Climate Critics That Won't Muzzle Themselves

By Keith Kloor | June 17, 2011 7:35 am

Mark Lynas is digging in his heels and standing up for principle, or, if you’re inclined to view this escalating controversy over IPCC process and ethics, he’s being a handmaiden for the Dark Side in the endless climate wars.

In his latest post, Lynas uses the analogy of an Exxon-Mobil employee being a lead IPCC author to explain further why this episode is so upsetting to him. He then writes:

How is the Exxon scenario different from what has just happened with the IPCC’s renewables report? And why ““ when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence ““ has the response of the world’s green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves? That this was spotted at all is a tribute to the eagle eyes of Steve McIntyre. Yet I am told that he is a “˜denier’, that all his deeds are evil, and that I have been naively led astray by him. Well, if the “˜deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a “˜denier’. Indeed, McIntyre and I have formed an unlikely double-act, posing a series of questions ““ together with the New York Times’s Andy Revkin ““ to the IPCC report’s lead author Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, to which he has yet to respond.

Lynas goes on to discuss some of  his “green critics” that have “closed ranks” around the IPCC, which appears to have had the effect of reinforcing his initial criticism of the IPCC.

I think he’s perhaps misunderstanding the angry reaction he’s prompted from his otherwise erstwhile allies. In a comment at Lynas’ blog, Policy Lass, a liberal climate blogger, reveals what’s really bugging climate activists about Lynas’ highly publicized critique of the IPCC:

This is a war and as we all know, the first casualty is truth. This means that well-intentioned supporters of AGW who point out errors, perceived or real, serious or of no consequence, find their words used as ammunition to attack them and AGW in a cynical effort to affect public policy by raising unfounded doubt about the science. If you decide to speak out, you have to remember that no matter what your motives or intentions, your words will be spun to suit the needs of your opponent. Unfortunately, when you are involved in a war, you have to think strategically. Those who are naive about this become tools for their enemy’s advantage.

This is a variation on the Republican 11th commandment of politics, made famous by Ronald Reagan. Lynas, in refusing to muzzle himself, is likely to get squeezed further by the climate capos on the left.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate politics
  • http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com bigcitylib

    I notice that, as Mr. Lynas assertions from yesterday (the grey lit assertion, for example, and the assertion that Er 2010 shouldn’t have been assessed) have all been deflated, he’s moved out to a whole new set of assertions.  The outrage remains, but directed to a whole new set of facts! 

    As well, scribblers need to scribble, and I suppose he gets another days worth of martyrdom out of it.  More power to him.

  • Barry Woods

    Keith

    Mark appears to have deleted Policy Lass’ comment and my reply..

    Ie Am I the ‘enemy’ !

    Mark is called a ‘chenobyl death denier’ for his views on nuclear power.

    I’m called a ‘climate change denier’

    what next, etc

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    I don’t think that the alignment of Lynas and others is all that surprising.  There are two distinct issues here.  One, which Policy Lass discusses, is the issue of how Lynas’ attacks play into the hands of his political enemies, and two, the more interesting policy issue, which is the renewables versus nuclear mitigation decisions. So Lynas coming out against the IPCC on it’s use of a politically unfeasible scenario as it’s media headliner should have been expected.

    And on the conflict of interest, he seems to have a reasonable stance on the matter in the comments.

    “Bob -

    I agree that a transparent approach to conflicts of interest is better than banishment if the latter means a serious depletion of needed talent. That is why it is worrying that the IPCC has been having trouble framing and agreeing a CoI policy ““ I’ve asked for clarification on this but have heard nothing yet.”

  • kdk33

    Policy Lass…
    Noble cause corruption.

  • jeffn

    Shorter and more honest translation of Policy Lass… “For goodness sakes Mark, this hasn’t been about climate since 1992.  Jeez, open your freakin’ email and get back on point! How are we ever going to get the $30 billion global slush fund for ‘adaptation’ (wink-wink) that we all asked for in Copenhagen without a whopping energy tax on Americans? It’s very simple, you need a giant  tax hike for wind and solar but if they go the nuke route you don’t need a tax hike at all. Everybody knows this. ”
     

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

    Barry (2),

    Don’t get overexcited. The comments are still there. My link takes you right to the PL comment and I see your reply below it.

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

    A voice of sanity unexpectedly gets past the censors at Climate Progress:

    ….and so another “heretic” is to be burned at the stake for expressing his opinion.

    What have we learned here, children? No matter how concerned you may be for the welfare of the planet….. if you deviate from the Sacred Texts you are to be cast into the pit.
    No wonder people equate a belief in CAGW with a religion.

    I am stunned that people think that a paid employee of an advocacy group should be the lead author of a supposedly “scientific” body like the IPCC.

    Has anyone accused Mark Lynas of being in the pay of Big Oil or the nuclear power industry yet? That is the usual smear in cases like this.

  • http://skepticalscience.com grypo

    Why is that sanity?  It looks like a conflation of the issue.  Mark is not being burned at the stake.  Just like he was 2 days ago, he is involved in the mitigation war of nukes v renewables, a side that many of us are right there and aren’t going to leave him as he is an important advocate.  Just because Policy Lass tells him that his words are going to be used to thwart his own efforts doesn’t constitute the dramatic reenactment of witch hunts.  Joe Romm could have written that same piece last week with different circumstances.

    I’ll speak for everyone on the side of nuclear power as a smart politically feasible way to mitigate in the relative near future:  We are in  no way tossing Lynas overboard. There.  Are we sane yet?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “If you decide to speak out, you have to remember that no matter what your motives or intentions, your words will be spun to suit the needs of your opponent.”

    Goodness me! Can you imagine how a statement like this could be spun by your opponents?!

    Sometimes it is a case of losing the battle to fight the war. If it becomes widely known that you will dodge or deny even true statements for fear that they could give succour to your enemies, then soon nobody will believe you even when you’re right. You would say the same whether it was true or not, and so the statement conveys no information.

    However, if you tell the truth even when it hurts, then while it will cost you this time, it will pay back in the next battle when people believe that you say what you say because you think it’s true, not because it supports the party line.

    It’s a question of short-term thinking versus long-term. You sometimes need to fight the short-term battle to survive for the long-term one, but if you are forced into thinking short-term all the time, it means you’re losing.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Lynas had a potentially useful criticism and overreached. Now he’s shifting goal posts and acting persecuted.

    Where oh where have we heard that one before?

    It’s a testament to the character of those who don’t give in to the temptation to pull this that only a relative handful have.

  • Judith Curry

    I have a post on this over at Climate Etc., and have also highlighted Nullius in Verba’s comment in the discussion
    http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/17/an-opening-mind-part-ii/

  • RickA

    Its funny how some now want to ignore what he said, but focus on how he said it.

    It is just a tactic to derail the thread.

    The important issue to focus on is a partisan group using the IPCC group III to peddle propaganda as scientific fact and even embedding themselves into IPCC group III as lead authors.

    This is clearly wrong.

  • Menth

    #9 “If it becomes widely known that you will dodge or deny even true statements for fear that they could give succour to your enemies…”

    This was the general impression I got from the so-called “climategate” emails. I don’t have time to dig up a particular link but I recall reading a few that were along the lines of “if we come out and say ‘X’ then skeptics will be able to use it to say ‘Y’.”
    I may sound like a broken record here but the reason I visit this blog in particular is that there are many highly intelligent people who comment here from both sides that are well spoken and are able to yield or give credit to a well crafted counter argument. Uniform line toeing is the most credibility deflating thing in the world and only proves that a person is unhealthily ‘rooting’ for a particular side instead of the truth.

    I commend Mr. Lynas.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > If it becomes widely known that you will dodge or deny even true statements for fear that they could give succour to your enemies, then soon nobody will believe you even when you’re right.

    Indeed. By chance, Susan does not imply such irresponsible behavior.  But she does imply at PR strategies.

    For instance, trying to terminate an opponent’s credibility by portraying that opponent as “dodging or deny even true statements” is a very effective PR strategy.  This is not an common manoeuvre. That this manoeuvre is common can be easily shown.

    We do not know if “shown” means the same thing as the usage or “shows” in the press release.

  • NewYorkJ

    TB: Lynas had a potentially useful criticism and overreached. Now he’s shifting goal posts and acting persecuted.

    Where oh where have we heard that one before?

    It’s a testament to the character of those who don’t give in to the temptation to pull this that only a relative handful have.

    And he’s dismissing any critique of his arguments as “circling in the wagons”, a classic Judith Curry rhetorical trick.  Soon criticisms will be merely “gotchas”.

    As for the comment by Policy Lass, I figured Keith would use a comment like that to dismiss all criticism.  I actually responded to another commenter on that issue:
    I think the argument (if I interpret it right) that Mark shouldn’t say something because deniers or anti-mitigation ideologues will use it is somewhat off-base. Deniers distort, use, and misuse anything and everything they think they can get away with. This week blogs and various media sources took a prediction of low sunspot activity and turned it into talk of a coming little ice age.
    The validity of the argument is what’s most important. What Mark said here is largely inaccurate, yet the headline of this post remains.

    http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/new-ipcc-error-renewables-report-conclusion-was-dictated-by-greenpeace/#comment-1953

  • Jeff Norris

    WOW.  So according to Policy Lass speaking out does mean you don’t support the troops and you are aiding the enemy.  Well at least now I know why Cindy Sheehan is no longer so prominent in the media.  :)

  • raypierre

    But Keith,  ExxonMobil employees DO write as lead authors for the IPCC.  I worked myself with Haroon Kheshgi and his insights are very valuable. I am on an NRC climate panel with Arthur Lee of Chevron Mobil, and while I’m not aware that he’s ever written for IPCC, his insights are certainly of a type that would be most welcome.   Not all fossil fuel industry employees are rabid advocates, and many have extremely valuable technical insight.  Same goes for NGO’s like Greenpeace.  One has to look at the actual argument and the person involved not just their parent organization.  IPCC is a big tent.
    But, Keith, if you’re going to fling around names like “climate capos,” I’m out of here. Too bad, because I’ve occasionally enjoyed some of the insights that come up here, but with this, you’ve just about completely lost my respect.

  • http://www.veteransfreedomfarm.org steven mosher

    Re17
    “One has to look at the actual argument and the person involved not just their parent organization.  IPCC is a big tent.”
    Cool. put McIntyre on the writing team.

  • Matt B

    Keith & Mark,

    This post from Roger Pielke, when his shunning from all the right climate “authorities” was really starting to kick in, may be germane to your situations:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/10/giant-fish-big-fish-and-minnows-of.html

    The best of luck to you two!

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

    Ray,

    You write:”One has to look at the actual argument and the person involved not just their parent organization.”

    I agree with that entirely and I think you (and others) make legitimate points about the affiliations. I’d like to tackle that–or see someone else address that–in an upcoming post.

    As for my capo reference, you should consider the context I make it in, which refers to strong-arm tactics by partisans on the left and right side of this debate. Please see this recent post and this one for some context.

    I’m gratified to hear that you have found this blog a source of insight on occasion (I have some smart readers and commenters to thank for that). But you should also keep in mind that I’m a writer and that I also aim to entertain. If I didn’t succeed at that to some degree, I doubt I could keep people coming back.

  • Tom Fuller

    Instead of following the post-game show, let’s look back at the instant replay.

    Teskes co-authored a report that claimed renewables could provide 77% of energy needs by 2050, a report that did not provide evidence for its claims. (But which I believe is within the realm of possibility if you believe the underestimates of energy needs.)

    Teskes is then appointed to IPCC review board.

    Teskes reviews his own paper.

    His paper is an outlier among other estimates, but is used as iconic representation of the results.

    Hmm. Where have we seen this before?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    +1 @10
    Stephan Singer echoes Ray’s sentiment over at Lynas’ blog:

    ” Its a fundamental myth to believe that “lobbyist scientists” from business and NGOs alike are all biased and university scientists are all neutral.

    Tom,

    Dan Kammen has already pointed out that there were other, more optimistic, scenarios so do you think it’s fair to characterize it as an outlier, rather than just at the upper end of the range? Can you point me to the part of the report or the press release where the Teskes scenario is “used as iconic representation of the results” rather than an upper estimate?

  • Tom Fuller

    Instead of focusing on the trivial aspects Marlowe (based on the differences of our own opinions), why don’t we talk about the important aspects?

    Is it or is it not horrible practice to have an IPCC reviewer review his own work for a report?

    Is it or is it not horrible practice to highlight (or even mention) an outlying finding in a press release and summary released a month before the report?

    At some point one has to wonder about the level of professionalism of those involved in this.

  • Barry Woods

    6

    Keith I’m not getting excited, just pointed out that the quote had gone….  ‘ark did say he had had to do a bit of pruning and make have inadvertantly taken a few comments with it

  • jeffn

    Keith, did you notice this gem early in Romm’s post where he’s attacking people who bizarrely claim that we were ever told that fighting global warming would be easy and cheap:

    “it would cost more than $10 trillion in investment over the next two decades alone and require many major policies changes.  Duh.”

    That’s some kind of inflation! Romm’s site said it would cost $22 billion when there was a bill on the table to actually do it and Romm’s party needed him to say the “right” thing.

    Good to know now that Waxman-Markey proposed only 1/455th of the true cost!  http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2009/06/22/204267/cbo-stunner-waxman-markey-postage-stamp-a-day-low-income-families-efficiency-savings/

    Incidentally, I did a search on that old story for “$10 trillion” and couldn’t find it. Then I did a search for the word “trillion” on the story and couldn’t find that either. Weird. But anyhow, anyone know where I can find the link to the president’s budget proposal to spend $500 billion per year for the next 20 years on windmills and solar panels? No? Okay, how about Harry Reid’s? Nancy Pelosi’s?

  • Barry Woods

    silly smartphone touch keyboard   typos, sorry

  • Marlowe Johnson

    “Is it or is it not horrible practice to have an IPCC reviewer review his own work for a report?”

    If it was the only scenario selected and he was the only one reviewing it, then yes.  But since he was one of several lead authors and several other scenarios were also assessed, I don’t see a problem.  Do you?  Now whether or not the Teskes scenario should have been singled out with the other 3 for in-depth review is a legitimate question, but it seems to me that one should be prepared to make a technical argument for or against its inclusion, rather than a political argument – as Lynas has done – based on the affiliation of one its authors.

    “Is it or is it not horrible practice to highlight (or even mention) an outlying finding in a press release and summary released a month before the report?”

    I think you’ll find broad agreement here and elsewhere that the delay between the release of the SPM and the final report is not optimal.

  • http://rustneversleeps.wordpress.com rustneversleeps

    jeffn,
    The term “apples and oranges” comes to mind.
    Romm’s $10 trillion is talking about GLOBAL spending FROM ALL SOURCES (most of which would be private). This is in line with the estimates for the 450 Scenario by the IEA – and many other sources. CURRENT global spending on renewables alone is about $243 billion and growing rapidly.
    It’s tedious wading through otiose point-scoring – especially when it’s so detached from what is actually being discussed.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    but it seems to me that one should be prepared to make a technical argument for or against its inclusion, rather than a political argument ““ as Lynas has done ““ based on the affiliation of one its authors.

    I think it’s fair to advance both arguments and it seems both have been made. It was unwise to not only include that scenario but highlight it relative to others. It appears the person who advanced the scenario was put in a position to elevate the visibility of results under that scenario.  It appears they did so, suggesting that the conflict of interest on the part of a reviewer existed and the reviewer  as not able to set aside his bias.  Moreover, even including other reviewers did not prevent some bias in the overall process.

    If we were to look at lessons learned, this suggests it is poor practice to have anyone review their own work, even if they are working on a small team and even if they review other work.

    I don’t think it is possible to learn the right lesson if someone claims there is a rule that someone may not notice, comment on or criticize the IPCC for appointing someone to review his own work.

  • Tom Fuller

    rustneversleeps, don’t confuse investment with spending. in 2010, there was a really cool power law breakout:

    Total spending on energy was about $5 trillion
    Total spending on renewable energy was about $500 billion (results somewhat underperformed in terms of bang for the buck…) But the article you refer to show that investment is rebounding strongly, which is all to the good.

    The cool power law extension was that spending on solar power was $50 billion.

  • Carrick

    Jaded comment from Policy Lass: <i> Those who are naive about this become tools for their enemy’s advantage</i>

    The biggest advantage you can have in a policy debate is to be truthful, and the biggest advantage you can confer your enemy is to either lie, or or dissemble when somebody on “your side” has lied.

    Yes you take a hit when people prepare dishonest press releases and are then called on it. You take a bigger hit if you don’t own up on it.  The biggest damage is in the attempted cover up, not in the crime.

    The latter can happen through stupidity (blunders in papers happen…it’s just part of being human), the former only with foresight, so it is much more damaging because it pegs you as dishonest and untrustworthy.

  • http://rustneversleeps.wordpress.com rustneversleeps

    @ Tom,

    The point is that the CBO estimate for Waxman-Markey is TOTALLY non-sequitur with respect to “$10 trillion”. And it’s tedious to even have to read inanity like “it’s off by a factor of 455! Harry Reid! Nancy Pelosi!” or whatever.

  • Les Johnson

    I had posted this at Mark Lynas’s website. To me, it summarizes the issue.

    1. An activist lobbying group writing a report with an industrial trade group, themselves lobbyists to the EU.
    2. Both receiving funds from the EU, to lobby the EU.
    3. Then having a the activist, and member of the activist group evaluate the paper written by the activist and the industry.
    4. Finally, presenting the evaluation to governments, including the EU, which the EU would presumably use to set policy.

    I agree that expertise from both sides of the debate should be engaged, but that in areas of conflict of interest, or even apparent conflict, then that party needs to recuse themselves, and publicly recuse themselves.
    Post facto circling of the wagons only makes the conflict appear worse.

  • NewYorkJ

    Marlowe: Now whether or not the Teskes scenario should have been singled out with the other 3 for in-depth review is a legitimate question

    Sure, but an answer to that is noted in the Summary, which Edenhofer highlighted:

    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/15/a-deeper-look-at-an-energy-analysis-raises-big-questions/?permid=19#comment19

    The problem with the climate entertainers (not a problem for them of course) is they form a narrative, then ask questions later, refusing to back down when the facts don’t really play out, accumulating a following to cheer them on, and acting persecuted when any legit criticism of their arguments comes their way.  I can see how it’s tempting for journalists/bloggers to do this.  You don’t get “people coming back” (Kloor #20) if you don’t “entertain”, writing some entertaining provocative headline about an IPCC conclusion “dictated by Greenpeace” for example.  When you look at their arguments, the signal to noise ratio is very small, likely to turn off many rational-minded individuals, but in favor of a larger audience.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    ” it is poor practice to have anyone review their own work, even if they are working on a small team and even if they review other work.”

    Fine, but then you have to accept the strong possibility that you won’t bet getting advice from the people with the relevant expertise. Personally, I don’t think that it’s a reasonable trade-off.

  • Tom Fuller

    I honestly don’t believe that the consensus ‘side’ has really understood the scope of this emerging problem. Climategate was more or less an introduction to the possibility of systematic bad practice. This is actually evidence that nobody responded substantively to the problems noted, and is potentially worse than Climategate, although I doubt it will generate as much furor or coverage.

  • harrywr2

    Unfortunately, when you are involved in a war, you have to think strategically.
    There is no long term strategic advantage to ‘hiding the truth’ in a war. Sooner or later the ‘truth’ comes out and any short term tactical advantage ends up being canceled out by long term credibility problems.

    Election cycles last two years…a President might last 8 years…a functioning climate policy has to endure for 100 years.


     

  • kdk33

    “The problem with the climate entertainers (not a problem for them of course) is they form a narrative, then ask questions later, refusing to back down when the facts don’t really play out, accumulating a following to cheer them on, and acting persecuted when any legit criticism of their arguments comes their way.”

    It’s fun to sometimes read these littel jewels in isolation.  Who wrote this?  A skeptic?  An alarmist?  A rational minded individual?

    The irony.

  • Zajko

    Agreed with #36. I find the most bothersome part of this episode the fact it happened in 2011. I can understand activists and industry groups taking advantage of opportunities and doing their thing – this is what I expect them to do. All IPCC WGs should have learned some lessons however, and been able to preemptively avoid these sorts of problems. This particular team appears to have done the opposite.

  • Matt B

    #38 @kdk33 

    i don’t care who you are, that’s pretty funny…………….

  • Menth

    @38
    +1
    Hilarious.

    Put “80 percent renewable energy” into google news and see how many articles come up in the past month that say things along the lines of:
    “the IPCC report says that nearly 80 percent of our energy needs, including rising demand in developing countries, can be met by 2050 through renewable energy sources”
    You can make an argument that people should read the fine print of reports but pretending like the report wasn’t angling for a sensational headline is a little disingenuous; it’s the very first thing they say in the press release http://bit.ly/mbipL5 .
    Always impressed by the intellectual contortions of those unwilling to concede a single point against their preferred ideology.

  • jeffn

    @32 Rust misses the point. Romm issues a sneering “no we didn’t, duh!” retort to the reminder that he and his pals used to argue that the switch to renewables was cheap and easy. I gave you a link to Romm making the argument that the switch was cheap and easy- unless you think most people translate “a postage stamp a day” into $10 trillion dollars.
    never-the-less, I’m surprised you haven’t trotted out the old standby: “no, no, Waxman was just a first step and we costed it accordingly.” Which is better known to as “bait and switch” or “if you think you hate it now, wait til we tell you what it will really cost!”
     

  • Frank Knitti

    I too feel that the use of “capos” went too far. A much more accurate term would have been “climate Leninists”. That way when folks clicked on the “climate (capos) Leninists” link they would have been met with the image of a man who is a dead ringer for Lenin if you put a beard on him. Leninists is also a much more befitting term in describing the political far left ruling watermellon types that have begun the revolution for climate justice.

  • EdG

    “This is a war and as we all know, the first casualty is truth.”

    Really? So Policy Lass is saying that it is OK to lie, apparently as a convenient excuse.

    It isn’t a war and it is not OK to lie. All the lies have an inevitable corrosive effect, as we can now see.

  • Sashka

    I’ll side with Carrick (31).
     

  • raypierre

    Keith, your problem is that you have no judgment and you are just too gullible. Anytime anybody who looks like  part of “the team” comes along and turns around and criticizes “the team,” you will fawn all over them without thinking about the actual factual basis or merits of their claims. Think Judy Curry, and now, Lynas.  There may or may not be something fishy about the specifics of the renewable energy claims under discussion here (I think not, though it’s certain that the practice of doing press releases in advance of the full report is available is a bad thing and needs to stop, no questions there) but you aren’t even asking the hard questions before jumping in on Lynas’ side.  Some of the defense of the IPCC may be knee-jerk, but a lot of it is in fact well-considered, from people who know the process and the checks and balances there — which can be improved, but are not by any means as bad as most people seem to think.

    Your other problem is that in your efforts to show what a big heart you have and be inclusive, you are blind to the real failings and chicanery of people like McIntyre and McKittrick.  The actual scientific consequence of these guys, relative to the noise they make and their character assasination operation against honest, earnest climate scientists is tiny, and they’ve pretty much lost any right to be taken seriously.  Note that the IPCC blunder on Himalayan glaciers  — something that really did reveal problems (though not fatal ones) in IPCC procedures — was outed first by professional glaciologists, both within and outside the IPCC. i.e. REAL SCIENTISTS, not noisemakers.

    McIntyre, McKittrick, and Watts are the Andrew Breitbarts of climate. Occasionally they may out something that is technically true, but it is always of minor consequence compared to the noise, and always a distraction from the truly important questions facing society.  That’s why, big as the IPCC tent may be, I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these clowns.
     

  • Tom Fuller

    raypierre, I’ll let Keith defend himself, although I find your accusations of him, McIntyre and McKitrick ridiculous to the point of general hilarity. What I will point out to you regarding the Himalayan glacier incident is that the scandal isn’t that an IPCC scientist pointed out the error.

    The scandal is that Rajendra Pachauri, having heard about this in 2004, stonewalled any action on this while his consultancy TERI was bidding on a contract to study melting Himalayan glaciers and that he called the scientist who informed him a practitioner of voodoo science.

    Your blinders keep you on a path and anyone not on the path is Satan’s Spawn (TM). Talk about knee-jerk reactions…

  • Menth

    Keith, your problem is that you have no judgment and you are just too gullible. Anytime anybody who looks like  part of “the team” comes along and turns around and criticizes “the team,” you will fawn all over them without thinking about the actual factual basis or merits of their claims.”

    Huh, here I always thought Keith appeared to give a nuanced, well considered take on things. Turns out if I could read his mind like raypierre can I would be able to tell he doesn’t do any “thinking about the actual factual basis or merits of their claims.”

    So earlier in the thread we are encouraged to listen to the argument and not tune it out purely based on affiliation but of course that doesn’t apply to Steve McIntyre, he’s a rapscallion prone to chicanery.
     

  • kdk33

    “REAL SCIENTISTS”

    Oh bother.  If I had a nickel…

  • kdk33

    The argument, you see, is about what we don’t know – climate change science has tremendous uncertainties, similarly the efficacy of the proposed very expensive solutions.

    The first requirement of those wanting to be the clearinghouse of climate change science information is that they be seen objective, impartial, fair arbiters, neutral advisors.  Because there simply aren’t, as some would have us believe, this set of demonstrable indesputable facts upon which decisions to take obvious actions can be based.

    Once you kinda get your mind around this, you don’t have much use for the IPCC.

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

    Ray (46),
    I am truly mystified by your comment. I’ve strived to play it pretty neutral on this issue in both of my posts. I don’t cheerlead or take sides, and avoid opining until the end of this post, when I simply  point out what I think is driving the knee-jerk reaction to Lynas (as illustrated in that Policy Lass comment).

    I don’t even talk about McIntyre (or McKittrick). In short, your beef seems way out of proportion to what I actually say in my posts.

  • NewYorkJ

    Raypierre: Keith, your problem is that you have no judgment and you are just too gullible. Anytime anybody who looks like  part of “the team” comes along and turns around and criticizes “the team,” you will fawn all over them without thinking about the actual factual basis or merits of their claims. Think Judy Curry, and now, Lynas.

    Very true, and Keith clearly isn’t alone in that regard, as can be seen at Curry’s blog and in the comments on Lynas’ blog.  I routinely get attacked by Keith whenever I dare link to a Romm piece (called “partisan” or what not).  Generally absent is any real critique of content.  Keith fancies his coverage as a “balanced” by taking on “both sides”.  Curry fancies herself as anti-tribal and open-minded.  Yet one can observe the following behavior.

    1.  Nearly all claims that “the team” or the IPCC are “alarmist” or corrupt are valid (not necessarily claims that the IPCC are too conservative though).

    2.  Nearly all criticism of such accusations at “the team” or the IPCC are evidence of tribal behavior, circling the wagons, and close-mindedness, never evidence that perhaps some of those accusations are inaccurate.

    #2 is a nice way to stifle dissent.  It’s also evidence of a cult, and clearly evidence that the cult most certainly doesn’t practice what they preach.

  • Matt B

    Raypierre is a bully.

  • Menth

    @52 Another nice way for a blogger to stifle dissent: ban all comments that disagree with or question the blogger. It’s also evidence of a cult.

    I would point out that neither Keith nor Judith are prone to doing this unless provoked by egregious abuse.
     

  • Pingback: Of Dogs and Fleas « The Policy Lass

  • John Carpenter

    Raypierre,
    Why not take the next logical step and conclude that M&M are not human and their work never even existed?

  • tom fuller

    newyorkj calling someone else a bully.

  • EdG
  • ivp0

    Reality check:  Mc & Mc repeatedly caught The Team with their pants down.  The Team denied, Mc & Mc patiently supported their assertions with clear factual evidence.  The Team will never get over it. As every thread unravels, and every loyal soldier goes AWOL it will always be Mc & Mc’s fault.

  • Pete H

    Raypierre has obviously never taken the time to read A.W. Montfords book, The Hockey Stick Illusion”.
    Had he taken the time he would possibly understand that, in the real world, when it is pointed out you have something wrong it is best to own up to it, thank the person for pointing it out, improve your work and carry on. Instead he tries to belittle S.M. and S.M. Sad really!

    It seems to me Lynas is at least being honest when he said ” If the “˜deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a “˜denier’ “.

    Obviously Raypierre takes a different view on integrity!

  • geronimo

    You point to the 11th commandment of the Republicans, but I believe you’ve missed the point, the 11th commandment of Republicans says “Thou shalt not criticize another Republican, come what may.” Lynas is, in fact, not criticizing anyone, he’s criticizing the process, and the ire rained down on him reflects the religious commitment of his critics more than their commitment to science.

    Ray Pierrehumbert will one day be ashamed of the words he’s used about the two Mcs. They’ve dismantled MBH 1998 and proved beyond doubt that the statistical methods used in that paper, and not explained, have not appeared in the statistical literature, and are not used outside of the climate science community because the give bias to any arbitrary changes in the the later part of the time series. Shame on you Ray P calling them clowns, the clowns are those people who once proved wrong continue to deny it in the hope that it will pass by. Unfortunately for the team, the AGW fad won’t last forever and upcoming generations of scientist will approach their work with more open minds and they will be exposed as scienists who cheated.

  • Aladin

    @raypierre #46
    <cite>I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these clowns.</cite>
    At least here, one clown could place his “opinion” with a lot noise

  • http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~colose Chris Colose

    Even if you think raypierre is being overly grouchy, consider this:

    A good way to gauge the scientific contribution of people like McIntyre (especially in cases like the hockey stick where few people have the time, or statistical background, to sift through every ClimateAudit, RealClimate, etc post and work it out themselves), is to follow the literature over time or go to scientific conferences with experts in that specific area.  Although only a certain number of papers have become high-profile because of the blogosphere, google scholar searches of things like the “Medieval Warm Period” (which is now referred to by those in the field as the Medieval Climate Anomaly) will reveal dozens and dozens of papers which can still be considered recent; the citation count for an individual paper is also a good proxy for its value to the scientific discussion (not necessarily its accuracy).  You can also read summary works like that of the National Academies.  When you do this, you find that the general picture of the an anomalously warm MWP (relative to surrounding areas), a colder LIA (in both cases, with large spatial and temporal heterogeneity), and anomalously warm late 20th century is robust to well over a decade of work. There are various wiggles that authors disagree on, but the broad picture painted back in 1998 by Mann, and echoed by many papers since then has not in fact changed very much.

    This is pretty much the case for any claim against “The Team” to date; as raypierre mentioned, the signal-to-noise ratio is incredibly small for people like McIntyre.  I can remember him pointing out an error in the NASA temperature reconstruction that ended up making 1934 the hottest U.S. year, but with virtually no global impact, and that story was blown out of proportion.  I cannot think of a single scientific contribution by him that has stood the test of time and has had such a profound impact on our understanding of climate, as many bloggers believe it has.  There has been some lessons learned, but when we zoom out to critical “broad brush” topics like the radiative forcing of atmospheric CO2, climate sensitivity, impacts of ocean acidification or sea level rise, etc, the “skeptic” camp has contributed virtually nothing to help understanding anything.
     

  • HAS

    raypierre

    I guess if you don’t have a history of collaborating with statisticians you might find it difficult to understand the value they bring.  Do you work with them much, or just stick to the physics?

  • Mike Edwards

    <blockquote>
    Marlowe Johnson Says:
    June 17th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    “Is it or is it not horrible practice to have an IPCC reviewer review his own work for a report?”

    If it was the only scenario selected and he was the only one reviewing it, then yes.  But since he was one of several lead authors and several other scenarios were also assessed, I don’t see a problem.  Do you?
    </blockquote>

    In a word: Yes.

    In political life, this is simply “conflict of interest” – and you will note that there are rules and procedures in many government institutions which aim to deal with this, for the very reason that it can and does bring those institutions into disrepute.

    So, it is very common in cases where there is conflict of interest (eg planning committee decisions) for the relevant persons to:

    a) declare their interest
    b) take no part in the debate on the matter in hand (often being required to leave the room during the debate)
    c) take no part in any decisionmaking votes

    In some cases, violating any of these steps can result in legal action.

    It seems that the IPCC has no such rules.  It should be no surprise that the result is to bring the IPCC into disrepute.
    As a result of this latest story about the IPCC, am I likely to believe what the IPCC says about renewable energy?  In a word:  No.   I shall look elsewhere for information on this subject.

  • http://scottishsceptic.wordpress.com/ Mike Haseler

    This is a great blog – and the comments are good.

    Only problem I have, is sitting here in Scotland in the middle of “summer”, I keep on putting on T shirts in the hope of a warm day and I now need to go and get a jumper.

    Already, mentally, I can see myself post rationalising the last two extreme winters, the many failed “BBQ” summer forecasts and thinking: “is this current weather part of the new Maunder Minimum”.

    And when I go and look at the “science”, everything I read is tainted with the knowledge that a lot of these scientists are some of the most partisan idiots you can get. In Scotland we have two big football teams: Celtic and Rangers – and there is traditional hatred between the two.

    Quite literally, listening to climate “scientists” talk about global warming or Maunder Minimum is like watching a football match where the referee is from one or other side. Everyone knows the result, what we don’t know is how good the teams really are. Likewise in climate “science”, we know they have this myopic view on the climate, what we don’t know is how important the two issues of CO2 and e.g. Maunder Minimum are.

    And to be frank … I can live with a few degrees of warming, so it really didn’t matter if our rich industrialised world wasted money on windmill ornaments like past generations built Nelson’s column or whatever folly suited the age.

    But, when it comes to a few degrees cooling … I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO TRUST SOME SCIENTISTS. And to be honest, I want to see some of those who have so discredited climate science locked up because WHEN they get it wrong because of their stupid bias, PEOPLE WILL DIE. Not in thousands, not even just millions, but potentially BILLIONS. And when people allow their own bias to so distort the subject that it becomes unusable as a basis for government policy, they really are criminals.

  • http://climatelessons.blogspot.com John Shade

    Comment 46 by ‘raypierre’ is an informative piece of writing, giving as it does some insight into the mind of a climate activist.  When the heat fades further from the intellectual fiasco of alarm over CO2, we shall value such insights for their help in trying to pin down just how such a disproportionate reaction to a weak hypothesis, reaching deep into political and economic and educational activities in many countries, could have occurred.

  • Hoi Polloi

    #17: “One has to look at the actual argument and the person involved not just their parent organization.  IPCC is a big tent.”
    Well… it’s rather: IPCC is a big cocoon. Ever read what Dr.Christy, one of the few sceptic real scientists there, had to say about working in the IPCC?
    The fact that Exxon et al are in the IPCC is purely follow the money; there’s a lot at stake financially.

  • aaron edwards

    Dr. Raypierre.

    You call McIntyre, McKittrick, and Watts practitioners of “chicanery” and “clowns”. You go on to say .”Occasionally they may out something that is technically true, but it is always of minor consequence compared to the noise, and always a distraction from the truly important questions facing society.”

    You do yourself a great disservice by blithly tossing out epithets like this. Did you earn your doctorate by such approaches to problem solving? Of course not. Show us where you have taken the intellectual time to skillfully dismantle even one of their key obervations. Enlighten us by use of the scientific method to precisly demonstrate where their reasoning on a crucial point is “clownish” or is grouned in “chicanery”. I want to know , I need to know. All of us need to know.

    Your comment that their efforts are of minor consequence and a distraction from  the truly important questions facing society is merely an opinion. Al Gore has opinions. Bill O’Riley has opinions.
    You are supposed to provide us with carefully reasoned arguments supported by facts and data that can be cross checked. You provide none.  The meaningless “noise” you say that make should easily be dismissed by someone of your stature. You give us nothing. That makes you incredible.

    Keep it up and you will be a mere footnote in the history of climate science. Worse, you will end up being irrelevent. Don’t do that to yourself. If these guys are lost in the dark turn on your high beams and light up the landscape so we can all see.

    All you accomplished by your comments was just another screach from the chimp house.

  • Paul S

    More power to your right arm, Mark Lynas!

  • Barry Woods


    I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these
    clowns.


    Famous reservoir dogs clip, with the music (50 secs in)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRbtEjv29z0&feature=fvwrel

    Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right

    Lyrics Chorus:

    Yes I’m stuck in the middle with you
    And I’m wondering what it is I should do
    It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face
    Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place
    Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right
    Here I am, Stuck in the middle with you.

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/s/steelers_wheels/stuck_in_the_middle_with_you.html

     Though I do prefer the Louise version….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TScOHSAR7Ec

    Mark Lynas, Judith Curry in the middle? Who is Mr Blonde

  • RickA

    Chris Colose #63:

    Steve McIntyre does not hold himself out as a climate scientist.

    I believe that by “auditing” climate science papers, he believes his role is to correct what he believes to be incorrect statistical techniques used incorrectly by climate scientists.

    In this regard he has made a very substantial contribution, and dramatically improved climate science going forward.

    Obviously the people who screwed up (Mann, Jones etc.) are not going to admit they messed up the statistics.  However, there is widespread agreement both in and outside the climate science community that statistical errors were made.

    If nothing else, all climate science papers going forward will pay much more attention to their statistics based on McIntrye’s work, and many recent papers have in fact used different and more refined statistics, to avoid being caught out fudging the data, and that is what I call a very significant contribution.

  • G. Karst

    raypierre:

    Here is the problem with integrity:

    One must have integrity in order to recognize integrity. If one is vacant of integrity then all other people seem to be lacking integrity. People who lack integrity think all peers are just like themselves. Sort of, like a thief thinks everyone is a thief and want to steal their stuff.
    raypierre, you need to be concerned with your own integrity and worry less about others. GK


  • hunter

    Ray,
    Thank you for showing us how ‘real scientists’ deal with reality. Your post is a great demonstration of what is wrong with climate science as an enterprise, and how more audits, critiques, and critical reviews are called for regarding anything you or your fellow ‘real scientists’ have said or written or testified to or spent with the the help of tax payers.

    If you think your fact-free argument by authority is going to reduce the number of skeptics in your already dubious work you are as mistaken as it is possible to be.
     

  • Judith Curry

    Keith, I’ve thought about raypierre’s comment over night.  The issue seems to be this.  Academics like raypierre seem totally disconnected from what the public wants and expects in a policy relevant debate.  The academics are mostly concerned with the academic and public reputations of themselves and their colleagues.  The public on the other hand is interested in accountability and independent analyses, which is what they have found in M&M and explains their enduring appeal to a large segment of people paying attention to this debate.  Whether M&M have recently published papers in the most prestigious science journals is irrelevant to the public.  The public wants policy relevant science to be held accountable.  And until the IPCC figures this out, we are probably going to see more calls for accountability and not less.

  • Tom Fuller

    Mr. Colose, I’m a bit confused here–what exactly is it you think Mann said and wrote about the MWP and the LIA, and how did that evolve?

    And both Mr. Colose and raypierre, I haven’t heard a word from you about R. Pachauri’s conduct wrt the Himalayan glacier scandal that raypierrre cited.

    But then I’ve never heard or read one word from the consensus side about it. They pulled the contract away from TERI after they found out.

    But then it disappeared down the memory hole.

  • Menth

    What Judith said.

  • http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~colose Chris Colose

    Tom,
    There are literally thousands of papers that deal with climate science, and maybe a dozen or so that receive the amount of interest Mann et al 1998 and a few related ones do.  There are many, many papers that attempt to use “clever” or new analysis and many ones that turn out to be flawed, especially in the case of pioneering efforts.  This is why people publish, so it can be subjected to peer review, and hopefully to add something to the discussion.  Even papers that turn out to be flawed but provoke significant discussion and raise new issues (Sagan and Mullen’s 1972 ‘Faint Young Sun’ paper comes to mind) are useful additions to the literature.

    Science does not evolve by some guy going on the blogs and then making himself the harbor for endless conspiracy theories and personal attacks against the authors of this paper under the guise of “auditing.”  Instead, he would publish his contentions, and then let the community decide.  If the original authors still stuck by their conclusions, then so be it, but at least there would be some semblance of real debate in the literature to which other scientists could then do similar studies and work out the issues independently. I bring up the MWP/LIA, I bring it up because there is a broad agreement concerning the original conclusions of Mann98, even if some of the methods and statistics were flawed.

    There are “flawed methods” all the time.  I can probably go through GRL’s list of publications over the last 30 days and find a bunch of papers where different choices can be made.  This is a difficulty in physical sciences, and especially in paleoclimate where information is attempted to be extracted in a rather indirect way.  A better way to advance science is to isolate those decisions and see how much they matter, and whether the conclusion is robust to a reasonable set of choices.  It is easy for McIntyre and his followers to jab at a number of papers from behind the scenes where they are not consttrained to justify their claims (and where they apparently have no regards for their credibility) but the “auditing” method has not been useful.

  • Tilo Reber

    Chris Colose: “When you do this, you find that the general picture of the an anomalously warm MWP (relative to surrounding areas), a colder LIA (in both cases, with large spatial and temporal heterogeneity), and anomalously warm late 20th century is robust to well over a decade of work.”

    I believe this is what we knew before Mann ever published the hockey stick.  What is it, exactly, that you believe Mann’s contribution to be?

    Raypierre: “you are blind to the real failings and chicanery of people like McIntyre and McKittrick.”

    Raypierre: “One has to look at the actual argument and the person involved not just their parent organization.”

    Raypierre, could you please provide me a link to Climate Audit where you pointed out to M&M what their failings and their chicanery were.  I would have thought that they would welcome your comments and that they would discuss them with you openly.   But if you made the attempt and they rejected your submission, as often happens at Real Climate, perhaps you could tell us about that.  Of course you may not consider it worth your time to “joust with jesters”; but if that is the case why do you take the time to rail against them in such an uprovoked way.

    Of course no chicanery exists at Real Climate:

    Michael Mann:
    “Anyway, I wanted you guys to know that you’re free to use RC.  Rein any way that you think would be helpful.  Gavin and I are going to be careful about what comments we screen through, and we’ll be careful to answer any questions that come up to any extent we can.   On the other hand, you might want to visit the thread and post replies yourself.  We can hold comments up in the queue and contact you about whether you think they should be screened through or not, and if so, any comments you’d like us to include.”

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

    Via Andy Revkin’s twitter feed, I see this article worth checking out.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    I don’t know how anyone can read Chris Colose’s last comment and not laugh at this:

    Science does not evolve by some guy going on the blogs and then making himself the harbor for endless conspiracy theories and personal attacks against the authors of this paper under the guise of “auditing.”  Instead, he would publish his contentions, and then let the community decide.  If the original authors still stuck by their conclusions, then so be it, but at least there would be some semblance of real debate in the literature to which other scientists could then do similar studies and work out the issues independently.

    It is about as absurd as you can get.  Steve McIntyre initially contacted the MBH authors in an attempt to resolve his concerns.  After that didn’t work, he wrote a paper explaining the issues he had found and submitted it.  Up to this point, things had progressed as Colose says they should.  So what changed?

    RealClimate.  Before McIntyre’s work got published, RealClimate was created, and it started “publishing” (amongst other things) criticisms of his unpublished work, many of which involved misrepresentations.  Due to RealClimate publishing misrepresentations online, McIntyre created his site (initially not a blog) in order to be able to defend himself.  So the only reason McIntyre even started on the web is because RealClimate didn’t do what Colose says should be done.

    It takes an extreme level of bias to accuse a person of doing what was actually done by his accusers, though that bias is obvious enough just by how Colose portrays McIntyre and ClimateAudit.

  • Tilo Reber

    Chris Colose: “It is easy for McIntyre and his followers to jab at a number of papers from behind the scenes where they are not consttrained to justify their claims (and where they apparently have no regards for their credibility) but the “auditing” method has not been useful.”

    I would have thought the exact opposite.  For example, we know that Mann used the Tijlander data upside down – twice.  I’ve been trying to get a justification or a rationalization for this being done and I cannot find one anywhere.  Let’s say that McKintyre had never pointed this out.  Where would we be?  We simply wouldn’t know.  Apparently the peer review didn’t catch it – twice.  So why are we so enamored of the peer review process as providing the stamp of quality?  I’ve seen Mann’s explanation for using it upside down, and it explains nothing.  And yet people refer to it as though it does.  And what about Mann’s use of the Graybill data?  Did any peer review figure out that the Graybill data was not reproducible and that the effect that Graybill documented was actually a split bark effect, not a warming effect?  I don’t understand where your faith in peer reviews comes from?  Science is better served by a critical blogger than a rubber stamping friend.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Tilo Reber, it is actually worse than your comment makes it sound.  First, I don’t know how you read Mann’s explanation for using Tiljander upside down.  As far as I know, he hasn’t even admitted to doing it, much less explained the decision (did I miss it?).

    In any event, there are not actually four Tiljander series.  One series is thickness, and that is just a combination of the lightsum and darksum series.  Despite this, Mann uses thickness, lightsum and darksum as different series.  It’s blatant double-counting, yet not only did it get through peer-review, even now nobody on the “consensus side” has admitted to it.  Not only do these people fail to find serious errors, they don’t admit the errors that get found.  I’d say auditing has been extremely useful.

    It’s also important to realize that is not the only case of series being flipped upside down.  It happened with plenty of others in Mann’s various papers.  Tiljander just happened to be the first time it happened with a series a paper’s conclusion depended upon.

  • http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~colose Chris Colose

    Brandon,
    No.  M&M “published” in Energy and Environment and had a rejected letter to Nature (which was then published online and discussed in secondary sources) before RC decided to get involved.
    Tilo,
    I have no “faith” in peer review as much as I recognize it as a process for moving science forward.  You might not like that standard, but it’s been the accepted standard in all fields of science going back to well over a century, and probably several centuries in various formats (a history of science expert could chime in).  It also serves as a forum for where experts are obliged to pay attention; no one is under obligation to read Real Climate, ClimateAudit, or any other site like that, and many experts don’t.
    I also don’t claim to have the expertise in Mann’s field, so I’m not going to take sides in “upside down” data or the technical issues underlying a particular dataset.  What is very obvious though is that there have been a number of published papers that do not agree with M&M’s views on the matter, and a large number of papers that agree with the general conclusions of MBH98 within uncertainty bars.

  • Tom Gray

    Colose writes:

    =================
    I also don’t claim to have the expertise in Mann’s field, so I’m not going to take sides in “upside down” data or the technical issues underlying a particular dataset.
    ===============

    The. upside down data is not in Mann’s field. it was data collected and interpreted by specialists. Mann chose to use it in opposite direction from that deduced by the specialists
    It was not only upside down but also invalid fro receent centuries because it was the result of human activity in farming. Mann chose to ignore that determination be specialists as well.

    But as will be pointed out, none of this matters. Nothing matters
     

  • Tom Gray

    re 84



    Why is it impossible for these climate scientists and their supporters to admit to any mistakes? Even if data is used in a way that is in disagreement with specialist interpretation, they cannot admit that it is incorrect. For Tijlander in particular, a spin selected was that the issue was very complicated and difficult to understand. How complicated can it be that the transfer function from proxy data to temperature would have one sign or the other? It would be either up or down.  Why is impossible for this group to admit to any error?




    The grand old Duke Of York
    He had ten thousand men
    He marched them to the top of the hill
    And he marched them down again
    When they were up
    They were up
    And when they were down
    They were down
    But when they were only half way up
    They were nether up nor down

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Chris Colose, that isn’t actually a disagreement.  I didn’t mention all the stages involved, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean my comment is incorrect.  MM published a paper in 2003, Mann released a corrigendum in 2004, and the paper I was talking about got published in 2005.  I could have mentioned the extra parts, but they didn’t seem to change anything.  My point was McIntyre’s blog came about because RealClimate attempted to discredit a paper he had written prior to it being published.  It was RealClimate’s circumvention of the publishing process that caused his blog to come into existence.

    I apologize if I caused confusion, but I assumed anyone who knew about the 2003 paper would know my discussion of RealClimate’s attempted preemption was in reference to the 2005 paper since that was the paper which had been submitted just prior to RealClimate being created.  I could have been more nuanced and detailed, but I didn’t think anyone here cared enough to bother.

  • kdk33

    The hockey stick is “not inconsistent” with a MWP and LIA.  Intersting.  The lack of warming for the last decade or so is “not inconsistent” with runaway AGW.

    Actually, I tried this at my bank.  I explained that, despite the fact I had written a check for an amount larger than my account balance.  My account balance was not inconsistent with the amount of the check.  Further, though there may be wiggles on which we might disagree, an account balance larger than the amount of the check could be robustly demonstrated, and I provided, as citations, many old bank statements.

    Bankers play by different rules.

  • Barry Woods

    I wonder if RayPierre and Bob Ward share notes – more clown insults (this time at Mark Lynas)

    Bob Ward: Such wild accusations like that put you in the same camp as the clowns who claim that all climate scientists are involved in a global plot to bring about a Communist world government.

    http://www.marklynas.org/2011/06/questions-the-ipcc-must-now-urgently-answer/#comment-2000

  • Foxgoose

    It’s noticeable that the <i>clowns</i> are always “brought on” when someone runs out of arguments.

    I think there should be a law like Godwin’s Law for the first person in a discussion to “bring on the clowns”.

    I think we should call it “Grimaldi’s Law.

  • Tilo Reber

    Brandon: “As far as I know, he hasn’t even admitted to doing it, much less explained the decision (did I miss it?).”

    Brandon, the only explanaition from Mann of which I’m aware is this:

    Mann:
    “The claim that “˜”˜upside down’ data were used is bizarre. Multivariate regression methods are insensitive to the sign of predictors. Screening, when used, employed one-sided tests only when a definite sign could be a priori reasoned on physical grounds. Potential nonclimatic influences on the Tiljander and other proxies were discussed in the SI, which showed that none of our central conclusions relied on their use.”

    First he tries to put people on their heels with the “bizarre” comment.  Then he claims that his regression method would not be sensitive to the sign followed by the explanation that they would only look at the sign if they had good physical reason to do so.  The context tells us that he doesn’t know the meaning of “a priori”, but it sounds professorial.

    Basically it comes down to this.  Their algorithm looks for data that confirms the instrument record.  It doesn’t care what sign is needed to confirm it, as long as it is confirmed.  This is a form of cherry picking that they seem to think is justified, but that is a discussion for another time.   Then Mann says, “Screening, when used, employed one-sided tests only when a definite sign could be a priori reasoned on physical grounds.”  So here he is basically admitting that they did not screen for the correctness of the sign because they saw no physical grounds for doing so.  Of course this is pure nonsense because Tijlander provided an explanation in her paper of why the hockey blade portion was bad data, and she provided a physical explanation for using the data in the reverse of how Mann used it.

    Then Mann falls back on the “it doesn’t matter what we screwed up, our final results are right”, explanation when he says, “Potential nonclimatic influences on the Tiljander and other proxies were discussed in the SI, which showed that none of our central conclusions relied on their use.”

    In other words, he claims that they don’t need bad Tijlander data because they can get the same results using bad Graybill data or bad Briffa Yamal data.

    McIntyre, using his evil chicanery, responded like this to Mann’s quote from above:

    “These comments are either unresponsive to the observation that the Tiljander sediments were used upside down or untrue. Multivariate methods are indeed insensitive to the sign of the predictors. However, if there is a spurious correlation between temperature and sediment from bridge building and cultivation, then Mannomatic methods will seize on this spurious relationship and interpret the Tiljander sediments upside down, as we observed.”

    It’s easy to see why Raypierre is so upset.

  • Brandon Shollenberger

    Ah, so that’s the “explanation” you’re talking about.  I thought it might be, but since it doesn’t actually explain anything, I didn’t want to assume it was.

    But yeah, I’d be upset too if I had to try to defend that sort of response.

  • http://www.adamant.typepad.com Russell Seitz

    54
    Unlike Keith & Judith, Watts  reflexively bans anybody who views his antics with amusement, which is a shame  as he often outdoes his SNL namesake.
    Except when he tries to be humorous.

  • http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~colose Chris Colose

    <i>It’s easy to see why Raypierre is so upset.</i>
    Except Ray is not a dendrochronologist or someone who makes millennial scale temperature reconstructions from proxy records, so I don’t know why he would be upset; he studies planetary atmospheres, and large climate questions (climate change being only one of them) involving radiative transfer and fluid dynamics.

  • http://www.aos.wisc.edu/~colose Chris Colose

    Eck…no html.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “I have no “faith” in peer review as much as I recognize it as a process for moving science forward.  You might not like that standard, but it’s been the accepted standard in all fields of science going back to well over a century, and probably several centuries in various formats (a history of science expert could chime in).”
    Well, I can’t claim to be an “expert”, but my understanding was that Journal peer review in the modern sense only became standard practice some time around the 1950s. The term has two different meanings, though. One is the community peer review – after a paper or letter has been published the scientific community try to test it – and journal peer review – which started as an editorial function to screen out the worst and collect together those results most worth examining further.

    In past centuries, science was slow enough that it could be conducted via letters sent from scientist to scientist. As the volume got greater, first societies were set up to collect and share results, and then journals to collate papers by topic and interest. Journal peer review only became the norm when the volume was great enough, and specialised enough, that no one editor could have all the time and expertise needed to assess all the work submitted. The aim is simply to determine if it is plausible, competent, and interesting enough to attract a paying audience. However, it was always obvious that a few weeks unpaid part-time examination by three or four experts was not comparable to the unlimited and motivated examination by the entire scientific community. The idea that journal peer review is a stamp of authority is a very new (and worrying) one.

    Nowadays, journal peer review seems to be conducted on the basis of considerations like: “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically…” if it is thought the paper “could really do some damage” if published as is. The real, community peer review on the other hand seems to fit McIntyre’s activities perfectly.

    Journals were the right answer prior to the internet, but I think that there are better ways now to solve the same problem – to efficiently keep up to date with all the research going on in your area. Approaches like Arxiv, aggregators, search engines, and – yes – even science blogs may be well worth exploring.

  • Tom Gray

    re 94

    Colose said this in relation to Tijlander and upside down data
    ===============
    <i>It’s easy to see why Raypierre is so upset.</i>
    Except Ray is not a dendrochronologist or someone who makes millennial scale temperature reconstructions from proxy records, so I don’t know why he would be upset;
    ==============

    Raypierre said this
    ==================
    McIntyre, McKittrick, and Watts are the Andrew Breitbarts of climate. Occasionally they may out something that is technically true, but it is always of minor consequence compared to the noise, and always a distraction from the truly important questions facing society.  That’s why, big as the IPCC tent may be, I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these clowns.
    ==============

    Maybe Colose should ask Humbert why he is upsetr

  • Tom Gray

    Raypierre said this==================McIntyre, McKittrick, and Watts are the Andrew Breitbarts of climate. Occasionally they may out something that is technically true, but it is always of minor consequence compared to the noise, and always a distraction from the truly important questions facing society.  That’s why, big as the IPCC tent may be, I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these clowns.==============

    McIntyre and  McKittrick have both been expert reviewers for the IPCC and had their published papers discussed in IPCC reports.

  • nvw

    Embedded in this thread is a neat summary with the problem with academics today. At comment #46 we have Professor Ray Pierrehumbert (referred hereafter under his blog name of Raypierre) criticizing the blog host for having an open mind towards consideration of both side of an argument. Raypierre is not a minor academic, having a tenured position at the University of Chicago. One would expect that faculty at such a prestigious academic institution would demonstrate in public better behavior, but apparently not. Next Raypierre goes on to demean widely known blogger Steve McIntyre for amongst other sins for not being a “real scientist”. And this is where it gets interesting. Clearly Raypierre considers himself a “real scientist”. So what is it that Raypierre has, that McIntrye doesn’t. Is it the tenured job with a professorial pulpit of authority? Or is it controlled access to committees such as NSF or IPCC that provide the funding or academic prestige? Or is it special entrée to the cliques that review each other’s papers and censorship over blog exposure?

    Remarkably the reason why this sad state of affairs is all too common today in the US academe is amply demonstrated further down the blog comments. Quick to Raypierre’s defense comes Chris Colose, a graduate student who wishes to have an academic career like Raypierre. Leaving aside Colose’s merits as a scientist-in-training, clearly he has learned the key to career advancement is through defense of the people who will help grease your way into the system. Expect Chris Colose to ask Raypierre down the road for a job recommendation, or to review a paper or a grant proposal. Is it so hard to imagine Raypierre thinking “well he’s a likeable lad who I know will tow the party line. I’ll make sure he gets this position here/paper published/grant proposal. I will make sure that all outsiders with suspect points of view are denied access. I will perpetuate a club of like-minded people and actively deny status of legitimacy to all others. If I and like-minded people can define who is a real scientist, then we can always dismiss alternative points of view as coming from unqualified people.”

    And so it goes on. It would be refreshing to see established academics like Raypierre actually stand up for a change to support a civilized, open impartial examination of a position. To discuss the science, not the person, nor their job. To advocate for an open exchange of data. Isn’t that the least we should expect of the employees at our Universities?

  • http://www.omatumr Oliver K. Manuel

    The faulty science of AGW is self-evident. That is why the skeptics are winning that part of the debate. But the need for a “Common Enemy” to unite the world remains. World leaders absolutely cannot and should not back away from AGW unless another “Common Enemy” (Aliens, Rogue asteroid heading this way, etc.) is identified to unite the world and save mankind (politicians too) from mutual destruction in a nuclear exchange.
    That is the real issue at stake. With kind regards, Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  • stan

    Interesting that Ray-ray should bring a conservative blogger/columnist, Andrew Breitbart, into the conversation as a way to try to discredit M & M.  I have yet to see any evidence that Andrew has been wrong on any of the major stories where the liberal blogosphere has tried to destroy him with vicious slanders only to have the evidence prove him correct.

    But the interesting point is that Ray should think it wise to make a blatantly political reference by which he would clearly demonstrate that he sees the issue in political terms and wishes to be identified as a political partisan.  Does he really think that this strengthens his criticism of M & M?  How could this possibly be good for him as a scientist who presumably wishes to be taken seriously?  Not smart.

    It is hard for me to imagine a supposedly intelligent person being so silly and foolish.  I will confess that I have never read his blog.  Perhaps he engages in partisan political rhetoric regularly.  I know that Michael Mann has.  Certainly no one can think that doing so enhances his credibility as a scientist. 

    At a time when more and more people are becoming convinced that the science has been held hostage by politics, Ray’s gratuitous mention of Breitbart certainly helps strengthen that impression.

  • Keith Kloor

    Ray’s remark, while obvious fodder for skeptics, does not take away from the multiple lines of evidence for AGW.

    Just as Mark Lynas’s recent criticism of the IPCC doesn’t negate his own views on climate change (which he reaffirmed in his post, in case anybody should start to think otherwise.)

    FWIW, I also have a lot of respect for Ray as a scientist and don’t take his comment personally.
    I think the endless climate wars has made people testy.

  • dougieh

    Keith

    you say – “FWIW, I also have a lot of respect for Ray as a scientist and don’t take his comment personally.”

    against raypierre -

    “Keith, your problem is that you have no judgment and you are just too gullible.”

    and you are able to let that comment go? ffs that’s personal.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tillman Peter D. Tillman

    Keith wrote,
    “I think the endless climate wars has made people testy.”

    No doubt, and especially on the Establishment side, since so may of their wounds are self-inflicted. As we’ve just seen re-confirmed.

    “The climate-science establishment … seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”  – Clive Crook,
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/climategate-and-the-big-green-lie/59709

    –which is well-worth reading, or re-reading.

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  • Harpo

    I think Chris Colose (Comment #84) will make a great Climate Scientist…. He doesn’t care about being right… he just cares about being published. Way to go Chris.
    BTW Chris, in the 1600′s the Catholic Church ran peer review Chris… much as the Church of Climatology does today…. steak anybody?

  • Dave H

    @Judith Curry #75

    > Academics like raypierre seem totally disconnected from what the public wants and expects in a policy relevant debate.  

    I always find it telling when someone (normally pushing a “skeptical” or anti-IPCC bent) claims to have a handle on what “the public” wants. It plays to a populist narrative, a fallacy of a seachange in public opinion, the notion of being “in touch” while ivory tower scientists are “out of touch” etc etc.

    As a member of “the public” I would appreciate it if people such as yourself accepted that a vast number of people who do *not* form your readership have different opinions to you – or indeed, no opinion whatsoever.

    > The academics are mostly concerned with the academic and public reputations of themselves and their colleagues.

    This is a cynical and highly jaundiced view.

    > The public on the other hand is interested in accountability and independent analyses, which is what they have found in M&M and explains their enduring appeal to a large segment of people paying attention to this debate.  

    This is just circular reasoning. The people that care about the kind of thing that McIntyre does label it “accountability and independent analysis”. Given that your readership is in no small measure this precise segment of the population, it is not surprising that you inflate this to “the public”. It is falling victim to groupthink.

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

    My commentary on this SRREN business:
    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/06/19/ipcc-srren-conflict-of-interest-or-just-a-bad-press-release/

    I think the issue is mostly with the press release (as also McI agrees to as per his comment at DotEarth).

  • kdk33

    “Ray’s remark…does not take away from the multiple lines of evidence for AGW.”

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I don’t believe any claimed they did.  They do reveal him to be a partisan and an advocate (and ignorant and arrogant, but that’s secondary).

    “Mark Lynas’s recent criticism of the IPCC doesn’t negate his own views on climate change”

    I don’t think anyone said they did.  His experience reveals (again) that dissent, of any kind for any reason, will simply not be tolerated by the climate change science community.

    But these experiences (and the climate gate e-mails) are nevertheless very important.  

    Most skeptics understand CO2 radiative properties, aggree there has been warming, and that CO2 is part of that.  The disagreement is on how much (climate sensitivity) and what will be the consequences (SLR storms, rain, drought, etc).  And on these topics there is considerable uncertainty.

    Many skeptics consider the cure to be tremendously expensive and risky, and many think the cure requires extremely unpalatable (even dangerous, IMO) government expansion/interventions.  These skeptics set the certainty bar quite high before they are willing to agree to the cure.  Many will accept some anthropogenic warming, and some inconvenient consequences, because they see these as preferable to the cure.

    In this context, the climate change science community has to be seen as fair arbiters.  They must communicate objectively what it is we know for sure, what we think we know, what is speculation, what are the beneficial consequnces as well as the bad.  And, from other quarters - not climate change scientists, per say, but within the community - we need frank assessments about decarboniztion: what will it cost, what is the state of the technology, what can we realistically expect, what are the BRIC countries likely to do.

    So, the mails, ray-ray, curry, lynas, etc. don’t suddenly refute GHG theory, but they teach that in the critical areas of “how bad is warming likely to be” and “what will be net conseqeunces for humans” and “how expensive and difficult will decarboniztaion really be” the climate change science community can’t be trusted.

    And that’s a really big problem.  And it’s baffling that they not only fail see, but keep making it worse (ala ray-ray). 

    And so it goes…

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

    kdk33, the mirror image of what you write is that many scientists and their supporters view skeptics as downplaying the evidence for and risks of AGW exactly because they find the (perceived) cure as so unpalatable. And that’s a really big problem.

    Because it precludes a meaningfull discussion of what kind of cure would be necessary and palatable.

  • Les Johnson

    Raypierre’s: That’s why, big as the IPCC tent may be, I hope there will never be a place in it for any of these clowns.

    Too late, monsieur.
    M & M have both been in the IPCC tent , as expert reviewers.

  • kdk33

    Bart,

    I don’t disagree with your first paragraph. 

    The downplaying or exagerating may be, in part, because the two sides set the certainty bar differently.  If you find the cure “something we ought do anyway”, you set the certainty bar low.  If you find the cure “an evil to be tolerated if absolutely necessary”, you set the bar high.  So, the two sides may see the same data and, becuase they have a different datum, interpret the exact same data differently.

    Skeptics like me say that the evidence is weak relative to my standard for action.  Others consider the evidence compelling relative to theirs.

    It would seem there should be some way to move forward.

    To grind a personal axe:  It frustrates me that reconciliation attempts seem aimed at finding some action we can all agree to pursue – let’s *do something*.  It seems obvious to me (and many others) that there is value in delay.  Perhpas the wait-and-see approach should not be dismissed out of hand as just more deniallism.

    Any suggestions?

    Any suggesting?

  • http://omniclimate.wordpress.com Maurizio Morabito

    Has anybody seen Kloor’s replies to Colose’s rather off-topic claims?

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

    @112

    Probably not, since I never replied. :)

    Is there something in particular that you feel warrants a response? I kept up with the thread over the weekend, but it took on a life of its own and I try to stay out the way of such interesting discussions.

  • kevin king

    Does this ray pierrehumbert consider himself a real scientist? A casual perusal of his comments on this blog reveal him to be a poiitician through and through…and a not very good one to boot.
     

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

    kdk33,

    Much to agree with with in what you wrote. Except the delay part: Because of the long time delays in the climate system, the carbon cycle and the energy system (*) pro-active action is required: The “stop-button” has a delay of multiple decades. That means that if we wait until the s#%t hits the fan it will be too late to do anything about it. If you are wary of government intrusion, that is definitely a scenario to avoid.

    See also http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/future-generations-global-warming-is-not-our-problem/

    (*) – it takes long for the concentration to respond to a change in emissions because of the long effective residence time of CO2.
    - it takes long for the climate system to respond to a certain concentration level.
    - it takes long to change our energy system.

  • Tom Gray

    re 115
    ===========
    (*) ““ it takes long for the concentration to respond to a change in emissions because of the long effective residence time of CO2.- it takes long for the climate system to respond to a certain concentration level.- it takes long to change our energy system.

    ===========

    Isn’t this a reason why we must have the best science possible. If teh IPCC has been captured by activists with their own agendas, isn’t thsi a cause of great concern?

  • Tom Gray

    re 115

    In regard to the “do something” urging, I think that the following study is instructive

    http://www.jmt.org/assets/pdf/wind-report.pdf

    It was posted as a comment on Judith Curry’s blog. Wind power generation is fraught with problems that are not being accounted for in the decision making  to adopt it.

    From teh report

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

    The incidence of high wind and low demand can occur at any time of year.  As connected wind
    capacity increases there will come a point when no more thermal plant can be constrained off to
    accommodate wind power.  In the illustrated 30GW connected wind capacity model with
    “must-run” thermal generation assumed to be 10GW, this scenario occurs 78 times, or 3 times a
    month on average.  This indicates the requirement for a major reassessment of how much wind
    capacity can be tolerated by the Grid
    ===============

  • Tom Gray

    With respect for the perceived need to “do something” about AGW, Henry Petroski’s books on engineering failures are instructive. I know that many people have said this before but the 19th century was full of boiler explosions and bridge failures. The engineering of these technologies took a long time to perfect and many people were injured or killed as a result. Running to “do something” with immature technologies and immature science is a very dangerous thing to do.

  • http://amac1.blogspot.com/ AMac

    As far as the use of the Tiljander data series in multiproxy temperature reconstructions, the “skeptics” have a very strong case.  On this narrow point, Pro-AGW-Consensus scientists and advocates have not advanced any coherent or plausible counter-argument.  Chris Colose’s comment at his blog is fairly representative (see bolded text beginning with “Response:”).

    Earlier this month, I put together a short characterization of these data series, and submitted it to WUWT (I rarely comment at that site due to its aggressive moderation policies).

    Relevant to Raypierre’s comment upthread at #46 on “these clowns” — the problem doesn’t lie in the commission of mistakes, such as the wrong use of the Tiljander data series by Prof. Mann and his coauthors.  In general, scientifically-literate people realize that talented scientists are going to blunder at times.  “If it were easy, it wouldn’t be cutting-edge science,” we think.

    The Tiljander affair speaks to other defects in the practice of contemporary climate science.
    * One is the seeming inability of prominent authors to acknowledge the presence of errors in their work.
    * Another is that journal editors don’t step up and insist that authors resolve such issues, when the peer-review process hasn’t served its purpose.
    * A third is the “with us or against us” mindset, as eloquently advocated by Policy Lass in the body of Keith’s post.

    If Raypierre believes that I (and prior commenters) have misinterpreted the mini-controversy surrounding the saga of these lakebed varves, I hope he will offer his own insights, and set the record straight in a follow-on comment.

  • kdk33

    “ pro-active action is required”

    That’s a tough one Bart; a really tough one.  It basically requires that skeptics like me, agree to actions with which we are excritiatingly uncomfortable, and that we do so on faith.  Faith that climate projections and, to a large extent, climate computer modela are accurate.

    In the end, I still might not agree, but a meaningful conversion will require tremendous trust, trememdous honesty and transparancy, nd, fair or not, even the appearance of impropriety must be eliminated.  It will require concessions from both sides, and no more declarations of war.

  • Stu

    Kdk33′s right. For something this big, we do everything together, or we don’t do it.

  • Tom Fuller

    Stu at 121, people like Paul Kelly disagree with you and Kdk33. He argues that individual action will make a difference.

    I agree. It won’t change the physical climate. But it will change the political one.

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

    kdk33,

    Entertaining the idea of doing something isn’t based on faith. It is based on risk assessment.

    In terms of gauging the risk, an assessment of the scientific understanding is indeed necessary. On that front everybody uses a mix of their own understanding of the issues, trust in the scientific methods, logical thinking and gut feeling. Arguably in order of decreasing importance. About the last three (ie the shortcuts that everyone needs in areas where one is not expert) I wrote the following guidelines to separate wheat from the chaff.

    “logic” is extremely important, but if it’s not based on some understanding of the issues, laypeople’s logic can often fool you, e.g. “how can such a tiny concentration possibly upheaval the climate” may sound logical to many even though it’s BS.

  • http://omniclimate.wordpress.com Maurizio Morabito

    re:113

    Keith – you could start with this statement by CC
    there have been a number of published papers that do not agree with M&M’s views on the matter, and a large number of papers that agree with the general conclusions of MBH98 within uncertainty bars
    Is this true? Colose makes no mention of those papers being independent from one another, then proceeds to claim “I’m not going to take sides in “upside down” data”. Is it a question of numbers then, no matter what?

  • Tilo Reber

    AMac: “Earlier this month, I put together a short characterization of these data series, and submitted it to WUWT

    Yes, and that was helpful.
    Have you ever looked at Mann’s favorite proxy series, the Graybill data, and compared that to the results that Lenah Ababneh got in her doctoral dissertation.  It illustrates again that the “real scientist” Mann is engaging in willful misrepresentation.

  • kdk33

    Bart,

    I don’t think the scientific method applies the same way to climate model projections as it does in the hard sciences.  In physics, for example, we can do the experiment, several times even.

    Climate change science is based on a non-falsifiable hypothesis:  CO2 will cause dangerous climate change in such a way that we must act before we can measure the damange.

    Surely you can see that these situations are different.

    Just out of curiousity, is there any data that could be measured that would convince you the model projections were not accurate?

  • http://omniclimate.wordpress.com Maurizio Morabito

    #126
    There is no data that anybody could measure at any practical timescale that would convince anybody that the model projections are accurate or otherwise.
    Gavin Schmidt wrote some time ago: “this subject appears to have been raised from the expectation that some short term weather event over the next few years will definitively prove that either anthropogenic global warming is a problem or it isn’t. As the above discussion should have made clear this is not the right question to ask. Instead, the question should be, are there analyses that will be made over the next few years that will improve the evaluation of climate models?
    However, there is some (mysterious) hope: “‘predictions’ from climate models do not just mean predicting what is going to happen next year or the next decade. They also predict variables and relationships between variables that haven’t yet been measured or analysed – that is just as valid a falsifiability criteria.

  • http://amac1.blogspot.com/ AMac

    I like the framework Bart proposes for separating wheat from chaff in science (link in #123).

    Relevant to that:  yesterday, Kemp et al. 2011 was published in PNAS, relating sea-level variation to climate over the past 1,600 years (UPenn press release).  Among the authors is Prof. Mann.  (Kemp11 is downloadable from WUWT.)  Figs. 2A and 4A are “Composite EIV global land plus ocean global temperature reconstruction, smoothed with a 30-year LOESS low-pass filter”.  This is one of the multiproxy reconstructions in Mann et al. (2008, PNAS).  The unsmoothed tracing appears as the black line labelled “Composite (with uncertainties)” in panel F of Fig. S6 of the “Supporting Information” supplement to Mann08 (dowonloadable from pnas.org).

    This is one of the Mann08 reconstructions that made use of the four (actually three) uncalibratable Tiljander data series.

    As scientist/blogger Gavin Schmidt has indicated, the early years of the EIV Global reconstruction rely heavily on Tiljander to pass its “validation” test:  “…it’s worth pointing out that validation for the no-dendro/no-Tilj is quite sensitive to the required significance, for EIV NH Land+Ocean it goes back to 1500 for 95%, but 1300 for 94% and 1100 AD for 90%” (link).  Also see RealClimate here (Gavin’s responses to comments 525, 529, and 531).

    The dependence of the first two-thirds of the EIV recon on the inclusion of Tiljander’s data series isn’t mentioned in the text of Kemp11.  Nor is it discussed in the SI, although it is an obvious and trivial explanation for the pre-1100 divergence noted in the SI’s Figures S3, S4, and S5.

    Peer review appears to have been missing in action on this glaring shortcoming in Kemp11′s methodology.

    More than anything, I am surprised by this zombie-like re-appearance of the Tiljander data series — nearly three years after the eruption of the controversy over their misuse as temperature proxies!

  • jorge c.

    i know it is totally O/T, but Have you seen this article??? “The UN process is dead in the water and it’s not going anywhere,” said Yvo de Boer, the former head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.

  • Paul Kelly

    Bart demands, in the nicest way, pro-active action. Stu agrees with Kdk33 that for something this big, we do everything together, or we don’t do it. Tom cites my argument “that individual action will make a difference”. Jorge C thinks he is off topic, but is very much on.

    My argument is that individual action is the logical and available path. Individual action is defined in the broadest terms. For Stu, it does include that we do everything together, but not that we don’t do it. For Bart, it has the advantage of already being in place. For jorge c, it is a path that is unblocked from UN process collapse, the political path exposed as one that only creates delay and delay.

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

    kdk33,

    Earth sciences is different from other branches of physics in that its object of study doesn’t lend itself for full fledged experimentation. That doesn’t mean that there are no ways to evaluate the merits of our scientific understanding.

    Oreskes gives a good overview of how the scientific methods are being applied in climate science: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/resources/globalwarming/documents/oreskes-on-science-consenus.pdf (from slide 29 onwards if you want to skip the consensus stuff) and http://scienceblogs.com/strangerfruit/Oreskes2007.pdf

    You ask:
    “is there any data that could be measured that would convince you the model projections were not accurate?”

    Let’s first note that this is not a black and white issue. Models are not perfect and nobody is claiming them to be. They may be useful though, esp in light of that the earth as a whole can not be used in a lab experiment. So all we have to go by in gauging its future response is to encapsulate our physical understanding in equations and see how it responds to various sorts of pokings. The question then is: Are these simulations any better than a naïve estimate, eg of no trend, or linear extrapolation of a trend (if so, which one; over which time scale?) For short time periods the answer is most likely no (in line with the expectation that over short timescales natural variability is much more prominent than forced change). Over longer timescales the answer is most likely yes. Now if that would prove not to be the case (i.e. if over a 20+ year timescale the global avg temp would clearly fall outside of the envelope of model simulations that is driven with the net forcing as was also observed, then clearly something would be missing from the models. Did the energy go elsewhere rather than in increasing GMST? Or was the net forcing not correctly diagnosed? Or was the increase in GMST not correctly diagnosed? Or is the climate sensitivity different than the model concludes? It makes quite a difference what the causes are. I.e. if the energy went elsewhere (oscillations?), when can we expect it to enter the lower atmosphere again? I.e. is the forced trend merely being obscured?

    If all GW parameters (OHC, sea ice, land ice, GMST, SST, atmosph T, spec. humidity, etc) stop changing for 20+ years, whereas the net forcing as we understand it keeps increasing, that would be a sign of something being wrong with our understanding of either the net forcings or the climate response. Of course there are intermediate scenarios where we have to scratch ourselves behind the ears.  

  • Tom Gray

    For the people who are urging pro-active action on AGW based on risk assessment, there is a nice illustration of this from politics. As most of you will know there ahs long been a movement for Quebec independence. Part of the opposition to that is the concern of people in Quebec that a movement to independence will cause great harm to the economy. The comparison to AGW is pretty clear with this. This concern is countered by some pro-independence politicians by saying that the movement can be slow and deliberate that is step by step with care taken not to damage the economy. Thus the policy of proactive action with care for the economy etc was called etapisme or progress by stages (if I have spelt the Fench word correctly).

    Now one political party in Quebec (the Rhinos) took  this as a model for other proposals. In one proposal they said that traffic in Quebec should be shifted to the left side of eh road. To ensure that this would not cause disruption they took the etapisme model and proposed that at the first stage only heavy trucks would drive on the left.. Pro-active action without a clear understanding of the action can be disastrous
    Another campaign pledge of the Rhinos was to immediately resign if elected.

  • AMac

    Bart Verheggen wrote (June 22 @ 3:44am) –

    > Models are not perfect and nobody is claiming them to be. They may be useful though…

    As is often the case, I find myself agreeing with Bart.  And I again find myself thinking, “However…

    On this topic, I’ve followed some interesting discussions that are accessible to an educated layperson like me.  They are at Lucia’s “lukewarmer” site, “The Blackboard.”  Here is a link to her category Data Comparisons.

    Check out the recent posts of June 11th and June 17th.

    As to the claim that the Consensus GCMs are performing well, all things considered:  Blackboard regulars SteveF, Carrick, and DeWitt Payne often make perceptive points on this subject, in the Comments. When I see their concerns being addressed, I’ll be more persuaded of the GCMs’ predictive power.

    There may be other high-quality analyses and discussions at other sites, equally accessible to scientifically-literate laypeople.  I’d like to know about them.

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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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