A Former AGW Supporter Turns Skeptic

As promised to Ron Cram, I am creating this post to discuss Allegre’s skeptic turn and the reasons for it.

Here is an excerpt from the NP article:

Fifteen years ago, Dr. Allegre was among the 1500 prominent scientists who signed “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity,” a highly publicized letter stressing that global warming’s “potential risks are very great” and demanding a new caring ethic that recognizes the globe’s fragility in order to stave off “spirals of environmental decline, poverty, and unrest, leading to social, economic and environmental collapse.”

So we have a bona fide AGW supporter who signed the letter regarding the threat of global warming.  Here is his current stance:

Calling the arguments of those who see catastrophe in climate change “simplistic and obscuring the true dangers,” Dr. Allegre especially despairs at “the greenhouse-gas fanatics whose proclamations consist in denouncing man’s role on the climate without doing anything about it except organizing conferences and preparing protocols that become dead letters.” The world would be better off, Dr. Allegre believes, if these “denouncers” became less political and more practical, by proposing practical solutions to head off the dangers they see, such as developing technologies to sequester C02. His dream, he says, is to see “ecology become the engine of economic development and not an artificial obstacle that creates fear.”

Much is made of his socialist politics and his credentials as a scientist.

“…he is an exalted member of France’s political establishment, a friend of former Socialist president Lionel Jospin, and, from 1997 to 2000, his minister of education, research and technology, charged with improving the quality of government research through closer co-operation with France’s educational institutions. For another, Dr. Allegre has the highest environmental credentials. The author of early environmental books, he fought successful battles to protect the ozone layer from CFCs and public health from lead pollution. His break with scientific dogma over global warming came at a personal cost: Colleagues in both the governmental and environmental spheres were aghast that he could publicly question the science behind climate change.”

Clearly, this is an appeal to authority, but that’s OK since the previous article I linked to did the same when referring to a former skeptic who turned AGW supporter.

So what evidence turned him to a skeptic?

Increasing ice in Antarctica, and the fact that the retreat of Kilimanjaro’s snow was due to natural causes, not global warming.

Of course, my immediate response is that I’ve read the increase in ice in the center of Antarctica is explained by the increase in the moisture content of the air due to warming oceans… As to the snows of Kilimanjaro — well, what about other glacier retreats that aren’t the result of natural variations?

In the end, I’m left with this question:  How does one sum up all the evidence, pro and con?  Is it a simple matter of maths? 15 glacier retreats vs 4 increasing ice masses vs 4 errors in various databases vs 2000 scientists signing a petition vs 500?

What is the acid test?  Is it Hansen’s reference to tempest in tea pot domes?  Lights being out?  “Mike’s Nature Trick”?  “Hide the decline”?  SSTs?  Satellite data?  Ocean temperature anomalies?  Ice core CO2 data?

What does it for you?

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Exploring skeptic tales.

69 Responses to “A Former AGW Supporter Turns Skeptic”

  1. Susann,
    What is the acid test? My answer may have the look of being opportunistic, but it is not. I would have given the same answer long before Climategate.

    For me, the acid test is the behavior of the scientists. Scientists from the skeptic camp have been accused of taking funding from Big Oil or Big Coal. While it is possible funding may compromise a researcher, it is not a violation of the standards of science. But because it became an issue, no scientists have taken research funding from these sources for years. They make every effort to conduct themselves above reproach.

    Scientists from the alarmist camp have been accused of failing to archive their data, metadata and code. In fact, they have gone to great lengths to hide their data and code, enlisting federal funding sources and journal editors in their attack on scientific openness. This is appalling behavior that really makes these scientists look like they are hiding something. These criticisms have been made toward Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Osborn and lots more long before Climategate.

    Perhaps the single most damaging article to the credibility to CAGW was the article by Marcel Crok. An English translation is at http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/Climate_L.pdf This article outlines not just Michael Mann’s mistakes, but terrible behavior to cover up problems he knew existed in his study. A scientist has to report negative results regarding his study, but Mann did not do that.

    At any rate, I have worked with and been exposed to medical researchers and other scientists working in different fields over the years. All of the researchers I know would be appalled by the actions of Mann, Jones, Hansen et al.

    If they ignore the standards of science or think themselves above the standards of science, then they do not have my respect. If scientists are abiding by the standards of science, then they have my respect even if I may not agree with them (such as Hans von Storch, Eduardo Zorita). The problem is the alarmists do not have many Storchs or Zoritas.

    Gatekeeping, the act of using political or social pressure to keep research from the opposing camp out of the literature, is equally bad behavior. While rumors of this have been around for years, real evidence of it did not come public until Climategate. It is absolutely appalling to see.

    Also, an appeal to “consensus” is bad behavior. Science is not suppose to be based on consensus. It is to be based on evidence. Either the evidence is persuasive or it is not.

    You simply cannot ignore award winning scientists and highly cited researchers like Lindzen, Pielke, Christy, Spencer, Akasofu, Kukla, Bryson and a long list of others. And it is disheartening to see scientists with strong environmental records being attacked in the press for publishing peer-reviewed research that is less than alarming. I am talking about the response to researchers like Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab, Petr Chylek of Los Alamos National Lab and others.

    The kind of brow beating, criticism and nonsense that honest scientists suffer as the alarmists try to beat them back into the IPCC fold is digusting.

    • “For me, the acid test is the behavior of the scientists.”

      This acid test amounts to an ad hominem argument. Actually, this argument, and most of the point of the post, is more than an ad hominem argument: it is a fallacious case of an ad hominem.

      The acid test mentioned in the original post refers to the means to ascertain the summing up of pros and cons of what scientists say. Arguing that what they say must be tested by what they do is no acid test at all.

      • Willard,
        The behavior of scientists is a valid acid test, not an ad hom argument. An ad hom attack would be to say “So and so is not reliable because he has red hair and beats his wife.”

        It is another thing altogether to say “I do not trust the conclusions of so and so because he does not abide by the standards of science. He does not archive his data and code. He does not honor the policies of the journal that published his paper and he did not report statistics which were unfavorable to his conclusions. It looks like he is hiding something.”

        • Ron,

          Susann’s end of the post has three distinct interrogations : “How does one sum up all the evidence, pro and con?”, “What is the acid test?” and “What does it for you?”

          Your post answered the last question, and by doing so conflated it with the two other ones, by saying what is the acid test for you. An acid test does not refer to any subjective mood, usually, unless they corroborate everybody’s mood.

          The “acid test” to decide between the claims and counterclaims is never to look at how well the claims and counterclaims are dressed up. For example, in the last Climate Audit’s post, Gerard Browning is bullying Judith Curry because she dismissed his questions, see

          http://bit.ly/71NHbO

          Now, does Jerry’s thug act invalidates his questions and his overall position against climate modelling? Not at all. His questioning is too general, antagonistic and quite irrelevant to the question at hand, but it could still be valid.

          Judging the behaviour of scientists is good to infer something about their reliability. Like you say, if someone acts like so-and-so and that’s bad, one can say that it looks that he is hiding something. But saying that this same scientist must be wrong because he behaves in a way you find unreliable amounts to the ad hominem fallacy alright.

          An ad hominem argument, in general, inspects the motives or the background of the opponent, generally to show them on an unfavorable way, instead of judging a case by its own merits. One can argue that sometimes it is not unreasonable to do so, for instance when one looks at some circumstantial evidence to mine the credibility of a witness. But to say that the credibility of scientists is relevant to build up an acid test against their results (or worse against the results of other scientists that share the same conclusions) would be going a bridge too far.

          There must be some standards of science to be met for a work to count as scientific. But this does not matter much here, for what matters here is how we evaluate these standards of science. This evaluation must be realistic for the acid test to be what it’s supposed to be : a test against reality. And seen that way, there might not be acid tests for every question we fancy.

          Brow beating we can always be sure to find, from every side, at any corner, with any tool at hand. A most common weapon is the ad hominem fallacy.

          • willard,
            You write: “An ad hominem argument, in general, inspects the motives or the background of the opponent, generally to show them on an unfavorable way, instead of judging a case by its own merits.”

            It seems you cannot understand that not abiding by the standards of science is of the essence. I am judging a case by its merits when I point out the majority of paleoclimatologists do not abide by the standards of science with regard to openness and reproducibility. There is nothing ad hominem about this. If a science paper cannot be reproduced, it is not science. It is that simple.

            • Ron,

              You started by saying that, for you, the acid test is the behavior of the scientists. Then you proceed to claim that “the scientists from the alarmist camp” (supposing, for argument’s sake, that we are not attacking strawmen by that abstract expression):

              – hid their data and code;

              – enlisted federal funding sources and journal editors in their attack on scientific openness;

              – enlisted journal editors in their attack on scientific openness;

              – used political or social pressure to keep research from the opposing camp out of the literature;

              – do not abide by the standards of science with regard to openness and reproducibility in paleoclimatology, as far as the majority of the paleoclimatologists are concerned, and to the extent that honests researchers like Storch and Zorita are few;
              .
              By opposition, you claim that honest, award-winning scientists and highly cited researchers are being:

              – “ignored”, whatever that might mean, and by whom you do not tell, but we can presume from the scientists from the alarmist camp;

              – “attacked” by the press, again whatever that might mean;

              – “browbeated” by the alarmist camp, which sounds kinda bad (rendering the fact that they are also ignored quite strange, actually);

              – “beyond reproach” in their effort to conduct themselves, and that even if they were being funded by Big Oil and Big Coal
              .
              Now, these claims are supposed to show that the alarmists and their cohort are breaching the standards of science. Whatever the merit of this proposition, we can see that what the standards of science has a meaning that goes way beyond what we might mean as the scientific method. For this proposition attacks not only the methodology that the “alarmists” are deploying in their published papers: it attacks their integrity as researchers.
              .
              So reducing this charge to “if a science paper cannot be reproduced, it is not science” amounts to play some kind of pea and timble game, besides conflating experimental reproductibility with openness of data and code. Discussing this last equivocation will have to wait for now. Let it suffice for our purpose to conclude that trying to argue against methodology by attacking integrity amounts to the fallacy an ad hominem.

              • Willard,
                You seemed to understand my point of view quite well for most of your post. Then somehow near the end, you went off the rails.

                Let me be as clear as possible. If researchers do not abide by standards of science regarding openness, data archiving and sharing, they lack integrity. If researchers scoff at the policies of NSF, Nature, Science etc, then they lack integrity. If their research cannot be reproduced because they refuse to archive or provide their data, metadata and code, then those papers are not science. Put simply, science requires integrity and openness.

                Making this claim is quite different from making the claim that researchers who take money from certain sources lack integrity. It is possible money can corrupt, but it is not proof of corruption. If the researcher who took money from a suspect source has properly archived his data, methods and code – then others can come along and check his research. But the failure to archive data, the refusal to respond to requests for code – those things are evidence of corruption. Understand now?

                • The original post is about the evidence needed to choose one scientific hypothesis over another. This question was illustrated by Claude Allègre’s recent change of mind. The questions, at the end of the post, were related to the evidence needed to choose a “scientific camp”, i.e. a network of research and hypothesis. The original post made an analogy with an acid test. This conveys the idea that the evidence should be quite compelling on an intersubjective basis.

                  Your first reply to that question is to say that the acid test was the behavior of the scientists themselves, specifically their scientific integrity. This integrity means moral soundness, reliability, trust, etc. So integrity is an ethical concept, when one interprets it outside the real of methodology: data integrity, reproducibility, etc. The step needed for that inference to have any bite is to show that an ethical position establishes any evidence about a scientific hypothesis.

                  Investigating the integrity of scientists implies a kind of inquiry that is not exactly the same as a scientific endeavour. One reason being that the results obtained are about the integrity of scientists. Questioning a person’s integrity challenges the partipation of that person into a community based on ethical principles. So attacking one’s integrity is attacking this very person. Doubting a scientific hypothesis because of the integrity of some of its proponents is committing the fallacy of ad hominem.

                  • Willard,
                    I believe you are intentionally missing the point. Science requires integrity and openness. If that integrity and openness is missing, the papers produced are not science. The people who produce them are not scientists, they are pseudoscientists.

                    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience

                    An attack on a person’s integrity, if it was not relevant to his work, would be an ad hominem attack. If I said “I know Dr. So and So cheated on a math test in 10th grade!” and tried to get people to believe his work today is not reliable because he was known to be a cheater years ago, that would be an ad hom attack.

                    I’m not saying the alarmist camp beat their wives. I’m not saying they all voted for Benedict Arnold. I’m saying their work lacks the integrity necessary to be considered science.

                    Now do you get it? Or do you want to do this more?

                    • Ron,

                      You’re saying that the alarmists’ work lack the integrity necessary to be considered science. That is supposed to answer the question about how to determine the soundness of a scientific hypothesis. Before inquiring about:

                      – the reference to the alarmists’ work,
                      – the scientific hypothesis dubbed alarmism,
                      – the notion of relevance invoked,
                      – the shift from pseudoscientists to pseudoscience,
                      – and the interesting caricature of the hypothetical doctor who cheated on his 10th grade exam,

                      let’s see if we can do it by way of this example.

                      There are discussions about the identity of the person who hacked the CRU emails. The story so far is that there are two main hypothesis: it could be an be some hacker who stole them, or it could be a whistleblower. It could be another hypothesis, but we know that either the means to get and release the emails was legal, or it was not.

                      If it was a hacker, it would tell a good deal about the person’s integrity, unless you want to argue that science is above the law and people’s rights can be violated for some common good or personal principle. That would quite possible to do so. But even so, we could easily presume that the integrity of a whistleblower would be greater than the one of a hacker. Standing for one’s principles at the risk of one’s safety is greater than seeking lulz.

                      But how this is supposed to matter to the emails themselves? It simply does not, as far as their content is concerned. But it does in a way, if we are to question the selection bias of the emails. The relevance depends upon what one tries to prove exactly. In any case, the debate will stand on moral grounds.

                      Whatever the merits of this debate, it is irrelevant to the fact that a scoundrel can still be right. A scientific hypothesis can still be corroborated by independent means. It can still be fruitful to researchers who look at the scientific work. What is of the upmost importance is that the integrity of the methodology is preserved.

                      Trying to say that “alarmists lack the integrity necessary to be considered science” shifts (again) the debate from integrity to methodology. The implicit assumption in your reasoning is that when one lacks integrity, one lacks methodology. That simply conflates credibility with soundness. As far as I know, arguing for that entailment is simply unwinnable.

                      So what remains to prove is that the lack of integrity of the alarmists entail that the very thesis of alarmism is unsound. Unless one unravels the relationship between alarmists and alarmism, attacking alarmism by attacking the alarmists amounts to commiting the fallacy of ad hominem, whatever alarmism might mean and whoever the alarmists might be. Armwaving around “standards of science”, keeping to one’s favorite talking points, and showing impatience is simply not good enough.

  2. Susann,
    I just came across this post and think this lady is correct that part of our choices has to do with our personality type. Some people are more independent thinkers. Groupthink is a problem in climate science. The kind of brow beating you see can actually have the opposite effect on an independent thinker, like a Pielke, Lindzen, Christy or Spencer.

    http://aprilbaby.typepad.com/a_california_life/2009/12/fake-heroes.html

    • You mention Schwartz in the above post. Interestingly, the response in the denialosphere regarding his early work was good evidence of groupthink. No contrarian dares to question another perceived skeptical view, despite the obvious errors in the Schwartz paper.

      Rather than engage in similar behavior, skeptical scientists took a critical look at Schwartz’s work, and multiple critical comments were published. This lead Schwartz to revise his climate sensitivity estimate upward by about 70%, although issues remain. Schwartz is by no means contrarian, which explains why he was open to criticism and willing to admit error. Others, not so much…

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/first-published-response-to-lindzen-and-choi/

      While scientific consensus does not indicate fact, the reason why overwhelming consensus exists in climate science on key issues is because the evidence is as such, and skeptical arguments are simply not robust. Scientists, generally skeptical of things by nature, can’t ignore reality.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/

      Similarly, the scientific consensus on evolution is not a result of groupthink. On the contrary, one might wonder what motivates someone like Roy Spencer to argue against evolution.

      There’s always strong incentive for folks to argue against established views. Lindzen and Fred Singer, for instance, have argued against smoking’s link to lung cancer. Both have had industry ties.

      This is not to say every aspect of climate science is settled beyond a reasonable doubt,

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/12/unsettled-science/

      but debate at scientific conferences differs sharply from debate within less-informed political circles.

  3. MarkB,
    Why are you saying his errors were obvious? Because you didn’t like his result? Because his result was much different from earlier estimates?

    I was not commenting about the corrections to the Schwartz paper so much as I was referring to people saying terrible things about him personally like he isn’t competent to publish in field of climate sensitivity (like its a separate discipline!) or that he had sold out.

    I think what was driving the Schwartz paper, Chylek paper and some of the others is that scientists are trying to figure out why the planet has not warmed up as much as expected. After all, 1998 is still the warmest year on record. Some of these guys decided to go back and rethink some of the earlier assumptions, such as the cooling impact of aerosols and climate sensitivity of doubled CO2.

    Schwartz took an innovative and common sense approach to estimating climate sensitivity. I still think his original numbers are more likely to be correct. The reason is his calculations are based on the CRU surface temp record, which I view as exaggerating 20th century warming. Of course, GISTEMP numbers exaggerate the warming even more. We truly need a reliable surface temp record. We just do not have one right now.

    If CRU surface temps exaggerate the 20th century warming trend by 0.2C, then I figure the Schwartz approach to climate sensitivity would result in an estimate of about 1.1C.

  4. “Why are you saying his errors were obvious? Because you didn’t like his result? Because his result was much different from earlier estimates? ”

    Schwartz conceded some of the errors. Although there’s always a lure to fame with contrarianism (publishing something that goes against established science), there isn’t a reason to think his research is not done in good faith. In contrast, when Chylek’s errors were pointed out in a published critique (the errors involved severe cherry-picking),

    http://www.clim-past.net/5/143/2009/cp-5-143-2009.html

    they dodged the criticisms, sort of the way Lindzen has done recently.

    “If CRU surface temps exaggerate the 20th century warming trend by 0.2C, then I figure the Schwartz approach to climate sensitivity would result in an estimate of about 1.1C.”

    Schwartz’s conceded some of the errors. His current best estimate is 1.9 C, although issues remain. Since it’s now essentially at the bottom end of the IPCC likely range, it’s no longer mentioned much by the contrarian crowd, unless some are still referencing the old estimate.

    A useful review paper summarizing the lines of evidence leading to climate sensitivity estimates:

    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/knutti08natgeo.pdf

    • MarkB,
      The Chylek papers I referred to were a series he did on aerosol cooling. Chylek showed aerosols did not have nearly as much cooling impact as previously thought. This finding was confirmed by subsequent papers. So, it is much less likely aerosols are the reason the planet cooled from 1945-1975 during a period when atmospheric CO2 was growing rapidly. This means the 30 year cooling was the result of natural climate variation which had swamped the warming impact of CO2.

      Schwartz was famous long ago. He is the scientist responsible for the acid rain legislation. Schwartz’s estimate is slightly below the IPCC range, but you are dodging the point I was making. The real issue is what will Schwartz’s estimate be once the surface temp record is corrected?

      CRU exaggerated the warming trend and so does GISS. There is a lot of overlap between the two because they both use GHCN stations. At this point, no one knows exactly how much the warming trend has been exaggerated. But if it was .2C, then Schwartz’s estimate of climate sensitivity will need to be reestimateed and would probably come in about 1.1C to 1.3C. This is dramatically less than the IPCC and indicates AGW will not be catastrophic.

      • “The Chylek papers I referred to were a series he did on aerosol cooling.”

        Hmmm…you mentioned climate sensitivity initially. Thus, it seemed that you would be focusing on a paper that estimates climate sensitivity directly. As Annan et al. showed, Chylek’s estimates are not robust. The latest evidence I’ve seen is from Shindell, who assigns a stronger aerosol negative forcing than IPCC estimates. Such does not necessarily imply CO2’s impact is greater than previously thought, as it could impact other forcings. It’s always the climate contrarian, worried about CO2 regulation, who automatically seeks to discredit the CO2’s impact. Careful scientists don’t jump to such conclusions.

        “Schwartz was famous long ago. He is the scientist responsible for the acid rain legislation. Schwartz’s estimate is slightly below the IPCC range, but you are dodging the point I was making. The real issue is what will Schwartz’s estimate be once the surface temp record is corrected?”

        It’s odd that you would accuse me of dodging your point and then construct a brand new argument, a “moving the goalposts” strategy.

        “CRU exaggerated the warming trend and so does GISS. There is a lot of overlap between the two because they both use GHCN stations. At this point, no one knows exactly how much the warming trend has been exaggerated. But if it was .2C, then Schwartz’s estimate of climate sensitivity will need to be reestimateed and would probably come in about 1.1C to 1.3C. This is dramatically less than the IPCC and indicates AGW will not be catastrophic.”

        The latest evidence I’ve seen indicates, if anything, the surface records underestimate the warming trend a bit. As Thompsom notes in a 2008 paper:

        “compensation for a different potential source of bias in SST data in the past decade— the transition from ship- to buoy-derived SSTs—might increase the century-long trends by raising recent SSTs as much as 0.1 C, as buoy-derived SSTs are biased cool relative to ship measurements”

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v453/n7195/full/nature06982.html

        Such a correction will apply mostly to the recent decade. USHCN.v2 did not include this expected correction, although discussed that the correction is still being worked out.

  5. Someone is still out there hunting for silver bullets to wish away the AGW problem. IPCC did not determine/specify what climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 is; they merely relayed what has been stated in the reputable literature. Regarding climate sensitivity, someone needs to read all the papers cited at:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/climate-sensitivity.htm
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Working-out-climate-sensitivity.html

    We have warmed by almost 1 C already for a 37% increase in GHGs (above pre-industrial levels). Climate sensitivity has been determined using independent analyses of PALEO data in addition to estimates from the instrumental record. Guess what, they are in very close agreement, if with the alleged “exaggerated warming data” the denilaists keep muttering about.

    Radiative forcing of GHGs back in the 45-70 period was much weaker than it is now, CO2 in that period increased from ~310 ppm to ~325 ppm. Today CO2 levels are near 390 ppm. So it would have been “easier’ for internal climate variability and/or aerosols to affect global temperatures. Even today, global dimming now is offsetting the radiative warming of GHGs by quite a bit.

    That all said, analysis of SAT show that there is a dsicontinuity circa 1945, a homogenization problem. Scientists have demonstrated that part of the cooling after 1945 could be attributed to a change in which the SST was measured, bucket versus engine intake. This problem has not been accounted for in global SAT record– the significance, the cooling may have been exaggerated b/c of a homogenization problem.

    Someone should also watch this:

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/richard-alley-the-biggest-control-knob-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-climate-history/

    • Insight,
      “We have warmed by almost 1 C already for a 37% increase in GHGs (above pre-industrial levels).”

      It appears you are assuming all of the recent warming was caused by GHGs. Is that really your opinion? It is not the opinion of the IPCC which says “most” of the warming is from GHGs. It is not the opinion of Keenlyside which says up to half of the warming is natural. And it is not the opinion of Roy Spencer who says no one knows how much of the warming is from GHGs and how much is natural.

      “Climate sensitivity has been determined using independent analyses of PALEO data in addition to estimates from the instrumental record.”

      Guess what. If we have a hard time determining the cause of warming in recent years with any certainty, there is even less certainty with any attempt to do so using paleo data. Climate sensitivity estimates, taken as a group, are all over the board. The Lindzen and Choi estimate contained some errors and was not well-received. However, on ClimateAudit Motl is saying LC is circulating a revised paper with the errors corrected and the conclusion does not change much.

  6. Yes, there are other factors, and CO2 does not account for all that warming, should have made that clear. However, there are also anthro factors wroking against ther radiative forcing of GHGs, e.g., global dimming. We really are screwing around with the planet’s climate system and some people just don’t care.

    Denialists forget that Lindzen only used data for 20N to 20S, those tropical data are not representative of the climate system’s sensitivity. Someone needs to read the exhaustive literature on climate sensitivity provided in previous posts, and not cherry pick those findings which make them feel better. Spencer keeps upping his guess-estimates (climate sensitivity is not his field and he should be careful about what he claims in public).

    The warming since the 50s (~+0.6 K) is not attributable to an increase in TSI, SATs have been going up while TSI has been going down. Nor do internal climate modes explain the long-term temp trend.

    Lindzen and Spencer are obfuscating, and their work has been cast in doubt over and over again, yet denialists refuse to acknowledge the fact that our earth system has, in the past, demonstrated a climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 in the 2-6 C range, with a best estimate of 3 C; and we are easily going to more than double CO2 by 2100. If the “skeptics'” estimates are correct, then the positive CO2 feedback would be too weak to have generated glacials and interglacials. I’m assuming someone has decided not to watch Dr. Alley’s talk presented recently at AGU lest it raise inconvenient thoughts.

    Anyhow, people debating this here changes nothing. The planet continues to warm, despite a “cooler” sun, and world leaders have decided a long time ago to stop listening to the denialists (for good reason), so said denialists have to resort to trolling to further their “argument” and ideology. Pretty sad really. Even more pathetic is that the denialists are unaware of their sad behaviour.

    Do trolls know that Lindzen has taken money from the FF industry? Also, Spencer is associated with the CSCA, another ant-sicence astroturf group. Spencer and Lindzen also both have ties with numerous other radical neocon/big business groups. Yet, denialists would have us believe that they are impartial and are not in the business of muddying the waters and confusing the public with misinformation. Yes, they only seek to find the “truth”. Uh huh, when was the last time big business and FF industry saught the truth about anything. Think tobacco, think fuel efficiency, think seat belts etc., think human rights and employee rights.

    Can you imagine the uproar from the Limbaugh acolytes had Santer received money from Greenpeace, for example?

    • Insight,
      Your comment is full of ad hominem attacks. I would much prefer talking about the science rather than these irrelevant and unsupported attacks.

      20th century warming is due to both natural and anthropogenic causes. I think everyone agrees that statement is non-controversial. Anthropogenic causes include CO2, land use/land cover (LULC) changes and other GHGs. How much warming is due to each of these factors is a subject of debate. Roger Pielke and Reid Bryson believe LULC changes may add as much warming as CO2. The IPCC considers CO2 the prime anthropogenic forcing, but they ignore a great deal of peer-reviewed literature to do so. Other GHGs include methane which is produced by cattle and sheep (and humans, but let’s not speak of that in polite company).

      We don’t really know how much of 20th century warming was natural. Keenlyside suggests up to half is natural. The alarmists think more and the skeptics think less, but let’s take the view of Keenlyside for a moment. About .34C of 20th century warming would be anthropogenic. Let’s say the warming from methane and other GHGs is minor, only .04C to make the math easier. Now if Pielke and Bryson are correct that LULC changes may be roughly equal to CO2 warming, then both would account for .15C of warming in the 20th century.

      Do you really think .15C is going to be catastrophic or raise sea level by tens of feet? Do you think positive feedbacks will cause warming to blow past a “tipping point” causing more runaway warming?

  7. Curry also critiqued the LC paper, and it seems that the real problem with their study was the methodology, data and model that they used. So it will be interesting to see whether or not they addresses those concerns. If not, they may have just fixed some small errors and arrived at close to the same result. They need to completely rework their methodology, data and model used.

    Their flawed findings will live on in the denial machine forever though.

  8. A certain person in denial here seems to think that I am always talking to them…are you a narcissist Cram?

    My posts here are made to address the stream of misinformation continually put forward by those who which to distort and misrepresent the science, and who insist on attacking the science.

    For example, Keenlyside et al. (Nature, 2008) said nothing about climate sensitivity to doubling CO2, and did not speak to how much of the observed 20th century warming was anthro versus from natural drivers. Their paper focuses on the role of SST anomalies in the N. Atlantic on decadal climate regimes. Latif made those comments elsewhere, and experts on climate sensitivity would probably disagree with him on that. This from Tett (JGR, 2002):

    “During 1907–57 we found that there was negligible net anthropogenic warming with the effect of greenhouse gases largely being balanced by other anthropogenic forcings. Therefore, in this period, the warming was largely naturally caused. The late century warming was largely explained by greenhouse gases offset by the effect of volcanic aerosol and the indirect effect of anthropogenic aerosols. Over the entire century natural forcings make no net contribution as they warm early in the century and cool from the 1960s on.”

    Those in denial are confusing regional affects with global affects on the SATs. Land use change can force temperatures at a local scale and can cool or warm depending on what changed– the forcing is not always towards warming. These anthro effects are local, and at most regional, and do not explain the warming observed in and above the oceans (no land use change over 70% of planet), warming over the polar regions (same there) and cooling in the stratosphere– that is, areas where the largest warming (cooling for stratosphere) in temperature have been observed. As those in the know point out, Pielke should know better.

    Those in denial also need to read the recent paper by Murphy et al. (2009) which has demonstrated that the planet has been in net positive energy imbalance since the 50s, with most of the energy stored in the oceans. And they attribute most of that energy imbalance to the marked increase in GHGs.

    Currently sea levels are rising at the upper bound of the uncertainty envelope provided by IPCC, and the rate of increase is accelerating. Latest projections by SCAR are for a rise of 1.5-2.0 m by 2100, and the increase in sea level is going to continue increasing well beyond 2100. Given that over 160 million people live below 1 m ASL, yes, a 1.5 to 2.0 m rise by 2100 alone is a problem, especially when one factors in the impact of storm surges.

    These projections of sea-level rise do not include the relatively quick loss of ice sheets such as the PIG on the WAIS. If that ice sheet slides into the ocean (and it reached its tipping point back in 1996) it alone could increase global sea level by 24 cm.

    Those in denial love to use the term alarmist, the language used in scientific journals on which the IPCC based AR4 is hardly alarming. Apparently the NHC is guilty of “alarmism” every time it issues a false alarm for a direct hit by a hurricane. Those in denial need to familiarize themselves with the term “precautionary principle”.

    A note on ad hom and “name calling”–yes, that is a challenge which both sides face, from my perspective it is not easy when one is talking to someone who is loathe to accept facts, even when they are repeatedly provided to them. Those concerned about global warming are also called climate jihadists, eco nuts, eco terrorists, and all manner of other things including environMENTALists. Denial means just that, they are in denial about the planet warming and will do anything to convince themselves and others of that belief. All kinds of myths are fabricated and continue to be disseminated by those in denial. John Cook has a list of over 80 myths perpetuated by those in denial.

    Those in denial might receive some respect if they did not repeatedly engage in disseminating misinformation, half truths, and even lies.

    It is remarkable, how even now, some people (and those in denial are in the minority for good reason) are turning a blind eye to the very visible and marked signs that are already evident around the planet that have been associated with < ~1 C warming. They'll be standing knee deep in water and still claiming AGW is a hoax. There is just no helping some people.

    We humans have an immense amount of inertia when it comes to change and being proactive, it is my opinion that those unwilling to change are being myopic, selfish and arrogant.

    On a closing note, b/c I am wasting my time as always here trying to stem the tide of misinformation put forth by those in denial, I and others do not wish AGW to be a problem. You'd have to be pretty sick to wish that of the planet and the beings that inhabit it, not to mention your children. I do not wish for my children to inherit this mess. Could it be that the impacts are not as bad as predicted? Perhaps, but I am not going to screw around with my children's future on the extremely small chance that thousands upon thousands of scientists got is all "horribly wrong". I'd rather take the prudent, sensible and responsible approach to living a sustainable and low carbon lifestyle.

    PS: Someone stated "…then both would account for .15C of warming in the 20th century. Do you really think .15C is going to be catastrophic or raise sea level by tens of feet?"

    This is nonsensical, and misleading, and based on the incorrect assumption that 50% of the warming since 1950 was from natural causes. The IPCC and other reputable scientists are talking about runaway warming, they provide a CONSTRAINED range of 2-4.5 C, that is not "runaway warming". Those in denial need to read up some more on what a tipping point is, and what the consequences are for the phenomenon in question (e.g., Arctic sea ice). Exceeding a tipping point, can mean that a new equilibrium is established which is very different from the initial state. Anyhow, there is good literature out there on tipping points.

  9. What did it for me was the blatant exaggeration, distortion, manipulation and bias of the AGW proponents. The more I looked into the science, the more examples of this I saw. If it was all true and clear and settled, they would not need to do this.
    So it was the people like realclimate who converted me from a moderate believer who did not know much about the subject to a skeptic who now knows rather more than before.

    • PaulM, I doubt very much that you are a real skeptic. And what do you mean by “What did it for me was the blatant exaggeration, distortion, manipulation and bias of the AGW proponents”.

      Another unsubstantiated attack. Common tactic.

      There are almost 3000 climate scientists, and they did not need to “distort or manipulate”. It is so funny that you seem blind to the distortion and bias of McI, Watts, Spencer, Lindzen, and even Christy. Don’t take my word for it go and do some research. I could go to WUWT ‘s main page and find some BS right off the bat.

      Those in denial seem to have this air of superiority, that they have somehow seen the “light”, or that they are privy to some amazing insight. Well, sorry, you just don’t.

  10. Susann,
    For examples of blatant exaggeration and distortion, in addition to the Hockey Stick controversy, I would point you to the Hurricane controversy which caused Chris Landsea to resign from the IPCC back in 2005 because of the actions of Kevin Trenberth. To read his resignation letter, see http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/science_policy_general/000318chris_landsea_leaves.html

    The guys at Niche Modeling (I think David Stockwell wrote this particular post) also have a list of exaggerations which he has complained about and been proven correct. See http://landshape.org/enm/discredited-agw/

  11. Susann,

    Those in denial are not telling you the whole story about the himalayan glaciers, of course. Also, I could also argue that the AR4 is wrong and hogwash b/c they underestimated the increase in sea level, and rate of loss of summer Arctic sea ice, as well as underestimated the rate of loss of ice from Greenland and the WAIS. They also did not predict that the EAIS would also start losing mass, and thought it to be stable. On all those counts they were very optimistic

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/18/science-ipcc-melting-ice-himalayan-glaciers-2035-sea-level-rise/

    Those in denial are also citing Dr. David Stockwell’s blog. He is trained in ecosystem dynamics, yet feels obliged to pontificate on climate science and is on some kind of hobby horse to refute AGW. Why? Well perhaps his association with the Heartland Institute is a huge clue. Also, that is why he tends to publish in E&E or Australian Institute of Geoscientists News on that matter. He has published in Ecological modelling, which I can vouch is a good journal for all things ecological.

    I could not find Stockwell here:

    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/

    David Stockwell should stick to ecological modelling, something he seems to be pretty good at. Climate science. Not nearly so much.

  12. Susann,

    Thos ein denial are ignoring Kerry Emmanuel’s work on tropical cyclones. Watch this;

    http://www.slideshare.net/jatkeison/emanuel-webinar-2009

    They also forget the following:

    Emanuel (2005, Nature) calculated a power dissipation index (PDI) this index to quantify the threat of tropical cyclones. The PDI is a better indicator of tropical cyclone threat than storm
    frequency or intensity. Emanuel’s research showed that the PDI has nearly doubled in the past 30 years. Similarly, Webster et al. (2005, Science) analyzed satellite data from the past 35 years and found a “large increase in the number and proportion of hurricanes reaching category 4 and 5. The largest increase occurred in the N. Pacific, Indian and Southwest Pacific Oceans.”
    Hoyos et al. (2006, Science) came to a similar conclusion.

    Regarding Himalayan glaciers, monitoring needs to be improved, no doubt about that. What we do k now is that glaciers which feed the Ganges river are retreating; the Ganges provides about 15% of the worlds population with fresh water. For example, according to NASA satellite data the Gangotri Glacier has been retreating rapidly at 34 m per years between 1975 and 2000. BBC reports that there are 3,250 glaciers in the Himalayas and that 2,315 (71%) of them contain glacial lakes that are increasing in size because of increase in melt water from glaciers.

    While it is true that some of the Himalayan glaciers (and other glaciers) may be stable (or that some may even be growing) there is a far bigger problem when one looks at the global picture. The mass balance of those reference glaciers monitored around the world are losing mass rapidly.

    Count me as concerned.

  13. Susann,
    Prediction is not the same reality. Prediction regarding hurricanes has been among the worst of AGW exaggerations.

    The PDI referred to by Insight is analogous to the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index. ACE reached a low point in 2009 not seen in 30 years. See http://climateaudit.org/2009/03/12/great-depression-global-hurricane-activity-reaches-new-lows/

    See also this insightful post from Ryan Maue-
    http://climateaudit.org/2009/06/29/hurricane-watch-2009-scraping-the-bottom/

    • This ignores the fact that there has been an increase in both intensity and power in all of the other tropical cyclone basins except the North Atlantic. I know it is easy to forget that given our innate self-centeredness, but try to get over it for just a minute and realize that there is more to the world than Florida and the Gulf Coast.

      • Rattus,
        No, read the post. It is clearly reporting on “global hurricane activity.” I know it is hard to let go of old ideas, but you need to look at the evidence.

        • We certainly have been in a period of low activity in the North Atlantic basin. However, I think that this is more closely related to the actual findings of the hurricane crew.

          One thing to remember, the science is far from settled on the hurricane question and I don’t think that anyone with to brain cells to rub together would claim otherwise.

          • Rattus,
            Geez! Don’t you know observations trump models? How many years have been hearing about how CO2 is going to cause warmer oceans resulting in stronger and more plentiful cyclones? The models are very good at predicting this stuff. Yet, in 2009 ACE reached a 30 year low.

            Have you ever studied pseudoscience? Do you know how to recognize it?

            See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience

            Pay special attention to the “Absence of Progress” section. When theories remain unaltered in spite of contradictory evidence, it is a sign of pseudoscience. Either that or religion.

            • Geez Ron, did you look at the timescale? By the end of the 21st Century does not mean this year. This paper strikes me as an interesting extension of earlier work done by Emmanuel who used a similar strategy of driving a regional model with the output of a GCM. He got contradictory results which caused him to back off on some of his earlier claims. Like I said, the science on this question is far from settled.

              Where you see psuedoscience, I see an honest dialog in an attempt to reach an understanding about what might happen with hurricane strength and frequency. Like it or not, this is what real science looks like.

              BTW, at least I made took a look at your links, although the most interesting information came from looking at Maue’s website. You still obviously have not taken a look at the GISS station list or checked to see whether my claims about the inaccuracy of the claims by E.M. Smith and D’Aleo on the KUSI extravaganza were accurate.

              • Um, that should be “made an effort to take a look”, not “made a took a look”. Sorry about that.

              • Rattus,
                All I had to see was that it was a paper about models. We have been warned about the dangers of global warming for 30 years and ACE just hit a 30 year low. Doesn’t that tell you the models are wrong?

                No. this is not science, it is pseudoscience. Kerry Emmanuel is a believer in AGW and a believer in the connection between AGW and cyclones. He is not a scientist. He belongs to the religion of global warming. His beliefs will not be overturned by the facts.

                The theory of AGW has some strong scientific evidence at times, but the connection to cyclones is not one of them. This is a cargo cult faith. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWjGwBpLZdY

  14. Susann,
    I see some of the blogs have been talking about blatant exaggerations, distortions and ridiculous predictions.

    JeffId at tAV – you can vote for your favorite ridiculous quote. http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/01/12/time-to-vote-2009-most-extreme-predictions-round-1/

    Anthony Watts – What does it take to be a science expert? – just make bigger claims than the last expert. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/19/what-does-it-take-to-be-a-science-expert/

  15. Susann,

    It seems Watts is also suffering from Dunning-Kruger and is also continuing his war on science, surprise, surprise. Sigh, it seems many lay people are ‘McExperts’ on climate science nowadays. Equipped with Google and an array of denialist blogs, every ‘skeptic’ seems to think that they know more than the experts.

    Anyhow, regarding TC activity. Yes, 2009 was a quiet year for TCs, especially in the Atlantic basin (which accounts for 24 months. So there is no basis for using a 24-month mean to filter out effects of ENSO on TCs. Spencer recently used the same lame excuse for hiding the incline in the UAH MSU data.

    Again those in denial are cherry picking and focussing on short-term trends rather than looking at the big picture, and expecting the conditions associated with doubling CO2 to be happening yesterday. Well it sadly needs to be stated again that this is still early days in this experiment. We’ll talk again circa 2050.

    If they have an issue with the increasing potential for destructive major hurricanes, might I suggest they go and tell Dr. Emanuel where he went wrong, and then publish a paper rather than posting misleading graphs on blogs.

    Personally, I do hope that Dr. Emanuel is wrong, and that the future decades will not show a continued increase in major TCs.

  16. Susann,
    Here is another peer-reviewed paper talking about global warming exaggerations, specifically the claim global warming will increase the number of people at risk water shortage. Goklany wrote a guest post on Wattsupwiththat.com. See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/18/the-ipcc-hiding-the-decline-in-the-future-global-population-at-risk-of-water-shortage/

    In the peer-reviewed article, Goklany writes:

    “Even on the basis of speculative analysis that tends to systematically overestimate the threat posed by global warming, it is currently outranked by numerous other health threats, and will continue to be outranked through the foreseeable future. Exaggerated
    claims about the importance of global warming seriously risk misplacing priorities in the world’s efforts to improve public health. Equally importantly, policies to curb global warming would, by
    increasing the price of energy and reducing its usageworldwide, retard the economic development that is central to the fight against poverty. Thereby, such policies would tend to perpetuate the diseases and problems associated with poverty (such as hunger, malaria, diarrhea, and other water related afflictions), slow advances in society’s adaptive capacity, and retard improvements in human well-being.”

    See http://www.jpands.org/vol14no3/goklany.pdf

    • I’m sorry Ron, JPANDS and “peer reviewed” do not belong in the same sentence. For those of you who don’t know what JPANDS is, it is the official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a right wing anti-science group. See Wikipedia for the lowdown. If JPANDS is the only place Golkany can get his junk published, it ain’t worth reading.

  17. You see Susann, you refute one or more myths and they just move onto the next load of BS from another dubious source.

    We could do this all year, but I honestly have more important things to do than entertain trolls and keep on refuting their BS. If you are not convinced by now that your site it being frequented and abused by at least one denialist troll, then I am disappointed.

    Anyhow, as always this has been “fun”, not. Maybe I’ll come back in a few months to see how your blog is doing.

    PS; Just clarify, I am not defending the mistake about the Himalayan glaciers in the IPCC, while reviewers caught the error someone dropped the ball and did not follow through. That is not acceptable. Take care and keep up the good fight.

    • Insight, I’m sorry to see you go. However, in my view, and for my purposes, it’s important to examine the arguments both pro and con and see how they stand up to close scrutiny. I understand if you have already gone all through this and are bone-tired of it.

      I figure that if either of the two sides are weak, it should be pretty easy to knock down their arguments and evidence — and that is what I am here for. Yes, there are going to be those people who will not see “the light” — whatever “the light” is — as they are firmly committed to their position — not because of the evidence — but in spite of it and regardless of it. Because of their political ideology or political affiliation or economic interests, etc.

      Anyway, I don’t know what the purpose of this blog is other than for me to be able to discuss what I want without being moderated or called a troll. I really do want to look at the evidence and arguments on both sides so I can figure it out for myself — with the help of those who are similarly inclined.

      Hope to see you around! Pop in anytime anything strikes your fancy. 😉

  18. Susann,
    Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab has published another important paper titled “Why Hasn’t the Earth Warmed As Much As Expected?” See http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F2009JCLI3461.1&ct=1

    Here is the press release about the paper -http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_display.asp?prID=1067

    Schwartz is saying either the climate is not as sensitive to CO2 as we thought or haze particles are cooling the planet. Now I like Schwartz a great deal. He is an honest man, not like some I have named here. However, I do not think haze particles offer much cooling.

    Haze particles are aerosols that have picked up water. This page presents the older view that aerosols offer cooling.
    http://www.rap.ucar.edu/staff/tardif/Documents/CUprojects/ATOC5600/aerosol_properties.htm

    More recent research indicates aerosols do not cool much. Papers by both Chylek and Myhre show this. See http://www.nature.com/climate/2009/0907/full/climate.2009.63.html

    • I read the Schwartz article today. I wondered about aerosols and how much they are affecting warming. Wasn’t there a study about the time after 9/11 when planes were grounded? There was a noticeable increase in temperature during those days IIRC. Imagine if all the aerosols were taken out of circulation. Aren’t aerosols seen as one means of mitigating warming?

      As to climate sensitivity — I admit I don’t know enough about this to really comment. From what I have read, it’s one of those issues that is not completely certain.

      • I’m glad to see you read the article. I have huge respect for Schwartz.

        I don’t remember anything about temps going up after 9/11. If they did, I would guess it was probably weather and not climate.

        Yes, aerosols do tend to mitigate warming. In fact, aerosols are often blamed for global cooling between 1945-1975. I see the cooling during that period as mainly natural variation. Recent research seems to indicate the climate is not as sensitive to aerosols as we once thought. Of course, it is possible papers exist showing aerosols have a strong cooling effect but I am unaware of them.

        As the Schwartz paper shows, the lack of warming can only be the result of two things – either aerosols are mitigating warming or the climate is not very sensitive to CO2. Schwartz is calling for reducing the uncertainty on aerosols. But if that cannot be accomplished rapidly, it sounds like he is almost ready to invoke the Precautionary Principle.

        Chylek has co-authored a few papers on aerosols. One of his main points is that aerosol optical depth (AOD) has been decreasing over the last few decades as pollution goes down. This decrease is a neglected radiative forcing tending to a slight warming. Myrhe is claiming our knowledge of aerosols is improving and the uncertainty is decreasing. He calculates the cooling effect of aerosols as -0.35Wm-2.

        The Chylek papers are here:
        http://www.knmi.nl/~laagland/KIK/Documenten_2008/2007JD008740.pdf
        http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007GL032759.shtml

        The Myrhe study is here:
        http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/12823/2008/acpd-8-12823-2008.pdf

        • From reading at Tamino’s blog and elsewhere — Schwartz argues that the expected warming should be in the neighborhood of 2.1 K – 2.4 K but if we have only increased atmospheric CO2 by 38% over preindustrial levels, shouldn’t the warming we see now be 38% of expected warming at doubling of CO2 at equilibrium? Or is that too stupid for words?

          • Susann,
            It is a reasonable question, but there is also good reason to give Schwartz, a decent list of co-authors and the peer-reviewers the benefit of the doubt over the musings of Tamino.

            I will explain my understanding of it, but that does not mean I’m right. The math is found on page 4. Without belaboring the equations, Schwartz is saying doubled CO2 (with IPCC expected warming of 3 K) would create a forcing of 3.7 W m-2. Currently the forcing from anthropogenic CO2 is 2.6 W m-2, so this should create warming of 2.1 K.

            So how does Schwartz and co-authors come up with 2.6 W m-2 if there is only a 38% increase in CO2 concentrations? Because it is known that each new molecule of CO2 has less warming effect than the previous molecule.

            The fact the “Law of Diminishing Returns” (not the scientific name for this) is in effect with atmospheric CO2 is not news. But I have never seen anyone put numbers on it like this before.

            Perhaps his calculations are pointing out the positive feedbacks expected by the IPCC are not happening. Without positive feedbacks, the forcing from CO2 would only be expected to increase warming by about 1 K. The IPCC promotes the 3 K number because they expect increased water vapor and other positive feedbacks to increase the warming.

            I don’t know. It is getting late and my brain is not hitting on all cylinders. It is something to think about. Perhaps I will email him and ask your question. I am certain his answer would be better than mine.

  19. Susann,
    Email me. I want to send you something.

  20. Hi, Ron (or anyone who wants to contact me via email):

    You can reach me at shewonk at gmail dot com but as Willard suggested, it would be good to post whatever you have online if it’s a paper or other important evidence.

  21. Willard,
    There is no reply button for me at this time. The debate has gone on ridiculously long. Your posts do not show any awareness of the links I provided on data sharing, data archiving or pseudoscience.

    You write: “Whatever the merits of this debate, it is irrelevant to the fact that a scoundrel can still be right.”

    This is correct. A scoundrel can be correct, but if the scoundrel refuses to share his data, methods and code, it cannot be science. There is no way for his work to be verified or falsified. I do not understand why this is so difficult for you to understand.

    If you remove all of the pseudoscience used by the alarmist’s camp (Mann, Briffa, Osborn, Jones, etc.), not much is left except uncertainty.

    My point of view has nothing to do with the CRU emails. I know that was an eye-opening event for many people, but mine came much earlier. Like Nir Shaviv, it was “not news to me.”

    See http://www.sciencebits.com/node/211

  22. In the text by Nir J. Shaviv, linked above, two sentences are directly related to our discussion.

    1. The first sentence is:

    “[U]nethical or even fraudulent behavior is not relevant in a real scientific debate, something which incidentally the alarmists are avoiding.”

    Notwithstanding the last part of the sentence, which is debatable, this position seeems to correspond to Ron Cram’s renewed position and mine from the beginning. The main consequence of this position is that, of the many points Ron Cram raised in his first post in this thread, enumerated above (http://bit.ly/7i2Vhd), only one remains: not releasing data and code. This underlines that what matters here is the integrity of the research, not the integrity of the researcher. Most of Ron Cram’s talking points critized the integrity of the alarmists, commiting the fallacy of ad hominem:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    2. The second sentence is:

    “Nevertheless, the two unethical behaviors described above do undermine the underlying argumentation for an anthropogenically dominated global warming.”

    This sentence follows the previous one in the text. But it certainly does not logically follow it. The two sentences might even be incompatible, if an argumentation about scientific theories is supposed to follow similar standards as the scientific litterature, which contains discussions after all. Shaviv presents argumentation not as a rational process wherein participants try to seek truth, but debates where parties try to score points, frame minds, and chop heads. The argumentation that Shaviv has in mind belongs to eristic:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eristic

    • Willard,
      You are trying to draw a false distinction between the integrity of the researcher and the integrity of the research. If the researcher refuses to share his data, methods and code, it is not the fault of the data set. It is the researcher who lacks integrity.

      Science demands integrity and full disclosure. As I said before, a scoundrel may be right but his work is not science if he does not share his data, methods and code.

      The point I was trying to make by linking to Shaviv, and which you managed to ignore, was that the fact Mann, Jones and the rest were refusing to share data and code showed they were hiding something. Anyone who was paying attention knew all kinds of shenanigans were going on behind closed doors that they did not want exposed.

      The CRU leak made it public. I was not shocked by the content of the emails. I was only shocked by the fact someone inside CRU felt badly enough about the lack of openness to leak the data.

      • Integrity can refer to data:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrity_(computing)

        Integrity can refer to moral soundness:

        http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=integrity

        Not only the two concepts can be distinguished, one is moral and the other epistemological. One does not entail the other either: Shaviv and Cram agree with that already. As said above (http://bit.ly/7aMxOa), the distinction does not entail a dichotomy: sometimes a relationship between the two concepts is possible.

        Cram claims that when a scientists does not share data and code, that person lacks integrity. That might be quite possible, but the reason why we want code and data is to garantee data and code integrity. Hiding data and code could compromise the integrity of the research. Attacking the integrity of the researcher because he does not share data and code might be a valid ad hominem. There is still no real entailment, as it might be possible to get the data and code of a researcher that refuses to provide them, with a FOI, for instance, and still find sound science made. There sure are other reasons to refuse to release data and code than doing bad science. (Openness does not equal reproducibility anyway.)

        So inducing bad science from bad behaviour is a moot point, even if we consider the best case: data and code. When it comes to bullying, pressuring, gatekeeping, enlisting, and all the other allegedly bad deeds renders the entailment between the researchers’ integrity and the integrity of their research harder to prove.

        Actually, not distinguishing the two kinds of integrity shows a questionable behaviour. Must we infer that refusal to make that distinction only leads to bad conclusions? Of course not. But we certainly are entitled to conclude that the investigation is not a scientific one.

        Attacking scientists is a very indirect way to promote scientific good practices. The detour one takes has the effect of destroying researchers’ reputation, with the side effect of darkening the overall reputation of the scientific community. Readers are left to wonder really why, day in, day out, bloggers go after throats of researchers. For the standards of science, no doubt. And in the most scientific manner, that goes without saying.

    • And Willard, I don’t think Shaviv was describing his own view of argumentation. Shaviv uses science to search for truth. Shaviv is describing the alarmists among the climate scientists.

      Petr Chylek wrote an Open Letter to the climate science community in which he said something similar. See http://www.thegwpf.org/opinion-pros-a-cons/218-petr-chylek-open-letter-to-the-climate-research-community.html

      • Susann,

        You might be interested in the op-ed from Chylek. Here is an interesting excerpt:

        Yes, there have been cases of misbehavior and direct fraud committed by scientists in other fields: physics, medicine, and biology to name afew. However, it was misbehavior of individuals, not of a considerable part of the scientific community.

        Climate research made significant advancements during the last few decades, thanks to your diligent work. This includes the construction of the HadCRUT and NASA GISS datasets documenting the rise of globally averaged temperature during the last century. I do not believe that this work can be affected in any way by the recent email revelations. Thus, the first of the three pillars supporting the hypothesis of man-made global warming seems to be solid. However, the two other pillars are much more controversial.

        It would be interesting to know what are the three pillars of science that Chylek had in mind. It would also be interesting to know what Chylek had in mind by the “considerable part of the scientific community”. We note that the weasel expression is a bit less adventurous than the “majority of paleoclimatologists” Cram used above.

        • willard,
          I think Chylek and I have the same people in mind. A “majority of paleoclimatologists” would make up a “considerable part” of the much larger “scientific community.”

          • Even if Cram and Chylek had in mind the same people, whom we still do not know, referring to a majority is clearer and riskier than a “considerable part”, as we have a better understanding of what counts as a majority than what counts as a “considerable part of the scientific community”. That said, the considerable part of the scientific community is supposed to be of greater importance than all the scientifc frauds in other fields. These are quite impressive evaluations, considering nothing is being said of the number of scientists, the number of frauds, the number of paleoclimatologists, and the number of paleoclimatologists Chylek and Cram are handwaving with these weasel expressions.

  23. Susann,
    Another interesting skeptic you might want to study is Freeman Dyson. See http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2151

  24. There might be global warming or cooling but the important issue is whether we, as a human race, can do anything about it.

    There are a host of porkies and not very much truth barraging us everyday so its difficult to know what to believe.

    I think I have simplified the issue in an entertaining way on my blog which includes some issues connected with climategate and “embarrassing” evidence.

    In the pipeline is an analysis of the economic effects of the proposed emission reductions. Watch this space or should I say Blog

    http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com

    Please feel welcome to visit and leave a comment.

    Cheers

    Roger

    Check out some of the new links.

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