please discuss the substance and stop the endless bickering.

    DLM: Feel free to go somewhere else. You’re on moderation and almost none of your comments have made it through recently, as they are just derogatory noise. You’re wasting your time indeed.

  136. test Says:

    Thank you, Bart

    Happy to know I wasn’t wrong about you and your blog. I first came during that incredible and quite informative “unit root” thing. You demonstrated quite good moderation skills and fair play. And, from my point of view, in spite of having less tools than your opponent, you and Eduardo managed pretty well to get the reason. Or at least a good part if it. This is the example. This is the way. In my opinion.

    Keep on your good work. Agreement … may come, or may not. But knowledge will win for sure.

  137. Chris S. Says:

    Plazaeme: “No, so sorry. I didn’t read the links, and I won’t. Free time is not unlimited, and I have to choose.”

    None so blind eh? ;-)

    “I am not at all interested in the whereabouts of Bluetongue, whose existence I didn’t know until today.”

    You asked for a ‘worse than we thought’ scenario, BtV is one.

    “BT spread is worse than thought in mild winters? Really? Well, I’ll agree with you then. Things must be worse than we thought. Where they worse from 2007 on? Oh, no, but it doesn’t matter; they will.”

    To save your precious time reading the slideshow I linked to I’ll give you a short highlight reel:
    1) Bluetongue is a disease of sheep & cattle that can be economically damaging
    2) Prior to 1998 it was retricted to lines of latitude 40 deg North, & 35 deg South (in outbreak years, in normal years it was rare to encounter it north of the Mediterranean).
    3) These limits were also the known range limit of it’s vector, the midge Culicoides imicola.
    4) After 1998 BtV was reported outside it’s historical range (e.g. Italy, Tunisia, SW Spain) where C. imicola had spread due to warming. But some outbreaks (e.g. Serbia, Bulgaria) were north of the C. imicola range expansion.
    5) It was found that BtV had switched vector to northern species of midge – these species were at best uncommon in it’s pre-1998 range but with the expansion of C. imicola they became ‘available’ to transmit BtV – this is called the ‘Baton Effect’.
    6) These new species are common across northern Europe.
    7) Warming has provided conditions that favour midges (warmer night temperatures, warmer winters, increased precipitation at the right times of year etc.)
    8) Points 6) & 7) combined have lead to widespread outbreaks across northern Europe of a disease that 20 years ago was considered purely tropical.

    “OK, BT problem may be worse, or not. But i’ll keep on looking at climate indexes. Temperature, sea heat, ice, sea level; this short of things. And thinking some tenths of a degree are not going to be a catastrophe.”

    BtV has demonstrated that tropical diseases can be (and are) shifted northwards (and south in the S. Hemisphere) through range expansion of their vector (a range expansion caused by a few tenths temperature change). And also that the Baton Effect can allow diseases to switch vectors when they encounter more northerly distributed potential carrier species. Bluetongue is relatively mild but the same vector that carries it (C. imicola) also carries African Horse Sickness (ca. 80-90% fatality rate on infection). Other diseases & their vectors have also started moving north, e.g. Crimea-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (>60% fatality rate in humans) is endemic in certain regions of Kosovo & its tick vector has recently been discovered in the UK, Chikungunya & West Nile Virus are increasingly commonly reported north of the Mediterranean as are Puumala, Lyme disease & Usutu. A catastrophe? Perhaps not, but the prediction is more to follow – look out for early reports of Dengue in Spain & Rift Valley fever in Greece for example, their vectors are already there…

    There is a good summary of disease & zoonosis in response to climate change here:
    Plaza eme doesnt have to read it but I’m sure others will find it interesting.

  138. Eli Rabett Says:

    Lyme is endemic in Norway and the US

  139. Chris S. Says:

    Hi Eli,

    Very true, but as Jameson & Medlock (2010 in press) will demonstrate the increase in season length and population of Ixodes (the vector) has lead to increased transmission of the virus – at least in the UK – and thus increased reporting.

    (Though of course there are other contributing factors such as greening of suburbia and encouragment of deer into gardens leading to increased exposure…)

  140. Howard Silverman Says:

    Hi Bart,

    Important topic. I think there may be even more shades.

    Consider the types of perspectives cataloged in IPPR’s “Warm Words,” in Leiserowitz’s “Climate Change Risk Perception and Policy Preferences: The Role of Affect, Imagery, and Values,” by cultural theorists, by psychologists like Dan Gilbert or Elke Weber, or in Matthew Nisbet’s typology of frames or the CRED Guide.

    I’m a little confused by the fact that, while we hear calls for more social science (e.g., Schellnhuber’s 90%), the InterAcademy Review Committee is mostly comprised of WG1-type scientists.

    What might an analytic-deliberative process on climate look like, given that all people (and our descendants) are “interested and affected parties”?

  141. test Says:


    Chris S, this may be long, and certainly boring. You know, I am lost. I don’t know what is the game, or even if we are playing the same game.

    You seem to think I was asking for something I was not:

    You asked for a ‘worse than we thought’ scenario

    No; no scenario at all. I tried to explain I wasn’t interested in changes on the consecuences of climate change, but on changes on climate change itself. Why? Because climate is complicated enough, and -in my opinion- climate science inmature enough, to be very close to the limit of a reasonable debate. I think a significant proportion of climate science research is highly speculative. More so any conclusion on climate effects on other fields, as boisphere, etc. I used the words primary and secundary effects, and wasn’t understand. My bad.

    Bart did understand me, and provided a couple of links which I didn’t see then, only just now: Arctic ice and sea level rise. I don’t agree with them, I can explain why I don’t agree, but this would be a whole new topic. But in any case, they are perfectly “on game”, in my game.

    What game are we playing? I think of it, and I find two possible options. Let’s call them strike game, and understanding game.

    Strike game goes like this …

    You asked for a ‘worse than we thought’ scenario, BtV is one.

    One point for the gentelman.

    But it is an endless game.

    According to a recent research Pacific Islands are not sinking. Better than we thought.

    One point, and all square.

    Strike is a very exciting game. There are worse ways of using your free time. But too many times the points you win or lose are perfectly pointless. It’s just fun.

    I was playing (this time) the other game: understanding game. It’s more boring because there usually are not winners or losers. And if there are, it takes a long time to know. In this case, I asked for worse than we thought cases because I wanted to know what examples would reasonable warmists provide. Burt did. And yes, I think there are reasonable warmists. Not too easy to find, though

    So, in your game, you won your piont, Chris S. You have my word for it. In my game, I got the information I was looking for. We can both be happy.


  142. Pat Cassen Says:


    In the interest of promoting the undertstanding game, I recommend:

    for historical perspective on the “immaturity” of climate science.

  143. Rattus Norvegicus Says:

    BTW, since I hate reading large amounts of complex text on the web, Weart’s book is still readily available in a real dead trees book. I picked up a copy earlier this year and it is an excellent overview of the how the study of the Earth’s climate reached the modern day understanding.

    Sorry for you deniers, it doesn’t include groupthink or conspiracy or fraud. What it does include is a lot of good and imaginative work, lively debates and more than one or two slightly off center characters. Quite readable and a good example of scientific history. Fun and lively to read, I recommend it highly.

  144. Tom Fuller Says:

    I think that’s the same fellow who just said Stephen Schneider’s new paper could be dismissed at the first reading and should not have been published.

  145. test Says:

    Thank you very much, Pat Cassen. I had a general idea, but I don’t think age implies maturity at all. If so, astrology would be our most mature knowledge. and maturity would be pefectly worthless.

    In my opinion you have provided two perfect examples of inmaturity. One of the characteristics of inmaturity is a lack of perspective, and the tendency to over state the importance of the only one factor (or few) you think you have understand in a complex system.

    Both of your links begin stating their subject: climate change science. And from their first paragraphs you get the idea. Climate change science is atmosferic CO2 science. Maybe it is the case we are talking about two different sciences: Climate science, and climate change science. I guess the fisrt one deals with our understanding of climate, and the second with the demonstration of the problems of CO2.

    I knew some person who got a governemet contract to study the “basque shepherd dog”. I was very surprised. Do you think there is a basque shepherd dog? – I asked. Well -he said, they need it. I’ll provide them with many. It means really there is not such a dog. But they will understand the opposite, because that’s what they need to believe.

    I know; a bit too cynical. But that’s the impression I get from the links. So sorry.


  146. Bart Says:

    I second (third) the good words for Spencer Weart’s book. It’s an excellent read and offers a very good bird’s eye view of how the science of climate change evolved over time: How did we get to know what we know?

  147. Pat Cassen Says:

    Plazaeme: “…I don’t think age implies maturity at all.”

    “Age” is not the point. Scientific development is the point. As you would see by reading those links beyond the first paragraphs.

    Why do you believe that climate scientists do not consider anything but CO2? Read the journal articles at the AMS website

    in Science and GRL to learn otherwise.

    ” One of the characteristics of inmaturity is a lack of perspective…” Yes indeed.

  148. test Says:

    Pat Cassen

    “Age” is not the point. Scientific development is the point. As you would see by reading those links beyond the first paragraphs.

    That’s very easy, you know. Read this and read that. But I dont know you, and your recommendation may be gold or may be just trash. So I get a quick glance and decide whether to invest the time or not. (Saying yes is saying not to other thinks.) We are talking about why there are so many skeptics. You can’t tell them wiyh your own words? Hmmm …

    And we have the problem of apparently having two sciences; climate science, and climate change science. Both of your links deal with the second -or so they say. And with emphasis on man. The very approach sounds quite alarming to any skeptic. ¿Climate change? Is not this what the climate does, to change? Are they talking about some particular and abnormal way of changing? So it would seem they start from a point they never reached, and the conclusion is: don’t read.

    As Bart recommends one of them, I’ll read it, or at least I will begin with more interest. But not today, and probably nor tomorrow.

    scientific development How would you measure it? By the amount of literature on the subject or by experimental results, difficult predictions come true, etc? It should be much more simple, as in other sciences. Just tell me what future events will confirm your hypothesis (and could not be explained otherwise), and much more important: tell me what future events would falsify the hypotesis. That’s what I call “development of a science”, or maturity.



  149. Bam Says:

    Test, both links Pat Cassen gave deal with climate science, and factors causing climate change. You cannot see CO2 independent of climate science, since it is one of the important “control knobs”. Any discussions on climate science that does not include CO2 (or other greenhouse gases) is fundamentally flawed.

    Of course, the second does make a few jokes about all those supposed skeptics who claim Al Gore invented global warming. The first is a very well-respected historical study of the various studies in the development of climate science. Yes, climate science.

  150. test Says:

    I’ll begin with the one Bart recommends, Bam, thanks. But remember, the motive is I am looking for a reson to think climate science is a mature science. Don’t you find it quite peculiar the persons supporting the idea send you a link to read, instead of using their own words to produce a simple explanation with a few sentences? Imagine we where talking at a bar without internet connection. Would it be impossible for you to explain someone the maturity of climate science? Do you find it normal if someone sends you a link to show you thermodynamics is a mature science? I mean, to explain this you don’t need to show the science itself.

    Use a thoght experiment. Imagine the same problem, but with other science. Doesn’t matter which one. Geology, Information Science, whatwever you feel confident with. And imagine someone says: I don’t see this science is a mature science. Would you use a link to a piece of who knows how many words, or would you just use a coulple of fast sentences? Maybe we can establish a definition of maturity in science: an inverse proportion to the number of words needed to convince a mean critic about the maturity of such science. It could work! ;)

  151. Bart Says:

    Test/ Plazaema

    The reverse thought experiment is also worth pondering:
    Imagine that someone claims that a certain mature scientific discipline isn’t mature at all. How would you go about explaining that it is? “Mature” could mean many things, but to me it means that it went through a certain evolution of understanding, where the central themes/hypotheses have evolved throughout a sustained period of time, and where new insights build on a whole body of existing knowledge, which was built up by many scientists over an extended period of time. Esp that whole body of knowledge thing is not something that can be easily explained in a few sentences, esp not to someone who doesn’t believe that there is such a broad body of knowledge to begin with. Perhaps the sign of a science being mature is that it can *not* be explained in a few sentences that indeed it is.

    ps: I have no idea why your earlier posts posting under Plazaeme went into the spam folder. Probably some combination of letters therein triggered the spam finder, but I have no clue what exactly. Sorry for the inconvenience of having had to change your nom de blog in commenting here.

  152. Bam Says:

    Actually, test, I believe the (first) link is very useful, and actually more useful than someone telling you in a few words. The former is highly documented, the latter is not. It is easy to just dismiss the latter as “just an opinion” (and a ‘mean’ critic would just do that). It’s a lot harder to argue against a long treatise with many examples of the various important events in the development of a scientific field.

  153. dhogaza Says:

    And we have the problem of apparently having two sciences; climate science, and climate change science.

    cough … cough …

  154. test Says:

    Jesus, the b*** tags.

    It should be so (I hope):

    Don’t worry, Bart. I am more Test than Plazaeme by now

    Ok, Bam, I’ll read both

    Difficult case, anyway. We don’t agree on maturity. I am not at all sure Bart’s definition woudn’t fit on astrology. Yes, I know, I know; I schocked you. Is this “Test” crazy, or stupid, or what? But that’s only because we all laugh at atrology -for very good resons.

    See …

    – Did it go through a certain evolution of understandin? I bet.
    – Have the central themes/hypotheses evolved throughout a sustained period of time? Yea, in fact quite long.
    – Are new insights build on a whole body of existing knowledge, which was built up by many atrologers over an extended period of time? I guess so.

    You see. This is very very different from what I was asking.

    Just tell me what future events will confirm your hypothesis (and could not be explained otherwise), and much more important: tell me what future events would falsify the hypotesis.

    Make a little change.Change “your hypothesis” for “some of the main working laws of such science”. And play it backwards. Some imaginary person asking this in the past, and comparing the result with what we know now.

    Different perspectives. I don’t think your definition of maturity would not fit with a jung science which has produced a hell of a lot of papers, but is essentially wrong. Because you are not including a reallity check in it -appart form the opinion of the mayority of the scientists. As I said, I think astrology would pass yor definition.

    I don’t want to be rude. But I think we are touching maybe a central point on this problem of climate change science sketicism. The feeling there is some substitution of proof / evidence / reallity check / call it as you like, for just scientists opinion and consensus. And the fact that your definition looks to be ponting in the same direction -as far as I see it-, doesn’t help.

    Is this really so? Probably less than we skeptics think, and more than you warmists see. But that’s the idea.


    [duplicate removed. BV]

  155. dhogaza Says:

    “Difficult case, anyway. We don’t agree on maturity. I am not at all sure Bart’s definition woudn’t fit on astrology”

    Oh, good grief.

    In case you haven’t heard, CO2 lasers actually work. The physics underlying climate science are the same physics underlying a bunch of technology.

    You’re being ridiculous.

  156. plazaeme Says:

    dhogaza, it is very depressing trying to teach you some resoning with such a luck of succes. Lasers are no part of climate.The physics underlying any science who has physics underlying it are the same physics underlying a bunch of technology. This doesn’t make any science mature, usefull, predictable, trustable, etc, because of the very simple reason that you may not know some important variables. You may put in fire an enormous forest with a candle, particulary with the help of some jerry cans of fuel. But you will not heat a castle with a candle in a noticeable way. with the very same underlying physics.

    I wouldn’t call anyone ridiculous if I was you. It may bite, if misused.

  157. plazaeme Says:

    It works!

    But from a different IP

  158. Bam Says:

    Plazaeme: could you point to any book or paper that discusses this development of astrology? You know, with scientists expanding the work of previous scientists, and discussing that in the literature?

    You’ll more than likely find that astrologers all have their own methodology, and even with the ‘same’ methodology coming to wildly different conclusions. No comparison there.

  159. plazaeme Says:

    No, Bam, I can’t point to such a book at all. I’ve never been interested in astrology, and I don’t know anything about it -appart form the unavoidable chats in social events, where you listen more out of manners than real interest. And astrology fans are frecuently nice girls, so that’s another reason to listen ;)

    I am definitly not comparing astrology with climate science. I was speculating with the possibility that Bart’s definition of science maturity could fit astrology. But knowing you can certainly develop the definition to avoid the problem. The astrology problem. But reality check is quite a different issue.

    I’ve begun with your links. People at my blog might complain, because there will be less food for them. Weart’s narrative is really excelent. Premium stuff from this point of vieuw. Still looking for reality check. But I’ve just begun -ocean mainly.

    First impression: I am coming to know something I alredy knew -but more detailed. Climate science has a hughe scholalry corpus. Many details (elements) have been studied, and studied again. It won’t shock me unless I am shown system workings are understand to a level capable to support the usual statments we hear. Let’s see …


  160. Eli Rabett Says:

    Except for the fact that astrology is based on BS, why yes, plazaeme, we could consider it the same sort of science as science. Give it up.

  161. dhogaza Says:

    Well, PlazaM is certainly a persistently ignorant troll. Enjoy your ignorance-is-bliss life, PlazaM. Meanwhile, science will march forward, and the planet will continue to warm.

    Including the Iberian penninsula. I’ve been told that it’s a cold, dreary, arctic place that will welcome another 2C-3C bump in average temps …

  162. Distinguishing deniers from skeptics | Klimapolis Says:

    […] climate skeptics. Keith Kloor adds some useful comments. Bart Verheggen likewise discovered various shades of grey in climate skepticism, and it is very worthwile thinking about those shades in more […]

  163. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Just from reading his posts here, I don’t think Plazaeme was actually trying to suggest that astrology was a science. Bart gave a definition of maturity, and it seems to me that Plazaeme’s point was to take that definition and apply it to something wholly other to try to show that the definition wasn’t complete. That he chose astrology, on a site founded by, devoted to, and populated by scientists and like-minded individuals, was a pretty bad choice, but I don’t think it completely invalidates the point.

    Climate science is relatively new in comparison to physics, for example, but whether that makes it immature or not, I don’t know. I would really like to see a thread or two on the subject, though. Personally I think a maturity definition would have to include the concepts of the science becoming ubiquitous, so that they are taught in the lower schools, and with ordinary people able to discuss the subject with little disagreement.

  164. plazaeme Says:

    Wow! Eli D, </dhogaza, your arguments are growing in elaboration every minute. With a bit of luck we will be grunting soon.

    Iberian Peninsula? Many climates there. In fact, where I am living now is very temperate. But hot years -particulary mild winters, are way better. What is the reason, dhogaza, for your impulse to personalize every argument you try to make? Do you dare nude arguments?

    This is on topic, if you read to the end:

    On Iberian Peninsula GISS has only one rural station covering from the 1940s to now. It’s pretty much on the middle of the peninsula. This one:

    Suprisingly, all you hear about climate from the national meteolorogical office is about an apparently terrible warming in line with global warmig. You know what? Every time, if you read the small letter, thay are talking about the heating from 1975 on – as if they think it was the beginning of the world, But you are surprised this short of things end with some skepticism growing.

    Well, I participated in a discussion about skepticism, their reasons or no reasons, It is up to warmists to think we are just stupid, or economically interested bastards, or to try to guess what the hell is going on critic’s brains. Usually the later is not so difficult looking at the arguments. But looking, not punching.

    I don’t care, as my intention was not to convince anyone, but to gather information. I got it, so I thank you all for your patience. Even tu madre is an interesting information.

    Good bye -for this thread .

  165. plazaeme Says:

    Bill Stoltzfus

    I just noticed your comment when finishing my last. Astrology was suggested to me, and that’s why it came to my mind.

  166. plazaeme Says:

    One very last point on Astrology (I promise).

    Yes, it was a bad choise because it had high probabilities of offending some sensibilities. So sorry. But it has some good points too. It is very old, it has convinced a lot of intelligent and very competent people during all history, and I think even now. It has (I think) loads of books, “studies”, etc, and I can imagine a modern astrologer feeling as a dwarf on the shoulders of giants. Astrologers are stubbornly convinced theirs is a science empirically tested -. I have met two who where. We know it is not a science, but I can think of some pretty good scientists who say many of warmists statements are not science. So …

    And about offending, we should get ready to the idea that what is fair for on side, is fair for the other. The term denier is offensive. Very offensive for a scientific, and also very offensive for any intelligent and more or less rational person. To see “the science” hijacked by an hypothesis is offensive too. It is such hypotheis, or their proponents, who “say” things; no the science. I never heard about Einstein, or Feynman, or any other alike hiding behind “the science says”. It was them who said what they had to say. Speaking in their names, and by their arguments, and not in the name of science.

    So, If we are going to be very sensitive -which we have the right to, we should begin caring about other’s sensibility. So I think.

  167. Bart Says:


    Perhaps astrology is a mature belief, but it’s not a mature science. We weren’t discussing just the first of those two words, but rather the two together.

  168. willard Says:

    ­> It was them who said what they had to say. Speaking in their names, and by their arguments, and not in the name of science.

    I agree with that injunction. However, this renders every appeal to scientificity moot. That is, saying such and such “is not scientific” would not matter much. And so the very argument undercuts the demarcation one would like to have between science and non-science in the first place.

    No one has succeeded in demarcating science from other kinds of discourses yet anyway.

  169. plazaeme Says:

    You are right, Bart.

    My reasoning could be wrong, as any reasoning. And I don’t expect anybody buying it. It may help someone … or not. But, just for clarifying, it goes like this:

    Astrologers think Astrology is a science. We don’t. Warmists think their critics are anti science, and so they say with shameless frecuency. Some critic scientists say the main statements of warmism are not science.

    When dealing with a concept of a mature science, you could have think in something wich would exclude a believe, but apparently you didn’t. And it is not at all difficult, if you put in some reality check (a record of predictions come true, tested experiments, whatever you prefer to link theory with reality ). You choose instead a sort of a mix between history and number of papers.

    The idea of maturity is when you reach what you are supposed to reach. So we can think: What is science supposed to reach? Tested comprehension of reallity, or a long life and a large number of papers?

    Pertinet or plain wrong, this was the idea of looking at the fit between your definition and Astrology. And as I said, it was’nt really my idea. I had a present ;)

    I think we may rest for a while …

  170. willard Says:

    > Astrologers think Astrology is a science.

    Actually, most astrologers would think that it is an art.

  171. plazaeme Says:


    You are right. Maybe I met a couple of outliers.

    Is Astrology an art or is it a science? This may seem like an odd question, but the fact of the matter is that astrologers appear to want to have it both ways. On the one hand, they claim that what they do is something like an art, requiring a particular “feel” for the nature of celestial events and human beings. On the other hand, they try to paint their work with the brush of scientific accuracy and validity in the hopes that such an association will help justify what they do.

    Do astrologers ever claim that what they do is a science? Yes, they certainly do. As an easy example, defines astrology as “The science of the stars.” Books on astrology will regularly cite various statistical studies which they claim validate astrological work. All of this points to the fact that astrologers would like to be thought of as practicing something which is rigorous, scientific and objective.

  172. Bart Says:


    An important aspect of the history of climate science is that it is a prediction come true: It was predicted that the globe would warm in response to rising GHG long before it was observed to do so (going back to the late 19th century). Again, I refer you to Spencer Weart for the details.

    For more specific predictions of climate models, see eg this list.

  173. Shub Niggurath Says:

    If you make a prediction of warming in a warming world, it is not much of a prediction is it?

    Make a prediction of ‘not warming’, (as has happened for the last 10 years) and that will be impressive. IIRC, a stationary trend of 10 years was seen 10 times in 700 yr model runs – so you know the odds for ‘failure’ were that high, but yet we are currently in that bracket.

    This is not a matter of long-term vs short-term. If the models are predicting anything at all, it is based on taking as much as we know now into account right? We know where the cycle is with respect to the various oscillations, solar cycles, we have an idea of sensitivity to CO2, so we should be able to say “what will happen next”, rather than saying “in the long term, it will warm/cool”.

    For example, I could say ” the ice age is coming” or the “world is going to end” – and I wouldn’t be an astrologer for having done that. There is absolute 100% scientific backing for both these assertions, and especially the second one *will* happen.

  174. willard Says:


    It’s quite possible to find reference to astrology as a science. Michel Gauquelin, for instance, tried all his life. He should be the one your outliers are citing. But Gauquelin’s studies does not correspond to the traditional practices of astrology, which were not based on the natal charts. Look up for mundane, electional and horary astrology, for instance. In classical texts I could read (it’s an interesting topic in philosophy of science), astrology is always being referred as an art. Not as a touchy-feely art, as the atheists proclaim, but as a sacred art.

    (And there are so much different traditions, and so much flavours of practices, that to talk about astrology as the all encompassing term of reference may be incorrect.)

    Of course, I am in no way defending astrology here. It’s the classical example as something unscientific, after all. Popper uses both astrology and psychanalysis, as a matter of fact:

    Popper’s idea of falsification as the demarcating criteria for science can easily be abused. There still are problems with the falsifiability principle. Here is an example of critiques one might find, using the same site from Stephen Jay Gould:

    I think Larry Laudan destroyed it for good, but the demarcation problem was never really the subject of a deep passion. Here is a starting point:

    All in all, I would venture to consider a claim without trying to determine if it’s scientific or not. It’s better to consider the claim at face value, test its usefulness, and then decide it has no scientific merits. Most of the time, scientificity is only a way to protect an institution’s favorite means of expression. (I am not taking a pomo standpoint here: common sense and experience suffices.)

    As an instance of what I have in mind, we can recall Eduardo Zorita’s interaction with VS.

  175. willard Says:

    Here is the link to the start of the exchange between Zorita and VS:

    At no time we can see Zorita claiming that VS is unscientific. He simply stopped interacting because VS never showed the relevance of his claim for Zorita’s work.

    Two scientists exchange ideas that could help each other. If they can’t, they stop speaking to each other about science. Of course, at cocktail parties, both can talk about the other’s work as “unscientific”. But note: they tell that to a third party, they do not bother to tell the other person; the claim has more sociological impact that anything else; the claim itself is not scientific.

  176. Bart Says:


    Timescales are important. “it will warm” or “it will cool” are meaningless statements without a timeframe (either implicit or explicit). We are only able to say “what will happen next” in climatological terms on timescales of decades. Predicting the change in global avg temp for the next two years is shear impossible.

    A prediction made in 1895 that the globe would warm in response to rising CO2 emissions is telling. Especially if it later turned out to indeed happen. Likewise with the NAS 1979 report:

    “A plethora of studies from diverse sources indicates a consensus that climate changes will result from man’s combustion of fossil fuels and changes in land use.”

    Global warming is a prediction come true.

    Quoting Sherwood Rowland (then talking about the ozone layer):

    “After all, what’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions, if in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?”

    Regarding global warming, we made the predictions, we sat around to wait for them to come true, and now we’re continuing to sit around and debate how true is true enough, and if bristlecone pines don’t invalidate the whole thing. I’t s pretty crazy if you think about it.

  177. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Bart, regarding your first paragraph,…

    Any prediction of the sort “it will warm in the coming decades” is not much of a prediction at all. That was my original point.

    Neither am I claiming that, if and only scientists predict the next upcoming trend will I accept their predictive abilities. I am only wondering, that with the available information (or so we are told), we should be able to tell broadly what will happen the next 10 years (forget about the next year or three years). Why are we failing?

    I hear people keep telling me “10 years is too short etc”, but no matter. I am not asking for a specific anomaly value, I am asking if anyone said “next ten years – it is going to be a steady trend”.

    If someone makes generalized assertions based on incomplete information (1979) and they turn out to be correct, it could be mere coincidence. In order to disprove this, we should have by the next step (which is now) improved our understanding and therefore refined our predictions?

  178. Bam Says:

    Shub, you are failing to take into account a rather important aspect of climate change: it depends on factors that we do not control, and that are at present impossible to predict with sufficient accuracy to come with the accurate trend you apparently desire. To name a few factors:
    1. Actual growth in CO2 concentration
    2. Solar intensity
    3. Amount of aerosols
    4. Changes in albedo due to land-use changes and cloudiness
    5. Volcano eruptions (or absence thereof, somewhat related to point 3)
    6. ENSO

    The only thing we can do at this moment is to look at these factors in retrospect.

  179. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Bam, if there are all these unpredictable factors, then doesn’t that rather invalidate ANY model projections or predictions, especially in the long term as opposed to the short term? Even if you can’t know what the actual amounts will be in the next ten years, that shouldn’t prohibit making an educated guess and running the model anyway. That’s what scientists, in my opinion, should be positively itching to do. It would at least be something for us to judge by, and something for the model programmers to use to compare to and make adjustments for. If all we get are hindcasts there’s no way to know what, if any, sort of predictive power the models do have. It seems rather coy to say that models can’t be used for forecasting but the theory can.

  180. plazaeme Says:

    Yes, Willard, I don’t disagree with what you are saying. I am not even interested in the discussion if a certain knowledge (or believe) is scientific or not, but about it’s level of usefulness and trustworthiness. That’s is the reason I used the idea of the “maturity” of a particular science.

    You see, general public is very often told they have to belive AGW because science says so. And the first think in a skeptical mind is, -science, what science? It is very reasonable to trust physics in general, Why? A long record of success, of solving problems, of predictions which were right, and so on. The word which came to my mind was maturity. Science is supposed to achieve this things and when it does, I think you can call it mature. But, are all sciences equally mature? I would bet no without a second thought. And so, “the science says” is not as meaningfull as they pretend.

    The second question is unavoidable: Is climate change science mature enough to accept without skepticism an hypothesis as problematic as AGW? Is it better to be skeptical ant try to force them to demonstrate their statements? Different people will have different perspectives, of course. But the very idea of calling critics, -or skeptics- anti science, makes me laugh. Or angry, it depends. And makes me very suspicious of the grounds of such science.

  181. Bam Says:

    Bill Stoltzfus: some of the issues I mentioned are short-term ‘noise’. For example, over long periods (and this may be more than the oft-cited 30 years) El Nino and La Nina events cancel out. Solar input is generally considered constant, since we simply cannot predict anything there. Well, over millions of years we can predict an increase, but that’s about it. Volcanoes is pretty tricky, too, and that would be an understatement.

    For the remaining, scenarios are developed. The IPCC has many such scenarios on its homepage, with the corresponding results. But the check is ultimately retrospective with input of the real values that we can’t predict properly a priori. For example, we know that the last solar cycle was an odd one, which may well mean a ‘cooling’ effect. It wasn’t predicted properly, and the input for the GCM’s thus wasn’t really right. Aerosols is really difficult to predict, too. We’ll have to accept that. That does not invalidate the theory in any way, which would say that if A, B, C, D, and E develop as such (enter input values), the end result is most likely X, Y, Z.

  182. Pat Cassen Says:

    A few comments back, Bart linked to Barton Paul Levenson’s list of successful model predictions (copied below), but I see no reaction here to this information. I suppose that Shub unimpressed. How about Bill?

    Models have successfully predicted:
    1. That the globe would warm, and about how fast, and about how much.
    2. That the troposphere would warm and the stratosphere would cool.
    3. That nighttime temperatures would increase more than daytime temperatures.
    4. That winter temperatures would increase more than summer temperatures.
    5. Polar amplification (greater temperature increase as you move toward the poles).
    6. That the Arctic would warm faster than the Antarctic.
    7. The magnitude (0.3 K) and duration (two years) of the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
    8. They made a retrodiction for Last Glacial Maximum sea surface temperatures which was inconsistent with the paleo evidence, and better paleo evidence showed the models were right.
    9. They predicted a trend significantly different and differently signed from UAH satellite temperatures, and then a bug was found in the satellite data.
    10. The amount of water vapor feedback due to ENSO.
    11. The response of southern ocean winds to the ozone hole.
    12. The expansion of the Hadley cells.
    13. The poleward movement of storm tracks.
    14. The rising of the tropopause and the effective radiating altitude.
    15. The clear sky super greenhouse effect from increased water vapor in the tropics.
    16. The near constancy of relative humidity on global average.
    17. The expanded range of hurricanes and cyclones–a year before Cyclone Catarina showed up off the coast of Brazil, something which had never happened before.

  183. Bart Says:

    Thanks Pat, I was just gonna bring that up again: There have been successful predictions.

    For the long term, the expected rise in GHG is expected to swamp any realistic change in the other climate forcings, which is why projections (i.e. “what-if scenario’s) can indeed be made.

  184. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Thanks Pat.

    But, my question was, given as we model everything (including the points BAM spoke of), why did we not get the past 10 years right.

    For the AR5, the Hadley Center (?) is putting together what it calls RCPs. Can it tell what will happen next? Rough trend magnitude and direction?

    Many of the above are elements of a warming world, irrespective of cause (correct me if I am wrong). I am trying to bring in our understanding of atrribution into the picture.

  185. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    I had to take my son to the pool, so I was gone for a few hours.

    Pat, yes I read the points on that list. Is there also a list of the predictions that turned out false or not as expected? Was the total percentage correct close to 100, or 80, or 50, or 30? Without that it’s hard to know, again, what the value of the models is. I have to assume they’re mostly useful, though, otherwise you wouldn’t be using them.

    Other things I would want to know: For each of the correct predictions listed, how many of the models made the correct prediction (5%, 50%, 90%)? How close do the models have to come for the answer to be “correct” (if they predict change in effect X in direction Y with a value of Z, and the real world shows change in X in direction Y at value 5Z, does that still count as correct)? What is the “ramp-up” time and does that have an effect on the prediction? Did the models miss any really important relationships that they should have identified? Over how many years have those correct predictions been gathered?

    I am still in the early stages of coming to understand the science and the associated stuff, like the models, so some of these things I’m asking are probably ones that you or someone else has answered before. If so, please feel free to tell me to go read the literature, or see the summary at website X, or whatever you feel is appropriate. I don’t mind that at all. I’ve read Archer’s “Understanding the Forecast”, which was quite helpful, and I plowed through a compilation about modeling (albeit from 1990, but still it was helpful) to get a sense of the scope of variables and issues associated with modeling. And, of course, I’ve been reading this website, scienceofdoom, tamino, rabbett, chriscolose, and lucia when I have the time. I’ll have to dig into the IPCC website model info.

    A related question, when I say model I mean specifically the computer models, is that what you mean by model, or do you mean the model as in the overall theory?

  186. Bill Stoltzfus Says:

    Bam, Pat, and Bart: One other thing is that I don’t yet have a sense as to how much IS known out of how much CAN BE known at this point. For me right now perhaps it is 20 or 30%, but for you it may be 70 or 80% or more. And you probably know that the uncertainty for these things is X while I may still think they’re 4X. That will change as I continue to learn, but in the meantime, thanks for the help and the dialogue.

  187. Bart Says:


    You’re very well aware of short term weather variability vs long term forced trend, so why are you playing this game? It’s not constructive.

  188. Bart Says:

    Bill Stoltzfus,

    Some useful info ion climate modeling:

    “All models are wrong, but some are useful”

  189. Howard Says:


    Some skeptics came into this as geologists, saw the hockey stick and thought: that looks like bullshit.

    Then we read about the models that ignored clouds (the single largest source of albedo changes) and thought: bullshit.

    Then we heard that the science was settled and that the consensus was not to be questioned and thought: bullshit.

    Clouds, feedbacks, ocean cycles still remain unknowns. You true believers need to get real about what you don’t know instead of hiding behind mommy and crying wolf.

  190. Bam Says:


    When geologists read that models ignore clouds, and then not investigate whether this is true, I think “Gullible idiots. Next!”

    Here a simply entry level text on GCMs:
    Note in particular:
    “All modern AGCMs include parameterizations for:
    land surface processes, albedo and hydrology
    cloud cover”

    It also contains some discussion on clouds as the main source of uncertainty. In other words, GCMs, that supposedly ignore clouds, have clouds as the main source of uncertainty!

    You may also want to read the IPCC AR4 WG1 to learn what we do and do not know, and then think hard about how this may affect the forecasts. Do take the uncertainty in BOTH directions. You may find some inconvenient truths there.

  191. Shub Niggurath Says:

    There are a couple of reasons why I am talking about the ten-year thing.

    Firstly, it is one thing to say- it is going to warm, and it is another thing to say how we are going to get there.

    If modelers are able to say how we are going to get there, it means they know why it is going to get warm – which is a super leap in our understanding of the earth climate system. My question therefore is – are we there yet?

    I think this is important since we are attempting a mechanistic exposition of the temperature change by modeling, as opposed to a heuristic one.

    Secondly there *are* people offering these types of “what will happen in next ten years” predictions. How do they do it? Really, just wondering

  192. willard Says:

    Suppose it’s getting hot in ten years. Suppose we know when, in ten years.

    What are we supposed to be able to infer from that one prediction?

  193. Bam Says:

    Shub, the answer to your question is: No, we are not there yet (“we” being the climate modelers). It’s related to Kevin Trenberth’s much-abused statement about it being a travesty that we can’t follow where the heat is going. We *know* the earth is storing heat (also in the last 10 years), but where is it going? We’re still lacking the right monitoring methods to get all details right. Perhaps it is going into the deep ocean (and no, that is not a good thing).

    I don’t understand your link to Ian Welsh. Apart from the fact he is a journalist, I don’t even see a ten-year prediction in his doom story.

  194. Shub Niggurath Says:

    I am talking about this point:

    “It is also true that the speed of global warming has slowed down. This is primarily due to two factors…

    …Probably we’ve got a decade or so at lower heat levels, but that’s not a sure thing…”

    Where did he get that from? Sure he is ‘just a journalist’, he says ‘probably’ and ‘not a sure thing’, but my question is – from where did he get the ‘decade or so’?

    Why did he not say, for example:

    “…Probably we’ve got a three years or so at lower heat levels, but that’s not a sure thing.”

    More importantly, my point is not to ‘call out’ Ian Welsh (that favorite hobby of some). It is just to ask a simple question – is there anything out there that modelers have said, which people like Welsh are picking up on?

    I dont think you understood what I wrote. If we are modeling the climate – we have already significantly constrained ourselves from several of the permuations possible in the system. Modeling means working out the bits and pieces of the global change and putting it together and therefore in a model output, the how it will warm is inseperable from the why it will warm.

    If the modellers know why it will warm, it automatically implies they do so because they have seen how it will warm. In other words, what path with the journey to higher temperature be.

  195. Bam Says:

    I haven’t seen anything from modelers that would explain what Ian Welsh is saying. Perhaps he is parrotting the poor coverage of Keenlyside et al (2008). That article had a forecast of stable temperatures until 2015, but the same article already noted its forecast was desperately wrong.

  196. willard Says:

    > If the modellers know why it will warm, it automatically implies they do so because they have seen how it will warm.

    The modellers know why it will warm because the theory has explanatory power. One presumes laws and functions that explain why the Earth should theorically be warming right now, then tries to see how it will warm by modelling the observational data, not the other way around. It can be the other way around, but it’s simpler to accomodate models than theories, most of the times.

    This explanatory power does not imply that you got all the predictive power you might like to impose on the theory in question. This explanatory power does not imply that you can model everything deterministically either. Even if a forecast gets right on the mark, one can’t replicate it, unless we can build Earth holodecks.

    The best model of a cat is a cat. Preferably the same cat, or so says an old, wise guy. In our case, you can’t have the Earth as a model. Taking the Earth as an overall model for the Earth makes no constructive sense, unless we can build Earth holodecks. Unless we can build Earth holodecks, climate models are the only way to make projections about the observations and the physical theories of the Earth we have.

    If we don’t have the models right for the last 10 years, there is no reason to speculate that we did model everything that needs to be modelled. If we do have the models right, that could be because we did, but how can we be sure exactly? There is no formal deduction possible there. Nor should there be one. Unless, of course, we get enough Earth holodecks.

  197. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Ok Willard, look at what I am saying in another way:

    You know one of Gavin’s favorite sentences from the IPCC report:
    “The models do not show the present day warming, if the anthropgenic CO2 is removed. Only by adding it in, are we able to account for the whole warming. Therefore …etc etc.”

    This presumes, unlike what you seem to be saying above: that the models have everything down and calculated. All the ebb and tide, the cyclical and non-cyclical phenomena are characterized so well.

    This is therefore a significant shift. We (IPCC) are now claiming that all major ‘knowables’ (the dreaded word) are known that we can call our models to be mechanistic, deterministic, ‘physics based’ (re VS thread).

    Secondly, the further out we go in time, even with the best of models, our predictions are less certain. This is independent of the level of knowledge and it applies to any modeling exercise. Extremely short-term (1 year, 2 year, even 5 year) trends, on the other hand,are not even ‘trends’.

    If the peak certainty attainment of climate models lies somewhere in between these two extremes, we have to face up to the conundrum that, in spite of expensive supercomputer-driven, presumedly deterministic modeling, the outputs are only heuristic in effect, although mechanistic in origin and designation.

    In other words, by a complicated process we are only guessing the future climate state, not working it out.

    I saw an interesting discussion of this here

  198. willard Says:

    > [Schmidt’s quote] presumes, unlike what you seem to be saying above: that the models have everything down and calculated. All the ebb and tide, the cyclical and non-cyclical phenomena are characterized so well.

    I am not sure how Schmidt’s quote suffices to obtain that models have everything “down and calculated”. The models we actually have, which implement both theory and data, corroborate the hypothesis that the world is warming because if the CO2. It does not **prove** it in any formal sense.

    There is no need to infer that this hypothesis is necessary. There is room for other hypothesis. That the CO2 is the main driver is the best explanation we have.

    That it’s an inference to the best explanation seems to point that it’s not a formal deduction. In other words, what Schmidt is saying does not presumes that one has everything down and calculated.

    Easterbrook’s article provides a very good explanation of the problems facing the interpretation of the models. There is no conundrum, simply formal concepts lending to counter-intuitive interpretations. And the interpretations get are tougher to communicate as the models’ apparatus complexifies.

    Who has better models? Who can advance a new theory? Who has a good working hypothesis to explain the data we have? Science of Doom needs you!

  199. Bart Says:

    Well said, Willard at 22:39.
    I don’t see how what Willard said contradicts Shub’s paraphrasing of what Gavin said.

  200. Eli Rabett Says:

    Shub’s statement, if you pare it down is the traditional argument from ignorance, i.e. we don’t know everything, therefore we know nothing. Willard (and Gavin) are saying that everything we know tells us that increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will warm the surface.

    What odds do you think you would get if you had to bet on who was right?

  201. Shub Niggurath Says:

    I am not arguing from ignorance. I would ask you to look carefully as you break it down – there are actually two questions there.

    1) Are our models functioning, in effect, heuristically, much to our claims otherwise?
    2) If they are deterministic in essence, why don’t we get the immediate ‘medium-term’ prediction correct?

    One can look at the literature for a bit of a ruckus kicked up by those who claimed that the models are heuristic, which was obviously denied in strong terms by the modelers. (For example, Norton and Suppe 2001 vs Oreskes! (herself), 2007). I don’t know what happened after that. If the Easterbrook post is any hint to what’s happened after that – I would say nothing much happened.

    Really, I am not saying anything more than this here. Only a simple questioning. For example, unlike Eli’s claim, whom I will now request to pull the words he put into my mouth, I do not say ‘we know nothing’. Obviously we know some thing(s)! I am not questioning the entire modeling exercise itself.

    Repeating what I said, earlier:
    “Neither am I claiming that, if and only scientists predict the next upcoming trend will I accept their predictive abilities. ”

    Let me try another approach: Suppose the models say ‘X’ anomaly warming will occur by the next 30 years. Ten years have passed and nothing has happened. It is obvious therefore that the remainder of the predicted warming will be compressed into the next 20 years. This has immediate policy level implications. This is exactly the kind of thing the Huffington post article is claiming (and not only that article).

    Are we going to face a decade of intense warming next?

  202. Tom Fuller Says:

    Careful Shub,

    That’s the question that got me labeled as scientifically ignorant last week. Guess it’s a question people don’t want to answer. If people predict x warming in y time and half of y has expired, is x a squeezable balloon or does y extend in time?

  203. willard Says:

    And here we come back to the ball park of my initial question:

    If the models M (or the modellers, on the basis of their models) forecast (note the distinction) a warming W at time T, what does it tell us about M?

    Suppose the forecast is wrong: have we falsified M? Worse, have we falsified the very act of modelling?

    How is the nature of M supposed to answer these questions?

  204. luminous beauty Says:

    1) Are our models functioning, in effect, heuristically, much to our claims otherwise?
    2) If they are deterministic in essence, why don’t we get the immediate ‘medium-term’ prediction correct?

    Insofar as any model is a less than complete and perfect representation of the object being modeled, one can say that there is an heuristic element. All models are necessarily an approximation of reality. However, they are nonetheless essentially deterministic.

    The answer to your second question has more to do with Chaos Theory than the less than perfect and complete nature of the models. Medium term simulation is unpredictable because of initial value divergence. Longer term simulation is more reliable because there are relatively stable boundary conditions imposed on variability by inherent physical constraints.

    All single realizations of models simulate decade scale fluctuations very much like real world data, but because of initial value divergence their timing does not necessarily match.

  205. Shub Niggurath Says:

    Dear Willard,
    I asked a question first. If you really want to communicate something about the underlying nature of the models, you could state that directly, instead of asking rhetorical questions.

    I quote:
    “In 10 modeling runs of 21st century climate totaling 700 years worth of simulation, long-term warming proceeded about as expected: 2.0°C by the end of the century. ”

    “But along the way in the 700 years of simulation, about 17 separate 10-year intervals had temperature trends resembling that of the past decade—that is, more or less flat. ”

    If we say the chance of encountering a ten-year pause in warming is 17/700, so what is happening now, for the past 10 years, is something which can occur only about 2.5 times per century; in other words, we are experiencing a ~8% chance event.

    This means, this was a fairly unique climatologic event, and therefore should have been predicted.

    I neither want to falsify M nor the act of M. I want to know how these things work.

    Apparently, if you criticize models without ‘loving them’, you are an ‘external agent’, your criticism stands frozen in time, which the modelers can attack changing their positions all the while, whereas you are stuck with your pronouncements.


  206. Shub Niggurath Says:

    “That should have been a ~12.5% chance event”

  207. Michael Tobis Says:

    A crucial question here is this: is shub engaging in serious inquiry or in hostile argumentation? It seems to me it’s the latter.

    Shub raises a somewhat subtle technical question, and yet appears only to be trolling. Answering the question with sufficient precision to avoid troll-feeding on the one hand and inaccessibility on the other is a difficult endeavor. Is it worth the effort?

    Or should we just point out, instead, that the flat trend line went away a few months back, so that the question is somewhat mooted?

  208. Tom Fuller Says:

    Perhaps answering his question might lead to a better assessment of his motives. I personally don’t really care about his motives, but I do care about the answer to his question.

  209. Shub Niggurath Says:

    It is always thus with folks like you. How did you decide I was doing “hostile argumentation”? Go back and read my posts – I’ve repeated over and over that I do not wish to discredit the whole of modeling, do not believe that the entire exercise is futile, and that that is not the main point of my argument at all.

    The expected IPCC trend per decade is 0.2 C. We had 0.0 C from 1998-2008. Have we done the 0.2 C in the past two years then? I am really asking, because I check the graphs, only visually, and I cannot see that.

    I’ve gotten some good answers already – Bam – “we are not there yet”, luminous – “there is some heuristic thing in the end there, although models are deterministic by design”. Why don’t you give yours? I am certainly not injecting any ‘hostility’ in the main body of my questiong.

    The world will warm eventually, let us say. It is still egg-on-face for modelers who say it will warm because it did not happen the way they said it will. When modelers take a begining point and an end-point, and draw their squiggly-scratchies between the two – is it just for effect, or do those ups and down actually mean something – that is what I am asking.

    For example, Joe Bastardi has predicted that this year is going to be a cool year (because of the expected La Nina?). Imagine the impact if that happens – two cold Northern Hemisphere winters in a row when the general public is reading climategate emails?

    And here we are, thinking whether your explanation might be ‘inaccesible’ to someone who is intererested and persistent enough to wait for an answer. Heh!

  210. willard Says:

    Here is the abstract of the text quoted by Shub, with our emphasis:

    > In this paper I examine the sorts of arguments that motivate skepticism about the predictive powers of global climate models. I contend that these arguments work by contrasting the development and testing of global climate models with an idealized image of science drawn largely from a theologized model of fundamental physics. **A richer appreciation of the methodology of a full range of successful empirical predictions— particularly in practical fields that study complex systems—can dispel some of these skeptical worries about climate science.** If this is right, the good company into which climate science will have been drawn may help to save it from contemptuous ill-treatment at the hands of a theologized image of physics.

    I don’t have time to comment the open loops remaining until next monday. I’ll simply note that a possible equivocation between two usages of heuristic.

    A deterministic model outputs the state-space of possible values, while a heuristic process helps underline a subset of states in a state-space that is too big to explore extensionally. A deterministic model that does not act as a heuristic process can still have heuristic value. That is, it provides ways for scientists to know where to look for. A deterministic model can both act as a heuristic process and have heuristic value, of course.

  211. Eli Rabett Says:

    OK, so then in 1998 we had 0.6 K of warming.

    And need Eli remind everyone of the many predictions for a globally cold 2010? What happened to them heuteristics.

  212. willard Says:

    Ok, I cheated a bit and read Goodwin’s arguments, pun intented. Goodwin’s conclusion is interesting:

    > [G]eneral epistemological skepticism about the predictive adequacy of global climate models has its roots in a particular image of successful science. This image of successful science shows up in these skeptical arguments as a related collection of assumptions about the proper relationship between descriptions of complex real world phenomena and descriptions of the more fundamental process from which they supposedly derive. More specifically, we have seen again and again how these skeptics infer from the fact that the descriptions of these more fundamental processes are incomplete or inaccurate that the descriptions and predictions of the larger scale, real world phenomena, which are the principle targets of global climate modeling, should not be regarded as accurate either. I have suggested that this inference (which when codified as a principle I referred to as the supervenience of descriptive adequacy) is facilitated by thinking of successful science in a particular way—as fitting into a hierarchically organized system of laws that culminates in simple and general laws of physics. To understand something scientifically, according to this image, is to recognize it as a consequence of more fundamental (and preferably physical) principles. As a result, discrepancies between the mere ‘proximate principles’ characterizing messy or complex real world situations and the supposed “ultimate and sufficient” higher principles taken to ‘govern’ the situation are evidence that the real world situation is not understood scientifically. Additionally, from the fact that a phenomenon is not understood in the way characteristic of this image of science, it is then inferred that it is not possible to make quantitatively reliable predictions about the phenomenon (at least in complex cases like global climate modeling).

    One of the problem is what the author calls **fundamentalism**:

    > [T]rue scientific understanding involves tracing a phenomenon back to fundamental laws, and more specifically the fundamental laws of physics.

    In other words, according to the fundamentalist conception of science, you first understand how it will warm, and then backtrack to the why it will warm.

    This article provides good reading for those tired of the tired Popperian rant. The penultimate conclusion, arguing for considering climate science as an engineering discipline, might also appeal to the engineer-minded contrarian.

  213. Incredible Libertarians and the Skeptics Creed « the Air Vent Says:

    […] Climate skepticism comes in many shades of grey […]

  214. TimG Says:


    China responded to scientific concerns about overpopulation with a one child policy. Enforcing this policy required some rather brutal actions including forced abortions.

    How would you describe someone who categorically rejects this policy as a solution to overpopulation because it goes against their value system? An anti-science ideologue in bed with big tobacco?

    Science does not trump values. If someone says they reject binding international treaties as a solution to the stated problem of climate change because they do not believe in giving power to unaccountable and unelected supra-national bodies then that is a perfectly legitimate view. Just like opposing forced abortions is the perfectly legitimate view.

    If there is any group worthy of contempt and ridicule it is the smug and self-righteous CAGW activists who are incapable of distinguishing between what the science actually says and their political ideology.

  215. Bart Says:


    I’m with you untill you reach your last paragraph. Science is a very different cup of tea than values. It is indeed perfectly legitimate tp oppose CO2 regulation for reasons that have to do with your values.

    I would then ask people to say so: “Because of these and these values I hold, I oppose these and these kinds of measures”. But I would also ask not to make extra-scientific attacks on the science to bolster your value-driven political stance on certain mitigation measures: Don’t add to the previous sentence “…and btw, climate change science is bollocks”. Make your argument based on your values, and at least a discussion can be had, or we can agree to disagree. I would respect that a lot more than attacking the science.

    In other words, skip your last paragraph.

  216. TimG Says:


    Consider this dialog:

    Activist: The science says that all countries must sign a binding global treaty to reduce CO2 emissions.

    Sceptic: I don’t believe in giving that kind of power to the UN.

    Activist: Then you are flat earth creationist who denies the science.

    Sceptic: The science does not say what you claim….

    The attacks on science started because AGW activists used the science to push a political agenda that had nothing to do with the science. This left people opposed to the agenda no choice but to attack science.

    If you want this to stop then AGW activists have to learn to separate the science from the political ideology.

  217. Pat Cassen Says:

    TimG – “…AGW activists used the science to push a political agenda that had nothing to do with the science. This left people opposed to the agenda no choice but to attack science.”

    Not really a rational response, is it?

  218. TimG Says:

    Pat Cassen ,

    It is completely rational. In fact, it is the only rhetorical option if forced into a public debate with a fanatical opponent who (wrongly) insists that the science demands that their pet policies be implemented and claims that anyone who disagrees is anti-science.

    The bottom line is it is the AGW activists who turned science into a political weapon and the onus is on the AGW activists to stop doing that.

  219. Pat Cassen Says:

    Tim – “The bottom line is…”

    I do not share your view at all. I have no political axe to grind, but find the scientific evidence for serious consequences of AGW compelling. I am not as concerned with “AGW activists who turned science into a political weapon” as I am with those who resort to the “rhetorical option” of attacking legitimate scientific conclusions.

    So we disagree.

  220. TimG Says:

    Pat Cassen,

    If you claim that the science *requires* that we adopt CO2 reduction policies then you are one of those “AGW activists who turn science into a political weapon”.

    The decision on what policies to adopt is purely a values based cost-benefit analysis. If you favour mitigation then that means you place little weight on the harms caused by government regulation and a lot of weight on harms that might be caused by climate change. People who oppose mitigation have the opposite weighting.

    The two value based outlooks are largely irreconcilable much like the different views on abortion are irreconcilable. There is common ground when it comes to R&D into new energy sources but not much else.

  221. Tom Fuller Says:

    Isn’t it more like this?

    Scientists: The globe is warming, we’re emitting CO2, there’s likely to be a connection. Could get serious, we should consider doing something.

    Industry funded think tanks: It’s a theory, we need more study, CO2 is plant food, warming may do good.

    Hysterics: Sea Level Rise will be 20 feet and temperatures will rise 10 degrees. We must have zero emissions today. We must have cap and trade and change our way of life drastically.

    Skeptic: Wait a minute. The science doesn’t say there will be 20 foot SLR or that there will be 10 degree temperature rises.

    Hysteric: Skeptics are denialists, part of industry groups and deny the science. Deniers! They are just as evil as industry think tanks and are out to get the scientists.

    Industry think tanks: The scientists are all hysterics, preaching 20 foot SLRs and 10 degree temperature rises.

    Public: Huh?

    Did I miss anything relevant?

  222. TimG Says:

    Tom Fuller,

    Q) What it the difference between “Industry Think Tanks” and the WWF/Greenpeace/Oxfam?

    A) WWF/Greenpeace/Oxfam have a lot more money to promote their political agenda.

    No discussion on the effect of industry lobbies is complete without making it clear that they are entitled to promote their view just like the WWF/Greenpeace/Oxfam are entitled to promote theirs

  223. Tom Fuller Says:

    Knew I missed something. What’s their tagline, though?

  224. Bart Says:


    You’re not addressing the point that both Pat Cassen and I are making: Your value system guides your thinking of how good/bad you view policy options, but it has not bearing on the science, and therefore should not influence your thinking of how good/bad the science is. If it does, your criticism of the science is ideologically driven and therefore not taken seriously by those who respect science.

  225. HotRod Says:

    I apologise if this has been written already, I have only just caught up with this post and can’t read through 223 comments, so don’t know what’s been said.

    – The first line of the post is ‘It has long puzzled me why so many people don’t accept the science’. Well, what is the science? I accept some man-made warming. Will that do? Or do I have to accept a precise amount, over a precise time period? What do I have to accept in order not to be categorised as someone who does not accept the science? The whole IPCC FAR? Unprecedented temperatures and rate of warming in late C20? Potentially catastrophically large and rapid sea level rises?

    – I didn’t accept the WHO (and UK) assessment of swine flu risks. I didn’t accept the science. In the late 80’s I didn’t believe in the forecast rate of HIV transmission in the USA and Europe. I didn’t accept the science.

    – Bart – when you’re looking at stuff out of your field, say swine flu, SARS, HIV, or scientific studies from Greenpeace and WWF on species decline or extinctions, are you sceptical, do you sometimes refuse to accept the science?

    – The Dutch review of the IPCC had some words to say on the IPCC (for many of us, the science) emphasising bad things. Such things as heat-related deaths (but no heat-related non-deaths) and so on and so on – and as a keen lay follower of it all I believe those criticisms are valid. That taints the science, for me.

    – I am more sceptical of science that concludes ‘we need to do something, and fast’, than science that does not.

    – I am sceptical of science (IPCC again) that has moved pretty quickly from ‘no certain anthropogenic fingerprint on warming’ to ‘highly probable the majority of warming’ – (is that scepticism fair?)

    – The effects of AGW – that is different science from climate science, involving such things as the likely spread of malaria through mosquitos, the likely effect on sea levels, precipitation, but still qualifies as science in the area? Am I allowed to accept less of that than the core GHG science?

    – I guess I can sum up a lot of the above by saying ‘Am I allowed to not accept much of what James Hansen says?’

    – And by saying that in my 50+ years of life I’ve been told so many times by science that the end of a particular world is nigh, you all know the list, that my reasoning bones are on high alert.

    – The blurring between climate science and policy, and climate science and environmentalism, in the various conversations is deeply off-putting, but that’s a different question.

    – The expression ‘the science is in’, there’s a hint of that in your first line.

  226. HotRod Says:

    Oh Lord, having mentioned Hansen the next thing I find is this: ‘I find it almost inconceivable that “business as usual” climate change will not result in a rise in sea level measured in metres within a century.’

    Bart, do I have to accept this as science in order not to have myself submitted to an ideological examination?

  227. TimG Says:


    And you are completely missing the point I am making:

    The policies that AGW activists prefer are driven purely by their value system. The science has nothing to do with their choice of policies. However, AGW activists regularly choose to misrepresent the science in order push policies that suit their ideology.

    The majority of so called ‘attacks’ on science occur because the public misrepresentations by activists must be addressed and that requires that the scientific claims be deconstructed by showing that the uncertainty is much greater than claimed or that the science is simply wrong.

    A good example of the dishonest misrepresentation of science can be found with the claims about Malaria. For years, activists insisted that a spread of Malaria was a consequence of climate change but only recently have experts finally came out and made it clear that AGW on effect on Malaria is insignificant compared to all of the other factors – a point which sceptics have been making for years. A similar issue exists with hurricanes or SLR or MWP temperatures.

    The recent tempest on Amazongate featured a so called respected scientist making claims that have be shown to unequivocally false. The only charitable explanation for his falsehoods is he was too lazy to read what sceptics were saying and simply rebutted a strawman. When he was finally forced to concede that he misunderstood the issue he tried to dismiss it by inventing an self serving and nonsensical interpretation of the English language.

    If really care about science then you really need to defend whenever it is being abused – even if that undermines the case for your preferred policy choices.

  228. Bart Says:


    There is a clear and large mismatch in what the lay public thinks about climate change and what the relevant scientists think. The question I was addressing in this post is why? In a societally relevant field where the big scientific picture hasn’t changed dramatically in decades one would expect that the public’s and the experts’ opinions wouldn’t diverge that much.

    On complex issues on which I don’t have any expertise I use these sorts of clues to make up my mind (applied to the example of climate change, but widely applicable imho). See here how it would apply to e.g. health issues (also very relevant to climate science; e.g. check number two).

  229. HotRod Says:

    Bart, thanks. I was amused to see this on your web-iquette link:

    5. Don’t confuse personal experience with science. Anyone can write anything on the internet. Beware, it’s a dangerous place. And, don’t confuse weather with climate. Please. It’s making us soooooo tired.

    ……because I had just been watching Michael Mann say this: “Record heat wave in the US that’s part of a larger picture of early summer temperatures that are the warmest on record, which is part of a larger picture of a globe that is running warmer than ever before…”

    which quote, committing cherry-picking crimes as well as confusing weather and climate, was indeed making me feel tired! And it devalues his science.

    Re the survey you link to: question two of two is ‘Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?’. You say also that ‘the big scientific picture hasn’t changed dramatically in decades’. I thought the IPCC had upgraded the human fingerprint over four reports to the latest level of 90%+ probability that 50%+ is human-induced, higher than earlier consensuses?

    In answer to your question WHY? is there this divergence, I think it’s because we don’t believe the impacts, scale or certainty, and since they appear together with the GHG science certainty, as in the IPCC reports, you get backward pollution. As in mosquitoes, mentioned by another poster above. Anyone of any sanity could have told you that temperature changes of the magnitude being discussed would have a trivial effect on global malaria compared to other influences.

    Which reflects back on my points above – if scientists stopped exaggerating impacts, in scale and certainty, they would get more trust in the GHG science.

  230. Eli Rabett Says:

    What Michael Mann was saying is that the probability of a record high day today is twice that of a record low day. In the 1950s it was even odds.

  231. HotRod Says:

    Since we know it’s warmed over the last century, that’s hardly startling math, surely?

  232. On the blogroll « the Air Vent Says:

    […] Bart hasn’t figured out why we discuss the skeptic side of climate science.  Our thoughts are not within his realm of experience as  we can tell from his post here.  To […]

  233. JamesG Says:

    Well the reason I’m skeptical is because I’ve seen it all before multiple times. Scientists get overly pessimistic or overly optimistic over something very poorly understood -> win awards and funding and get names in papers -> screeching gets louder (the only real positive feedback) -> eventually real world data contradicts the claims -> the idea dies.

    The reason this one ran on so long is because certain activist-scientists have a gridiron lock on the data and adjust it whenever it strays from pet theory. When that fails they produce graphs of cherry-picked short-term trends in glossy brochures, while lecturing the rest of us to avoid looking at short term trends.

    However, it’s nigh on 15 years of non-warming in the troposphere and non-cooling in the stratosphere and no warming of the sea at all since accurate records have been taken, with consequent discussions of just where is this darn extra heat going? And those who say “it’s simple physics” start to invent complex, unphysical mechanisms using much menatl gymnastics, rather than just refer to occams razor and admit that the hypothesis just isn’t holding up.

    When the next cooling wave hits and the Mann’s and Trenberths of this world are once again telling us not follow their example of confusing weather with climate, there’ll be even fewer adherents to the cause. Thus has it ever been.

  234. willard Says:

    > Well the reason I’m skeptical is because I’ve seen it all before multiple times

    Isn’t that confirmation bias?

  235. How science does and does not work (and how skeptics mostly fall in the latter category) « My view on climate change Says:

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  237. Another Stormy Week for USA (potential grows for very active tornado season) Says:

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  238. The Public Debate on Climate Change by Dr. Bart Verheggen Says:

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