Why Scientists Can't Tell Their Stories

By Keith Kloor | March 4, 2011 1:52 pm

Randy Olson, in response to this post, offers an unstinting and thought-provoking commentary on science communication. Olson is a marine biologist turned filmmaker. One of his movies is called Flock of Dodos, which might best characterize his view of  the science community–with respect to their overall communication skills. 

Although critical of scientists, Olson also offers some constructive suggestions below. Have a read and let’s discuss.

*******

Interesting discussion here.  Lots of good points.  I like Tom Fuller’s plea for simplicity “” which is exactly what’s needed for broad communication.  And by the way, all of my essays, comments and my book are directed at trying to reach the general public, not the hard core aficionado crowd you get on serious climate blogs “” it’s two different modes of communication. I also love Jonathan Gilligan’s Dirty Harry idea “” as a simple PSA it would be better than the vast majority of the dull offerings of the NGOs in their efforts “” the sort of Russian Roulette we’re playing with the planet, which is another variation on the loading the dice metaphor that is often used.

As for Michael Tobis, I don’t think you quite get my comment about scientists being “mumblers.”  That’s what they are, in essence, when it comes to broad communication.  They are the guy at the party over in the corner mumbling the truth as the loudmouthed fools in the middle blabber on and on about topics they know nothing about but have read of on blogs.  Specifically there is no excuse for me to hear Bill Maher last September say that Climategate revealed scientists “fudging” their data when 5 investigations had already shown nothing of the sort.  The problem occurred because all the science world had managed to do with the 5 investigations was mumble about them (meaning tout them on blogs that few people read).   I wrote about it at the time here

The science world has never had a need to engage in large scale public relations, but that’s because the world has never been like it is today.  This is not your father’s science world.  This is not just the world of Twitter, it is also the world of magazine articles written last fall by journalists (Andrew David H. Freedman in the Atlantic, Jonah Lehrer in the New Yorker, you can Google them both) who have nothing against the science world, but are pointing out there are major psychological flaws in the brains of all humans, including scientists, that lead to high levels of false positives and other significant sources of noise.

All of which means the time has come to take a deeper interest in understanding these basic dynamics of storytelling that we are all burdened with.  And that is the key point of my essay on uncertainty.  Your audience is defective to begin with “” we are ALL defective.  That’s what the two articles point out.  People don’t respond to “just the facts” in the way you wish they did.  But there are ways to deal with this that do not involve dishonesty or distortion.  One of which is making certain the public is aware of how much certainty you have provided them in the past.

Last month I published this editorial in The Solutions Journal.

One of my suggestions/complaints/observations is why in the world isn’t the climate science community taking credit for the amazing amount of benefits they have brought our society through an understanding of El Nino.  Twelve years ago in California the term was a blank slate.  Today it is part of the way of life.  That is a huge amount of certainty climate science has provided.  That certainty builds public trust, but only if the public is made to realize who is responsible for it.

It’s called positive public relations.  Corporations understand this dynamic.  But the science world simply does not.  And I’m now telling you this from down in the trenches.  The public health and medical science worlds have connected with my book and the basic message of “Don’t be such a scientist,” and are reaching out to me now for lots of workshops with doctors, epidemiologists and medical researchers.  They understand this need to be accountable and connect with the general public.

But the climate crowd is still back in this philosophy of, “the truth is plenty scary enough.”  Just spouting the facts no longer works.  There has to be an understanding of how NOISY our society has become, and what needs to be done to deal with it.  It’s not impossible, but it requires an acceptance that the world has changed.  And that’s a hard thing for a lot of the older generation of scientists.  I know.  I’m talking directly to these old guys.  They don’t appreciate my message.  But they are on a sinking ship.  Something needs to be done.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: science, science communication
  • Tom Fuller

    Waitaminnit! Public relations and story telling have nothing to do with each other. They really do not.

    Please do not make this mistake, as it is exactly the best efforts of skilled public relations experts that have caused this mess to begin with.

    Public relations is an attempt to establish or deepen a cordial relationship between an organisation and a group of undifferentiated individuals.

    Telling a story is constructing a narrative with enough context to make the reader/listener/viewer understand why someone is telling the story, enough of a plot to make you want to find out what happens, and a central idea that you can make the audience care about.

    There is no relationship between the two. A lot of frustrated story-tellers go into PR. They are promptly deprogrammed of any story telling abilities they might once have possessed.

    The consensus position on climate change doesn’t need more PR experts. It desperately needs story tellers.

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

    Tom,

    I don’t want to speak for Randy, but I think you’re conflating two separate ideas. His point (I think) is that some of those coulda-been stories he mentions (such as climate science and El Nino) would have conferred positive PR on climate science.

    But your last point is absolutely true about climate change needing more story-tellers, if it is to break through the “noise” of society.

  • NewYorkJ

    They are the guy at the party over in the corner mumbling the truth as the loudmouthed fools in the middle blabber on and on about topics they know nothing about but have read of on blogs.

    I read this right after reading a comment made by thug Anthony Watts that Romm highlighted.

    “Please add your voice of support to shout them down in the comments section.”

    Reminds me of those tea party rallies.

    On to the main topic, there seems to be a misunderstanding of what scientists are supposed to be doing.   Some seem to think they need to become like those loudmouthed blowhards or are supposed to be in the business of raising funds to improve their communication system, or “play hardball” as Randy Olson puts it.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, one of the central problems I see over the past 6 years is the almost frantic efforts of PR types in large environmental organisations to capture the news cycle with poorly thought out themes based only loosely on actual science.

    Sadly, they often succeeded, which set off blog wars that are still being fought today.

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

    Tom (4):

    That’s a bit of a generalization, wouldn’t you say? The problem with most PR in science and environment orgs is that’s it’s geared to some latest finding or discovery. But that’s because of the need for a news peg, something new.

    That’s why long-form journalism is so important–to me, anyway. You get thematic narratives with in-depth reporting.

    But in the twitter/blog/facebook age, I fear people are devoting (even) less attention to long-form magazine articles (and their is a shrinking space for them, as well). But that is a lament for another day and another thread…

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    “thug”?
    [Don't be cryptic and snarky. It's insufferable. Make a comment with some substance or don't bother.//KK] 

  • StuartR

    I have to say I didn’t know Mr Olsen at all before I followed the links in this item. From what I see I would say Mr Olsen seems to be holding an almost “Noble savage” ideal about what scientist represent to him.
    The poor things – scientists- “mumbling truth” to themselves at the nibbles table during gala luncheons all alone and ignored, if only we could enable them somehow?  ;)

  • harrywr2

    <i>but it requires an acceptance that the world has changed</i>

    The older I get the more I realize just how false my youthful belief that the world had somehow changed dramatically from the time of my parents.

    When I was young and naive and Jimmy Carter was preseident I voluntarily trotted off to the middle east to secure oil for the empire.

    We told ourselves that we were buying time and various groups were sprouting off about the new utopian energy future of solar panels and windmills.

    Two of my children, being as young and foolish as I was at that age followed in my foot steps 25 years later.

    Now instead of blathering about how we were going to save humanity from gawd awful wars for oil by putting up solar panels and windmills we spout off about how we are going save polar bears from drowning by putting up solar panels and windmills.

    The US has an aricraft carrier battle group parked off the coast of Libya.

    How much away are we today from ‘gawd awful wars for oil’ then we were 30 years ago?

    Nothing has changed, each generation has a group of Utopian dreamers that insists that only Utopian solutions be used to solve the worlds problems, then we end up between a rock and a hard place and the worst possible solution(war) ends up being the solution of choice.

    There is nothing wrong be desiring a better world, in the real world, which is filled with less then perfect people, ‘perfection’ is the enemy of the good.

  • steven mosher

    I love complications, but I have to agree with my friend Tom. Simplicity wins the day. Also, staying on message. One unfortunate incident was the day skeptics were labelled as merchants of doubt. marketing 101 tells you if your characterize your opponent as someone selling doubt, you must sell certainty. But science has no certainty to sell.

    If you want to characterize skeptics, they are merchants of confusion. science sells clarity and understanding. not certainty. What does the science clearly explain.

    1. the science is clear that more tyndal gases in the atmosphere lead to a warmer planet. We engineer working products based on this science. It is clear and understandable. It works.

    2. The climate has varied and changed over the history of the planet, adding more GHGs to the system will generally make the cold years warmer and the warm years warmer still.

    3. The science is clear that man has been adding GHGs to the atmosphere and that this will impact our changing climate.

    4. For over one hundred years scientists have been refining our understanding of how much warming GHGs will cause. There is no credible case for anything less than 1.2C warming for every doubling of C02 and our best science indicates it could be as high as 6C per doubling. Refining these estimates is central to our planning for the future.

    I’d at least start with that.
    FWIW

     

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    KK
    You are a strange journalist/person.

    Do you read the comments your audience makes?

    NewYork J called Anthony Watts a thug above. It doesn’t bother you?

    You do deserve to be surrounded by such people and their ‘contributions’.

  • http://jaycurrie.info-syn.com Jay Currie

    “One of my suggestions/complaints/observations is why in the world isn’t the climate science community taking credit for the amazing amount of benefits they have brought our society through an understanding of El Nino.  Twelve years ago in California the term was a blank slate.  Today it is part of the way of life.  That is a huge amount of certainty climate science has provided.  That certainty builds public trust, but only if the public is made to realize who is responsible for it.”
    Absolutely right. But the key thing about understanding the oscillations and cycles in climate is that the data and methods were disclosed and intelligible. Moreover, climate scientists were modest in their claims to know what “caused” El Nino events and modest as to their claims as to being able to predict the magnitude of any given event.
    This transparency and modesty has meant that the climate science surrounding El Nino is trusted in ways which the CO2 conjectures are not. And, of course, when Climategate confirmed many of the suspicions surrounding some very prominent climate scientists and institutions that trust was eroded even further.
    The long march back to trust is made all the more difficult when people like Trenbleth make anti-scientific proposals such as reversing the null hypothesis or the people at Real Climate keep thinking the best form of defence is attack. (And losing Romm altogether would be a huge plus.)
    Optimistically, the work Judy Curry is doing over at her blog is making it possible for the more rational warmists to explore the sceptical position without the sheer nastiness which characterizes places like RC. That exploration is important as it begins to rebuild trust.
    Equally important is Judy’s recognition of uncertainty. Pretending that there is no uncertainty is an error because the facts of the matter will out. And when the uncertainty is exposed people who pretended it was not there loose the trust of people who were relying on them to tell the whole truth.

  • NewYorkJ

    Shub,

    What would you think of someone who commands his followers to show up somewhere and “shout down” (direct quote) others he disagrees with?  Spare us.

  • NewYorkJ

    Optimistically, the work Judy Curry is doing over at her blog is making it possible for the more rational warmists to explore the sceptical position without the sheer nastiness which characterizes places like RC.

    Really?

    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/denial-chum-curry-style/#more-848

    I don’t think a blog that spends so much time disparaging climate scientists while building various fallacious arguments is very useful.

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

    Well, actually, I read right past the thug reference in comment #3. And that reinforces my point: if you’re going to refer to something, cite the comment or person and context.

    Personally, Shub, your rigid, ideological position on climate issues is such that I wouldn’t lose any sleep if you decided to retreat to the comfy corners of your own private echo chamber. 

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    NewYork
    Your reason/s for what you think of Watts. are yours. In the meantime, as a reader, I have to bear with the language you inflict upon me.

    I can, and will find other ways of dealing with the problem of comments such as the one above. Feel free to spew more of your bile. I am sure the learned audience will appreciate the very fine and piercing insights you offer with your points of hate.
     

  • http://nigguraths.wordpress.com Shub

    KK
    We cross posted.

    I am not ‘rigid’ because I have no position or ideology. I never argue with my ‘ideology’ in tow.

    Don’t worry. You won’t catch me here henceforth. (deja vu)

  • NewYorkJ

    Shub,

    I didn’t ask you what you think of Watts specifically, since I suspect your general support for his views and contributions to his site might prevent you from taking an objective view.  I asked you:

    What would you think of someone who commands his followers to show up somewhere and “shout down” (direct quote) others he disagrees with?

    something you don’t seem to be able to answer.

    I frankly find the Watts quote to be revealing, in line with the characterization here of some non-scientists as

    “loudmouthed fools in the middle blabber on and on about topics they know nothing about but have read of on blogs”

    It seems that among some circles of ideologues, just getting many non-experts riled up and shouting loudly with various unsupported blabber trumps nuanced and careful analysis.

    Small correction:  the direct Watts quote is “shout them down”.

  • Stu

    Rise above, NYJ… Rise above…

  • Tom Fuller

    NewYorkJ, I think you are hugely mistaken about Judith Curry’s site and her efforts. But then, I also think you’re mistaken about Watts, so feel free to ignore…

  • JimR

    I still think Judith Curry has some of the more interesting blog posts around today. And from the number of comments she is attracting a lot of interest. There is still quite a bit of nastiness in the comments which are almost unreadable with trolls and shewonks. It is quite brave of her to be critical of climate scientists and since she was familiar with the blog world she had to know all these attacks would come.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “It seems that among some circles of ideologues, just getting many non-experts riled up and shouting loudly with various unsupported blabber trumps nuanced and careful analysis.”


    http://www.campaigncc.org/node/384
     

    “Sceptic alerts

    Are you fed up with sceptics and pseudo-scientists dominating blogs and news articles with their denialist propaganda? Well, fight back! We are trying to create an online army of online volunteers to try and tip the balance back in the favour of scientific fact, not scientific fiction.”

  • JD Ohio

    I am surprised that Olson repeats the myth that there were 5 investigations.  Everyone who has looked at the “investigations” to any degree knows that there were 5 whitewashes.  For instance, Muir Russell (hired by CRU) did not even ask Phil Jones whether he deleted emails.  See http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/jul/07/climategate-scientists   See also http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/2/28/welcome-back-my-friends.html  Additionally, for instance the Michael Mann whitewash did not even question people who had issues with his work and procedures.  Each whitewash provides strong evidence that the team and their supporters are afraid of what a thorough investigation will show.  For overview of the whitewashes see http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/tech-mainmenu-30/environment/5650-were-the-qclimategateq-inquiries-whitewashed

    JD

  • NewYorkJ

    Sounds scary, Simon:

    “We need you to politely explain in the comments section why global warming is actually happening and why it’s not a big conspiracy.”

    to which the skeptic response is:
    Anthony Watts: “Please add your voice of support to shout them down in the comments section.”

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Here you are, selective quoting again, NYJ. Interesting how very carefully you quote. This is the context:
    “Update: James Taylor’s post on Forbes supports our position. A number of alarmists have been organized to team up on the comment section to defend the undefensible. Please add your voice of support to shout them down in the comments section.”


    Sounds fair to me. I think people who defend the indefensible should always be shouted down. For the same reason people who “hide the decline”, or ignore lawful FOI requests, or conspire to subvert peer review, or delete emails to conceal their IPCC transgressions and indeed any such similar examples of anti-scientific pseudo-science should always be called out, while their defenders, like you, for example, who defend utterly indefensible pseudo-science, should always be shouted down. I have no sympathy.

  • NewYorkJ

    I think people who defend the indefensible should always be shouted down.

    It’s good to know that preachers Simon and Anthony define what is “indefensible”.  It precludes the need to think rationally and critically, which Watts followers appear to have a difficult time doing.

    A fanatic might define “defending the indefensible” as the act of someone else putting forth arguments one doesn’t like and doesn’t want to believe.  Did you know Obama is lying about his citizenship?

    “Judge Robertson pooh-poohed the lawsuit, initiated by former Sen. Hillary Clinton’s political ally, Philip Berg (a former Deputy Attorney General in the State of Pennsylvania), implying that this issue had been resolved by “Twittering and blogging” and invoking “conspiracy theorists.” Perhaps this Judge is not mindful that because of the modern-day phenomenon of fraudulent e-mails, a small bevy of organizations that offer “fact-checking” services have cropped up on the Internet in an attempt to thwart rumors and propaganda before they spread far and wide ““ and that some of those Internet sites purporting to be King Solomons of “truth or fiction” have also become partisan tools for defending the indefensible– i.e. Mr. Obama’s hiding of any and all records which would prove the legitimacy of his right to occupy the nation’s highest office. These deceptive websites have therefore become co-conspirators in disseminating shoddy research and/or disinformation aired by Obama’s campaign and camp followers.”

    http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.2762,css.print/pub_detail.asp

    Claims (based on very selective reporting) made by a political hack from the Heartland Institute were challenged successfully by what only looks to be a small handful of commenters.  Poor Watts couldn’t handle it.

    http://blogs.forbes.com/jamestaylor/2011/03/02/global-warming-alarmists-flip-flop-on-snowfall/

  • Randy Olson

    Love the phrase from Jay Currie, “The long march back to trust.”  Very apt.

  • anon

    Randy,

    I believe there is a very simple story, a very small part of this whole megillah, and yet a very telling portion that could shed light if someone were to tell the story.

    Andrew Revkin, Keith Kloor, no “serious journalist” seems to want to touch it.

    And yet, it probably wouldn’t take any individual more than a day to suss out the story and give a clear, yes this is true, no this is false judgment on it.  Very little uncertainty.

    And the story is this: Watts/McIntyre/Mosher/… all seem to agree that all of the investigations were whitewashes.  They give very detailed reasons for this, and they link to all the pdfs anyone could wish for.

    Randy, why don’t you take a couple of days and tread where Keith Kloor won’t?

    Investigate the claims about the investigations.  Do they clear the climategate scientists and the science?  Or are they the whitewashes that McIntyre et. al., claim?

    Q: Miss Vito, it has been argued by me, the defense, that two sets of guys met up at the Sack O’ Suds at the same time, driving identical metallic mint green 1964 Buick Skylark convertibles. Now, can you tell us, by looking at the picture, if the Defense’s case holds water? (pause) Miss Vito, please answer the question. Does the Defense’s case hold water?

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “It’s good to know that preachers Simon and Anthony define what is “indefensible”.  It precludes the need to think rationally and critically, which Watts followers appear to have a difficult time doing.”

    I challenge your defence of pseudo-science because it’s indefensible. You can’t legitimise pseudo-science, no matter how hard you try, because you can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s ear. You can build your logically fallacious arguments as high as you want, NYJ, but you’ll never succeed in making me a birfer, a Republican or even an American, and you’ll never make defending the indefensible.. defensible.

  • Stu

    Climate scientists are always telling simple stories, mostly about their adversaries unfortunately… Whether it’s Kevin Trenberth, lumping all critics in with the ‘deniers’ or Michael Mann or Kerry Emanuel railing against ‘industry funded disinformation websites’ and the like. I guess that kind of thing works on some people, otherwise they probably wouldn’t do it.

    I guess I will invoke Henry Louis Mencken but appropriate slightly…

    “For every complex problem there is a story which is simple, neat and wrong”.

    Modern society, 21st C society- I don’t think is going to accept simple stories as the basis for its understandings. Simple stories are things offered by religions and ideologues, with the purpose of collapsing the complexity of reality down to very simple ideas which are then used in order to manipulate people. Modern minds are rightful to be suspicious of such stories. We’ve had a lot of experience with these things.


     

  • http://www.realclimategate.org Barry Woods

    Sceptic Alerts above… (CampaignAgainst Climate Change)

    Two MPs (one green) and a Green MEP, Mark Lynas (advicicng the Maldive about zero carbon, as the build new airports)  George Monbiot Guardian, (he has TWO deniars Halls of Shame) and George Marshall  are behind that one…

  • Stu

    I just realise I missed Anon’s post at 27, which relates to a case of simple stories vs more comples ones. I’m glad he bought this up-
    A simple story is that there were a number of investigations into climategate and they all cleared the scientists involved of any wrongdoing. Randy seems to have settled himself with this more simple story. This is a story which is true enough as told… yes there were a number of investigations and no they didn’t find much.

    A more complex story relates to the effectiveness of these investigations in getting to the bottom of things. Did they ask the hard questions? Did they interview those on the other side of the climategate divide, those people who featured prominently in the emails, in order to get their side of things? This is a story which very few people, journalists included- seem to be interested in. Again- it’s a case of simplicity vs complexity, with simplicity giving us the comforting picture that all was above board. The moral of this story becomes ‘there is nothing to see here’. The more complex story requires more work, however, and it’s moral perhaps hasn’t been fully elucidated as of yet. As Anon points out- both Tom Fuller and Steven Mosher have spent a considerable amount of time dealing with and thinking about these complexities. Would they agree with Randy’s simple version of the climategate story, as true as it is on the surface?

  • Zorro

    Anon + stu,
    If Kloor, Revkin etal were to investigate the pink elephant in the room then they could not claim there is no pink elephant in the room.
    Journalism at its finest.
    Zorro
     

  • Tom Scharf

    With all the talk about uncertainty (real), maybe the best story to tell is what you plan on doing about it.

    There is an unwarranted focus IMO on how to get perceived brain damaged people to accept your version of reality. Occam’s razor would say the public has heard and understands your message, and rejected it.

    Of all the numerous blog entires around the web on climate, i don’t recall reading one that talks about what climate science see’s as the biggest challenges and how, and when they will solve them.

    If we are spending all the money on modeling instead of measuring, that would be a step in the wrong direction.

    It is very unlikely I will be convinced that the climate science predictions are sound today, so what I am interested in is what are you doing that might convince me tomorrow?

  • NewYorkJ

    you’ll never succeed in making me a birfer, a Republican or even an American

    Those who support armies of fanatics shouting down others they disagree with are not limited to one form of conspiracy nut.  Fanaticism is not confined to a political party and it has no borders. 

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, I’ll pitch in, Stu.
    Climategate was a story that evolved over a year-long period of time. At various times it was about various things. Was it about the science, was it about the leak, was it about the people, was it about the politics?

    To summarize what we found (and I’m not claiming we found everything):
    1. The core issue of Climategate (in retrospect–we didn’t know this going in) was a small group of scientists who acted unethically and in at least one instance illegally to promote their own interests and protect a theoretical line of inquiry that formed a large part of their career studies. In other words, the sort of common, garden variety scandal that you can find in politics, business, any place where money and power meet.

    2. We saw no evidence of scientific fraud. No indication at all that anybody falsified data or lied about science. I was a ‘lukewarmer’ on climate science going into the book and I was a lukewarmer coming out.

    3. We saw plenty of evidence that some of these scientists went far beyond the bounds of normal advocacy for a theoretical position. They really did some ‘bad’ things. The did lean on editors. They did ‘hide the decline’ (and it was a really, really ‘bad thing’ for them to do). They worked the system and gamed the refs to advantage their line of work and disadvantage those who disagreed with them. Grubby, wrong stuff. But when they realised that their efforts were going to come to light and how it would make them look, they did the one criminal act–after receiving notification that they would get FOI’d on their correspondence, Jones asked others to delete emails.

    4. The line of thought they were protecting has real weaknesses. The Chinese stations in Jones et al 1990 were moved and don’t have a good history. His estimates of UHI bias in the record were almost certainly wrong and he himself had to bump them up significantly in a later study. Dendrochronology probably isn’t ready for prime time for historic temperature records. As several of The Hockey Team frankly admitted in the leaked emails, there almost certainly was a MWP that was quite probably warmer than today.

    5. The investigations were carefully set up so as to not find anything disturbing. They did not investigate the science. They did not ask Jones about the deleting of emails. Don’t get me wrong–they did the one thing the institutions commissioning them wanted to do, which was find out if there was prima facie evidence of scientific fraud that threatened the theoretical construct of climate change. The rest was an old boys’ network taking care of its own.

    6. As soon as it became clear that the basics of climate change were not at risk, the institutional media players lost interest in the story as well. Grubby and sleazy behaviour by some nerdy scientists just doesn’t stay on the front page.

    Randy? Your take?
     

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

    Tom Fuller’s story is, of course, fictional.  For example, he claims that some of scientists targeted in his smear campaign admitted that the MWP was warmer than today.  That’s not true.

  • NewYorkJ

    Detailed interpretations aren’t necessarily more accurate than more simple ones.  Moon landing or 9/11 conspiracy nuts have elaborate stories for how the government faked the moon landing or conspired to bring down the twin towers, and there were not “proper” investigations into the matter that asked the right people.  Their detailed documents “proved” that.

    Fuller/McIntyre/etc. have elaborate and heavily-biased “ClimateGate” narratives.  When examined, there’s lots of fluff and little substance.  Investigations are designed to critically examine the claims made, and that’s what they revealed.

    In some sense, detailed narratives are used to prop up a simplistic and weak position.  Fuller’s co-written a book trying to convince (mainly the choir) that “hide the decline” meant something nefarious, or that CRU scientists “gamed the refs” or what not. 

  • NewYorkJ


    Tom Fuller’s story is, of course, fictional.  For example, he claims that some of scientists targeted in his smear campaign admitted that the MWP was warmer than today.  That’s not true.
    Tom made this dubious claim on a recent thread too.  It was refuted.
    Funny how he keeps repeating it, even enhancing it a bit.

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/02/24/a-climate-claim-in-tatters/#comment-48083

    See also post 100.

  • Tom Fuller

    Sigh.
     

    Email: Keith Briffa to Michael Mann, Jones and others, Sep 22, 1999, (Subject: “IPCC Revisions” [http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=136&filename=938018124.txt])

    I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago“
     

    Email: Raymond Bradley to Frank Oldfield, Jul 10, 2000, (Subject: “IPCC Revisions” “ [http://www.eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=172&filename=963233839.txt]).

    Whether we have the 1000 year trend right is far less certain (& one reason why I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been
    “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!).“

  • Tom Fuller

    Think there are some still trying to protect a false version of history. Links following as they are tied up in moderation.

    Email: Keith Briffa to Michael Mann, Jones and others, Sep 22, 1999, (Subject: “IPCC Revisions”

    “I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago”


    Email: Raymond Bradley to Frank Oldfield, Jul 10, 2000, (Subject: “IPCC Revisions” “

    “Whether we have the 1000 year trend right is far less certain (& one reason why I hedge my bets on whether there were any periods in Medieval times that might have been
    “warm”, to the irritation of my co-authors!).”

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

    Neither of those emails supports your claim, Tom.  Saying that the MWP matched the warmth of the 90s is not the same thing as saying that it was warmer than current temperatures (which are warmer than the 90s).

  • Tom Fuller

    Yeah, who are we going to believe, Briffa or Briffa as interpreted by Lambert?

  • NewYorkJ

    Who do you think you’re fooling at this point, Tom?

    Briffa (2003 email):  On present evidence , even with such uncertainties I would still come out favouring the “likely unprecedented recent warmth” opinion

    grypo said it best: “So you had the wrong email, the wrong wording, different proxies. ”

  • Stu

    NYJ- you seem to have a very difficult time staying with the details of the topic being discussed. Although you may have a point about moon landings and 911 conspiracies, Obama’s birth records and other things, here we’re talking about something else. Maybe I should ask you flat out. Did you read Andrew Montford’s report into the various climategate investigations? If yes which parts did you agree with or disagree with? Are you able to refute the main points of the report?

  • http://gryposaurus.wordpress.com/ grypo

    The larger portion of that email says:

    “For the record, I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data. I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.”

    Also at the beginning of the email, you can see what Briffa is comparing:

    1.   “What is true is that these particular tree-ring data best represent SUMMER temperatures mostly at the northern boreal forest regions. By virtue of this , they also definately share significant variance with Northern Hemisphere land and land and marine ANNUAL temperatures – but at decadal and multidecadal timescales – simply by virtue of the fact that these series correlated with the former at these timescales.”

    2.  The multi proxy series (Mann et al . Jones et al) supposedly represent annual and summer seasons respectively, and both contain large proportions of tree-ring input.


    Even if this were direct comparisons of the same tree ring proxy, there is a difference between the words ‘warmer’ –  which has ‘-er’, a comparing suffix meaning ‘more that the other’ – and ‘matched’ which means ‘equal to’.

    Even if the wording were correct and the comparison was apples to apples, Briffa, a few years later, said “On present evidence , even with such uncertainties I would still come out favouring the ‘likely unprecedented recent warmth’ opinion

    So I fail to see how the conclusion:
    “As several of The Hockey Team frankly admitted in the leaked emails, there almost certainly was a MWP that was quite probably warmer than today.”
    :is accurate.

  • NewYorkJ

    Now note Tom’s narrative:

    As several of The Hockey Team frankly admitted in the leaked emails, there almost certainly was a MWP that was quite probably warmer than today.

    Stu,

    ClimateGate/Montford stuff has been dissected/debunked ad naseum.  We are discussing one interesting distortion here.  If you have anything useful to add, feel free.  However, the topic of this thread isn’t about hacked emails and the politically-motivated dubious interpretation of them, so if Keith wants to steer us back, that’s fine with me. 

  • http://rustneversleeps.wordpress.com rustneversleeps
  • Stu

    It’s best if we stick within the climate science realm. I just thought it useful to pick up on the idea that the investigations were thorough enough to absolve all wrongdoing, which to me came across as a simplistic reading. You can point me to a link where the specific points raised in Andrew’s report have been debunked as that may help me to see where Randy and others are coming from.



     

  • Stu

    The topic here is referred “specifically” to the climategate investigations, btw.

  • Michael Larkin

    Good grief. “Stories”.

    Stories can be straightforward and accurate reportage, biased innuendo, outright lies, or anything in between.

    They can be allegory or myth – fabrications in a literal sense, but underlying that, indicative of great truths (or, perhaps, lies).

    What is the truth about AGW? I’ve looked as long and hard as I can and don’t know. I strongly suspect no one does. Those who feel certitude on either side spout volubly from soapboxes and spare themselves no efforts in sniping.

    Whatever, I’m not interested in, nor can I be swayed by, stories that appear to me to be anything else other than accurate reportage. Sometimes I have to reconstruct what seems likely to be accurate through reading a number of accounts, often conflicting, of the same topic. This is often not possible, however, so that I have to shrug my shoulders and place the issue in the voluminous folder labelled “moot”.

    This explicit talk of stories (or, sometimes, “narratives”) by those on the consensus side in and of itself causes me to lean towards scepticism, and sometimes, cynicism. Just the mention of them in relation to what is supposed to a scientific issue makes me wonder what the heck kind of animal we are dealing with.

    Of course, we’ve always to some extent woven narratives about current scientific understandings, and often enough those have turned out to be incorrect or just naïve and simplistic. But where else than in reference to AGW is there open and explicit airing of such notions? In the context of how to get the public to accept a proposition?

    “The public”. Ah yes, a collective noun, as if the public were a monolithic beast with one or at most a few varieties of thought modes. But actually, each person is his or her own universe, with many and complex reasons for holding the views they do, and for evaluating incoming information, be that in the form of stories or anything else. And quite a lot of them, I suspect, feel patronised when the righteous convinced attempt to vomit forth little stories, in the hope they will be accepted, and in frustration at the thought the audience may be too stupid or perverse or selfish to swallow them whole.

    Well, maybe it’s the fact that “stories” are on the table at all that scuppers the whole enterprise. Maybe the so-called consensualists have created the opposition they deserve by the very ways they have chosen to act ““ being too often dismissive, insulting, patronising, closed-minded. That awakens the same characteristics in many of their intended audience, who have become every bit as obstinate as they are. There is no way to win these kinds of vitriolic argument. The idea of “winning” is part of the problem, and completely counterproductive.

    In due course, we will know for sure whether or not AGW actually exists as a serious threat. In the meantime, we may or may not act/not act as some would like. We can tell all the stories we want, but nothing will change that.
     

  • http://jaycurrie.info-syn.com Jay Currie

    Lambert and his acolytes seem intent on winning minor skirmishes at the cost of losing the war.

    Here’s a hint: the more quickly the Team and its supporters
    a) acknowledge the medieval warm period, b) dump Mannian paleo proxies, c) abandon the defence of the behavior of the Team as revealed by the Climategate emails, d) accept that the “investigations” simply failed to actually investigate very much, the more quickly the Team and its supporters can begin to rebuild the trust they have so completely lost.

    It is not going to be easy especially with the Earth entering a period of prolonged cooling unpredicted in the models; but a bit of humility, some contrition and a willingness to acknowledge just how much we do not know at this point would smooth the way.

  • Michael Larkin

    Jay Currie (#51).

    For it to work would require the consensualists to admit to the possibility of error. I agree, doing so might do a lot to make the issue more rational and less emotive. It isn’t impossible, I suppose, but my bet is that this is one step they will never willingly take, and in failing to do so, they will continue to increase the opposition they face.

  • Tom Fuller

    Actually, it’s clear that I mildly overstated what Briffa and Bradley actually said, and I am sorry. However, given that the previous set of priors from the consensus side was that the MWP never happened, the disparity between that and declaring in emails that the current warming was matched or close to it is actually quite something.

    What Mann did with the temps of the past 1,000 years is perhaps best described by Tom Wigley in another email:
     

    Tom Wigley: I have just read the M&M stuff critcizing MBH. A lot of it seems valid to me. At the very least MBH is a very sloppy piece of work — an opinion I have held for some time.
    (Later…) A word of warning. I would be careful about using other, independent paleoclimatology “¦ work as supporting your work. I am attaching my version of a comparison of the bulk of these other results. Although these all show the “•hockey stickshape, the differences between them prior to 1850 make me very nervous. If I were on the greenhouse deniers’ side, I would be inclined to focus on the wide range of paleoclimatology results and the differences between them as an argument for dismissing them all.

     

  • http://gryposaurus.wordpress.com/ grypo

    And the Tom Wigley email continues on…

    “I attach also a run with MAGICC using central-estimate climate model parameters (DT2x = 2.6 degC, etc. — see the TAR), and forcings used by Caspar in the runs with paleo-CSM. I have another Figure somewhere that compares MAGICC with paleo-CSM. The agreement is nearly perfect (given that CSM has internally generated noise while MAGICC is pure signal). The support for the hockey stick is not just the paleo reconstructions, but also the model results. If one takes the best estimates of past forcing off the shelf, then the model results show the hockey stick shape. No tuning or fudging here; this is a totally independent analysis, and critics of the paleo data, if they disbelieve these data, have to explain why models get the same result.
    Of course, von Storch’s model results do not show such good century timescale agreement, but this is because he uses silly forcing and has failed to account for the fact that his model was not in equilibrium at the start of the run (the subject of Tim Osborn et al.’s submitted paper).
    This is a pain in the but, but it will all work out well in the end (unintentional pun

    sorry). Good science will prevail.
    Best wishes,
    Tom.”

    One can only hope it will through the bull.

  • Tom Fuller

    But grypo, Wigley’s statement is pretty clear that MBH is weak at best. Using models for reinforcement does not impress me as a backup. I don’t believe Mann’s data. I don’t think models overcome my disbelief.
    I do agree with his assessment of MBH.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    How to presume what needs to be proven in one sentence:

    > For it to work would require the consensualists to admit to the possibility of error.

    So the consensualists never admit an error.  Not even that, the consensualists do not admit the possibility that they could err.  One has then to presume that the consensualists are holding inerrancy.

    Science has become infallible.
    And so the science is corrupt.
    QED, with a single assumption.

  • http://gryposaurus.wordpress.com/ grypo

    So have you gone from saying the emails “several of The Hockey Team frankly admitted in the leaked emails, there almost certainly was a MWP that was quite probably warmer than today”



    to



    saying that 1 scientist thought that the first MBH was ‘sloppy’?  This isn’t unearthing anything new or interesting.  Or are you just pointing out that there is disagreement on methodology or certainty amongst scientists?   Where are you moving the goal posts to now?  Why is that at all important?  The big picture is still the same.  No one in the emails disagrees with the main ideas of the paleo-reconstructions because of the several lines of evidence that have emerged over time.

  • Tom Fuller

    No. I am saying that five years of consensus talk in the media saying there was no Medieval Warming Period was not believed by The Hockey Team, who said that temperatures 1,000 years ago were as warm as the Current Warming Period.
    And they said that because they thought Mann’s work was weak. Or, as Ed Cook wrote, “I have growing doubts about the validity and use of error estimates that are being applied to reconstructions.”
    It’s not me that’s shifting–it’s what the Hockey Team believed that was different from what the consensus holders were telling the media and the public.
     

  • intrepid_wanders

    Keith, you didn’t happen to get the “flu-shot” this year ;)

    I am surprised at all the crap you gave Mr. Fuller over the year (blog year period starting May-10) back in the Gavin-AMac-Judith days, and now I a hearing crickets…

    What Tom is discussing now is very journalistic (An published, if that may mean anything).  Tom asked earlier for Randy’s opinion, but crickets…  So, you have a red phone to Andrew and Jonathan or  Robert of Grist, but not Randy.  Curious… but, *expected*…

  • NewYorkJ

    However, given that the previous set of priors from the consensus side was that the MWP never happened

    Huh? 

    From MBH:

    “The late 11th, late 12th, and late
    14th centuries rival mean 20th century temperature levels
    (see Figure 3a). Our reconstruction thus supports the no-
    tion of relatively warm hemispheric conditions earlier in the
    millennium, while cooling following the 14th century could
    be viewed as the initial onset of the Little Ice Age sensu
    lato. Considerable spatial variability is evident however [see
    Hughes and Diaz, 1994] and, as in in Lamb’s [1965] origi-
    nal concept of a Medieval Warm Epoch, there are episodes
    of cooler as well as warmer conditions punctuating this pe-
    riod.”

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/mann_99.html

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Fuller thought Lamb 1965 was and is the definitive view of hemispheric mean temperature over the millenium.  Contrarians seem to approach the issue by assuming a MWP was as warm or warmer than recent years (practically religious doctrine), and any peer-reviewed study (i.e. all of them to date) that indicates otherwise are deceptively “erasing the MWP”.  Meanwhile, the average of the last decade was about 0.2 C warmer than the 1990′s average, a focus of MBH.  The hockey stick isn’t going away.

  • Tom Fuller

    Gee New York J, if I wanted to know something about what you believed, instead of idle speculation I would, you know, ask you. Fortunately, I am not at all curious about you, so I don’t have to. You are most definitely who you are.

    And as I said, I’m not disputing the current warming. It’s the shaft we’re talking about, not the blade. Is the Current Warming Period unprecedented or not? I think not.

  • Howard

    I love it.  A post on communication and the comments devolve into morons talking past one another.

    I disagree with a number of  Mr. Olsen’s points:

    1)  El Nino.  Us regular folks in Cali have been very aware of El Nino long before the 1998 event.  1982 was very heavy and El Nino was all the buzz then (AFAIR, it rained every day in Santa Barbara during February 1982, which means that common knowledge predates 1982.
    Therefore, pumping up the AGW science benefits related to El Nino will ring hollow like most of the propaganda shoveled.

    2)  We live in unique times that requires the careful soft corporate PR that appeals to hormonal responses to convince people the end is nigh unless we follow the Pied Piper.
    Bollocks.  Mass communication has been around for 200 years.  It has always been difficult to shove apocalyptic theories down the throats of the masses.

    If the CAGW crowd can boil down the topic to a common sense explanation that is targeted to a 8th grade college prep science class level, then people will buy it.

    Unfortunately, since the science is uncertain up the ying-yang, this is not possible…

    Hence, the blaming of the press and calls for PR approaches.

  • http://gryposaurus.wordpress.com/ grypo

    “who said that temperatures 1,000 years ago were as warm as the Current Warming Period.”


    As I’ve I showed you repeatedly, Briffa said

    “these particular tree-ring data best represent SUMMER temperatures mostly at the northern boreal forest regions. By virtue of this , they also definately share significant variance with Northern Hemisphere land and land and marine ANNUAL temperatures ”

    and then , right before the piece you continue to quote, he said:

    “I do believe that the proxy data do show unusually warm conditions in recent decades. I am not sure that this unusual warming is so clear in the summer responsive data.”


    We also know he agreed with the main points of the consensus.  We also know that Wigley agreed with the main points of the consensus.  So what you are doing is using email snippets to show, in your words, “the Hockey Team believed that was different from what the consensus holders were telling the media and the public.”  Yet all you have is one scientist saying an initial study was sloppy, one scientist made an unlike comparison about summer temperatures of tree rings (Briffa) to multi-proxy reconstructions (Mann, Jones), and another expressing some doubts about error estimates (which was in a conversation about working out uncertainty).  Somehow this amounts to something about ‘consensus holders’ and media relations?  You can live in whatever universe you want, and wish whatever, I really don’t care.

    Moving forward, perhaps, it is useful for everyone to understand that all the scientists in question agreed with the basic points about the temperature reconstructions with different ideas, at different times, about different issues, in regards to uncertainty and methodology. This is very easy to find within literature and the IPCC and there is no need to find boogeymen in the emails for these very basic facts.

  • Randy Olson

    Sorry I missed this discussion today, but I saw where comment #27 asked me if I would spend a few days analyzing the quality and outcomes of the Climategate investigations.  I’m not qualified to do that.  The Climategate story has raged at two levels — in the public arena and in the much more detail-oriented blogosphere.  I’m only qualified to comment on the former.  The analysis of the investigations needs to be by someone who is on top of the blogosphere discussions.

    But the one thing I’ll say is that the story was over before it really started.  There was clearly nothing but scraps in the emails — no real bombshells.  When the closest to a smoking gun you can find is the term statistical “trick” and “hide the decline,” there clearly ain’t much to work with.  Not that it stopped them from effectively creating the perception of wrongdoing.

    Has anyone ever compared Climategate to the opening of Al Capone’s vault?  They’re kinda the same story.  In both cases nothing was found, but the instigators generated a lot of attention, and in today’s “attention economy,” that’s the equivalent of gold.  Geraldo Rivera’s TV show on Capone’s vault was at the time the highest rated television special ever, even though they found nothing.  Same for Climategate.  They essentially found nothing, but generated massive attention for the climate skeptic movement and showed they have a much, much better understanding of today’s mass media than the poor old science community.  Unfortunately perception is reality in today’s world, and they scored big in the perception game.  Which is why I both admire and despise the people behind it.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, Mr. Olsen, I think you’re mistaken. But without getting into it, I guess you’ll never know why.

  • Sashka

    I believe in you profession one is better off with good memory. You have conveniently forgotten about re-defining the peer review process and the call to erase the compromising emails. It’s not a huge deal for the science but it proves (for some people at least) that certain scientists are what they were suspected to be. That’s not nothing. If you don’t understand it you haven’t learned anything and you (collectively) will continue losing the PR wars.

  • JD Ohio

    #64  Olson

    You are not qualified to do much if you don’t recognize that an “investigation” (Muir Russell) that doesn’t even ask Phil Jones whether he deleted emails was a sham.  Just pathetic.

    JD

  • Tom Fuller

    One way of gauging the importance of the story is by watching the ferocity with which the consensus position is defended wrt Climategate. If you stand on a street corner and whisper Climategate, some warmist will show up in 30 seconds to tell you that the denialisters are getting paid to attack the team.

  • anon

    Randy @64, if you follow the links from I think McIntyre/Mosher/Fuller/Watts re each investigation, you will see that he takes them apart, providing links to original documentation, and that it would really take no more than a high school level of understanding to understand his claims and the documents.

    Verifying his claims would then be a small matter of journalism that any documentary filmmaker should be able to master.

    As I said, the beauty of the claims regarding the investigation whitewashes are that they are simple claims and easy to verify.  Easy to verify. Easy to verify.

    There have been something like 5 investigations.  The claims are that each and every one is pretty much bogus.  What’s so nice about that claim is that it means you can spend an afternoon on any one of the five and you can quickly determine if that one claim that that one investigation was bogus is accurate.

    If it is not, that would make a very nice post along with your detailed response as a scientist and documentary filmmaker as to why it is a bogus claim and then you’re done.  One afternoon gone.

    If it is, continue to the next claim.

    Now the warmists all tell me that any student/doc candidate/post doc/professor who can prove global warming false will be immediately a highly sought after individual.  And similarly, so would a scientist/filmmaker who will state/agree/show the investigations were worthless.

    That is why I am really stunned that Keith Kloor hasn’t dug into them.

    I can see why Dr. Curry might not feel it’s in her comfort zone, but it really should be a trivial task for you, and that’s not patronization, that’s me having read a few of these debunkings and finding them highly credible and relatively easy to verify.

  • http://jaycurrie.info-syn.com Jay Currie

    Randy, you are certainly qualified. And, better still, on the skeptic side, virtually all the blogposts are still available. So are the response to the FOI requests to the various “investigations”. So is a good deal of the testimony before those investigations. Give yourself about a weekend and you will have dug down deep enough to realize that not one of the “investigations” did any serious investigating. Which is, frankly, the simple test as to whether they were whitewashes or real. (Here’s a hint – did any of them demand a mirror disk of the CRU server to take a look at all the emails? Serious investigators would have done that from the go.)
    Now, in the public arena: well, while Copenhagen was pretty much doomed from the outset the doubt created by the Climategate scandal pretty much sealed its fate. Then there is the Met Office temp do over which would not have happened without the Climategate revelations of bizarre data incompetence. And, of course, the numerous calls for the publication of data and code as papers were published.
    More publicly, climate scientists, as you noted, were mocked on Stewart and Mahler.  Mainstream media fell away from the CAGW narrative. Fred Pearce, at the Guardian, wrote a whole critical book about the fiasco. Goerge Monbiot fell off the wagon and has been largely silent on CAGW ever since.
    Skeptics have had the running pretty much ever since: windmills are now bird dicers, solar is mocked, electric cars are hooted at on “Top Gear”. Nuclear continues to become the favoured alternative because, well, it actually works. Al Gore is a figure of fun and James Hansen is simply an over the top quasi criminal decrying “death trains” to quickly shrinking audience.

    There is push back everywhere – dumbos (with PhDs) announce snow is caused by warming and the NOAA craps on them from great height, genius ideas to explain the last few winters like “colder is the new warming” are rightly laughed out of the park.
    The public arena has turned away from the hysteria and nonsense predictions of six foot sea rise and 6 degree temp increases. Worse, more and more people are actually looking at the data and, alerted by Phil Jones, are noticing that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995. Which means, frankly, that the models which never predicted a warming “plateau” are quickly being consigned to the scrapheap of history.
    Randy, the public can become hysterical for a while but, over time, the public is capable of discerning the hype from the real deal. At the moment, climate science is at the Lady Gaga stage of hype. About twenty minutes away from obscurity. And every move the poor guys make brings their eclipse ever closer.
     

  • NewYorkJ

    Tom: Gee New York J, if I wanted to know something about what you believed, instead of idle speculation I would, you know, ask you.  Fortunately, I am not at all curious about you, so I don’t have to. 

    Your efforts would be better directed towards asking questions to the scientists you’re in the business of selectively quoting, distorting, and speculating on.  Listening to what others have to say is much better than creating a story and fitting the facts around it.  Maybe actually spend a weekend reading and understanding MBH and a few more weekends reading the advancement in paleo work since then.  Attending a few real scientific conferences couldn’t hurt.  It might help clear up some misconceptions digested from whatever unreliable sources from which you get ideas like “given that the previous set of priors from the consensus side was that the MWP never happened”.  Of course, doing so might not be as fun as fantasizing and writing politically-oriented fiction, a realm in which you have plenty of competition.

  • TimG

    Randy Olson,

    You, like so many other “consensus defenders” entirely miss the point of Climategate when you go on and on about how there was ‘evidence of fraud’. 

    Climategate matters because it shows that leading climate scientists are partisans intent on pushing a particular narrative and cannot be trusted to provide an unbiased assessment of the evidence.

    Note my choice of words: “unbiased”. There are many things which are biased but not fraudulant yet they are deceptive because of the bias. That is the problem with climate science and that is what the emails show.

    The fact that the scientific instituations refuse to even acknowledge the bias issue illustrates how wide spread it is and why it is really naive to take climate scientists at their word. We must assume that no matter what they say there is something they are not telling us because it does not fit into their desired narrative.

  • Stu

    It was really a very clear window cutting through the fog of really strange behaviour by the Team in regards to their (non) interactions with the public’s request for information. This is another point missed actually… all of this talk about how to reach the public, this is all seemingly just talk. The example of Steve Mc, David Holland and others, plainly showed that climate scientists were not in any way interested in engaging with intelligent members of the public in discussion of these issues. If you’re not up for communicating with the most intelligent and engaged section of the public, then you’re obviously not ready to deal with everyone else, as well. This is the problem of climategate that many of those on the ‘consensus side’ (how I hate these labels) repeatedly fail to grasp. That the ‘public’, atleast the engaged section of it, has taken on the example of Steve M and others as a lesson in how climate scientists feel about and deal with the public. This then becomes- if climate scientists are not willing to listen to and engage with the public, then why the hell should the public listen to climate scientists?
     

  • Lazar

    ” There has to be an understanding of how NOISY our society has become”

    And on cue, the thread is overtaken by a series of incorrect claims that cite no evidence.

  • JD Ohio

    #74  “And on cue, the thread is overtaken by a series of incorrect claims that cite no evidence.”
    Just like your comment.
    JD

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

    All,
    Don’t mistake my lake of engagement in this thread for lack of interest. I put up the post Friday afternoon. Most of the discussion has played out over the weekend, time that I devote to spending with my two kids.

    I’m following along, and approving comments that get stuck in moderation (because of extra links). While the thread has deviated from the thrust of Randy’s featured commentary, it has given me fodder for a post I’ve been thinking about for some time. Perhaps I can get that up tomorrow.

  • Lazar

    “like your comment”
    Then let’s call this ‘JD’s paradox’.

  • Matt B

    The major impact of the Climategate E-Mails, easy to forget, is that these E-Mails solidly backed up the “story” of the skeptically denying tobacco loving big oil funded crowd.

    Pre-Climategate, there were many stories about suspected hanky-panky at the journals (you can get as many references as you want from M&M) and the IPCC (Chris Landsea’s resignation stands out). These were all dismissed by the mainstream climate community as the whining of losers pushing a Neanderthal agenda. The Climategate E-Mails almost uniformly confirmed the anti-establishment viewpoint, NOT on the science but on how dissenting views in climate debate were treated, and raised huge doubts about the objectivity of the consensus.

    Now, the complaint of the climate consensus community is that their crowd of old scientists are mumblers that don’t understand public relations and storytelling? Their position is that they are losing the battle of ideas is because they’re up against PR juggernauts like Steve McIntyre? It is not only the objectivity of the consensus that is questionable, it is their rationality as well.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “[..] if I would spend a few days analyzing the quality and outcomes of the Climategate investigations.  I’m not qualified to do that. The Climategate story has raged at two levels “” in the public arena and in the much more detail-oriented blogosphere.”

    “But the one thing I’ll say is that the story was over before it really started.  There was clearly nothing but scraps in the emails “” no real bombshells.  When the closest to a smoking gun you can find is the term statistical “trick” and “hide the decline,” there clearly ain’t much to work with.  Not that it stopped them from effectively creating the perception of wrongdoing.”

    Ahh. Yes, I see the problem. Despite claiming to be unqualified to read anything on the subject in detail and formulate a perspective on the nuances and implications, you nevertheless feel qualified to make bold statements about the DETAIL of the subject, including asserting that there is essentially no substance to Climategate.

    That, sir, is a helluva thing.

    I think this is one of the best fully-formed Arguments From Ignorance I’ve seen since “it MUST be CO2 causing the warming because we can’t think of anything ELSE it might be”, or “God MUST have made the universe, because who else could have done it?”

  • Stu

    “”God MUST have made the universe, because who else could have done it?”

    http://img190.imageshack.us/f/40535747.jpg/

  • Lewis Deane

    As I eat my dinner and drink my beer, it occurs to me, that you hardly reflect reality, I mean reality as me and my friends live. To us it’s seems that your ‘carbon footprint’ consists mostly of the hot air you seem to exhale. But this is true of most people on this debate, whether they be the Honourable Sam Fuller or the, one of your bete noirs, WUTW, or, even worst, my bete noir,  the ‘absurd’ Rabbit. Nothing is going to change history. There is none of us that can anticipate it. Who guessed, last month, that a part of the world we least expected would erupt in boils and blisters of freedom? So me and my friends we just laugh at it all and drink our beer (not as much as we laugh at dear old Andy Revkin!).

  • Stu

    Dumb jokes aside- Randy again points out why simple stories are not workable in this case. He makes the point himself when he says that, for the skeptics- climategate was all about ‘hide the decline’. I dare say that for some people who just wanted to yell or have their former sceptical opinions confirmed- the hide the decline email was pretty much all it took. Why the need to go any further? He is right in the sense that ‘hide the decline’ was not the end of climate science that some may have preferred, that story was way too simple. But then some people quickly followed up with the explanation that ‘trick’ simply meant a good way to deal with a problem. Another simple story… Are we getting closer to the truth yet? Well no, not really. As one of the aliens from the Simpsons said in a Halloween special- ‘But wait, there’s still more space dust on here!’ … now ‘hide the decline’ has actually become a focus example for a very complex issue, which we are discussing here- which is how science should be communicated to the public and policy makers. Obviously, dumbing things down to the point where you ‘hide’ the results which disagree with your overall conclusions has proven to be controversial at the very least. As it should be! Some people agree that the scientists did the right thing- others disagree. But this isn’t a particularly simple matter, so why make it one? This, btw- is simply one email in the 1000s of climategate emails. By focusing on and then dismissing ‘hide the decline’, Randy has done the exact same thing as some sceptics did- which is jump to simple conclusions. His solution to this complex problem appears to be simple, neat and wrong.

  • Tom Fuller

    I must admit I find it a bit disconcerting when journalists and politicians seem to go out of their way to avoid reading opposing viewpoints on an issue with the supposed gravity of climate change.

    The ability to condemn one side of the argument as ‘denialist,’ ‘unscientific’, or more recently ‘exaggerators of minor problems’, etc., seems wholly independent of what critics of the consensus actually write.

    Is it possibly because educating oneself to the realities of the argument might lead to a responsibility to take part or take sides?

    In Mr. Olsen’s defence, he writes that ‘the story was over’ quickly. (Never mind that the story is still with us, which doesn’t match really well with his assessment.) From a major media standpoint, he’s not far off the mark.

    But to say the story is over is not the same as saying the argument is settled (nor the science). And if Mr. Olsen wishes to remain involved in an issue with significant levels of disagreement on both science and policy, he (IMO) has a duty to both himself and his readers to understand what the controversy is about.

    He doesn’t really seem to have done this about Climategate, which is only a subset of the issues. But if he hasn’t done it about Climategate, which is amply reported on in the blogosphere, long newspaper series from places like the Guardian and others, (and I think there might have been a couple of books written about it, too), then I think he does all concerned a disservice when he says things like, “They essentially found nothing, but generated massive attention for the climate skeptic movement and showed they have a much, much better understanding of today’s mass media than the poor old science community.”

    Sometimes you need to ask why someone is wrong. In this case, when the correct answer to the question is lying around in plain view, it can seem as though there’s a will to ignorance. I find that disturbing.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    In some ways I agree with Randy Olson here.

    “The science world has never had a need to engage in large scale public relations, but that’s because the world has never been like it is today.  This is not your father’s science world.  This is not just the world of Twitter, it is also the world of magazine articles written last fall by journalists (Andrew David H. Freedman in the Atlantic, Jonah Lehrer in the New Yorker, you can Google them both) who have nothing against the science world, but are pointing out there are major psychological flaws in the brains of all humans, including scientists, that lead to high levels of false positives and other significant sources of noise.
    “All of which means the time has come to take a deeper interest in understanding these basic dynamics of storytelling that we are all burdened with.  And that is the key point of my essay on uncertainty.  Your audience is defective to begin with “” we are ALL defective.  That’s what the two articles point out.  People don’t respond to “just the facts” in the way you wish they did.  But there are ways to deal with this that do not involve dishonesty or distortion.  One of which is making certain the public is aware of how much certainty you have provided them in the past.”

    I might have said exactly the same. Where we differ is on the prescription. Olson suggests we capitulate to the shallowness of how people process the shallow reporting they get, simplify, trivialize, and personalize.

    That is, yes of course we are all defective, but these defects are not irreperable or irredeemable. So we should try to work on that, not dance around it. It really is the elephant in the room.

    I believe we should help the population think more deeply. To the extent that the established press won’t participate in the process (because of their ideology that they are force-feeding tiny nuggets of information to ignorant and indifferent) continue the process of replacing the press with new media, at least insofar as addressing the competent and interested is concerned.

    I have to say this is with some regret. I have several friends who are journalists and on the whole I like them. I would hope to include Keith, though we’ve not yet met in person. But it’s their ideology, the philosophy and modus operandi of the press, not that of the scientific community, that has led to the absurd and tragic polarization of the climate debate along party lines.

    So the problem isn’t that the conversation is relegated to the blogs – that seems inevitable in our present state. The problem is that the better science blogs haven’t been very good at gaining attention. Yet. And that the tiny nuggets of “story” that attract the press simply fail to tell teh story.

    Let’s make this clear. I am totally convinced that the paleo gang is innocent of fraud, and that what arrogance they show toward their opponents is mostly due to the persistent incompetence and nastiness shown by those opponents. In other words, “climategate”, once you have a balanced view of the background, is a complete non-story.

    So when Olson uses it as an example of bad PR, I agree and disagree. It really shows the vulnerablity of the press to manipulation by calumny and false scandal. What really is the bad PR on the part of science is our incapacity to convince people that the fossil fuel age is going to end soon enough that we need to prepare for it now in a major, substantive way.

    100 years from now, if we are still civilized, nobody will remember Jones or Briffa or Mann or the other data collectors, diligent and sound as they may or may not be. The physical scientists who actually gained the insights into the climate as a physical system will be remembered in scientific circles. The history books will celebrate Gore and Hansen, people who prominently told the whole truth as they understood it, and were vilified for it. If you ask me, it’s the people who don’t consider even the possibility that Gore and Hansen may be in the right ballpark who will have the most to answer for in the history books; and that would be the middle-hugging conventional press above all.
     

  • Judith Curry

    In response to this interesting discussion, I have a new post at Climate Etc.
    http://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/

  • StuartR

    Why should scientists mobilise like corporations!? (or even mobilise like journalists or activists)

    A strange desire to both name/create a science world in a narrative Disney form and preserve it in aspic. I see a need to control it (the narrative) as an entity that is emitting “the truth”. So forget acknowledging anyones shy “mumbling”, that isn’t necessarily a truth.  Who are the loudmouthed fools again? The interpreter of the mumblers is the truth giver.

    Thug got misinterpreted…

    How about creepy?

    Once you hear someone talking  about narratives and truths, and *needs*. Then you know you are dealing with scary people.

  • TimG

    Michael Tobis Says:

    “The history books will celebrate Gore and Hansen, people who prominently told the whole truth as they understood it, and were vilified for it.”

    It is much more likely that Hansen will be mocked like Paul Ehrlich is mocked today for his failed predictions of catastrophe in the 70s.

    People predicting the end of the world have been with us for a long as civilization because humans desperately want to believe that their is something special about the time they live in. Doomsayers provide that feeling of specialness. There is no reason to believe that the AGW doomsayers will be any more correct than their predecessors.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Tom, how much would it cost to become a brand partner? I’m thinking of your posts, ending “- this view supported by Simon Hopkinson.”

  • Tom Fuller

    I’m not surprised that Tobis agrees with Olson as it his position amplified–that skeptics should be shut out of the conversation for sins both real and imagined.

    I don’t see a reason why Olson should agree with Tobis. It is anti-journalistic and anti-scientific.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, you make a lot of sense, too, Simon.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    As I keep saying about the boy who cried wolf, there are two lessons. One is not to panic prematurely (false positives are bad). The other is that eventually there is a wolf (false negatives are worse).
     

  • Tom Fuller

    Yes, Tobis, I wrote a series of thee articles with that in the title six months ago. But if you’ve been eaten by jackals in the meantime (and I am referring to you and your ilk specifically), the appearance of the wolf becomes irrelevant.

    You are incessantly complaining about a condition (problematic journalistic coverage of climate change) that you are incessantly making worse by insisting that only your heroes get press space.

    After years of this, it hasn’t worked and it’s failing progressively more quickly and not at all gracefully.

    You are the problem.

  • Lewis Deane

    By the way, I didn’t mean ‘Sam Fuller’ (it’s a compliment because I was thinking of that great director as I wrote it), I, of course, meant Tom. Apology.

  • Tom Fuller

    Lest you think I jest…
     

    http://www.examiner.com/environmental-policy-in-national/global-warming-and-the-wolf

    The boy who cried wolf. Old fairy tale, in current vogue–I used it with a commenter just today. You know the story. Aesop wrote of a bored shepherd boy who amused himself by yelling ‘wolf’ to draw the villagers to his unneeded rescue. Wolf really does show up, villagers don’t, boy (and flock) gets eaten.

    Okay, skeptics. Your turn!

    The wolf ate the boy, and the flock of sheep he was protecting. Get it? the wolf… ate the boy… and the flock of sheep he was protecting. There was a wolf.

    Just more evidence that you’re always late to the party…

  • Tom Fuller

    And I need to stress that (appearances and past history to the contrary) this is not at all personal.

    We need to tell a good story about climate change because it is not an intuitive one.

    Why do we need a ‘story’, as opposed to a listing of facts, guesses and hypotheses? Because we need unpopular actions by government.

    And a story is a prelude to dialogue in such a case. However, what Tobis et al are looking for is a cover story that replaces all that.

    You are killing your side–and damaging the search for both truth and effective action.

    I say this without any personal animosity: Would you (and Lambert and Rabett and Romm and your tribe of commenters) please take up knitting?

    And I say this to the ‘professional’ communicators from Greenpeace, WWF, etc., etc.–would you please just quit trying to get any kind of media play for any kind of story about climate change?

    You both are making things worse, far worse.

  • Dave H

    > As soon as it became clear that the basics of climate change were not at risk, the institutional media players lost interest in the story as well. Grubby and sleazy behaviour by some nerdy scientists just doesn’t stay on the front page.

    Tom Fuller’s statement here provides a neat response to Randy Olson’s original thesis that the media were “irrelevant and largely blameless” in this incident. Essentially, a half-understood story was front-page news right up until it became clear that it wasn’t true in the way it had been spun and wasn’t the world-shaking scandal it was billed as. So what happens? It gets dropped.

    If they were blameless why were no corrections or clarifications given similar prominence to the original breathless reporting?

    If they were irrelevant, how did anybody know there was a scandal in the first place? Why do people still think that scientists covered up a drop in global temperatures? Why is that spin still being reported even now?

    If they were irrelevant why were opinion polls on public acceptance that AGW was real and happening sharply down afterwards?

    The “confused majority” do not seek out information on this topic in their own time, they absorb information in passing from saturation media exposure. A half story that is pushed like crazy for a couple of weeks and then dropped is precisely the sort of story guaranteed to have most effect on this demographic, and once again push up the unwarranted uncertainty.

    Just because the media acted precisely the same way it always does does not mean it was blameless – unless you think a verdict of “boys will be boys” is just and appropriate.

    Further down the thread, Howard stumbles across a simple truth:

    > If the CAGW crowd can boil down the topic to a common sense explanation that is targeted to a 8th grade college prep science class level, then people will buy it.

    > Unfortunately, since the science is uncertain up the ying-yang, this is not possible”¦

    The various calls for “simplicity” in this thread are in stark contrast to the way forward as championed by Dr Curry. You cannot have both simplicity and uncertainty in a message to the general public where the uncertainty is granted an appropriate weighting.

    Steven Mosher’s attempt higher up is a good stab at some key points but it is too complex for a lay audience and – according to the loud proponents who would shout this sort of statement down in a heartbeat – does not mention uncertainty enough.

    Most importantly, it does not communicate anything with respect to the potential socio-economic consequences of the lower-bound estimate of 1.2C warming. Why would *anybody* care about a single word in this statement if there were no impact on human society? If there is no impact, why mention it at all? If there is an impact, it needs to be outlined – but this is a key area of uncertainty, so the statement becomes more complex if you attempt to placate the “won’t someone please think of the uncertainty!” crowd.

    A simple message is easily attacked in the public sphere for glossing over complexities. A complex message is easily attacked for being too uncertain to require action. I think this is the standout point from Olsen’s original piece – charging in with uncertainty as your central message is just a guaranteed way to ensure that’s all people hear. I know that that’s actually what some people really *want*, but attempting to suggest that “uncertainty is the message” is some sort of conciliatory middle way is laughable, bordering on the offensive.

    But then, if you accept Olsen’s point here, and you’re trying to visually convey some complex information in a simplified fashion to a non-scientific audience do you know what you do? What you do is, you take a graph that’s complex, and you simplify it, and you take out bits that confuse the central message and are really a side-issue, and *oh no, someone’s stolen your emails where you talked about “hiding the decline”*!

    Again, I see no way forward besides completely bypassing public opinion and concentrating on providing clear, unambiguous, detailed and complex statements to those in positions of power and authority – and I can’t really see that working in the US in particular.

  • Tom Fuller

    But, Dave H, there is a way to move forward. Both the U.S. and many other countries have taken bold steps on issues with huge amounts of uncertainty involved. Many of these issues were military–people do go to war even when they don’t know the outcome, and some of these wars are supported by the public. Others, such as the Manhattan Project and the reach for space are led by scientists who have been able to persuade politicians of the rightness of their cause.

    But nobody on the consensus side wants to look at these (or other) examples of how uncertainty has been overcome in the past. They are trying a new way. It is not working. They seem to think that their failure is the fault of a well-financed and organised opposition.

    This is false to fact and reinforces the worst tendencies of those pushing or pulling the consensus team to ever-greater absurdities.

  • keith kloor

    Michael Tobis writes:
    But it’s their ideology, the philosophy and modus operandi of the press, not that of the scientific community, that has led to the absurd and tragic polarization of the climate debate along party lines.”

    Michael, I’d say its damn near tragic that such a smart guy as yourself clings to this belief.

    Tom Fuller advises Michael Tobis: “You are killing your side”“and damaging the search for both truth and effective action.

    I say this without any personal animosity: Would you (and Lambert and Rabett and Romm and your tribe of commenters) please take up knitting?”

    Tom, the only one with real juice in that group is Joe Romm, and I’ve said this before numerous times: Joe (like Morano) knows well the power of narrative as an effective communication device. The issue (for his side) is whether it’s the right narrative to cut through the noise and resonate with the general public. So far, I’m not seeing any evidence of that. Nor do I see any evidence that the Morano/Inhofe narrative resonates beyond it’s own core group.

    That leaves a vacuum for a different, broader appealing narrative.

  • Tom Fuller

    Yeah, Keith, but notice how Morano lets the narrative do his work for him. He’s an aggregator who contributes very little in the way of original content. He saves his slanting for the headlines, and it works really well–an example of a non-scientists realizing how best he can contribute to his side.

    The important thing to note about Morano is he’s not aiming outside his circle. He just wants to keep skeptics on board and in the loop about what’s happening. He’s not trying to convert anybody.

    As for Romm, he may understand the power of narrative, but he doesn’t use it effectively. He thinks he gains legitimacy by continuously linking to his own posts. He apparently believes that dictating his posts into Dragon software is actually building adequate story lines–when in fact he’s being logorrheic. And his moderation policy is meant to limit traffic, not increase it.

    As it is perfectly clear that the two or three thousand climate blogfans just bounce from blog to blog looking for equal quantities of material to reinforce their opinion and inflame their sensibilities, both Morano and Romm are blocking progress and delaying the construction of a narrative. The bloggers with lesser clout (Tobis et al) try to compensate with higher levels of vituperation.

    Much more effective are bloggers like Lucia and yourself, that try and mediate a discussion between opponents.

  • Tom Fuller

    At the end of the day, the fatal flaw of those on the consensus side is that they conflate ‘getting the message right’, ‘telling the right story’ and ‘communication.’

    They are all different. They need all three. But the key point is, without engaging those on the other side of the fence, they cannot do any of them effectively.

  • Stu

    “But the key point is, without engaging those on the other side of the fence, they cannot do any of them effectively.”

    Judith makes the same point in her new post. Well actually, she is always making this point.

    Keith, any thought on Judith’s splitting up of the public into different categories here? I think it’s a better way to think about the public than referring to it as a single group, and then applying a single communications strategy.

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

    Why scientists can’t tell their stories?

    Kloor has Eli on permanent super-secret moderation.

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, might compare this with Fuller’s rantings, and draw some conclusions.

    [You sure complain a lot about being on moderation. At least your comments make it through. Not all bloggers are so generous, as you surely know.//KK]

  • NewYorkJ

    Randy: People don’t respond to “just the facts” in the way you wish they did.

    This varies quite a bit from person to person.  Those opposed on ideological grounds to mitigation efforts (heavily prone to the economic alarmist arguments), and those with economic conflicts of interest, like to be told there isn’t a problem, and a large media market exists to meet that need.  In that sense, the media deserves the share of the blame that a cigarette manufacturer might have in getting people hooked on their product – certainly non-negligible but don’t those on the demand side have some responsibility?  As polls have shown, rather significant percentages of people don’t believe the scientific consensus on evolution.  No amount of improved (“simple” or not) communication from scientists will change that.

    In addition, those without a hard science background are more likely to be mislead, as are people with weak interest in the topic, both being more prone to the “ClimateGate” narrative. 

    Randy’s discussion appear to presume that the public makeup is largely static or unchanging, and therefore we must work with what’s there.  Not that working with what’s there is wrong by any stretch, but if the public makeup is static, then why does the anti-science anti-government  “tea party”-type movements have much more clout in the United States than other countries?  Why does both skepticism and public and political support for action vary from country to country and state to state?  Californians, for example, by a huge margin rejected efforts to delay their climate change mitigation law, during an election cycle that shifted sharply to the right, and now they’re moving forward with cap and trade.  Seems doubtful that varying qualities of communication from scientists to the public, which today seems confined mainly to a few media blurbs and some blogs, has much effect on that.

    Lastly, while I’m not confident improved communication from scientists to the public will have a great effect, efforts like these are a move in the right direction.

    http://www.climaterapidresponse.org/

    Certainly, it can help to more quickly combat media misinformation in close to real-time.  As the saying goes (or some variant of it), a lie can travel around the world before the truth gets its boots on, and the manufactured “ClimateGate” nonstory was a fine example of that.  Very optimistically, the Lie might see the Truth in its rear-view mirror going forward, maybe even be held accountable when caught.  As Dr. Stephen Chu pointed out, “skeptics” are not held to the same standard as scientists.

  • NewYorkJ

    Stu:  The example of Steve Mc, David Holland and others, plainly showed that climate scientists were not in any way interested in engaging with intelligent members of the public in discussion of these issues.

    It shouldn’t be surprising that scientists (or anyone for that matter) might be reluctant to engage with individuals who spend so much time slinging mud at them from blogs, distorting their work, attempting to grossly inflate every issue (real or perceived), suggesting malpractice, and commanding their followers to issue harrassing FOI requests.  Those engaging in this behavior are not in position to complain.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/mcintyre-concerted-efforts-to-derail-the-science-and-harass-scientists/

    For fairness, it might be good to have some independent investigations into McIntyre and some of his Team.  The stuff he says in public is bad enough.  His private email exchanges could be interesting.  Bring it out in the open.  So far all we have is a GMU dragging their feet on the Wegman plagiarism deal - one that ironically involves deleted emails.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, NewYorkJ, it beggars belief that you think McIntyre is more sinner than sinned against. As for investigating him, go for it, dude. Let us all know what you find out? Don’t have time? Don’t know where to start? Don’t let that worry you. Some civilians have made great strides in doing good work in unfamiliar fields. Some mining engineers, for example.

    As for the Rapid Response Team, I have to believe that consensus players sit around in a room drinking herbal tea and talking about what… to… do… about those pesky skeptics. They trot out a number of alternatives. When they find the one that is absolutely the worst, the stupidest and the least likely to have any positive effect, they seize upon it and pursue it unto the gates of hell.

  • anon

    As an anon who understands the need for anonymity, nevertheless, I’ve been curious as to where New York J surfs the web from — I’ve assumed it’s somewhere near Tom’s Restaurant in Manhattan.

    However, I do find it interesting that NYJ thinks any of the climategate emails were somehow private and not subject to FOIA or other public inquiry. But you know whose emails ARE private and NOT subject to FOIA?

    I recall a time not so long ago in a different administration when those of us actually on the left were appalled at lost government emails, frustrated FOIAs, missing 18 minutes, and wanted criminal inquiries into that.  It’s um a sad reversal.

    However Tom, I don’t find the rapid response team as they have put it together so horrible.  It’s relatively transparent, though it should be more transparent to, with a promise of identification of who is asking and who is answering each question.  They would also do themselves and climate science a favor if they were to take each question and response and turn it into some form of moderated wiki based argument that could grow over time.

    At least, it’s a damn sight better than the journolist that preceded it.

  • NewYorkJ

    it beggars belief that you think McIntyre is more sinner than sinned against.

    Poor innocent victim McIntyre – persecuted by the evil scientific community.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    NYJ, is this your way of outing yourself as a muppet?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > [You sure complain a lot about being on moderation. At least your comments make it through. Not all bloggers are so generous, as you surely know.//KK]

    A cryptic way to say “yes, but RC moderation”, perhaps?

  • NewYorkJ

    anon,

    What can be obtained by FOI requests (note that such requests for email can be and are often rejected) is irrelevant to the general idea that in the spirit of openness and fairness, we should have a look at McIntyre’s email correpondence.  He’s a key figure in the manufactured scandal.  It’s possible we might see a few exchanges with Ed Wegman at some point, but as I understand it, Wegman’s emails were deleted from GMU.  I wonder what McIntyre thinks of that?

    Anonymity on blogs is fine, but you might want to choose a less generic handle.

  • NewYorkJ

    Pre-CRU hack of course…

    I actually don’t believe men of honour publish correspondence without permission. Nor do I believe men of honour would select portions of the email that don’t correspond to the entire message.
    I must say that you and your fan club deserve each other.
    Posted by: Tom Fuller | November 3, 2009 1:41 PM

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/11/tom_fuller_and_senator_inhofe.php#comment-2044149

  • anon

    Anonymity on blogs is fine, but you might want to choose a less generic handle.”

    inigo-montoya-that-word.jpg
    quizzical-dog.jpg

    ” [You sure complain a lot about being on moderation. At least your comments make it through. Not all bloggers are so generous, as you surely know.//KK]”

    Still don’t know why I have always been on perma-moderation and why so many of comments are left on the cutting room floor.
    [Because I don't trust anonymous bloggers that change handles and your comments, like Eli's, are sometimes intemperate.//KK]

  • NewYorkJ


    Simon Hopkinson: NYJ, is this your way of outing yourself as a muppet?

    Is this you? 

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/59951/response/145335/attach/3/RFI20110103%20Final%20Response.pdf

    I came across this earlier while searching for U.K. FOI requests.  Seems this individual knows something about frivolous intrusive FOI requests.

  • anon

    “Because I don’t like trust anonymous bloggers that change handles and your comments, like Eli’s, are sometimes intemperate and/or downright nasty.”

    You have folks in here like nyj actively googling people’s names, and you don’t understand why some folks want a bit of anonymity? And unlike many of the nastiest commenters here, I don’t have tenure or anything close to a secure job position.

    I think you can count my intemperate remarks using about two fingers, but then we’ll never know since you wouldn’t posting them.

    You’ve censored many comments of mine that were not intemperate or anything but reasonable additions to the conversation.

    All of which is fine, it’s your blog, I just wouldn’t put you much higher on the pantheon of blog moderation than RC.
    [Anyone who posts a comment that I don't let through gets a personal email from me, explaining why. I've tried numerous times to do that with you, but my email always bounces back. You want to discuss this, you're welcome to have an offline chat with me, provided you give an actual email address, so I know who I'm talking with. Somehow, I don't think you're interested in doing that, since you've never emailed me personally to complain about any of your comments being held up.//KK]

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “Is this you?”

    Yes, it is.

    “Seems this individual knows something about frivolous intrusive FOI requests.”

    Whether or not you believe it amounted to a trivial request is neither of relevance nor interest to me.

  • NewYorkJ

    You have folks in here like nyj actively googling people’s names

    No.  This is what I Google’d.

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=u.k.+foi+requests&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.&fp=ee7ae51cefa9981c

    The 3rd website looked interesting.  It offers the ability to search for FOI requests by submitter, including by members of the anti-science team (McIntyre, Montford, etc), which I assume you would know is public record.

  • NewYorkJ


    Whether or not you believe it amounted to a trivial request is neither of relevance nor interest to me.

    Your fascination with believing clueless political hacks like James Delingpole had been misrepresented in a BBC program is of little interest to me, but your slang usage of the term “muppet” caused me to remember than find.  Delingpole is a bit of a muppet, Gonzo if you’d like.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Lastly, while I’m not confident improved communication from scientists to the public will have a great effect, efforts like these are a move in the right direction.
    http://www.climaterapidresponse.org/
    Certainly, it can help to more quickly combat media misinformation in close to real-time.

    Maybe.  I took a look at their site and thought of two simple things ‘tweaks’ to their site that would help their outreach.  Even though the tweaks are simple, writing them up took space, so I wrote a blog post:
    <a href=”http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/climate-response-team-two-suggestions/”>
    I’m hoping some of my readers will think of other simple suggestions.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Shoot! I screwed up the link to my blog post. If you read my post, you will perceive the irony of this!  Here’s the link:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/climate-response-team-two-suggestions/

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “Your fascination with believing clueless political hacks like James Delingpole had been misrepresented in a BBC program is of little interest to me”

    If I believed unquestioningly that James Delingpole had been misrepresented, why would I have filed the FOI request? What you’re plainly incapable of recognising is that the FACTS are independent of the politics – a trait that runs through the length of your commentary. I have no idea whether the raw footage of the Delingpole interview would support Delingpole or Nurse. That’s the point of the FOI request – INDEPENDENT examination, to resolve questions that were asked but were unanswerable, here and at Lucia’s.

    “but your slang usage of the term “muppet” caused me to remember than find.  Delingpole is a bit of a muppet, Gonzo if you’d like.”

    I don’t have much to say about Delingpole. He’s politically a million miles from where I am but, from an apolitical perspective, I find his turn of phrase in regard to “consensus” climate scientists is infinitely more incisive than either yours, or my, “muppet” level comments. He’s a joy to read when he takes issue with pseudo-scientists Mann, Jones, Hansen and the rest. I don’t have to share his politics to share his disgust at the sorry ensemble that Climategate exposed.

  • Tony Hansen

    MT says in #84 ….‘I have several friends who are journalists and on the whole I like them’.

    And a jolly good thing it is that we can like our friends. Things can get awfully complicated when we do not like our friends.

    And then……’ What really is the bad PR on the part of science is our incapacity to convince people that the fossil fuel age is going to end soon enough that we need to prepare for it now in a major, substantive way’.

    Is this a PR failure for climate science or science as a whole?

  • Stu

    And… NYJ’s back to tobacco and creationism. We’ve already had Obama, 9/11, the moon landings… I can almost feel that slave traders and perverts are coming up next. What you say, NYJ? Care to indulge us?

  • Stu

    NYJ says

    “Poor innocent victim McIntyre ““ persecuted by the evil scientific community.”

    Another who didn’t read the UEA emails.

  • Jack Hughes

    @Stu,

    He’s already written “anti-science” – it’s only a matter of time before he shouts BIG OIL.

  • John Whitman

    Randy Olson & KK,

    Fiction story telling in society is a powerful communication vehicle.  It is arguably as important as its counterpart non-fiction story telling.

    Non-fiction story telling is not science, to assume so is an error.

    The scientific community needs to tell science in the straight language of science and I suggest that the free straight scientific dialogs competing with each other about scientific results is the best way to communicate science.  Winners win only as they sustain the free scientific dialog accurately.  Ahhh, like what is exactly happening now in the climate science arena; the previously self-appointed consensus (that gathered around the IPCC) did not win and is not winning in the clear communication of climate science.  The so-called skeptics, who I like to refer to as independent thinkers, are clearly winning the open dialog.  No problem appears to exist, the best case will prevail.  The self-appointed consensus needs to do a better job using their own resources instead of the resources of the public domain who has previously funded them but who now are less willing to do so.

    In an open society with open science dialog what should happen what is indeed is currently happening.  We see now that there is a receding scientific basis of an ideology that is not keeping up with independent science.  That ideology must transform at its deepest roots to realign to the actual independent science . . . . but instead we see resistance to realignment.  The ideology is fading to a catastrophically driven minority status.

    John

  • Stu

    Perhaps we shouldn’t blame NYJ too much, after all he does get this stuff from on high.

    (On second thoughts- NYJ! Try thinking for yourself for two minutes!)

     

  • BBD

    Stu

    Interesting you should feel that NYJ gets his ‘stuff from on high’. I had a lengthy exchange with him on an earlier thread and formed a similar impression.

    He had much (often weak, partisan or cherry-picked) ‘support’ to hand and linked to it repeatedly, but never seemed to own his arguments.

    This gave me the impression that his actual knowledge was  limited. His heavy reliance on ‘supporting’ material only emphasised this. I wonder where his ‘knowledge’ comes from?

  • kdk33

    Why scientists can’t tell their stories

    The notion that “scientists” haven’t told their story, or that the people haven’t hear their story is just bizzarre (and very wrong).  The story has been told and heard ad nauseum.

    US voters, just aren’t buying the solutions being sold by some poli-advo-scienctists.  These things aren’t the same.

    The ensuring frustration probably explains why the story becomes more story and less science with each passing bad weather event.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “No.  This is what I Google’d.

    http://www.google.com/…fa9981c
    The 3rd website looked interesting.  It offers the ability to search for FOI requests by submitter, including by members of the anti-science team (McIntyre, Montford, etc), which I assume you would know is public record.”

    Nahh, I don’t think so. That doesn’t get you anywhere near me. More likely, I think, you searched for me and, once you’d filtered out the chef’s results, pretty much all that’s left in Google is my whatdotheyknow FOI requests.

    Not that I care, by the way. I’m pretty much an open book. Ask me anything you want (I don’t have a wife to beat, incidentally). My name’s clickable.. check out my crappy photo albums. Heck, do a whois search on the hopkinson.net domain. Knock yourself out.

    In my experience, “digging for dirt” on people is the kind of thing that anonyms are likely to do. They’re preoccupied with “teh dangers of teh intarwebbs”, more guarded about their personal information being widely disseminated, and perceive personal information as a chink in a person’s cyber-armour. Digging for dirt on me far better fits your modus operandi generally, NYJ, and is a far more likely scenario than casually bumping into my FOI request in cyberspace. Small world!? Nahh.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @BBD
    “I wonder where his “˜knowledge’ comes from?”

    Given your blowhard/gasbag tone in the previous thread, one wonders the same thing about you :)

  • BBD

    Marlowe Johnson

    You and NYJ make a fine pair. Neither capable of mounting a coherent argument; both rather over-certain of yourselves.

    Not that I much mind when it comes to wind power as time will prove you wrong better than I ever could. All I have to do is wait.

  • Tom Fuller

    NewYorkJ, I think, is sort of a self-appointed member of the Rancid Response Team that has been trolling the internet in search of error for quite some time.

    In my mind, the distinguishing characteristic is repetition of stuff he’s been busted on before. Up above he reminds folks that I got into it with Tim Lambert for publishing some private emails I sent him, thinking it ironic, given that I helped write a book on Climategate.

    The last time he did so, I reminded him that I refused to publish the emails–I was (I think) the first journalist to get the emails, but wrote a column explaining why I wouldn’t publish them.

    Then Real Climate, who has several of the emailers on their author list, started quoting them and referring to them by number on the Internet, so I figured the quarantine had been lifted by the principals. So I wrote a book.

    And New York J knows this–but continues to bring it up as if it’s something he just discovered. Which is what identifies him, along with fellows like dhogaza, Secular Animist and quite a few others, as members of their own private Truth Squad, on patrol in search of insults to what has been revealed.

    He’ll do it again.

  • Lazar

    “All I have to do is wait.”

    That is very true.

    Is there an iron sun?
    Does that belief result from a failure by astrophysicists in communication?
    Should climate scientists spend time explaining inductive logic to Tomas Milanovic?
    Should they not provide easy access to journalists and politicians?
    All we have to do is wait.
    The world revolves.
    The atmosphere heats.
    Fossil fuel funding pours into political coffers.
    The reserves deplete.
    And the time bomb goes tick toc tick toc
    toc
    toc
    toc
    “All I have to do is wait”.

  • BBD

    Lazar

    Very poetic. Unfortunately, not likely to alter the laws of physics or relax the engineering constraints that prevent wind from displacing significant amounts of fossil fuel.

    Might I suggest that you read the relevant thread?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    since you’re still here BBD, would you care to share your thoughts on this study (which essentially concludes that even at significant penetration levels wind power can result in net savings for the continental grid)?

    Which incidentally is what your earlier link suggested (i.e. that the Danish experience is really one wherein they’ve integrated their grid with Germany).  Now you can argue that strategies which lead to greater grid integration are a bad thing (as someone who got married two days after the big blackout on the N. American seaboard in summer 2003, I’m somewhat sympathetic to this line of argument).

    But the results suggest that your claim that >10% renewables leads to catastrophe for the system operators is without merit.





     

  • BBD

    Marlowe Johnson

    Misrepresenting me again:

    But the results suggest that your claim that >10% renewables leads to catastrophe for the system operators is without merit.

    What I actually said was that wind is never likely to go much above 10% of the mix.

    Reasons for this include (but are not limited to) fundamental inefficiency vs site constraints and the necessity of conventional spinning reserves to maintain grid stability if wind penetration exceeds 10%.

    And so on, and on.

    You say:

    Now you can argue that strategies which lead to greater grid integration are a bad thing (as someone who got married two days after the big blackout on the N. American seaboard in summer 2003, I’m somewhat sympathetic to this line of argument).

    That is the kind of problem I have in mind, but writ larger. Remember that interconnectors are required for wide area smoothing. Think a little.

    As per you link to partisan material that only supports your argument in your own mind. This is a wearying tactic.

    Why don’t you stop doing it, and make your case – such as it is – in plain language and directly? Or have you not read the study you link to? Or indeed any of the material on wind generation that you link to?

    That is my very strong impression at this stage.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    so the TSOs from the EU are partisan? Got it.  Perhaps then you can point me to a non-partisan source (something a little more substantial than a flyer please).

    “wind is never likely to go much above 10% of the mix.”
    except of course for Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Portugal right?  Can you point me to any studies which have shown dramatically higher integration costs past 10% penetration?



    Sorry for being OT Keith.


     

  • Marlowe Johnson

    so the TSOs from the EU are partisan? Got it.  Perhaps then you can point me to a non-partisan source (something a little more substantial than a flyer please).

    “wind is never likely to go much above 10% of the mix.”
    except of course for Denmark, Spain, Germany, and Portugal right?  Can you point me to any studies which have shown dramatically higher integration costs past 10% penetration?



    Sorry for being OT Keith — i’ll stop now :)


     

  • BBD

    Keith – likewise apologies for OT and final excursion.

    Marlowe Johnson

    I take it you are American. You must be, or you would realise how amusing it is to see you referencing EWIS as ‘impartial’. But I won’t mock: I don’t know much about the ins-and-outs of the situation in the US.

    Suffice it to say that you have confirmed your lack of detailed knowledge beyond reasonable doubt. Either you don’t read the material you reference or you don’t understand its political context. Or both.

    Denmark at ~19% is, as I have already tried to explain, highly atypical and not appropriate as a general reference. But continue to ignore the facts that do not suit you, by all means.


    Your implication that wind accounts for more that 10% of the energy mix in Germany, Spain and Portugal is misleading.

    Wind is ~9% of the mix for Spain and Portugal, and ~6% for Germany. All three countries finance the wind sector by FIT-type levies. In no instance is wind actually justifying its share of the energy mix on economic grounds. Huge (and often carefully obscured) subsidy is required.

    None of the above – or of what you say – addresses the fundamental points I have repeatedly raised regarding the effective upper limit to the proportion of wind in the energy mix.

    You have nowhere, not once, advanced a coherent argument that shows otherwise. Your ‘can you point me’ tactic in you last paragraph is a testament to your skills as an in-fighter in blog comments. It does not actually make you correct.

    As I said above, time will show just how wrong you are to present wind as a plausible mechanism for displacing more that about 10% of fossil fuels. Simple reason does not appear to be working.

  • NewYorkJ

    Simon Hopkinson:  That doesn’t get you anywhere near me.

    http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/

    From here, all you have to do is put in someone’s name in the main search box and it lists all FOI requests related to them.  You seem competent enough to figure that out.

    Simon Hopkinson: In my experience, “digging for dirt” on people is the kind of thing that anonyms are likely to do.

    Amusing.  That’s certainly what your FOI requests are all about, as are many of McIntyre’s commands to followers to do the same, as are sifting through stolen emails and selecting quotes out of context.  You have no dirt on the organizations you’re (inappropriately in some cases) seeking information on but hope to find some in order to defend the political hacks you adore – “defending the indefensible” if you will.  I don’t think issuing FOI requests is inherently dirty.  Why would you?  Perhaps you can link to them from your website with the label “Seeker of Truth”.

    BBD: You and NYJ make a fine pair. Neither capable of mounting a coherent argument; both rather over-certain of yourselves.

    Pot meet kettle.  Your opinions on the previous thread were unsourced and unsupported (much like what we see regularly from so-called climate “skeptics”).  When asked to support your positions, you just added more unsupported opinions.  I grew tired of them quickly, as did Marlowe I suspect.

    Tom Fuller,

    Actually, I thought the 2nd sentence was more revealing.

    Nor do I believe men of honour would select portions of the email that don’t correspond to the entire message.

    After all, you’ve done that on this thread.

    One thing the CRU hack incident revealed is how so-called “skeptics” don’t apply the same standards to themselves and their leaders as they do others whom they disagree with.  They can certainly dish it out, but are clearly unable to handle scrutiny.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “From here, all you have to do is put in someone’s name in the main search box and it lists all FOI requests related to them.”

    Err.. yeah. That’s MY point you’re making, NYJ? You didn’t STUMBLE on my FOI. You went looking for ME. Whether you went looking for me on Google – which I reckon you actually did, despite what you claim – or you went looking for me on a particular website, you’re still digging for info on me.

    As I said, I don’t care if you’re digging around looking for information on me, but don’t pretend you’re doing one thing when it’s so bloody obvious to everyone around that you’re doing something different. If you haven’t figured it out by now, the ones I can’t abide are the disingenuous.

    And, having already been busted, you STILL can’t resist trying to turn the morsel you THINK you’ve collected to make your point for you:
    “Amusing.  That’s certainly what your FOI requests are all about, as are many of McIntyre’s commands to followers to do the same, as are sifting through stolen emails and selecting quotes out of context.  You have no dirt on the organizations you’re (inappropriately in some cases) seeking information on but hope to find some in order to defend the political hacks you adore ““ “defending the indefensible” if you will.  I don’t think issuing FOI requests is inherently dirty.  Why would you?  Perhaps you can link to them from your website with the label “Seeker of Truth”.”


    Buddy, I gotta tell ya, that’s the most protracted and worthless attempt at slinging shit, in the vain hope that something might stick, that I think I’ve ever seen.

    What’s really sad is that you get to pull this bullshit while KK chases off folk like Shub. Really sad.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Yikes.  I hadn’t seen the blog post by Bart Verheggen which NewYorkJ linked to in his comment @104.  I have to say, I’m shocked he wrote it.  I don’t know how anyone could take the view those FOI requests “amount to a denial of service attack.”  No matter how many people I see make that sort of claim, my shock is never diminished.

    This is a brief summary of what happened.  It leaves out some details, but those details only makes things worse for the critics of Steve McIntyre.

    1)  Steve McIntyre made a request for data.
    2)  CRU lied about confidentiality agreements in order to avoid releasing the data.
    3)  About fifty people sent FOI requests regarding that lie.

    Now then, if CRU had not lied in order to avoid meeting its legal obligations, there would have been no “denial of service attack.”  Even if their lie had been true, they could have responded to every one of those FOI requests by making a list of the confidentiality agreements and posting it online.  After that, a simple form letter could have been sent to out pointing people to the appropriate page.  It would have taken little effort.

  • NewYorkJ

    Simon,

    I went looking for U.K. FOI requests, a subject that came up in this discussion.  When the FOI website was found, I wanted to see the kind of stuff McIntyre and his followers were into.  Why are you so embarrassed by your FOI requests, as your seething rant indicates?  It’s certainly public information, and your record here indicates you support considerably more intrusive scrutiny and true “digging for dirt” of individuals and organizations.  Given how needlessly upset you appear to be, I can only imagine how Phil Jones feels.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Brandon, Bart knows what happened. His post is not made in ignorance nor founded on any misunderstanding. He pretends, better than the likes of Tobis, to be dispassionate but he is most certainly an advocacy scientist.

    When Judith launched her site, Bart tried insisting that mention of the term “Climategate” be banned from it. I thought that was a bit like banning the word “evolution”. Bart thinks that, if you can’t mention something, people will think it can’t exist. Bart prefers for everyone to stay on message. Or in denial. One or the other, maybe both, I’m not sure.

  • BBD

    NYJ

    I am not a ‘climate skeptic’. Lukewarmer yes, sceptic, no.

    As others have observed, the longer you engage, the worse you look.
     

  • NewYorkJ

    I am not a “˜climate skeptic’. Lukewarmer yes, sceptic, no.

    If you are a “lukewarmer”, you’re likely skeptical of the consensus position on climate sensitivity.  Nonetheless, I didn’t claim you were a skeptic.  I was comparing your argumentive style to theirs.  Thus, you’re false presumption digs your logical hole a bit deeper.

    “Your opinions on the previous thread were unsourced and unsupported (much like what we see regularly from so-called climate “skeptics”).”

    Next time try to quote me.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @144 Simon Hopkinson, I didn’t make that comment to single Bart Verheggen out.  I’ve expressed my disapproval for him on this site before, but the only reason I mentioned him this time was he happened to be the person linked to.  I’m equally dismayed when I see anyone else say the same things.  I’d rather not have a discussion of any individual right now.

    My comment was meant to be focused on the fact someone who is (or at least is claimed to be) willing to listen to both sides would say things like that.  It is cheeky to complain about being unable to “tell your story” while simultaneously making things up about people in order to dismiss the other side.

    On a personal note, the reason global warming hasn’t gained much traction in the people I know is most people have been given a horrible education regarding it.  They know that cartoon graphic explanation of the greenhouse effect, Al Gore and random snippets of the debate they’ve heard on television.  Years back, a classmate said this to me:

    If global warming is such a threat, why can everything I’ve been taught about it be summed up in a couple pictures?

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “Why are you so embarrassed by your FOI requests, as your seething rant indicates?”

    I’m not embarrassed, as I have made quite clear several times now. I posted at Lucia’s, at the time, that I was filing that FOI. I think I may even have mentioned it here at C-a-S. No embarrassment, no secret.

    And I’m far from seething. That doesn’t mean your fielding for dirt on others, to make twisted points and cast aspersions, don’t make my skin crawl at least a little bit. It’s not that you can’t succeed, it’s that you try at all. Kinda grosses me out. Yanno?

  • NewYorkJ

    fielding for dirt on others, to make twisted points and cast aspersions

    Apt definition of “ClimateGate” and top trait of contrarian blogs.  Your arguments have come full circle.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “I didn’t make that comment to single Bart Verheggen out.”

    Fairy snuff.. I thought you had been surprised specifically by Bart.

    “It is cheeky to complain about being unable to “tell your story” while simultaneously making things up about people in order to dismiss the other side.”

    I agree. And I acknowledge that this is not limited to Bart, nor in fact entirely limited to Bart’s “side”. But yeah, despite claims to the contrary, Bart does have a “side” and you can determine which it is not through him acknowledging it directly (because he doesn’t) but by side-wise examples like the one you’ve identified.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    “fielding for dirt on others, to make twisted points and cast aspersions

    Apt definition of “ClimateGate” and top trait of contrarian blogs.  Your arguments have come full circle.”

    Except that what Climategate did was not give birth to sceptical suspicions, rather it confirmed that long-held suspicions were legitimate. No longer was it a leap of faith that science was corrupt, Climategate offered the means to show conclusive proof of it.

  • BBD

    NYJ @146

    Thus, you’re false presumption digs your logical hole a bit deeper. [etc]


    Your compulsion for empty point-scoring is disturbing. I repeat: the more you say, the worse it sounds.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @Simon Hopkinson, I said I was shocked Bart Verheggen wrote that post.  I then said I am shocked every time I see anyone make that claim.  In other words, he was just an example.

  • RickA

    Brandon Shollenberger @
    March 7th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
    I agree with Brandon at comment #142.
    My recollection was that in order to avoid to many countries per request, there was an effort to divvy up the requests, with five countries per request.
    I think that was partly what made for so many requests – a bunch of requests for confidentiality agreements from five countries per request.
    If the number of requests is alleged to be the problem – it could have been one simple request – produce all confidentiality agreements regarding the climate data.

  • NewYorkJ

    Except that what Climategate did was not give birth to sceptical suspicions, rather it confirmed that long-held suspicions were legitimate.

    A climate scientist could blow his nose and it would confirm your long-held suspicions of nefarious behavior.  Some see what they want to see.  Objective examination of the facts indicates differently.

    BBD: Your compulsion for empty point-scoring is disturbing.

    I corrected a false presumption you made about my statement, a presumption that was followed up with an ad hom.  You find that disturbing?

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @154, RickA, I believe the rationale was it would prevent CRU from using any one case to dismiss the entirety of the request.  In other words, if there were a couple countries CRU couldn’t respond for for some reason, that wouldn’t prevent the CRU from answering most of the requests.  This happened because CRU previously refused to release data because some of it (supposedly) was covered by confidentiality agreements with the countries that provided it.

    Of course, I wasn’t following things too closely at the time, so I may be a bit off.

  • Tom Fuller

    156, Brandon, there was also the concern that CRU would plead time constraints to avoid responding to the requests, so they were sent individually in order to keep the time to respond down to a manageable level.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @157, Tom Fuller, that certainly makes sense.

  • Tom Fuller

    Umm, now that I think about it, I seem to remember they were sent in batches of five, and there was some duplication.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    c’mon BBD give us something to chew on.  so far all we’ve had from you is a link to a flyer and insinuations that you’re an expert in the electricity market tirelessly educating the plebes on the pitfalls of renewables.

    But rather than beat that particular horse bloody again, let me ask what is the nature of your expertise that leads you to consider yourself a ‘lukewarmer’?

    Are you an expert in climate physics AND energy economics? If so, I unreservedly bow down to your obvious awesomeness.  If on the other hand, you have no relevant training in atmospheric sciences then on what basis do you reject the consensus sensitivity estimate of 3C?

    I continue to be amazed by how consistently people who find solutions to AGW to be horrendously expensive also believe that sensitivity is low.  Downright convenient in fact.

     

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

    More blame the victim.

    This whole thing is backwards.  How about a post about how the media can change to do a better job?

    There is no intelligent life on this blog

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    @161 Eli Rabett, you may want to rethink your latest remark:

    There is no intelligent life on this blog

  • BBD

    NYJ

    I corrected a false presumption you made about my statement, a presumption that was followed up with an ad hom. You find that disturbing?

    I find your mix of venom and condescension disturbing, since you ask. And for someone with no apparent social graces you have a remarkably thin skin.

    Perhaps you might mend your own ways before redirecting attention to the imagined failings of others? Read some of your earlier comments to me, for a start, and consider how you could, had you so wished, have made the tone less offensive.

    Marlow Johnson

    The ‘flyer’ you mention is actually the synopsis of a full-length report. Your repeated attempt to pretend otherwise is informative.

    You and NYJ need educating about the energy industry because of your apparent willingness to promote nonsense about the potential for wind to make real inroads into decarbonisation.

    The crux of the problem is your astonishing statement:

    I continue to be amazed by how consistently people who find solutions to AGW to be horrendously expensive also believe that sensitivity is low.  Downright convenient in fact.

    Renewables are no more a ‘solution to AGW’ than I am the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    I have asked several times about the elephant in the room – the remaining +/- 80% of energy demand met by fossil fuels if we pretend that a 20% penetration by wind is feasible.

    True to form, you simply ignored me because this doesn’t fit with your belief system. Yet the numbers are clear. The majority of the world’s energy needs will continue to be met by fossil fuels for the foreseeable future. Like it or not.

    Something else you need to understand: referencing materials prepared by the wind lobby does not support your case. Arguing it clearly – which you never do – would.

    As usual you make no reference to your earlier faux-pas, so allow me: your use of the EWIS ‘study’ shows that you are unaware of the significant politicised bias behind its ‘findings’, but frankly the NREL stuff you and NYJ are so fond of is just as bad.

    One of you waved this at me a while back:

    http://www.nrel.gov/wind/systemsintegration/pdfs/2010/ewits_executive_summary.pdf

    Yet it confirms what I argue. The The cost of grid extension alone $93 billion (which NREL engineer David Corbus claims is ‘really small’ compared to other energy infrastructure costs). The siting of a 10x expansion in wind capacity is not addressed. The political deadlock over power line construction is not addressed. Costs inclusive of offshore rise to $150 billion, but projected CO2 emissions reductions are in the order of 4.5%.

    I asked you both earlier – do you actually read the materials you reference? I doubted it then and I doubt it now.

    These ‘studies’ are produced for political and corporate gain. They are virtually devoid of real quantitative value.

    Neither of you seem to appreciate the scale of the commercial and political dimensions to the renewables question, which is telling.

    In a nutshell: too much dogmatism; not enough experience.

    Anyway, it is clear that you are irritated by this exchange. Having been sneered at by you for what feels like a very long time now, I am delighted.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    the 80% will be likely be met with a combination of solar thermal, solar pv, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass CHP, natural gas, nuclear, and DSM.  How much all of this will cost relative to a BAU depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) choice of policy instruments( e.g. FIT, RPS), timetables, regulatory reforms, and of course the particulars of the jurisdiction in question…  Happy now?

    Now can you anwser my question about your ‘lukewarmer’ logic?

  • BBD

    Marlowe Johnson

    Re the renewables matrix you outline above. No, not happy now. Based on a critical reading of David MacKay’s informative Sustainable Energy – Without the Hot Air – I find no plausible numbers to support your assertion. Hand waving, as ever.

    http://www.withouthotair.com/

    Your general logic is equally messy. You say above:

    Are you an expert in climate physics AND energy economics? If so, I unreservedly bow down to your obvious awesomeness.  If on the other hand, you have no relevant training in atmospheric sciences then on what basis do you reject the consensus sensitivity estimate of 3C?

    No, I am not. However, in order for you to claim for yourself the intellectual coherence you are trying to deny me, YOU would have to be both an expert in climate physics and energy economics.

    Your argument cuts both ways, and is not perhaps as clever as you think it is.

  • BBD

    Marlowe Johnson

    I just want to be clear about this: you are talking absolute rubbish about renewables. Your comment at #164 beggars belief.

    How much all of this will cost relative to a BAU depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) choice of policy instruments( e.g. FIT, RPS), timetables, regulatory reforms, and of course the particulars of the jurisdiction in question”¦  Happy now?

    I knew you were winging it, but this waffle? If you were in my office, you would now be leaving.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD,
    It’s not about being clever; it’s about intellectual consistency.  You don’t get to claim expertise in one area and then adopt an outlier position in another area where by your own admission you don’t have any expertise.  You wouldn’t be letting your politics cloud your judgement by chance?

    As I’ve said many times already, I’m fairly agnostic about the potential for wind power to become a major player in the grid (one technology that I am very skeptical about is geologic CCS, and a recent visit with the folks at DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy didn’t  move me to revise my view.).  I think in many parts of the world other renewables will make much more sense.  How quickly all these technologies come online and how the global energy mix changes over time is indeed a matter of ongoing debate and speculation.  I don’t think that renewables will be limited to 10% penetration, as you seem to; nor do I think  this is a controversial position.

    Thanks for the link to Mackay’s work, it looks interesting.

    p.s. what sort of office do you work in?





     

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    ‘intellectual consistency’… ‘outlier’?

    Goodness, so now the consensus view on climate sensitivity is ‘settled science’ is it? Let’s see now, where does the estimate come from? Well, according to the inevitable Knutti & Hegerl (2008) reference, it’s essentially a mix of emergent values derived from CGMs and paleoclimate studies.

    Solid as a rock, then.

    Not having ‘any expertise’ as you put it is not the same as total ignorance.

    I have no political stance whatsoever in this debate. I am interested in energy policy, not party politics. Interesting that you now seek to delegitimise me by suggesting I’m a right-winger.

    Agreed re geologic CCS.

    How quickly all these technologies come online and how the global energy mix changes over time is indeed a matter of ongoing debate and speculation.

    Indeed. See ad nauseam above.

    Agreed (again!) that renewables as a whole will achieve >10%. Strongly disagree that there will be significant displacement of fossil fuels >30%. Renewables just don’t offer the potential to generate enough energy. MacKay is good on this, although he seeks to make the case for renewables rather than undermine it.

    But that is the big problem. Unless massive expansion of nuclear gets under way immediately, there will be an energy gap. Let’s not forget the substantial increase in demand for electricity driven by the projected electrification of personal and commercial transport in the industrialised economies.

    I repeat: renewables as a group of technologies do not offer sufficient scope for displacing fossil fuels to be a ‘solution to AGW’. Letting your politics cloud your judgement by any chance?

    p.s. what sort of office do you work in?


    One with my name on the door.

    So what’s your area of expertise then?
     

  • NewYorkJ

    BBD: I find your mix of venom and condescension disturbing

    BBD: You and NYJ need educating about the energy industry because of your apparent willingness to promote nonsense

    BBD: You and NYJ make a fine pair. Neither capable of mounting a coherent argument

    BBD: the longer you engage, the worse you look.

    Love the irony.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD,
    I’m glad you mentioned Knutti and Hergel, as it shows that you have some familiarity witht the literature.  Let me ask again: on what basis are you ‘picking’ a climate sensitivity value that is on the low end of the range (i.e. 1.5C)? Or do you mean something else when describe yourself as a ‘lukewarmer’? In the absence of expertise, I’d suggest that the only intellectually honest position is agnositicm.

    By the way, I’m not at all trying to suggest that you’re right wing.  As a Brit (I assume), the link between political orientation and acceptance of mainstream climate science is less predictable than it is the U.S.  But if people glossing over the challenges of decarbonizing the world’s electricity supply is your particular bete noir, then the intellectual incoherence of ‘lukewarmers’ is mine (which is nicely summarized here).

    FWIW, I’m pretty much a centrist (from a Canadian POV).  When it comes to climate change I’m risk averse.  I’m willing to pay more for electricity and electric vehicles and meat, etc. if it means that the risk of seriously disruptive impacts from climate change are reduced for me and my family (and future generations).  From an energy/environment policy perspective, I simply want full cost accounting for as many externalities as reasonably possible.  If clean energy costs 3x more on that basis, so be it (although I seriously doubt it would).  I live in Ontario where electricity prices are set to rise by about 25% as a result of closing down our coal-fired power plants.  Time will tell if my neighbors are as willing as I am to support that decision :)


     

  • BBD

    NYJ

    Enough hypocrisy. I suggested you went back and read your own comments. Compared to you, I am mildness itself.

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, my co-author provides additional reasons why scientists can’t tell their stories–they can’t get them straight.

    Mosher, guest posting at WUWT, lets us all know that Michael Mann, contrary to his testimony at the Penn investigation, did advise Wahl to delete his emails, and Wahl did.

    Yeah, I know. (But… Climategate….). But when the stories scientists tell are dishonest and self-serving, the science kind of fades into the background a bit…

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    Your point about agnosticism vs expertise is well made. If everyone followed the rule, it might just work.

    The doubts over climate sensitivty arise when one compares observations with projections. Surface and tropospheric temperatures are not rising as fast as was expected a decade ago, and nor is OHC.

    All three should rise in line with the increasing forcing from CO2, but it’s not at all clear that they are (Trenberth’s famous ‘missing energy’ lament).

    This divergence has prompted Trenberth and Fasullo to ask:

    Since 2004, ~3000 Argo floats have provided regular temperature soundings of the upper 2000 m of the ocean, giving new confidence in the ocean heat content assessment””yet, ocean temperature measurements from 2004 to 2008 suggest a substantial slowing of the increase in global ocean heat content. If the extra energy has not gone into the ocean, where has it gone? (Science Perspectives, 16 April 2010)

    To my mind there are only two serious possibilities. The majority of the “˜missing’ energy is in the deep ocean, or it has been radiated to space.

    A recent study shows heating of the deep ocean, but not enough to explain the apparent slowdown in the rate of heating of the upper ocean (Purkey & Johnson 2010). The majority of the “˜missing’ energy is not accounted for.

    There is room for argument that the climate system can shed the energetic imbalance from CO2 forcing more efficiently than currently acknowledged. If so, climate sensitivity may be lower than the consensus +3C per doubling.

    Measurement uncertainty is widespread, from satellite observations of TOA radiative imbalance to sparse sampling of deep ocean temperatures. Arguably the “˜best’ measurement system is the ARGO array with >3000 floats, as compared to NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites attempting to provide “˜global’ coverage between them. But the ARGO record is short.

    Finally, I want to emphasise that I fully acknowledge the upward trend in OHC reconstructions (eg http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/) and the increase in surface/tropospheric global average temperature anomaly (GATA) over the period 1950 – present. I have little doubt that the explanation is AGW.

    It is also entirely possible that climate sensitivity will prove to be around 3C at equilibrium. But at the moment this figure rests on AOGCM modelling and paleoclimate work, not accurate measurements of the climate system itself.

    This clearly troubles prominent researchers like Kevin Trenberth. He argues that we need more measurements. He is correct.

    What you say in your last paragraph is reasonable. The worrying part is the ‘glossing over’ by ideologues of just how useless most Western climate (energy) policy actually is when set against a background of non-OECD industrialisation.

    I am no fan of gesture politics, especially when they drive up the cost of living.

    Interesting that you are an Ontarian. I am British, yes, but my wife has lots of family there and I shall quizz them mercilessly on their views on a 25% hike in energy prices.

    This feels more civilised. I prefer the entente; hope you do too.

    —————————————–

    K. E. Trenberth, J. T. Fasullo: Tracking Earth’s Energy SCIENCE VOL 328 16 APRIL 2010

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/trenberth.papers/T_SciencePerspectiveApril10.pdf

    Sarah G. Purkey, Gregory C. Johnson, 2010: Warming of Global Abyssal and Deep Southern Ocean Waters between the 1990s and 2000s: Contributions to Global Heat and Sea Level Rise Budget. Journal of Climate Volume 23, Issue 23 (December 2010) pp. 6336-6351 doi: 10.1175/2010JCLI3682.1.

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/Recent_AABW_Warming_v3.pdf

  • NewYorkJ

    The doubts over climate sensitivty arise when one compares observations with projections.

    The uncertainty in model/data comparisons swings both ways.

    “Repeating the calculation from last year, assuming (again, a little recklessly) that the 27 yr trend scales linearly with the sensitivity and the forcing, we could use this mismatch to estimate a sensitivity for the real world. That would give us 4.2/(0.27*0.9) * 0.19=~ 3.3 ºC. And again, it’s interesting to note that the best estimate sensitivity deduced from this projection, is very close to what we think in any case. For reference, the trends in the AR4 models for the same period have a range 0.21+/-0.16 ºC/dec (95%). ”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/01/2010-updates-to-model-data-comparisons/

    And one can’t hand-wave away the paleo studies or feedback observations. 

    There is room for argument that the climate system can shed the energetic imbalance from CO2 forcing more efficiently than currently acknowledged. If so, climate sensitivity may be lower than the consensus +3C per doubling.

    True.  The opposite is true as well.  There’s room for a considerably higher climate sensitivity than the best estimate.  This is not an argument against the best estimate.  While climate sensitivity could be more or less than the best estimate, as the IPCC and K&H indicate, when taking all evidence into consideration, there’s no valid reason to find a significantly lower value for this, unless one is approaching the issue as a lawyer.

    Tom Fuller: , lets us all know that Michael Mann, contrary to his testimony at the Penn investigation, did advise Wahl to delete his emails

    But when the stories scientists tell are dishonest and self-serving

    But when the stories Tom Fuller tells are dishonest and self-serving…Mann gave no such advice.  He contacted Wahl regarding the Jones request as he plainly said he would, something already known since 2009.  The only thing new regarding Mann is that Wahl confirmed Mann didn’t ask him to do anything, rendering your negative spin a little weird.  You smear merchants are beating a dead horse.

    Regarding email deletion, McIntyre might want to scrutinize his team member Wegman a bit:

    “But in response to a request for materials related to the report, GMU said it “does not have access to the information.” Separately in that response, Wegman said his “email was downloaded to my notebook computer and was erased from the GMU mail server,” and he would not disclose any report communications or materials because the “work was done offsite,” aside from one meeting with Spencer. “

  • Tom Fuller

    Hand-waving–Look at Wegman! Look at Fuller! Fer gawdsakes don’t look at Mann. Please?

  • JimR

    Tom Fuller(172), Climategate – the story that just won’t die. I have to wonder how this will be received at Penn State where the investigating committee found:
    Finding 2. After careful consideration of all the evidence and relevant materials, the  inquiry committee finding is that there exists no credible evidence that Dr. Mann had  ever engaged in, or participated in, directly or indirectly, any actions with intent to delete,  conceal or otherwise destroy emails, information and/or data related to AR4, as suggested  by Dr. Phil Jones.

    From Wahl’s statement to the NOAA Inspector General this finding is false. And still people wonder why there is little faith in the multiple Climategate inquiries.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom/Jim,

    who cares? all that request shows is an ignorance of IT.  Emails in institutional settings don’t die.  they languish forever on servers somewhere…

    Should Mann/Jones/insert RC Climate Cabal member ‘here’ be rebuked by their colleagues/university/neighbor/family/priest?  Perhaps.  But I think a reasonable case can be made that they were severely provoked.  You probably disagree.

    In any case, isn’t the more egregious behaviour in the context of the hockey stick/climategate the behaviour of Wegman?  One wonders why there is such silence on that particular subject from lukewarmers like you and the more delusional elements of the climate blogosphere…

  • Tom Fuller

    Yeah, it’s old history now. Move on, nothing to see.

    The wee bit of history we might remember is the IPCC 4th Assessment Report that we now know was prejudiced by political games to protect the careers, reputation and prior publications by unethical scientists.

    Just that…

  • Tom Fuller

    As for Wegman, I published an article saying that it’s evident that someone on his team copied the Wikipedia desription of Social Network Analysis, that it had nothing to do with the subject they were investigating and that his findings are pretty much vindicated by Climategate, which happened years later.

    You want his emails? What is it you want to see in them?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    just so we’re clear, you think the *only* thing wrong with the Wegman report is the bit on social networking?  Metinks you haven’t been paying attention Tom. Paging Mr. Mashey…..

  • Tom Fuller

    Tell him to bring his colored pens and his paranoid fantasies with him.

  • NewYorkJ

    #179 = utter delusion and blindness

  • JimR

    Marlow Johnson(177), “But I think a reasonable case can be made that they were severely provoked.”

    Sure I agree. FOI requests were filed in the UK provoking Jones to request the deletion of E-mails. While this does expose an ignorance of IT the intent to delete to prevent disclosure via FOI is clear. Now it is also clear from Wahl’s statements to the NOAA Inspector General that Mann did act as a go between sending Phil Jones request to delete E-mails to Wahl.

    Oh, and Wegman, Wegman, Wegman. Hmmm… nope, didn’t change anything about this story. Sorry.

  • Tom Fuller

    #182, if we’re just blindly throwing out terms, I prefer Love, Devotion and Surrender. But then that kind of music is an antidote to what you are peddling.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Marlowe: “But I think a reasonable case can be made that they were severely provoked.”

    Make that case, Marlowe. Nobody anywhere else has actually MADE the case. All they’ve done – like you – is claim that it can be done. So do it. And I mean without just hand-waving. Make THE case.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Regarding Wegman, my understanding – which I formed specifically from reading RealClimate and various other alarmist sources on the subject – is that it was NOT an academic paper, that it was important to NOT regard it as an academic paper and that we must remember that it didn’t pass through peer review, that it was simply a report prepared for the government, with no value as an academic study, not written to the standards demanded of academe and so on.

    Did that change? When? Why?

  • NewYorkJ

    Last year in July alone the unit received 60 FoI requests from across the world. With a staff of only 13 to cope with them, the demands were accumulating faster than they could be dealt with. “According to the rules,” says Jones, “you have to do 18 hours’ work on each one before you’re allowed to turn it down.” It meant that the scientists would have had a lot of their time diverted from research.
    A further irritation was that most of the data was available online, making the FoI requests, in Jones’s view, needless and a vexatious waste of his time. In the circumstances, he says, he thought it reasonable to refer the applicants to the website of the Historical Climatology Network in the US.
    He also suspected that the CRU was the target of a co-ordinated attempt to interfere with its work “” a suspicion that hardened into certainty when, over a matter of days, it received 40 similar FoI requests. Each applicant asked for data from five different countries, 200 in all, which would have been a daunting task even for someone with nothing else to do. It was clear to Jones that the attack originated from an old adversary, the sceptical website Climate Audit, run by Steve McIntyre, a former minerals prospector and arch climate sceptic.
    “We were clearly being targeted,” says Jones. “Only 22% of the FoI enquiries were identifiably from within the UK, 39% were from abroad and 39% were untraceable.” What irked him was that the foreign applicants would all have had sources closer to hand in their own countries.
    “I think they just wanted to waste our time,” he says. “They wanted to slow us down.”

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017905.ece

    The funniest spin by the contrarian cult above was that issuing many FOI requests was intended to make the procees faster.  Please.

    I do think increasing their staff to handle the barrage of frivolous requests from dubious characters is a good idea, as it overwhelmed Jones to the point of making a couple of inadvisable suggestions.  I also think the resolution to move Jones to a different position that doesn’t involve as many admin duties is something we should all agree was a good idea.

    So that’s what “ClimateGate” boils down to:  a couple of inadvisable suggestions to delete emails provoked by frivolous requests from  ideologues and an inadequate admin staff, which if U.S. deniers have their way, will be eliminated entirely.  The rest of “ClimateGate” is a ridiculous amount of lies and false presumptions directed at scientists.

  • NewYorkJ

    #186,

    My understanding, according to McIntyre, was that the Wegman Report was a strong piece of work that should be held in higher regard than the peer-reviewed literature.

    http://climateaudit.org/2007/11/06/the-wegman-and-north-reports-for-newbies/ 

    Did that change?  Obviously, it’s too late for McIntyre to throw Wegman under the bus.  Can’t apply the same standards to one of your own.

  • NewYorkJ

    And yes, the Wegman Report is not a reliable source.  It’s good to see some people dispensing with the illusion that it is.  It also illustrates the importance of peer review.

  • Tom Fuller

    Oh, New York J, what you’re peddling in #187 is laughable. The sixty requests were duplicates asking to see third party confidentiality agreements. Oh, those poor, beleaguered bureacrats.

    Those confidentiality agreements were cited as the reason why previous FOIA requests had been rejected.

    If they had the confidentiality agreements to hand, it would have taken about an hour to provide all that was needed for all 60 requests, especially as many were duplicates. If they didn’t have them, it would have taken no time at all. Of course, they might then have had to revisit their reasons for rejecting previous FOIA requests, wouldn’t they?

  • Tom Fuller

    New York J, I’m sure there’s a time and place to discuss Wegman. For now, I’m interested in discussing Michael Mann’s forwarding Phil Jones’ request to delete all emails regarding AR4 to Gene Wahl, who subsequently did so. Go commune with John Mashey if you want to sit under that bridge and mumble.

  • Stu

    “I do think increasing their staff to handle the barrage of frivolous requests from dubious characters is a good idea, as it overwhelmed Jones to the point of making a couple of inadvisable suggestions.”

    Might want to check your dates there, NYJ. The Jones ‘delete any emails’ was written on or before May 29, 2008.

  • NewYorkJ

    Stu,

    The harassment began well before then.

    Tom,

    I understand why you don’t want to talk about Wegman.

  • Tom Fuller

    Another time, and another day. CRU received an average of 3 FOIA requests per year in the 5 years prior to July 2010.

  • Stu

    “Stu,

    The harassment began well before then.”

    Why don’t you tell us all about it?

     

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    Stu beat me to it. But yeah, make that case NYJ. I was waiting for Marlowe, but perhaps you can get a head start. Define “harassment” and give specific examples in support. You make the case that it’s said can be made, yet strangely never is.

  • NewYorkJ

    Some reading material…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/close-encounters-of-the-absurd-kind/

    A shortcoming of the inquiries was that they didn’t closely examine the behavior of McIntyre and company.  When you examine the accounts of all those McIntyre harasses and read his own writings, it’s clear he’s not operating in good faith and is on fishing expeditions designed both to waste the time of researchers and intimidate.  His sum of contributions to science has been negligible, and overshadowed by the behavior.  There’s no accountability for McIntyre’s actions.  This of course wasn’t the direct focus of the inquiries, but such context is important to understanding why Jones reacted the way he did in a few instances.

    A fine example was McIntyre’s disgraceful rhetoric in creating the false “Yama” controversy, which was based on his own misunderstanding at best, and willfull deceit at worst.  He even inadvertently revealed that some data he first claimed hadn’t been sent to him was in his hands the whole time.  Few of his followers seemed to care they had been mislead.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/10/06/mcintyres-role-in-the-latest-teapot-tempest/

    Lastly, note the exchange Bart had with Tom.  Aside from Tom’s consistent “ClimateGate” drumbeat that continues (must be slow sales of his book these days), Bart’s simple observations says it all:

    Scientists are human too: Accuse them too often of fraud, and they’ll stop listening to you.

    ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/tom-fullers-advice-for-warmists/

    It’s laughable for the crowd of smear merchants to whine about scientists not listening to them.  If they want a seat at the table, they should clean off the mud they slung on it first.

  • http://www.hopkinson.net Simon Hopkinson

    DZZZZZ! Thank you for playing. No, NYJ, we’re looking for, at the bare minimum, a chronology of requests/FOIs to substantiate the claim of harassment. Verheggen’s and Santer’s anecdotes can be compared directly with Jones’ emails describing how he actively – some might even say gleefully, boastfully, proudly.. – obfuscates in response to requests from McIntyre.

    Remember that even the whitewash enquiries couldn’t absolve the scientists of their obstructionism and obfuscation. They didn’t really even try, and found firmly against the scientists’ antics in these regards.

    Lesson: If you intend to complain about someone bleeding all over your Axminster, be sure not to be the one caught wildly stabbing them with a knife.

    Marlowe, you’re up. Care to substantiate your claim that a case can be made, with.. yanno.. a case?

  • Stu

    “A shortcoming of the inquiries was that they didn’t closely examine the behavior of McIntyre and company.”

    Gee- something we can finally agree on? Although in your heart of hearts I’m sure even you probably undertstand the real reason McIntrye wasn’t invited to the party.

    Your link to Bart’s post is interesting. Especially since you two have both been so at pains in protecting Gavin Schmidt from recent accusations of having said things he hasn’t actually said. But this is different, right? Because this is McIntrye, right?

  • Stu

    PS-

    ” it’s clear he’s not operating in good faith and is on fishing expeditions designed both to waste the time of researchers and intimidate. His sum of contributions to science has been negligible, and overshadowed by the behavior.”

    Sounds like you got this memo…

    Keven Trenberth says-
    “the response should try to somehow label these guys and lazy and incompetent and unable to do the huge amount of work… …So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.”

    I guess you’re familiar with the word ‘aspersion’…

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aspersions

    I don’t think he was talking about sprinkling water at a religious ceremony.

  • Steven Sullivan

    I think he’s talking about calling a spade a spade.


     

  • Tom Fuller

    Pity he didn’t delete it.

  • Steven Sullivan

    And btw, let’s pay attention to context, mmmkay?  Here’s the awful, awful thing Trenberth wrote…in context. (Which itself is int he context of an email Jones sent, which itself was in reply to another…)

    “Hi Phil
    I am sure you know that this is not about the science. It is an attack to undermine the science in some way. In that regard I don’t think you can ignore it all, as Mike suggests as one option, but the response should try to somehow label these guys and lazy and incompetent and unable to do the huge amount of work it takes to construct such a database. Indeed technology and data handling capabilities have evolved and not everything was saved. So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.

    How about “I tried to get some data from McIntyre from his 1990 paper, but I was unable because he doesn’t have such a paper because he has not done any constructive work!”

    There is no basis for retracting a paper given in Keenan’s message. One may have to offer a correction that a particular sentence was not correct if it claimed something that indeed was not so. But some old instrumental data are like paleo data, and can only be used with caution as the metadata do not exist. It doesn’t mean they are worthless and can not be used. Offering to make a correction to a few words in a paper in a trivial manner will undermine his case.”


    It’s not like Trenberth et al. secretly believed Stevie Mac et al were serious about science, and were onto something.  They believed SM et al were nasty pieces of work with a nonscientific agenda to undermine climate science, who at the time had not done constructive, original work, nor submitted it to peer review…the gauntlet that all scientists have to run.



     

  • Steven Sullivan

    #202 Yeah, Fuller, every scientist should have realize that some day their email gripes would be targets for feces-hurling howler monkeys on the Interwebs.

    How proud you must be of your ‘constructive work’.

  • Stu

     

    If NYJ wants to make shit up, such as his 187 post that Phil Jones was compelled to delete emails due to a “barrage of frivolous requests from dubious characters” and people want to believe that, well… more power to NYJ I guess, and less to those who believe him. It’s worth saying though… that he’s simply full of shit.

    Feeling empowered yet?

     

     

  • Steven Sullivan

    Phil Jones could have deleted his entire email archive…and the global climate would still keep warming, because we’re still pumping C02 into it.  Stupid climate!  Why can’t it be more *skeptical*?

     

  • Tom Fuller

    Sullivan, Climategate wasn’t about the science. It was about the scientists. As the IPCC used the Hockey Stick chart 6 times in AR4 and John Houghton had it as a backdrop when he presented the report, deleted emails showing that the Hockey Stick was improperly constructed and presented and that objections to it had been noted, ignored and actively obstructed are a legitimate target of scrutiny.

    Phil Jones knew it. He recalculated UHI and significantly increased his estimate of it.

    Keith Briffa knew it. He called Mann’s work ‘weak’ and said that temperatures 1,000 years ago matched today’s.

    Wigley and Cook knew it. They expressed deep reservations about paleoclimatic data and the specific analysis used by MBH.

    It was a worthwhile exercise to find this out. Pity we had to.

  • NewYorkJ

    On the efforts to resuscitate a manufactured scandal on life support…

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/03/wahl-to-wahl-coverage/

    Political hacks know how to play the telephone game too.

    Stu,

    Let me start the Trenberth quote for you.

    “I am sure you know that this is not about the science. It is an attack to undermine the science in some way.”

    So he stated his sincere view (which is entirely accurate) up front.  You left it out because you wanted to portrary his words as disingenuous – somehow contrary to what he really believed.

    Tom Fuller 1.0 would not find you to be a man of honour.

    I noticed Steven covered this in #203 as well, and #205 doesn’t help your case.  It merely confirms your head is buried too far in the sand at this point to breathe.

    Dr. Mann was also spot on in his response to Jones on the same issue with China stations, and is exactly how the Yamal thing played out.

    “This is all too predictable. This crowd of charlatans is always looking
     for one thing they can harp on, where people w/ little knowledge of the facts might be able to be convinced that there is a controversy. They can’t take on the whole of the science, so they look for one little thing they can say is wrong, and thus generalize that the science is entirely compromised.”

  • Tom Fuller

    One little thing to harp on… Care to tell the crowd by how much Phil Jones changed his estimates of the effect of UHI on land temperatures? Ooooh, those harpies! Allus harping. And nitpickin. Ooooh.

  • Tom Fuller

    As for the scandal on life support, this is what Real Climate shows on my screen right now…

    Tom Fuller says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    9 Mar 2011 at 5:54 PM
    What are the ethical responsibilities of an intermediary who conveys a message? Michael Mann knew from prior correspondence that what Phil was requesting was questionable at best. By forwarding the correspondence to Wahl, is he implicitly endorsing Jones’ request?
    Does Mann have a duty of care or ethical responsibility in this case? I believe so. I believe he owes Wahl something”“I’m not sure what. I strongly believe he owes Jones a caution regarding his behaviour. And I believe he owes something to a larger group, although I am not sure if that group is science, society, or what.
    You people sure do create interesting dilemmas for yourselves and the rest of us.

  • NewYorkJ

    And Tom wonders why he’s sometimes moderated at RC.  You have egg on your face again, Tom.  Best to give it a rest.

  • Stu

    “So he stated his sincere view (which is entirely accurate) up front.  You left it out because you wanted to portrary his words as disingenuous ““ somehow contrary to what he really believed.”

    His opinion that McIntrye was out to destroy climate science is his own, and he has every right to believe that. He also believed that the Team should make stuff up about McIntyre. I don’t get the impression that he’s being disengenuous from that email. Well, it was admittedly a ‘feeble suggestion’. I do get the impression that what Trenberth says about McIntyre should maybe taken with a grain of caution, don’t you?

    No, of course you don’t.
     

  • Tom Fuller

    Well, New York J, I am trying to figure out a reason why that comment should be moderated (or any comment I have ever submitted to RC–I’ve been a good boy over there, I have. It’s only poor Keith who has seen me at less than my best. Poor Keith…)

    Perhaps you can provide us with a reason why that comment shouldn’t be part of a conversation about Michael Mann, Gene Wahl and the Climategate emails.

  • Stu

    PS- disingenuous, not disengenuous, sorry. I thought I’d better correct that lest you think I was a Republican.

  • NewYorkJ

    Well, it was admittedly a “˜feeble suggestion’. I do get the impression that what Trenberth says about McIntyre should maybe taken with a grain of caution, don’t you?

    From the first quote and another quote you left out below, it seems Trenberth was being a little faceitous regarding “aspersions”.  It’s certainly well-accepted among climate scientists that McIntyre is lazy/incompetent/unconstructive/deliberately-wasting-everyones-time, as should be evident in Trenberth’s remark that followed your quote:
    Trenberth: How about “I tried to get some data from McIntyre from his 1990 paper, but I was unable because he doesn’t have such a paper because he has not done any constructive work!”

    Judging from some CA posts, it looks like McIntyre is doing similar cherry-picking of the same quotes as you.  Given this, McIntyre’s documented behavior, his propensity to make false accusations/insinuation about scientists while playing lose with the facts, you should perhaps take everything McIntyre and company says with a grain of salt.  The guy’s a smear merchant.  Think for yourself.

  • Stu

    “The guy’s a smear merchant.”

    I know you are so what am I?

    G’night NYJ.

  • NewYorkJ

    “The guy’s a smear merchant.”
    I know you are so what am I?

    An unquestioning follower of one.

    Regarding the Trenberth exchange, note the evidence for harassment.  Respectable scientists when they don’t like the results of a paper will voice their opinions to the journal or more importantly, submit a peer-reviewed rebuttal detailing the criticisms.  Others have a different approach.

    Keenan (part of the McIntyre team) to Wang:

    I ask you to retract your GRL paper, in full, and to retract the
    claims made in Nature about the Chinese data. If you do not do so, I intend to publicly submit an allegation of research misconduct to your university at Albany.

    Jones:

    I can live with the web site abuse, but the Keenan
    letter knocked me back a bit.

    I seem to be the marked man now !

  • Tom Fuller

    Keenan was not part of a McIntyre team, something which you have invented out of whole cloth.

    Keenan was, however, correc tin his criticism of the Chinese data, something you seem willing to gloss over in your never-ending crusade for courtesy on the part of your opponents–have you ever tried the tactic?

  • NewYorkJ


    Keenan was not part of a McIntyre team, something which you have invented out of whole cloth.

    Keenan references McIntyre.  McIntyre references him.  They both are big on the ad homs.  “Team” is defined loosely, like how McIntyre defines it.
    Keenan was, however, correc tin his criticism of the Chinese data, something you seem willing to gloss over in your never-ending crusade for courtesy on the part of your opponents”“have you ever tried the tactic?
    Not exactly.  There was a small grain of substance combined with a ton of fluff, as is the case with the various bluster that comes out of the contrarian crowd.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Does-Urban-Heat-Island-effect-add-to-the-global-warming-trend.html

    But that’s more of a red herring.  Annan et al. and others were correct about Schwartz’s climate sensitivity estimate, but threatening to issue public allegations of academic misconduct if he didn’t comply to all requests and retract his study (something not done very often in science) is inappropriate and constitutes harassment and possibly defamation, especially Keenan’s claim in E&E that Wang “fabricated” scientific claims, and trying to get the FBI to arrest him for “fraud”.  And contrarians complain scientists don’t listen to them…

  • Tom Fuller

    So because Keenan references McIntyre he’s part of his team? You gotta be kidding me.

    As for Jones and UHI, why don’t you quote from his paper instead of skeptical sciency stuff?

  • NewYorkJ


    As for Jones and UHI, why don’t you quote from his paper instead of skeptical sciency stuff?

    Knock yourself out.

    http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5610/b080830/c416122.pdf

    Make sure you understand what is being said, then compare results to the 1990 paper’s conclusions (note the time period) and CRUTEM3v (current analysis).  Hint:  Pielke Sr. doesn’t like it.  2nd hint:

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2010/1003/full/news.2010.71.html

  • Tom Fuller

    ~So, New York J, how much did Jones estimate the UHI at in 1990 and how much in his recalculation?

     

  • Stu

    Bit like the hockeystick. The story seems to become a little more credible with age.

     

  • NewYorkJ

    More relevant questions: 

    What relevant points did financial trader Keenan make that were not covered in the peer-reviewed literature since the 1990 study?

    What were the comparisons between the new and existing CRUTEMv3 analysis?

    How much non-urban warming has been observed in China since the period of the 1990 study?

    What were the effects of station moves and missing data on the record, Keenan’s primary reason for hysterics?

    How did Keenan’s charge of fraud turn out?

    All covered above, children.

  • Tainted Like

    NewYorkJ, you have not read Keenan’s letter about this
    http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5610/b101201.htm

  • Stu

    NYJ-
    “Let me start the Trenberth quote for you.

    “I am sure you know that this is not about the science. It is an attack to undermine the science in some way… “

    So he stated his sincere view (which is entirely accurate) up front.  You left it out because you wanted to portrary his words as disingenuous ““ somehow contrary to what he really believed.”

    If you want to talk about Jones 1990 and the context in which the Trenberth quote arose, better to apply a little more granularity. This is a fairly long story, so pull up a chair…


    http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/03/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-1/

    The Trenberth quote is in part 2,

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/04/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-2/

    Part 3 is here

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/11/06/phil-jones-and-the-china-network-part-3/

    You will note that even Tom Wiggly had come to the conclusion that Wang had committed fraud. I’m not sure if you’d call him a ‘smear merchant’. The authors had made a claim- and that claim could not be substantiated. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable about the inclusion of Jones 1990 in AR4.

  • Stu

    Heh- Tom Wigley- not Wiggly. Damn Republicans getting in my brain. (or lack of coffee)

  • NewYorkJ

    Here’s some more context…
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/02/the-guardian-disappoints/

    One highlight regarding Keenan.

    As an aside, Keenan has made a cottage industry of accusing people of fraud whenever someone writes a paper of which he disapproves. He has attempted to get the FBI to investigate Mike Mann, pursued a vendetta against a Queen’s University Belfast researcher, and has harassed a French graduate student with fraud accusations based on completely legitimate choices in data handling. More recently Keenan, who contacted Wigley after having seen the email mentioned in the Pearce story, came to realise that Wigley was not in agreement with his unjustified allegations of “˜fraud’. In response, Keenan replied (in an email dated Jan 10, 2010) that:

    .. this has encouraged me to check a few of your publications: some are so incompetent that they seem to be criminally negligent.
    Ҭ
    Sincerely, Doug

    Lastly, why can’t anyone seem to identify any unique and consequential insights that Keenan has made?  The issue with missing data and stations moves was put to rest in Jones et al. 2008.  What makes Keenan an honorary member of the McIntyre Team is the fact that he’s short on substance, and attempts to gain attention with personal attacks.  He’s experienced in that.

  • Tom Fuller

    So, New York J, what was Phil Jones’ estimate of UHI in 1990 and what was his recalculated estimate?

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and 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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