Tag Archives: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report

Who are these “credible experts”?

There is a nice article over at A Few Things Ill Considered about climate change denial. And I thank Grant, from the Code for Life blog, for bringing it to my attention.

The image I have of local climate change denial activists

Climate Trolls – An Illustrated Bestiary produces an illustrated list of the different types of personality among climate change denial activists, and the websites or blogs they tend to congregate around.

There is ,The Galileo Gambiter, The Auditor, The Sanctity of Science concern troll, The Faux Skeptic, The Uncertainty Monster monster, The Avenger, The Gish Galloper, Hockey Goon, The Conspiracy Theorist, The Right Wing Ideologue and Breakthrough Boys. Each with photos illustrating how they see themselves, and how the public see them.

It’s quite an entertaining read.

This one – The Not the IPCCer – struck close to home. It seems to describe the group that gathers around the NZ denier blog sites Climate Conversation Group. And the picture of “How the world sees them” coincides with my image of people who find it impossible to get a life and instead spend all their time attached top their computer passing on links to anything they can interpret to fit their world view.

Here’s how coby at A Few Things Ill Considered describes this subspecies:

The Not the IPCCer – whatever was said on whatever topic by any of the IPCC reports, the opposite must be true.  Indeed there has never been a single correct statement made or paper published by any member of mainstream climate science. This conviction extends to even the most non-controversial and well supported contentions found in the literature and is accompanied by complete ignorance of what is found in the literature.

How they see themselves

How the world sees them

Favorite blog:     Watts Up With That
Special attack:    Peer review really means “Pal review” and Michael Mann and Phil Jones control all the major journals and all the world’s science institutions.
Favorite Topic:   Whatever the latest typo found in the latest IPCC report is.
Best counter:      Light.  The copious self-contradictions permeating their minds thrives only in darkness.

These local activists have been very vocal (at their own watering hole, anyway) since their defeat in the recent high court action they took against NIWA scientists. They have resorted to everything to justify their stance, avoid paying the NIWA  costs awarded by the courts and claim the real climate expertise rests with them, rather than New Zealand’s climate scientists.

Currently one of the most central figures in this little band is Manfred Otto Dedekind (See Shy climate denier in “science team” reveals himself for details). Manfred (who goes by the alias Bob D) on the internet was the “anonymous science team” behind the infamous attack on NZ scientists “Are we getting warmer yet?” The document which claimed that the evidence showed that no adjustments of NZ temperature data was necessary to accommodate site changes and that NIWA used such adjustments to invent an increase in temperatures.

He then did an about turn (without acknowledging that huge error) by agreeing that adjustments are necessary, doing his own manipulations of the data and telling NIWA his adjustments were the only correct ones. That NIWA had purposely got it all wrong. He and his mates used his “analysis” as their evidence in the High Court case (see High Court ruled on integrity – not science). Quite rightly, the court refused to accept that he was the climate expert he claimed to be (he has no publications at all in the area, 4 [very old] scientific publications in total – only two of which he is the senior author. I can see why his group initially wished to keep him anonymous).

But this hasn’t stopped these characters from getting behind Manfred and promoting him as an Über climate expert. One of their sister denier blogs Tallbloke’s Talkshop describes Manfred as an “expert” and a “statistician!”  (see How NIWA added lots of warming in New Zealand – and got away with it – so far). And Watts Up With That, a prominent denial blog, is describing him as a credible expert!

These guys live in a world of their own. No wonder they find trouble in getting a life.

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Another anti-science attack on Mann fails – but the lies continue

Michael Mann

Once again legal action by climate change deniers/contrarian/cranks has failed. In the US attempts by the  American Tradition Institute, a climate change denial think tank, to obtain personal emails and documents from  the University of Virginia. These documents belong to well known climate scientist Michael Mann and the court action was part of a fishing expedition by climate change deniers to repeat the “climategate” scandal. To obtain emails from which cherry-picked material could be used in the ongoing campaign to discredit climate scientists. See University of Virginia prevails against climate science attack groupfor further information on this case.

But Michael Mann is certainly the scientist that the climate change deniers/contrarians/cranks love to hate. Just recently I was assured by a local climate change deniers/contrarian/crank that Michael Mann had been thoroughly discredited. That his so-called Hockey Stick image, which had appeared in the 2nd to last IPCC review (AR3) had been dropped from the most recent IPPC review (AR4). This local denier/contrarian/crank asserted, for example:

“You’re going to have to come up with someone other than Mann, to be taken seriously.”

“I don’t need to prove Mann wrong, plenty of far better people have already done that.”

“Mann has been so often deprecated he is without authority.”

“The Mann saga is over, even the IPCC has dropped Mann’s hockey stick graph.”

This attempt to discredit Mann and his work is a lie – but its not a new lie. It’s one I had dealt with almost three years ago in my post Climate change deniers’ tawdry manipulation of “hockey sticks”. I am repeating that post here, with slight amendments. Hopefully this will at least lead to some climate change sceptic who may have accepted that lie getting some of the real facts.

The “infamous, discredited” hockey stick

The charge is:

“Mann’s hockey stick has been thoroughly discredited and the IPCC has dropped it from its reports.”

But it’s simple enough to check the IPCC reports – they are on-line for all to see. If you do check you will find this figure below in the 2007 reports. The original data from Mann (MBH 1999) is included with, of course, more recent data. Here is the reference for anyone doubting my claim - Figure 6.10, page 467,  Chapter 6: Palaeoclimate,The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), WG I The Physical Science Basis.

And far from this work being “thoroughly discredited” or abandoned, it has been expanded with more, recent, data. The graph below is from Mann’s 2008 paper (Proxy-based reconstructions of hemispheric and global surface temperature variations over the past two millennia).

National research Council report vindicates Mann

In this paper Mann was responding to suggestions made by the National Research Council in its report  Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years. This thorough and rigorous investigation formed part of US House of Representatives Committee hearings on Mann’s “hockey stick” figure arising from criticisms made by climate change sceptics. It is very authoritative.

Anyone who has ever had their work reviewed knows that a reviewer worth their salt will always find your weaknesses and suggest amendments, even though they endorse your work. And climate changer deniers/contrarians/cranks have hunted out the criticisms, taken them out of context and are usually well versed in those cherry-picked quotes. They must be repeated ad nauseum in those unreliable books deniers rely on as sources. But the fact is the National Research Council report basically supported Mann’s findings:

“The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years.”

In fact the NRC produced their own “hockey stick,” using more than just Mann’s data, in the report (see figure below):

Lord Monckton’s lies about the “hockey Stick”

These false assertions on the “hockey stick” graph are, unfortunately, very common. It’s one bit of mudslinging that has found purchase with most deniers repeating the lie. Even some sceptics believe the story.

Lord Mockton has been a prolific propagator of this lie. He even appears in the infamous “climategate” emails saying of the “hockey stick”: “the US National Academy of Sciences has described as having “a validation skill not significantly different from zero”. In plain English, this means the graph was rubbish.”

Problem is – search through the NRC report and you just won’t find those words (“a validation skill not significantly different from zero”). Nevertheless this allegation has been repeated innumerable numbers of times in conservative newspapers and websites. Some of these also claim that the IPCC had abandoned the data (see for example the policy Brief from the Commonwealth foundation – Climate & Penn State – demanding a McCarthyist-style investigation of Mann). But even Mockton acknowledges that the UN continues to use the defective graph.”

I guess it just makes a good story so these conservative sources tack it on. But  where is the integrity in that?

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See also:
Journalist thinks world climate-science publications are controlled by cabal
Analysis of stolen CRU emails by NZ blogger shows tawdry manipulation of facts – Poneke’s credibility now in tatters — Hot Topic

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Open letter across the barricade

Here I respond to a letter sent to The Listener by a former scientific colleague, Doug Edmeades. He is now a science spokesperson for local groups which attack the current scientific consensus on climate change as well as attacking local climate scientists.

Doug and I are old mates. In the past we fought together against commercial and bureaucratic attacks on our research. Now we find ourselves on opposite sides of the “barricade.” But I am sure there is enough mutual respect to enable a reasoned discussion of the claims made by Doug about climate change science in his letter.

I have invited him to respond in turn to my comments and hopefully he will be happy that I post his response, at least in part, here.


Hi Doug,

I am responding to claims you made in your recent letter to The NZ Listener reproduced on the Climate Conversation Group Blog (see In a climate of listening). Space limitations clearly prevented you from justifying these  five claims (your refer to them as “facts”). However they are, in my view, either not factual or misleading. I explain why below and welcome your response to my comments.

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Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC

Recently an Open Letter was sent by US scientists to federal agencies expressing concern about the current “climategate” hysteria and attitudes towards the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The over 250 signatories included both IPCC and non-IPCC authors and professionals from related disciplines including physical, biological and social scientists (see Open Letter from U.S. Scientists on the IPCC).

The letter is certainly informative. It conveys the signatories’ concerns about the current attacks on climate scientists. But it also gives a useful history and description of the IPCC review process and puts the whole question of recently disclosed report errors into its correct context. It endorses the public right to know the risks involved in climate change and the need for restoring confidence in the review process. The letter proposes specific ideas for improving the review process, providing for more rapid acknowledgment and correction of inevitable errors and correcting misconceptions about IPCC conclusions.

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