Deniers in denial over climate information

I have been a little surprised at how some local bloggers have been getting all emotional about the “climategate” scandal in the UK, and particularly New Zealand climate change information coming from our National Institute of Water and Air, NIWA.

Well, not really too surprised. The ideological orientation of these bloggers suggest they would take up the line they do. They are usually quite unsympathetic with science and scientists. No, mainly my surprise is about the way they restrict their information to only a few sources (confirmation bias) and are prepared to attack the integrity of our scientists without searching for and reading what they have to say.

The basic description of the issue was explained in Climate change deniers live in glass buildings). However, I urge readers who wish to keep informed to keep their eyes on the NIWA news pages and Gareth Renowden’s Hot Topic blog, which is also syndicated at SciBlogs NZ. Gareth is the author of the book “Hot Topic: Global Warming and the Future of New Zealand“, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ’s 2008 Science Book Prize, so is well informed on the subject and keeps in touch with current research.

Have a look at Gareth’s recent post (NZ temps: warming real, record robust, sceptics wrong) and the latest press release from NIWA (NZ temperature rise clear).

In this press release NIWA rejects criticisms of its New Zealand temperature series made by the local denier organisations the Climate Science Coalition and Climate Conversation Group. Here are some extracts.

Rejecting the unscientific combination of data from several different stations by the deniers:

“We again reiterate that for the longer “seven station” time series, adjustments to account for significant site changes are necessary in order to provide a meaningful estimate of New Zealand temperature trends.

For example, in Wellington, early temperature measurements were made in Thorndon at three metres above sea level, but in 1928 the measurement site was moved to Kelburn at 125 metres above sea level. The Kelburn site is on average 0.8ºC cooler than Thorndon because of the extra height above sea level. So, the raw data need to be adjusted to ensure we are comparing apples with apples.

By the same token, if the climate station had been moved the other way – from Kelburn down to Thorndon – the raw data would then give too warm a reading and would also need to be adjusted.

NIWA’s analysis of measured temperatures uses internationally-accepted techniques to make adjustments for changes such as movement of measurements sites.”

Showing that the NZ Climate Science Coalition is disingenuous in there presentation of data:

For more than two years, New Zealand Climate Science Coalition members have known of the need to adjust the “seven station” data. They have had access to:

  • the raw data
  • the adjusted data (anomalies)
  • information needed to identify the adjustments made by Dr Salinger
  • information needed to develop their own adjustments.

However the NZ Climate Science Coalition paper collated by Richard Treadgold (25 November 2009), and the media release issued by the Coalition on 26 November, were based on analysing the “seven station” data without any adjustments at all for site changes. This is why NIWA Chief Climate Scientist Dr David Wratt expressed his disappointment with the coalition statements, in NIWA’s media release of 26 November.

(a) Coalition told in 2006 of need to take account of site changes

NIWA advised NZ Climate Science Coalition member Dr Vincent Gray of the need to calculate appropriate adjustments to account for significant site changes in an email to him dated 19 July 2006, pointing out problems with graphs he had produced without any such adjustments. We advised him that over the period covered by his analysis the Hokitika site moved from the town centre, to the edge of town, then the airport. We also advised him there had been several site changes in Auckland and Dunedin, and told him about the 120 metre change in the height of the Wellington measurements.

(b) Methodology for adjusting data publicly available

The methodology for adjusting for site changes in the NZ temperature record was published in the peer-reviewed International Journal of Climatology in 1993. NIWA referred Dr Vincent Gray of the NZ Climate Science Coalition to this paper on 19 July 2006.

Reference:

Rhoades, D.A. and Salinger, M.J., 1993: Adjustment of temperature and rainfall measurements for site changes. International Journal of Climatology 13, 899 – 913.

(c) Unadjusted (raw) data publicly available

NIWA’s unadjusted climate data is available to anyone at no charge, through web access to the NIWA climate database. This has been the case since 1 July 2007.

(d) Adjusted series provided in 2006

NIWA provided Dr Salinger’s adjusted temperature series (anomalies compared with 1961–1990 averages) for each of the seven stations, to NZ Climate Science Coalition member Warwick Hughes on 19 July 2006. Information about changes to the seven station sites is documented in a publicly-available report published by the NZ Meteorological Service in 1992, and much of this information is also available from the metadata in the climate database.

Reference:

Rhoades, D.A. and Salinger, M.J., 1993: Adjustment of temperature and rainfall measurements for site changes. International Journal of Climatology 13, 899 – 913.

(c) Unadjusted (raw) data publicly available

NIWA’s unadjusted climate data is available to anyone at no charge, through web access to the NIWA climate database. This has been the case since 1 July 2007.

(d) Adjusted series provided in 2006

NIWA provided Dr Salinger’s adjusted temperature series (anomalies compared with 1961–1990 averages) for each of the seven stations, to NZ Climate Science Coalition member Warwick Hughes on 19 July 2006. Information about changes to the seven station sites is documented in a publicly-available report published by the NZ Meteorological Service in 1992, and much of this information is also available from the metadata in the climate database.

Reference:

Fouhy, E., Coutts, L., McGann, R., Collen, B., Salinger, M.J., 1992: South Pacific Historical Climate Network Climate Station Histories. Part 2, New Zealand and Offshore Islands. NZ Meteorological Service, Wellington. ISBN 0-477-01583-2.

Unfortunately, the local climate change deniers and their camp followers in the blogosphere are reacting in a predictable way. They have gone into denial!

Denial that they had been informed of the need for adjustment. Denial that the information and data were available. Many of these bloggers have made it quite clear they are unprepared to either look for the information or consult the NIWA press releases and the National Climate Database.

The deniers are in denial!

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54 responses to “Deniers in denial over climate information

  1. Although my post is slightly off target regarding the claims of NZ bloggers and NIWA, I wanted to mention a trend that is quite disturbing : there is an increase in the use of negative stereotypical language responding to criticism of the (slightly) doctored GW data sets that powers climate models. It reminds me strongly of how those who criticize atheism use similar language to denigrate those who do not share an unjustified belief – labels like strident, militant, arrogant, and so on. To point out the legitimate difference between climate model predictions and hard real-world evidence does not make someone a denier, nor a head-in-the-sand creationist, nor any other pejorative term so easily flung in a critic’s direction: it makes someone a skeptic in the legitimacy of the climate models, and rightly so from a scientific standpoint.

    When well-intentioned people link global warming to be the main engine that drives climate change, then we’ve left the realm of scientific theory and entered the domain of hypothesis/belief. It may even be true. But for those who support this belief to call those that question the validity of its premature conclusion ‘deniers’ and paint their motivation to be similar to those that promote anti-evolutionism seems to me to have the sticky side of the label exactly backwards.

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  2. tildeb – thanks for raising this issue. it’s one that concerns many who argue in support of climate science on this issue.

    Gareth at Hot Topic, for example, has been using the word sceptic rather than denier as less emotionally charged. However, many think that word is inappropriate because the people campaigning here do not have the normal scientific scepticism. They are actually promoting out-right denial. Very selectively cherry picking the evidence and distorting the evidence. And shouting down attempts to point out their mistakes. You should read some of the comments over at MandM or at Glenn’s blog to see what I mean. This issue really seems to bring out some extremely bad behaviour.

    Here are my basic reasons for using the word in the current context:

    1: I am using it as a bit of shorthand to cover the NZ Climate Science Coalition, the NZ Climate Conversation Group, Ian Wishart and a number of (mainly apologist) blogs that are campaigning on the issue. Easier than listing all the offenders every time.

    2: These people/groups are actually deniers rather than sceptics. And they are promoting a very emotional, anti-scientist line. They are not making a rational critique of discussion of the climate science. To the extent they refer to the science they distort or reject it.

    3: I would not use that word to describe the normal scientific sceptic – not at all. I myself, having had experience with some agriculture models, am somewhat of a “sceptic”, even a cynic, no models. I do realise that this is what governments want – and they are used to economic models which have far less scientific backing anyway. This is probably why governments don’t seem to be at convinced by the hysteria over the climategate emails.

    There are clearly a range of models which produce a range of predicted scenarios. And of course we can have a range of inputs. Humans are not good at predicting the future anyway – better at predicting the past.

    Talking about the past, I think the models have probably been used quite well here. And, in particular they have been useful in attempts to identify probably causes of temperature changes – decreases as well as increases. I think they make a convincing case for human activities having an input into current climate change. In fact they indicate that our explanations of current climate change don’t work properly unless we include a component of human input.

    4: You and I could probably have a useful discussion on just how good the current understanding of climate change is. To what extent do humans contribute to it, etc., etc. But my experience is that this discussion is impossible with the “deniers” – as I have defined them. It quickly degenerates into stupid accusations, lies, and slandering of science and scientists.

    5: Personally – I don’t “believe” in anthropogenic contribution to climate change any more than I “believe” in evolution. I accept the science and am quite convinced by what I have read of the IPCC documents. I surely know that scientific knowledge is provisional and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if we find our future influence was radically less then, or radically more than, current predictions. I don’t have an ideological commitment (belief) to current conclusions. I do have a strong commitment to objectivity and the scientific method.

    6: Now, I am well aware that the religious-like behaviour is not restrict to the deniers. It is also quite common amongst those campaigning in support of the scientific findings. Many of these lay people may even not understand the science properly.

    I think this is a problem with our species. We are not rational – more rationalising. Our wired-in emotions and intuitions get easily hijacked on such issues (and that is why religion can be so powerful despite its obvious falseness).

    7: I hope I use these labels appropriately. As I say I would not use them to describe normal scientific scepticism or rational consideration of the real science. Similarly I hope people like you would not use emotively charge words like “alarmist”, “warmist”, etc. to describe me.

    As I say – these issues can be discussed rationally if we talk about the objective information rather then demonise people (a common tactic used by apologists).

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  3. I like your distinctions, Ken. It might be nice to add another layer to them–there’s one question about whether the planet is getting warmer every year, a second question as to whether the planet is getting warmer on a long-term basis, a third question as to whether any current warming is typical of larger climate cycles, a fourth question as to whether an observed unprecedented warming trend is man-made, a fifth question as to whether humans can have the technology to undo any damage if it is, and a sixth question as to whether humans are politically capable of saving the planet and their own species via any means short of an intentional release of a genetically engineered human-specific plague.

    Call me a “denier” on Q1 (the planet has cooled off a bit in the last few years), a “believer” in Q2, a “questioner” on Q3, a “skeptic” on Q4, a “believer” in Q5, and a “hoper” on Q6.

    As I’ve noted before, I’d like to see a multi-national commitment to the development and deployment of nuclear power in every region where people would otherwise burn fossil fuels. That is the only politically-feasible mechanism I can think of that is likely to even reduce the rate of increase of CO2 emissions.

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  4. Of course the short term is weather rather than climate. I am not at all fooled by the apparent gap in warming over the last 10 years – it’s a common argument though by those who want to deny human influence.

    Actually – I am probably a denier for long term warming (I mean millions/billions of years). I understand that one problem for human survival is going to be the loss of CO2 from the atmosphere as more C gets incorporated into the mantle. This will probably produce a planet too cool for our survival (although technology may enable us to survive despite that).

    I don’t think there is any longer any doubt that humans make a contribution to current warming.

    Politically we may be unable to prevent this by reducing emissions sufficiently and quickly enough – we may have to resort to geotechnology to mitigate the resulting problems. It’s a bit like trying to insist that ones sexually active children take precautions, but when this fails you have to resort to abortion. No one likes to do it but we may have to.

    I don’t think we have to engineer our own extinction – there are enough factors out there to do it anyway. No species has lasted particularly long in the past – why should we?

    Then again, as an intelligent species we might just make it.

    But we won’t if we eradicate our rational aspects. If we bury our science. As some people seem determined to do.

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  5. Scott, I’ve noticed you mention the issue of nuclear power a couple of times and want to give you a bit of context that you may not be aware of.

    Firstly, I accept the science as presented by the IPCC and will change my opinions as and when the peer reviewed published data changes. i.e. I accept the claims of global warming as well as the links to our human activities.

    Secondly, I am opposed to *New Zealand* using nuclear power. When you hear people like me say this you may take it to mean that we are idealistically opposed to it (and perhaps some are) but I want to clarify that I think that nuclear power is quite safe and more environmentally friendly than many other sources (especially coal). My reason for not thinking it is appropriate for NZ is that we don’t have access to the raw materials and would become beholden to other countries for our power and that we have the blessing of a large number of hydro lakes from which to get our power. We still have coal plants and I would like to see them phased out (or taxed out if necessary).

    So, if you happen to get into a discussion with people from a different country from yours and you notice that they don’t want nuclear power you should understand that it may not be for idealistic reasons. And even if you do come across idealists (as you are bound to) you should be wise enough to realise that just because a person is capable of holding two opinions and you know one to be unreasonable it doesn’t mean the other is too.

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  6. I agree, Damian.

    During the ’80s I was active in the nuclear-free NZ movement and always understood it as free from nuclear weapons – in particular US nuclear armed ships. The idea that we would somehow ban the peaceful used of all things nuclear was ridiculous to me – especially as I had worked with radio-isotopes.

    I think we have largely decided that nuclear power is not appropriate for NZ. Currently the only scenario I can imagine is the use of micro-reactors in some areas. That’s a new technology which may be a lot cheaper, less reliant on foreign supplies, have less issues with waste and nuclear proliferation, etc.

    And, I personally wouldn’t give up on coal. Although my scenario there includes carbon capture and use of wastes like flue ash – effectively waste mining. A pet project of mine. It seems stupid to me that we emit CO2 and at the same time effectively burn natural gas to get CO2 in the production of methanol and urea. Why not use the CO2 from coal and stop emitting it?

    Anyway, the utilisation of nuclear power is going ahead in many countries and will in more. A major problem is proliferation of nuclear weapons and if Obama could make progress on banning nuclear weapons that would be a big plus. ( I understand some people are quite optimistic on this). I actually don’t see nuclear waste as the big problem I used to – having just read Stewart Brands book on Ecopragmatism. (I should have a review of that up next week).

    But the thing is – one solution doesn’t fit all. Our future will be assured by a whole range of different applications – not just nuclear power.

    And no one should go around imposing what they think appropriate on others.

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  7. To point out the legitimate difference between climate model predictions and hard real-world evidence…

    Pointing out legitimate differences is fine.
    (As long as it’s legitimate.)
    No scientist is going to have a problem with that.
    That’s not what the deniers are doing however.

    When well-intentioned people link global warming to be the main engine that drives climate change…

    No.
    Stop.
    “Well-intentioned people” are neither here nor there.
    It’s scientists that are doing the heavy lifting.

    Regular working scientists.
    Not Al Gore.
    Not “environmentalists”.
    Not “hippies”.
    Scientists.

    Global warming is happening.
    It’s anthropomorphic.
    This is bad.
    There is no debate about this in scientific circles.
    This was settled DECADES ago.
    The media has no idea when this was figured out.
    That’s because they don’t bother to find out about the history behind it all.

    That’s not because scientists have a secret agenda or they’ve abandoned science or that they have decided to play guessing games.

    Ignore the blogs.
    Focus on the work that science demands.
    Focus on the peer-reviewed research.
    Scientists have mountains of it.
    The deniers don’t.

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  8. (sigh)
    That should read “anthropogenic” not anthropomorphic. ;)

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  9. Point taken on New Zealand’s use of nukes. I’m a bit slow, but I did finally understand the special local issues last time we discussed this issue, which is why I qualified my recommendation to “a multi-national commitment to the development and deployment of nuclear power in every region where people would otherwise burn fossil fuels.” That leaves OUT New Zealand (I hope).

    The only difference the short-term trends (“the weather,” as you say, rather than “the climate”) makes to me ) is how much time we have to respond to the challenge. The Copenhagen event is premised on the claims that the earth is getting warmer every year and we have virtually no room to maneuver.

    If something like sunspot cycles have given us an unexpected eleven-year “cooling off period,” we have more than enough time to pursue my strategy (a massive investment in nuclear power). If the earth weren’t cooling right now I wouldn’t say that, because it takes about twenty years to get a power plant on line.

    I don’t want to be branded a “climate change denier” but I’m happy to announce myself a “climate change CHANGE skeptic.” I don’t think groups of human beings have ever successfully forced individuals to go against their immediate self-interest over the long term.

    Anthropogenic global warming may or may not be good science, but the response to it has been astonishingly bad politics. It seems to have been designed by people with no real sense of how to govern. Speaking as an American, it reminds me disturbingly of my new President’s policies–Obama promised huge change and has a huge majority in both houses of Congress, but he’s discovering how hard it is to implement his theories. If he thinks health care is hard to pass, wait till he tackles cap and trade.

    We have the ability to implement technologies that are clean, cheap, and safe. The free market will cause people to switch from fossil fuels to an energy source that doesn’t spike in price every time some sheikh gets grumpy. We don’t have create a one-world government to start solving the CO2 problem. Let’s do it now!

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  10. Ken, thanks for the explanation.

    It should make good sense to people that if we look at the earth as a space shuttle, one cannot burn the seats at the back of the self-contained vehicle without affecting the quality of the environment at the front. Obvious to me is that widespread industrialized human activity must have a lasting impact on the global environment, so to be responsible stewards we should mitigate the negative impacts and promote the positive to the point of finding a balance.

    Before the creation of the IPCC, the direction of the global environmental movement was aimed at sustainability – creating methods and practices to balance the overall environmental impact caused by humans that would leave a zero sum footprint. This was the goal, which I still think is the responsible stewardship approach… one that can be translated into all the various local and personal activities we undertake into a much larger framework that keeps the environmental focus on ways and means to balance the personal with the global with useful benchmarks of sustainability for legitimate comparing and contrasting and legislating. Nuclear energy in this context contains significant problems that are real, namely, long lasting toxic waste when everything works perfectly and the constant threat of widespread radioactive pollution if things don’t. And it is this context of sustainability that lies at the heart of the anthropogenic global warming movement and one that is required to fairly measure and evaluate how nuclear energy fits into the solution.

    But then something very disturbing evolved: sustainability moved from best practices based on scientific evidence (the ozone crisis and how it was dealt with is an excellent example) to a moral movement.

    Impacting the environment by any human activity became akin to a moral failure, and anyone who tried to find that sustainability balance became the equivalent of an moral apologist, a fifth columnist undermining environmental science itself! And at the forefront of environmental science was climatology.

    Producing greenhouse gases became the equivalent of smoking: science was no longer a means to produce evidence of obvious health risks for an activity but became the basis for people to re-frame the science of risk into a basis for correct moral behaviour.

    In the same way, the science of greenhouse gas emissions produces mountains of evidence of an increasing risk to environmental sustainability, but people re-frame the science into a basis for correct moral behaviour.

    Just like not smoking does not eliminate very real threats to human health, so too does not emitting greenhouse gases not eliminate very real threats to human welfare through climate change. It is this re-framing of sustainability into an anti-carbon moral movement that is reprehensible, and it from this skewed approach where so many scientists are as much a part of the problem that now befuddles honest scientific inquiry (Hey, folks, this model needs to work!) into having a goal that includes confirmation bias (Hey, folks, lets fudge the numbers to make it work!) Hence, my comment about well-intentioned people led astray as revealed in these leaked emails.

    How so?

    1. The emails suggest the authors co-operated covertly to ensure that only papers favorable to CO2-forced AGW were published, and that editors and journals publishing contrary papers were punished. They also attempted to “discipline” scientists and journalists who published skeptical information.

    2. The emails suggest that the authors manipulated and “massaged” the data to strengthen the case in favor of unprecedented CO2-forced AGW, and to suppress their own data if it called AGW into question.

    3. The emails suggest that the authors co-operated (perhaps the word is “conspired”) to prevent data from being made available to other researchers through either data archiving requests or through the Freedom of Information Acts of both the U.S. and the UK.

    These are not issues easily swept away with claims that Cedric makes that no scientist is going to have a problem with skepticism; my entire point is that, in fact and practice, many influential scientists DO have a problem with legitimate skepticism because of the way the issue has been re-framed; to question the models is to question the science, which is painted to be the equivalent of undermining the future existence of humanity itself, and that’s immoral. According to far too many AGW supporters, those who question must be stopped, discredited, side-lined, and ridiculed… because it’s the right thing to do! An unspoken but oft exercised mantra of the AGW supporters is: A united approach by all right-thinking scientists and sensible right-minded supporters in the general public is what is needed to force appropriate changes, and any scientist or public voice who does not buy into this necessity is not welcomed in this church of the morally correct who only have the best interests of humanity at heart and who are trying to save the world.

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  11. I’ve posted two graphs and a controversial claim over on my blog, and invite a flame war. (I could use the traffic!)

    http://futuremetaphysics.blogspot.com/2009/12/is-global-warming-man-made-or-mann-made.html

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  12. Before the creation of the IPCC, the direction of the global environmental movement…

    No. “The global environmental movement” is neither here nor there.
    Forget the hippies.
    Forget the tree-huggers.
    Focus on what the scientific community is saying.
    Scientists.
    As in the people who do the scientific work.

    … sustainability moved from best practices based on scientific evidence (the ozone crisis and how it was dealt with is an excellent example) to a moral movement.

    Nonsense.
    Pure pigswill.
    A “movement” (moral or not) does not give us the science that informs us that global waming is real, that we are responsible for it and it is a very real problem.
    NASA is not a “movement”.
    The Royal Society is not a “movement”.
    The CSIRO is not a “movement”.
    They’re scientists.
    Say it with me now.
    “Scientists”

    The e-mails suggest….
    The e-mails suggest….
    The e-mails suggest….

    Or perhaps they hint at?
    They point to?
    They allude to?
    They imply?

    Speculation and suspicion and hearsay are all very well but it will only take you so far.

    Sooner or later, reasonable people will want to get to the meat.
    Actual context.
    Real evidence of scientific hanky-panky.
    “Suggestive” emails make for a good breakfast but a poor dinner.

    Read the e-mails without “helpful” annotation provided by some no-name Denier blog.
    Get some context for a change.

    …many influential scientists DO have a problem with legitimate skepticism because of the way the issue has been re-framed; to question the models is to question the science

    Who are these “influential scientists” that have perverted the course of true science?
    Why has the scientific community protected their dark secret?
    Expose the conspiracy!!!
    The models are not allowed to be questioned?
    You mean…climate models?
    They are questioned all the time.
    That’s why they are continually updated and improved.

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  13. Climatology presents an unusual clash of complicated science, challenging statistics, computer programming, ideology, economics, politics, and–according to one British court–the new religion of environmentalism.

    Trying to piece together the history of Earth’s climate for the last 1000 years or so is VERY hard. Until the CRU emails were leaked, I had no reason to doubt that the world was warming. Now that I’ve looked at the discrepancy between tree-ring data and measured surface temperatures since 1960, I want somebody to explain the science behind the “decline” that Phil Jones was trying to “hide.”

    If you’ve seen the “decline” graph, you’ll understand why one might wonder whether our surface measurements over the last 50 years are truly comparable with measurements prior to that. There’s at least a chance that our sensors are located near “urban heat islands” or other local sources of heat. We know that a lot of Cold War outposts in Siberia, Canada, and Alaska were shut down after 1989, which changed the dataset. And there’s always the chance that the new science of climate led good researchers to weed out all measurements that might be a bit low (altitude, prevailing winds, shade, clouds, etc.) without being equally careful weed out anything that might be a little high. That, without any corruption on the part of science, would tend to produce systematically warmer temperatures over time.

    The tree ring data shows a close match between measureable tree-ring characteristics and temperature up to 1960. After that, the tree-ring series shows DECLINING global temperature while the surface measurements show RISING temperatures. One way to explain this is that the measuring stations were subject to a combination of urban heat islands and selection bias, producing a “measured” global temperature that was artificially elevated.

    I’m sure somebody has a DIFFERENT way to explain why tree-ring data doesn’t match surface measurements. Does anybody here know the science well enough to help me find an article on point?

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  14. according to one British court–the new religion of environmentalism…

    Not true.
    This is a P.R.A.T.T point.

    Now that I’ve looked at the discrepancy between tree-ring data and measured surface temperatures since 1960, I want somebody to explain the science behind the “decline” that Phil Jones was trying to “hide.”

    No problemo. Go here.

    There’s at least a chance that our sensors are located near “urban heat islands” or other local sources of heat.

    Nope. That’s a P.R.A.T.T. point.

    And there’s always the chance that the new science of climate led good researchers to weed out all measurements that might be a bit low…

    There’s also the chance that these researchers are pedophiles and neo-nazis too.
    There’s always a chance.
    Can’t be too careful now.

    Yet maybe people shouldn’t go around making malicious and misleading comments without hard evidence.
    Go get some.
    Put up or shut up.
    Thou shalt not bear false witness, remember?

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  15. Cedric, I’m following your links and missing your points.

    (1) I’m on record here as saying that many of the “believers” in man-made global warming are “believers,” not “thinkers.” Their refusal to consider nuclear power persuades me that they lack the “open mind” for which this blog is named. To the best of my knowledge, one British court has ruled that environmental beliefs deserve freedom of religion protection. You can make of that what you will. It was a throw-away point in my original post–I’m happy to retract it since it seems to interfere with serious discussion of the serious issues.

    (2) I asked for the science behind the “decline.” You said, “Go here,” which takes me to “History of Our Universe, Part I (for schools).” at http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54#p/a/u/0/7nnVQ2fROOg. It looks intriguing, but I’m not seeing how it helps me understand the relationship between tree-ring data and surface temperature measurements.

    (3) I say there’s a least a chance that our sensors are located near urban heat islands. You say “that’s a PRATT point.” Unfortunately, I neither know nor care who “PRATT” is. If it were a “Hitler point” or a “Stalin point” I’d still want to know whether sensors might be located near urban heat islands.

    (4) I’m talking about “good researchers” making an understandable mistake. You’re talking about pedophiles and neo-nazis. I’m having trouble following this…

    You end by saying “people shouldn’t go around making malicious and misleading comments without hard evidence.” Could you point out any “malicious and misleading comments” you’d like me to supply “hard evidence” for?

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  16. Sorry for the snarky comment about “P.R.A.T.T.” I assumed “PRATT” was some notorious climate-change denier. I’m not sure what the acronym “P.R.A.T.T.” means yet, but I see that the link takes me to a site that makes reasoned arguments in defense of global warming science. Thanks for providing it, Cedric.

    On the tree-ring/temperature divergence issue, PRATT offers a set of possible explanations here: http://www.skepticalscience.com/Hockey-stick-divergence-problem.html. That points me to a peer-reviewed paper here which doesn’t download for me at http://www.wsl.ch/personal_homepages/cherubin/download/D_ArrigoetalGlobPlanCh2008.pdf.

    According to the “PRATT” site, some possible explanation for the divergence problem are:

    #1: As the divergence is widespread across high northern latitudes, Briffa 1998 suggests there may be a large scale explanation, possibly related to air pollution effects. A later study by Briffa proposed that falling stratospheric ozone concentration is a possible cause of the divergence, since this observed ozone decline has been linked to an increased incidence of ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation at the ground (Briffa 2004).

    #2: Connected to this is global dimming (a drop in solar radiation reaching the ground). The average amount of sunlight reaching the ground has declined by around 4 to 6% from 1961 to 1990.

    #3: One study suggests that microsite factors are an influence on whether individual trees are vulnerable to drought stress. Eg – the slope where the tree is located, the depth to permafrost and other localised factors (Wilmking 2008).

    So–the “divergence problem” may be the result of drought stress, pollution, or solar dimming. I’m asking whether our surface-temperature measurement methods might be skewed by urban heat islands, closed arctic bases, and (well-meant) selection pressures.

    IF our surface temperature measurements have been skewed high over the last 50 years, it would account for the observed “divergence” results. This is a testable hypothesis–we can go back through the raw data (that somehow got lost at CRU) to find out whether a broader dataset of surface temperature measurements tracks the tree-ring data than the “value added” HADCRU3 dataset.

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  17. I asked for the science behind the “decline.”

    Link didn’t work for some reason.
    I’ll try with a different one.

    Unfortunately, I neither know nor care who “PRATT” is.

    Yes, you are right. That is very unfortunate.
    Learn.

    I’d still want to know whether sensors might be located near urban heat islands.

    Then get off your ignorant ass and watch the video.
    It’s a P.R.A.T.T point and a very old one at that.

    I’m talking about “good researchers” making an understandable mistake.

    No you’re not.
    This is what you said…

    And there’s always the chance that the new science of climate led good researchers to weed out all measurements that might be a bit low…

    It is malicious of you to make the suggestion that there’s some hanky-panky going on.
    You offer no evidence.
    This is a BAD thing to do.
    Either present evidence that researchers fiddled the books or put a cork in it.
    Put up or shut up.

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  18. Attention!
    We’ve just cross-posted.
    Please reduce snark level of my previous post to minimum possible snark.
    Apologies.

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  19. If you are genuinely interested in the “Hockey Stick” P.R.A.T.T. point then please go here.

    For information on P.R.A.T.T itself, go here.
    For an example of real-life creationist P.R.A.T.T’s, go here.

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  20. Snark level reduced to “minimum possible.” Apologies GLADLY accepted, and I can see I still owe you a bit more of an apology for snarking PRATT the first time around.

    I now see that “PRATT” means “point refuted a thousand times.” That’s a nice term for a common problem, but I’m still going to need a little help coming up to speed on climatology.

    Trying to keep the snark level low, but I’m NOT all that impressed with a website that starts off with “Climate Denial Crock of the Week.” In light of the LOUSY code I’ve seen inside the CRU software, I’d like something that shows me actual peer-reviewed literature. “Crock” videos leave me skeptical.

    The “Crock of the Week” video seems to say the Medieval Warming Period was a local event that only affected Europe. Looking through the comments on the link you gave me, I see a number of claims that evidence for the Medieval Warming Period can be found in fossils and other remains of animal life in China and South America. Does anybody know of any peer-reviewed literature that addresses these claims?

    As for the Urban Heat Island problem, I find this article more persuasive than the Crock of the Week video.:

    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_Part3_UrbanHeat.htm

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  21. Here’s the closest thing to a perfect control we can find in this solar system:

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

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  22. I’m NOT all that impressed with a website that starts off with “Climate Denial Crock of the Week.”

    All they are doing is calling a spade a spade.
    The video’s creator uses impeccable science resources.

    Denialism is not about the science.
    It’s about politics and preying on a scientifically ignorant public.
    That’s why the Denialosphere is fed exclusively by no-name blogs, newspaper op-eds and conservative “thinktanks” funded by the fossil fuel industry.
    There is a public disinformation campaign to cast doubt on the science where no doubt should reasonably exist.

    I strongly urge you to grab a cup of coffee, sit down and watch this lecture on the scientific history of global warming and the anti-science political campaign to befuddle public opinion.
    It’s a little long but please watch it and tell me what you think.
    I’d be very interested in your reaction.

    I’m still going to need a little help coming up to speed on climatology.

    Then avoid no-name anonymous blogs like the plague.
    Please.
    Remember: Garbage in, garbage out.

    Ask yourself this:
    “Where will the very best information on climatology come from?”

    Can you think of a better place than…NASA?
    Or the Royal Society?
    Or the Royal Meteorological Society?

    They do work on climatology.
    Real work.
    Current, cutting edge research.
    They launch the satellites, they crunch the numbers and they publish in the peer-reviewed literature all the time.
    The deniers cannot say the same.

    The deniers have published next to nothing.
    They have done no active, independent research.
    Almost always, they just sit around and do reviews commenting on other people’s work.

    There are excellent resources available to find out about climatology that are geared towards the layman.
    They are hosted by those that actually know what they are talking about because they are active, working scientists that are the best in their field and have the work and the peer-reviewed research to prove it.
    Don’t accept anything less.

    If you get your science information exclusively from the very best scientific communites on the planet then you will find that the chorus of denials will quickly fade away.

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  23. Here’s the closest thing to a perfect control we can find in this solar system…

    The scientist’s idea is…nice but it has gained exactly zero traction in scientific circles.
    From that same article:

    “His views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion,” said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England’s Oxford University.”

    and further down the page…

    “Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, added that “the idea just isn’t supported by the theory or by the observations.”

    Now all the other professional scientists on the planet could be wrong, perhaps.
    Yep.
    They could be.
    This Russian scientist could be the new Galileo/Newton/Einstein etc. of our time.
    Or not.
    The much more likely outcome is that Abdussamatov is simply wrong.

    Nobody’s silencing him.
    Nobody’s out to get him.
    Nobody’s refusing to consider his idea.
    It’s just that other scientists think that he’s badly wrong.
    It happens.

    Oh and for what it’s worth, if you hang around the denier blogs long enough you’ll hear the Mars P.R.A.T.T point before long.
    It’s an oldie but a goodie. :)

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  24. OK–if I follow you correctly, Cedric, I should trust the experts and ignore the “no-name” types who question man-made global warming. If I try to “think for myself” about this issue I’m likely to get confused, so I should rely on people who have devoted their lives and professional careers to this subject.

    Odd–that sounds SO much like what the Catholic Church said for so many years.

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  25. And I forgot to mention… does it bother you to think the CRU crowd might have tried to keep “skeptical” articles from being published?

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  26. Scott, haven’t time for more in-depth response at the moment. But just ask you to be a bit more balanced in your concerns. Look at what has happened here with the attacks on NIWA.

    Scientists are humans, they can be bitchy. They can be biased. They can reject other points of view out of hand. Just like the deniers.

    1: But science is a social process. It involves expert review by peers and competitors. There has been a huge and extensive review process checking the findings that have gone into the ICPP reports.

    The deniers do none of this (I am not talking about “sceptical scientists. I see them as just part of the whole social proce4ss of science review). The NZ deniers produced a report containing a fraudulent analysis if NIWA data, made attacks and sneering remakes on the integrity of the scientists. And they didn’t submit their report to any review process. Certainly not professional expert review.

    2: Science is also an objective process in that ideas and conclusions are tested against reality – the harshest test of any idea. In contrast, the deniers aim was not to test their ideas, but to use their :”finding” to attack the integrity of the scientists.

    So, Scott. If you have suspicions about the scientists – just sit back and consider what your suspicions should be about the deniers. No review, no testing against reality, and very strong motives to discredit the objective findings of science.

    We are all human, Scott. But most of us don’t have the advantage of the scientific process which by review and testing against reality, helps to weed out our subjective ideas, our political and religious agendas.

    Sure – it’s good to be sceptical and critical. It’s good to want to look at the evidence. But in reality most of us don’t have the expertise to follow the intricacies of what is after all, a complex process. I myself am happy to follow scientific experts (especially when the findings are well reviewed and checked) and accept their findings (always provisional, obviously).

    In contrast, when it comes to the deniers and other with well known agendas, known for cherry-picking, etc., and with no objective testing or review of their findings, I am continually on guard. In the NIWA case my reaction was – just a minute. Let’s see what the evidence actually is. What do the scientists really say.

    As I have tried to show in my posts on this issue it was the deniers who were fraudulent in their “information”, not the scientists.

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  27. Ken, as I’ve mentioned more than once, I’m REALLY not following the local New Zealand flap. Sorry to be so American about all this, but NIWA just is not relevant to the larger question of whether the HADCRU3 data is reliable.

    I know this is your blog, and this is your thread, and you’re posting about NIWA, so I’ll drop all discussion of HADCRU3 for now if you wish.

    I WOULD like to know whether you plan to address the issues that have emerged from the unauthorized dump of CRU emails.

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  28. Pingback: The Great Mockery: Climate-change | My Personal Introspections

  29. Scott – the issues I outline here apply to the conflict everywhere.

    I did cover the climategate emails a while back, quoting some UK scientist responses. there won’t be anything else of significance until the enquiry reports in a few months.

    I really don’t see the emails as important. if anyone can produce evidence of skulduggery when it comes to published data, etc., then that will be worth discussing. So far the comments I have seen stress that whatever conclusions one draws from the emails there is as yet no evidence of unethical treatment at the publication level.

    I might say I have experienced the sort of extreme hounding climate scientist get today (at a much reduced level, of course). So I don’t find the emails at all surprising. A bunker mentality is inevitable.

    But meanwhile many people are ignoring the real ethical questions surrounding the deniers reactions and extreme claims. That is why I think it would be worth you actually looking at the history of the NIWA issue.

    Meanwhile, my impression is that except for some people who wish to mischievously stir, some scientists who are insisting on higher standards and introduction of procedures to avert future such scandals, most governments and officials have taken the scandal in their stride. it hasn’t shaken their acceptance of the science.

    Our own PM is now going to Copenhagen (despite this) – and that is progress because he originally wasn’t.

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  30. I won’t deny that a “bunker mentality” is understandable, but I’m still VERY troubled at the possibility that the peer review process has been subverted.

    Whether AGW is good science or not, the “groupthink” aspect of the global warming debate (if you can call it that) has had two effects on me. First, I’ve tried to avoid this issue. It’s complicated stuff and I couldn’t see any point in digging into it–if the majority was right, I wouldn’t have anything to add, and if it was wrong, I didn’t need to get branded a “denier” just for daring to question the “experts.”

    That was one effect. The second was a growing sense of unhappiness about the whole process. As I mentioned months ago on this blog, I had alarm bells going off because the people who were making the most noise about MASSIVE social changes were not discussing nuclear power. Something about that seemed fishy to me then–and my own “prudent” avoidance of the issue seemed cowardly. I’d like to be a “real scientist”… and real scientists aren’t cowards.

    Now that I have looked into the assumptions and methods of AGW theory, I have a LOT of questions. I try to raise those here and get flamed–I’m being called a “denier” for trying to understand the science.

    That, my friend, is a problem.

    I doubt this is the right forum for me to ask questions about AGW. Ken, you’ve stated that you’re relying on the experts on this one (the way I used to), and are more interested in examining the deniers’ antics than questioning the consensus. Fair enough–it’s your blog, and you can set your own priorities.

    As for me, I’m still trying to figure out why tree-ring data diverges from measured surface temperatures over the last 5o years. I haven’t found anything beyond speculation so far–yet our reconstruction of temperatures over the last millennium depends VERY heavily on this kind of data.

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  31. I am putting up a video tomorrow which deals with the two most commonly repeated claims being made about these emails. I think it puts the whole thing into context.

    But you should try and research issues like the tree rings one. The real world is very complex. Scientists understand this better than most. Just because you can’t find a simple explanation doesn’t mean they are fraudulent. You will find if you research these issues (that requires looking at research and conference papers – not emails!) they are well aware of, and discussing, all these sorts of issues. In much greater detail than you would comprehend.

    Give these exoperts the respect they deserve and don’t assume they are fraudelent in the absence of real evidence. And be aware of the shonky behaviour of the conspiracy theorists who are the main critics.

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  32. Ken, I like to evaluate the argument on the basis of the evidence and reasoning with a (relative) minimum of attention to the (alleged) motives behind the claims. That’s why I hang out here–you and I probably disagree on a LOT of fundamental issues, but I think you see things I don’t see and I appreciate the opportunity to expand my horizon by seeing things through someone else’s eyes.

    Having said that, I’m VERY happy with what I’m learning about the science of ice core paleoclimatology. It seems like very sound science, which can tell us a lot about the long term history of Earth’s climate. They can do nifty stuff with oxygen isotope ratios that help them calculate past temperatures and they can extract trapped air samples to see what CO2 and methane ratios were. The deep cores exactly confirm what astronomers had theorized about the wobble of the Earth and periodic Ice Ages.

    By contrast, the tree-ring data seems REALLY dubious. If dendroclimatology is the number one reason we don’t believe in the “Medieval Warm Period” anymore, then I’d like to see a lot more evidence that it produces reproducible results.

    So far, everything I’ve learned about tree-ring data troubles me. I KNOW that surface temperature measurements don’t correspond to the tree ring data for the last 50 years. Perhaps it’s because tree rings get bigger in MODERATELY warm years but not in VERY warm years. All well and good–but if we’re using tree rings to prove the Medieval Warm Period wasn’t VERY warm, we’ve just disproved our own theory. And if the Medieval Warm Period was as warm (or warmer) than the present, then the whole “unprecedented warming” argument seems to collapse immediately.

    So–does anybody know another line of evidence (other than tree rings) that says there was not a global Medieval Warm Period?

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  33. Funny thing–as I’m skimming abstracts about paleoclimatology, I keep coming across statements more or less like this:

    “The twentieth century is the only section of the record which shows a poor agreement with other climate reconstructions and the distinct warming found in most instrumental records for this period is not apparent in the Lake Anterne record.”

    That’s the same problem we have with tree rings. When we do long-term samples using the SAME measuring stick (in this case, insect larva buried in the mud of a Swiss lake), we get evidence of a Medieval Warm Period, a Little Ice Age, and NO dramatic warming at the end of the 20th century. When we look at the HADCRU3 dataset, we get a dramatic rise in global temperatures.

    I’m NOT alleging a conspiracy of mad scientists bent on corrupting the data. I DO wonder whether (1) urban heat islands are affecting some readings and (2) our focus on global warming has changed the selection criteria for measuring stations.

    If it weren’t for the fact that the Martian polar ice caps have been melting lately, I might be daring enough to argue that ALL we’re reading is a measurement bias. But Mars seems to be heating up, too, so I’m convinced there’s some real warming going on.

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  34. I should trust the experts and ignore the “no-name” types who question man-made global warming.

    No.
    You should trust the scientific process that the scientists rely upon.

    As a matter of logic, of course judging an argument by it’s merits is the only way to go. There is one major problem however, most of us simply aren’t in a position to judge an argument by its merits, and given a skilled peddler of horseshit, attempting to judge an argument by its merits can easily lead us in the wrong direction thanks to what Julian Sanchez calls the “one way hash” argument.

    These arguments are relatively easy to make, and just complex enough that they are both intelligible and intuitive to the layman. Refuting these arguments by contrast takes far longer, as one will likely have to explain a whole series of preliminary concepts before it’s really possible to explain why the talking point is wrong. Furthermore the horseshit peddler is only bound by what is plausible, while his opponent is bound more restrictively by the both what is true, and what is known. This leads to a situation when laypeople who attempt to judge an argument by its merits are more likely to get it wrong.
    Link

    You have asked to see peer-reviewed articles.
    That’s a great start.
    Keep asking.
    Walk away from any group that hem and haw about why peer-review is “not important” or how they don’t have any because “it’s a conspiracy”.
    The only people that are producing the peer-reviewed articles that represent the scientific work are the working scientists.
    Those same working scientists are telling you that AGW is real.

    The deniers don’t actually DO anything.
    Why would you listen to anybody that doesn’t produce the peer-reviewed work that you demand?

    As Ken says: …in reality most of us don’t have the expertise to follow the intricacies of what is after all, a complex process. I myself am happy to follow scientific experts (especially when the findings are well reviewed and checked) and accept their findings (always provisional, obviously).

    This is exactly what the deniers do not what you to do.
    If you believe that NASA does good, reliable work then…the deniers lose.
    If you don’t think that NASA is part of some vast conspiracy then…the deniers lose.
    Their efforts on the blogosphere and on cable TV have all been for naught.

    …does it bother you to think the CRU crowd might have tried to keep “skeptical” articles from being published?

    No. It’s the job of a good scientist to make sure the public is not being misled.
    It’s a question of ethics.
    If somebody is abusing the peer-review process via a “vanity press” journal to publish bogus science, then other scientists have a responsibility to do their best to stop it.

    Fraud is a bad thing.
    Lying to people is a bad thing.

    Would you be comfortable with a quack peddling a cancer treatment in a medical journal that was not only bogus but also highly dangerous? If such a thing happened, it would be the responsibility of medical scientists to call for an inquiry into the editorial process of the journal, have them issue a retraction and raise all sorts of hell.
    Scientific debate is fine.
    Outright fraud is contemptable.

    Now that I have looked into the assumptions and methods of AGW theory, I have a LOT of questions.

    Scott, if you treat the denier blogs and NASA with equal value then you will always have questions.
    That’s the whole purpose of the denier blogs.
    They create doubt.
    Not actual science.
    Just doubt.
    Just like the tobacco industry did with the medical establishment.

    All well and good–but if we’re using tree rings to prove the Medieval Warm Period wasn’t VERY warm, we’ve just disproved our own theory.

    No.
    The Medieval Warm Period is just another P.R.A.T.T based upon outdated science.

    There was indeed warming but it was shown that it was only regional, not global.
    Using better techniques and a bigger team of researchers, more comprehensive data was collected and the MWP was shown to be regional.

    So–does anybody know another line of evidence (other than tree rings) that says there was not a global Medieval Warm Period?

    Scott, there is no point in me posting video links for you if you are not going to watch them.
    We will just be frustrating each other and failing to communicate.
    Please don’t do this.
    Please.
    Yes, there are other lines of evidence apart from tree rings. There always have been.
    Please watch the video more carefully.
    Don’t just skim through.
    It explains this very topic. It’s right there in the video.

    I DO wonder whether (1) urban heat islands are affecting some readings

    What do the scientists have to do or say in order to make you believe that they have looked at the heat island effect and factored it in?
    Do you seriously think that the global scientific community haven’t bothered to consider it?
    Seriously?
    If you called NASA and said “Hey guys, what about the urban heat island effect?” do you really believe they would slap their collective foreheads and go “Darn it, I just KNEW we forgot something. Darn it to heck! This changes everything. How come we forgot about this? Arrggg. ‘Urban Heat Island Effect’. Of course! It all makes sense now.”
    Hardly.
    It’s old news.
    Just because the denialosphere keeps on bringing it up again and again and again doesn’t mean that it’s all new and exciting and unexpected.
    It’s just a P.R.A.T.T.
    The same ol’, same ol’.

    But Mars seems to be heating up, too, so I’m convinced there’s some real warming going on.

    Mars is heating up?
    That’s the “big clue” for you?
    (…counts to ten…)
    You’re prepared to accept the scientists that tell you Mars is warming even though there’s not a single weather station or thermometer on Mars?

    Yet when those SAME SCIENTISTS talk about our own backyard with countless temperature readings and multiple lines of evidence going back centuries and real time-close up observations of species migration patterns, ocean currents and the Arctic vanishing before our eyes…you want to slow down and look at the fine print all of a sudden?
    (…grinds teeth…)
    Your sense of proportion is completely skewed.
    Can’t you see how astoundingly unreasonable that is?

    You are swallowing whales and straining at gnats.
    We know much, much, much more about our own planets climate than we do about Mars’ climate.

    I DO wonder whether(…) our focus on global warming has changed the selection criteria for measuring stations.

    Don’t wonder. Find out. The next time somebody brings up that meme, latch onto them and demand the peer-reviewed evidence to back up their claim. Don’t accept excuses. Don’t let them wriggle away from you.
    If somebody really and truely believes such a terrible thing then they’d better have hard evidence for it.
    Demand that evidence.

    So…about the video on the history of global warming.
    What did you think of it?
    Please watch it and tell me what you think.

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  35. (Oops, almost forgot.)

    And if the Medieval Warm Period was as warm (or warmer) than the present, then the whole “unprecedented warming” argument seems to collapse immediately.

    No.
    That’s not what “unprecedented warming” means.
    Scientists have known for a long time that millenia ago, the Earth has been hotter than it is now.
    Unpleasantly hot.
    As in “not a happy place for people”.
    The climate we have currently is what we are adapted to.
    This is our stomping ground along with all the other species on the planet.
    It’s the status quo that we are used to and that is best suited for us.

    Do you really want to turn back the “temperature clock” millions of years to the Jurassic Period?
    That would be bad for EVERYTHING around us that we take for granted; including our lifestyle, our farmland, our fishing industry, and the vast number of plants and animals that we take for granted that are around us.

    The deck gets completely reshuffled and the vast majority of the cards will get thrown out, never to be seen again.
    Nor will they be suddenly replaced with new and better cards.
    Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
    Link.

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  36. You make a lot of points, Cedric, some of which I agree with wholeheartedly, but others of which go to the whole reason I’m suddenly digging into climate science. Let me see if I can summarize your two posts and respond (briefly):

    (1) “You should trust the scientific process that the scientists rely upon.” Amen! And I did until I started reading the CRU emails.

    (2) “Most of us simply aren’t in a position to judge an argument by its merits.” Also true–and that was why I had avoided digging into climatology for so long.

    (3) “Walk away from any group that hem and haw about why peer-review is … a conspiracy”. Agreed. I assume that MOST peer-reviewed papers are providing real evidence.

    (4) “The only people that are producing the peer-reviewed articles that represent the scientific work are the working scientists.” Yes–but doesn’t that raise red flags?

    (5)” The deniers don’t actually DO anything.” Here’s where we part company. I’m a lawyer and a programmer, not a climatologist–but if I see software that has been used to generate peer-reviewed articles, I’m fully qualified to read the code and critique it. In the same vein, any statistician (whether he or she is also a “climatologist”) is qualified to critique the mathematical methods climatologists use. If Ph.D. climatologists happen to be lousy programmers and crummy statisticians, they’re going to produce unreliable results–and if the peer-review process does NOT include an independent replication of the results using all new code and independent data, then I no longer trust “peer-review” as much as I used to. The “deniers” (as you call them–and seem to lump ALL who question the consensus) include a few people who are getting major published papers retracted for inexplicable errors. I’d hardly call that “doing nothing.”

    (6) “If you believe that NASA does good, reliable work…” I love NASA! But I also live in the DC suburbs, and many of my close personal friends depend on defense and other government work. PLEASE don’t make me explain how government funding works–if you don’t understand the politics of research grants we really can’t communicate. Just say, “Stem cells and George Bush” three times and you’ll get the picture.

    (7) “It’s the job of a good scientist to make sure the public is not being misled.” I could not agree more!

    (8) “Would you be comfortable with a quack peddling a cancer treatment in a medical journal that was not only bogus but also highly dangerous? If such a thing happened, it would be the responsibility of medical scientists to call for an inquiry into the editorial process of the journal, have them issue a retraction and raise all sorts of hell.” I’ve copied out this whole quote for personal reasons–Google “Scott Somerville” and “cancer” and “1994” and see what you find.

    (9) “If you treat the denier blogs and NASA with equal value then you will always have questions.” Yes–and I’m sure the Catholic Church would have said the same thing to Galileo.

    (10) “The Medieval Warm Period is just another P.R.A.T.T based upon outdated science.” Now we get to the good stuff–the CRU emails say, “We need to make the MWA go away.” I’ve been digging through the peer-reviewed papers to see whether sediment cores, fauna in other locations, and other lines of evidence suggest the MWA was global or regional. So far, everything I’ve seen indicates a global effect.

    (11) “Using better techniques and a bigger team of researchers, more comprehensive data was collected and the MWP was shown to be regional.” Here’s where I do suspect coercion and collusion on the part of Phil Jones, Micheal Mann, and others at the center of the CRU scandal.

    (12) “Scott, there is no point in me posting video links for you if you are not going to watch them.” Cedric, I’m asking for peer-reviewed literature and you’re giving me “Crock of the Week” videos–while telling me to read the peer-reviewed literature! Why should I watch ANYTHING that starts out with a tendentious title? I’ll read the comments and find the actual science.

    (13) “What do the scientists have to do or say in order to make you believe that they have looked at the heat island effect and factored it in?” They need to answer the questions that CRU insider Tom Wigley was asking in the emails cited here:

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/climategate_which_one_blew_the_whistle/

    (14) “You’re prepared to accept the scientists that tell you Mars is warming even though there’s not a single weather station or thermometer on Mars?” Like, duh! Yes, because I can see the polar ice caps.

    (15) “Yet when those SAME SCIENTISTS talk about our own backyard with countless temperature readings…” It’s the “countless” part that bothers me, Cedric. When I look at a single yardstick (tree-ring cores) I DON’T see a rapid rise in temperature. When I look at an aggregation of “countless” stations, I do. Makes me want to pick just ONE station and stick with it so I know the data isn’t getting skewed by selection pressures.

    (16) “real time-close up observations of species migration patterns, ocean currents and the Arctic vanishing before our eyes…” You HAVE noticed that these patterns have been changing BACK to “colder” over the last ten years, haven’t you?

    (17) “Demand that evidence.” Amen, again!

    (18) and lastly, “unprecedented warming.” I know there have been BIG climate cycles driven by the earth’s tilt and so forth. The MWP is different from those astronomically-driven cycles. That’s why it matters so much. If the MWP was as warm or warmer than 2009, we can’t claim that CO2 emissions have caused unprecedented warming.

    ****

    So, Cedric, I don’t think we’re all that far apart. I’m off to listen to videos, now. I would like to ask you two questions that are mildly personal but truly relevant.

    (1) Do you believe nuclear power is an appropriate response to the threat of AGW?

    (2) Have you read Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”? If so, what’s your opinion of Kuhn?

    Like

  37. Listening to the 58 minute Naomi Oreskes speech, Cedric. Liveblogging what I hear:

    (1) She starts with “the debate is over” (as of 2004) and cites public opinion polls and Republican pollsters to prove her point. Last week’s news was the DRAMATIC drop in American belief in AGW… and the poll was done BEFORE Climategate.

    (2) Now moves to the scientific community (good! ), which began to reach consensus in 1995. “Who are the IPCC? Why was this organization created?”

    (3) “We know the earth is warm because of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.” So far, nothing very controversial here.

    [Note: thanks, Cedric, for making me watch a 58 minute video that tells me stuff I already know... do you have ANYTHING that uses test and hyperlinks? Attention deficit disorder is setting in...]

    (4) Water vapor v. CO2 interactions. Went off to look up more on this issue and found quite a discussion. See here:

    http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/radiativeff.htm

    (5) Heat could melt the icecaps…

    (6) 1965, we’re starting to track CO2 rise.

    RATS! Tried to open up all 12,000 comments on that YouTube video and lost the stream.

    Cedric–please. Have mercy on me. Do I REALLY have to listen to a 58 minute lecture to a general audience on “The History of Denial” to understand climate science? What I WANT are answers to questions like “has the effect of urban heat islands really been addressed?” I’ll explain why I’m pursuing that question in a separate comment.

    Like

  38. WHY I’M QUESTIONING THE “PEER-REVIEWED” CONSENSUS ON “URBAN HEAT ISLANDS.”

    I stumbled on this question, originally posted by Counting Cats in Zanzibar (see cached post at http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:qcywxouATuMJ:www.countingcats.com/%3Fp%3D5023+%22the+whistleblower%22+cru+%22tom+wigley&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=au). Much of my text below is taken straight from that post–I’m not claiming much original authorship here.

    The question of whether cities are affecting our measured surface temperatures should be obvious to anybody. The IPCC’s 2007 report made an allowance that drew heavily on a 1990 paper by Phil Jones that dismissed the UHI effect as largely trivial. That in turn drew heavily on a paper by Professor Wang Wei-Chyung of Albany, State University of New York, which presented data from China which both Wang and Jones claimed came from stations that had “few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location or observation times”, and so could be relied upon.

    Mathematician Doug Keenan (http://www.informath.org/apprise/a5620.htm) and others obtained the original Wang data and used it to track down the Chinese weather stations. They found that 49 of the 84 stations used actually had no records of station location, eight had inconsistent histories, 18 had been moved a considerable distance, and only seven were known not to have been relocated. (http://www.informath.org/pubs/EnE07a.pdf) One station had five different locations in 30 years as far as 41 km apart.

    This was a problem. Wang’s data would seem to be essentially worthless, and Jones’ (and the IPCC’s) claim that the Urban Heat Island effect was trivial now seemed unsupported by solid evidence.

    Neither Jones nor Wang replied to Keenan’s request for an explanation and retraction. When Benny Peiser’s sceptic-friendly journal Energy and Environment said it would detail the evidence, Climategate scientist Kevin Trenberth, an IPCC lead author, tried deliberately to mislead it, with the later confiding in a leaked email:

    (1177158252.txt):

    “So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric. Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.”

    [Note: this has been one of Cedric's arguments throughout the preceding comments!]

    In August last year Wang was cleared of fraud by his university’s inquiry into the allegations, but the inquiry was held in secret and did not allow Keenan to participate, in violation of the university’s own rules. Nor would it release its report. It was now clear that climate scientists were working as a clique, refusing to release data or confront error – if not outright fraud.

    Now to Wigley’s emails. He had been the director of CRU at the time, and knew the charges against Wang were actually true, and that the failure to answer and address them was wrong. He hints to Jones that Jones could have known the data was wrong, too, and participated in a coverup. He accuses the university of “asking for trouble” with its seeming coverup, too..

    All the text below comes directly from Tom Wigley’s own emails, discovered in the CRU files:

    *******
    Tom Wigley to Phil Jones:

    (1188557698.txt)

    Phil,

    Seems to me that Keenan has a valid point. The statements in the papers that he quotes seem to be incorrect statements, and that someone (WCW [Wang] at the very least) must have known at the time that they were incorrect.

    Whether or not this makes a difference is not the issue here.

    Tom.

    Again from Tom Wigley to Phil Jones, just seven months ago:

    (1241415427.txt)

    Date: Mon, 04 May 2009

    Phil,

    Do you know where this stands? The key things from the Peiser items are …

    “Wang had been claiming the existence of such exonerating documents for nearly a year, but he has not been able to produce them. Additionally, there was a report published in 1991 (with a second version in 1997) explicitly stating that no such documents exist. Moreover, the report was published as part of the Department of Energy Carbon Dioxide Research Program, and Wang was the Chief Scientist of that program.”

    and

    “Wang had a co-worker in Britain. In Britain, the Freedom of Information Act requires that data from publicly-funded research be made available.

    I was able to get the data by requiring Wang’s co-worker to release it, under British law. It was only then that I was able to confirm that Wang had committed fraud.”

    You are the co-worker, so you must have done something like provide Keenan with the DOE report that shows that there are no station records for 49 of the 84 stations. I presume Keenan therefore thinks that it was not possible to select stations on the basis of …

    “… station histories: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”

    [THIS IS ITEM “X"]

    Of course, if the only stations used were ones from the 35 stations that *did* have station histories, then all could be OK. However, if some of the stations used were from the remaining 49, then the above selection method could not have been applied (but see below) — unless there are other “hard copy” station history data not in the DOE report (but in China) that were used. From what Wang has said, if what he says is true, the second possibility appears to be the case.

    What is the answer here?

    The next puzzle is why Wei-Chyung didn’t make the hard copy information available. Either it does not exist, or he thought it was too much trouble to access and copy. My guess is that it does not exist — if it did then why was it not in the DOE report? In support of this, it seems that there are other papers from 1991 and 1997 that show that the datado not exist. What are these papers? Do they really show this?

    Now my views. (1) I have always thought W-C W was a rather sloppy scientist. I therefore would not be surprised if he screwed up here. But ITEM X is in both the W-C W and Jones et al. papers — so where does it come from first? Were you taking W-C W on trust?

    (2) It also seems to me that the University at Albany has screwed up. To accept a complaint from Keenan and not refer directly to the complaint and the complainant in its report really is asking for trouble.

    (3) At the very start it seems this could have been easily dispatched.

    ITEM X really should have been …

    “Where possible, stations were chosen on the basis of station histories and/or local knowledge: selected stations have relatively few, if any, changes in instrumentation, location, or observation times”

    Of course the real get out is the final “or”. A station could be selected if either it had relatively few “changes in instrumentation”

    OR “changes in location” OR “changes in observation times”. Not all three, simply any one of the three. One could argue about the science here — it would be better to have all three — but this is not what the statement says.

    Why, why, why did you and W-C W not simply say this right at the start?

    Perhaps it’s not too late?

    —–

    I realise that Keenan is just a trouble maker and out to waste time, so I apologize for continuing to waste your time on this, Phil. However, I *am* concerned because all this happened under my watch as Director of CRU and, although this is unlikely, the buck eventually should stop with me.”

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  39. Pingback: The global warming conspiracy? « Open Parachute

  40. And I did until I started reading the CRU emails.

    Then you are playing the game that the deniers want you to play.
    The emails, no matter what they say, cannot be treated as evidence of a conspiracy in the scientific community as a whole.
    That’s just crazy talk.

    Even Pielke, who is a climate contrarian himself, says…
    The C.R.U. is only one of several groups who are analyzing the long term global average surface temperature trends drawing from mostly the same raw observed data. Even if their data analysis is excluded, it does not alter the findings that were reported in the 2007 I.P.C.C. report with respect to the surface temperature trends, since these other analyses provide a redundant check of their analyses over the last century.
    Link
    The scientific community has looked at the Swifthack and found nothing dastardly.
    It’s all a beat-up.

    “The only people that are producing the peer-reviewed articles that represent the scientific work are the working scientists.” Yes–but doesn’t that raise red flags?

    You’ve lost me. If there’s legitimate research going on then…there’s going to be published research, right? The overwhelming number of papers in the scientific literature are supportive of the science of AGW.
    There’s no contest. It’s what you would expect if AGW is real.

    If Ph.D. climatologists happen to be lousy programmers and crummy statisticians…

    The key word here is “If”.
    You need evidence to back up any claim that hanky-panky is going on.
    Hard evidence.

    … if the peer-review process does NOT include an independent replication of the results using all new code and independent data…

    Once again, the key word here is “If”.
    You need evidence to back up any claim that hanky-panky is going on.
    Hard evidence.
    Otherwise you are maligning scientists unfairly.

    Do you really think that NASA doesn’t understand software, computers, statistics etc.
    Seriously?

    The “deniers” (…) include a few people who are getting major published papers retracted for inexplicable errors.

    No idea what you are talking about.
    How do you know the papers are “major”?
    How do you know that they are worth the paper they are written on?
    The scientific literature on AGW is truely vast.
    We’re not talking about a few papers here and there. It covers multiple different lines of evidence covering many different scientific disciplines.

    I’d hardly call that “doing nothing.”

    It is nothing in comparison to the rest of the scientific literature. Crunch the numbers yourself.
    The Average Joe watching T.V. who knows nothing of the importance of peer-review in science can be easily tricked into believing that there’s a debate going on about AGW.
    That’s why there are the no-name blogs and the op-eds and the talking heads on cable news to generate that smoke screen and maitain the illusion.
    Yet, if you ignore the media and focus on the body of peer-reviewed research done by working scientists…then the illusion vanishes.
    In scientific circles, there is no debate.
    There has not been one in decades.
    Any more than there is a scientific debate on the moon landings, the bogus autism-vaccination link and the screwy idea that HIV has no connection to AIDS.

    I love NASA! But (…) PLEASE don’t make me explain how government funding works…

    So you are saying that NASA will say or do anything for funding? They are just “in it for the gold?
    That’s conspiracy theory. Pure and simple.
    If you believe that NASA is fiddling the books for some quick cash, then that is something you have to actually provide evidence for.
    Otherewise, you are making unjust and malicious accusations and are no better that a Moon Landing Hoaxer-type.

    Yes–and I’m sure the Catholic Church would have said the same thing to Galileo.

    “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright Brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”

    Carl Sagan

    So far, everything I’ve seen indicates a global effect.

    Then perhaps there’s something wrong with your research techniques? The video clearly shows that the MWP question of it being global or regional was settled years ago.
    Scientists agree that the period was regional in effect.

    Cedric, I’m asking for peer-reviewed literature and you’re giving me “Crock of the Week” videos–while telling me to read the peer-reviewed literature!

    (sigh)
    Yes. The videos are an easy-to-follow illustration of the science designed especially for the layman.
    Everything in the “Crock” videos is very well thought out and fully supported by the scientific literature. It’s an education tool.
    A picture is worth a thousand words and all that.

    I’ll read the comments and find the actual science.

    You get your science from the comments?
    Wow.
    (…awkward pause…)
    Oookay.
    You do realise that absolutely anybody can write absolutely anything in the comments section, right? It’s the internet version of a toilet wall.
    Getting your science from a toilet wall is a bad idea.
    Remember: Garbage in, garbage out.

    Like, duh! Yes, because I can see the polar ice caps.

    Yet you can’t see the Earth’s Ice caps?
    How does that work?
    Seriously Scott. You desperately need to watch the videos.
    We are talking around in circles here.
    The urban heat islands, the climate of Mars, the MWP.
    These are all P.R.A.T.T points and have been done to death.
    There’s no point in re-hashing them.

    I can’t make you watch the videos but until you do, you are just going to recycle everything all over again.
    Live a little. Watch the videos and get back to me.

    Do you believe nuclear power is an appropriate response to the threat of AGW?

    I’m open to anything that will generate power and reduce our carbon emissions.
    Yet the number one problem is to get the deniers off the airwaves and have the general public understand the science.

    Have you read Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions”?

    Yes, I have a copy of his book somewhere.
    Don’t remember much of it though.

    Like

  41. Wait a second!

    Re-reading your I’ll read the comments and find the actual science it occurs to me that you might be referring to the author of the videos not the anonymous comments.
    The would be fine.
    However, things will go much faster if you just spend a few minutes watching the videos.
    Seriously!

    Like

  42. Do I REALLY have to listen to a 58 minute lecture to a general audience on “The History of Denial” to understand climate science?

    If you want to have an informed discussion, then “Damn straight”.

    Watch the video.
    Tell me what you think.

    You need to stop giving freebies to people who know nothing about climatology and refuse to take their case to the scientific arena.
    To be blunt, your sources of information are woeful.

    You need to get your science from the actual scientific community that does the work and produces the peer-reviews.
    I cannot stress this enough.

    Real scientists are happy to demonstrate their work.

    NASA uses multiple different lines of evidence.
    It’s not all just million dollar satellites and sophisticated computer models.
    NASA also puts boots on the ground and studies bees. It’s fascinating stuff.
    Or you could go for the dramatic approach.
    Have you ever seen time-lapse photography of glaciers? Check this out. I find it more than a little disturbing.

    Like

  43. Addendum:

    “You HAVE noticed that these patterns have been changing BACK to “colder” over the last ten years, haven’t you?”

    P.R.A.T.T point.

    Like

  44. Cedric, it looks like we’re spending a lot of words on each other without accomplishing much.

    How about this–let’s both agree to push for nuclear power (in nations where it is appropriate) and a DRAMATIC reduction in reliance on imported oil. I’m 100% FOR ending America’s reliance on oil from the Middle East, whether or not I believe CO2 is the prime cause for runaway global warming.

    Like

  45. Cedric, it looks like we’re spending a lot of words on each other without accomplishing much.

    Well, it would help if you watched the videos rather than wiilfully ignore them.

    Why should I watch ANYTHING that starts out with a tendentious title?

    You balk because of the frikken TITLE?
    That’s a very (…counts to ten…) blinkered attitude.

    Whatever happened to not judging a book by its cover?

    Scott, I’m happy to discuss AGW with you.
    If you’re prepared to focus on the subject and keep things scientific then I’m more than willing to engage and keep things interesting and civil.

    Yet I can’t be blamed for not wanting to do the same old two-step with an endless list of P.R.A.T.T’s.
    It’s so incredibaly, mind-numbingly dull.
    It happens over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

    I’d rather gouge out my left eyeball with a rusty fork than have to plod through another baseless P.R.A.T.T.

    Please, please, PLEASE watch the videos.
    Grab a coffee and a donut and watch the relevant “Crock” videos and bring yourself up to speed.
    They are usually between 6 to 9 minutes long.
    (Hardly a major time commitment.)

    Watch the lecture I gave the link to called “The American Denial of Global Warming”.
    Tell me your thoughts.
    Hope to hear back from you.

    Like

  46. Yes, Scott. I can also recommend that video. She gives an excellent outline of the situation.

    Like

  47. Scott?
    You are out there somewhere.
    Please come back to the discussion.

    Like

  48. Cedric, you present your belief in AGW as if it were ironclad science beyond any reasonable doubt, and that anyone who offers the slightest criticism to the veracity of this belief not only disrespects science but is a DENIER, someone whose starting position HAS to be a position of scientific illiteracy, willful ignorance, a proponent of the oil companies, and maybe even a danger to the human race.

    Although that may be the case for a few, it hardly represents all who dare to criticize AGW’s shortcomings.

    In the world of real science, there is always room for legitimate criticism without jumping to the conclusion that criticism of a part automatically means DENIAL of the whole, hence my post about altering the language from one of scientific inquiry into those of moral imperatives.

    You sling your certainty in your faith about AGW as a weapon and attempt to bludgeon others with your insistence that they learn what constitutes real climate science, that they go forth and read the real scientific papers, watch the videos you think best captures the real scientific hypothesis you cherish, so that they can change their minds from inadequate criticism to wholesome agreement with you to then be welcomed into the One True Church of AGW.

    Hallelujah! Another saved soul from the dark clutches of the DENIALISTS.

    But here’s a little scientific reminder for you: what evidence could someone present to you that would CONVINCE you that AGW is not the driver of climate change?

    From where I sit and read, I can’t offer you any criticism of AGW – ANY criticism at all – that you might take seriously no matter how valid that criticism may be. That is huge problem in any ‘discussion’. You have shown your intransigence in a variety of ways already. You disregard any counter claims as being an instrument of those evil DENIALISTS, so no criticism seems to be worthy of the title legitimate. I can’t offer you any names of very real climate scientists because in your mind anyone who disagrees with the ‘consensus’ has already left the Church of Science. I can’t offer any papers because they can’t help but reflect the minority position, which you can then disregard with a self-satisfied reason that such papers do not meet the rigors of peer review and general consensus, so they can be disregarded as non-representative of the majority, therefore non-representative of good science. Yet these papers and these climate scientists are there, and they are many. I know this to be true but how to reveal this truth to you?

    Well, maybe if I tell you how I know.

    Because I have known some of them for a long time and have worked along side them. Granted, most of these people are the grunts of climatology and I don’t work beside them any more because I left the profession some time ago but still I drink with them and play cards with them. I know their wives and husbands, watched their children grow up, been involved in their lives for decades. We talk. More specifically, they talk about their work and how it is used, and I listen and draw ‘pigswill’ generalities based on what I know for postings here.

    Oh, that’s right: I’m supposed to stop right here with my pigswill because anyone who disbelieves in AGW as the driver of climate change cannot by your definition be a legitimate scientist or know about legitimate science. That may be true for some but not true for all. What do these folks know that helps inform my opinion?

    Well, I can tell you that many have learned to keep their yaps shut on the matter in response to attitudes like yours that control their funding. Criticizing even a small part of AGW is not a smart career move and these are not stupid or ignorant people. But you mistake their silence for agreement, and that is a fault in your understanding of how science works.

    According to you I am supposed to start watching videos and read a plethora of papers to convince me of the error of my ways. I am not allowed to generalize about the change in faculty research funding from sustainability studies to global warming. I’m not supposed to comment on my personal experience that more funding over time was directed into studies that yielded evidence for GW by human activity than studies that failed to produce any kind of predictive modeling necessary to spur on more grant money. Yup, there cannot be any value whatsoever to point out that the shift in research funding in my faculty and associated faculties from sustainability modeling to GW modeling went in one direction only. That too must be pigswill because Cedric says so, and it is Cedric that has correctly and without malice interpreted the SCIENCE correctly. He’s got the videos to prove it.

    Am I getting through to you Cedric? Am I getting you to stop blasting others for their supposed ignorance and take a moment to center yourself, to remind yourself that maybe criticism about some part of AGW might just conceivably be of some legitimate SCIENTIFIC value? Maybe you too will come to the conclusion that many research climate scientists before me have come to accept that silence when people voraciously attack anyone who dares criticize some part of a theory and who have so richly earned the appropriate professional sanctions for their blasphemy. But have you actually taken the time to seriously question what the loss of credible criticism means? Might that willful silence actually HARM the very science that you think upholds and justifies your beliefs? Are you, in this light, more of a problem to promoting good science than a provider of enlightened scientific thinking?

    I know. More pigswill unless I give you names and dates and data. But if I did, the harm would fall on others. So go find them and their work yourself. They’re there.

    This does not mean that I am suggesting a climate conspiracy as I know you will already have falsely painted my points in your mind to represent. I know first hand how research funding works and I know first hand how politically astute research heads must be to gain their funding. Funding is also based on the number of publications and references, don’t forget, so when you say, “But look at all the research that supports AGW! THAT justifies the consensus,” then it shows how self-fulfilling the approach is in practice. These folk must read the funding winds very carefully if they are to achieve the results that indicate success in academic research. So if you work on something that improves these chances for funding, submit the appropriate number of papers that make your faculties look good and have enough references to these works to make them appear to be academically important to other researchers, then you’re golden. Can you guess, Cedric, what funding ramifications there are for those who wish to come up with excellent long term science to show evidence that AGW may not be the driver of climate change your superiors want it to be? Go on. Take your time. Ponder it deeply. It takes many climate scientists usually less than a second to arrive at the correct answer. But that does not mean this real world result is a conspiracy: it’s just the way things are. And we need to be reminded of this from time to time.

    According to you, there must be either scientific consensus because the science is just so darn strong or a dark conspiracy of DENIALISTS. Come on. There’s a middle ground and you know it. Actually, maybe you don’t.

    Yes, there are those who refuse to think GW is real. Yes, there are those who really are funded by the oil companies. Yes, there are those who deny climate change is a problem. But there really are good scientists who do not support AGW as the driver of global climate change and they have very good reasons for doing so. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our utmost to neutralize our emissions that we know are problematic, to find and promote better energy sources that don’t add to the warming of the planet, to find ways and means to stabilize our ecological footprint. But reducing our greenhouse gas emissions to zero is not THE solution to saving the world from the ravages of climate change; it merely reduces one contributing part of it. That’s not heresy, Cedric, nor ignorance, nor mere speculation. It is point that needs much more serious scientific research without being so bound and hindered by the chains of the chains of fitting into the AGW theoretical framework.

    Wait a second; how can I admit that our emissions add to the warming of our planet yet not support AGW? How can I be in Cedric-language both a denier and a believer? Well, that’s what the science actually tells us. Human activity does affect warming but there is huge leap to derive the conclusion that climate change is driven by GW. We just don’t have that data. Climate is affected but that does not reveal a causal relationship of hierarchy, that AGW drives climate change. This is evident with a whole range of scientific evidence… evidence that is maligned not for its veracity but for its political and funding effects. And this is why we need to keep vigilant and skeptical about the science itself and what it REALLY tells us, whether it agrees with our conclusions or not.

    It would serve you well to listen carefully to what Richard Lindzen actually says, read carefully his criticisms of the conclusions endorsed by the IPCC. Oh right: he has taken money from the oil industry so his words must be disregarded as deeply suspect. Makes you wonder why he sold his soul, doesn’t it?

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  49. Cedric, you present your belief in Tobacco-Cancerism as if it were ironclad science beyond any reasonable doubt, and that anyone who offers the slightest criticism to the veracity of this belief not only disrespects science but is a DENIER, someone whose starting position HAS to be a position of scientific illiteracy, willful ignorance, a proponent of the tobacco companies, and maybe even a danger to the human race.

    Although that may be the case for a few, it hardly represents all who dare to criticize Tobacco-Cancerisms shortcomings.

    In the world of real science, there is always room for legitimate criticism without jumping to the conclusion that criticism of a part automatically means DENIAL of the whole, hence my post about altering the language from one of scientific inquiry into those of moral imperatives.

    You sling your certainty in your faith about Tobacco-Cancerism as a weapon and attempt to bludgeon others with your insistence that they learn what constitutes real medical science, that they go forth and read the real scientific papers, watch the videos you think best captures the real scientific hypothesis you cherish, so that they can change their minds from inadequate criticism to wholesome agreement with you to then be welcomed into the One True Church of Tobacco-Cancerism.

    Hallelujah! Another saved soul from the dark clutches of the DENIALISTS.

    But here’s a little scientific reminder for you: what evidence could someone present to you that would CONVINCE you that smoking is not the driver of lung cancer?

    From where I sit and read, I can’t offer you any criticism of Tobacco-Cancerism – ANY criticism at all – that you might take seriously no matter how valid that criticism may be. That is huge problem in any ‘discussion’. You have shown your intransigence in a variety of ways already. You disregard any counter claims as being an instrument of those evil DENIALISTS, so no criticism seems to be worthy of the title legitimate. I can’t offer you any names of very real, respected, prominent doctors because in your mind anyone who disagrees with the ‘consensus’ has already left the Church of Science. I can’t offer any papers because they can’t help but reflect the minority position, which you can then disregard with a self-satisfied reason that such papers do not meet the rigors of peer review and general consensus, so they can be disregarded as non-representative of the majority, therefore non-representative of good science. Yet these papers and these very well respected doctors are there, and they are many. I know this to be true but how to reveal this truth to you?

    Well, maybe if I tell you how I know.

    Because I have known some of them for a long time and have worked along side them. Granted, most of these people are the grunts of the medical profession and I don’t work beside them any more because I left the profession some time ago but still I drink with them and play cards with them. I know their wives and husbands, watched their children grow up, been involved in their lives for decades. We talk. More specifically, they talk about their work and how it is used, and I listen and draw ‘pigswill’ generalities based on what I know for postings here.

    Oh, that’s right: I’m supposed to stop right here with my pigswill because anyone who disbelieves in tobacco as the driver of lung cancer cannot by your definition be a legitimate scientist or know about legitimate science. That may be true for some but not true for all. What do these folks know that helps inform my opinion?

    Well, I can tell you that many have learned to keep their yaps shut on the matter in response to attitudes like yours that control their funding. Criticizing even a small part of Tobacco-Cancerism is not a smart career move and these are not stupid or ignorant people. But you mistake their silence for agreement, and that is a fault in your understanding of how science works.

    According to you I am supposed to start watching videos and read a plethora of papers to convince me of the error of my ways. I am not allowed to generalize about the change in faculty research funding from sustainability studies on public heath. I’m not supposed to comment on my personal experience that more funding over time was directed into studies that yielded evidence for increased death rates from cancer caused by smoking than studies that failed to produce any kind of link necessary to spur on more grant money. Yup, there cannot be any value whatsoever to point out that the shift in research funding in my faculty and associated faculties from there being no link to establishing a Tobacco-Cancerism link went in one direction only. That too must be pigswill because Cedric says so, and it is tildeb that has correctly and without malice interpreted the SCIENCE correctly. He’s got the videos to prove it.

    Am I getting through to you Cedric? Am I getting you to stop blasting others for their supposed ignorance and take a moment to center yourself, to remind yourself that maybe criticism about some part of Tobacco-Cancerism might just conceivably be of some legitimate SCIENTIFIC value? Maybe you too will come to the conclusion that many research medical professionals before me have come to accept that silence when people voraciously attack anyone who dares criticize some part of a theory and who have so richly earned the appropriate professional sanctions for their blasphemy. But have you actually taken the time to seriously question what the loss of credible criticism means? Might that willful silence actually HARM the very science that you think upholds and justifies your beliefs? Are you, in this light, more of a problem to promoting good science than a provider of enlightened scientific thinking?

    I know. More pigswill unless I give you names and dates and data. But if I did, the harm would fall on others. So go find them and their work yourself. They’re there.

    This does not mean that I am suggesting a World Health Organisation conspiracy as I know you will already have falsely painted my points in your mind to represent. I know first hand how research funding works and I know first hand how politically astute research heads must be to gain their funding. Funding is also based on the number of publications and references, don’t forget, so when you say, “But look at all the research that supports Tobacco-Cancerism! THAT justifies the consensus,” then it shows how self-fulfilling the approach is in practice. These folk must read the funding winds very carefully if they are to achieve the results that indicate success in academic research. So if you work on something that improves these chances for funding, submit the appropriate number of papers that make your faculties look good and have enough references to these works to make them appear to be academically important to other researchers, then you’re golden. Can you guess, Cedric, what funding ramifications there are for those who wish to come up with excellent long term science to show evidence that tobacco may not be the driver of lung cancer your superiors want it to be? Go on. Take your time. Ponder it deeply. It takes many respected and eminent real doctors usually less than a second to arrive at the correct answer. But that does not mean this real world result is a conspiracy: it’s just the way things are. And we need to be reminded of this from time to time.

    According to you, there must be either scientific consensus because the science is just so darn strong or a dark conspiracy of DENIALISTS. Come on. There’s a middle ground and you know it. Actually, maybe you don’t.

    Yes, there are those who refuse to think the link between tobacco and cancer is real. Yes, there are those who really are funded by the big tobacco companies. Yes, there are those who deny that smoking is a problem. But there really are good, wonderful, brilliant doctors who do not support tobacco as the driver of lung cancer and they have very good reasons for doing so. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do our utmost to tackle health issues that we know are problematic, to find and promote low-tar cigarettes and to increase the effective filters and to encourage children to make responsible decision on when and how to smoke when they are adults. But taking away the individuals sovereign right to choose to smoke and embracing a nanny state that will interfere with our lives just like the Nazis wanted is not THE solution to saving the world from the ravages of cancer overall; it might merely reduces one contributing part of it. That’s not heresy, Cedric, nor ignorance, nor mere speculation. It is point that needs much more serious scientific research without being so bound and hindered by the chains of fitting into the Tobacco-Cancerism theoretical framework.

    Wait a second; what if I admit that smoking contains nicotine yet not support the position of Tobacco-Cancerism? How can I be in Cedric-language both a denier and a believer? Well, that’s what the science actually tells us. Nicotine is indeed somewhat addictive but there is huge leap to derive the conclusion that cancer rates are driven by smoking. We just don’t have that data. Health, perhaps in some small way, is affected but that does not reveal a causal relationship of hierarchy, that smoking drives cancer rates. This is evident with a whole range of scientific evidence… evidence that is maligned not for its veracity but for its political and funding effects. And this is why we need to keep vigilant and skeptical about the science itself and what it REALLY tells us, whether it agrees with our conclusions or not.

    It would serve you well to listen carefully to what Richard Lindzen actually says, read carefully his criticisms of the conclusions endorsed by the WHO. Oh right: he has taken money from the tobacco industry so his words must be disregarded as deeply suspect. Makes you wonder why he sold his soul, doesn’t it?

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  50. Exactly right, Cedric.

    The science shows us a significant increased risk in lung cancer from those who smoke tobacco, just like climate studies show us an increased risk for global warming by increasing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions.

    My point is the accuracy of the reverse conclusion: that it is this science that proves most if not all lung cancer is CAUSED by smoking tobacco (that tobacco use drives lung cancer). This is not so; what the science shows is an increased risk – a contributing factor – associated with a higher rate of the disease between those who do and do not smoke.

    But lung cancer will not be stopped or eliminated by managing tobacco use any more than climate change will be stopped or eliminated by managing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Granted, the rates of lung cancer will predictably fall if smoking decline and it is the responsible conclusion to draw the correlation and support the very real health risks science has provided to us that links smoking with the disease, but any doctor or medical organization that suggests that there is consensus on this false conclusion – that not smoking eliminates the risk of lung cancer – is, to be blunt, lying… and abusing what the science actually tells us, even if the intentions are good. But those who point out this abused of the science are not cancer ‘deniers’ or lackeys of the tobacco industry; they are respecting the science over and above the good intentions of those who abuse it.

    And the same analogy holds true for AGW: what the climate science shows is an increased risk – a contributing factor – associated with a higher rate of climate change as concentrations of atmospheric carbon increases. Those who point this fact out are not GW ‘deniers’ or lackeys of the oil industry; they are honest about what the science actually tells us.

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  51. …that not smoking eliminates the risk of lung cancer…

    The medical community that fought the toobacco industry for decades didn’t say that.
    Coal miners? Fire fighters?
    HELLO????
    (sheesh)
    Stop playing with words.

    …it is the responsible conclusion to draw the correlation and support the very real health risks science has provided to us that links smoking with the disease…

    Links that were either downplayed or outright denied by some of the very same “scientists” that now shill for the Global Warming Denialism industry now.

    As some wag put it: if the cigarette companies were in the business of selling sexual intercourse they’d point out that there was no proven link between pregnancy and sex.
    After all, just because you have sex does not mean you will become pregnant.
    Conversley, there are people who technically have not had sexual penetration who have become pregnant.
    Q.E.D.

    …what the climate science shows is an increased risk – a contributing factor – associated with a higher rate of climate change as concentrations of atmospheric carbon increases….

    Not according to NASA and the rest of the scientific community.
    This information is freely available.
    AGW has not been in dispute by the scientific community for decades.
    It’s the scientists that are doing the heavy lifting on AGW.
    Not hippies.
    Not those nefarious, cursed greenies with their commie backgrounds.
    Scientists.
    Scientists.
    Lots and lots and lots of scientists representing ALL of the scientific communities of national or international standing on the planet.
    All of them.
    Every single last one of them.
    They have the peer-reviewed research to back them up.
    The work has been done the old-fashioned way.
    No short cuts.

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  52. “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue”

    Cedric, once again, get your language straight because it matters a great deal: AGW is the consensus: warming is the consensus. I’m not disagreeing with you or anyone on this issue. Clearly, human contributions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere combined with the reduction of the major biological carbon sinks are the most probable and accurate explanation why warming is occurring that the best climate science shows us. To deny that is to deny the science.

    What is NOT the consensus is that AGW is the major driver of climate change. Many people – including far too many good scientists – make this leap, believe it to be true, assume correlation is causal in this case (I suspect so as to err on the side of caution), but that’s simply not based on the available science. It may turn out to be true, but we aren’t there yet. And that’s why (I think) the predictive models for climate change currently need so much help (various forcing insertions and explanations) to approach statistical significance and also explains (in part to me, at least) why the hard data is all over the place. Strike that last bit. The hard data is inscrutably inconsistent if the models with their current forcings are correct. But we don’t need to go there!

    You make it sound (again) like every single climate scientist with peer reviewed scientific integrity agrees (with perhaps minor quibbles on minor points among them) that AGW is synonymous with THE engine that drives climate change. More importantly, this misrepresentation of what the consensus actually is feeds the false notion that we can control climate change by controlling our green house gas emissions.

    Sigh.

    That’s like saying we have full medical consensus that we can control lung cancer by controlling tobacco. It ain’t true. We can <AFFECT rates, which is a different thing entirely, but we can not (yet) control the adverse condition itself with such a simplistic approach. Thinking we can is selling false goods. Pretending we can (because we wish it to be so) is not good science, and that’s the first complaint I have.

    Nor is my point mere semantics: it’s a fundamental understanding of what the legitimate conclusion from the science actually means.

    We all need to be more careful and diligent if we want to build an appropriate and measured response to address what’s probably true, probably accurate, and probably correct. This is my second point.

    We know that greenhouse gas emissions probably cause a rise in global surface temperatures because the evidence shows this to be the most likely human contributor. There may be others, but we can’t control the others. We don’t need this argument to insist that we should control what we can control.

    We know that we are capable of controlling our greenhouse gas emissions if the political will is there. We know that a rising atmospheric carbon concentration affects climate change in uncertain and unpredictable ways, ways that when changed can hold profound economic ramifications. Therefore, we need a concerted effort by the global community to find the ways and means to reverse the carbon concentration in our atmosphere to reduce the costs and reduce the uncertainties from doing what we have been doing. We don’t need any other arguments to befuddle this point either.

    There are many micro- and macro response possibilities so let’s select a range of ones that are do-able on a local basis and get to work. Arguments about the scope and sequence of these responses is why people go into politics and earning kudos for workable solutions is what politicians call a legacy. Let’s let them earn their legacies.

    We don’t need moralizing about any of this, nor do we need to be diverted from this task by making claims that are unfounded and divisive.

    There is a world of difference between controlling climate change (which we can’t do) and affecting one part of its input (which we can do). Just as the cure for lung cancer is not the elimination of tobacco products, so too is is the control of climate change not the elimination of greenhouse gas emissions. Our public policies need to reflect this reality, and the misguided morality we infuse into the various policy positions is not, as so many self righteous people assume, good science’s little helper. Let’s keep climatic scientific inquiry open and available to those who wish to work within the bounds of climate science and leave morality to those who wish to become some pseudo-academic hybrid we can call climate ethicists.

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