Curry: The Backstory

By Keith Kloor | April 27, 2010 7:32 am

By now, many people must be wondering of Judith Curry: what’s her story? How did the respected Georgia Tech climate scientist go from global warming = more intense hurricanes to darling of climate skeptics?  How did she go from staunch IPCC booster to harsh IPCC critic?

And why, in heaven’s name, is Curry engaging in multiple conversations about the credibility of climate science on a blog?

Well, the quick answer to that last one is that it all started last week, when Curry agreed to a Q & A for this site, which then morphed into a rollicking dialogue that is still going on. Yesterday Joe Romm took note:

Everyone who follows climate science should read what is easily the most revealing interview I’ve ever seen a scientist give. Be sure to read all the comments, since they are even more revealing.

Rest assured, this speaks more to Curry’s frankness than my powers of inducement. But back to that original question I posed, because Romm said something else that I found intriguing:

I used to know Dr. Judith Curry pretty well “” heck, she even gave me a jacket quote for Hell and High Water ! Now I obviously don’t.

This is obviously a personal judgment on Romm’s part. Taken to its extreme, it infers what some climate advocates have been saying elsewhere:

Apparently Judith Curry has completed her transition to the Dark Side.

Before this gets any more bizarre, maybe it’s time we learned Curry’s backstory. So here’s a one-question Q & A that I hope brings some humanity to the debate she has triggered this past week.

Q: The implication in Romm’s puzzled statement is that your post-Climategate critique of climate science has changed you so radically that he doesn’t recognize the Judy Curry from 2007. He seems honestly shocked. How would you characterize your transformation in the last three years? Is it as radical as Romm implies?

JC: Well, I have been doing my best to make this about integrity in science and how we can do a better job, and not make it personal (in terms of myself, or any other particular individual).  Looks like Joe Romm wants to make it about me.  So here goes.

Here is my history with Joe Romm.  We met in 2006 when he attended a congressional briefing that I was involved in on hurricanes and global warming.  He was very interested in this subject and thought it was very important in terms of raising awareness about the risk of global warming.  I was impressed with Joe’s knowledge of energy technologies and policy. During 2006 Joe made comments on one of my papers, and I made comments on a draft of his book “Hell and High Water.”  We even participated in a joint seminar tour in Florida.  When I started writing essays on Climategate, Joe was sharply critical, both in his blog postings and even more so in emails that he sent me.

So here is the story on my “transformation(s)”.  Circa 2003, I was concerned about the way climate research was treating uncertainty (see my little essay presented to the NRC Climate Research Committee).

I was considered somewhat quixotic but not really outside of the mainstream (p.s. the CRC didn’t pay any attention to my essay, they went off in a different direction that focused on communicating uncertainty and decisionmaking under uncertainty).  During this period,  I was comfortably ensconced in the ivory tower of academia, writing research papers, going to conferences, submitting grant proposals.  I was 80% oblivious to what was going on in terms of the public debate surrounding climate change.

This all changed on September 14, 2005, when I participated in a press conference on our forthcoming paper that described a substantial increase in the global number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes. The unplanned and uncanny timing of publication of this paper was three weeks after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans.  While global warming was mentioned only obliquely in the paper, the press focused on the global warming angle and a media furor followed. We were targeted as global warming alarmists, capitalizing on this tragedy to increase research funding and for personal publicity, a threat to capitalism and the American way of life, etc.

At the same time, we were treated like rock stars by the environmental movement.  Our 15 minutes stretched into days, weeks and months.  Hurricane Katrina became a national focusing event for the global warming debate. We were particularly stung by criticisms from fellow research scientists who claimed that we were doing this “for the money” and attacked our personal and scientific integrity.  We felt that one scientist in particular had crossed the line and committed a series of fouls, and this turned the scientific debate into academic guerrilla warfare between our team and the skeptics that was played out in the glare of the media.  This “war” culminated in an article published on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, “Debate shatters the civility of weather science”  on Feb 2, 2006 (note the timing of my email exchange with Mann, .ca Jan 2006).  This article became a catharsis for the hurricane research community, that engendered extensive email discussion among scientists on both sides of the public debate. We did an email version of a “group hug” and vowed to stop the guerilla warfare.

I had lost my bearings in all of this, and the Wall Street Journal article had the effect of a bucket of cold water being poured over my head.  I learned several important lessons from this experience: just because the other guy commits the first “foul” doesn’t give you the moral high ground in protracted academic guerilla warfare. Nothing in this crazy environment is worth sacrificing your personal or professional integrity.  After all, no one remembers who fired the first shot, all they see is unprofessional behavior.

I took a step back and tried to understand all this craziness and learn from it. I even wrote a journal article on this, “Mixing Politics and Science in Testing the Hypothesis that Greenhouse Warming is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity.”  This paper got quite a bit of play in the blogosphere upon its publication in Aug 2006, and at this time I made my first major foray into the blogosphere, checking in at all the blogs where the paper was being discussed.  See esp realclimate and climateaudit (but I can no longer find the original thread on climateaudit).

At climateaudit, the posters had some questions about statistics and wanted to see the raw data.  I was pretty impressed by the level of discussion, and wondered why I had not come across this blog before over at the realclimate blogroll.  Then I realized that I was on Steve McIntyre’s blog (I had sort of heard of his tiff with Mann, but wasn’t really up on all this at the time).  I was actually having much more fun over at climateaudit than at realclimate, and I thought it made much more sense to spend time at climateaudit rather than to preach to the converted at realclimate.    Back in 2006 spending time at climateaudit was pretty rough sport (it wasn’t really moderated at the time).  When I first started spending time over there, the warmist blogs thought it was really funny, and encouraged me to give “˜em hell.

I was continuing my overall thinking on how to better deal with skeptics and increase the credibility and integrity of science.  I gave an invited talk at Fall 2006 AGU meeting, entitled “Falling out of the ivory tower:  Reflections on mixing politics and climate science.” This is where I first started talking about circling the wagons, etc.  I don’t think this was quite what the convenors had in mind when they invited me to give this talk, but at the time I still had pretty solid status as a survivor of vicious political attacks during the hurricane wars and was a heroine for taking down Bill Gray.

When the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report was published in 2007, I joined the consensus in supporting this document as authoritative; I was convinced by the rigors of the process, etc etc.  While I didn’t personally agree with everything in the document (still nagging concerns about the treatment of uncertainty), I bought into the meme of “don’t trust what one scientist says, listen to the IPCC.”  During 2008 and 2009, I became increasingly concerned by the lack of “policy neutrality” by people involved in the IPCC and policies that didn’t make sense to me.  But after all, “don’t trust what one scientist says”, and I continued to substitute the IPCC assessment for my own personal judgment.

November 19, 2009: bucket of cold water #2.  When I first saw the climategate emails, I knew these were real, they confirmed concerns and suspicions that I already had.  After my first essay “On the credibility . . .” posted at climateaudit, I got some emails that asked me to be sensitive to the feelings of the scientists involved.  I said I was a whole lot more worried about the IPCC, in terms of whether it could be saved and whether it should be saved.  I had been willing to substitute the IPCC for my own personal judgment, but after reading those emails, the IPCC lost the moral high ground in my opinion.  Not to say that the IPCC science was wrong, but I no longer felt obligated in substituting the IPCC for my own personal judgment.

So the Judith Curry .ca 2010 is the same scientist as she was in 2003, but sadder and wiser as a result of the hurricane wars, a public spokesperson on the global warming issue owing to the media attention from the hurricane wars, more broadly knowledgeable about the global warming issue, much more concerned about the integrity of climate science, listening to skeptics, and a blogger (for better or for worse).  So should Joe Romm be puzzled by this?  Probably, but I think part of his puzzlement arises from assuming that I and all “warmist” climate researchers share his policy objectives.  People really find it hard to believe that I don’t have a policy agenda about climate change/energy (believe me, Roger Pielke Jr has tried very hard to smoke me out as a “stealth advocate”).  Yes, I want clean green energy, economic development and “world peace”.  I have no idea how much climate change should be weighted in these kinds of policy decisions.  I lack the knowledge, wisdom and hubris to think that anything I say or do should be of any consequence to climate/carbon/energy policy.

So back to discussing the integrity of climate research and the IPCC assessment process.

***Postscript***

A good indication of Judith Curry’s stature in the climate science community is the huge amount of attention Friday’s Q & A has generated in the climate blogosphere. Numerous climate bloggers (on all sides) have offered their own commentary on it, triggering in some cases, very lively comment threads at their sites. Notably, Realclimate has remained mum–so far.

Later in the week, I plan on posting a short rundown of the blogs that have posted on the Curry dialogue, for those who might like to see how her views have been discussed elsewhere. Again, I thank Judy for agreeing to participate in the virtual round the clock discussion. I know it has taken up much of her spare time this past week–and then some.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate science, Judith Curry
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  • http://uppsalainitiativet.blogspot.com/2010/04/climategate-phil-jones-och-cru-friade.html Magnus W

    However this is not just this one issue over global warming and IPCC… to learn how to handle situations like these comparing to what happened in other science areas with a political load is a good start. e.g.

    Denialism: what is it ans how should scientists respond?
    european journal of public health vol. 19 no.1, 2-4
    Scientific Certainty Argumentation Methods (SCAMs): Science and the politics of Doubt
    Sociological Inquiry, Vol. 78, No. 1, February 2008, 2-38

    Why do you all think that this question is handled differently in Europe and USA?

  • Imback

    I would urge Dr Curry to now get involved in the InterAcademy Council’s review this year. This review will surely improve the process for IPCC AR5. The way forward is to get down to work and contribute from the review body.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    Judy-  Very well said.  You’ve got a lot of supporters out in the real world 😉

    One clarification on “stealth issue advocacy” — if your own policy views are unformed or agnostic, and you are being used as an “environmental rock star” to advance the agendas of others, that is indeed stealth issue advocacy.  Others in the hurricane wars also allowed their science to be used in advocacy (some obviously willingly), see:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/politicization-101-segregating-scientists-according-to-political-orientation-3764

    Anyway, thanks for this perspective!!

  • http://www.scienceblogs.com/casaubonsbook Sharon Astyk

    I have a great deal of sympathy with Dr. Curry and her analysis, and also with her experience.  The only thing that I find puzzling is that after having the experience of having a complex and nuanced analysis misrepresented (with her work on hurricanes) by an uncritical and not very subtle media, I’m surprised that she doesn’t seem to have anticipated the precise same thing occurring through her participation in critique Climategate – that is, the gradual transition of identification of Curry with the deniers (not a fair identification at all, I’m not suggesting otherwise) seems an inevitable result of the framing of her work.

    I’m not suggesting that it would be easy to make criticisms without that association, but it does seem that Dr. Curry is just as surprised this time.  Damned if you do and damned if you don’t is an unpleasant and uncomfortable place to be, of course, but if you inevitably live there, it seems like one would stop being shocked by it.

    As for being constrained by lack of expertise on policy matters – I’m not sure this isn’t just the kind of scientific reticence that does a great deal of harm.  The reality is that no policy experts are climate scientists, and no climate scientists are policy experts, so there must be people willing to step out of their field and make a case for a solution.  I’m not sure there’s a way that Curry can avoid being used politically – perhaps a greater willingness to use herself, even acknowledging limits of knowledge might better control the result.  On the other hand, maybe it wouldn’t.

    Sharon

  • NewYorkJ

    For a somewhat contrasting viewpoint, here’s a nice op-ed from a former skeptic, describing what lead him to shed his skepticism.

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/14/jonathan-abrams-on-climate-change.aspx

    The contrarian movement seems to be swooning over Judith.  This isn’t a surprise, complimenting her every move.  The huge majority of those who engaged in her type of discourse (see http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3356), some at more shrill and combative levels than others, are those who believe (or pretend to)  that the human impact on climate is insignificant.  So when they see a “warmist” or “climate science insider” give credence to their rhetoric, it’s cause for celebration, much like when a member of an opposing political party starts trashing their own party, or perhaps individuals believing the Moon landing was a hoax getting a NASA scientist to say that NASA is not forthcoming and dismisses good faith efforts by Moon landing skeptics to get more information and challenge conventional wisdom.  Contrarians want to see their movement taking a step forward beyond the church walls.

    While I commend Judith for engagin  “warmist” critics, in doing so, the previous thread showed that  most of  her claims were either demonstrably false or entirely unsupported, which isn’t going to sway objective observers.  Exactly why that’s the case is open for debate, but not something I’m interested in speculating on, as she does with Joe Romm…

    “So should Joe Romm be puzzled by this?  Probably, but I think part of his puzzlement arises from assuming that I and all “warmist” climate researchers share his policy objectives. ”

    Romm and James Hansen disagree sharply on policy, but Romm has quite a high level of respect for Hansen in general.  Readers should read Romm’s post and decide for themselves whether or not Judith’s characterization is accurate.

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/26/judith-curry-warmist/

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    Dr. Curry writes:
    “During 2008 and 2009, I became increasingly concerned by the lack of “policy neutrality” by people involved in the IPCC and policies that didn’t make sense to me.  But after all, “don’t trust what one scientist says”, and I continued to substitute the IPCC assessment for my own personal judgment.

    I’d be interested in more expansion on this phase of the ‘transition’.   What in particular led to this ‘increased concern’ — was it from reading spin on sites like climateaudit and WUWT,  or was it from primary sources? What policies and what people in particular caused concern?

    “One clarification on “stealth issue advocacy” “” if your own policy views are unformed or agnostic, and you are being used as an “environmental rock star” to advance the agendas of others, that is indeed stealth issue advocacy.  ”

    This is amusingly obtuse,  given how Dr. Curry’s increasingly ‘off-the-reservation’ views  have been been ‘used’ by the AGW denier side of the spectrum.  Is she now a ‘stealth issue advocate’ for AGW denialism?

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    The latter quote  being of course from Pielke,  not Curry.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    Steven (#6)-

    No one can control how their statements are used by others.  One can however be clear on how their views map onto policy. Judy has made her views abundantly clear here, well and above the call of duty, on both climate science and climate policy.  There is nothing stealth about her views or how they are being (mis)used.  We are back in the realm of old-fashioned political advocacy, which is a good thing.

    Do note that at the link I provided that such stealth advocacy takes place on both sides of the climate debate.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    Dr. Curry, obviously everybody doing climate blogging wants a piece of you. 

    I’ve wished before and will again:  it’d be wonderful to see a group of scientists get together and do a  public conversation/blog _without_ opening it up to the rest of us.  Let the commenters/kibitzers/copypasters/peanut gallery use a separate parallel thread from which the climate scientists could take anything they found useful for comment.

    Conversations among scientists — the “heard in the hallways” stuff at scientific meetings — are wonderful education.

    If they aren’t always interrupted by wannabes.  It’d be great if it could be done among those of you who’ve actually published significant work in the field, for others to watch.

    Slow blogging, without the overload, with time to think and cite and read sources.

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  • http://manuelmoeg.blogspot.com/ manuelg

    “Roger Pielke Jr. Says: April 27th, 2010 at 1:12 pm”

    > No one can control how their statements are used by others.  One can however be clear on how their views map onto policy.

    This implies that “stealth advocacy” can be a sin of omission.

    And, let me guess, a fact put forward by a scientist guilty of “stealth advocacy” has permanent fractional worth, irregardless of the truth of the fact.

    You don’t need to be much of a Bayesian to see value in informing an initial judgement in a fact from a judgement of the motivation of actor positing the fact.  But it is only fair to apply this to scientists, critics, pundits, others alike.  And, eventually, the judgement of the fact in isolation of political outcomes has to swamp out the initial judgement informed by motivation.  And, the judgement process must provisionally terminate, because the value is in the result, not in the sustained controversy (provisional on information fatal to the judgement).  And, uncertainty can compel action, in the same way that uncertainty about the risks to my home can compel me to spend money on homeowners insurance, now.

    It is my opinion that you would not agree with the above.  I would like to be assured otherwise (of course, you are under no obligation).

  • Judith Curry

    Hank,  I am supportive, but  there is too much allergy in the mainstream climate community to a) talking with skeptics b) blogging

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    manuelg-

    I don’t follow sorry.

    Stealth advocacy occurs when someone claims to be only discussing the fact, but in reality, is working to constrain the scope of policy options.  Such work can be intentional or unintentional (such as the case when a scientist signs on to represent an advocacy group, without knowing how their views are to be used).

    I’m offline for a while so please forgive slow responses.

  • http://manuelmoeg.blogspot.com/ manuelg

    quoting “Roger Pielke Jr. Says: April 27th, 2010 at 2:27 pm”

    > Stealth advocacy occurs when someone claims to be only discussing the fact, but in reality, is working to constrain the scope of policy options.  Such work can be intentional or unintentional…

    The thing to be maximized is not the “scope” of policy options.  I could enlarge the scope of school-day bed-time options by actively soliciting the opinion of my middle-school daughter, but I am maximizing for long term education outcomes.

    Publishing valid results of the significant possibility of climate disruption inconsistent with post-industrial human population numbers would “constrain the scope of policy options”, if the published work was taken seriously.  Surely this is not what you want to curtail?

    If I was to be uncharitable, I would say discussing “stealth advocacy” is a technique to indefinitely prolong the process of committing to an action commensurate with the possibility of climate disruption, because uncomfortable scientific results could be judged guilty of “constraining the scope of policy options” by removing comfortable options from consideration.

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  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    manuelg-

    “If I was to be uncharitable” … indeed.

    Discussion of issues related to advocacy among scientists long pre-date arguments about climate policy.

  • http://glacierchange.wordpress.com/ Mauri Pelto

    As scientists we are best when speaking on matter of which we are well informed.  I would like to lure Dr. Curry away from issues like the Wegman report, where this is not the case.
    In terms of science integrity what are you doing personally at ARM Climate Research to pursue this aim of integrity?  What is the research you are doing with ARM that you are currently excited about and has your enthusiasm been aided or abetted by the the last six months?  As a glaciologist it is the Arctic summertime cloud research that is most interesting to me.

  • Judith Curry


    Steven, regarding my concerns about policy advocacy and my “transition”.  Rachendra Pauchari (head of the IPCC) has made many statements that I find objectionable in this regard, Roger Pielke Jr never lets one of these pass by without mentioning it on his blog.
    But these statements aren’t the issue that worries me most.

    The broader issue is that the IPCC is framed around the issue of UNFCCC to prevent dangerous climate change, which frames the science around examining impacts that constitutes dangerous climate change and to identify CO2 concentration below dangerous levels. This torques the assessment away from a thorough investigation of the natural modes of climate variability and leads to a science based demand for global emissions reduction and characterizes climate change as an “irreducible global problem”. So the whole IPCC is framed around a particular policy related to the UNFCCC that has emphasized emissions reductions, with mandatory targets and timetables for emission reductions. Other policy alternatives and alternative framing of the climate change problem might result in different emphases and even different results. The IPCC WG3 report clearly reflects a particular policy orientation. When I’ve discussed my concerns along these lines with several scientists involved in the IPCC, they state that of course the IPCC is policy neutral; the IPCC sets the level of CO2 beyond which we risk dangerous climate change, and then the policy makers decide which policies to implement to meet these goals. Policies like cap and trade are seen as logical extensions of the IPCC science. So then scientists who discuss climate change are expected to talk about the “cap”. Whatever “policy neutral” means in the context of the IPCC goals, I don’t think this is it.

    Then there is the active engagement of climate scientists with environmental advocacy groups, this seems to get a pass whereas a skeptical scientist that gives a talk. I’m trying to find a few interviews that I recall (but can’t locate).

    I’m sure one might argue that I am not providing a sufficiently compelling case here, but these are the issues that have accumulated and led to my growing uneasiness about the IPCC.

    In googling around, I spotted this relevant article by Roger Pielke Jr

  • Judith Curry

    Mauri, I am not making any further comments on Wegman, I have remarked on my relative ignorance  on the other thread, and for my regrets at being baited into commenting (it pushed one of my “buttons”, usually I don’t let this happened) and my comments were uncharacteristically unmeasured and unproportionate (in other words “bad move”).

    Re the arctic clouds, I am no longer funded by the ARM program, and not really doing any arctic research at the moment, but there are some problems in the arctic that have certainly piqued my interest recently.

    Re the ARM program, I am not worried about the integrity of their science, but I am concerned about the “groupthink” that has set in regarding how to make progress on the issue of cloud feedback, and the aerosol indirect effect. More measurements doesn’t necessarily equal progress.  This is one field where the data is ample, but our physical understanding remains limited and our ability to simulate all this in climate models remains a substantial deficiency.

  • Judith Curry

    and Roger, no you are not getting away with identifying me as a stealth advocate for the deniers :)

  • Judith Curry

    NewYorkJ,  my reason for making the statement about Joe Romm’s possible source of confusion being related to climate/energy policy is this statement from his previous essay that he wrote on my views:

    “What precisely is the point of engaging someone in discussion if they won’t spell out their view of what climate science says will likely happen on our current path of unrestricted emissions and precisely what they would recommend we do? ”

    So a climate scientist has nothing to say unless we talk about policy?

  • Judith Curry

    A must read essay by Mike Hulme

  • Judith Curry

    A must read essay by Mike Hulme

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/ William Connolley

    I’m a bit confused by what JC’s actual views on climate change are. Not the politics or that, but the actual state of the science. Is there a succinct (or unsuccinct) statement of JC’s views on the science somewhere? Or does she differ so little from the IPCC (as most do) that there is no need for an explicit statement of her own?

    Just as an example (this isn’t a loyalty oath) “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming” lists three criteria that generally define opposition to the “mainstream view”. Would JC disagree with any of those?

    ps:  http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/04/currygate_part_3_the_key_paper.php

  • Raven

    #24 – William Connolley

    What I find ironic is #3 which says “On balance the impacts of global warming will be significantly negative, especially for larger values of warming”

    It is ironic because that statement is largely a question of economics/technology and values – not climate science. Yet “mainstream” scientists are expected to accept that conclusion as if it was the result of some unbaised scientific investigation.

  • Lewis

    Dear Professor Curry ( can I say ‘Judith’ ), a lot of this happens in the Academic world of History, as well as ‘Sociology’ etc. But history is very important to me ( as to all of us! ) and, of course, it is a subject in which it is very difficult to establish ‘first principles’. And, therefore, one always looks askance to science, to their ‘inscrutable’ certainty, with that green and resentful envy, that always rejectable wish to belong – that fails. They say the ‘humanities’ are a young ‘science’ – they are neither! ( Perhaps in the Anglo world? ) So, having looked askance, one sees the ‘scientists’ making the same mistakes abused in ones own world. All I’m saying is, if science has a great virtue, it is that Kantian ‘disinterestedness’ that knowladge, as a quest for knowladge, was supposed to strive for. I think that’s what I meant to say. As well as to whomever – no one is ‘triumphing’ that Judith has come to the ‘dark side’, they know Judith to be herself!

  • Judith Curry

    William, I have stated my views on climate change (the science) a number of times and almost certainly on the previous thread.  Here it is again (with respect to the IPCC report):

    I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science.  The problem that I have with the WG1 Report is the summary narratives (executive summary, summary for policy makers) where all this is integrated and summarized.  My main issue with the WG1 report is that I think that many of confidence levels are too high: there is inadequate scientific uncertainty analysis, and lack of accounting for known unknowns and unknown unknowns.   I have substantial issues with the WG2 report and the impacts.

    So what does all this add up to?  A moderate warmist that sees very large uncertainty with regards to hypothesized catastrophic impacts

    Regarding your list of skeptics on the wikipedia:  I don’t align myself with any of them, but some of their statements cannot be refuted with a high level of certainty and there are other skeptical points that are not covered on your list.

  • Lewis

    WC, I noticed on your blog you said something like, and  I paraphrase ( correct if I’m wrong and I apologise, therefore ) “I guess I’ll have to read her Q&A” ( my emphasis ) – have you done so and, as a general enquiry, is it your nature to critique that which you haven’t read? But, never mind, I’m sure you mean well!

  • http://manuelmoeg.blogspot.com/ manuelg

    quoting “Roger Pielke Jr. Says: April 27th, 2010 at 4:35 pm”

    > Discussion of issues related to advocacy among scientists long pre-date arguments about climate policy.

    How could I forget the controversy of tobacco carcinogenicity? … Oops, there I go, “constraining the scope of policy options” again.

    from “Judith Curry Says: April 27th, 2010 at 6:03 pm”, quoting Mike Hulme: “Heated debate” http://www.thersa.org/fellowship/journal/features/features/heated-debate

    I agree with Hulme that “different legitimate positions people adopt about these ideological and ethical entanglements” can, with rhetorical tricks, be falsely turned into “arguments about belief (or otherwise) in scientific claims”.

    But, without a motivating morality about care-taking for future generations, the whole climate disruption argument is just so much dry stuff.  And, with that motivating morality, uncertainty is a call to action, not an excuse for inertia.

    Again, using the example of homeowners insurance, certainty does not have a monopoly on rational reasons for action.

    And it would be a peculiar motivating morality about care-taking for future generations, if it did not prompt skepticism against those who would prolong discussion before meaningful action.  If it did not, it could hardly be called morality at all.

    Accepting this, you would expect some viewpoints to remain permanently separated.

  • Lewis

    manuelg,

    I think you’ll have to agree there is a cross-purpose argument, here. You are, obviously and commendably, passionate about the ‘environment’, but what Judith is talking about, is having a sound science so that you can make your political advocacy have basis. You don’t want to be based on a stack of cards, do you? For, once shown to be fallible, who says those who need to ( the public, maybe, in a democracy? ) will come back to you? No science can be about recommendations of action but only what each possible action might result in – this is Pielkes’ point, in part. But science is never about

    But, without a motivating morality about care-taking for future generations, the whole climate disruption argument is just so much dry stuff.  And, with that motivating morality, uncertainty is a call to action, not an excuse for inertia.

    There is no ‘call to action’ in science

  • Lewis

    I’d, also, like to say something about ‘freedom’, here ( insomnia, sorry! ): it may be that someone ‘knows’ that a peoples ‘behaviour’ is disastrous but that ‘people’ still have a right to choose that ‘behaviour’, no? Assuming we believe in ‘democracy’, in the ‘people’, then they have that ‘wilful’ choice to do what they wish? Of course, this is almost academic, seeing as history rides careless over our backs!? But isn’t the mistake in thinking ‘we’ are as changeable as some mechanic toy? The ‘engineering of souls’? And in the past this resulted not in life but in death after death? Therefore, assuming a problem, let us not propose Utopian solutions but real and pragmatic ones!

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > so  a climate scientist has nothing to say unless
    > we talk about policy?

    Since by definition climate involves long-term changes –trends over more than a human lifetime, not just weather–yes.  A climate scientist is talking about people’s grandchildren. 

    “… shifting baselines means that everybody thinks natural is the way the world was when they were a child; unnatural is everything that happens afterwards. That’s why we older people are more depressing than the younger people in the room, and because you younger people never learned from your parents, you repeat the same mistake over and over and over again. And that becomes our notion of what is natural.

    “The first question is, what’s going on in the world today that we can see that is new, different, and really disturbing? The second question is, what will happen if we don’t stop doing what we are doing?”

    http://symposia.cbc.amnh.org/archives/expandingthearc/speakers/transcripts/jackson-text.html

  • Judith Curry

    Hank, I rest my case.

  • Raving

    When scientists engage in dogma they should not be surprised at losing credibility for behaving in a dogmatic manner.

    The AGW argument is being pressed in an intensely dogmatic manner. A person who questions the veracity of any negative expectation is treated as if it were uttering an unutterable heresy.

  • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

    Uh, Dr. Curry, as soon as you start taking blogs seriously, you’ve lost perspective. This is not to say that blogs aren’t useful/fun/important, just to cite an Iron Law of the Internet: as soon as you start to care about what people say about you on it, shut down the damn computer.

    Your chances of accomplishing anything in this medium are negligible. Also, you’re likely to discover that the people supporting you now will gleefully crucify you when the worm turns, as it always does.

    Anyway you clearly have no idea about how the term “warmist” is a red flag in the political blogosphere, and you’d get a lot less static if you dropped it. But do whatever the hell you like.

  • Raven

    #34 – Thers

    Do you apply the same standard to the use of the term “denier”?

  • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

    Do you apply the same standard to the use of the term “denier”?

    Oh, I never use the term “denier.” Not without using the f-word first, anyhow.

    Anyhow I was not talking to you.

  • Raven

    #36 – Thers

    No problem. Just checking to see if you, unlike the typical alarmist, had some modicum of self awareness. It appears the answer is no. Nevermind, carry on with your crusade.  

  • Pingback: Judith Curry doesn’t let up [The Island of Doubt] « Random Information()

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Cassandra was an alarmist.  She was also right.

  • Raven

    #38 – Eli

    So are you now claiming that climate scientists have been granted the power of prophecy by a god?

  • Raving

    “So back to discussing the integrity of climate research and the IPCC assessment process.”

    AGW is presented as dogma.  That alone makes it unbelievable.

    Better that scientists stick to science and stay out of religion.

    HTH & HAND.

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

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com Bart Verheggen

    I think the ‘us-versus-them’ feeling amongst many scientists and their supporters is understandable (as a reaction to the media onslaught), but counter productive. Judith Curry focuses on the latter, which is think is very worthwhile. I think a bit more focus on the former (the influence that the various attacks on the science and on scientists, mostly for extra-scientific reasons, plays in these dynamics) is also called for. Mostly people chose to focus on one or the other of these interrelated issues (I’m guilty as charged as well), which actually underscores the ‘us-versus-them’ feeling at both sides of the fence. Curry tries to break through this, but omits this point.

    I reacted in more detail over at my blog.

    Sharon Astyk (#4) brings up a point similar to one that also puzzled me:
    Based on how Curry’s hurricane research was twisted in the media, and the weird accusations slung at her, I’m puzzled that she seems to brush over the recent string of weird accusations directed at climate science. All good and well to focus on where you think some accusations actually have merit, but should we therefore ignore the wild exaggerations and worse?

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Thers (35):

    Like it or not, blogs have become an important component of media and communication. Additionally, the continuing conversation spurred by the original Q & A–and which has triggered much conversation at other climate blogs–seems a good thing to me.

    Lastly, your comment (37) was rude and crude. It’s also counterproductive to the kind of conversation (which includes everyone) that I’d like to see continue. Please keep it polite.

  • Judith Curry

    oops i originally posted this on the other thread by mistake

    Bart, I read your blog post, very thoughtful and some good points.  And I’ve also been meaning to reply to Susan.  I have fully experienced the “attack” thing in the context of the hurricane wars.  The 6 months following Katrina was a perfect storm of attacks on Emanuel, Webster, Curry, Holland: the oil funded denial machine was arguably at its peak with Karl Rove as commander in chief; the usual climate change skeptical scientists (Pat Michaels and Jim OBrien were especially vocal on this);  the National Hurricane Center plus Bill Gray, plus the skeptical blogosphere.  I recall having to explain to my mother (who was receiving calls from her friends) about the terrible things being said about us by Rush Limbaugh.  It was truly alice down the rabbithole time. I have written about this extensively, see especially my mixing politics and science paper, including a whole host of issues about the impacts on the individual scientists. After the infamous Feb 2 Wall Street Journal, the hurricane scientists involved (well, minus Bill Gray) decided to put “our big boy pants on” (Lucia Liljegren’s phrase). Led by Kerry Emanuel, we wrote a joint op-ed on the U.S. hurricane threat. More recently, a major review article was written on the subject, with Landsea, Holland and Emanuel all appearing as co-authors. This is how scientists are supposed to behave and how the science moves forward in the face of uncertainty. Sure we were all hit by a media hurricane, but we sorted it out and good progress is being made on the science, the uncertainties have been clarified and its just not a big deal anymore. Now it looks like we are facing a bad Atlantic hurricane season this year, the global warming issue will come up again, and I am expecting everyone to say reasonable things.
    So yes, its difficult for a scientist to deal with media and political craziness. But you have to just filter out the noise, and not take any of it personally. Don’t worry about misinformation in the blogosphere and mainstream media, the formal assessment process will sort it all out. The formal assessment process is important in the presence of all this noise, which is why I am particularly concerned about the process corruptions of the IPCC and its lack of policy neutrality.
    With regards to Jones. The behavior of Jones and Mann created the McIntyre “monster.” McIntyre was trying to work with those guys (also Caspar Ammann), but they blew him off. So he (with McKittrick) wrote the 2003 paper. The treatment that McIntyre and McKittrick received esp by Mann after publication of that paper is what created the “monster.” Phil Jones has a very low threshold for deciding who not to give the data to. After Peter Webster mentioned on climateaudit that he had received the data from Phil Jones, Peter received a rude email from Jones (unfortunately we no longer have a copy; its not in the CRU emails apparently Jones didn’t cc himself) saying that he wouldn’t be giving any more data to Peter and that he never would have given him the data if he knew Peter posted over at climateaudit. So when I saw the CRU emails, I didn’t feel any particular obligation to defend Phil Jones. So Phil Jones’ behavior has arguably contributed to creating the Curry “monster” as well.
    As for why I am “wasting time” in the blogosphere. Over the past 4 years I have been experimenting in the blogosphere to understand how the new social media can be used to educate the public about science, deal with skeptical critiques, and reach a much broader audience. Sure there is a lot of noise here. Sure I receive a ton of attacks, from both “tribes.” But my skin is thicker than an alligator’s hide at this point, I don’t take any of it personally. But I am claiming two “victories” from my posts here: scientists are talking about my “uncertainty” essay (see dotearth, plus I am receiving emails), something that I had no luck with in the context of the NRC Climate Research Committee. And I also received an email from Professor Jeff Weiss at the University of Colorado, who said that he would be discussing my essays in his climate class.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > Hank, I rest my case.

    Er, what case? 

    I’m sorry, but I seriously do not understand.

    Please explain what you’re ruling in, or ruling out, Dr. Curry.
    What belongs “in your case” and what’s not part of “your case”? 

    Do the longterm changes in ecology not come into what you consider climate science?    Or do you not think human action is involved? 

    Do you _know_ this area of ocean science and how climate change involved?  You can reach Dr. Jackson at Scripps.
    You can view his video presentations.

    Or do you mean the facts (not opinions, not advocacy — facts) that they’ve brought out about shifting baselines  — how the ecology was a few centuries ago, and a few decades ago, compared to now — aren’t within your area of interest?

    The ecologists have been pointing out that the world was not unchanged by human action even centuries ago — as the political myth claims — and has been changing very fast.

    Facts.  The assumptions we’ve had are wrong about change and the baselines we used were wrong, badly wrong. 

    I’m not saying you need to _choose_ policy.  But do you not understand that the facts aren’t what we thought even 20 years ago?   It’s this change in the facts that shakes up policy.

  • Keith Kloor

    Judy,

    It’s been very interesting to read the comments at other blog threads, in response to the posts and exchanges here this past week.

    For example, over at Stoat’s place, one reader wonders if you are suffering from Stockholm Syndrome; others continue to speculate that you have gone over to the “dark side.”

    There are a few readers, though, such as Bart Verheggen (who has been a thoughtful contributor in the exchanges here), who are imploring for reason to prevail.

    My question to you relates to another comment on that thread:

    I think she honestly wants to help, and honestly does not understand what the deniers are like. They see her attempts as a dismantling of AGW, and ‘one more nail in the coffin’.

    Could you address this concern, because it seems to be widespread on AGW blogs. There is this sense that you are bending over backwards to build bridges with folks who have no intent on using those bridges. To ally the concerns that you are being exploited by the Morano wing, should you be equally critical of the rhetorical excesses and mudslinging by a very vocal subset of the skeptic community?

    Or maybe, in the interest of sincere bridge-building, respected skeptic leaders should be as outspoken as you in trying to tamp down the nasties. Seems like it would be helpful to the overall tenor of debate if someone prominent in the skeptic camp was doing what you’re doing. Do you agree?

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    “…when I participated in a press conference on our forthcoming paper that described a substantial increase in the global number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes…”

    Dr Curry,
    Hi
    I have two questions. I think the questions are related.

    When you participated in the conference, just after Katrina, did the fact that people might read your findings and proposals differently cross your mind? I know it is sort of dificult to recollect as the events happened some time ago.

    Secondly, did you, as a scientist, ever feel at any point that the climatology science community was being gamed by a sudden infusion of funds? (sudden as in, say the last ten years)

  • Judith Curry

    Shub, during the press conference it was immediately apparent that people wanted to read a whole lot more into it than we were willing to say.  We thought the main public interest message was with regards to rebuilding New Orleans (i.e. be prepared for cat 5, not just cat 3)

    Re $$, the big infusion of funds into the field actually went to big ticket items like satellites and supercomputers.  The individual scientist didn’t seem much of this.  Actually the heyday of climate science funding for the individual scientists was under Bush 41.    Now in WG2 related fields, i do hear that a good way to get funding in fields like ecology, public health is to put a climate change spin on it.
    So overall, this issue of WG1 types being motivated by funding just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.

  • Judith Curry

    Keith, thanks for raising this point. The people slagging off on McIntyre, Watts et al. have probably spent no time over at their blogs or made an effort to get to know them personally and understand what makes them tick.   Or to talk to the scientific skeptics like Christy, Michaels.  Or talk to the libertarian think tanks, like CATO and CEI.  Well, i’ve made that effort, and therefore I think I know alot more about the what the “deniers” are really like than the people accusing me of naivete, who have drawn premature conclusions because somebody found some sort of obscure link to an oil company.  Well, if any medical researcher who got funds or otherwise engaged with pharmaceuticals was demonized like those linked even in some obscure way with an oil company, well medical research would come to a screeching halt.

    So do people really think that the likes of Steve McIntyre, Anthony Watts, Fred Smith, etc.  just roll over and slobber all over me because i post on their blog or send them an email?  Hardly.  It wasn’t exactly easy to convince them that i wasn’t say a Gavin Schmidt equivalent.  But the barrier can be breached (and I have breached it with a number of skeptics, i certainly haven’t tackled morano), they sort of trust me at this point as someone who is honest, and I am making a much more informed assessment of these people and what makes them tick than the people that accuse me of naivete.

  • Keith Kloor

    Judy,

    Okay, but you haven’t answered the second part of my question. I don’t think it’s your job–and you have said this yourself–to take on the hysterical “denier” wing when they yell “scam” or “hoax” every time an error or correction surfaces.

    But if you want to talk about uncertainty, shouldn’t it be done in a responsible manner–by both sides? The criticism of you that I refer to my previous comment is this: that you are putting the onus on only one side.

    So don’t you think your efforts would be aided greatly if your equivalent in the skeptic community did what you are doing now? I lay out my specific reasons why I think this would be helpful here, in the other thread. And if you agree with me, who would you nominate?

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    Dr Curry,
    In your quest to impress upon the general public that the WG1ers are credible scientists, are you bashing the WG2ers? Many other hard climate scientists seem to do that too.

    If the WG2 and 3 reports look less credible and overstretched, it is because, let us remember
    1) they are full of non peer-reviewed gray literature conclusions
    2) Important sections are written by freelancing authors outside university-based academia
    2) the WG2ers only went looking for the evidence of impacts predicted from the WG1 reports.

    Regarding the gaming possibility, as an external observer, I still have my suspicions. I’ll try to get back with some numbers.

  • Tim Lambert

    Judith, have you considered the possibility that the critics of McIntyre and Watts might be more familiar with them than you are?  You made several erroneous claims about the Wegman report, apparently based on stuff by McIntyre.  Do you now realize that he has misled you?

  • Raven

    #47 and 51 – Keith Kloor

    You really need to define what you are asking for when you ask if prominent sceptics “do the same as Dr. Curry”.

    Are you asking that sceptics acknowledge the basic radiative physics of GHGs and agree that humans are adding CO2 and that will cause some warming?

    If so most sceptics have been saying that for years. The problem is the alarmist noise machine that uses smears and misrepresentation as a substitute for honest discussion.

    Are you asking that sceptics suddenly agree to the political demand for carbon control and all of the policies that go with it?

    Then answer will be no because those policies have nothing to do with the science and climate science has become corrupted because too many climate scientists fail to distinguish between what the science says and the policies that might be enacted to deal with want the science says.

    One of the most frustrating things for me is the number of people who cannot/will not understand that “do nothing nothing for now and adapt as required” is a rational policy choice based on a evaluation of the scientific evidence plus the technical and economic constraints.
     
     

  • Raven

    #53 – Tim Lambert

    The only error I saw was Dr. Curry mixed up the NAS report and Wegman report. That does not change the fact that both reports fully support McIntrye’s criticisms but for face saving reasons the NAS report made a statement about “other studies” confirming the result for last 400 years and a statement that the MBH result for MWP was “plausible” (a choice of words that implies they had no evidence that it ws correct – just that it could be correct).  

  • Keith Kloor

    Raven (54):

    I’ll have to stop commingling the threads, because I answered that prompt over at the other one. Here’s what I wrote:

    In this case, I define stature to mean someone whose views and opinions are taken seriously by their peers. I further define it as someone who has a measure of influence.

    I’ll leave it up to others to nominate who they think might be an appropriate choice.

    Raven, you read way too much into what I’m suggesting, which is this: is there anybody on the skeptic side who is willing to call foul when foul is committed on that side?

    Or do you think that skeptics never throw any elbows around, never trash talk, never insinuate, never play dirty? In other words, this trust thing has to work both ways, doesn’t it?

  • substanti8


    Regardless of whether it’s her intent, Judith Curry’s adventure in celebrity falls into the category of <a href=”http://www.dericbownds.net/uploaded_images/Doonesbury.gif”>teaching the controversy</a> – also known as sowing FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

    Meanwhile, the dragon continues to awaken.

  • substanti8


    Regardless of whether it’s intentional, Judith Curry’s adventure in celebrity falls into the category of teaching the controversy – also known as sowing FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

    Meanwhile, the dragon continues to awaken.

  • http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~dankd Daniel Kirk-Davidoff

    Dear Prof. Curry,

    A couple of questions based on the above interview.

    1.  Could you be a little more clear about the 20th century external climate forcings?   What do you think we might be missing?  Hasn’t the present long solar minimum rather reduced the chances that solar forcing had much to do with the warming of the last 40 years?

    2.  Did you see the EPA’s climate indicators report that came out recently ( http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators.html ).  If so, do you have many qualms about what’s there?

    3.  If you accept that the range of uncertainty for climate sensitivity is about  1 – 5 °C, and if you take the probability distribution to be more or less gaussian over that range, doesn’t that mean that there’s a very strong chance that business as usual would take us well out of natural variability, for any plausible estimate of natural variability?

    4.  If you agree with 3, doesn’t that pretty much settle Joe Romm’s policy question about the preferred level of CO2 concentration: putting aside cost for the moment,  we should aim to keep CO2 well below 550 ppmv?

    If we’re agreed up to this point, them I’m happy to wave the flag with you for the vital importance of improving the transparency and accuracy of our climate data records (and have worked hard on it as part of the CLARREO pre-phase A science team), as a guide to future policy.    But if you’re going to get cagey about whether it ought to be a policy goal to put some limit on CO2 concentration, based on what we know to date,  I think that does harm to the planet.

  • Raven

    #56 – Keith Kloor

    It is still what clear you are looking for. You want serious sceptics to say something when Moncton goes off his meds? Lucia does that all the time. Are you looking for sceptics to refute the claims that CO2 is not a GHG? Jeff Id does that. Are you looking for audits of bad sceptical papers like McLean, de Freitas and Carter? Lucia and SteveMc do that but without the over the top rhetoric that one sees on alarmist blogs. Are you looking for people to call out Watts when he jumps off a cliff like with his report with D’Aleo?  Not directly, but Lucia’s numerous posts on the temperature reconstructions do more to refute Watt’s claims amoung sceptics than any confrontational rant.

    Is there something else you are looking for?

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    Eli got to know Nigel, or should he say Steve, realllll early on, and has not gotten over it.

  • Judith Curry

    Tim, my information regarding Wegman and the report did not come from McIntyre, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the errors that i did (note these were also caught over at climateaudit).

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/ Bart Verheggen

    In relation to Keith Kloor’s question to Judith Curry: The context of how and why scientists got to be defensive and dismissive of many ‘skeptics’ is important in assessing the current situation.

    The assessment of the context seems missing in Curry’s analysis, which I think causes her to have a rosier picture of some ‘skeptics’ than most other climate scientists who are engaged in these kinds of debates do.

    The characterization “Gavin Schmidt equivalent” struck me. He’s doing tremendously good work informing people of the science. He’s a staunch supporter of the scientific consensus, but is that a bad thing? By virtue of it being a broad consensus, most scientists more or less agree with it. And if it’s under attack for mostlyextra-scientific reasons (McIntyre is doing *a lot* of insinuating for example), someone’s gotta defend it?

    Hmm, guess that such characterizations are both a sign of, and very effective in bringing out, the tribalism.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Raven (61),

    I think you’re being a tad disingenuous. You’re pretending that politicians (Inhofe), pundits (Will) and skilled media operators (Morano) don’t regularly trumpet the “global warming as greatest hoax” canard with every big snowstorm in April or cold spell. Yes, this is the extreme end of the spectrum, which, BTW, characterizes climate science as one big fraud.

    How does Judith build a bridge to the Lucia’s and McIntyre’s when the loudest and shrillest skeptics are only interested in blowing up that bridge?

    To ignore the influence of a Morano would mean you’d have to ignore the influence of a Romm. Like I said, this stuff works both ways.

  • Raven

    #63 – Bart

    Gavin is certainly one of the people that convinced me that something was fishy about the “consenus”. You will find other posters on Jeff Id’s blog that say the same.

    You can defend him if you like but I suspect his tactics create more sceptics than converts. 

  • Judith Curry

    Daniel #59:


    1.  Could you be a little more clear about the 20th century external climate forcings?   What do you think we might be missing?  Hasn’t the present long solar minimum rather reduced the chances that solar forcing had much to do with the warming of the last 40 years?
    With respect to attribution of the 20th century climate change. There are some disagreements in solar forcing over the last 30 years (even with satellite records), substantial uncertainties prior to 1980. But on 100 yr timescales, I don’t think uncertainties in solar forcing are a big issue. A substantial issue is aerosol forcing, particularly before about 1980 and particularly in the 1950’s where aerosols are assumed to be very high. And there is certainly some uncertainty in volcanic forcing. In spite of these uncertainties, IPCC climate modeling groups are “given” one 20th century forcing scenario (I have asked a climate modeler what this is based on, this person claimed not to know, was given to them for the IPCC runs). Surely an ensemble of climate model simulations makes sense to test the sensitivity of attribution studies to uncertainties in external forcing? But the biggest issue that I have with the attribution of 20th century temperature trend is the neglect of the ocean multidecadal oscillations. For example, the recent cooling is being attributed to switching to the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. If that is true, then the warming in the last decades of the 20th century should be partly attributed to the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. And all this assumes that the 20th century global temperature record is reliable, which surely should be questioned in view of the lack of transparency of the CRU dataset and questions raised by the emails. All in all, I would have to say that the IPCC is overconfident in its attribution of 20th century warming.
    2.  Did you see the EPA’s climate indicators report that came out recently ( http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/indicators.html ).  If so, do you have many qualms about what’s there?
    If there are significant uncertainties in attribution of the warming, these uncertainties are magnified when trying to attribute a specific impact to say greenhouse warming. When discussing ecosystem and human impacts, you further have the issue of attributing the change in the indicator to climate vs land use changes or other human related factors.  A highly uncertain endeavor.
    3.  If you accept that the range of uncertainty for climate sensitivity is about  1 ““ 5 °C, and if you take the probability distribution to be more or less gaussian over that range, doesn’t that mean that there’s a very strong chance that business as usual would take us well out of natural variability, for any plausible estimate of natural variability?
    Ok, lets take the 1-5C range. The distribution is most likely to be skewed, with a tail on the high end. The uncertainty level is sufficient that a possibility distribution is likely to be more relevant than a probability distribution. And if you are doing the possibility distribution, you should include higher values out on the tail.
    4.  If you agree with 3, doesn’t that pretty much settle Joe Romm’s policy question about the preferred level of CO2 concentration: putting aside cost for the moment,  we should aim to keep CO2 well below 550 ppmv?
    No. There is the whole issue of what constitutes “dangerous” climate change. Which is a value laden issue.
    I for one do not have any confidence in setting a CO2 limit with two significant figures, given the uncertainties described in 1-3. This takes us into a policy arena, which is where I am drawing the line in this discussion.

  • Judith Curry

    Bart, I have stated my personal admiration for what Gavin Schmidt is doing (particularly in the immediate wake of climategate), i stated this publicly in my first “credibility” essay posted at climateaudit.  However, the skeptics do not share my opinion.  My statement regarding gavin schmidt was made to help illustrate the perspectives of the skeptics, they tend to assume I share a lot in common with gavin schmidt

  • Judith Curry

    Shub #52

    Yes I would rank both WG2 and WG3 reports significantly lower than the WG1 Report.  Most of the scientific and public scrutiny has focused on the WG1 Report.  There is an exceedingly low probability of something like the Himalayan glacier error sneaking into the WG1 Report.  I would be interesting to see a list of non peer reviewed publications cited in the WG1 report, i suspect the list is small.  Esp the WG2 report draws on scientists from a very broad range of background and expertise, and it is probably very difficult to conduct a meaningful internal review (whereas I suspect that everyone on the WG1 team has a passing familiarity with pretty much the broad range of WG1 contents).  There is far more room in WG2 to focus on issues of relevance to the enviro advocates.  And apart from these issues, the attribution of these impacts is even more difficult than the WG1 attribution problem, and impact attribution is in its infancy.

  • Raven

    #64 – Keith Kloor

    1) The US is not the world. These blogs reach way beyond the partisan politics of the US. In fact, there is a direct link between CA and the collapse of the ETS in Australia.

    2) Inhofe and Morano attack the science because the science is being used as a political club by their political opponents. Stopping this requires that climate scientists stop letting themselves be dragged into the political debate. It is really a seperate issue from what Judith is trying to do.

  • sod

    The people slagging off on McIntyre, Watts et al. have probably spent no time over at their blogs or made an effort to get to know them personally and understand what makes them tick.

    Judith, why are you constantly making such false and wild claims?

    it doesn t take more than a couple of minutes over on wattsup, to discover that Anthony’s blog is mostly making false claims.

    and the vast majority of us have wasted hours, if not days reading that rubbish.

    Tim was right with his comment above (and you didn t answer his other point) i am sorry, but you do not know what you are talking about. 

    Or talk to the libertarian think tanks, like CATO and CEI.  Well, i’ve made that effort, and therefore I think I know alot more about the what the “deniers” are really like than the people accusing me of naivete, who have drawn premature conclusions because somebody found some sort of obscure link to an oil company.  Well, if any medical researcher who got funds or otherwise engaged with pharmaceuticals was demonized like those linked even in some obscure way with an oil company, well medical research would come to a screeching halt.

    sorry again, but this paragraph confirms your naivety. you don t understand the think tanks.
    and you don t understand pharma lobby and their connection to medical research.

    i am really shocked by your comments.

  • Raven

    #70 – sod

    You really need to stop assuming your opinion is a fact. You have spent a lot of time posting defending the consensus on sceptical blogs and all you have done is show that you do not understand the issues being raised by sceptics.

  • sod

    sorry, but on the subject of how much of WuWt i have read, i consider myself an expert. what i stated above was a fact.

    here is the most recent WuWt post:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/28/cold-from-seattle-to-sao-paulo/

    Goddard writes about cold weather in the US. while global temperatures are breaking records in all datasets. this is at best misleading people.

    here is the post to look at, if you want to know the level of analysis offered by WuWt:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/25/predictions-of-global-mean-temperatures-ipcc-projections/

    ever seen so many errors on such little space? why would anyone post such rubbish on his blog?

    what Judith said about WuWt above was simply wrong. again.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    While it has been a great sport slagging WG2 and WG3, compared to WG1, Eli would suggest that they are simply in areas where there has been less investigation to date, and will mature with time.  Unfortunately, WG1 says that we don’t have time left before taking action.

    A fine example of the sort of thing that happens is how a doodle of paleoclimate global temperature in the 1990 IPCC FAR, essentially the best qualitative guess at the time, became an iconic figure used to beat on better and better proxy reconstructions even to today.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ipcc7.1-mann-moberg.png
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven #69(2):

    <i>Inhofe and Morano attack the science because the science is being used as a political club by their political opponents. Stopping this requires that climate scientists stop letting themselves be dragged into the political debate.</i>

    Inhofe doesn’t just “attack the science”¦” he attacks the scientists. He doesn’t just say global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” he <a href=”http://www.grist.org/article/2010-02-25-james-inhofe-senate-top-skeptic-explains-climate-hoax-theory”>insists that “NOAA and NASA and all these organizations</a>, these people are all tied in to the IPCC. There are a lot of companies, oil companies and all that, who would like to have cap-and-trade. That’s where they can make money… They stand to benefit [from] government grants and private sector grants [from places] like the Heinz Foundation”¦. , that’s John Kerry’s wife — a lot of very wealthy people.”

    He’s framing it as completely corrupt from top to bottom”¦ that even NOAA is a part of this UN black-helicopter gravy train. Tell me what is “skeptical” about that. You don’t think skeptics have <i>any</i> responsibility to call BS on this guy?

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven #69(2):
    Inhofe and Morano attack the science because the science is being used as a political club by their political opponents. Stopping this requires that climate scientists stop letting themselves be dragged into the political debate.
    Inhofe doesn’t just “attack the science”¦” he attacks the scientists. He doesn’t just say global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” he insists that “NOAA and NASA and all these organizations, these people are all tied in to the IPCC. There are a lot of companies, oil companies and all that, who would like to have cap-and-trade. That’s where they can make money”¦ They stand to benefit [from] government grants and private sector grants [from places] like the Heinz Foundation”¦. , that’s John Kerry’s wife “” a lot of very wealthy people.”
    He’s framing it as completely corrupt from top to bottom”¦ that even NOAA is a part of this UN black-helicopter gravy train. Tell me what is “skeptical” about that.
    You don’t think skeptics have any responsibility to call BS on this guy?

  • Dave H

    Dr Curry,

    Speaking as a layman, the “debate” basically boils down to:

    Is the Earth getting warmer?
    Are human emissions responsible?
    Will the consequences be generally bad in my lifetime?

    Now – to the extent that a layman needs to understand the “scientific consensus”, the IPCC report has answered “yes” to all of the above with sufficient confidence to move on to the next two questions:

    What action should we take now to mitigate or avoid future problems?
    How will that action affect me personally?

    Now I will agree it is interesting to talk about confidence, and specific research, and discuss in detail potential issues with the temperature record, or statistical analysis, so that we may form a more solid scientific picture, or some nuance or other of this paper or that. However, my experience of *the majority* of anti-AGW commentators is that any such discussion is merely an excuse to cast doubt on those first three points *solely* to avoid addressing the latter two. It is political maneuvering dressed up with an air of science – nitpicking without any actual intention of furthering understanding, just preventing progress in the political sphere.

    I have had countless discussions online over the past half-decade or so on this subject, and educated myself as well as I can without a scientific background. I have *never* in a debate with a “skeptic” have them concede *any* point or change their opinion the tiniest iota. Using reason, logic and evidence is useless when the person who you are attempting to influence has made an emotional and/or political decision, rather than an evidence-based one. They will bend reality to fit a preconceived worldview, ignore anything that contradicts that, and change the subject in mutually contradictory ways a dozen times in a single comment.

    These people are the prime consumers of output from “skeptical” blogs such as CA, WUWT etc. These are the people who your efforts are completely lost on. These are the people to whom all you do is lend an air of credibility to prejudices they want to have confirmed.

    When I see Lindzen advising Watts how best to pick start dates to avoid statistical significance of any warming trend… it seems so *obviously and blatantly* dishonest. When Jones – in an attempt to engage honestly – replies when questioned about said time period that yes, there is no statistically significant warming, and then has that converted into a massive “NO GLOBAL WARMING” media campaign the world over… I am filled with disgust at the illogic and unreason of it all.

    So when I see you saying you’re trying to build bridges with a skeptical audience I believe I understand why, but I fail to see how you can actually be successful. I can’t see you changing anybody’s mind, and I can’t see you doing anything other than supply a veneer of respectability to attacks on science. Because, from a layman’s perspective, any *valid* issues that have actually been raised over at, say, CA have had precisely no effect on my original three questions and are therefore only of interest to those that:

    a) want to make the science as robust as possible
    b) want to damage the credibility of the science
    c) want to find some excuse to dismiss the science

    I honestly don’t know where science goes from here. We’re at a point where attempting to simplify communication of science and remove confusion provides an excuse for “skeptics” to attack the science,  while taking the opposite tack of explaining and openly admitting uncertainty becomes another excuse to attack the science.

  • andrewt

    Judith did  Oxburgh like Wegman push one of your buttons?

    You’ve told us tell us that Oxburgh looking at a similar list of publications to the UEA parliamentary submission  publications is an “extraordinary coincidence” discovered by a Montford’s analysis.  And you ridicule  Oxburgh and his panel with a metaphor about a fire department 

    But (as you can read @Stoat) when the inquiry was announced in March  UEA said “The University, in consultation with the Royal Society, has suggested that the panel looks in particular at key publications, from the body of CRU’s research referred to in the UEA submission to the Parliamentary Science and Technology Committee”.

    You nominate 3   papers that you believe Oxburgh should have looked at, because you tell us, they were in submissions to the parliamentary inquiry.  But none of the 3 papers seem to have been mentioned in any of the  parliamentary submissions.

    You don’t explain this confusion,   but do suggest  a random selection of CRU publications would have better – and you saw the results of this – because of the number of CRU publications if   you select randomly few if any in your sample will be publications that have drawn comment.  If Oxburgh had followed your ( post-hoc) advice,   you’d  have ridiculed him.

    Generally I can’t say I attach a lot of weight to inquiries like Oxburgh, but your attack   looks as ill-considered & hasty as your support for Wegman.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    JC writes:
    > I for one do not have any confidence in setting a CO2
    > limit with two significant figures

    Explain, please?  how about  “2x preindustrial”  or “3x preindustrial” — or are you talking about parts per million?

    What limits would you confidently set, if you got to choose?
    And are you considering ocean pH change in setting a number?

  • http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~dankd Daniel Kirk-Davidoff

    Thanks, Judy (#66).   A couple of further comments:  the EPA publication I referenced doesn’t really get into impacts, it’s just a compilation of climate change “indicators”:  CO2, temperature, precipitation, length of growing season, etc. I thought they did a pretty nice job stating for a public audience what the strengths and weaknesses of the data that went into each “indicator” were.

    What do you think of Chris Forest’s work on the PDF of climate sensitivity and heat capacity?   He’s worked pretty hard to account for the uncertainty in the aerosol forcing. Do you think he’s missing something important?

  • NewYorkJ

    “All in all, I would have to say that the IPCC is overconfident in its attribution of 20th century warming.”

    I don’t believe the IPCC wording supports this assertion.  The key statement regarding attribution in the summary:

    “Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”

    So they are saying that there’s a 90% chance that most (> 50%) of the observed warming is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.  This is an extremely conservative conclusion.  It allows for nearly half of the observed warming since mid-century to be attributed to something other than the increase in GHG concentrations, and a 10% chance it’s even more, even though no very significant natural contributor has been identified with any robust evidence to support it.  Do you really think that’s an unreasonable treatment of uncertainties?

    Ironically, Dr. Andrew Lacis has quite the opposite conclusion regarding certain summary sections.

    “…the basic thrust of my criticism of the I.P.C.C. draft was really to register a clear complaint that I.P.C.C. was being too wishy-washy and was not presenting its case for anthropogenic impact being the principal driver of global warming as clearly and forcefully as they could, and should. ”

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/12/nasa-scientist-adds-to-views-on-climate-panel/

    …a good read in full.

    “The people slagging off on McIntyre, Watts et al. have probably spent no time over at their blogs or made an effort to get to know them personally and understand what makes them tick.”

    Like Sod, I think you’re making a poor assumption again.  I personally don’t care what makes them “tick” or what has motivated some to make a series of some demonstrably false claims and wild assumptions.  I’m interested in the facts.  I want to see if assertions made can be supported with sound evidence.  I look for consistency and objectivity and seek a healthy dose of skepticism with everything I read.  While I tolerate some lack of civility (after all, I’m guilty myself from time to time), consistent trashing of scientists (seen regularly on McIntyre’s blog, subtle or not) are big turnoffs, as are knee-jerk reactions and constant wild assumptions.  I’ve been to these sites enough and much more to know they fail the basic tests.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > Forest
    This one?

    Probabilistic Forecast for 21st Century Climate Based on Uncertainties in Emissions (without Policy) and Climate Parameters

    http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/44627

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    Also — rather than spend all the available time on the old AR4, would you consider commenting on the attribution discussion for the AR5, that’s already begun? 

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+attribution+AR5

  • Raven

    #74 – Paul Daniel Ash

    We have a situation where extremists on both sides of the debate personally attack individuals and imply they are all part of a grand conspiracy to undermine the public interest of for profit. A good example is the smear job on Wegman that is being repeated on this blog. Why aren’t you standing up and calling BS on your comrades in arms for their viscous attacks on Wegman?

    When public discourse is hijacked by extremists the only way out is for moderates on both sides to talk to each other and after finding a common ground they can speak against all extremists. The trouble with this debate is I am not sure what the common ground is.

  • http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~dankd Daniel Kirk-Davidoff

    #81:  Chris Forest’s website is here:

    http://www.met.psu.edu/people/cef13

    And this is the sort of paper I was thinking of (he’s written a series along these lines).
    C.E. Forest, P.H. Stone, and A.P. Sokolov, Constraining Climate Model Parameters from Observed 20th Century Changes. Tellus, Vol. 60A, 911″“920, 2008

  • Raven

    #80 NewYorkJ

    The mistake you are making is assuming that there are ‘facts’ available to be uncovered. In climate science there are very facts because the available data has to be processed/adjusted/fixed before it can be analyzed. This turns what is nominally a fact into a judgement call.

    Take for example, the Briffa Yamal series which CA is featuring now. SteveMc has a post up showing how the ‘blade’ in the reconstructions and subsequent divergance is likely due to non-linear biological effects rather than temperature. My prediction for the response from climate scientists will be arm waving and a declaration that their processing algorithms took that the biological effects account. SteveMc will likely follow up with a sarcastic post that shows that the algorithms did no such thing but the alarmists will have moved on. i.e. they will declare that SteveMc claims have been ‘debunked’ and accuse him of spreading lies. 

    Sceptics who take the time to understand the arguments realize that SteveMc right and those non-linear effects have not been factored in and all reconstructions based on those series are garbage. The sceptics view that climate scientists are either incompetent or willfully blind will be further confirmed and while the climate scientists continue to grumble about the ‘misinformation’ on CA. This latest fuss will be picked up by the men with the bull horns which further polarizes the debate.

    The way out of this endless loop is to stop vilifying SteveMc and accept that climate scientists have done a lot of sloppy work and that some of the papers should be withdrawn. But too many egos are at stake for that to happen. 

  • JimR

    Keith(64),
    “How does Judith build a bridge to the Lucia’s and McIntyre’s when the loudest and shrillest skeptics are only interested in blowing up that bridge? ”

    While I’m sure the extreme skeptics (political types such as Inhofe and Morano) aren’t interested in the type of bridge Judith Curry is attempting to build, simple observation would indicate that a large number in the AGW tribe are actively attempting to blow up that bridge.  There have now been several hundred posts here to the various Curry related threads and a large percentage have attempted to challenge her, been very critical of her or used the discussion to take shots at others not in the AGW tribe. The extreme political skeptics aren’t interested in bringing the two sides together but the AGW tribe is vehemently opposed to the very idea.  And can anyone in the AGW tribe really speak out for reasonable things such as transparency and improving the IPCC process? I have my doubts, they would probably be considered as going to the “dark side”.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    Compare the results with Google and with Scholar to sort out these phrases.  That one’s  highly popular with, er, fringe theorists in many areas of “science” and has been for a while.  Curious.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=“non-linear+biological+effects”
    (over 200 hits)

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=%22non-linear+biological+effects%22
    (10 hits)

    Compare and contrast.
    Giggles.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    Lose the hyphen and you’ll get 18 hits.
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=2000&q=%22nonlinear+biological+effects%22

    When wossname publishes, it’ll be 19 hits.

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    Dr. Curry , I feel all along — and I’ve been reading your posts for months now — like  we’ve been getting a sort of scattershot picture  of your views — though the picture got a lot clearer when you described yourself on this thread as:  “A moderate warmist that sees very large uncertainty with regards to hypothesized catastrophic impacts”.  (Pielke Jr. probably wants to be your BFF after that — as do the ‘hey who knows global warming might be GOOD for us’ libertarian/free marketeer crowd).

    But details of your concerns are still vague, so I’m interested in this:
    ‘So the whole IPCC is framed around a particular policy related to the UNFCCC that has emphasized emissions reductions, with mandatory targets and timetables for emission reductions. Other policy alternatives and alternative framing of the climate change problem might result in different emphases and even different results.”

    So what policy alternatives and alternate framings are you suggesting for consideration?  I know you don’t *want* to discus policy, but how can you *not*, given the above, and far out there you’ve put yourself now?   It appears to be central to your issues with how the science is framed, and with the IPCC.

    (It’s interesting of course that some climate scientists are convinced of quite the opposite — that the IPCC’s forecasts and recommendations are too tepid.  And that some of the most famous ‘warmists’ are also against ‘cap and trade’, which you describe as an almost inevitable outcome of the IPCC’s framing)

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    “Eli would suggest that they are simply in areas where there has been less investigation to date, and will mature with time.”

    If I had 2 cents for every bit of humble pie inadvertently swallowed by the IPCC consensus post-November 17…

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > if I had 2 cents for every bit
    You’d have six or eight cents, as I count them.
    Multiple copypastings in blogs don’t add to the total.
    And you must remember, the underestimate for sea level rise is one of those acknowledged errors.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    > can anyone in the AGW tribe really speak out for reasonable
    > things such as transparency and improving the IPCC process?

    Well duh:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+AR5+attribution+transparency+process

    By your logic, the IPCC has joined the dark side by this.
    Now what?

  • JimR

    Hank(92), number of Google hits on keywords does not equal support for your position. And I can’t imagine what searching those keywords on the IPCC site has to do with someone on the AGW tribe speaking out on the issues I mentioned. Or is this simply a diversionary effort at distracting from the issues being discussed? Can’t stand the idea of bridge building with those you loathe?

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    Hank, I am not adding cents up for IPCC errors. I am doing it for all the admissions of the immaturity of the science by hardcore warmists.

    If the IPCC were to become transparent, it would have well and truly gone over to the dark side. No more ‘I’ll be hiding behind those’ etc etc. :)

  • NewYorkJ

    Raven says:

    “The mistake you are making is assuming that there are “˜facts’ available to be uncovered. In climate science there are very facts because the available data has to be processed/adjusted/fixed before it can be analyzed. This turns what is nominally a fact into a judgement call. ”
    The first mistake you’re making is assuming my use of the word “facts” applies specifically to validating scientific theories.  My use of the term “facts” applies rather broadly, and in particular I had in mind the various vague assertions of corruption.

    Data is always “processed” in one way or another.  Did you now that thermometers are indirect measurement devices?

    Of course, science is not mathematics.  Scientific theories can be falsified, but not proven true.  I suppose the theory of relativity can be dismssed as a  “judgment call”, using the same logic. 

    “Take for example, the Briffa Yamal series which CA is featuring now. SteveMc has a post up showing how the “˜blade’ in the reconstructions and subsequent divergance is likely due to non-linear biological effects rather than temperature. My prediction for the response from climate scientists will be arm waving and a declaration that their processing algorithms took that the biological effects account. SteveMc will likely follow up with a sarcastic post that shows that the algorithms did no such thing but the alarmists will have moved on. i.e. they will declare that SteveMc claims have been “˜debunked’ and accuse him of spreading lies. ”

    McIntyre would actually be more likely to get a response from climate scientists if he published (or at least attempted to) his hypothesis, rather than simply opining on a blog, which he does regularly.  His followers might want to question why he rarely takes this route.  Blogs have their place.  They are ways to hash out ideas and speak to the public.  What’s rather disturbing to me is witnessing a cult of followers viewing every blog post from their leaders as a profound unassailable and genuine discovery and perhaps a grand overturning of the “establishment”.  If not addressed immediately by the “warmists”, it’s further proof the “warmists” are wrong.

    Now occasionally climate scientists take the time out of their busy schedules to respond informally to various gutter-style assertions.  Briffa, as I understood it, was recovering from an illness when writing this thorough but somewhat informal response (part of which will be submitted for publication) to McIntyre, which exposed his various claims.  It was a serious pot and kettle issue.  Admirable also is Briffa’s civil response, given the slander that had been directed towards him up to that point.

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/people/briffa/yamal2009/

    While I generally give McIntyre credit for cleverly covering his tracks, he slipped up when someone got him to admit he had the data (that he falsely accused others of witholding) for a number of years:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/10/mcintyre_had_the_data_all_alon.php

    This was a good example of the typical behavior McI engages in on a regular basis.  Throw out some dubious assertions, subtly insinuate fraud or misconduct (i.e. “cherry-picking”), let his followers do most of the dirty work, rejoice if the media catches on, and when exposed, move on to the next series of  assertions.  This behavior is rather transparent to many observers and there is zero accountability for the accuser.

    “Sceptics who take the time to understand the arguments realize that SteveMc right and those non-linear effects have not been factored in and all reconstructions based on those series are garbage. The sceptics view that climate scientists are either incompetent or willfully blind will be further confirmed and while the climate scientists continue to grumble about the “˜misinformation’ on CA. This latest fuss will be picked up by the men with the bull horns which further polarizes the debate.”

    I look forward to their “analysis”  in an academic journal.  From what I’ve seen, it’s all a lot of yelling and chest-beating that amounts to little of substance, and your opining above appears to be no different.  The contribution that the McIntyres of the world might be able to make is entirely overshadowed by their poor behavior.

    If McIntyre does have a hypothesis for the modern tree-ring divergence issue (or anything for that matter), there are many journals he could submit to.  Doing so would expose his argument to possible criticism from experts in the field.  Most scientists welcome a strong expert critique.  Others not so much.  If the results are robust and hold up under scrutiny, that is the way to influence the field.  But unfortunately, while scientists are certainly targets of the contrarian mud-slinger, they are not their target audience.

    As for now, here’s a general overview of the divergence problem, based on the academic literature:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-divergence-problem.html

    “The way out of this endless loop is to stop vilifying SteveMc and accept that climate scientists have done a lot of sloppy work and that some of the papers should be withdrawn. But too many egos are at stake for that to happen. ”

    If scientists only compromise their scientific integrity and give in to the demands of the accusers, things would be so much better!

  • Raven

    #95 – NewYorkJ 

    Arguments are valid whether they are published in a journal or not. The majority of people understand that which I why they read sceptical blogs.

    At some point in time you are going to have to decide if you want something to change. If you think the current situation is acceptable then feel free to ignore what people say.

    If you think the situation is unacceptable then get off your high horse and start listening. The Internet has changed many institutions and it is naive to assume that the traditional methods of academia are immune to its effects.

  • http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com Thers

    <i>Taken to its extreme, it infers what some climate advocates have been saying elsewhere:</i>

    Implies, not infers, dammit.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Good catch, Thers. I stand corrected. Sorry to have agitated you so.

  • NewYorkJ

    Raven says:

    “Arguments are valid whether they are published in a journal or not. The majority of people understand that which I why they read sceptical blogs.”

    There are websites skeptical of 9/11’s cause and the Moon landing.  Anyone can opine on a blog.  As  much as a contrarian might like to think, that alone doesn’t make it a valid or robust argument.  Publishing in scientific journals is a first pass (certainly not the last) at sorting out the valid from the invalid.

    Try reading academic journals.  Some require a subscription, but many are available at your local library, so you don’t have to support the “AGW hoax”.  I suppose they are a bit more technical, require a greater effort to learn, and don’t have the soapbox material inherent on contrarian blogs, but it’s sadly a perspective that gets lost from those who rely solely on certain affirming blogs.

    The Credibility Spectrum:

    http://climatesight.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/credibility-spectrum.jpg

  • sod

    The way out of this endless loop is to stop vilifying SteveMc and accept that climate scientists have done a lot of sloppy work and that some of the papers should be withdrawn. But too many egos are at stake for that to happen.

    why start with something complicated, like taking back scientific papers?

    how about McIntyre takes back all false claims first?

    why not remove all useless and misleading posts from WuWt today?

    or Judith Curry taking back or false accusation of us not having read enough of Anthony Watts?

    or her claim about denialist think tanks being not that bad? 

  • Raven

    #99 NewYorkJ

    What you are missing is the informal ‘peer review’ system that is going on these science focused blogs. Ideas are presented and argued. The ones that have no merit are dismissed. This peer review system is far superior to the current journal system because it is open and anyone can participate. Even when critics like RC refuse to participate directly their input is evaluated and discussed.

    The idea that formal peer reviewed journals are the only way to filter out the ‘noise’ is a quaint antiquity.

  • Raven

    #100 – sod

    You are confusing opinion with fact. You may have the opinion that SteveMc has made false claims but I have not seen any examples that stand up to examination.

  • Raving

    Judith Curry Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    “I think I know alot more about the what the “deniers” are really like than the people accusing me of naivete.”

    And I thought the distinction was plain. …. Curry and her colleagues are actively involved in livelihoods as principal investigators in climate research. “Deniers” are less intensely involved.

    Beyond the habits experience and understanding that comes from prolonged intense involvement, there is no systematic distinction between the climate change scientist and the climate change ‘denier’. People are people whatever they do, wherever they live.

    Many “Deniers” are deniers because they sense dogma is being rammed down their throats in a relentless, unyielding onslaught.  The message is unequivocal. Accept the consensus in it’s entirety without question or else risk being denounced as a selfish opportunist who lacks a social conscious.

    Science has no trouble speaking for itself. If the science is bad, it is seen as being bad.  If the science is strong and convincing then it comes across that that way.

    Those scientists that presume to know better and feel morally justified in crossing over from science to advocacy get what they deserve.

    The mistake was to push harder than necessarily with a zeal born of arrogant certainty. It transformed climate change science into a mountain of vile bogus dogma.

    The insulting mess is perpetuated by the inability to recognize that strident insistence exists and has become entrenched dogma. The mess rots, smelling worse at every passing day because those who helped to create it are too proud to admit their own mistakes

  • Larch

    Raven Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 9:03 pm
    #80 NewYorkJ
    The mistake you are making is assuming that there are “˜facts’ available to be uncovered. In climate science there are very facts because the available data has to be processed/adjusted/fixed before it can be analyzed. This turns what is nominally a fact into a judgement call.

    You don’t seem to have any experience working with data.  It always needs some attention, some sets more than others.

  • http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/ Bart Verheggen

    Judith Curry wrote:

    “And all this assumes that the 20th century global temperature record is reliable, which surely should be questioned in view of the lack of transparency of the CRU dataset and questions raised by the emails.”

    CRU’s data handling has not inflated the warming trend, see e.g. here and here. The HadCRU temperature reconstruction agrees with those of other institutes, and also with those currently undertaken by bloggers (some ‘skeptical’; some ‘warmist’), and also with satellite reconstructions. I don’t see any reason why some poorly worded emails would impact on all of this; none of the facts have changed.

    Dave H wrote:
    “We’re at a point where attempting to simplify communication of science and remove confusion provides an excuse for “skeptics” to attack the science,  while taking the opposite tack of explaining and openly admitting uncertainty becomes another excuse to attack the science.”

    Exactly. And that’s why it’s so hard for scientifically minded people to take ‘skeptics’ seriously, even if we would really like to for reasons such as offered by Judith Curry. It’s a catch 22, or pretty much a lose-lose situation.

  • Raving

    #74 Paul Daniel Ash Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    “Inhofe doesn’t just “attack the science”¦ he attacks the scientists. …. He’s framing it as completely corrupt from top to bottom”¦ that even NOAA is a part of this UN black-helicopter gravy train.”

    At least Inhofe has it half right.

    The ‘science’ does a reasonable job of accounting for itself, be that compelling, unconvincing or indeterminate. Either the work is correctly carried out as advertised or else it has not been followed on as implicitly declared. Mistakes and oversights happen.

    The human side of research is a very different reality.

    People have difficulty making impartial or reasoned decisions at the best of times. When  people are preoccupied with formulating the most convincing argument that is achievable, the adherence to fair objectivity and an appropriate chain of reasoning is much harder to preserve. That is how it goes with subjective involvement.

    Attacking the scientist’s impartial objectivity and valid chain of reasoning is both the appropriate and respectful emphasis. Pillorying the scientist for slipping into silly narrow tunnels of subjective exposition is unfair and destructive.

    Attacking for subjective miscue in essential and lacking. You are criticizing an exercise in subjective readjustment.

    Belittling someone for subjective meander is inappropriate because it disparages the inevitable and reveals ignorance as to the process of inquiry.

  • Nathan

    “Judith Curry wrote:
    “And all this assumes that the 20th century global temperature record is reliable, which surely should be questioned in view of the lack of transparency of the CRU dataset and questions raised by the emails.”’

    she seriously wrote that? SERIOUSLY? good grief Judith!
    Go and check James Annan’s blog. He’s mystified why you’d claim a low sensitivity…

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/04/curried-leftovers.html

    I think for someone who is an expert on climate sensitivity, your expertise is being scoffed at.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 84:
    We have a situation where extremists on both sides of the debate personally attack individuals and imply they are all part of a grand conspiracy to undermine the public interest of for profit.

    Look, if you don’t want to address the point, that’s fine. Keith had asked Dr. Curry if it was just one side was guilty of “tribalism” and “alarmism” or if there was equal cause to condemn “the rhetorical excesses and mudslinging by a very vocal subset of the skeptic community.”

    You seem to think the trouble is all on one side, or that any misdeeds on your side is understandable defense against the attacks of the other side. You’re perfectly entitled to your opinion, of course, though if you’re as interested as you claim to be in finding “common ground,” a little introspection might be in order.

    Last word is yours, if you want it.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raving, 106:
    <i>Attacking for subjective miscue in essential and lacking. </i>

    I ran that through Google Translate and got “Attack a large number of subjective out of the shadows and disappeared.” Still can’t quite parse it. again, please?

    Your point seems to be that perfect objectivity is impossible, which is, of course, correct. But how would you go about reaching understanding on an issue, if not at least the attempt to isolate facts from opinions?

    Wouldn’t some sort of structured method be appropriate… perhaps starting from asking questions and proposing answers, then devising experiments to test the validity of those answers? The tests could be done in a way that they could be repeated by others, and so the results could be independently verified. Maybe a method like the one I am describing could be systematized, and used by people all over, so that those interested in understanding a subject could look at a whole range of results.

    What a shame that no system like that exists. I guess it’s all just subjective opinions and preconceived loyalties… like Red Sox vs. Yankees, but with more math. Pity.

  • http://peopleandplace.net/ Howard Silverman

    #9 Hank

    I think your suggestion of a scientists-only blog thread is an important comment about (1) the problem of extension and (2) knowledge management practices.

    From the book Rethinking Expertise, by Harry Collins and Robert Evans: “The Problem of Extension is concerned with how we set boundaries around the legitimate contribution of the general public to the technical part of technical debates.”

    Hank, i read you to say that greater attention to boundaries and legitimacy of contribution would be valuable. Weblogs don’t generally offer these boundaries; anyone can contribute. I also read you to say that in addition to existing knowledge management (KM) practices (like peer review, or the synthesis managed by the IPCC, or conferences), a KM practice that is more candid and transparent would be valuable.

    I agree with both points. But i don’t agree that a weblog is the best KM practice for this function. Others have suggested a wiki. I think the dialogue mapping functionality of the MIT Climate Collaboratorium may be the best Net-based suggestion i’ve seen.
    http://techtv.mit.edu/videos/4171-the-climate-collaboratorium

    For more on the problem of extension:
    http://peopleandplace.net/perspectives/2010/4/19/collins_and_evans_expertise_in_the_age_of_amateurs

  • Raven

    #108 – Paul Daniel Ash

    I answered the question.

    I said both sides have extremists. And they should be ignored until people in the middle can find common ground. When that common ground is found then the moderates can call out extremist on both sides at the same time.

    Playing this game of ‘i am not going to change unless you change first’ is not constructive. 

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 110:
    Playing this game of “˜i am not going to change unless you change first’ is not constructive.

    See, that’s what I thought the question to Dr. Curry was referring to. She’s talking about what – for want of a better term – ‘warmists’ should do, which seemed a “I am not going to change unless you change first” position. What Keith was asking is whether she thought skeptics had a concomitant responsibility.

    Your point/question (“can there be common ground/if so, what?”) is, I think, a very interesting one, but one that is separate from Keith’s question.

  • Raving

    #70 sod Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    “it doesn t take more than a couple of minutes over on wattsup, to discover that Anthony’s blog is mostly making false claims.
    and the vast majority of us have wasted hours, if not days reading that rubbish.”
    The lack peer criticism regarding the pursuit of self interest in the climate change research community is breathtakingly stunning.
    Perhaps the researchers’ confidence is justifiably bolstered by the protracted flooding inrush of prestige?
    Perhaps the researchers have fallen victim to the flattery of their recently acquired importance as the guardians and saviors of humanity?
    Whatever the reason,  peer view of subjective involvement is not seen to taking place. It is a consensus. The science is settled. The danger is real and amply demonstrated today. Only arrogant opportunists who care only about their own self interests would have the audacity to suggest otherwise.
    AGW has become globally supported ‘dogma’.  Anyone who questions it veracity commits heresy and is threatened with being burned at the stake.
    People ain’t stupid. They recognize a rat when the smell one.
    If the climate change science community is unwilling to hold itself accountable to ‘peer review’, it falls upon a rag tag collection of inexpert hacks to rush in and fill the void.
    Why should you expect otherwise?

  • AMac

    Paul David Ash #111 wrote,
    “[Dr. Curry is]  talking about what… “warmists” should do…”

    Perhaps the contest of the question of  “what ‘warmists’ and ‘skeptics’ should do” needs to be explored further.  Much behavior may indeed be “tribal”, but the great majority of the  individuals engaged in this discussion are acting as individuals.  Not as Team Players who are carrying out orders supplied by higher-ups in a hierarchy.

    If the sides’s “Leaders” (Schmidt? McIntyre? Morano? Romm?)  were to agree on a Grand Compromise and issue appropriate marching orders to their respective operatives:  would those dictates be obeyed?

    “Warmist Alarmists:  Henceforth, you are to agree that we have soft-pedaled the large uncertainties attendant to paleoclimate reconstructions and to CO2 forcing estimates.”

    “Denialist Skeptics:  Henceforth, you are to agree that IPCC AR4 makes a compelling case for CAGW, and that immediate mitigation is the only acceptable policy option.”

    Neither realistic nor desirable. 

    Perhaps there are ways to develop incentives that help debaters behave more constructively.  Even that will be difficult, given the different meanings that will be attached to “constructive.”  And given that all sides include people who could be described as free-thinkers, or as anarchists.  They will contravene whatever guidelines the “moderates” agree to, as they see fit.

  • NewYorkJ

    Raven says:

    “What you are missing is the informal “˜peer review’ system that is going on these science focused blogs.  Ideas are presented and argued. The ones that have no merit are dismissed.”

    If only.  Ideas on such sites are generally not dismissed or accepted on merit, which is why they generally remain confined to the blogosphere.

    This site also claims to be interested in finding truth, and would likely claim their process to be superior to the “establishment”.

    http://www.911blogger.com/about

    Incidentally, the above site is on par in popularity with CA.

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/911blogger.com

    And that’s not because they provide reasonable arguments, or because such arguments haven’t been sufficiently addressed.

    It isn’t that hard to publish if one has a robust argument.  There are dozens of reputable journals to choose from.  It’s a lot easier and perhaps more rewarding these days to make provocative assertions on a blog among (as Judith asserts) a 2-million person army of followers (most of whom are “affirmists”) than submitting a more well-thought-out study for academic review.

  • NewYorkJ

    Raving (113),

    You haven’t been to a scientific conferenc I take it.  Scientific debate is quite healthy at such conferences and in academic journals.  You just don’t have scientists arguing over the Earth being flat too often.  A good read…

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

    Regarding “inexperts” filling the void…they are simply meeting the  large demand created by politics and anti-government ideology.  Every scientist could be a saint with infinite patience and the “inexperts filling the void” would still be doing their thing.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    I still hope to hear Dr. Curry comment on what level of ocean pH change she considers reasonable.  That’s not a policy question; it’s a solubility question,  chemistry, the ocean scientists show.

    Keith, Dr. Curry — Howard has some good suggestions there for enabling a conversation that doesn’t get sidetracked.  I hope you’ll pursue this somehow.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/04/27/curry-the-backstory/#comment-3780

  • Raving

    114 AMac Says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 11:22 am
    “Perhaps there are ways to develop incentives that help debaters behave more constructively.”

    The solution is easy …  cut the crap.

    Regrettably the surging sewage influx is external to the participants in the debate.

    For sure, people are passionate and impatience. Their emotions are inflamed by a relentless barrage of dire warning,  demands for crippling imposition, and mocking ridicule for daring to question the veracity of authoritarian pronouncement.

  • Pingback: Curry « Cruel Mistress()

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    Mr New York,
    “So they are saying that there’s a 90% chance that most (> 50%) of the observed warming is due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. ”

    Could you please point out the statistical test employed, to derive this quantitative assessment? (90%, >50%)

    Regards

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    JimR (86): you wrote:
    While I’m sure the extreme skeptics (political types such as Inhofe and Morano) aren’t interested in the type of bridge Judith Curry is attempting to build, simple observation would indicate that a large number in the AGW tribe are actively attempting to blow up that bridge.

    That’s a good observation. Case in point would be Joe Romm’s second post on the exchanges here this week.

    Raven (111): You wrote:
    I said both sides have extremists. And they should be ignored until people in the middle can find common ground. When that common ground is found then the moderates can call out extremist on both sides at the same time.

    I submit you have it backwards. A middle ground would be easier to achieve if both sides started calling out their extremists.

  • Steve Bloom

    “A middle ground would be easier to achieve if both sides started calling out their extremists.”

    You betcha, Keith.  Look at how well that worked in the McCarthy era.  For one side, anyway.

  • AMac

    All decent and smart people with a grasp of the issues think pretty much the way I do.

    The other side is populated by a collection of knaves and fools.

    Or maybe it’s infidels and heretics.

    At any rate, my side welcomes meaningful dialog.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    AMac, 114:

    the great majority of the  individuals engaged in this discussion are acting as individuals.  Not as Team Players who are carrying out orders supplied by higher-ups in a hierarchy.

    True, and entirely trivial, observation. Who has asserted anything to the contrary?

    Dr. Curry’s original letter was about ways to improve communication. These were framed as suggestions to scientists and to the ‘warmist’ community in general. Keith’s question – which I find interesting, and which at the time of my writing this comment remains unanswered as yet by Dr. Curry – is whether similar suggestions to the ‘skeptic’ community are warranted.

    It’s an uncontroversial and seemingly entirely valid question in the context of this broader discussion.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Paul (124):

    I wouldn’t read anything into Judith’s lack of response on this. As many have probably noticed, she hasn’t been part of today’s exchanges. Remember, she does have a day job and plenty other obligations.

    But I promise I will remind her that the question still hangs out there.

  • Raven

    #121 – Keith Kloor

    You creating the ‘who should go first problem’. I am proposing that the middle ground be hashed out by moderates and moderates simultaneously call out the extremists on both sides. That eliminates the who goes first problem.

    The trouble is defining a middle ground and I am not there is one.

  • Raving

    Keith Kloor Says: (121)

    “A middle ground would be easier to achieve if both sides started calling out their extremists.”

    The middle ground is not a big deal. Curry’s statement of opinion amounts to as much. It’s an opinion that I ignorantly assume is indicative of the majority of opinions for researchers in the field. … Being realistic and uncontroversial. … Being grounded in first hand experience doing research.

    What astonishes me is that Curry’s opinion doesn’t seem to be taken that way. She seems to be threatening many people’s sacred cows.

    Speaking  with complete ignorance, I anticipate her being metaphorically burned at the stake for heresy.

    Please call me foolish.

    Please express outrageous indignation and be sure to follow it up with a charity fundraiser  should the unlikely absurdity transpire.

    Maybe she will earn advancement for her candor.  I hope so.

    Last night I accepted my own  death for heresy after hearing my former PhD supervisor vehemently and passionately the defend dogma as being ethical and appropriate for AGW science.

    Frankly, I choose intellectual death rather than be terrorized by that sort of strident stupidity. To hell with it all. I have my pride too.

    Good luck Curry. Here is to hoping that luck has nothing to do with it.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Keith Kloor, 125:

    I wouldn’t read anything into Judith’s lack of response on this.

    No, my wording was inapt: I didn’t mean to imply she was ducking the question, just pointing out it remained open.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Raven (126):

    If it’s obvious what the extreme sides of the debate are, why must the moderates wait to call them on it? I’m not getting your logic.

    In any high-pitched debate, be it over health care reform, stem cell research, abortion, etc, there are always extreme ends of the spectrum. And I don’t hear anybody suggesting that a middle ground should be hashed out before the more extreme sides are called out on their rhetoric.

    Why should this be different for the climate debate? Again, I submit: a middle ground would be reached sooner if moderates asked their respective extreme ends to dial it down. That would also show a good faith effort from both moderate sides–that each is equally interested in a reasoned debate.

  • sod

    That’s a good observation. Case in point would be Joe Romm’s second post on the exchanges here this week.

    we can not be reading the same stuff. Judith curry does NOT build bridges toward climate scientists.  instead she is losing random shots at them.

    on the other hand, she is rolling out a red carpet for denialists. (like the WuWt crowd)

    Romm, like the majority of us, is seriously puzzled by the amount of simply false claims made by Judith Curry. 

    the idea that we haven t read enough of WuWt to judge the site, is simply false. i gave examples of the nonsense posted there above!

    mentioning CATO and CEI in a positive way, while making accusation on the tribalism of consensus scientists is completely bizarre. there is no more tribalism, than in those think tanks.

    what she says, simply doesn t make any sense.

    I submit you have it backwards. A middle ground would be easier to achieve if both sides started calling out their extremists.

    now i am curious, who are the CONSENSUS extremists???
    (you notice that those two words together don t make any sense at all?)

    Joe Romm is not an extremist.  people might not like what he says 8though basically everything of it is true), but his position on climate science is mainstream.
    realclimate are not extremists. there position is cautious and middle ground. Tamino is not an extremsist. he is posting incredibly good statistic looks at FACTs.

    i think that you can find some green extremists, with a “back to nature” theme, basing their climate believes on their local weather last week. but those people are irrelevant to the consensus side in this debate.

    on the other hand, you can t miss the extremists, when you look at the WuWt comment section for more than 5 minutes.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Sod (130): You write

    Joe Romm is not an extremist.  people might not like what he says 8though basically everything of it is true), but his position on climate science is mainstream.

    I think you’re right, that you and I are reading Romm differently.

    For the record, I think Romm has an excellent grasp of climate science. Is the way he engages with people who disagree with him (even those who would define themselves as pro-AGW) conducive to civil, reasoned debate? I’ll let others be the judge.

  • Raven

    #115 NewYorkJ

    Journals are only interested in publishing ‘new ideas’. If someone simply wants to show that an existing paper is garbage then it is tough to cross that hurdle. The journal comment process is too limiting for any meaningful scientific conversation. So it is wrong to say that any valid argument can get published.

    It is not only a problem in climate science: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18773744/How-to-Publish-a-Scientific-Comment-in-1-2-3-Easy-Steps

    In any case, the journal process has its place in terms of ensuring papers meet certain technical writing standards (i.e. proper cites). The only point I am making is you are wrong to claim that they are on the only acceptable ‘noise filter’. I say blogs make a name for themselves just like journals do based on their ability to be a ‘noise filter’.

    As for the hidden debate at academic conferences. I am sure that goes on but the problem is the political pressures placed on scientists to conform to the AGW party line when communicating to the public is a big problem that undermines their credibility because they end up defending stuff that should not be defended (i.e. the MBH papers).

  • Raven

    #131 – Keith Kloor

    Your post answered your own question. Romm is a frothing at the mouth extremist who is no different from Morano who is also able to cleverly (mis)use scientific facts to support his view.

    If you seriously believe that Romm is reasonable then how can you expect any sceptic to ‘call out’ the extremists on ‘their side’.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Raven (133):

    Did you read my comment (131) too fast? You might want to read it again.

  • Raven

    #134 – Keith Kloor

    So does this count as ‘calling out’ sceptic extremists?

    For the record, I think Romm Inhofe has an excellent grasp of climate science. Is the way he engages with people who disagree with him (even those who would define themselves as anti-AGW) conducive to civil, reasoned debate? I’ll let others be the judge.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Raven (135):

    I’m sorry, but I’m really not understanding you. For starters, I didn’t write “Romm Inhofe…”

  • sod

    131 ““ Keith Kloor
    Your post answered your own question. Romm is a frothing at the mouth extremist who is no different from Morano who is also able to cleverly (mis)use scientific facts to support his view.
    If you seriously believe that Romm is reasonable then how can you expect any sceptic to “˜call out’ the extremists on “˜their side’.
    any comparison between Romm and Morano is insane.
    here is a latest headline on climatedepot:
    Scientist: Global Cooling until 2030: ‘If the global mean temp cycle behaves the way it behaved for last 130 years, there will be global cooling until 2030’

    the link, of course, is to the completely false Girma Orsesngo article.
    here is my challenge: find any article that is as misleading as this one (“scientist”, Orssengo is an engineer with a PhD. this article was not posted in a scientific journal, but on WuWt!)
    on the Romm page!
     

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Keith Kloor, 136:

    I think it was <strikethtrough> fail. My guess would be that Raven was calling you to task for being insufficiently critical of Romm, whom he seems to see as Inhofe’s doppelgänger.

    It’s why we need an <irony> tag on the Internets.

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    A useful distinction is made here between “tribal identity” and coherent policy.  I’d say the same distinction can be made between writing that is “affirmations of tribal identity” and writing that is, or discusses, publishable scientific work and honestly investigates the real world.

    Who would choose being a member of a tribe over publishing something new and interesting?

    http://crookedtimber.org/2010/04/25/after-the-dead-horses/
    “… the restatement of talking points in favor of a set of policy positions that represent affirmations of tribal identity, rather than elements of a coherent program. The best way to understand this can be summed in the term “˜agnotology‘ (h/t commenter Fran Barlow), coined by Robert Proctor to describe study of the manufacture of ignorance.”

  • Raven

    #136 – Kieth Kloor

    Sorry – I tried to use the strike thru feature to replace Romm’s name with Inhofe. The point I was making is one could use the same kind of wording to excuse any extremist on the sceptic side. Would that count as the ‘calling out’ that you are looking for?

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    Okay, I don’t want to go around in circles on Romm.  His blog more than speaks for itself. So I’m going to leave it at that and move on. And by move one–I mean literally. Gotta run out for a few hours, so I’ll be offline.

    Here’s something I wouldn’t mind people taking up in the meantime: who are the moderates on both sides that might be able to build those bridges to a more civil debate?

  • Raving

    NewYorkJ Says: (116)

    “You haven’t been to a scientific conferenc I take it.  Scientific debate is quite healthy at such conferences and in academic journals.”

    As far as debate in publishing is concerned, I found the exercie to be moribund, disenchanting and tedious. It was a game of winning sufficient referee approval. Being serious about the activity merely caused problems and made life harder.  I was not happy wasting my life with such bull shit.

    As for open discussion at conferences, there are the conferences that have the pathological debates.

    Typically it amounts to a researcher with holistic sensibilities being mocked and dismissed for talking nonsense. Those sort of people could become closet anti-scientists. Some of those sorts are the ecologists and environmentalists who adopt climate change research with the uncompromising inflexible zeal of dogma, not because it’s ‘science’ but because it provides them with a modicum of credibility that they previously lacked.

    I find this especially unpleasant because I know that to gain a moment of credibility they sold away their worthwhile holistic sensibilities.

    IMO, this climate change debacle is an eceedingly sad affair.

  • http://rhinohide.wordpress.com Ron Broberg

    Raven Says:  April 29th, 2010 at 2:32 pm <em>The trouble is defining a middle ground and I am not there is one.</em>

    1) ΔT = λ * ΔF
    2) ΔF = 5.35 * ln(CO2_new/CO2_0ld) W /m^2

    IMO, middle ground accepts the formulation given in 1) and 2) but is willing to discuss the range and errors in λ and ΔF without invoking fraud, hoaxes, or criminal intent to defend their choices.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    I find ‘Romm Inhofe’ appropriate. The warmist concept of Inhofe sits nicely next to Romm.

  • thingsbreak

    @ 66 Judith Curry writes:
    But the biggest issue that I have with the attribution of 20th century temperature trend is the neglect of the ocean multidecadal oscillations. For example, the recent cooling is being attributed to switching to the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. If that is true, then the warming in the last decades of the 20th century should be partly attributed to the warm phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

    I was unaware that anyone in the field (or anyone outside of the “skeptic” crowd) had been claiming that “the recent cooling is being attributed to switching to the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation”. Could you please provide a citation?

    Thank you.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 133:
    Romm is a frothing at the mouth extremist

    As a genuine question, I’d like to ask you to point to something as “frothy” that Romm has written that’s on a level with Inhofe’s NOAA/UN/Teresa Kerry “froth.”

    I’m not saying he hasn’t said anything that wacky, just that I’m not aware of it if so.

  • Raven

    #137 sod

    There is absolutely nothing scientifically wrong with this statement:

    If the global mean temp cycle behaves the way it behaved for last 130 years, there will be global cooling until 2030″²

    The keyword is *IF* because it makes it clear that the statement depends on an assumption.

  • Raven

    #144 – Paul Daniel Ash

    The trouble is there is an under current of legimate criticism in Inhofe’s comments because there are a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money from carbon control legislation and many scientists (particularily climate modellers) would lose their jobs if CO2 was a non-issue. I can understand why people who believe they are ‘doing the right thing’ get upset at being accused of doing it for the money but the conflict of interest is real.

    The reason for the premable is Romm casts the same aspirsions on people and groups that may have some link to fossil fuel industry. The fact that these people also think that they are ‘doing the right thing’ is irrelevant to Romm. It is the conflict of interest that he uses to discredit what they are saying. IOW – Romm and Inhofe’s arguments are identical.

  • sod

    There is absolutely nothing scientifically wrong with this statement:
    If the global mean temp cycle behaves the way it behaved for last 130 years, there will be global cooling until 2030″²
    The keyword is *IF* because it makes it clear that the statement depends on an assumption.

    you have not understood the article. his predictions is complete rubbish.  he has just fitted two random curves to the the temperature record. he doesn t understand error bars at all ( he thinks that it is good, if the temperature is between the linear and the sine wave.) he has fitted the curves, so that the problematic areas (showing (wrong) disagreement are at the beginning of the last century. fit a different curve, will give you a completely different outcome.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/ William Connolley

    @Judith #27: thank you for that summary. While I’d quibble some details I agree it is a reasonable position to hold.

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/04/curry_part_4.php

  • Raven

    #149 – sod

    A null hypothesis which assumes the future will be like the past is quite reasonable. His curve fitting is a reasonable way to extrapolate the past into the future. Whether it is likely or not is another question. That is why the caveat *IF* is important.

    Your reaction illustrates the problem with climate science. It is too political and people evaluate science based on whether it meets their political objective rather than the merit of science itself.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 148:

    IOW ““ Romm and Inhofe’s arguments are identical.

    Sorry, I guess you misunderstood my question. I had asked for specifics.

    In my comment above, I pointed to a specific quote from Inhofe where he claimed that the entire scientific understanding of climate change was a “hoax” and unequivocally stated that “NOAA and NASA and all these organizations, these people are all tied in to the IPCC. There are a lot of companies, oil companies and all that, who would like to have cap-and-trade. That’s where they can make money”¦ They stand to benefit [from] government grants and private sector grants [from places] like the Heinz Foundation”¦. , that’s John Kerry’s wife “” a lot of very wealthy people.”

    I’m asking what Romm has written that’s at this level.

  • Joseph O’Sullivan

    Judith Curry: “Roger Pielke Jr has tried very hard to smoke me out as a “stealth advocate”

    I saw this firsthand. RPjr attributed a comment of mine on RealClimate praising the Q&A section of the Environmental Defense Fund’s climate change webpage to Judith. Judith denied making the comment, but didn’t say that the EDF was making unreasonable science claims. Judith was clear that she was not commenting on the policies of the EDF or anyone else.

  • Raving

    Keith Kloor Says: (141)
    “who are the moderates on both sides that might be able to build those bridges to a more civil debate?”

    You must be daft.  Nevertheless if it is ‘consensus’ that you would be wanting the answer is easy: Mimic the UN’s style in moderating the AGW debate.

    ——————————–

    I don’t believe that the middle ground is viable.

    The climate change side is the protagonist. It was their prerogative to introduce the topic while justifying their claim. They chose to do so by setting out in a dogmatic, alarmist, relentless,  uncompromising manner.

    The developing world was happy to accept partial token compensation for past inexcusable injustices while simultaneously exempting themselves from the West’s collective  group guilt indulgence love in.

    While the West embarked on a serious orgy of masochistic self mutilation, the developing world cheerfully assisted the West’s insanity by ramping up both the manufacture of durable miscellany and further motivation for Western self-flagellation by heroically amplifying and reversing to gains, those cuts made by the West’s  for the sake of group self-punishment.

    The blossoming successful productivity in light of the West’s irredeemable injustice to poor helpless undeveloped peoples leaves the suicidal West with no choice but to self-mutilate more stridently and injuriously.

    Eventually the ‘in denial’ antagonists enter into the debate. Their opening rebuttal is to declare that the protagonists are full of horse shit!

    Meanwhile quietly, all around the world millions of babies are being born. This is happening much more so in the developing countries. It is also happening especially much more so in the developing, ethical countries who have substantive Catholic adherents.

    Motherhood is sacred. It is forbidden to mention birth control or changing population density. The West is in penitence for it’s inexcusable crimes against NATURE+HUMANITY+GOD

    The West has no alternative but make full amends regardless
    ======================================

    As far as I am concerned this whole debate screams OBSCENITY and STUPIDITY. Let the whole God damn world burn. The sooner the better.  It can’t happen quickly enough.

    You want some plausible effective advice? Here are 2 unusual yet feasible ideas.

    1)  The climate change research community is overstating their case. Proof: Read Prof. Curry’s opinions and assertions.

    Somehow I don’t think that will be sufficient compulsion,so here is so more fodder for thought.

    In complex systems predicted behavior runs unexpected awry for one major reason …

    #1 reason failure of climate change prediction GUARANTEED
    ..It will happen for certain, big time. Such unexpected failure will annoyingly occur unexpectedly and recurrently.

    Major source of failure:  “The situation was misconstrued”

    I suspect that the truth regarding reliable climate change forecast falls into 2 categories.

    A) The situation (data_rules) that is used as the basis for simulation evolves as expected by the simulation. The simulation is repeatedly rerun.A reasonable estimation of the reliability and variability of the outcome is established.

    This type of situation can be relied upon and trusted with some confidence.

    Awkwardly however,it says “everything and nothing” (to paraphrase Boris Behncke of INGV)

    Assuming that the model is ‘well formed’ or ‘appropriately described’ the chances are that the results will fall within the range of expectation.

    2) When the prediction widely digresses from the anticipated   prediction it is  mostly because model is incorrectly described

    We can trust what we do know …
    We have a much much harder time anticipating what we do not expect

    IMO there are way too many unanticipated unknowns in climate change. To claim that future can be reliably anticipated to some ‘band of performance’ is poppycock.

    Demonstrate the future can be anticipated 3 years hence with a handful of repeated successes and I will accept such a gentle demonstration.

    Notice that even if the model is marginally effective and works correctly, immediately out of the gate it takes 3 years BY 5 repetition to validate …That is 15 years for validation alone.

    Remember… not weather prediction … climate change forecast

    Is there collaborating evidence that the current generation of models are poppycock?

    I have no idea. I do know of a tantalizing test case
    Deep ocean current that regulates global climate discovered http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/291208

    Was is major water current anticipated?
    Does this major water current influence the climate?

    If it was not anticipated and is influential, the current model fails to detect and indicate such substantive consequence.

    Alternately the current model might demonstrate it’s appropriateness by indicating that what was discovered was anticipated.

    ============================

    2) Plausible idea with substantive consequence.

    I shall jump to the punch line:

    Use funds from the carbon credit plan to compensate victims of sexual abuse at the hand of the Catholic clergy.

    Perhaps and just maybe  … such a unilateral, unconditional, magnanimous, substantive gesture at this awkward moment in history might be just what it takes for the church to reconsider and perhaps change it’s stance on ‘birth control’.

  • Raven

    #152 Paul Daniel Ash

    I consider any comparison of climate scepticism to 9/11 truthers, flat earther,  creationism or tobacco lobby to be equivalent to Inhofe’s comments (i.e. the poison the debate by demonizing people who disagree).  

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/03/08/global-warming-science-debates-teach-the-controversy/

    climateprogress.org/2010/03/07/naomi-oreskes-book-talk-merchants-of-doubt-how-a-handful-of-scientists-obscure-the-truth-about-climate-change/

  • Raven

    #141 Keith Kloor

    I think it would be useful to start with an aggressive statement of policy neutrality. i.e. something like:

    Climate science has identified CO2 as a serious risk to society but the science does not provide any insights into the best policy response whether it is CO2 emission cuts, adaptation, geoengineering or a combination of the three.

    The decision on what policies to adopt is purely a question of values, economics, politics and technology and no one should claim that the ‘science  dictates’ that their preferred policy is best. The science can tell us no such thing and bringing science into an argument about values and economics brings science into disrepute.

    I say agressive because the existing policy neutral statements are ignored by everyone.

  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    Keith Kloor:

    “Here’s something I wouldn’t mind people taking up in the meantime: who are the moderates on both sides that might be able to build those bridges to a more civil debate?”

    I guess I claim to be a moderate (my obscure blog is even called ModerateClimate). I’m not sure if I can help much, but if it helps to build bridges, I will fully support these two good suggestions:


    143.Ron Broberg:

    1) ΔT = λ * ΔF
    2) ΔF = 5.35 * ln(CO2_new/CO2_0ld) W /m^2

    IMO, middle ground accepts the formulation given in 1) and 2) but is willing to discuss the range and errors in λ and ΔF without invoking fraud, hoaxes, or criminal intent to defend their choices.”

    Raven:
    “I think it would be useful to start with an aggressive statement of policy neutrality. i.e. something like:

    Climate science has identified CO2 as a serious risk to society but the science does not provide any insights into the best policy response whether it is CO2 emission cuts, adaptation, geoengineering or a combination of the three.

    The decision on what policies to adopt is purely a question of values, economics, politics and technology and no one should claim that the ‘science  dictates’ that their preferred policy is best. The science can tell us no such thing and bringing science into an argument about values and economics brings science into disrepute.”

  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    Not sure how many would agree, but I could add to the two suggestions above, Curry’s:

    “I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be [a reasonably accurate but not perfect] assessment of the science.”

    with my modification to ‘accurate’ in brackets.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    Mr Kloor

    We know that Tim Lambert posted here and he apparently had a few tough questions and observations for Dr Curry. We are currently discussing 1) the corruption of the IPCC process 2)how climate scientists can regain ‘lost’ credibility/ building bridges.

    In the context of building bridges between skeptics and the warming please take a look at this remarkable thread at Mr Lambert’s blog, Deltoid

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/04/the_australians_war_on_science_50.php#comments

    Decide for yourself, after reading the whole comments section – whether the right thing happened in the thread. It is unbelievable.

    Regards

  • JimR

    Shub(159), that’s pretty normal for that blog as well as some others. Amazing how the AGW tribe resemble a fanatical religion casting stones at those who they perceive as the enemy. Early on Keith said “Actually, Curry gets heckled just as intensely from the other side, too, right?”. You’d never such such behavior at Climate Audit or The Blackboard. WUWT can get a bit heated but I’ve never seen a feeding frenzy of childish attacks like that. I think it takes a while for a warmist to grasp just how hostile the AGW tribe really is.  The biggest challenge will be to convince them that bridge building is a good thing and not just another target.

  • Dave H

    @ Shub/JimR

    Yes, I find that thread astonishing.

    Someone joined claiming to be hassled by “skeptical” friends and in need of some pointers to the evidence-based foundation of AGW. Initially he was met with helpful attempts to start a discussion, all of which were dismissed as “circumstantial” in arrogant and rude tones, and no attempt at a continued dialogue was made by this person. It was then revealed that he was in fact lying, and had come solely to a) derail the conversation under false pretenses, and b) provide fodder for those such as yourselves who would dishonestly present this behaviour as acceptable, and the responses “a fanatical religion casting stones at those who they perceive as the enemy”.

    I find your spin on this exchange equally disingenuous and dishonest, and if you had any genuine intention of bridge building you would denounce this behaviour.

  • Raving

    Dave H Says: (161)
    April 30th, 2010 at 3:40 am

    …and if you had any genuine intention of bridge building …

    Bridge building huh?

    Yes I have a very important project going on with a certain ‘perceptual’ bridge.

    The whole AGW debate has become insufferably stifled and pancake flat for me.

    Too much ‘Raving’, too little substance, too many unanticipated unknowns.

    Bad news IMO   …  and I’ve already burned myself at the stake for heresy on this “one”.

  • JimR

    Dave H(162), the poster may very well have been trolling, but what is the proper way to treat a troll? Certainly not by giving the troll attention. I don’t accept excusing the behavior in that thread just because the poster may have been a troll. Rational people ignore such activity, zealots pile on insults, and pile on, and pile on, and pile on……

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 155:

    To your assertion you have added two links, to very long articles. I gave you a quote, and thought I had made it pretty clear I was asking you for one.

    A simple ‘no’ will suffice just fine. I’m not insisting, I was just asking.

  • Raven

    #155 – Paul Danial Ash

    I don’t feel like spending a lot of time mining Romm’s site for the ‘perfect quote’. Perhaps such a concise quote does not exist because Romm is pretty long winded and not used to delivering sound bites for the press. It does not change the fact that he regularily accuses people he disagrees with of dishonesty and is a paid up subscriber to the “big oil” conspiracy theory.

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub Niggurath

    Mr Lambert just deleted a whole set of blog posts all of which were civil in discussion tone and content. What is the point of discussing all this openness and nonsense when censorship is practised brazenly, out in the open?

    Commenter James Haughton had some funny remarks as well – he was trying to take down what I said, but the post was funny. All gone.

    Tim Lambert has the cheek to claim that he practices his censorship for the benefit of the censored!

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 165:

    I don’t feel like spending a lot of time

    That’s fine, you don’t have to, I was just asking. I find discussing specifics more interesting than trading assertions, that’s all.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid Tim Lambert

    Not only “for the benefit”, but at his request. Please do not cause further trouble for the guy.

  • NewYorkJ

    Raven says:

    “Journals are only interested in publishing “˜new ideas’.”

    If that was true, contrarians would have no problem publishing.

    “If someone simply wants to show that an existing paper is garbage then it is tough to cross that hurdle.  The journal comment process is too limiting for any meaningful scientific conversation. So it is wrong to say that any valid argument can get published.”

    If you limit yourself to one or two journals, then criticizing the process surrounding comments on studies might be valid.  James Annan has made individual critiques along these lines.  He’s also published comments on studies, and does not engage in sweeping generalizations.

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2010/03/mclean-debunked-at-last.html

    Contrarians all too often interpret rejection of their submissions in conspiratorial terms.  I find this to be childish.

    “It is not only a problem in climate science: http://www.scribd.com/doc/18773744/How-to-Publish-a-Scientific-Comment-in-1-2-3-Easy-Steps
    In any case, the journal process has its place in terms of ensuring papers meet certain technical writing standards (i.e. proper cites). The only point I am making is you are wrong to claim that they are on the only acceptable “˜noise filter’. I say blogs make a name for themselves just like journals do based on their ability to be a “˜noise filter’. ”
    On the contrary, many blogs make a name for themselves by generating noise.  WUWT is a fine example.

    “As for the hidden debate at academic conferences. I am sure that goes on but the problem is the political pressures placed on scientists to conform to the AGW party line when communicating to the public is a big problem that undermines their credibility because they end up defending stuff that should not be defended (i.e. the MBH papers).”

    MBH’s works have been subsequently validated with independent studies, but of course anyone validating them get automatically sweeped up into the “team/cabal” by political hacks.  Debate at conferences isn’t hidden.  The press just doesn’t choose to cover it.  Heartland Institute garbage gets more press coverage than the regular AGU meetings.  There is a strong public demand for “skepticisim” and a media machine willing to meet it.

  • Raven

    #169 – NewYorkJ

    Read the Hockey Stick Illusion. The MBH papers are junk and all of the subsequent works are nothing but exercises in recycling the same junk proxies. The fact that so many scientists continue to insist that they have any merit what so ever simply confirms that the community cannot be trusted to provide honest and reliable scientific opinions.

     

  • John Mashey

    RE: #50 re: CATO & CEI

    Some facts, all from PDF attached to:
    http://www.desmogblog.com/crescendo-climategate-cacophony 
    It has all the references to the original data sources,  bu I’ve never seen it summarized this way.

    Table A.6.1 (a) of he $5.8M of known fioundation  funding for CEI:
    Scaife Carthage, SSF, Scaife Famikly) is #1 (about $2.6M)
    Koch brothers (Charlses Koch, Charles Lambe, David Koch is #2, about $770K).
    ExxonMobil (not counted in the $5.8M) kicked in somewhere between $1.7M and $2M, depending on the period used.

    On the next page, Table A.6.1.(b), CATO funding is shown.
    More than half is from the Kochs.
    Charles Koch was a CATO cofounder, and is still on the board.

    Kochs = Koch Industries, big oil&gas co, 2nd largest private company in USA.

    Both CEI & CATO have long associations with cigarette companies, and show up often as helpers in the Tobacco Archives: search
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/

    For organizations long-experienced in helping tobacco companies stay in business (which essentially requires getting children addicted, usually age 12-18, else addiction doesn’t stick so well), confusing people about climate is child’s play, and poses no further ethical concerns whatsoever.
    CATO gave us t Steve Milloy, of TASSC fame (both cigarettes and climate anti-science).  CATO gives us an big advertisement in major newspapers:
    http://www.cato.org/special/climatechange/alternate_version.html

    These folks are very, very good marketeers and lobbyists.  One tactic learned from the cigarette wars was to get scientists as spokespeople, perhaps by giving a sympathetic ear to someone with (perhaps) a legitimate argument in the hopes of leveraging them.  But surely, given their track record, CATO and CEI are only seeking scientific truth. :-) 

  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    The fact John states above is one that people find very hard to believe — if they think the tobacco companies only market to adults.  The summary:

    ” for the most part, people who do not start using tobacco when they are teens never start using it. The younger you are when you begin to smoke, the more likely you are to be an adult smoker. Almost 90% of adults who are regular smokers started at or before the age 19″
    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/ped/content/ped_10_2x_child_and_teen_tobacco_use.asp
    There’s a window of vulnerability to addiction.
    Marketing gold, that kind of knowledge.

  • John Mashey

    But Hank, how can you believe what the American Cancer Society says?  Far better is to see what tobacco companies said internally  like:
    “The importance of younger adults” , ~1984.
    http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/eyn18c00/pdf

    Their idea of “younger adults” is 18-24 … BUT they say:
    “Less than one-third of smokers (31%) start after age 18 .
    “¢ Only 5% of smokers start after age 24 .”

    Thus,  69% started at 18 or before, but that was around 1984.   The 90% number is newer, possibly higher because people know more and are less likely to start as adults, making it even more important to catch them early. They still make money.  That’s probably why the Carthage+Sarah Scaife Foundations have more money in obvious tobacco stocks ($29.3M) versus obvious oil stocks ($28.4M).  It was amusing to see they have 8X+ more money in ExxonMobil than Chevron, despite Scaife having inherited a lot of (Gulf Oil …Chevron) stock.

    Tobacco marketeers&lobbyists are the best.

    Many thinktanks have US flags or Eagles on their webpages, and of the 14 of the 17 thinktanks in CCC’s Figure A.6.1(a)have tobacco connections of one sort or another.  I guess getting kids addicted to tobacco is patriotic?  MAybe if its other people’s kids?  At least, Joseph Bast of Heartland is a long-time smoker himself, although I hear Fred Singer is not.  But, Fred has done his bit for cigarettes, via Alexis de Tocquevile.  All for freedom of choice and good science, or something,  certainly ahs nothign do with funding.

  • Paul Daniel Ash

    Raven, 170:

    The MBH papers are junk

    Nice counterargument.

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  • Raven

    #174 – Paul Daniel Ash

    Sorry I don’t feel like going through the endless loop of explaining why the various arguments used to defend the papers are wrong. Bishop Hill’s book covers them well for anyone who is interested in learning them.

    But there is one simple one that should make sense to everyone who has passed high school: getting right answer using the wrong method gets you zero marks. The “defense” that MBH has credibility because “other studies” got the same answer is not an acceptable response from people who are supposed to be professional scientists. If the results cannot be supported by the analysis in the paper then the paper should be withdrawn. In fact, that is exactly what was done with the recent SLR rise paper and should have been done with MBH.

  • mikep

    This thread is supposed to be about bridge building and whether it is possible or worthwhile.  Some of the contributions seem to me to just illustrate teh problems of trying to talk.  So let me describe my own experience instead.  I’m an economist.  until about seven years ago I would have said I accepted most of what I was told about global warming, though I took it on trust and with a slight pinch of salt.  I am old enough to remember the Limits to Growth scare, which was comprehensively demolished by economists in the early 1970s. At the same time I was sympathetic to the idea, having worked in government,  that there are a lot of myths that can be believed by serious people (this is especially true in economics) and that a professional has a duty to  to try and distinguish the solid stuff. the crazy stuff and the speculative, interesting but still very debatable stuff.  That meant that the first time ~I came across Real Climate the mission statement seemed to me to be right.

    There were two controversies that got me into looking at climate science in more depth.  The first was an economist’s spat related to how the scenarios for WG3 were done, involving David Henderson and Ian Castles. I judged that Henderson and Castles were largely, but not completely, right.  What surprised me, however, was the shrillness of the debate and the obvious wrongness of some of the criticisms of them.  This was an area I felt I could properly judge, not something where I was a layman. So I got a bit suspicious.

    Then there was the hockey stick debate.  Although this was about climate the techniques used were statistical and again something I knew a bit about.  This was how I found my was to Climate Audit and Real Climate.  I was fairly rapidly convinced that McIntyre and Mckitrick were largely right in their criticisms, and nothing I have seen since has given me any reason to change my mind. In itself this is a small incident.  But what I found very surprising was the failure of people to accept that the MBH articles were deeply flawed.  The evidence that they were was laid out very clearly.  What I found particularly damning was the incorrect description of the actual procedure MBH had followed – the statement that they were using PCA when they were not, and the failure to mention the various different steps needed to use proxies that did not start till after the supposed beginning of the reconstruction.  Moreover the tone of the debate was again very shrill.  People did not try and establish what the points at issue were but raised all kinds of wild accusations.  It was at this point that I began to feel that Real Climate was not living up to its mission, but was trying to represent legitimate criticism of speculative but interesting work as if it were crazy stuff on a par with creation science. So I began to wonder if teh rest of teh case for AGW was similalry flimsy.  And that’s how I became a lukewarmer .

    Thre may be hope for me yet.  I like to think I am capable of repenting if the error of my ways can be demonstrated to me.  But that it not going to happen by people shouting louder and more shrilly, making schoolboy debating points or telling me that all sceptics are evil tools of big oil.  The sites that I currently find add something to the debate are Climate Audit (though there has not been much technical work of late), Jeff Id’s Air Vent, Bart’s view on Climate Science and Lucia. There you can get civilised and reasoned debate (though you still get a fair amount of noise).  So I think Judith is absolutely right. I will listen to what she has to say on the substance as well as the norms of procedure.  In contrast I find Gavin difficult.  His knowledge of statistics – witness his failure to distinguish between autocorrelation in the dependent variable of an equation and in the residuals -seems weak and his comments are often offensive.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis
  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    Michael,

    Your link would have a lot more credibility if it did not start with several paragraphs of name calling.

    The name-calling that bothers me the most is the practice of calling everyone that disagrees with Mann and Jones ‘anti-Science’. How did Mann and Jones get to be considered so infallible that disagreeing with them is anti-science?

  • http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/ Scott A Mandia

    Steve, nowhere in that blog post do I state that disagreeing with Mann or Jones makes one anti-science. 

    An excerpt:

    These highly respected scientists were accused of hiding data, fudging data, avoiding requests for information, and purposefully blocking peer-reviewed journals from IPCC reviewers.  Furthermore, the “big guns” of the climate change denialosphere such as Marc Morano of Climate Depot, Anthony Watts of WattsUpWithThat, and conservative “think tanks” such as Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Competitive Enterprise Institute, among others, attempted to spin these emails as somehow proving that there was a massive international conspiracy to promote global warming.

    Those in bold are NOT in the business of trying to show the science of climate change.  Those people used Jones and Mann to try to take down the whole of climate science.  How is this “everyone”?  Who is generalizing here, Steve?

  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    Scott,

    Your very first sentence: “Around November 19, 2009, stolen emails and computer code from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were uploaded to a publicly accessible Russian Web server.  Very soon afterward, the stolen emails were announced to the world by the anti-science blogosphere.”

    While I guess you can claim that you did not mean to include the first blogs to “˜announce to the world’ like The Air Vent, Lucia’s Blackboard, and Climate Audit, as anti-science, that was my interpretation (and probably most people’s).

  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    Also, while I won’t defend the quality of all the posts at WUWT (and certainly not all the comments), I do not see it as being “˜anti-science’. It may not be very balanced, but neither is RC.

    So what in your opinion makes WUWT anti-science?

  • http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/ Scott A Mandia

    Steve, you are correct.  I did not mean to include The Air Vent, Lucia’s Blackboard, and Climate Audit.  If one stopped at my first paragraph, then my real meaning would be lost.  To show you that I can be a good sport, I will remove the sentence “Very soon afterward, the stolen emails were announced to the world by the anti-science blogosphere.” to avoid confusion.

    It may not be very balanced, but neither is RC.  We have a serious disagreement on this one.

    So what in your opinion makes WUWT anti-science?  Almost everything.

  • http://moderateclimate.blogspot.com/ Steve Reynolds

    In the spirit of building bridges, another question:

    Exactly what do you mean by ‘anti-science’? From the point of view of someone trying to view the world scientifically, this seems to me one of the worst possible insults.

  • http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/ Scott A Mandia

    Steve, I think we are straying from the point of my blog post which showed that Web and media attention was far greater for the accusations than for the exonerations.

    Anti-science is when the scientific method is not practiced but political or personal “spin” is.  Anti-science is when data is cherry-picked.  Anti-science is not admitting when one is incorrect.  I could go on but these are the most important traits to me anyway.  The people and organizations I mentioned above deserve that title with regard to climate science.

  • Steven Mosher

    William Connolley Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    There are actual 4 Key elements:

    The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.[1]
    “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities“, in particular emissions of thegreenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[2]
    If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100. Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise of 9 cm to 88 cm, excluding “uncertainty relating to ice dynamical changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet”. On balance the impacts of global warming will be significantly negative, especially for larger values of warming.[3]

    What’s number 4?  you know. You cant criticize others in the tribe

  • Steve Reynolds

    Scott,

    The items you list, while reprehensible, are not what I envision when I hear “˜anti-science’. They seem more orthogonal to science. To be anti-science, in my opinion, someone would have to advocate against using the scientific method, advocate cherry-picking of data, or advocate refusing to admit errors.

    Not to get into a long discussion on this sub-point, but Michael Mann has been accused of cherry-picking and refusing to admit error (seemingly proven in use of the Tijander data). Does this (if proven) make him anti-science?

  • http://www.skepticalscience.com Steven Sullivan

    Raven, this thread, April 29:
    “The trouble is defining a middle ground and I am not there is one.”

    If there is a middle ground, you sure as hell ain’t it.

    Raven,  this thread, April 30 :
    “FWIW ““ I think the VA Attorney General is way out of line and nothing good will come of it. I also think that Mann is a fraud and a liar but he needs to be dealt with by his peers within the scientific institutions.”

  • Raving

    (166) Shub Niggurath Says:
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:42 pm
    Deltoid is a blog which seems to have  an awkward and unnecessary need to defend and overcome an Australian insecurity concerning it’s perfectly good intellectual ability.

    Results 1 – 10 of about 14,800 for “intellectual insecurity”
    Results 1 – 10 of about 2,220 for australian “intellectual insecurity”

  • Raving

    Hey there …

    Here are some great luminaries of climate change science.

    I am so unworthy that I am not even fit to hold a candle to their baby toenails. Hence forth I take my leave. I am a heretic. I shall burn in Hell.

    http://www.niep.ca/
    http://www.niuniversity.org/

  • http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/ William Connolley

    WTF is SM on about in 186? It purports to be a quote from me, but isn’t.

  • http://collide-a-scape.com Keith Kloor

    I don’t know, but if he’s checking in, he can tell us, I suppose.

  • Raving

    Unlike those great saviors of humanity:  Hansell, Ganguly, Gore, Pachauri, amongst others   …

    I cannot wait for the day that I disappear into oblivion

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  • http://hankroberts.wordpress.com Hank Roberts

    Oh, Mosher’s ‘William Connolley says’ means ‘Connolley says what’s in the link’ that he provides.

    The rest of Mosher’s post after that link is apparently Mosher’s attempt to argue with what William posted, or with Wikipedia.

    In other news, paging Dr. Curry, please pick up the green courtesy line:
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/05/11/how-to-be-a-climate-auditor-part-1-pretty%C2%A0pictures/

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  • trevormarr

    I agree, Mann, Gore, Hansen, Cook, Suzuki should all be up on Fraud Charges!

  • Mike Bromley

    Kudos to Dr. Curry for upholding the sanctity of pure science in all of this. Not the “science” so often garbage-quoted in the alarmist sphere, but the science that takes the researcher where the data points. In other words, away from politics.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is an archived Discover blog. Keep up with Keith's current work at http://www.keithkloor.com/

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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