UVa will fight climate change attack

By Phil Plait | May 28, 2010 10:30 am

kencuccinelliSome good news today: The Daily Progress is reporting that the University of Virginia will fight the state attorney general’s attacks on academic freedom.

A few weeks ago, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli started investigating noted climate scientist Michael Mann. While at UVa, Mann was researching climate change. Cuccinelli has submitted a subpoena to get documents about Mann’s research, to see if he was abusing public funds. Cuccinelli’s motivations for doing this are suspect to say the least: Mann has already been cleared of any research wrongdoing. If Cuccinelli is trying to ride the "climategate" propaganda, he’s a day late and a docket short; that whole thing has already died with a fizzle.

But the attacks continue, so the administration at UVa has filed a petition with a judge to set aside Cuccinelli’s subpoena, saying:

"Academic freedom is essential to the mission of our Nation’s institutions of higher learning and a core First Amendment concern," UVa’s petition says. "As Thomas Jefferson intended, the University of Virginia has a long and proud tradition of embracing the ‘illimitable freedom of the human mind’ by fully endorsing and supporting faculty research and scholarly pursuits. Our Nation also has a long and proud tradition of limited government framed by enumerated powers which Jefferson ardently believed was necessary for a civil society to endure."

The Jefferson quote is particularly apt; Jefferson founded the University of Virginia, and even designed much of its architecture. A lot of the principles established by him are still apparent at UVa today. I attended the University for six years to get my doctorate, and so I know first-hand that the climate there is steeped in Jeffersonia, and his love of personal and academic freedoms.

Cuccinelli’s investigation appears to me to be an attempt to slow or smear research on climate change; an attack on the freedom of academic and scientific research, and cannot stand. I’m very glad to see UVa fighting back, and I hope this case becomes a national symbol of the recent attempts to silence science.

Tip o’ the thermometer to my fellow Wahoo Noisy Astronomer, aka Nicole Gooventargenyehelfen.


Related posts:

Deniers abuse power to attack climate scientists
Climate change followup
Climate scientists cleared of malpractice by panel


Comments (100)

  1. Richard Wolford

    Clearly “abusing public funds” means “coming to conclusions that I don’t like”. Isn’t that a Republican motto, along with “Just say ‘no'”?

  2. James

    Is there even a prima facie case for an investigation? Only an investigation, not an actual trial, I know, but the patent lack of any real basis for such an investigation makes this seem an outrageous abuse of power by an attorney general. Has this caused the scandal it should in Virginia?

  3. This is an entirely shallow statement, but….
    Does anyone else think its hard to take the man seriously when he looks like an actor in a TV soap playing the attorney general. It feels like “I’m not the attorney general, but I play one on TV.” The fact that he is striking foolishly, late and without originality reinforces the whole thing.

  4. DrNecropolis

    People here in Virgina have heard (at least here in NoVa), but don’t seem to be interested. Most of the people I have talked to give the response, “Well it never hurts to check. We don’t want teachers wasting our tax dollars”. Never mind the fact that the whole reason for the investigation is baseless and the investigation itself is expensive.

  5. Paul

    The reference to Jefferson is hysterical. Jefferson was keenly aware of the fluctuations in climate and would be furious that government funds were being misappropriated to effect social change via CAGW(Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) scaremongering for private/government/corporate/institutional gain at the expense of the citizens.

    “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their developement, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those overflowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now. ” Thomas Jefferson
    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/JEFFERSON/ch07.html

  6. Autumn

    So, just to be clear, a couple of scientists who complain in private conversation about people they think are stupid indicates a “huge cover-up and conspiracy”, but using the power of the AG’s office to suppress scientific inquiry is hunky-dory?
    I won’t hold my breath, but it would be a huge sign of legitimacy in the intellectual honesty of the anti-antropogenic-warming camp if they would come out in droves to protest this attempt to muzzle research.

    I’m also still waiting for a giant tea-bag rally where everyone decries the huge tax-hikes Regan voted in in ’82, ’83, ’84, and ’86, and the massive deficit he engineered.

    Oh, and unicorns. I’m waiting for unicorns.

  7. If you attended UVa you should know not to be impressed by the Thomas Jefferson reference: No public statement has ever been made by any University of Virginia official, in any capacity, in any venue, for any reason, in the entire history of the school, without Jefferson’s name being invoked. They’d figure out some way to mention T.J. if discussing whether to change the striping pattern on a parking lot or add a vegan option to the Pavillion XI menu; no way they’d keep him out of this one!

  8. bigjohn756

    Fortunately, those of us in Texas don’t need to concern ourselves with Jefferson, since, he no longer is involved with history here in our proud state.

  9. Chris Winter

    I’m seriously contemplating Photoshopping that image and putting a Goa’uld hand device on Cuccinelli’s palm.

    ;-)

  10. dcurt

    “Our Nation also has a long and proud tradition of limited government framed by enumerated powers which Jefferson ardently believed was necessary for a civil society to endure.”

    Translation: Limited gov’t…except when you’re handing us taxpayer money.

    Abuse on both sides of this: the initial funding by the gov’t, that absolutely influences the results…and the witch hunt that follows.

  11. Slowly But Surly

    “… that whole thing has already died with a fizzle”

    I disagree; I believe “climategate” set back the cause of educating the public about global climate change at least a decade — worse than than “The Day After Tomorrow” ;)

    Sure, ideologues use it for propaganda purposes, but your average Joe on the street will just remember “something about the data being cooked…” I’m waiting for a Nova on climate change…

  12. Paul #5: So you’d prefer we stick to science that’s over 200 years old rather than the newer stuff that’s come out since?

    Having a denier quote Jefferson is pretty funny. From what I’ve read, he understood quite well that science learns.

  13. Robert

    There is no sign in the leaked e-mails that the basic conclusions of climate researchers are wrong, and certainly there is no sign of fraud.

    IMO, the mistake Mann (and many others in climate research) made was to not make all of their data available. Science depends on others being able to duplicate a result, and in climate science this entirely depends on having access to the full data and code behind a paper. According to M&M, Mann consistently resisted releasing data on request–and the leaked e-mails do prove that this was not uncommon from other researchers as well. Aside from presenting the appearance of deceit, this prevents others from finding legitimate mistakes. It should be a requirement for publication that all data be available, especially from publicly funded researchers, so that the issue never comes up.

  14. Autumn:
    Well put!
    Slowly:
    Ooh! A Nova on AGW! That would be cool! Big fan here!

    I thought it was Nicole Googlymargenfargen or sumtin… ;)

  15. Ad Hominid

    @Chris Winter says:

    I’m seriously contemplating Photoshopping that image and putting a Goa’uld hand device on Cuccinelli’s palm.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v470/atomicconspiracy/kencuccinelli.jpg

  16. bruce

    What are meterologists above the Law? How do you know why that attorney general is investigating that researcher? You guys are knee-jerking.

  17. john

    Which costs the taxpayers more? Mann’s funding or the Attorney General’s investigation?

  18. Gary Ansorge

    9. Chris

    I agree. He DOES look like a Goa’uld. Wonder if he has a snake in his head. THAT would explain a LOT.

    17. Bruce

    “You guys are knee-jerking.”

    I guess you’re quite familiar with the jerking part.

    Gary 7

  19. MartinM

    IMO, the mistake Mann (and many others in climate research) made was to not make all of their data available. Science depends on others being able to duplicate a result, and in climate science this entirely depends on having access to the full data and code behind a paper.

    Leaving aside the fact that in many cases the data wasn’t made available because the deniers were trying to get it from people who didn’t own it, this isn’t true at all. Science depends on replication, not duplication, and replication does not require access to either data or code. In fact, a result is generally stronger if it can be derived using different methods and datasets.

  20. Paul

    @Phil
    “Having a denier quote Jefferson is pretty funny. From what I’ve read, he understood quite well that science learns.”

    Science does learn Phil, and it is my hope that ‘Climate “Science”‘ can follow suit. Back in the ’70s I was soldering photovoltaic cells together for panels and also making solar ovens, waiting for scientists to dump coal dust all over the arctic to save humanity from “global cooling”. Looks to me today as if ‘Climate “Science”‘ still hasn’t learned not to cry wolf.

    CAGW is not about science. One needs only to look at the proposals put forth by the UN IPCC, the EU and the USA. The Cap and Trade programs and the 20-30 percent reductions in CO2 emissions based on 1990 levels will according to the math of the CAGW Alarmists do little or nothing to mitigate the doomsday predictions of the IPCC or other followers of CAGW. Not even the alarmists can take the CO2 CAGW issue seriously.

    -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLxicwiBQ7Q

    In prior threads some have suggested adopting the precautionary principal just in case all of the many ifs required by the CAGW theory are met sometime in the future to avoid the possibility of millions of people dying. The fact of the matter is that we have millions of people needlessly dying today and people will continue to needlessly die. If those who are hell bent on saving lives were genuine, all their efforts would be towards bringing electricity to the almost 1.5 billion people who are without electricity in this world suffering and dying TODAY. How about potable water? What about actual environmental problems that exist and need to be resolved? All the focus is on not just CO2 but the smallest fraction of the emitted CO2, anthropogenic CO2 and the latest sky is falling craze, the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming induced by CO2 level rise.

    Turn away from the alarmist side Phil, come over to the realist side. If there were actual evidence and science supporting CO2 CAGW we would already have a nuclear/wind/solar/wave/whatever energy research program in America that would rival the 1960s NASA space race & it would be duplicated by efforts in the EU, Russia and Asia. Now we have the massive deployment of not ready for prime time wind/solar and even wave technology instead of the needed intensive research & development to make those technologies viable. Countries are actually burning food(decreasing the ability for many to feed their families) to fuel hybrid cars driven by people who own multiple homes and fly off on vacations across continents.

    We do need to research & develop nuclear/solar/wind/wave power technologies so that it can be determined if they are economically viable sometime in the future(I’m all for sooner but no implementation of emerging energy technologies on a commercial scale until they are economically viable, remember 1.5 billion people do not even have electricity today). Instead “science” & the great thinkers of today have weighed the merits of CO2 CAGW and are in a position to offer a special time limited deal on Carbon Indulgences (As Seen On TV) and also allow you to pay the builders of wind farms bundles of money so you can pay higher energy bills with little or no effect on CO2 emissions. How do Carbon Credits and taxes on energy help the climate? Governments get taxes & bankers make commissions and to add insult to injury, little CO2 is mitigated.

    More than 20-30 years and still that CO2 CAGW evidence is nowhere to be found(but there are really neat computer models). If and when actual observational evidence of CO2 CAGW knocks on the door…let me know, I will help alert the authorities. As far as the Virginia AG requesting documents & emails associated with Mann’s UVa government research grants as part of a possible fraud investigation I am all for it. I am for investigating the merits of just about any government program for fraud and waste. Why should anyone get a free ride on the taxpayer’s dime?

  21. TheBlackCat

    Back in the ’70s I was soldering photovoltaic cells together for panels and also making solar ovens, waiting for scientists to dump coal dust all over the arctic to save humanity from “global cooling”. Looks to me today as if ‘Climate “Science”‘ still hasn’t learned not to cry wolf.

    You know right off the bat that anyone who still trots out the “global cooling” myth is closed-minded and ignorant. I’ve got new for you: there was practically no scientific support for global cooling ever. Even at its peak global cooling was considered an extremely tentative hypothesis, even at that time the vast majority of scientists and that vast majority of research overwhelmingly supported global warming not global cooling. There are only a handful of papers that even tentatively supported global cooling, and even its supporters didn’t consider it more than a remote possibility. It made a big splash in the popular press because they like to spread highly tentative research as though it was proven fact, but that has nothing to do with the science or the scientists which never put much weight on it.

    This has all been commonly known for years now, and is mentioned on just about any site discussing the evidence for global warming. Anyone who is still making this claim has not bothered to do any research whatsoever on what the pro-AGW side is actually saying, they are just reading denialists sites and accepting their talking points without question or confirmation.

    Paul, I have some advice for you: read some pro-AGW sites. See what evidence is actually there. Quoting this sorts of long-debunked garbage just makes you look ignorant to anyone who as actually bothered to do any research on the subject.

    More than 20-30 years and still that CO2 CAGW evidence is nowhere to be found(but there are really neat computer models). If and when actual observational evidence of CO2 CAGW knocks on the door

    Most of the scientific community thinks the evidene is everywhere. So let me ask you three questions:

    1. What, specifically, would you say constitutes evidence that CO2 (and other human-released greenhouses gases) is the primary cause for the current warming?

    2. Even if we assume that the current warming is not caused primarily by human caused greenhouse gases, they are still greenhouses gases. What will prevent the proven greenhouse gases from warming the world?

    3. Even if we assume that there are no such things as greenhouse gases, what is going to prevent other major environmental disasters like ocean acidification (which will cause huge disruptions in marine food-chains), which also result from CO2 release.

  22. Ever since getting my PhD, I have been contemplating spending the estimated year required to sit down and write a paper just on the atmospheric molecule makeup, how greenhouse gases work, and the effects of changing the percentages of each component in the atmosphere.

    Then, I wake up and realize that the people who already have positions in this debate are close-minded and any evidence contrary to their belief will not change their minds.

    I truly believe that the “correct” answer lies somewhere in between the two “traditional” positions. Many of those on the far left believe that any change in climate is purely man made and the solar cycles and natural earth cycles are marginalized. Many of those on the far right believe that its only the cycles that have any effect and anything man-made is marginalized. I think its more “some from column A, some from column B.”

    My father, a military meteorologist for the past 30 years firmly believes that we are not the cause of any of the global climate change, and no amount of pure science from his own son with a PhD will change his mind.

    After years of schooling and self-study on spectroscopy, and seeing the love the CO2 molecule has for IR in the vibrational and rotational modes, I see the potential for a scientific argument that has already been put out there many times, maybe just in the wrong way. But until people are willing to be open-minded enough to actually see and understand arguments against what they “believe” to be true, nothing will change and it becomes akin to banging your head against a brick wall.

  23. Paul

    Hey BlackCat it is late here but I thought I would check in and couldn’t stop myself from replying. Please take my responses with a smile.

    “Most of the scientific community thinks the evidene is everywhere.”

    If that were true evidence of CO2s primary influence on global temperatures should be close at hand. I have failed to find it in the TAR and AR4.

    So let me ask you three questions:

    1. What, specifically, would you say constitutes evidence that CO2 (and other human-released greenhouses gases) is the primary cause for the current warming?

    How about a causaul link between CO2 and the temperature variation of today and those of the little ice age(lia), a demonstration that anthropogenic CO2 is dominate over the Pacific Decadal Oscillations(PDO)? Why am I to believe that the relatively small increase in perceived recent global temperature is nothing more than natural climate variability and over the last 150 years not just a recovery of the LIA? CO2 increase has been linear why is it that temperatures have not followed suit if CO2 is the primary driver of global temperatures?

    What is the ideal temperature of the earth and do any of us get a vote on the temperature we are trying to get to or maintain? I for one prefer wintertime and often like to walk barefoot in the snow so my vote would be to keep the temperature down if it is convenient. I also do not like it when it rains on weekends. However as we understand it the Holocene was pretty darn warm and there were abundant herds of animals running all over Asia, North America and Africa eating up lots of vegetation. Are today’s colder temperatures normal/better or even natural for the planet?

    2. Even if we assume that the current warming is not caused primarily by human caused greenhouse gases, they are still greenhouses gases. What will prevent the proven greenhouse gases from warming the world?

    I would hope that greenhouse gases never stop warming the earth. We would freeze our buns off. Water vapor, the most abundant greenhouse gas varies in it’s coverage of our planet’s surface area. Would not a slight variation in cloud cover over the oceans have a much greater effect on global temperatures than even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere? What do you propose we do about clouds?

    3. Even if we assume that there are no such things as greenhouse gases, what is going to prevent other major environmental disasters like ocean acidification (which will cause huge disruptions in marine food-chains), which also result from CO2 release.

    As I understand it various oceans range between 7.8-8.2pH which is alkaline not acidic. Although records are shoddy I understand that we believe over the industrial period alkaline levels have fallen 0.10ph toward 7.0 pH(neutral). As oceans already vary so greatly(7.9-8.2ph) what is it you believe would neutralize the oceans so much that it would undergo huge disruptions in our food chains?) Tests of lobsters and other crustaceans showed an almost doubling in size going from an environment of 400ppm to 800ppm. I think that is something to look forward to seeing on my plate. I remember one of my old science digests from the 60s or 70s that showed the average size of the massive prewar lobsters. Over fishing reduced the big ones but if we can grow lobster faster that sounds great to me. Even the ocean acidification study that came out and made the papers showed growth enhancements in 7 out of 15 crustaceans tested at the absurd 2000ppm CO2 environment others had thinner shells but were not killed off. Were not the first corals formed when atmospheric CO2 levels in the 7000ppm range?

    Nope, I am not fooled by the ocean acidification sky is falling story. Not for nothing but we have fresh water fish you know, and the pH is a heck of a lot lower. I am more concerned about the mercury in the twisty light bulbs getting into my tuna fish sandwiches.

  24. Ema Nymton

    Wow, Paul. How do you manage to both type and breathe at the same time? That’s quite a feat for someone as dumb as you.

  25. TheBlackCat

    How about a causaul link between CO2 and the temperature variation of today and those of the little ice age(lia),

    Once again, what would you consider sufficient to establish such a causal link? And that only applies to the current warming, there have at most been only a handful of points in history where such massive amounts of CO2 were pumped into the atmosphere with no other events triggering it. More often CO2 is a feedback, with changes in CO2 being triggered by other changes in climate. But that is because it is hard to get that much CO2 release in a short period of time, not because CO2 isn’t a powerful greenhouse gas.

    a demonstration that anthropogenic CO2 is dominate over the Pacific Decadal Oscillations(PDO)?

    You mean the oscillation that, as its name implies, last a few decades at most, as opposed to the 100+ year warming trend we are seeing now? How is a short-term trend like that even remotely relevant?

    Why am I to believe that the relatively small increase in perceived recent global temperature is nothing more than natural climate variability and over the last 150 years not just a recovery of the LIA?

    Relatively small change? This is the most rapid change in a few thousand years at least. And the evidence indicates that the little ice age was not a single vent global event like we are seeing now, but a series of localized cooling and warming periods.

    CO2 increase has been linear why is it that temperatures have not followed suit if CO2 is the primary driver of global temperatures?

    Because feedbacks make the climate non-linear.

    What is the ideal temperature of the earth and do any of us get a vote on the temperature we are trying to get to or maintain?

    Probably the one the last 10,000 years of civilization has adapted to, and the one that won’t flood most of our major cities and a number of island countries.

    However as we understand it the Holocene was pretty darn warm and there were abundant herds of animals running all over Asia, North America and Africa eating up lots of vegetation. Are today’s colder temperatures normal/better or even natural for the planet?

    We are still in the Holocene, and current temperatures are warm for the Holocene, maybe even the warmest. The reason the animals aren’t running wild like they used to isn’t due to it being warmer in the past, it is because we killed most of them.

    Water vapor, the most abundant greenhouse gas varies in it’s coverage of our planet’s surface area. Would not a slight variation in cloud cover over the oceans have a much greater effect on global temperatures than even a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere? What do you propose we do about clouds?
    I don’t think, a doubling of CO2 is a large change and although water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas it is not that much more powerful than CO2. And changes in cloud cover and water vapor don’t just happen. They need to be triggered by something else. If you can show that there have been long-term changes in water vapor and cloud cover then you might have something, but I am pretty sure they already checked for that.

    As I understand it various oceans range between 7.8-8.2pH which is alkaline not acidic. Although records are shoddy I understand that we believe over the industrial period alkaline levels have fallen 0.10ph toward 7.0 pH(neutral). As oceans already vary so greatly(7.9-8.2ph) what is it you believe would neutralize the oceans so much that it would undergo huge disruptions in our food chains?)

    A lot of species are very highly sensitive to changes in ocean pH. As it goes towards more acidic (which, as you show, it already is) they become unable to make their shells and die. The last time we had a sudden drop in ocean pH, apparently caused by a sudden massive release of methane hydrates that broke down into CO2, it caused mass die-offs of marine life primarily due to the loss of marine plankton (which forms the basis of many marine food chains). Lobsters are irrelevant to plankton die-offs. The concern isn’t lobster or fish it is many types of microscopic organisms that can’t handle sudden environmental changes as well as large organisms can.

  26. Messier Tidy Upper

    @25. Ema Nymton Says:

    Wow, Paul. How do you manage to both type and breathe at the same time? That’s quite a feat for someone as dumb as you.

    Hey, Emma you know what sounds *really* dumb here? Your constant insulting of other commenters here who happen to disagree with you without any supporting evidence or reason being given.

    If you have something valid and constructive to say on this issue or any other then say it. But unhelpful, unconstructive, content-free insults like yours – and this is certainly NOT the first time I’ve seen such posts from you – breach the BA’s “don’t be a jerk” policy and are frankly only making *you* look stupid – and childish and rude into the bargain. You are not helping your own side or adding anything useful to this debate.

    Which, ironically or aptly, is already quite heated enough. ;-)

  27. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 22. TheBlackCat

    You know right off the bat that anyone who still trots out the “global cooling” myth is closed-minded and ignorant. I’ve got new for you: there was practically no scientific support for global cooling ever. Even at its peak global cooling was considered an extremely tentative hypothesis, even at that time the vast majority of scientists and that vast majority of research overwhelmingly supported global warming not global cooling. There are only a handful of papers that even tentatively supported global cooling, and even its supporters didn’t consider it more than a remote possibility. It made a big splash in the popular press because they like to spread highly tentative research as though it was proven fact, but that has nothing to do with the science or the scientists which never put much weight on it.

    I’ve got a book on my shelves which is quite an interesting and well written if now out-dated read by Lowell Ponte called ‘The Cooling : Has the next Ice Age begun? Can We survive it?’ (Prentice-Hall publishers, 1976.) and it notes and quotes a large number of scientists. Some of the scientists quoted in the texts acknowledgements (page vii) include :

    1. Dr Reid A. Bryson,
    2. Dr Peirce S. Corden
    3. The late Dr Clyde L. Cowan
    4. Dr Cesare Emiliani
    5. Dr Norman Fertig
    6. Dr William A. Fowler
    7. Dr W. Lawrence Gates & his co-workers at the RAND corporation
    8. Dr George J. Kukla
    9. Dr Robert Leachman
    10. Dr Walter Orr Roberts
    11. Dr Stephen H. Schneider
    12. Dr William Van Cleave

    As well as many others plus the acknowledgements incl. Senator Claiborne Pell – who wrote the books forward btw. – and Congressmen Gilbert Gude & Donald M. Fraser. So there were a fair number of scientists concerned and consulted with that one book.

    Now I’m not sure how big the climatological community was back then but I imagine it wouldn’t have been that large and thus you could – very likely – have said that there was back in the 1970’s a “consensus” that the world was cooling following a number of colder than average decades.

    So “There are only a handful of papers that even tentatively supported global cooling, and even its supporters didn’t consider it more than a remote possibility.” Really?

    Or “Even at its peak global cooling was considered an extremely tentative hypothesis, even at that time the vast majority of scientists and that vast majority of research overwhelmingly supported global warming not global cooling.”

    I don’t think so!

    Sounds like there’s been some revisionist re-writing of climatological history going on there.

    Clearly enough scientists *were* concerned enough back then to get politicians involved and that book by Lowell Ponte also quotes unnamed military sources and uses a lot of graphs and figures and papers too.

    Clearly Global Cooling wasn’t just a breif “scare of the week” deal and there was broad concern and real fear over the threat of GC back in the 1970’s.

    So insulting as “closed-minded and ignorant” anybody who dares point at the history of climate change alarmism (& really what else *can* you call those who make alarming claims about what our climate might be doing? Seriously, suggestions please!) seems outright wrong as well as just being your personal opinion anyhow.

    Then as many older people will likely remember quickly following the real GC concern of the 1970’s came in the 1980’s the big hullaballoo over “Global Warming” with a lot of eco-activists yelling very loudly about it.

    As environmentalists always seem to do, they predicted all manner of dreadful, horrible calamities would start happening any day unless we changed radically exactly as they told us to, right then. Immediately – as in back in the mid-to-late 1980’s.

    Yet, well here we are, look around! Things don’t seem as bad as the extremists back then made out they would be do they?

    Now it seems “Global Warming” has become known as AGW or even “Climate Change” and there seems to be a lot less certainty especially among the wider public.

    Yet the same or at least similar alarming claims that haven’t come true are still being made and again we have to change & sacrifice very radically right now – or else! Or so it appears we’re told, still. Can you really blame folks then for having a certain amount of skepticism and even cynicism this time around? Isn’t that to be expected. Perhaps even to be advocated. Y’know “once bitten twice shy” & all.

    If it all sounds too bad to be true it probably is.

    People have been saying “The end is nigh” since before the year dot and it still probably isn’t. Predictions of great disasters to come unless we follow the orders of the prophets of X have a long track record of falling flat and not living up to expectations or even arriving at all.

    Anthropogenic Global Warming may well be real, I’m not sure, but it may well be – however I think the questions of how much of it if any is down to Human activity and how bad it will really be are very much still open for debate and that Catastrophic AGW is very likely to prove an exaggeration and overstatement of a much less apocalyptic eventuality.

  28. TheBlackCat

    So there were a fair number of scientists concerned and consulted with that one book. Now I’m not sure how big the climatological community was back then but I imagine it would’nt have been that large and you could very likely have said that there was back inteh 1970’s a “consensus” that the world was cooling followinga number of colder than average decades.

    Someone did a literature search a few years ago for all peer-reviewed articles on global cooling. Between 1965 and 1979, 7 articles supported global cooling, vs 44 that support global warming and 20 that were undecided. Hardly a ringing endorsement. Comprehensive reviews at the time, such as an NAS report on the issue, found the existing evidence insufficient to support global cooling, and recommend more research on the issue instead of taking any action. That research they recommended was carried out, and in fact is why we know about global warming now. Furthermore, much of the talk about global cooling was over considerably longer time scales than the warming we are seeing anyway, sometimes even tens of thousands of years.

    Global cooling played out a lot in books and even more so the popular press, but from the standpoint of science even back then global warming was considered more likely. You are saying scientists are untrustworthy because the popular press blew a relatively unpopular hypothesis way out of proportion (as they seem to love to do). That is, frankly, silly.

    Then as many older people will likely remember quickly following the real GC concern of the 1970’s came in the 1980’s the big hullaballoo over “Global Warming” with a lot of eco-activists yelling very loudly about it. As environmentalists always seem to do, they predicted all manner of dreadful, horrible calamities would start happening any day unless we changed radically exactly as they told us to, right then. Immediately – as in back in the mid-to-late 1980’s.

    Once again, what does any of that have to do with the science or scientists? How the public perceives and issue and how those who actually know something about the issue perceive it are often two entirely different things. You seem to be saying because the public misunderstood the science in the past then scientists must be wrong. Such an assertion makes no sense whatsoever to me.

    Now it seems “Global Warming” has become known as AGW or even “Climate Change” and there seems to be a lot less certainty especially among the wider public.

    It has become a lot less certain amongst the public thanks to a well-funded and skilled denialist campaign supported by those who have a stake in the status quo (Exxon, for instance, has admitted to funding denialist groups) . Amongst scientists it has become more and more certain. Public perception of an issue is irrelevant and is often sharply at odds with the understanding amongst scientists.

    Amongst the American public somewhere between 40% and 60% of the public reject evolution. Does that mean that scientists do not understand evolution? The answer, of course, is no, the two have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. But based on your argument evolution must be wrong or at least highly uncertain because the public does accept it.

  29. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 29. TheBlackCat :

    Someone did a literature search a few years ago for all peer-reviewed articles on global cooling. Between 1965 and 1979, 7 articles supported global cooling, vs 44 that support global warming and 20 that were undecided. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Okay, I’m surprised by that.

    I do find that hard to reconcile with the picture I get from reading Ponte’s The Cooling book mentioned above. What about those twelve scientists I mentioned in comment #28 there -don’t they count for something as far as understanding what the view was at the time?

    You are saying scientists are untrustworthy because the popular press blew a relatively unpopular hypothesis way out of proportion (as they seem to love to do). That is, frankly, silly.

    Well I’m not saying the scientists are “untrustworthy” exactly. I’m sure both those working on Global Cooling in the 1970’s and AGW now are doing good research and feel confident that they’re correct and doing the best they can. OTOH I’m not sure their work is as flawless and their confidence in their results is as firm as some seem to be saying.

    Science is always open for revision and refinement -we’re often finding out that scientists before had an incomplete or false understanding of things and that as technology and methods get better what we *thought* we knew turns out to not be right at all. That’s the case with the papers advocating GC in the 1970’s and maybe it’ll also turn out that way with CAGW today. It is a possibility at least isn’t it?

    Therefore, I do think some things CAGW-wise have been stated a bit too firmly and adamantly rather than scientists being cautious enough with adding the “hey we think we’re right about this but maybe we’re not” disclaimer that I’d say always needs adding. I think there is more uncertainty CAGW-wise around a number of key issues than is usually admitted.

    Most notably about the exact amount of GW that’s Anthropogenic rather than natural in nature and about many of the predicted bad effects plus other significant points like how hot was it globally before during the Medieval Warm Period and other Climatic optima & thus how exceptional really is this Late 20th Century Warming we’ve experienced? Or in a nutshell : Is it really becoming that unusally hot now, are the consequences really going to be all that horrible and how much are we *really* to blame?

    Its also more a perspective and impression as seen in the wider community too.

    You seem to be saying because the public misunderstood the science in the past then scientists must be wrong.

    Not “the scientists *must* be wrong” necessarily but isn’t it possible that they *might* be wrong this time too based on precedent? Is that really so silly?

    Also again, there’s the factor of how this issue is veiwed and the fact that there is the public perception – right or wrong – of scientists crying wolf. I think making doomsday predictions should be avoided wherever this is remotely possible because such predictions :

    a) have a very bad track record – they generally simply don’t happen &
    b) they lack credibility.

    If something sounds like is taken from the plot of a bad horror /post-apocalpyse movie then it doens’t sound so likely to happen as a more muted and moderate warning. I do take issue with the “Catastrophic” part of C-AGW. My perception is that some people have probably extrapolated a lot more from the models and data than is reasonable and potential threats and probles from AGW have been over-hyped and exploited for political purposes.

    It has become a lot less certain amongst the public thanks to a well-funded and skilled denialist campaign supported by those who have a stake in the status quo (Exxon, for instance, has admitted to funding denialist groups) .

    An ad hominem fallacy & demi-Conspiracy theory there methinks. Whoever funds climate research and puts scientific arguments whether its pointing towards or away from CAGW isn’t or shouldn’t be really relevant. What should matter is what the argument or evidence is and how good or valid it and the methodiology used to get it is & not who says it.

    Amongst the American public somewhere between 40% and 60% of the public reject evolution. Does that mean that scientists do not understand evolution? The answer, of course, is no, the two have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. But based on your argument evolution must be wrong or at least highly uncertain because the public does accept it.

    That’s true. I agree there.

    Problem here is that CAGW does seem such an inextricable mix of the scientific & the political magistria. The Science is only one side of this multi-sided debate because we then get the political problem of what if anything should or can we do to stop it. Ufortunately, whatever the merits of the science, the political side (& the economic impact realities) get in the way and add to the confusion. We’re in a situation where scientists are being used and taking sides in a hugely political debate and that is making the whole situation very murky indeed. :-(

  30. peer

    Paul Let me say something to you (sorry for the bad english, its not my first language (Im German)):
    There is a whole Science out there (climtologists) which deals with these problems. I can never understand why laymans always claim they understand the whole field. Would you discuss Quantum physics with the same convinction?
    Nearly all climatologists agree that there is a global warming effect. They are not sure how big it is and thats what the speculation is about. They agree it will be profound though.
    They are also a bit irritated (to use an understatement)) that the same arguments against GW are coming up, after they have debunct them a million times. The problem is often that the arguments are published in mainstream media the counter-arguments are not. And of course its always easier to invoke doubt then to actually state a non-attackable fact.
    One example: One claim is that global warming is caused by sun flares. Its often stated as something as a possibility, but in fact it has been debuncted a million times: Some arguments against it: The sun cicle doesnt really match the warming cicle AT ALL. And more importantly: The athmosphere does not heat up equally. The lower layers are getting hotter, the highest ones are getting cooler. This does support the global warming -thesis and flies totally in the face of the sun-flare-thesis (where the athmoshere would heat up equally). According to this data the “sun-flare-theory” should be dead, because its not only not backed up by anything, it contradicts the availible data.

    Yet its still cited. Why? Certainly not because its true! Its cited because certain people are not interested in the Truth or the Science, they are interested in a certain finding (same as ID/Evolution BTW). They invoke doubt and -more important- they are interested in instigating the idea that Science is about opionions, not facts.

    But Science is not just about asking critical questions. Its also about answering them and backing up the answers with data. Asking a critical question or pointing out a mistake or an alternative theory is the beginning of the scientific process. But its a worthless procedure if you dont back up alternative claims with data. Pointing out past mistakes does not support or rebuke any theory.

  31. TheVirginian

    I applaud UVA for standing up for the good guys against the evil fundies.
    I almost went to UVA. I was accepted but chose to go to VPI. Both have beautiful campuses. I had a cousin who went to UVA. He said that when he first got there, people told him he absolutely had to have two things – an umbrella and a flask!
    So, Phil, did you get (and do you still have) an umbrella and flask?

  32. Messier Tidy Upper

    To expand on one point I made there if I may :

    I think the “Catastrophic” element of CAGW is a huge turn-off for many people who when hearing something that sounds in-credible do find it to be,well, just NOT credible. Then because what is said sounds silly and Over The Top many people tune it out and don’t pay serious attention to the other scientists anymore and the whole field gets tarred by association.

    So for tactical, if no other reasons, I think the climatologists should aim to understate not overstate their CAGW predictions and tell their wilder, more catastrophic fringe to pipe down and sober up.

    Moreover, regarding the political side of things, a major point about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming that I think is being overlooked is that regardless of the merits of the science, I think the CAGW side needs to accept the reality that international agreements, domestic laws, lifestyle tokenism and harsh taxes are almost certainly NOT going to work given the numerical and politico-economic facts of life.

    Human nature 101 – Economic national self-interest will always trump feel good environmentalism. People’s first priorities will be having prosperity, jobs and a good quality of life.

    Those in the West largely have that and won’t be happy to give it up. The rest of the world will always aspire to gain the Western lifestyle and standard of living and won’t ever abandon their dreams on the say-so of well-fed, secure Western environmental activists.

    If America or Australia or any other individual nation does anything major to try and fight CAGW all that will happen is that that particular nation will find itself economically disadvantaged, socially damaged and in trouble.

    So reality-check : the West and the rest esp. China & India will keep on polluting in order to be prosperous and have growing economies whatever rhetoric and pretty speeches may be used to pretend otherwise.

    The Copenhagen summit last year proved the world just will NOT buy what the majority of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warmers are trying to sell them.

    International laws and treaties are more often breeched than honoured.

    Tokenistic feel good lifestyle changes won’t get enough support from enough people to make any significant difference and are most probably a passing fad.

    Harsh laws and taxes are already hated and opposed by the “proletariat” and, in a democracy, the majority won’t allow them to be passed.

    Environmental activism and activities – incl. those linked with CAGW – are quite simply a luxury that most of the planet cannot afford & won’t buy.

    Taking serious action means seriously hurting your own citizens and that means political suicide. China and India will soon make up any “cuts” the West makes. Thus the sad truth is that us Westerners cannot make a difference – unless we somehow “take out” the overpopulated Chinese, Indian, Islamic and African nations which I’m not seriously advocating due to the obvious ethical problems and “cure worse than disease” factor.

    So I think if its real and even if its truly as bad as predicted CAGW most likely cannot be stopped except by technological innovations (eg. building a giant sunshade or artificial volcanoes, Hydrogen or fusion power) and our best course of action is probably to adapt to changing circumstances as best we can.

    Realistically, we humans will keep using fossil fuels until we are forced off them, our economic prosperity will always take political priority #1 with environmental concerns rating a long way down the list and that’s not going to change any more than human nature is. This may be depressing but I think its true.

    Please note I’m not saying this is a good thing or to be applauded or anything just how it is. I know this isn’t the popular or politically correct view but I think its what we’ll find ultimately happens.

    I sure *hope* the AGW skeptics are correct because if they are not a lot of death and suffering will almost inevitably ensue.

    Fortunately I *do* think AGW is nowhere near as big a deal as some of the scientists and all the political activists claim it is.

    Only time & more research will tell however.

  33. Messier Tidy Upper

    PS. If the science is so sound and the scientists so good (both scientifically & ethically) then why do people on the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming side appear to get so worried when it comes to being investigated?

    Shouldn’t they be cheering such investigations (incl. Sen. Inhofe’s too) on knowing they’re in the right and nothing bad will be found? Its a rule of thumb & a widely held public perception that it is those with something to hide that usually fear being investigated.

    Perhaps we should consider the possibility that, in his position, Ken Cuccinelli is aware of information that the BA (excellent science blogger though he is) doesn’t know? Why oppose Cuccinelli’s investigation? What don’t they want the public finding out or oppose having come into the open?

    If the Virginian State Attorney feels something is fishy and should be investigated then why exactly shouldn’t he be allowed do so? Why not support the Virginia State Attorney doing his job as he best sees fit?

  34. Muzz

    Messier Tidy Upper quoth: “An ad hominem fallacy & demi-Conspiracy theory there methinks. Whoever funds climate research and puts scientific arguments whether its pointing towards or away from CAGW isn’t or shouldn’t be really relevant”
    If only it were scientific argument we were talking about. It’s not, unfortunately. Neither is it ad hominem or a conspiracy theory. You should have a look at the things Naomi Oreskes and her team have turned up. There’s very little scientific dispute over the matter. All the counter generally can be traced back to right wing free market think tanks and the energy industry, keen to spread FUD on the actual science. I doubt that Steve McIntyre, for instance, is taking direct payola to say what he says, but he’ riding the wave of a PR movement that was started that way. That’s the point.
    It might be said that it doesn’t matter if, ultimately, the criticisms are valid. The trouble is, in nearly all cases, they aren’t. The disputes in the actual science are easy to find, and they centre on the degree and speed of the negative impacts generally, the rest (the stuff we hear most about, like Glaciergate and other beatups) is error or willing misrepresentation designed to convince people that there’s more doubt than there is (and any confidence is somehow sinister) . That’s the main source of drops in popularity, not any pre existing margin of error in the science.

    As for ringing alarm bell being bad PR; well it wasn’t really the scientists that did it, for one thing. You can find quotes of the big names saying scary stuff, but no one paid any attention until Inconvenient Truth and other popularisers. IPCC reports, from memory, contain several projections of possible outcomes, feedbacks etc including worst cases. Which do ya reckon the media latched on to first (before it became fashionable to decry the whole thing, that is)?

    Honestly , this whole thing about “not scaring people” that surrounds this debate is the best FUD of the lot. And you only seem to hear it around this issue. I did wince somewhat at the rather rubbish video that opened Copenhagen. But the media is filled daily with terrifying balderdash, designed specifically to get people’s dander up, with far less reason and evidence behind it than anything climate science says. I hope they get a lot of letters from concerned climate change skeptics tut-tutting them for “just trying to scare people”, that’s all I’m sayin’.

  35. GlennS

    Reading the back-and-forth commentary going on in these comments brings a recent Ars Technica article to mind:

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/05/when-science-clashes-with-belief-make-science-impotent.ars

  36. TheBlackCat

    I do find that hard to reconcile with the picture I get from reading Ponte’s The Cooling book mentioned above.

    One non-peer reviewed book could hardly be considered a scientific consensus. Even a hundred non peer-reviewed books, even a hundred peer reviewed journal articles or a hundred scientists, does not constitute a consensus.

    What about those twelve scientists I mentioned in comment #28 there -don’t they count for something as far as understanding what the view was at the time?

    You really think 12 scientists even remotely approaches the scientific consensus we have on global warming now? They are different by orders of magnitude. Even individual statements supporting global warming time often have ten, sometimes a hundred times that many people on them, or several times as many scientific organizations. The whole argument was that scientists were as sure about global cooling then as they were about global warming now. If it just a handful of scientists supporting global cooling back then, which it was, it means that the idea that it casts doubt on the reliability of the current consensus is wrong.

    I’m sure both those working on Global Cooling in the 1970’s and AGW now are doing good research and feel confident that they’re correct and doing the best they can.

    The difference is the number of scientists, especially in the field, who accepted global cooling then and global warming now. Global warming is a strong scientific consensus by any measure now, while global cooling was unpopular even in its hayday. You can’t say that because an unpopular hypothesis from 30 years ago before modern climatology even existed was wrong therefore the modern consensus accepted by the vast majority of the field and pretty much every scientific organization on the planet is unreliable.

    That’s the case with the papers advocating GC in the 1970’s and maybe it’ll also turn out that way with CAGW today. It is a possibility at least isn’t it?

    Yes, and maybe rocks will fall up tomorrow. Some conclusions are more reliable than others.

    Therefore, I do think some things CAGW-wise have been stated a bit too firmly and adamantly rather than scientists being cautious enough with adding the “hey we think we’re right about this but maybe we’re not” disclaimer that I’d say always needs adding. I think there is more uncertainty CAGW-wise around a number of key issues than is usually admitted.

    What level of uncertainty do you think they should be saying there is? On what grounds do you derive this level of uncertainty? Why do you think you know more about the uncertainty than the entire climatology community? The statements from scientists I see are usually pretty clear about the degree of uncertainty, in fact the IPCC report is considered a very conservative document, erring on the side of under-representing the risks involved (as has become clear since when pretty much everything has gone worse than they predicted).

    Most notably about the exact amount of GW that’s Anthropogenic rather than natural in nature and about many of the predicted bad effects plus other significant points like how hot was it globally before during the Medieval Warm Period and other Climatic optima & thus how exceptional really is this Late 20th Century Warming we’ve experienced? Or in a nutshell : Is it really becoming that unusally hot now, are the consequences really going to be all that horrible and how much are we *really* to blame?

    Scientists are quite specific about the level of uncertainty for all of these, how they derived that uncertainty, and how the uncertainty has been changing as we have learned more. It does not look good, as our level of uncertainty has dropped, things have been looking worse, not better. Have you actually read the statement put forward by the scientific community on these issues?

    a) have a very bad track record – they generally simply don’t happen &
    b) they lack credibility.

    Really? I am not familiar with a similar instance where most of the scientific community predicted something bad would happen and were totally wrong.

    An ad hominem fallacy & demi-Conspiracy theory there methinks. Whoever funds climate research and puts scientific arguments whether its pointing towards or away from CAGW isn’t or shouldn’t be really relevant. What should matter is what the argument or evidence is and how good or valid it and the methodiology used to get it is & not who says it.

    Exxon has flat-out admitted they were supporting groups that were intentionally using flawed arguments to confuse people on the issues. It isn’t a “conspiracy theory” when they admit they did it. The fact of the matter is that there are a large number of groups established for the explicit purpose of manufacturing doubt about AGW. They use standard denialists tactics first pioneered by tobacco and creationists to manufacture doubt on an issue in the public mind, non-sequiters, attacking scientists instead of research, quote mining, cherry-picking, attacking strawmen, gross misrepresentation, over-simplified arguments, and so on. They have pretty much no research program of their own, they rarely put forth their own arguments or their own data (and when they do it is hopelessly flawed), they generally attack others’ data, research, and other people themselves. They generally don’t attack the research as a whole or even a significant percentage of it, just a very tiny percentage of it that makes an easy target. These are all tactics that previous denialists have used to make it seem that there is far more debate and uncertainty on an issue than there really is.

    We’re in a situation where scientists are being used and taking sides in a hugely political debate and that is making the whole situation very murky indeed.

    That would be more compelling if the scientists were actually taking to the two sides in even remotely equitable numbers. But they aren’t, the vast majority take one side and a small minority are taking the other (mostly those with little experience in the field and little to actually contribute to it). There used to be a lot more scientists on the fence, but in recent years large numbers of former AGW skeptics have become convinced. It is very much like the situation with creationism, where the public perceives that there is a major disagreement involving fairly equitable percentages of the scientific community because a PR campaign involving tiny numbers of scientists (and a lot of non-scientists) has managed to convince them that their numbers are actually much larger. As I said, the tactics are pretty much the same, and are largely PR in nature rather than accepted scientific practices.

    I think the “Catastrophic” element of CAGW is a huge turn-off for many people who when hearing something that sounds in-credible do find it to be,well, just NOT credible. Then because what is said sounds silly and Over The Top many people tune it out and don’t pay serious attention to the other scientists anymore and the whole field gets tarred by association.

    That is the problem with science, scientists actually have to go by what the evidence says rather than what people would like to believe. Of course no one wants to face a catastrophe, but if that is what the evidence says then that is what scientists have to go with. Now what exactly constitutes a catastrophe depends on the person, but as we learn more indications have been that most of the bad stuff that can happen will start doing so at much lower levels of temperature increase than people had originally expected (because they were being conservative until better evidence became available). It is unlikely, although not impossible, that this trend will suddenly reverse as we learn more.

    So for tactical, if no other reasons, I think the climatologists should aim to understate not overstate their CAGW predictions and tell their wilder, more catastrophic fringe to pipe down and sober up.

    That is exactly what they have been doing.

    If America or Australia or any other individual nation does anything major to try and fight CAGW all that will happen is that that particular nation will find itself economically disadvantaged, socially damaged and in trouble.

    Assuming it doesn’t disappear of the face of the globe entirely, like many island nations will.

    If the science is so sound and the scientists so good (both scientifically & ethically) then why do people on the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming side appear to get so worried when it comes to being investigated?

    Climategate should show you why. Many AGW denialists are quick to misrepresent or misinterpret whatever they find, to spin it in a way that is advantageous to them whether their spin has even the slightest resemblance to the truth or not. Also, a lot of the “investigations” are really just attempts to swamp the scientists with useless work to preveni them from doing their jobs.

    For instance one denialist had his readers send identical form FOI requests to a climate researcher, each request only changing one thing: the year of data requested. They didn’t care about the data itself, they could have just asked for the data from a range of years in one block to be sent to one individual. Instead the scientist was expected to send pretty much identical data to hundreds of different addressed of people who had no intention whatsoever of even glancing at it. It was overt harassment, just like this current “investigation” that Phil is discussing.

    These investigations are not passive things, they are expensive and time-consuming and even the smallest, most mundane thing that is found will be blown into a huge issue if the past is any indication.

    It is also the implication of the investigation that bothers people: that politicians can second-guess scientists and accuse them of misconduct just for drawing conclusions the politician does not like. Yeah, the politician in question is using a flimsy pretext of repeating an investigation that has already taken place, but the same pretext could be used against just about any scientist on the planet who has made the slightest mistake in any of his or her paperwork or had conclusions that later turned out to be wrong (which is basically all of them). It sets a precedent of politicians interfering in science and bothering scientists who draw conclusions they don’t like. Someone like this guy could easily drive a lab to a standstill for a long period of time with endless demands for data and emails and code and other stuff they don’t really care about, even drive the lab into bankruptcy since all of this stuff takes considerable time and money.

  37. Steve in Dublin

    Oh, great. Another thread on AGW we can play denialist whack-a-mole in. Messier Tidy Upper (#33):

    Realistically, we humans will keep using fossil fuels until we are forced off them, our economic prosperity will always take political priority #1 with environmental concerns rating a long way down the list and that’s not going to change any more than human nature is. This may be depressing but I think its true.

    This is exactly why a significant portion of the populace wants to believe AGW isn’t happening. It’s inconvenient. And it doesn’t affect them directly. Who cares what happens to the planet 30 years from now? The Noise Machine, covertly funded by big coal and oil through right wing ‘think tanks’ has been especially effective in sowing FUD on this issue.

    This is getting depressing. Every thread on AGW gets plagued by the Noise Machine and goes off topic. As when debating creationists, you are fighting against their ideology rather than actually debating the science. We can point people at the sites that explain the science in a way a layperson that applies themselves can understand it, but the deniers won’t read any of it. Instead we just see all the debunked points being regurgitated from denier sites appearing here over and over again.

    Anyway, back on topic. You can’t put science on trial. The battle for who is ‘right’ on the AGW issue needs to be fought in the peer reviewed literature. That is how science is done. What Cuccinelli is attempting to do amounts to nothing more than a witch hunt that has frightening parallels with what happened in the McCarthy era.

    In the case of AGW, science is telling us that we need to develop viable alternative energy sources pronto. We don’t like the consequences of what science is telling us in this instance, so it’s degenerated into a ‘shoot the messenger’ scenario.

  38. Paul

    “31. peer Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Paul Let me say something to you (sorry for the bad english, its not my first language (Im German)):
    There is a whole Science out there (climtologists) which deals with these problems. I can never understand why laymans always claim they understand the whole field. Would you discuss Quantum physics with the same convinction?”

    Hey peer, I am north of you in Sweden. I would probably never see dozens of leer jets and limos filled with Quantum physicists and their PR entourages travel to parties year after year making claims the kind of ridiculous claims and demands on the entire world’s population that Global Warming Alarmists have been making.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLxicwiBQ7Q

    So no, I do not ever see myself delving into a Quantum phisics ‘Chicken Little – The Sky is falling’ conversation. Can you honestly say that Quantum physicists would behave in the manner that Global Warming Climatestrologers?

    Last year prior to the COP15 party in Denmark a heck of a lot of your German scientists had a bit to say about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming(CAGW) and sent a rather strongly worded letter to the Chancellor – Frau Dr. Merkel. Now as you correctly point out that I am just a layman but it seems to me that these scientists were not very pleased with Germany’s positions on CAGW.

    “A real comprehensive study, whose value would have been absolutely essential, would have shown, even before the IPCC was founded, that humans have had no measurable effect on global warming through CO2 emissions. Instead the temperature fluctuations have been within normal ranges and are due to natural cycles. Indeed the atmosphere has not warmed since 1998 – more than 10 years, and the global temperature has even dropped significantly since 2003.

    Not one of the many extremely expensive climate models predicted this. According to the IPCC, it was supposed to have gotten steadily warmer, but just the opposite has occurred.

    More importantly, there’s a growing body of evidence showing anthropogenic CO2 plays no measurable role. Indeed CO2’s capability to absorb radiation is almost exhausted by today’s atmospheric concentrations. If CO2 did indeed have an effect and all fossil fuels were burned, then additional warming over the long term would in fact remain limited to only a few tenths of a degree.

    The IPCC had to have been aware of this fact, but completely ignored it during its studies of 160 years of temperature measurements and 150 years of determined CO2 levels. As a result the IPCC has lost its scientific credibility. The main points on this subject are included in the accompanying addendum.

    In the meantime, the belief of climate change, and that it is manmade, has become a pseudo-religion. Its proponents, without thought, pillory independent and fact-based analysts and experts, many of whom are the best and brightest of the international scientific community. Fortunately in the internet it is possible to find numerous scientific works that show in detail there is no anthropogenic CO2 caused climate change. If it was not for the internet, climate realists would hardly be able to make their voices heard. Rarely do their critical views get published.”

    Here is a direct link for you peer: -http://tinyurl.com/ltakyk

  39. Paul

    Blackcat we have touched on a lot of topics so as time permits I will try to break them out individually.

    The Global Cooling Alarmism of the past that is similar to the latest craze Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming should not be trivialized. I remember being in school and this was a serious matter.

    This matter was so serious that the current head the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies James Hansen told us in 1971 that “although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

    and that “in the next 50 years” – or by 2021 – fossil-fuel dust injected by man into the atmosphere “could screen out so much sunlight that the average temperature could drop by six degrees,” resulting in a buildup of “new glaciers that could eventually cover huge areas.”

    This was based on Hansen’s work with his NASA colleages Rasool and Schneider.

    Science 9 July 1971:
    Vol. 173. no. 3992, pp. 138 – 141
    DOI: 10.1126/science.173.3992.138

    Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate
    S. I. Rasool 1 and S. H. Schneider 1
    1 Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, New York 10025

    Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.”

    One of the things I find interesting is that Hansen prominently talks of the diminishing effect of increasing CO2, a topic that he and other Global Warming Alarmists are well aware but avoid like the plague today.

    As Phil pointed out earlier “science learns”, so Hansen says to us opps, “my bad, what we really have to worry about today is Catastrophic Global Warming and my offices will be underwater in a short period of time”. I believe this goes back to his outlandish and disproved CAGW theories/predictions he presented to the US Congress in the summer of 1988.

    If that were not bad enough that we have Hansen, the head of NASA GISS who gets arrested at Global Warming demonstrations and flies across to the UK to testify that radical Global Warming followers were just evangelizing for the CAGW religion when they vandalized a power plant but we have Obama’s science adviser John Holdren who was also well on board the Global Cooling bandwagon.

    When a snakeoil comes to town and says we have to mortgage our future for because the earth is freezing and when we don’t buy he comes back another time and says we have to mortgage our future because the earth is burning I feel there are significant credibility problems.

  40. Paul

    “Blackcat
    We are still in the Holocene, and current temperatures are warm for the Holocene, maybe even the warmest. The reason the animals aren’t running wild like they used to isn’t due to it being warmer in the past, it is because we killed most of them.”

    @Blackcat
    Current temperatures certainly are not the warmest now. Multi-proxy temperature studies of the Holocene clearly show that it was much warmer throughout the majority of our Holocene era than we are experiencing today. In addition there were greater rates of change in climate in the past. Both flora and fauna were more abundant in the past Holocene during the warmer temperatures.

    You would be hard pressed to find a multi-proxy study of the Holocene that supports your belief “current temperatures are warm for the Holocene, maybe even the warmest”. There are many graphs of the Holocene temperatures here is one example:

    “Practically ALL of the Holocene period the Earth appears to be between 0,5 and 1,5 K warmer than today. The little ice age does resemble a mini ice age or at least it appears to be the coldest period in over 10.000 years.”
    http://heliogenic.blogspot.com/2009/04/holocene-temperature-by-proxy.html

    Blackcat your belief that man killed off the majority of the fauna during past 10,000 years is shared by some in the eco-movement but like your belief that temperatures today are “maybe even the warmest” are not supported science.

  41. Paul

    “38. Steve in Dublin Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 5:40 am
    Oh, great. Another thread on AGW we can play denialist whack-a-mole in. Messier Tidy Upper (#33):

    […]Anyway, back on topic. You can’t put science on trial. The battle for who is ‘right’ on the AGW issue needs to be fought in the peer reviewed literature. That is how science is done. What Cuccinelli is attempting to do amounts to nothing more than a witch hunt that has frightening parallels with what happened in the McCarthy era.”

    “”Dating back to 1996, the emails show that both U.S. and U.K. based scientists referred to any research offering alternate viewpoints as “disinformation”,“misinformation” or “crap” that needs to be kept out of the public domain.

    The emails include deliberations amongst the scientists regarding efforts to make sure that reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change include their own research and exclude that of dissenting scientists.

    In one of the emails, Phil Jones, the director of the East Anglia climate center, suggested to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University We “will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    This is a startling quote, given that Jones and Mann as climate scientists have the authority to review papers and determine whether they are eligible to be published by scientific journals.

    Mann even discussed how to destroy a journal that had published papers with contrary views, telling his colleagues that he believed it had been “hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board” who had “staged a coup”.

    “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.” Mann wrote.””

    It is clear McCarthy era tactics have been standard practice for quite some time in Climate Science.

    Btw: personally I come to BA regularly to enjoy Phil’s astronomy and aeronautics posts, the politics and religion(Global Warming) posts only occasionally catch my fancy.

  42. TheBlackCat

    Last year prior to the COP15 party in Denmark a heck of a lot of your German scientists had a bit to say about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming(CAGW) and sent a rather strongly worded letter to the Chancellor – Frau Dr. Merkel. Now as you correctly point out that I am just a layman but it seems to me that these scientists were not very pleased with Germany’s positions on CAGW.

    You mean the one that had only 130 signatories (even pro-creationism “open letters” have more signatories than that), few, if any, actual relevant experts on it, was apparently written by an oil-funded anti-AGW lobby group, contains a bunch of people who claim to be scientists but aren’t (like one high school teacher), and is basically just a list of standard denialists claims with no credibility whatsoever?

    Instead the temperature fluctuations have been within normal ranges and are due to natural cycles. Indeed the atmosphere has not warmed since 1998 – more than 10 years, and the global temperature has even dropped significantly since 2003.

    Anyone who still trots out the totally bogus 1998 claim instantly loses all credibility. 1998 was an unusually hot year due to El Nino, a well-known effect. Claiming that because we had one unusually hot year therefore global warming has stopped is totally nonsensical. And the claim that the temperature has dropped since 2003 is also total baloney, in fact some analyses mark 2005 as the hottest year on record, hotter even than 1998 (but the two are too close to tell for certain).

    We have been in the deepest and longest solar minimum on record, something that the IPCC could not and did not predict. Despite this the world has not cooled appreciably and may have warmed slightly over this period.

    More importantly, there’s a growing body of evidence showing anthropogenic CO2 plays no measurable role. Indeed CO2’s capability to absorb radiation is almost exhausted by today’s atmospheric concentrations. If CO2 did indeed have an effect and all fossil fuels were burned, then additional warming over the long term would in fact remain limited to only a few tenths of a degree.

    This is totally false, in fact we have satellite measurements showing increases absorption by CO2. This was what people thought decades ago because it is the case at low altitudes, but as we learned more about the atmosphere we learned that additional CO2 at high altitudes still has a large effect.

    In the meantime, the belief of climate change, and that it is manmade, has become a pseudo-religion. Its proponents, without thought, pillory independent and fact-based analysts and experts, many of whom are the best and brightest of the international scientific community. Fortunately in the internet it is possible to find numerous scientific works that show in detail there is no anthropogenic CO2 caused climate change. If it was not for the internet, climate realists would hardly be able to make their voices heard. Rarely do their critical views get published.”

    Yes, so somehow the almost the entire scientific community is involved in a “pseuo-religion”. Which is, of course, exactly what creationists call “evolutionists”. This sort of rhetoric is typical of denialists.

    The Global Cooling Alarmism of the past that is similar to the latest craze Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming should not be trivialized. I remember being in school and this was a serious matter.

    Yes, I have already admitted that amongst the public it was a big deal. That doesn’t mean that it was even remotely approaching the scientific consensus that AGW is (small number of small letters does not change that). You assert that it shouldn’t be trivialized, but provide no evidence that it was anything other than fairly trivial.

    An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age

    A factor of 4 increase in aerosols is a pretty major increase, first of all. Second, that is only one person’s thought at a time when climatology was still pretty early, that could hardly be used as evidence of a consensus. Third, aerosols did have a big effect, but they ended up being largely removed so rather than increase they decreased. In fact aerosols have been put forward as a method to curb climate change, but they have their own problems.

    One of the things I find interesting is that Hansen prominently talks of the diminishing effect of increasing CO2, a topic that he and other Global Warming Alarmists are well aware but avoid like the plague today.

    You don’t think that is taken into account when doing the analysis? Hansen may be referring there to the early view of the climate that did not take into account the effects CO2 would have at high altitudes. Once again climatology was at a very early stage in the 1970’s, and, largely due to questions about global warming and global cooling, initiatives were taken at the time to better understand the climate. At the time the general scientific consensus was “we don’t know”. That has changed in the last 4 decades.

    I believe this goes back to his outlandish and disproved CAGW theories/predictions he presented to the US Congress in the summer of 1988.

    What he considered to be the most likely scenario turned out to be pretty close to what happened. What he considered to be an unlikely extreme scenario was dishonestly cherry-picked and presented as his preferred scenario by a denialist, and that (as he stated) does not match what has actually occurred.

    If that were not bad enough that we have Hansen, the head of NASA GISS who gets arrested at Global Warming demonstrations and flies across to the UK to testify that radical Global Warming followers were just evangelizing for the CAGW religion when they vandalized a power plant but we have Obama’s science adviser John Holdren who was also well on board the Global Cooling bandwagon.

    Standard denialist tactics, you attack one scientist on non-scientific issues and act like that somehow dismisses all the work of every climatologist in the entire world. Even if you are saying is right, what does that have remotely to do with the evidence? How does one scientist cast doubt on a globe-spanning scientific consensus?

    “Practically ALL of the Holocene period the Earth appears to be between 0,5 and 1,5 K warmer than today. The little ice age does resemble a mini ice age or at least it appears to be the coldest period in over 10.000 years.”
    http://heliogenic.blogspot.com/2009/04/holocene-temperature-by-proxy.html

    Wow, that doesn’t look even remotely similar to any of the holocone reconstructions I have seen. It looks like it is cutting off the very thin spike in the last 50 years or so that is the whole reason we are having this discussion. I’ll post links in a separate post.

    In one of the emails, Phil Jones, the director of the East Anglia climate center, suggested to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University We “will keep them out somehow — even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!”

    This is a startling quote, given that Jones and Mann as climate scientists have the authority to review papers and determine whether they are eligible to be published by scientific journals.

    Mann even discussed how to destroy a journal that had published papers with contrary views, telling his colleagues that he believed it had been “hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board” who had “staged a coup”.

    Some denialists worked together to sneak a paper viewed by pretty much everyone as garbage through the peer-review process. They were taking another cue from creationists who were the original ones to try this, they find a sympathetic editor and use that to bypass a the normal peer-review process with a paper that is so totally flawed no unbiased reviewer would give it a second look. Obviously people were upset by such an unethical abuse of the scientific process, the same way they are every time a denialist pulls this stunt. So the paper gets retracted when the journal realizes what has happend, and all the denialist start painting the guy who wrote the article as a martyr who was supressed by the establishment. If they don’t retract the paper then the denialists can claim that the scientific community admitted they were right. It is a great strategy for those without much integrity or any concern for truth because they win either way.

    Mann even discussed how to destroy a journal that had published papers with contrary views, telling his colleagues that he believed it had been “hijacked by a few skeptics on the editorial board” who had “staged a coup”.

    “Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.” Mann wrote.””

    That is the standard reaction of scientists to a journal that publishes a garbage paper, especially when it was snuck past the normal peer review process. It is also exactly the reaction denialists seem to want, since well-written skeptics articles do get published from time to time without much hullabaloo.

  43. Chris Winter

    @Ad Hominid (#16):

    Very nice job.

  44. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 37. TheBlackCat :

    One non-peer reviewed book could hardly be considered a scientific consensus. Even a hundred non peer-reviewed books, even a hundred peer reviewed journal articles or a hundred scientists, does not constitute a consensus.

    So what exactly *does* constitute a consensus and what exactly is the value of one?

    It only needs a consensus of twelve peers to send an accused prisoner to jail or set that prisoner free – its called a jury. ;-)

    There were more than those twelve scientists in the Ponte book btw. although I’ll admit it is out-of date and of more historic & social interest today.

    You really think 12 scientists even remotely approaches the scientific consensus we have on global warming now? They are different by orders of magnitude. Even individual statements supporting global warming time often have ten, sometimes a hundred times that many people on them, or several times as many scientific organizations. … The difference is the number of scientists, especially in the field, who accepted global cooling then and global warming now.

    How many climatologists are there today & how many were there back in the 1970’s?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions myself, I’m just asking. I would guess a sizeable percentage of climatologists in the 70’s did believe in Global Cooling. I think there is a certain amount of “peer pressure” that enforces the modern consensus too. In some ways, it doesn’t matter how many believe this or that anyhow – at least in terms of the actual science because when it comes to the politics it’s another story.

    That’s the problem the science of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming has become so politicised and “impure” now. Back in the 1970’s it probably wasn’t politicised to the same degree I’d imagine.

    Here’s another exercise in asking a question the answer of which I don’t already know (but have suspicions on) can anyone name a scientist or two or three who believes in and argues strongly for CAGW but is known to have politically conservative or right-wing views?

    If there aren’t right-wing conservative scientists studying and advocating CAGW does that not imply some sort of imbalance and inherent bias?

    (BTW. No, I don’t think reality has *any* bias liberal or otherwise. That’s what makes it *reality* not political spin!)

    You can’t say that because an unpopular hypothesis from 30 years ago before modern climatology even existed was wrong therefore the modern consensus accepted by the vast majority of the field and pretty much every scientific organization on the planet is unreliable.

    Please try and read my comments more carefully and take some nuances into account.

    I’m not saying it is unreliable only that maybe we need to look at history and admit the *possibility* that it *could* be wrong. I do think AGW is most likely true. However, I take issue that its going to be as totally “Catastrophic” as the worse case scenarios predict.

    Scientists are quite specific about the level of uncertainty for all of these, how they derived that uncertainty, and how the uncertainty has been changing as we have learned more. It does not look good, as our level of uncertainty has dropped, things have been looking worse, not better. Have you actually read the statement put forward by the scientific community on these issues?

    Which particular statement are you referring to there?

    Perhaps the climatologists *do* state their error bars and uncertainty margins but if so that certainly doesn’t seem to come across to me. Or I think most others. We keep getting hammered with the green zealots thundering that “the science is settled!” & “There isnt any uncertainty!” But knowing science is NEVER settled and there are almost always some uncertainties or possible refinements & revisions I find that very hard to swallow.

    If we are to make massive and radical changes to everything in our society – our whole global civilisation – we absolutely need to know the reason is both very good and that we are very certain about it. Even then, the politico-economic realities mean we realistically most probably won’t. :-(

    I am not familiar with a similar instance where most of the scientific community predicted something bad would happen and were totally wrong.

    Global Cooling, Swine Flu, Y2K, the existence of larger than microscopic flora & fauna on Mars, that space travel and rockets into space was utter bilge and impossible, that “stones don’t fall from the sky!” and that nobody could survive travelling at 100 miles per hour are all possible examples for you of science getting things badly wrong in the past.

    Although you still never know with the Mars life one – perhaps I should’ve restricted that to Percieval Lowell’s mythical Martian canals! ;-)

    However, I think you’ll find I wasn’t referring to science predictions so much as Doomsday or Apocalypse ones and the record of those (okay mostly from religious rather than scientific sources) is really shocking. The end of the world has been predicted thousands of times or more – not a single one of those predictions has yet come true. CAGW falls into that “End is Nigh!” doomsday prediction category in my book.

    Exxon has flat-out admitted they were supporting groups that were intentionally using flawed arguments to confuse people on the issues. It isn’t a “conspiracy theory” when they admit they did it.

    I’d still describe that as a conspiracy theory just one that has – unusually – proved to be correct. ;-)

    Guess they can’t be wrong all the time! ;-)

    Do you have a source on that Exxon claim?

    That is the problem with science, scientists actually have to go by what the evidence says rather than what people would like to believe. Of course no one wants to face a catastrophe, but if that is what the evidence says then that is what scientists have to go with. Now what exactly constitutes a catastrophe depends on the person, but as we learn more indications have been that most of the bad stuff that can happen will start doing so at much lower levels of temperature increase than people had originally expected (because they were being conservative until better evidence became available). It is unlikely, although not impossible, that this trend will suddenly reverse as we learn more.

    Okay. You are correct there & I’ll concede that point.

    If the evidence really and truly points to CAGW then the scientists have to say so.

    But I still find it hard to believe things are quite *that* bad and I still think the more extreme the claims made by CAGW advocates are, the harder they are to accept and the more they push people off believing AGW at all. Folks hear them and can’t help thinking : “No! That just can’t be right! Its too much.” That is a pyschological and social problem. CAGW has a big PR obstacle in that factor which is, again, human nature 101.

    It was overt harassment, just like this current “investigation” that Phil is discussing.

    But if Mike Mann has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong he’ll be cleared surely & Ken Cuccinelli will look like the bad guy and it will be an eventual PR triumph for the CAGW folks won’t it?

    I’m a big believer in transparency and openness and accessibility. In letting sunshine act as the best disinfectant (metaphorically!) I do find it suspicious when I hear of FOI requests denied and “peer review [literature, okay, ok!]” getting “redefined” to suit one side of a controversial scientific argument.

    Scientific data should be shared as much and as openly as possible methinks and this is where I find the climategate implications most disturbing. Couldn’t they just put all the raw data online somewhere for instance and just post a link to each FOI request – see its all there? Why did it go missing and why did one scientist (forgotten who now) urge his colleagues to delete rather than share the information? If you are publishing scientific papers you need to have them and the info assessed on their merits and make your research very much open to others for independent – even hostile – testing and verification don’t you? So the CRU thing just doesn’t “smell right” to me.

    It sets a precedent of politicians interfering in science and bothering scientists who draw conclusions they don’t like.

    I see what you are saying there & agree it is of concern but then we’re also seeing scientists themselves get very political in this debate eg. James Hansen. It seems to be part of the wider problem of how horribly political this whole CAGW topic has become.

    Politics is a swamp & scientists should IMHON try and stay as far out of it as possible. Of course, this isn’t always practicable given banalities of funding, policy questions, etc .. So not sure that there are any answers here.

    Thanks, BlackCat for your reasoned and civil response btw. You have given me food for thought there. :-)

  45. TheBlackCat

    Here is a reconstruction that paints a very different picture:
    http://globalwarmingart.com/images/b/bb/Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev.png

    Ah, I see the problem now. I looked at the original source for your reconstruction. It was smoothed with a 50-year filter! It is impossible for those reconstructions to show the rapid warming we have seen in the last half-century or so, the method used to create the plots eliminates it!

  46. Paul

    “46. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Here is a reconstruction that paints a very different picture:
    http://globalwarmingart.com/images/b/bb/Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev.png
    @Blackcat
    The image at “Global Warming Art” is a colorful picture with a little hockey stick at the end. There is no mention of any proxies used. But just like the claims of CO2 CAGW, pretty pictures without data & evidence are pretty much useless. Hope you are not using one of those hide the decline posters. :)

    As far as your denial of temperatures goes… you should argue your beliefs with the former head of the UEA CRU unit who stated that the difference in warming rates for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40 and 1975-2009 is statistically insignificant. Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.

  47. Paul

    @Messier Tidy Upper

    Because of protests at the Royal Society, there will be a position paper developed regarding climate science. Hopefully this will separate the wheat from the chaff and a statement will be released that reflects actual science. I will wait to see what comes out before I pass judgment.

  48. Paul

    Here is very short article in Newsweek that I think most of us can agree. It is only a few paragraphs.

    “Uncertain Science
    Bickering and defensive, climate researchers have lost the public’s trust”
    http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/28/uncertain-science.html

  49. TheBlackCat

    So what exactly *does* constitute a consensus and what exactly is the value of one?

    Probably at least a strong majority of scientists with expertise in the field, probably thousands of peer-reviewed articles with a much smaller number dissenting, and consensus position statements by a large number of major scientific organizations helps a lot as well. AGW has that. GLobal cooling never did. At the very least an idea would need considerably more than majority of scientists and a majority of the peer-reviewed literature, but at its peak only about 1/9 journal articles supported global cooling and it was clearly far from a majority position amongst relevant scientists at the time.

    It only needs a consensus of twelve peers to send an accused prisoner to jail or set that prisoner free – its called a jury.

    Which is why science isn’t decided by a jury.

    There were more than those twelve scientists in the Ponte book btw. although I’ll admit it is out-of date and of more historic & social interest today.

    I’ve already pointed out the hypothesis’s status in the peer-reviewed literature and the consensus position stated by a major scientific organization at the time. It doesn’t matter if there were 10 times that many scientists, it was still not even close to a majority position.

    That’s the problem the science of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming has become so politicised and “impure” now.

    Evidence please. And don’t quote those emails, even if they weren’t being intentionally misrepresented they only constitute one fairly small group working on a small subset of global warming research. Whatever the case, why do you think you have a better understanding of the “purity” of global warming science than pretty much every relevant scientific organization on the planet when you obviously haven’t actually looked at much, if any, of what the scientists themselves or the scientific literature on the subject is actually saying?

    Here’s another exercise in asking a question the answer of which I don’t already know (but have suspicions on) can anyone name a scientist or two or three who believes in and argues strongly for CAGW but is known to have politically conservative or right-wing views?

    Yes, quite a few. I don’t recall their names off-hand, though.

    Which particular statement are you referring to there?

    All of them. That’s my point. If you want specifics, the entire IPCC report, for starters. As I already pointed out almost all of their predictions ended up significantly underestimating the problems we have seen.

    Perhaps the climatologists *do* state their error bars and uncertainty margins but if so that certainly doesn’t seem to come across to me. Or I think most others. We keep getting hammered with the green zealots thundering that “the science is settled!” & “There isnt any uncertainty!” But knowing science is NEVER settled and there are almost always some uncertainties or possible refinements & revisions I find that very hard to swallow.

    As with global cooling, you are just reading either what the popular press or the denialists are saying, you should actually look at what the scientists themselves say and what the scientific literature says.

    Please try and read my comments more carefully and take some nuances into account.

    I’m not saying it is unreliable only that maybe we need to look at history and admit the *possibility* that it *could* be wrong. I do think AGW is most likely true. However, I take issue that its going to be as totally “Catastrophic” as the worse case scenarios predict.

    First, I address your more nuanced version later. Second, in this case when I said “you” I didn’t mean you specifically, I meant the royal you, since a lot of people do claim that global cooling means global warming is invalid. Third, it doesn’t really change my argument since a small minority position forty years ago does not in any way call into question a modern overwhelming consensus. Fourth, nowadays even the more conservative predictions indicate there will be some degree of catastrophe.

    Let’s look at these one at a time:
    1. Global Cooling – as I already stated it was a small minority position
    2. Swine Flu – this would likely have been far worse if it wasn’t for an extremely intensive attempt to prevent it. This is an insult to the people who worked tirelessly to make sure the swine flu didn’t become a disaster.
    3. Y2K – see previous, even more so. Huge numbers of people worked for years to fix this problem.
    4 the existence of larger than microscopic flora & fauna on Mars – very few have said this is any more than a possibility except. See 1.
    5. that space travel and rockets into space was utter bilge and impossible – who said that and when? I suspect this is another case of 1.
    6. that “stones don’t fall from the sky!” – quoting stuff from 200 years ago before modern science even really got started does not help your case much
    7. that nobody could survive travelling at 100 miles per hour – see 1 again

    There are a few examples of a strong scientific consensus being completely wrong (only a few, though), but you were talking specifically about a strong scientific consensus that something bad would happen and then be totally wrong. None of those examples meet that criteria

    Because of the political nature of the subject, climatologists are actually being much more careful to over-state the limitations of their research and highlight the uncertainties than most scientists would be with similar amongst and quality of data. Even the data at the time of the IPCC report, for instance, actually predicted stuff would go worse than the IPCC report stated, simply because the IPCC report authors wanted to be really careful with what they said.

    Do you have a source on that Exxon claim?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/28/climatechange.fossilfuels

    But if Mike Mann has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong he’ll be cleared surely & Ken Cuccinelli will look like the bad guy and it will be an eventual PR triumph for the CAGW folks won’t it?

    You really haven’t been paying attention at all to what has been going on, have you? Are you completely ignoring the part about how denialists will completely misrepresent what is found in order to make it look like there is wrongdoing? Or that part where they try to prevent scientists from doing science in order to delay things? Just look at how people are reacting to the current investigations, these scientists have been cleared on by multiple different investigations and that has only made people more convinced that AGW is flawed. If nothing is found they will blame the investigators or just claim that Mann was good at hiding stuff. That is assuming that the investigation isn’t just quietly canceled after the press loses interest. Just threatening to have the investigation is a PR win, they don’t even have to carry it out.

    Scientific data should be shared as much and as openly as possible methinks and this is where I find the climategate implications most disturbing. Couldn’t they just put all the raw data online somewhere for instance and just post a link to each FOI request – see its all there?

    They have posted all the data they legally can online. Lots of the data people were requesting is data those people knew the scientists were not legally allowed to release because the data was owned by other groups, usually national meteorological agencies like the U.S. NWS, that require the data be purchased by non-scientists.

    Politics is a swamp & scientists should IMHON try and stay as far out of it as possible. Of course, this isn’t always practicable given banalities of funding, policy questions, etc .. So not sure that there are any answers here.

    I think not having politicians investigating scientists for misuse of public funds just for having results the politician does not like is a good start.

  50. TheBlackCat

    The image at “Global Warming Art” is a colorful picture with a little hockey stick at the end. There is no mention of any proxies used. But just like the claims of CO2 CAGW, pretty pictures without data & evidence are pretty much useless. Hope you are not using one of those hide the decline posters.

    Are you really so lazy that you can’t take 10 seconds to find the page the image came from? They are pretty detailed about both their sources and their methods:
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev_png

    As far as your denial of temperatures goes… you should argue your beliefs with the former head of the UEA CRU unit who stated that the difference in warming rates for the periods 1860-1880, 1910-40 and 1975-2009 is statistically insignificant. Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.

    Another standard global warming myth, and another standard dishonest denialist tactic learned from creationists. In this case it is the quote mine, taking a quote out of context to grossly misrepresent what the author was trying to say. You really don’t read anything from anyone besides denialists, do you?

    Here is what Jones actually said:

    BBC: Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming

    Phil Jones: Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.

    BBC: How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?

    Phil Jones: I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

    So as you can see, he was just saying that the time period was too short to draw any reliable conclusions from, but it is close and the indications it does give are that there is warming.

    Because of protests at the Royal Society, there will be a position paper developed regarding climate science. Hopefully this will separate the wheat from the chaff and a statement will be released that reflects actual science. I will wait to see what comes out before I pass judgment.

    Let me guess, if it supports global warming like the position statements of pretty much every other national scientific body in the world, then you will reject it?

  51. Stephen W

    @47 Paul

    “Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.”

    Oh come now! surly we’re not back to this level of statistical ignorance. You do understand what “statistically-significant” means? Hint, it doesn’t mean “significant”.

  52. Stephen W

    @5 Paul quoting Jefferson,

    “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly.”

    You realise by the use of the word “our” Jefferson is talking about the climate in one state of America, not the globe? I only ask because a lot of people seem to have a difficulty understanding the difference.

  53. Stephen W

    @21 Paul

    “Looks to me today as if ‘Climate “Science”‘ still hasn’t learned not to cry wolf.”

    You do remember what happens at the end of that story?

  54. Paul

    51. Stephen W Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    @47 Paul

    “Jones even acceded that there has been no statistically-significant global warming since 1995; that in fact, global temperatures have been trending to the downside since January of 2002, although he denied the statistical significance of the -0.12C per decade decline.”

    Oh come now! surly we’re not back to this level of statistical ignorance. You do understand what “statistically-significant” means? Hint, it doesn’t mean “significant”.

    @Stephen W
    ? So… does that mean you understand that there has been no significant global warming since 1995?

    51 posts lots of opinions and dubious science, yep this is a C02 CAGW thread. Nothing we can say here that will change the fact that there is no observational evidence of Catostrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming due to C02 anytime in the future and the need to turn the world upside down, force 1.5 billion people in the world to remain in poverty without electricity and change the way our governments run.

    Yet there are groups on both sides of the Atlantic that believe the sky is falling and it is now time to suspend democracy.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/b006r4vz/console

    Analysis: Doomed by Democracy?

    9:20 pm Monday, 24th May, BBC Radio 4

    Democracy might have to be abandoned to tackle climate change, according to Prof James Lovelock. Are democratic societies incapable of acting for the good of future generations?

    Length: 30 min.

  55. TheBlackCat

    ? So… does that mean you understand that there has been no significant global warming since 1995?

    @ Stephen: so I guess the answer to your question is “no, he doesn’t”.

    51 posts lots of opinions and dubious science, yep this is a C02 CAGW thread.

    Yes, most of it from you.

    Nothing we can say here that will change the fact that there is no observational evidence of Catostrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming due to C02 anytime in the future

    I notice you ignored my requests to explain what would constitute evidence to you.

    and the need to turn the world upside down, force 1.5 billion people in the world to remain in poverty without electricity and change the way our governments run.

    Yeah, because that is exactly what most scientists are calling for. *sigh* (that was sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice)

    “James Lovelock” You mean the niche extremist that isn’t even accepted by many hard-core environmentalists and that believes in the Gaia hypothesis? Great source, there, he is definitely representative of the scientific consensus on the issue. (more sarcasm, there)

    And what does that remotely have to do with the evidence about whether the climate is changing or not? I am starting to come to the conclusion that you really are not the least bit interested in a reasoned debate on this subject and are just spreading FUD with no concern with whether it actually has even the slightest bit is relevance or validity.

  56. Paul

    @Blackcat
    Yes, I was lazy and didn’t hunt for the source of your hockey stick graph of Holocene Temps. Sure enough the spike in temps at the end are a Phil “hide the decline” Jones product.

    Phil Jones: I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.

    So we come full circle Blackcat. As everyone should know WG1 Ch9 says in a nutshell we can’t think of any natural forcings with our current understanding of global climate but when we play with the GHG variables in our computer models we can replicate the temperature changes. So their conclusion is that despite the fact that climate constantly changes and proxies have demonstrated this in the past this particular time in history is unique for some reason and the fault of man’s contribution of GHG.

    Well I have no problem accepting that our current knowledge is limited. Hey I strongly agree with the bishops of the global warming church when they say it is a tragedy!

    Climategate emails:
    On Oct 14, 2009, at 10:17 AM, Kevin Trenberth wrote:

    Hi Tom
    How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where
    energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter. We are not
    close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is
    happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as
    we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!
    Kevin
    1255523796.txt

    We do not understand how our climate works yet. The CAGW followers overstate the knowledge base and have made “chicken little – sky is falling” claims based on computer models in the absence of observational evidence. Greenhouse gases do effect our climate, no reasonable scientist disputes that fact(that is the consensus). It is the degree that anthropogenic GHG influences our climate that is certainly widely disputed.

  57. TheBlackCat

    Yes, I was lazy and didn’t hunt for the source of your hockey stick graph of Holocene Temps. Sure enough the spike in temps at the end are a Phil “hide the decline” Jones product.

    So let me get the straight. You reject Jones because he used a well-known and well-publicized technique to avoid a known flaw in a small subset of data, but at the same time quote him as an authority on global warming when you can twist his quote to say the exact opposite of what you want? And that of course ignores the fact that we have direct recordings for the spike at the end and don’t need proxies at all.

    So their conclusion is that despite the fact that climate constantly changes and proxies have demonstrated this in the past this particular time in history is unique for some reason and the fault of man’s contribution of GHG.

    Exactly. Well, not “for some reason”, for a variety of very specific reasons. However, I don’t know which of these reasons might be convincing to you because you keep ignoring my questions.

    It also doesn’t change the fact that your version of his statement was a blatant misrepresentation of what he actually said.

    As for your Trenberth quote, once again you should read something other than denialist blogs. Trenberth was talking about uncertainty in short-term changes in the planet’s energy budget like El Nino, this has nothing to do with the relatively long-term warming we are seeing. Once again, standard creationist quote-mining.

    It is the degree that anthropogenic GHG influences our climate that is certainly widely disputed.

    Sure, the degree is disuputed, but only over fairly small ranges. There is very little disagreement that it is enough to cause significant climate change, but exactly how much is still somewhat uncertain. This is another standard creationist tactic, take legitimate disagreement over the details and portray this as disagreement over the fundamentals. And over the past several years the evidence has indicated that the climate is more sensitive than we had thought rather than less.

  58. Paul

    56. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I notice you ignored my requests to explain what would constitute evidence to you.

    Blackcat you failed (no fault of your own as it does not exist) to provide any observational evidence that CO2 is the primary driver of climate. Man releases more and more CO2 ever year but global temperature remains insensitive to the increase.

    Blackcat, you state “More often CO2 is a feedback, with changes in CO2 being triggered by other changes in climate. But that is because it is hard to get that much CO2 release in a short period of time, not because CO2 isn’t a powerful greenhouse gas.” I agree, when the climate warms, more CO2 is released into the atmosphere. This is pretty well understood. As far as how powerful CO2 is I think you need to refresh your knowledge on where CO2 fits as compared to the other GHGs.

    What seems clear to me is that CO2 cannot possibly be the primary driver in our climate. If CO2 were the primary driver in our climate temps would not have leveled off these last ten years. I do not know if you are skirting the issue or you are genuinely confused. Somebody didn’t send the church bulletin to the earth’s climate about this CO2 primary driver claim. I mean come now Blackcat, we have had significant cooling several times during the outpouring of CO2 during the last few hundred years but the climate’s temps are going up and down just like they always have done.

    “and the need to turn the world upside down, force 1.5 billion people in the world to remain in poverty without electricity and change the way our governments run.

    Yeah, because that is exactly what most scientists are calling for. *sigh* (that was sarcasm, in case you didn’t notice)” oh, that was sarcasm? I just took it for granted that all followers of global warming spoke like that, hence my politeness and patience with you.”

    I guess you have this all wrapped up then Blackcat, you have a consensus. I am sure thousands of CAGW followers will be disappointed that there will no longer be the many conventions and parties at exotic places around the world to look forward to attending. I sure hope they recycle their polar bear outfits :)

  59. Daniel J. Andrews

    Bits and pieces here:
    Re: the Jones and no statistical warming. FYI it is not statistically significant at the 95% level, but is significant at the 93.7% level. As pointed out, it is too short a time period.

    Consensus: There is a strong consensus. Science is not divided on this issue. Every professional scientific organization in the developed countries has signed a declaration that warming is happening and that humans are responsible. The scientific literature is also very clear on the subject.

    Re: scientists thinking the world was going into an ice age in the 70s. This is one of those myths you can check on skepticalscience.com. In the early 70s, no-one was really sure what would happen and they said so. A small minority said an ice age may happen, but most said, “there’s not enough data”. By mid- to late-70s though most realized warming was going to happen with Hansen saying it should be noticeable by the late 80s (it was).

    It is easy for deniers to just make stuff up, and that is done repeatedly. They are not held to any standard or any account. But have a scientist make a typo in a report and it is frontpage news. It takes seconds to repeat misinformation, and a lot longer to debunk it. Which is why this link below is a great piece of work. Over 80 minutes long (video), but broken into segments just a few minutes or less than a minute long.

    http://www.stthomas.edu/engineering/jpabraham/

    It is from a scientist who set out to debunk the nonsense Monckton spews in his talks. He gives references to papers, he’s talked to scientists to see if M. represents their work, he highlights references that M’s references to see if they actually say what M claims they say. And if you don’t believe the scientist, he says email him and he will give you the papers, the clips, and the background information so you can go check these things for yourself.

    If you’re not willing to do that work though, then perhaps you may want to keep silent on the issue instead of spreading the misinformation and more lies?

  60. TheBlackCat

    Blackcat you failed (no fault of your own as it does not exist) to provide any observational evidence that CO2 is the primary driver of climate. Man releases more and more CO2 ever year but global temperature remains insensitive to the increase.

    First, no one is claiming that CO2 is the primary driver of the climate, the claim is that CO2 is the primary cause of the additional warming over the last half-century or so. And if you exclude short-term fluctuations due to changes in solar output, that is the trend we see. I am not providing any more than that until you give me at least some idea what sort of evidence you would find convincing on this issue. I’ve encountered far too many people (AGW denialists, creationist, anti-vaxxers, and so on) who will just use ad-hoc excuses to dismiss any evidence they are faced with as “unconvincing”, so I am not going to play until I get some indication of what the rules of the game are.

    As far as how powerful CO2 is I think you need to refresh your knowledge on where CO2 fits as compared to the other GHGs.

    Please be more specific.

    oh, that was sarcasm? I just took it for granted that all followers of global warming spoke like that, hence my politeness and patience with you.

    Oh, zing! I see we have not been reduced to “I know you are but what am I” level here. Perhaps I am lacking in a sense of humor, but I don’t think that is the right comeback for this situation. Most followers of global warming sound like what? What did I sound like there?

    What seems clear to me is that CO2 cannot possibly be the primary driver in our climate. If CO2 were the primary driver in our climate temps would not have leveled off these last ten years.

    Once again, the CO2 warming trend is over longer time scales due to short-term fluctations like El Nino (like in 1998) and changes in solar forcing (like we have seen for the last ten years). Whenever we are in a solar minimum, the warming trend slows or stops. Whenever we are in a solar maximum, it accelerates. Overall the trend is upwards, but on shorter time scales that fluctuates. Whenever there is an El Nino, there is one or two anomalously high years. This is not a complicated concept. Its called a trend for a reason. Not every year is necessarily going to be hotter than the previous year, but if you look over many years there is an upwards trend.

  61. Muzz

    I like the way Paul’s by-the-playbook crankery slowly releals itself. Applause to The Black Cat for such patience in swatting all that stuff once more.

    “Hide the decline” is a litmus test for climate deniers as the Paluxy River Footprints are for creationists: If they’re still going on about that non-issue by now, throw them in the crazy pile. (“Change peer review” will soon be included as well, I think)

  62. Paul

    “61. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I’ve encountered far too many people (AGW denialists, creationist, anti-vaxxers, and so on) who will just use ad-hoc excuses to dismiss any evidence they are faced with as “unconvincing”, so I am not going to play until I get some indication of what the rules of the game are.”

    @BlackCat
    “any evidence” would be a starting point.

    Show me a smoking gun. Neither alarmists nor realists can wish the science to fall one way or the other. I am certain that if there actually were evidence of impending doom action would have been taken already. The global warming faithful would not be go to the parties in Mexico City next year knowing that there is no hope for any kind of a binding agreement on CO2 emissions.

    I personally would love to see renewable energy replace oil and coal. I wish wind/solar/wave power could produce hydrogen for fuel cells. As a realist lacking a compelling reason I cannot see forcing not ready for primetime technologies down peoples throats. A dozen years ago I was all gung ho about a windmill project in my town in New England. Once I learned the facts about wind power I realized how mistaken I was about the technology. I bought satellite TV for my house but it still sits in my basement because I could not bring myself to cut down one of my trees. I love the environment. It pisses me off that GE has pushed powdered mercury filled twisty light bulbs down our throats. I’d rather use LEDs or florescent fixtures.

    Years ago I didn’t pay any mind to CAGW. Things kept coming across my desk and more and more I realized that what was being claimed didn’t really add up.

    You stated CO2 is a feed back that seems obvious when past records show a rise in temperature followed by an increase in CO2 sometimes 800+ years latter. It is hard for me to swallow that in the past a dramatic rise in CO2 following a temp rise that CO2 is somehow the cause of the preceding temp rise. It doesn’t compute. I am not concerned about a short 150 year period with ups and downs so dramatic that we have a different set of nuts calling out warnings of a coming ice age or Global Warming. We are talking about 0.7 or 0.8 C, so what.

    There are new ice cores coming out or the WAIS Antarctic maybe they will have a better resolution on the relationship of past climates and CO2 or other GHGs.

    I don’t know what evidence will turn up tomorrow. I am not married to a position. If I see and understand new evidence my thinking will change.

    As it stands now I don’t see a smoking gun.

  63. Paul

    Thought this was relevant to the OP:

    Paul Driessen : Ken Cuccinelli v. 810 academics – Townhall.com
    “Work by Mann and other alarmist scientists is not merely some theoretical exercise that can be permitted to “play itself out” over many years, if and when the “academic arena” gets around to it. These assertions of climate crisis are being used right now by Congress, states, courts and the Environmental Protection Agency to justify draconian restrictions on energy use and greenhouse emissions. They would shackle our freedoms and civil rights and hammer our jobs, economy, health, welfare and living standards.

    If the science is wrong – or far worse, if it is manipulated, fabricated, fraudulent and covered up – then grave damage will be done to our nation, liberties and families, before the truth gets its boots on.

    As to “scientific debate” over global warming, there has been virtually none in the academic arena. The science is viewed as “settled,” debate has been squelched, and those who seek to initiate debate are attacked, vilified, harassed and shipped off to academic Siberia.

    Dr. Patrick Michaels, another former UVA climate researcher, was fired as Virginia State Climatologist by then-Governor Tim Kaine for raising inconvenient questions and facts on climate science. When Greenpeace demanded access to Michaels’ emails, UVA promptly acceded – before contesting AG Cuccinelli’s request for Mann’s.

    The 810 protesters and their UCS and AAUP consorts were silent. Their principles and objections do not seem to apply to shrill activist groups infringing on the academic and scientific freedom of “politically incorrect” researchers, even when there is no suggestion of dishonesty. Other “skeptical” climate researchers have met with similar fates. The pungent scent of hypocrisy fills the air.

    No surprise there. The massive US government climate change research gravy train alone totaled some $9 billion in grants during 2009, courtesy of hardworking taxpayers. IPCC, EU & Company climate grants – plus billions more for renewable energy research – fatten the larder still further. Now that money, prestige and power are threatened.
    […]
    Dr. Andrew Wakefield falsified studies to create a connection between autism and trace mercury in vaccines against measles, mumps and rubella. Britain stripped him of his right to practice medicine. But meanwhile, a lingering stench remains over double standards; World Wildlife Fund press releases and rank speculation masquerading as peer-reviewed science; computer models enshrined as “proof” of looming climate disasters; and billions being squandered on research purporting to link global warming to nearly every malady and phenomenon known to man.”
    http://tinyurl.com/39nmtw2

    Main bout on sports channel just started in Vegas… GTG then to bed.

    enjoy the rest of the weekend – Paul :)

  64. TheBlackCat

    Show me a smoking gun.

    Ah yes, another one right out of the creationist playbook. You demand a single piece of evidence that settles the whole thing one shot. That is extremely rare in science, if you use this standard then you have to throw out much of modern science. You are going to have to be a little bit reasonable here and actually ask for something that is possible even in principle. What would such a smoking gun even look like? How could we even find it?

    I am certain that if there actually were evidence of impending doom action would have been taken already.

    Then you are both hopelessly naive and grossly ignorant of history.

    The global warming faithful would not be go to the parties in Mexico City next year knowing that there is no hope for any kind of a binding agreement on CO2 emissions.

    You keep on bringing this up like it is remotely relevant, when if you knew even the slightest bit about science you would that it isn’t. You do realize that every field of science puts on conferences like these, right? They are perfectly normal. Also, you once again insist on attacking the scientists rather than addressing the evidence.

    It pisses me off that GE has pushed powdered mercury filled twisty light bulbs down our throats. I’d rather use LEDs or florescent fixtures.

    Haha, talk about technology not ready for prime time, LEDs are no where close. And I find it amusing that don’t even realize that the “powdered mercury filled twisty light bulbs” are “florescent fixtures”, and that fluorescent lights in general contain mercury.

    Years ago I didn’t pay any mind to CAGW. Things kept coming across my desk and more and more I realized that what was being claimed didn’t really add up.

    Right, because despite your demonstrated ignorance on numerous areas of the field you still think that you are better able to judge the state of science than pretty much every scientist on the planet. Talk about arrogance, wow.

    You stated CO2 is a feed back that seems obvious when past records show a rise in temperature followed by an increase in CO2 sometimes 800+ years latter. It is hard for me to swallow that in the past a dramatic rise in CO2 following a temp rise that CO2 is somehow the cause of the preceding temp rise. It doesn’t compute.

    You obviously have absolutely no intention whatsoever to learn anything about this subject, do you?

    This is another thing that you don’t know but is explained in just about every brief overview of AGW on the web. You make it more and more clear you have not bothered to read anything besides denialists blogs. You simply cannot have done any significant research elsewhere without seeing this very basic mistake addressed, it is debunked practically everywhere.

    I also knew you were going to bring this one up, which is why I pre-emptively addressed it in post 26. I see that was a waste of time since you are either not paying attention to what I am saying or being intentionally obtuse.

    There are new ice cores coming out or the WAIS Antarctic maybe they will have a better resolution on the relationship of past climates and CO2 or other GHGs.

    And if it doesn’t fit your preconceived notions you will reject it along with all the other evidence, I strongly suspect.

    don’t know what evidence will turn up tomorrow. I am not married to a position. If I see and understand new evidence my thinking will change.

    All evidence to the contrary. Well, I guess if you see and understand the evidence, but you track record so far does not bode well considering you don’t even see stuff that is explicitly explained to you, not to mention not even understanding what a trend line is.

    As it stands now I don’t see a smoking gun.

    And you aren’t going to until it is too late, just like creationists can’t see a smoking gun for evolution, the tobacco lobby didn’t see a smoking gun for a link between cigarrettes and cancer, antivaxxers don’t see a smoking gun disproving the link between vaccines and autism, and so on down the denialist line. Denialists all demand a smoking gun, it is one of the key things that separates denialists from legitimate scientists. The latter is willing to look at the overall body of evidence and see where that is pointing rather than demanding a single study that proves the issue definitively in one fell swoop.

    I keep hoping and hoping and hoping that you will show the slightest shred of honesty and integrity by admitting your blatant quote mines were wrong and that you had grossly misrepresented the positions of a number of scientists. Instead you just ignore my corrections and move on to the next fallacy or misrepresentation. I’ve given up, I can no longer justify the conclusion that you are honestly misguided, you have made it abundantly clear that you have no interest in truth and will push your agenda by any means possible no matter how dishonest without the slightest apology or regret.

  65. sHx

    Dear Phil Plait,

    You ought to stop misleading people with your credentials. How about “I am an astronomer, writer, and believer” for a change, or at least for certain posts. Such as? Well, such as when you feel the urge to say something about global warming. Here is a draft:

    “I am an astronomer, writer, and skeptic, except for that, you know, apocalyptic, cataclysmic, catastrophic, unbelievably, mind-bogglingly dangerous man-made global warming which, if we don’t start doing something about it beginning from like yesterday, will drown us in water, scorch us with drought, make us sick with disease, choke us up with poison, and not just us but those cute polar bears too, according to guys smarter and more educated than you and I combined.”

    I know it is more than a mouthful, but that is always been a problem with the AGW cult. If the cultists had any doubt about climate science, if they had a shred of skepticism left in them they would not have made such a show of extraordinary certitude with regard to AGW and whether it really means the end of times as Noah knew it.

    This Cuccinelli guy is obviously trying to make some political capital out of the climategate affair. No doubt about that. But then again that’s what a thousand other politicians did before the climategate. They tried to make a living out of the CAGW scare. Now they are scared that they have gone too far ahead, and began back-pedalling on all the massive carbon tax bills, emission trading schemes and what not. But what goes around, comes around. Maybe it is only too fair that the other side try to squeeze some political juice out of this affair. He may well be aspiring to be a Clinton for the Republicans. I don’t like the guy on the basis of his Republican affiliation alone. But I sure would like to see Micheal Mann exposed as the fraudster that he is.

  66. MartinM

    But I sure would like to see Micheal Mann exposed as the fraudster that he is.

    You could start by producing some evidence to support your position, rather than just ranting.

  67. sHx

    You could start by producing some evidence to support your position, rather than just ranting.

    Mann’s Hockey Stick graph -which terrified me at the time but angers me now- is a product of fraudulent science. What else do you want? A mugshot and a police facts sheet?

  68. Mike Mullen

    “34. Messier Tidy Upper Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 3:20 am

    PS. If the science is so sound and the scientists so good (both scientifically & ethically) then why do people on the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming side appear to get so worried when it comes to being investigated?”

    Allow me to put it in terms you might understand. Imagine you are accused of a crime, you are investigated, tried, and eventually cleared. Then imagine that as soon as you are cleared some other agency or jurisdiction starts the whole cycle over again, and then when you protest at this injustice they pronounce this is proof you must have something to hide. Those who take the attitude ‘well if you’re innocent you have nothing to fear’ are either naive or just plain lying.

  69. TheBlackCat

    “I am an astronomer, writer, and skeptic, except for that, you know, apocalyptic, cataclysmic, catastrophic, unbelievably, mind-bogglingly dangerous man-made global warming which, if we don’t start doing something about it beginning from like yesterday, will drown us in water, scorch us with drought, make us sick with disease, choke us up with poison, and not just us but those cute polar bears too, according to guys smarter and more educated than you and I combined.”

    Where has Phil said anything even remotely similar to this? I have been reading this blog since it was first established, and reading the website the preceded it for several years before that, and don’t ever recall seeing anything like this.

    I know it is more than a mouthful, but that is always been a problem with the AGW cult. If the cultists had any doubt about climate science, if they had a shred of skepticism left in them they would not have made such a show of extraordinary certitude with regard to AGW and whether it really means the end of times as Noah knew it.

    It would have been terrible if they had done anything like this, but they didn’t. Your description doesn’t even bear the slighest passing resemblance to what the scientists were actually saying and are still saying. They were always very clear about the level of confidence and the error margins of their work.

    Mann’s Hockey Stick graph -which terrified me at the time but angers me now- is a product of fraudulent science. What else do you want? A mugshot and a police facts sheet?

    Still not seeing the evidence. And please, please, please read some non-denialists sources. Posting the same out-of-context quotes is just going to convince everyone you have no clue what you are talking about (if your exaggerated and hysterical rhetoric hasn’t already). At the very least read the other comments in the post.

  70. MartinM

    Mann’s Hockey Stick graph -which terrified me at the time but angers me now- is a product of fraudulent science. What else do you want?

    What I want is for you to provide evidence for your claims. Are you incapable of doing so? What specifically is wrong with the hockey stick?

  71. Steve in Dublin

    Funny how the science that made things like iPods possible is just fine and dandy, but the science behind anthropogenic global warming (and evolution) is ‘fraudulent’ according to a large portion of the U.S. population.

    It couldn’t be because the science conflicts with the ideology of the people that claim it is fraudulent, could it?

    Rational discourse on a subject that conflicts with someone’s ideology has proven to be impossible, as every one of these AGW threads on the BA’s site demonstrates. I know the reason we attempt to debate the deniers is for the benefit of any fence sitters. Someone who is undecided might actually go read the scientific literature that we point them at. But I don’t see any fence sitters here, only hard core deniers regurgitating the bullsh!t they read on denier sites. Trying to engage one of these deniers is an exercise in futility, as it is with all conspiracy theorists.

  72. Mike Mullen

    It would help if denialists didn’t seem to get their knowledge of climate change from tabloid headlines. Careful scientific studies reduced to ‘we’re all doomed!’ headlines and then when the scientists adjust their models based on better data it turned into ‘scientists were lying! Fraud! Conspiracy!’ If you want to blame anyone for sensationalizing the whole issue try the media, on both sides of the argument.

  73. Paul

    Related News on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli
    RICHMOND — The Obama administration asked a federal judge Monday to dismiss Virginia’s challenge of the health-care overhaul law, arguing that the state has no standing to sue over the law and that Congress’s power to regulate interstate trade makes the measure constitutional.

    As I understand it, the Obama administration stands a good chance of getting the suit dismissed.

  74. Paul

    26. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 8:55 pm
    How about a causaul link between CO2 and the temperature variation of today and those of the little ice age(lia),

    Once again, what would you consider sufficient to establish such a causal link? And that only applies to the current warming, there have at most been only a handful of points in history where such massive amounts of CO2 were pumped into the atmosphere with no other events triggering it. More often CO2 is a feedback, with changes in CO2 being triggered by other changes in climate. But that is because it is hard to get that much CO2 release in a short period of time, not because CO2 isn’t a powerful greenhouse gas.

    @blackcat
    CO2 is not a powerful greenhouse gas. Unless there is a minor CFC out there that has fallen out of my memory CO2 is the least powerful of all greenhouse gases.

    The insignificance is illustrated here: http://tinyurl.com/2vo9swq .

    Only because of CO2’s quantity and the disputed belief that CO2 will somehow someday cause some yet to be demonstrated catastrophic effect on the atmosphere, that it has been placed over the lesser prevalent but much more powerful methane, nitrous oxide and CFCs. After the whistle blower released the climategate emails there was a lot of hype about the impending doom of nitrous oxide releases and the playing down of CO2 by members of the CAGW movement, that seems to have tapered off. While it is almost laughable there was a recent paper that was going through the media claiming that the extinction of the woolly mammoth and the sudden absence of their farts triggered the last Ice Age. Woolly Mammoth farts must have had some powerful methane… How can anyone take the CAGW movement seriously?

    Here is a PDF illustrating a well known alarmist NASA climate modeler’s interpretation of CO2s effects http://tinyurl.com/359f4os .

    A detailed explanation by scientists of how much of the “Greenhouse Effect” is caused by human activity is here http://tinyurl.com/gtp6z .

  75. Paul

    65. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    It pisses me off that GE has pushed powdered mercury filled twisty light bulbs down our throats. I’d rather use LEDs or florescent fixtures.

    Haha, talk about technology not ready for prime time, LEDs are no where close. And I find it amusing that don’t even realize that the “powdered mercury filled twisty light bulbs” are “florescent fixtures”, and that fluorescent lights in general contain mercury.

    @blackcat
    Your stating the obvious is marginally better than your distortions, tedious sermons and testaments to your faith in CAGW, but just marginally.

    Residential as well as a great deal of the commercial fluorescent lighting has generally been protectively housed, mounted on ceilings or up on walls where they are safe and out of the way. That is why the issues and concerns about toxic contamination of children’s rooms and homes hadn’t come up until now. Until now environmentalists were always very concerned about landfill, groundwater and food chain contamination due to the mercury in fluorescent lighting.

    It wouldn’t occur to me that someone would have bare four foot tubes in a child’s room or the family play room. Even if the four foot glass tube lights had powder that was not toxic, the glass, the mess and the potential for injury would be enough to dissuade a parent from setting the stage for a disaster.

    The mercury compact fluorescent bulbs are a different story. Just one lamp on a nightstand breaking and dispersing on a carpet is enough to make the room many times above the toxicity levels permitted by any state. The cleanup is no picnic.

    Commercial fluorescent lighting was legislated as toxic waste and specially disposed of from what I remember. The four foot tubes are pretty obvious sticking out of a garbage pale on a residential street but those little compact fluorescent bulbs are all to easy to just toss in the regular trash. The states are behind us here in Europe with regards to recycling, although some municipalities are doing really well with the efforts. There is still a lot of non-compliance here and for us that means the bulbs are mixed with the household trash and burned as heat in the communal hot water furnace. Back in the states much of the non-recycled bulbs would wind up in landfills.

    With memories of lead paint, asbestos and mercury thermometers removal in my formative years, it rubs me the wrong way that we are going to see two, five or more of these mercury CFL bulbs in every room in America sitting on tables and bookshelves. Fluorescent lights were a choice in the past. CFL’s pose a home environment hazard as well as a ground water and food chain hazard.

    However to be fair not only do they save consumers on electricity costs, there is also a reduction of air dispersal of mercury in regions where power plants use coal which launches mercury and other toxins into the atmosphere. The CFLs are also not as fragile as the long tube bulbs.

    I suppose I could reconcile it if there will be proper recycling of CFL bulbs. The states that do not currently provide for mandatory recycling, must do so.

    Which CFLs fit in lavalamps and easybake ovens?

  76. Paul

    65. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 29th, 2010 at 10:50 pm
    Show me a smoking gun.

    And you aren’t going to until it is too late, just like creationists can’t see a smoking gun for evolution, the tobacco lobby didn’t see a smoking gun for a link between cigarrettes and cancer, antivaxxers don’t see a smoking gun disproving the link between vaccines and autism, and so on down the denialist line. Denialists all demand a smoking gun, it is one of the key things that separates denialists from legitimate scientists.

    LOL@ your antivaxxers, creationist and people who do not blindly follow the herd and question radical new doomsday theories, blackcat :)

    While I do not know any antivaxxers or creationists myself I wonder how many of them have your blind faith in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming? Hey with the church of global warming’s dwindling numbers if you can hook a creationist you should take them.

    Btw: There are churches in the UK right now organizing global warming mission statements over the next week or two.

    Along the lines of your faith’s dwindling numbers I recall a poll last year which revealed that in America the faithful who still believe that man is responsible for global warming had fallen to 36 percent and 37 percent believed in the existence of haunted houses. Makes you wonder about that one percent difference. I mean what is it with global warming that the one percent would still believe in haunted houses but not in CAGW? :)

    And you aren’t going to until it is too late
    Blackcat we have heard time and time again, “it is already too late”, “we are doomed already”, we have 10 years, “free Willy”, we have 5 years, we have 50 years, we have 30 days until COP15 left for one final chance to save the planet… When will we have some evidence? (Computer models are not a substitute for evidence)

    When will there at least be some honest dialog on the state of the climate?

  77. Paul

    26. TheBlackCat Says:
    May 28th, 2010 at 8:55 pm
    a demonstration that anthropogenic CO2 is dominate over the Pacific Decadal Oscillations(PDO)?

    You mean the oscillation that, as its name implies, last a few decades at most, as opposed to the 100+ year warming trend we are seeing now? How is a short-term trend like that even remotely relevant?

    You are sorely mistaken Blackcat. The PDO is very significant in the CAGW conversation.

    Now as the PDO was a much earlier post I thought you were feigning ignorance but in light of your other posts I am not quite sure. The PDO can be either positive or negative with each cycle lasting 10-40 years, flip for 1-5 years and go right back yielding 60 or more years of global warming or cooling. As we have seen in the recent few years.

    (see image here http://tinyurl.com/3x2zybl)

    The PDO signal is clear. Where is the the CO2 signal? Why should we believe it exists at all?

    At the end of the PDOs negative state during the cold years in the late ’70s when NASA GISS chief James Hansen, Holdren, President Obama’s current science advisor and others were claiming we were heading toward a catastrophic Ice Age in 2020 and radical action needed to be taken. Then starting in the late ’70s when the PDO entered its warm phase with almost back to back positive phases which as we saw with the cold phases of the 40s, 50s and 60s line up perfectly with global temperatures as demonstrated above.

    While we had the PDO and the Global Warmists claiming CO2 for the famous warming cycle of the ’80s & ’90s, culminating with the El Niño event of the late ’90s — NASA GISS chief James Hansen and a myriad of other CAGW troubadours had not the slightest hesitation in claiming that the increased temperatures of El Niño were “CAGW come to fruition” and their long awaited vindication had arrived. Of course that was short lived as when ENSO subsided the downward trend was obvious. The high temps of the El Niño had become not a high mark of CO2 climate but an inconvenient weather anomaly and a liability to the fear mongers of CAGW. You yourself admit that attribution to El Niño is BS but your CAGW people don’t seem to care.

    Blackcat, your claiming the PDO is a short event and irrelevant couldn’t be more wrong but for you I guess consistency & arrogance are more important. The signals of the PDO are plain as day, this is accepted by CAGW alarmists as well as actual scientists who are doubtful of a detectable anthropogenic signal from CO2 or the probability of a tipping point and runaway temperature increases. The CAGW movement claims that it is possible that tenths of a degree per decade increase in trend is somewhere buried in the dramatic shifts in natural climate that we have seen three times over the last 150 years and not just the climate recovering from the little ice age. With the PDO, ENSO, the AMO so little understood by climate modelers and each event unpredictable & so long lived, powerful enough to raise global temperatures by whole degrees, scientists are questioning the alarmists’ logic of attributing the changes we have seen in our climate to the latest CO2 craze.

    This is why I previously mentioned the Royal Society having to take several months to reconvene and decide on a statement policy that reflects actual consensus or at least placate its dissenting members into remaining silent as they have in the past. However one Royal Society member has already reportedly said it may not even be possible for the panel to agree upon a consensus.

    In Australia there is a real brawl going on. “Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Professor Batterham faces demands by members to drop plans for the academy to issue a policy statement supporting climate sceptics.[…] Documents obtained by The Canberra Times show Professor Batterham has indicated support for a statement clarifying the academy’s position on climate change.[…] A two-page draft, posted on a password-protected section of the academy’s website, said the academy ”does not believe the science is settled” regarding climate change. It said many scientists believed ”climate changes are nothing unusual, based on past geological records”.”
    http://tinyurl.com/36cab59

    These revolts keep happening at various academies and technical societies and even at the IPCC. The science consensus is on the basic radiative properties of the various greenhouse gases. There is no consensus on runaway and catastrophic anthropogenic global warming or the devastating programs that have been proposed to solve a problem that might not even exist.

    There are a great many scientists who are quite public and an unknown number of scientists who have remained silent who have turned their backs on the catastrophic anthropogenic movement which is almost singularly focused on CO2 emissions. They have joined the majority of the people in America, the UK, Sweden and I believe Germany and elsewhere who remain skeptic on anthropogenic global warming and the numbers are growing not shrinking.

    The insults, hostility, “the debate is over”, “lalalalala I can’t hear you” stance will only get your faithful followers of CAGW in ten or twenty years to the same place we find ourselves today. Those tactics are not winning over the hearts and minds of those who think for themselves. When is the last time we have read that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who are signed up for the massive reworking of the world’s economy because if we don’t, humanity will perish?

    It would be terrible if the things we could do today(give electricity to the 1.5 billion impoverished people of the world, create & irrigate crops, provide drinking water etc, etc) continue to not be done because the political bodies of the world are preoccupied with CAGW as millions of people continue to die due to inaction. Equally, it would be a shame if the proper actions were not taken if we actually are facing a climate catastrophe.

  78. TheBlackCat

    Your stating the obvious is marginally better than your distortions, tedious sermons and testaments to your faith in CAGW, but just marginally.

    WOW! After your repeated blatant misrepresentations of statements by scientists, which you still have not acknowledged even after I brought it to your attention, you have the sheer gal to accuse me of “distortions”? I’d like to know what these supposed “distortions” are, because up to this point you have mentioned a single one (at least not one that I haven’t subsequently shown to be total baloney).

    With memories of lead paint, asbestos and mercury thermometers removal in my formative years, it rubs me the wrong way that we are going to see two, five or more of these mercury CFL bulbs in every room in America sitting on tables and bookshelves. Fluorescent lights were a choice in the past. CFL’s pose a home environment hazard as well as a ground water and food chain hazard.

    Fair enough. Although I should point out flourescent bulbs were common in desk lamps long before CFL bulbs, and made of much weaker materials, so they were not restricted to ceiling fixtures. They are a lot more common than they were, though.

    While I do not know any antivaxxers or creationists myself I wonder how many of them have your blind faith in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

    Interestingly, people who are deny science of one sort also tend to deny other areas of science. So many creationists are also global warming denialists (the Discovery Institute, which is the source of Intelligent Design, is also strongly anti-AGW), as are many HIV denialists. Recent research on the subject suggests that once you are willing to throw away the scientific method in one situation it becomes easier in others.

    Hey with the church of global warming’s dwindling numbers if you can hook a creationist you should take them.

    Hahahaha! Wow, this entire discussion could just as easily be with a creationist. Creationists also love to pull out this canard, and also pull it out against all evidence (at least amongst scientists, unfortunately support for evolution amongst the public may very well be dropping).

    Btw: There are churches in the UK right now organizing global warming mission statements over the next week or two.

    So? Churches release statements on important social issues all the time. Fundamentalist Christian churches have been speaking out against AGW for a long time, although that stems at least in part from Bible saying God promised never to flood the world again after the Deluge (which isn’t even what scientists are predicting). What are you suggesting is the significance of this?

    Along the lines of your faith’s dwindling numbers I recall a poll last year which revealed that in America the faithful who still believe that man is responsible for global warming had fallen to 36 percent and 37 percent believed in the existence of haunted houses. Makes you wonder about that one percent difference. I mean what is it with global warming that the one percent would still believe in haunted houses but not in CAGW?

    Wow, your lack of understanding of statistics once again leaves dumbfounded. How can someone who understands basic math so poorly possibly think you could even have the slightest understanding of global warming?

    When will we have some evidence?

    There has been, but you flat-out said you won’t accept it until it is a “smoking gun”. Your standards of evidence would require rejecting huge areas of science, but you just selectively apply a downright impossible level of proof for the one particular area of science you don’t like but are perfectly happy with much looser standards of evidence for everything else. Once again, that is a standard way to identify denialists, that they selectively apply different standards to different areas of science in order to be able to justify supporting using science when it suits them but tossing it away when it doesn’t.

    Computer models are not a substitute for evidence

    No one has claimed they are, which you would know if you had read anything besides denialist sources.

    When will there at least be some honest dialog on the state of the climate?

    When the denialists stop stonewalling and actually look at the evidence from a scientific perspective.

  79. gss_000

    “But if Mike Mann has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong he’ll be cleared surely & Ken Cuccinelli will look like the bad guy and it will be an eventual PR triumph for the CAGW folks won’t it?”

    This is the silliest argument at this point, because there have been so many reviews already. Shouldn’t the 2 UK reviews, the AP reviews of the email, etc ad nauseum have cleared everything already? The fact that anyone still thinks there is an issue that another investigation will settle just shows that no fact will prove to deniers they are wrong.

    @18. John
    “Which costs the taxpayers more? Mann’s funding or the Attorney General’s investigation?”

    Depends on who is doing the accounting. Since this is the AG’s office, if it’s like his health care suit, it only costs several hundred dollars or the rice of the filing fee becuase somehow all the work done by the AG and his staff is free!

  80. MartinM

    I recall a poll last year which revealed that in America the faithful who still believe that man is responsible for global warming had fallen to 36 percent…

    Gallup disagrees.

    I’d post more, but that appears to be the only verifiable claim you’ve actually made that hasn’t already been proven wrong. I particularly like the way you trotted out the global cooling canard after it had already been debunked upthread.

    When will there at least be some honest dialog on the state of the climate?

    When cranks like you stop discussing it.

  81. Messier Tidy Upper

    @50. TheBlackCat :

    Okay, maybe. Thanks for the link Exxon-wise. :-)

    Ultimately time will tell – if in about five to ten years time we have no arctic ice in summer and the Himalayan and other glaciers have vanished and we’ve had consistently record-breaking hottest years in succession with an undeniable, impossible to doubt at all alarming warming temperature trend and so forth, eventually there’ll be enough evidence to prove CAGW beyond doubt if its really going to be as bad as they say.

    In that context & with that in mind:

    Please can someone, anyone, please post direct quotes or summarised references on the specific scientific predictions and things they were saying back in the 1980’s about Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (aka The Greenhouse Effect then) and see whether they got any predictions right for this decade we’re living in now?

    What did the CAGW people say it would be like in 2010 back in 1980 & have their predictions from then approached today’s reality at all?

    They might’ve got some things right – I really don’t know & I certainly can’t think of any off the top of my head – but I do think the media in the 1980’s made the predictions seem very apocalyptically scary and OTT then – just as they sound, frankly, too bad to believe again now.

    I seem to recall a lot of deja-vu-ish “horrible disasters coming anyday unless we do exactly *this* or *that*” rhetoric* – & we didn’t end up doing exactly *this* or *that*as they demanded back then after all. Just like we aren’t and won’t (remember ‘human nature 101′ & the sad politico-economic realities I mentioned before) this time round.

    Can anyone please name three major & specific predictions made back in the 80’s when CAGW was first argued as a “happening reality” that are, well happening or happened *reality* today?

    As I’ve said, time will deliver the ultimate verdict here – we’ll have to see what happens and what doesn’t & the result ultimately might not be 100% known for a couple of decades.

    —-

    * The oceans turning to acid CAGW doomsday prediction is a new one tho’ I’ll grant – I think! ;-)

    Will CAGW also put the Sun out, turn the Moon to blood and plague us all with painful boils too? ;-)

    Sorry if that sounds too harshly sarcastic but it does just sound ..well ridiculous. However scientific the fig-leaf used to cover it. Especially when we know from the geological record that the planet was much hotter and richer in Co2 in previous geological eras eg. Jurassic, Carboniferous, Hadean etc .. *without* such far-fetched calamities happening. ;-)

  82. TheBlackCat

    Ultimately time will tell – if in about five to ten years time we have no arctic ice in summer and the Himalayan and other glaciers have vanished and we’ve had consistently record-breaking hottest years in succession with an undeniable, impossible to doubt at all alarming warming temperature trend and so forth, eventually there’ll be enough evidence to prove CAGW beyond doubt if its really going to be as bad as they say.

    Great plan, let’s wait until it is already over and then act.

    I should add that, despite the fact that it took place over the deepest and longest solar minimum on record, every year since 2000 has been hotter than any year prior to 1998 (which, I should remind you, was an El Nino year, so it is way hotter than normal). So we do have a long string of record-years. They won’t always be warmer than the year before, but 11 of the last 12 years are amongst the top 12 years ever recorded. And this is during at time when the sun is pumping out less energy than normal for much longer than normal. If that isn’t enough, what sort of record breaking would satisfy you?

    What did the CAGW people say it would be like in 2010 back in 1980 & have their predictions from then approached today’s reality at all?

    The current temperature is well within the margins of error even for Mann’s now much-maligned predictions, as well as many other predictions. Other things they predicted include:

    That the lower levels of the atmosphere would warm while the higher levels would cool
    That nights would warm more than days
    That winters would warm more than summers
    That more polar latitudes would warm more than more equatorial ones
    That the arctic would warm more than the antarctic
    The intensity and duration of cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption
    The rate of sea level rise
    While most glaciers would shrink, they correctly predicted the growth of a few specific glaciers due to increased precipitation outpacing the increased melting from the higher temperatures
    Changing timing of many seasonal plant an animal events (like migrations and flower opening) and changing ranges of animal species.

    I am not 100% sure that all of those were from the 80’s, but they were certainly predicted far before they were measured.

    The oceans turning to acid CAGW doomsday prediction is a new one tho’ I’ll grant – I think!

    They won’t “turn to acid”, they will become slightly more acidic than they are now, which has a huge impact on certain key plankton species. And it isn’t new, it was known all along and has happened in the past when huge amounts of carbon were suddenly released into the atmosphere. The effects on marine life were not pretty and lasted a long time.

    Especially when we know from the geological record that the planet was much hotter and richer in Co2 in previous geological eras eg. Jurassic, Carboniferous, Hadean etc .. *without* such far-fetched calamities happening.

    Once again, you are neglecting the part about it being a sudden change in atmospheric carbon content. Slow changes can be pretty easily adapted to, sudden changes not so much.

    And you have to remember, during the Mesozoic life was very different than it is now, and if you recall mammals were not the most successful life forms during that time ;) Our society is completely based around the relatively stable climate that has existed over the last 10,000 or so years. Life will surely go on, it has survived worse in the past. The issue is our: our societies, our agricultural systems, our water resources, our coastal geography. We have not experienced something like this since the advent of the first major civilizations, and certainly not since industrialization.

    Will CAGW also put the Sun out, turn the Moon to blood and plague us all with painful boils too?

    No, but it is already increasing the range of malaria infections into more northern latitudes.

  83. sHx

    What I want is for you to provide evidence for your claims. Are you incapable of doing so? What specifically is wrong with the hockey stick?

    There is nothing specifically wrong with the hockey stick… if you want to play hockey with it. It is a long slender bar with a blade at the end that is often used to score a goal.

    But if you present a historical temperature graph that looks like a hockey stick, then what you are saying is that historically climate was fairly stable until the 20th Century, when it suddenly starts going through the roof. In Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph the 20th Century uptick is not only too big and too fast, but unprecedented as well. Well documented historical epochs such as Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age cannot be seen in that graph. Personally speaking, I didn’t know anything about MWP and LIA, so I treated the graph with great alarm at the time rather than incredulity. And that’s precisely what Mann and his cabal wanted to see happen; the fear of impending doom and gloom jumping into people’s hearts and mind.

    We now know that the Medieval Warm Period was always a problem for the CAGW cult’s high priests. They had to get rid of Medieval Warm Period or had to contain it somehow, and contain they did… very successfully. You can read Keith Briffa saying recent temps was probably matched 1000 years ago, but only in private correspondence with fellow high priests, not in public. Saying that in public would kill off the appearance of the ‘scientific’ consensus. MWP was ‘contained’ to show that we’re on a highway to hell like we’ve never been before. That, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, was scientific fraud.

    Mann’s most recent temp re-construction came late last year, conveniently, just before the Copenhagen meeting. The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age is back on the graph now that the world was scared into action, except that he would like to call the MWP an ‘anomaly’ and have us believe it was only a Northern Hemisphere event not global.

    I don’t care if CAGW cultists continue the fool’s errand that Micheal Mann and his ilk assigned for them. I refuse to join the climate crusade and I’ll fight anyone who tries to make it government’s business to force me join. Micheal Mann is your fraudster, he is your problem, not mine or anyone else who take their science with skepticism.

    BTW, I’d still like to see Phil Plait declare that with regard to CAGW ‘science’ he is a believer, not a skeptic.

  84. TheBlackCat

    But if you present a historical temperature graph that looks like a hockey stick, then what you are saying is that historically climate was fairly stable until the 20th Century, when it suddenly starts going through the roof.

    Right, that is more or less what all the reconstructions say.

    In Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph the 20th Century uptick is not only too big and too fast, but unprecedented as well.

    Too big and too fast…relative to what? It is well in agreement with all the reconstructions.

    Well documented historical epochs such as Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age cannot be seen in that graph.

    You mean well documented local historical epochs such as the Medieval Warm Period (which as best as anyone can tell only affected the North Atlantic) and Little Ice Age (which seems to have happened at widely different times in different places even amongst the handful of places that had it).

    Personally speaking, I didn’t know anything about MWP and LIA,

    Any you apparently still don’t

    And that’s precisely what Mann and his cabal wanted to see happen; the fear of impending doom and gloom jumping into people’s hearts and mind.

    Once again, evidence please. Attacking your opponents’ motives without evidence does not fly very well here, especially when you are accusing them of falsifying data.

    They had to get rid of Medieval Warm Period or had to contain it somehow, and contain they did… very successfully.

    If they had contained it, how come everyone knows about it? If they had done a remotely good job of containing it we would not be having this discussion. The fact is it was debated and analyzed very publicly for a long period of time. Google scholar is showing 139 papers mentioning the Medieval Warm Period prior to 1990, and 848 prior to 2000. Great secret there.

    You can read Keith Briffa saying recent temps was probably matched 1000 years ago, but only in private correspondence with fellow high priests, not in public.

    Source please.

    Mann’s most recent temp re-construction came late last year, conveniently, just before the Copenhagen meeting.

    Right, because it is so nefarious to try to get updated data out prior to a meeting discussing your area of research. Do you know anything about scientific research?

    The Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age is back on the graph now that the world was scared into action, except that he would like to call the MWP an ‘anomaly’ and have us believe it was only a Northern Hemisphere event not global.

    Right, because of course there is absolutely no possibility anyone could possibly improve their work over time, all data is fixed and no improvements or revisions happen, and when they do it is proof the researchers were hiding something. Thanks, you’ve already answered my previous question, you don’t know anything whatsoever about scientific research.

    Micheal Mann is your fraudster, he is your problem, not mine or anyone else who take their science with skepticism.

    Right, because we all know he is the only one doing paleoclimate reconstructions, and paleoclimate reconstructions are the only source of data we have on global warming.

    BTW, I’d still like to see Phil Plait declare that with regard to CAGW ’science’ he is a believer, not a skeptic.

    Then he would be lying.

  85. JGlanton

    Get that fraud Mann.

  86. Messier Tidy Upper

    @73. Mike Mullen Says:

    It would help if denialists didn’t seem to get their knowledge of climate change from tabloid headlines. Careful scientific studies reduced to ‘we’re all doomed!’ headlines and then when the scientists adjust their models based on better data it turned into ’scientists were lying! Fraud! Conspiracy!’ If you want to blame anyone for sensationalizing the whole issue try the media, on both sides of the argument.

    Yes the media does indeed have a lot to answer for.

    Good comment – aside from the partisan “denialist” insult at the side you evidently disagree with.

    @50. TheBlackCat :

    Let’s look at these [examples of science getting it wrong] one at a time:
    1. Global Cooling – as I already stated it was a small minority position

    I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. I think your statement unfairly understates the considerable number of scientists and genuine public and political concern over GC at the time.

    2. Swine Flu – this would likely have been far worse if it wasn’t for an extremely intensive attempt to prevent it. This is an insult to the people who worked tirelessly to make sure the swine flu didn’t become a disaster.

    Correct me if I’m wrong & I might be, I’m no biologist. However, I do gather that the swine flu virus itself turned out to be much weaker and less harmful than had been forecast. Yes there was an intensive effort at stopping it and people worked hard to fight it – good for them – but the reality was the swine flu itself was no worse maybe even much less severe than the normal seasonal flu. Right? That’s what I was referring to there – the scientific consensus was that swine flu was going to be like the worst ever 1918 (?) influenza pandemic and kill millions (even hundreds of millions) and yet they got it wrong. The disease itself wasn’t that bad after all.

    3. Y2K – see previous, even more so. Huge numbers of people worked for years to fix this problem.

    Yes, many people worked hard (good for them) and spent lots (suckers!) fixing it and yet the Y2K bug itself didn’t cause computers to crash and the ensuing calamities. It just reset the machine’s clock. Mine did – I had an old computer, did nothing to fix the Y2K on it and on Jan 1st 2000 it said it was Jan 1st 1990 – so I couldn’t tell what year it was from my computer – big deal. Was *that* really worth the huge hullaballooo and panic?

    4 the existence of larger than microscopic flora & fauna on Mars – very few have said this is any more than a possibility except. See 1.

    Actually, I think you’ll find it was very much the scientific consensus of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries before the Mariner 4 in 1964. Before then – as you’ll find in books written pre-Mariner-4 – scientists thought that the dark patches and seasonal changes on mars were caused by spreading vegetation. Mars was specifically ruled out of one contest aimed at communicating with aliens because it was thought to be too easy! Percieval Lowell’s visions of canals might have been highly disputed (as CAGW is today) but most astronomers accepted Schiapparelli’s views of “channels” and considered Martian flora and fauna to be present.

    5. that space travel and rockets into space was utter bilge and impossible – who said that and when? I suspect this is another case of 1.

    Arthur C.Clarke described in an essay “The problem of Dr Campbell’ included in the anthology ‘Greetings Carbon based bipeds’ that :

    “One of the burdens that we premature space cadets had to bear – at least until the 1955 announcement of the Earth satellite program made astronautics respectable – was persistent attacks from the scientific community. My favourite example is from a book published by one Prof A. W. Bickerton in 1926 – the very year in which Robert Hutchins Goddard flew the worlds first liquid propellant rocket. The learned professor wrote : “this foolish idea of shooting at Moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments … Our most violent explosive has only one-tenth of the energy necessary to escape from Earth. … Hence the proposition appears to be basically impossible.”
    – Page 49, Clarke,Voyager, 1999. [Ellipses original to Clarke & not mine.]

    The Professor Campbell who Clarke demolishes in that essay was another scientific opponent of rocketry and the notion of space travel and that group was in the majority at the time.

    6. that “stones don’t fall from the sky!” – quoting stuff from 200 years ago before modern science even really got started does not help your case much.

    Won’t it? My point is that science does get things wrong and sometimes claims a huge amount of certainty for things that later turn out to be incorrect. The whole notion of meteorites was for a long time considered preposterous by the scientific consensus. We know better now. Perhaps we will about CAGW one day too. Today’s “settled” scientific consensus certainty can indeed be tomorrows “Oops! Well wasn’t it an embarrassing silly mistake when we all thought that!”

    7. that nobody could survive travelling at 100 miles per hour – see 1 again

    I’m pretty sure it was the commonly agreed view before early train travel that the fastest speeds the human body could cope with was a bit above the maximum speed a horse could go.

    Maybe my examples could have been different and perhaps better. I could’ve mentioned Malthus and predictions that the future streets of London would be buried miles deep in horse manure if population continued to rise for ex.

    However, I think the main point – that we need to be a bit more humble and willing to admit the possibility we’ve got CAGW wrong just like we’ve got other things wrong before too remains.

    I meant to address this before in my last post here but it was too late and I forgot. As I said, time will tell.

    Also as I’ve already said – whether or not CAGW is real we are just NOT – as a species – going to be able to stop it by means other than technology and science, eg. space-based sunshade, “artificial volcanoes” etc… & we’re going to have to adapt to it.

    Realistically, international agreements (which won’t be reached anyhow – exhibit A the ’09 Copenhagen eco-summit) and feel-good lifestyle moves won’t cut it or be adopted widely enough. Domestic laws and taxes won’t be sufficient or likely imposed at all. If they are imposed at all they’ll just be done by one or two nations to the severe economic and social detriment of those particular countries – other lands incl.the buigegst polluters -(eg,.China and India) won’t comply because it is against their political and economic interests to do so.

    If human industry and science has created the CAGW problem, it is also our only reasonable hope of stopping it.

  87. sHx

    You mean well documented local historical epochs such as the Medieval Warm Period (which as best as anyone can tell only affected the North Atlantic) and Little Ice Age (which seems to have happened at widely different times in different places even amongst the handful of places that had it)

    When several degree Celsius temperature increase that lasts several months in the equatorial Pacific nudges up the global averages, CAGW cultists jump up and down in joy: “See, see, it is the hottest ever month-year-decade on record.” When there is a warm period lasting several centuries that’s well established anecdotally and in paleo records, the same cultists begin to chant “that was local not global”.

    Why didn’t those so-called scientists use some of their multi-billion dollar funds to determine first whether the Medieval Warm Period was local or global before they ran into the movie hall screaming “Fire! Fire! Unprecedented fire!” They could have done their homework 10-20-30 years ago. Instead they keep on whinging about lack of historical temp records from Southern Hemisphere on one hand, insisting MWP was local event, not global, on the other hand. If these ‘scientists’ had a speck of skepticism in them they would be ascertaining the extent of the MWP before they opened their mouth.

    Right, because of course there is absolutely no possibility anyone could possibly improve their work over time, all data is fixed and no improvements or revisions happen, and when they do it is proof the researchers were hiding something.

    I am aware of that. That’s not what I mean. I am sorry you didn’t get my point. It’s either that or you are deliberately misrepresenting me. The Hockey Stick graph, which made MWP and LIA disappear, already fulfilled its purpose by scaring people and governments into action. Copenhagen debated IPCC proposals not Mann’s ‘latest science’. Mann however could claim that Copenhagen agreement was made in the light of a new re-construction that did show MWP and LIA. Thank heavens Copenhagen turned into an abject failure instead thanks to climategate scandal. The other question here of course is whether people would have been scared witless and whether there would have been this much doubt and skepticism about climatology had there been an honest, fraud-free re-construction instead of the hockey stick graph at the first place ten years ago.

    Source please.

    I take it you’ve been living on the other side of the moon for the last six months or so. But nevermind that, if I show you the source in which Keith Briffa made that comment, will it in anyway make you a lesser cultist? Will it make it, you know, the beginning of a road to Damascus event for you if I show you the source of that statement? Until you promise in the affirmative, I am not going to offer you the source. You are asking the source not because you genuinely want to learn but because you want to be difficult.

    That’s it from from me. I don’t have the time, the inclination or the ability to match you word for word, line for line, sophistry for sophistry.

  88. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 83. TheBlackCat :

    Great plan, let’s wait until it is already over and then act.

    No it isn’t a plan exactly really but, let’s face it, its what we’re most likely to see in reality. Politico-economic factors derived from basic human nature mean we just aren’t going to address the CAGW problem if it exists and is as bad as predicted in time to prevent or greatly slow it.

    Until what’s “over” though? This is an on-going process and at some point – if it is real – the evidence that Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming is actually happening will become undeniable. CAGW advocates would probably argue we’re already there but while I think evidence for AGW is extremely strong it isn’t yet 100% certain. (95% maybe I’ll grant you.) More specifically, evidence for CAGW as predicted in the worst case scenarios remains unconvincing to many people (incl. me) as does the exact percentage to which *humans* rather than nature are responsible. Yes, the CAGW advocates are making a fairly strong case but we need to get the level of certainty beyond reasonable doubt and I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

    They won’t always be warmer than the year before, but 11 of the last 12 years are amongst the top 12 years ever recorded.

    That does sound very impressively conclusive and scary when you put it like that.

    But when you note the hottest year was 2005 – or even 1998 if you disregard James Hansen’s figures because of his blatant CAGW bias – it becomes a little bit less persuasive.

    It is clear that the last decade or two have been unusually hot. No question there. However, its also clear there have been some decades in the past century that seemed unusually cold. (Hence the fears of GC in the 1970’s.) What isn’t so clear to me – yet – is where we’re going next whether this current warming is exceptional and a brief period that will stabilise or even cool as natural feedback (eg. clouds) kick in or the start of a “pemanent” abrupt alarming rise with temperatures continuing beyond the levels we’re at now and which we had in the MWP and other climatic optima.

    The CAGW advocates say the late 20th century warming isn’t over and that it marks the start of their predicted CAGW. The CAGW skeptics say its natural variation that won’t get so bad and isn’t so atypical of the climate or at best is just AGW with even some positive benefits and not the start of a doomsday scenario. I don’t think that argument is resolved or likely to be without a few more years of observational evidence. Time will tell.

    The current temperature is well within the margins of error even for Mann’s now much-maligned predictions, as well as many other predictions. Other things they predicted include:

    1. That the lower levels of the atmosphere would warm while the higher levels would cool
    2.That nights would warm more than days
    3. That winters would warm more than summers
    4. That more polar latitudes would warm more than more equatorial ones
    5. That the arctic would warm more than the antarctic
    6. The intensity and duration of cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption
    7. The rate of sea level rise
    8. While most glaciers would shrink, they correctly predicted the growth of a few specific glaciers due to increased precipitation outpacing the increased melting from the higher temperatures
    9. Changing timing of many seasonal plant an animal events (like migrations and flower opening) and changing ranges of animal species.

    I am not 100% sure that all of those were from the 80’s, but they were certainly predicted far before they were measured. (Numbers added.)

    Thanks. That does provide some support for AGW if not necessarily CAGW. :-)

    However, you kinda blew it at the end with the admission these weren’t from the 1980’s and they also lack specifics and info. that would’ve been helpful in verifying or considering them such as names (who predicted these) and dates (when) and exact figures (eg. by year 2010 we predict X amountof warming / glacial retreat , etc ..) plus sources. Having those would have made those very much *more* convincing and been *really* nice & helpful to your case.

    Additionally, I’m not sure how much relevance point 6 about Mt Pinatubo holds as far as AGW / CAGW is concerned.

    Still thanks – those are interesting predictions and do support yor argument.

    They [the oceans] won’t “turn to acid”, they will become slightly more acidic than they are now,

    Minor nitpick here but my understanding is the oceans are currently very slightly alkaline and not acid correct?

    which has a huge impact on certain key plankton species. And it isn’t new, it was known all along and has happened in the past when huge amounts of carbon were suddenly released into the atmosphere. The effects on marine life were not pretty and lasted a long time.

    Source and more details please?

    If its happened and the past and life has survived okay – as it clearly has – its not really a doomsday prediction like the “OMG! OMG! The seas will turn to acid!” CAGW extremists (& yes, okay the media hype-ists too) falsely claim. Not good, no, not good at all but not the end of the world – or in this case end of the oceans predicted. ;-)

    Once again, you are neglecting the part about it being a sudden change in atmospheric carbon content. Slow changes can be pretty easily adapted to, sudden changes not so much. And you have to remember, during the Mesozoic life was very different than it is now, and if you recall mammals were not the most successful life forms during that time. ;-)

    Yes – very true. I love the dinosaurs, always have and the KT extinction event was a stunning event and example of *very* dramatic, scary and instant climate change. An asteroid impact or supervolcano is way scarier and more devastating than CAGW! ;-)

    The dinosaurs enjoyed a wonderful period of Erath’s hsory witha huge diversity of abundant life and a world without polar icecaps and with much hotter temperatures and far higher Co2 levels. If I was living on the Earth of that geological period, I’d probably pity an Earth struggling in the grip of an ice age like ours. (From what I gather we’re still in an Ice Age era just lucky enough to be in an interglacial warm spell between ice epochs.)

    Our society is completely based around the relatively stable climate that has existed over the last 10,000 or so years. Life will surely go on, it has survived worse in the past. The issue is our: our societies, our agricultural systems, our water resources, our coastal geography. We have not experienced something like this since the advent of the first major civilizations, and certainly not since industrialization.

    Again, that’s true – except I’ll just add we *still* haven’t experienced the sort of climate change CAGW advocates claim we’ll be getting and I really hope we don’t! ;-)

    I’ll be honest here I’m rooting for the skeptics in part at least because I really hope the skeptics are right and not the CAGW catastrophists for the sake of our collective futures.

    The CAGW side are selling us – predicting and arguing for – a nightmare scenario which means millions of death (at least!) and the very real threat our civilisation is going to collapse and fall. They’re providing a scientific horror story and while I enjoy reading or seeing the odd horror story; I really hate the thought it of one happening in real-life.

    I like our civilisation. I’m proud of what its achieved most notably the space program and the internet and our attainment of this sort of quality of life for most people in society, I feel immensely fortunate to be born in the Western world and living in a free, glorious Western society. CAGW if true is going to bring us into a new dark age or worse -whether through the predicted climate apocalypse or through the measures that will destroy our economy and society in the CAGW advocates attempts – probably in vain – to halt or just slow it.

    If CAGW is right then our future is very bleak, our children will have a world far worse than ours if they have any future at all. CAGW means we’re stuffed, and I’d rather hold out hope that we’re not. I have to confess that I really want the skeptics to be correct about this & if they’re making a good case I’m all for them. Some folks claim that makes me a “denier” but I think its just human nature to prefer theside thatoffers hope forthefuture over tehside that doesn’t.

    I really think CAGW is an alarming overstatement of a much smaller problem, that AGW been blown out of proportion, that it won’t be so bad and we’ll get through it okay maybe even benefitting in some ways. The horrible alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. :-(

  89. sHx

    @86

    Sir, I salute you for that superb post. I feel much enlightened on many things I was curious about. And I have a question.

    Today’s “settled” scientific consensus certainty can indeed be tomorrows “Oops! Well wasn’t it an embarrassing silly mistake when we all thought that!”

    Indeed. I have long been thinking that in 50-60 years’ time people will look back at the current CAGW scare and laugh at us the way we now laugh at the UFO scare of the 50s.

    UFO invasion was a prevalent theme in many movies, TV shows as well as in print sci-fi from mid 1940s to early 60s, and it had a good record stretching back to H.G. Wells.

    Today it is easy to dismiss that scare as an allegory for Soviet invasion and that people really didn’t believe it. But what was really the case? I tend to think the UFO fears were held for real and that it was not allegorical. But what was the scientific opinion at the time? Was there a scientific consensus of sorts?

    You seem to be well-informed on scientific consensus historically, so hopefully you can help us with this too. Kind regards and thanks in advance.

  90. Messier Tidy Upper

    Aaarrgh typos & not long enough editing time provided to correct them all. :-(

    That’s :

    The dinosaurs enjoyed a wonderful period of Earth’s history (on second thoughts perhaps that should be *pre-history*) with a huge diversity of abundant life and a world without polar icecaps and with much hotter temperatures and far higher Co2 levels.

    I’ll just add if I may that life and biodiversity benefits from increased heat up to a point -just compare the richness of the tropical ecosystem to the arctic one. An Earth without icecaps is in some ways better off as far as available habitat and life goes.

    &

    CAGW means we’re stuffed, and I’d rather hold out hope that we’re not. I have to confess that I really want the skeptics to be correct about this & if they’re making a good case I’m all for them. Some folks claim that makes me a “denier” but I think its just human nature to prefer the side that offers hope for the future over the side that doesn’t.

    @ 89. sHx :

    @86 : Sir, I salute you for that superb post. I feel much enlightened on many things I was curious about.

    Thanks. Glad you liked it. :-)

    Indeed. I have long been thinking that in 50-60 years’ time people will look back at the current CAGW scare and laugh at us the way we now laugh at the UFO scare of the 50s. UFO invasion was a prevalent theme in many movies, TV shows as well as in print sci-fi from mid 1940s to early 60s, and it had a good record stretching back to H.G. Wells. Today it is easy to dismiss that scare as an allegory for Soviet invasion and that people really didn’t believe it. But what was really the case? I tend to think the UFO fears were held for real and that it was not allegorical. But what was the scientific opinion at the time? Was there a scientific consensus of sorts?

    I think alien invasion has always been a fear more held by the public – exhibit A the panic over the War of the Worlds radio play on Halloween 1938 – than by scientists who have tended to view extraterrestrial life skeptically as “fringe”science. Percival Lowell, I gather viewed his imagined canal building Martians as rather heroic and tragic and it was H. G. Well’s who turned them into invading Bug Eyed Monsters and thus sparked the alien invasion in his famous 1898 novel.

    I dont think there’s ever been a strong scientific consensus on the threat posed by hypothetical aliens – although a few scientists have written fictional accounts of alien invasion or contact usually as part of their individual hobby of Science Fiction writing.

    (Eg. Pellegrino & Zebrowski’s ‘The Killing Star’, Greg Benford’s Galactic centre series & Pournelle’s Footfall novel written with Larry Niven.)

    I hope that helps.

  91. Messier Tidy Upper

    I’d recommend you read this SF novel :

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

    which contains some (I think) factual discussion among the “aliens will be potential threat and likely violent towards us” vs “aliens will be peaceful and benevolent” schools of thought among scientists and science popularisers. It is quite an interesting discussion of some relevance even though the book itself is a speculative & pretty bleak SF account of how the aliens wipe us out.

    The BA’s death from the skies also contains a chapter on the alien threat which I’d recommend too. ;-)

    Various govts have come up with various projects such as Project Blue Book ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book ) to examine the threat of UFO’s and concluded officially that there really isn’t any credible threat from UFO’s and that basically they don’t exist.

    I think scientifically the vast majority of scientists were skeptical and did not seriously think alien invasion was a real threat then as still the case now although I could be wrong.

    I tend to agree with the generally held idea that the 1950’s alien invasion genre was probably expressing a displaced & amplified Soviet invasion fear of the time.

  92. Messier Tidy Upper

    I have also posted the following poll topic on the BAUT forum which is also a good place to discuss this which may be of interest and relevance for you :

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/104199-Should-Humanity-keep-quiet-and-will-beng-quot-noisy-quot-come-back-to-hurt-us?p=1735154&highlight=#post1735154

    & also this thread which is similar too :

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php/102672-To-Say-Hello

    Hope those are handy & interesting for you. :-)

    – Messier Tidy Upper aka StevoR on the BAUT.

  93. sHx

    Yes, that helped. If there were any scientist speculating on an alien invasion, it could only be on the fringes.

    I guess I also gave away by distant origins by calling it “UFO invasion”, instead of “alien invasion”. :)

    Sir, with the way you are presenting arguments, I can’t help thinking you might have some legal career behind you.

    Thanks again for the reply.

  94. Steve in Dublin

    Messier Tidy Upper (#86):

    Yes, many people worked hard (good for them) and spent lots (suckers!) fixing it and yet the Y2K bug itself didn’t cause computers to crash and the ensuing calamities.

    Which just proves you couldn’t reason yourself out of a paper bag. It didn’t cause problems *precisely because* we fixed the Y2K bug in most of the critical systems that were affected (‘critical’ doesn’t extend to your PC, BTW). In other words, we collectively decided that action needed to be taken to correct the problem, and we took it. If air traffic control systems, power stations, financial/trading systems, etc. weren’t fixed prior to the 1999 – 2000 rollover, there would indeed have been ‘ensuing calamities’.

    Why is it that you feel obliged to counter *every* claim someone makes, even when you demonstrably have no expertise in the area concerned? The very hallmark of a denier.

  95. Paul

    81. MartinM Says:
    May 31st, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I’d post more, but that appears to be the only verifiable claim you’ve actually made that hasn’t already been proven wrong. I particularly like the way you trotted out the global cooling canard after it had already been debunked upthread.
    So far I have seen nothing that I have posted, debunked. Verbose standard vapid replies and half truths hardly warrant even a reply.
    ————————————
    @MartinM
    The Global Cooling issue is of course debunked. It however was not debunked in this thread, it was debunked years ago.

    It is irrelevant the number of United Auto Workers agree with a cause or an endorsement. As long as the union leaders have fermented their position the entire membership number is attributed to the cause celebre. It is true for the NAS, NOAA, NASA and the various academic academies around the world. Silence is job security. With 9 billion in global warming grants in 2009, silence is downright golden.

    The point with the Global Cooling predictions and demands for radical and immediate action is not that it has been debunked but that the very same people who were championing it are now senior policy makers and scientists in the Global Warming movement. The two most notorious are NASA GISS chief James Hansen and Obama senior Science Advisor John Holdren. The rats following the Pied Pipers seem to care little for the causus belli.

    @Messier

    There are direct quotes of the leaders of the Global Warming movement from the ’80s. Somewhere I am sure I have them on paper as well in archived web pages. Should I come across them I will post them when there is an update to the UVa thread here or in a latter CAGW thread.

    I also wanted to mention the confidence levels that you have referred to in your previous posts. Out of curiosity I started getting concerned about our climate prior to the release of the IPCC third assessment report. At that time I was all in favor of putting wind power in my home town and was ready to go up against the opposition who were trying to put a stop to it. Studying the issue flipped me from being a blind lemming to being a skeptic.

    The IPCC in its own literature assess its knowledge base. I would almost swear they had a chart in the AR4 it might be in the TAR. What got me is that they assume superset of each of the known factors in our climate and then calculate how much knowledge they have of each superset. The confidence levels that the IPCC had in individual categories was not impressive. So the IPCC telling us straight out we do not really understand the majority of how our climate works then comes out with catastrophic predictions at a 95% confidence level. How does that work?

    @Blackcat

    Climate changes. If the climate becomes warmer we can do studies to assess the effects on flora, fauna, society, etc. The same is true should the climate become cooler. The IPCC reports are loaded with studies that tell us what the effects could be if this and that might happen. It is quite scary. Without evidence to a link to anthropogenic CO2 the reports have little value. They could have just as well have included page after page of Norweigian folk songs to thicken the report and conclude after each chapter as an after thought “and we have a 95 percent confidence that this is due to anthropogenic CO2 releases”.

    You have sourced nothing, although I have heard what you have posted time and time again over the years. I am happy to provide sources for each and every statement I make reference as long as you do the same and can continue to hold a humored dialog, and take nothing personal.

    It is late here and I haven’t really had the chance to look at the majority of what you have written in response to my most recent replies. :)

    I think the Virginia DA was going to reply to the Obama administration request to quash the suit protecting the Virginia citizens from being required to purchase health care by June 6th. I do not recall when the Virginia DA was going to respond in court to the UVa request to quash the request for Mann’s documents relating to Virginia funded research projects.

    “Dr. Patrick Michaels, another former UVA climate researcher, was fired as Virginia State Climatologist by then-Governor Tim Kaine for raising inconvenient questions and facts on climate science. When Greenpeace demanded access to Michaels’ emails, UVA promptly acceded – before contesting AG Cuccinelli’s request for Mann’s.
    The 810 protesters and their UCS and AAUP consorts were silent. Their principles and objections do not seem to apply to shrill activist groups infringing on the academic and scientific freedom of “politically incorrect” researchers, even when there is no suggestion of dishonesty. Other “skeptical” climate researchers have met with similar fates. The pungent scent of hypocrisy fills the air.” http://tinyurl.com/2bcs37p

    Hypocrisy or status quo?

  96. Paul

    95. Steve in Dublin Says:
    June 1st, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Messier Tidy Upper (#86):

    Yes, many people worked hard (good for them) and spent lots (suckers!) fixing it and yet the Y2K bug itself didn’t cause computers to crash and the ensuing calamities.

    Which just proves you couldn’t reason yourself out of a paper bag. It didn’t cause problems *precisely because* we fixed the Y2K bug in most of the critical systems that were affected (’critical’ doesn’t extend to your PC, BTW).
    ___________________________________
    Steve your tone is horrible.

    The Y2K bug was the biggest and last cash bonanza that I remember. During the Y2K craze and prior to being kicked up to corporate I was the Principal Engineer of the Northeast for a very well known multinational and multi-billion dollar Data/Voice Communications manufacturer and our customers were the stock exchanges, power companies, telephone companies, fortune 100 companies etc, etc, etc…

    There were few if any problems to fix and those that had to be fixed were resolved probably a year prior to the flip of the millennium. It did not stop sales from forcing just about every customer from upgrading and breaking the bank.

  97. TheBlackCat

    I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. I think your statement unfairly understates the considerable number of scientists and genuine public and political concern over GC at the time.

    You keep saying that, yet you have provided no reason whatsoever to draw this conclusion, and I have provided two pieces of evidence that directly contradicts this conclusion.

    Correct me if I’m wrong & I might be, I’m no biologist. However, I do gather that the swine flu virus itself turned out to be much weaker and less harmful than had been forecast. Yes there was an intensive effort at stopping it and people worked hard to fight it – good for them – but the reality was the swine flu itself was no worse maybe even much less severe than the normal seasonal flu. Right? That’s what I was referring to there – the scientific consensus was that swine flu was going to be like the worst ever 1918 (?) influenza pandemic and kill millions (even hundreds of millions) and yet they got it wrong. The disease itself wasn’t that bad after all.

    If anyone claimed it was as bad as the 1918 flu it was within a very short time after it first appeared, before it had been characterized. It was clear pretty much from the beginning that it wasn’t any more lethal than the standard flu, the problem was that it had the potential to infect many more people than normal flus because most of the population had no immunity to it. That was why vaccines were so critical and so successful.

    Steve has already dealt with y2k. But seriously you should learn at least a little bit about a subject before making sweeping pronouncements on it like this. You seem to be basing most of your assessments on vague “impressions” that you got from who knows where. It should be obvious from all the mistakes you have made that this is not a valid approach, but you never seem to learn from this.

    Actually, I think you’ll find it was very much the scientific consensus of the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries before the Mariner 4 in 1964. Before then – as you’ll find in books written pre-Mariner-4 – scientists thought that the dark patches and seasonal changes on mars were caused by spreading vegetation. Mars was specifically ruled out of one contest aimed at communicating with aliens because it was thought to be too easy! Percieval Lowell’s visions of canals might have been highly disputed (as CAGW is today) but most astronomers accepted Schiapparelli’s views of “channels” and considered Martian flora and fauna to be present.

    Yes, that was certainly the assessment of some scientists, but we are talking about a consensus involving nearly every member of a particular field of science, and even at its hayday belief in aliens on mars was never close to that. I would like a source saying “most” astronomer accepted the Martian channels. I know that many did, but many others didn’t.

    The Professor Campbell who Clarke demolishes in that essay was another scientific opponent of rocketry and the notion of space travel and that group was in the majority at the time.

    Once again, one person is not a “consensus”. You need to provide some sources saying the “majority” of the scientific community at the time.

    Won’t it? My point is that science does get things wrong and sometimes claims a huge amount of certainty for things that later turn out to be incorrect.

    How is a case that predates science as we know it even remotely relevant to a discussions about science?

    I’m pretty sure it was the commonly agreed view before early train travel that the fastest speeds the human body could cope with was a bit above the maximum speed a horse could go.

    Once again, another vague “impression”.

    Maybe my examples could have been different and perhaps better. I could’ve mentioned Malthus and predictions that the future streets of London would be buried miles deep in horse manure if population continued to rise for ex.

    That is the worst example yet. Of course if technological development had not happened that would the case. All the global warming predictions are based on explicitly-defined assumptions about the course of future CO2 output. They all acknowledge that if there is a technological change that renders those predictions incorrect then their forecasts will also be incorrect. In fact in many cases they run several predictions based on different scenarios for CO2 increase.

    However, I think the main point – that we need to be a bit more humble and willing to admit the possibility we’ve got CAGW wrong just like we’ve got other things wrong before too remains.

    You aren’t listening to me. The scientists DO. All the scientific publications mention this. But there are differing levels of confidence you can have in different scientific statements, and our general ideas about global warming have a high (but no 100%) degree of confidence. Some of the details are less certain.

    If human industry and science has created the CAGW problem, it is also our only reasonable hope of stopping it.

    I have never heard of a single scientist who denies this.

    CAGW advocates would probably argue we’re already there but while I think evidence for AGW is extremely strong it isn’t yet 100% certain. (95% maybe I’ll grant you.)

    Nothing is 100% certain. If that is your standard of evidence you might as well not even get out of bed in the morning.

    More specifically, evidence for CAGW as predicted in the worst case scenarios remains unconvincing to many people (incl. me) as does the exact percentage to which *humans* rather than nature are responsible. Yes, the CAGW advocates are making a fairly strong case but we need to get the level of certainty beyond reasonable doubt and I don’t think we’re quite there yet.

    You have already shown that you know very little about the subject, why are you still so confident that you know more than pretty much everyone who does know a lot about the subject?

    But when you note the hottest year was 2005 – or even 1998 if you disregard James Hansen’s figures because of his blatant CAGW bias – it becomes a little bit less persuasive.

    How is that even remotely relevant? Not every year is going to be hotter than the previous year. That much is obvious.

    It is clear that the last decade or two have been unusually hot. No question there. However, its also clear there have been some decades in the past century that seemed unusually cold. (Hence the fears of GC in the 1970’s.) What isn’t so clear to me – yet – is where we’re going next whether this current warming is exceptional and a brief period that will stabilise or even cool as natural feedback (eg. clouds) kick in or the start of a “pemanent” abrupt alarming rise with temperatures continuing beyond the levels we’re at now and which we had in the MWP and other climatic optima.

    First, as I keep saying the evidence currently indicates the MWP was a local phenomena, not a global one. I am really getting the feeling you are ignoring me on this, I’ve said it way too many times for your to have missed it. Also, the current warming is exceptional (although not unique, it is very rare), both in rate and amplitude. It may not continue (although past sudden warming events indicate it will). The 1970’s cooling isn’t even remotely comparable, with just a small fraction of the change we have seen since the end of the 1970’s.

    However, you kinda blew it at the end with the admission these weren’t from the 1980’s

    First, I didn’t say that they weren’t from the 1980’s, I said I don’t know exactly when they are from. And why does that matter so much?

    and they also lack specifics and info. that would’ve been helpful in verifying or considering them such as names (who predicted these) and dates (when) and exact figures (eg. by year 2010 we predict X amountof warming / glacial retreat , etc ..) plus sources.

    If that is what you wanted you should have asked.

    Just to be quick I looked at the IPCC first assessment report, a lot of these were mentioned there, which means they are from the 80’s at the latest (it was written in 1989). There are sources there:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_full_report.pdf

    Additionally, I’m not sure how much relevance point 6 about Mt Pinatubo holds as far as AGW / CAGW is concerned.

    It shows how good or understanding of the climate is.

    Minor nitpick here but my understanding is the oceans are currently very slightly alkaline and not acid correct?

    Yes, so? If it becomes more acidic, the pH will get closer to 7 (neutral). I fail to see how this is a nitpick.

    If its happened and the past and life has survived okay – as it clearly has – its not really a doomsday prediction like the “OMG! OMG! The seas will turn to acid!” CAGW extremists (& yes, okay the media hype-ists too) falsely claim. Not good, no, not good at all but not the end of the world – or in this case end of the oceans predicted.

    Once again, I am discussing the science here, not public perceptions of the science.

    As for a source with a lot more information (there is also a link to the original peer-reviewed study, but you can’t read it without a subscription):
    http://www.e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2241

    I have to confess that I really want the skeptics to be correct about this & if they’re making a good case I’m all for them. Some folks claim that makes me a “denier” but I think its just human nature to prefer theside thatoffers hope forthefuture over tehside that doesn’t.

    So you think the best solution to a serious problem is just to ignore it and hope it goes away? What do you do if you try to cross the street and see a car coming? Try to ignore it because if you do nothing and get hit the result is terrible to think about? I can’t imagine a worse solution to a problem.

  98. Steve in Dublin

    Paul (#97):

    Steve your tone is horrible.

    Your concern is noted. Dealing with people who take issue with every single statement you make does that to you. If I said the sky was blue, Messier Tidy Upper would somehow feel compelled to make a counter-statement.

    The Y2K bug was the biggest and last cash bonanza that I remember. During the Y2K craze and prior to being kicked up to corporate I was the Principal Engineer of the Northeast for a very well known multinational and multi-billion dollar Data/Voice Communications manufacturer and our customers were the stock exchanges, power companies, telephone companies, fortune 100 companies etc, etc, etc…

    There were few if any problems to fix and those that had to be fixed were resolved probably a year prior to the flip of the millennium. It did not stop sales from forcing just about every customer from upgrading and breaking the bank.

    This is the big problem I have with the Y2K issue: the public perception (and yours as well, evidently) that it was all scaremongering. There may have been ‘few if any problems to fix’ with your company’s modern communications gear, since the software is regularly updated and engineers have been aware of the Y2K problem since at least 1990. But what everyone forgets about is the legacy systems such as those run by those customers of yours that have been around long before anyone even thought about the Y2K problem: mainframes, air traffic control systems, power stations, and embedded systems like the ones that control bank vault doors. Storage space was at a premium 30 – 40 years ago, and you can take it as a certainty that dates were usually represented as 2 digits. That means re-writing all the date handling software in those systems. Not trivial. So *not* scaremongering. I’ve been programming computers since 1974, professionally since 1982. I’ve worked on these systems. I’m also an electrical engineer who specialised in digital control systems. I’ve *designed* some of these early systems.

    Again, as with AGW, this perception that if we do nothing about problem X everything will be alright (because, you know, it’s all just a conspiracy designed to take your money) is aided and abetted by the mainstream media. In their effort to give balanced views on complex subjects, the media often give equal time to the lunatic fringe. Basically, anyone with a contrary view to the technical (in the case of Y2K) or scientific consensus can be trotted out, even if they’re a crank with zero credibility.

    Now, IANAC (I Am Not A Climatologist) but I stand by the scientific method. If 97% of practicing climatologists are telling us that pouring 28 billion metric tonnes a year of CO2 into the atmosphere every year is causing a problem, I tend to believe that. The evidence of rapid climate change is all around us: spring comes earlier. Species are able to survive further north than previously. We are losing trillions of tonnes of arctic ice annually. Glaciers are retreating. The atmosphere, and just as importantly or moreso, the oceans are heating up. So what would it take to convince you that the ‘A’ in AGW really is anthropogenic?

  99. TheBlackCat

    So what would it take to convince you that the ‘A’ in AGW really is anthropogenic?

    He’s already said he won’t be convinced until we have a “smoking gun”, which we will never have even when it is all over because people can always say that we haven’t conclusively proven that the warming that occurred was not natural.

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