Category Archives: IPCC

When Dilbert channeled a hairy Mann

Incredibly or maybe not, the media collapse of AR5 is being responded by the usual Great Communicators meeting the usual Great Communicators, trying to figure out who is so evil as to prevent them from greatly communicating (when, in fact, it’s obviously their dumb selves).

Soul-searching what are you.

With climate change “science” reduced to a marketing exercise by marketing amateurs, it’s time to remember two Dilbert strips from exactly three years ago.

Marketing isn't a real thing, is it?
Marketing isn’t a real thing, is it? (Oct 1, 2010)
Baby-eating hobos (Oct 2, 2010)
Baby-eating hobos (Oct 2, 2010)

Replace “baby-eating hobos” with “deniers”. There is obviously something about the goatee.

 

Calvin and Hobbes explain…the IPCC

Dramatic foretelling by Bill Watterson of why the IPCC has become such a risible failure. It also explains why so many unknowledgeable people are so enthusiastic about the work of “scientists” when it suits their pet causes:

Calvin and Hobbes
Calvin and Hobbes

(original run: Sep 21, 1993 – above taken from a recent copy of the IHT)

Calvin (looking at a book):

The more you know the harder it is to take decisive action. Once you become informed, you start seeing complexities and shades of gray. You realize that nothing is as clear and simple as it first appears. Ultimately, knowledge is paralyzing.

Calvin (throwing the book away):

Being a man of action, I can’t afford to take that risk.

Hobbes:

You’re ignorant, but at least you act on it.

Insanity at the IPCC

A comment by geoffchambers left at the Bishop Hill blog post about Donna Laframboise’s latest IPCC exposé:

A quick look, more or less at random, at “WG2 chapter 10.2.1. Energy Demand” suggests to me that the whole IPCC process is insane, and that anyone taking it seriously is […].

Take the introductory paragraph:

The general patterns are that in countries and regions with already high incomes, climate-related changes in energy demand will be primarily driven by increasing temperatures: heavier use of air-conditioning (hence increasing electricity demand) in warm climatic zones, and lower demands for various energy forms (electricity, gas, coal, oil) in temperate and cold climatic zones, while increasing incomes will play a marginal role.

Take a random ten year period in the future for a random country or region, and think about it. Average income will probably increase by anywhere between 0 and 100%. Gas and oil prices may go up 100% or down 50%. Add in political change, technical change, population growth somwhere between -5% and +20%, and anything else you can think of. Then try to estimate what effect a rise in temperature of one fifth of one degree will have on the use of air conditioners.

It’s insane. And the same insanity is repeated page after page for three thousand pages every five years.

Global Warming? Nevermind the Warming, still nobody knows if it’s Global…

first reported by Fabio Spina on Climatemonitor.it - in Italian

How Global is Global Warming? A very interesting slide from the “WMO Technical Conference on Meteorological and Environmental Instruments and Methods of Observation organized by CIMO WMO (Commission for Instruments and Methods of Observations of the World Meteorological Organization) (Brussels, Belgium, 16-18 October 2012).

The slide is from “Introduction on WMO Priorities” by Wenjian Zhang, Director, Observing and Information Systems Department, WMO. It was in the second presentation for the day, after the introduction by the CIMO President. One might logically assume that Zhang’s was one the most important presentations of the whole conference.

The slide shows Dr Zhang’s thoughts on the “key challenges” as “identified through widespread consultations with experts of key communities“.

Remember, this is from the people that actually observe the globe:

Challenges in Climate Observations
Challenges in Climate Observations

Every “key challenge” would be interesting to explore but of course the one about “Data” is particularly telling: “The current availability and quality of climate observations and impacts data are inadequate for large parts of the globe“.

For all the discussions and conferences and proclamations we have been having since the IPCC AR4 in 2007, one has to wonder how little we have moved on the basics.

Five years ago in fact, two thirds of the landmass was still forgotten from the WG2 chapters. And with 96% of Significant Changes coming from Europe alone, the open question was if “Global” Warming could be just European.

We have twice as many changes that are INCONSISTENT with warming in Europe, than CONSISTENT with warming in the rest of the world.

Thousands are waiting in Qatar right now for COP18 to open in a few hours. This news can’t be good. Unless, as suggested by Fabio, every area of the world is equal in importance for the global climate, but some are more equal than others…

Why Everybody Seeing Climate Changes Now Is Uninformed Or A Liar

In its latest “Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)”, whose “Summary for Policymakers” (1) is dated November 18, 2011, the IPCC writes (my emphasis):

(p9) “Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame”

Therefore people trying right now to discern/portray climate change of the extreme variety, (“disasters [that] produce widespread damage and cause severe alterations in the normal functioning of communities or societies“, according to the IPCC – in other words the only changes of actual practical interest), are placing themselves outside mainstream science, perhaps out of naivety, perhaps due to personal gain.

In any case, not one of the usual suspects will lament such a manipulation of the best evidence we have. Who needs skeptics when believers are so determined to sustain each other through long-distance charades?

(1) IPCC, 2011: Summary for Policymakers. In: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C. B., Barros, V., Stocker, T.F., Qin, D., Dokken, D., Ebi, K.L., Mastrandrea, M. D., Mach, K. J., Plattner, G.-K., Allen, S. K., Tignor, M. and P. M. Midgley (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, US

The IPCC Is Dead

This is it, guys and gals. The IPCC is dead.

Either that, or following Piero Manzoni’s example the bowel movements of scientists should be labelled “scientific stool”. That’s the end result of going the authoritative way, believing anything coming out of a scientist is necessarily scientific.

Now, of course the death of the IPCC way means nothing regarding the reality of AGW, or of CAGW. We’ve wasted “only” 23 years, and countless more in the future whilst people keep trying to ride the dead IPCC horse.

Andy @Revkin Points To The End of The Line For The IPCC And Its Lot

Thanks Andy!

Beginning in the 1980s, [University of Pennsylvania Professor Philip] Tetlock examined 27,451 forecasts by 284 academics, pundits and other prognosticators. The study was complex, but the conclusion can be summarized simply: the experts bombed. Not only were they worse than statistical models, they could barely eke out a tie with the proverbial dart-throwing chimps. […] The least accurate forecasters, [Tetlock] found, were hedgehogs: “thinkers who ‘know one big thing,’ aggressively extend the explanatory reach of that one big thing into new domains” and “display bristly impatience with those who ‘do not get it,’ ” he wrote. Better experts “look like foxes: thinkers who know many small things,” “are skeptical of grand schemes” and are “diffident about their own forecasting prowess.”

So there we have it…experts of the “big thing” called “climate change”, aggressive (to the point of hiding declines, preventing publication of competing ideas, inserting unsubstantiated critiques in the IPCC report, etc etc) and definitely “impatient” with us little humans wondering aloud about their certitudes (any post at RC, Connolley, Deltoid, Romm, etc etc keeps confirming this point).

Note how none of the above can be defined as “gross negligence” or “conspiracy”, and yet despite all the whitewashing by the Climategate inquiries, there is a scientific consensus, and the best of our scientific knowledge demonstrates, that all that bunch, and pretty much all the bigwigs around the IPCC, they ARE “least accurate forecasters”. QED.

For more discussion about “wrongology”: here and here. Read also here a critique-essay by Tetlock himself, listing a set of criteria suggested by David Freedman, author of Wrong: Why Experts* Keep Failing Us—And How to Know When Not to Trust Them as signs of claims we should be “especially wary of”

  1. dramatic (“claiming to have invented the psychological equivalent of the telescope qualifies”)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (“devoid of qualifications about when propositions do and do not hold”)
  3. doubt free (“portraying findings as beyond reasonable doubt and one’s measure as 100 percent pure”)
  4. universal (“implying that one is tapping into powerful unconscious forces that, hitherto unbeknownst to us, drive all human behavior”)
  5. palatable (“likely to appeal to one’s favorite ideological constituencies”)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (“widely covered in the mass media and millions have visited the website”)
  7. actionable implications (“claims about what employers now need to do to guarantee true equality of opportunity in workplaces”)

Let me now make a statement that is dramatic, very clear-cut, doubt-free, universal, palatable (to most of my readers), yet likely media-ignored and hardly actionable: the “scientific consensus” on climate-change (rather, the unscientific stuff that constitutes the IPCC–led propaganda bandied about as “scientific consensus”), scores 7 out of 7 on the Freedman scale and therefore should lie at the bottom of anybody’s trust level:

  1. dramatic (having reached the computational power needed to project future climate just as CO2 emissions got to a previously-unknown “dangerous” level)
  2. a tad too clear-cut (with climate change almost completely due to a “thermostat” called CO2)
  3. doubt free (the IAC spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about the absurd IPCC policy of underplaying uncertainties)
  4. universal (everybody will feel the (bad) consequences of climate change, and everybody is guilty of it)
  5. palatable (as it happens, the usual evils of capitalism and freedoms are the underling cause of climate change)
  6. receiving “a lot of positive” media attention (shall I really comment this?)
  7. actionable implications (every ha’penny worth of a politician understands how many things can be pinned upon the bandwagon called “climate change”)

And I find one sentence by Tetlock as especially relevant to the climate debate:

Whatever may be the merits of the underlying science in the peer-reviewed literature, in the public forum, the ratio of pseudoexpertise to genuine expertise is distressingly high.

ps Yes, I might be wrong. On the other hand, I am not asking for billions of dollars for dubious research, have never attempted to restrict anybody’s liberty, don’t use the ‘net to show off my superiority complex, do let almost every comment free on this website, etc etc)

R.I.P. Climate Change Mitigation (1988-2011)

Richard Black came back yesterday to the Land of the Writing with the uncharacteristic words of a Climate Realist, clearly undermining the mitigation side of climate change…

No-one acknowledges the limitations of computer climate models more readily than modellers themselves, who will frequently bemoan the roughness of the resolution at which they have to work given the tools available.

How fast models’ capabilities will increase is anybody’s guess – partly because funding for new big science projects is scarce in many nations, partly because there are still big gaps in understanding of how oceans and the atmosphere work, and partly because when it comes to projecting trends such as glacier loss, the path human society takes in terms of economic development is a key factor, and that’s certainly a known unknown.

There is not enough detail to know what the impact is going to be, where it is going to hit and when. Worse, it might take a long time to go from Global to Regional level, and then even that might not be detailed enough to be “useful”, with more years still to go from Regional to a “useful” level (whatever that might be).

All mitigation efforts might be just right, or too much, or too little, just in-time, or too soon, or too late, and we simply have no clue to tell what they really are.

The problem is that climate science as it is now asked to help manage the climate risk of the year 2100 is like XVIII century chemistry being asked to develop a nuclear bomb. We know it did, eventually, and science and knowledge moved forward. We also know it would have been absurd to base any policy on what XVIII century chemistry knew about nuclear bombs. And we know that, albeit fundamental to the building of nuclear bombs, XVIII century chemistry studies would have been of very little help in that regard.

So it’s not a matter of pessimism, but (using a similar analogy) of acknowledging that we can’t go to the Moon yet if all we can build is hot-air balloons.

Richard proceeds to ask:

So what should policymakers do?

What does one do if one loses one’s sight? Await in hospital the invention of an artificial eye? Pretend nothing has happened, and try to walk as before? Or does one protects oneself against accidents (=builds up adaptation) by using a white cane, a guide dog, and all available mobility aids?

Risk management under these “blind walk” conditions has to start from adaptation instead of mitigation, building up everybody’s resilience against present and future climate (or better yet, weather) events. There are enough weather disasters already as things are, despite CO2 levels being far from the projected values, and global temperature anomaly still in the 0.7C region.

 

Addendum to Skeptic's Dictionary: Hidden Persuaders Of Anthropogenic Global Warming

(original here of course, with plenty of links to explore each dictionary entry below in depth)

(the text outside < blockquote > is (mostly) mine)

hidden persuaders: A term used by Geoffrey Dean and Ivan Kelly (2003) to describe affective, perceptual, and cognitive biases or illusions that lead to erroneous beliefs.

A NOTE TO THOSE OF AGW-BELIEVING ATTITUDE:

The hidden persuaders sometimes seem to affect people in proportion to their intelligence: the smarter one is the easier it is to develop false beliefs. There are several reasons for this: (1) the hidden persuaders affect everybody to some degree; (2) the smarter one is the easier it is to see patterns, fit data to a hypothesis, and draw inferences; (3) the smarter one is the easier it is to rationalize, i.e., explain away strong evidence contrary to one’s belief; and (4) smart people are often arrogant and incorrectly think that they cannot be deceived by others, the data, or themselves

And now for some examples:

 

ad hoc hypothesis: An ad hoc hypothesis is one created to explain away facts that seem to refute one’s belief or theory. Ad hoc hypotheses are common in paranormal research and in the work of pseudoscientists. It is always more reasonable to apply Occam’s razor than to offer speculative ad hoc hypotheses.

AGW example: The discovery that aerosols have cooled the Earth just when the Earth was cooling, miraculously declining their action exactly when the Earth was warming due to CO2 emissions.

AGW example: The discovery that heavy (winter) snow and cold temperatures are exactly caused by temperature increases

 

affect bias: Our judgment regarding the costs and benefits of items is often significantly influenced by a feeling evoked by pictures or words not directly relevant to the actual cost or benefit

AGW example: Justifying reduction in CO2 emissions by way of how “green” things could become, and civilization “sustainable” in “harmony” with nature.

 

apophenia: Apophenia is the spontaneous perception of connections and meaningfulness of unrelated phenomena. “The propensity to see connections between seemingly unrelated objects or ideas most closely links psychosis to creativity … apophenia and creativity may even be seen as two sides of the same coin”. In statistics, apophenia is called a Type I error, seeing patterns where none, in fact, exist.

AGW example: The propensity to see Anthropogenic Global Warming at work in each and every (bad) thing that happens anywhere on Earth, including in earthquakes

 

autokinetic effect: The autokinetic effect refers to perceiving a stationary point of light in the dark as moving

AGW example: The incredible inability of past and present temperature measures to record the actual values, leading to contemporary researchers having to continuously adjust the figures (lowering the old ones, increasing the new ones)

 

availability error: availability heuristic, determining probability “by the ease with which relevant examples come to mind” (Groopman 2007: p. 64) or “by the first thing that comes to mind” (Sutherland 1992: p. 11)

AGW example: The IPCC declaring in 2007 that tens of thousands of indicators were all compatible to global warming, even if the overwhelming majority of those indicators was about Europe alone

 

backfire effect: The “backfire effect” is a term coined by Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler to describe how some individuals when confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs come to hold their original position even more strongly

AGW example: AGWers patting each other in the back about climate science remaining totally unscathed by the Climategate e-mails

 

change blindness: Change blindness is the failure to detect non-trivial changes in the visual field.

AGW example: The obsession with computing linear trends, making it impossible even to fathom the step-function behaviors (=”tipping points”) the very same AGWers like to talk about

 

Clever Hans phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Journalist AGWers crowding RealClimate to know how long to count for

 

Clever Linda phenomenon: A form of involuntary and unconscious cuing

AGW example: Climate scientists writing to journalists making sure they conform, because fortunately, the prestige press doesn’t fall for this sort of stuff, right?

 

clustering illusion: The clustering illusion is the intuition that random events which occur in clusters are not really random events

AGW example: All the global village idiots that will tell the world how climate change is upon us, as shown by the year’s news, rather than by relying on properly conducted scientific research capable to isolate climate-change effects from others such as poverty

 

cognitive dissonance: Cognitive dissonance is a theory of human motivation that asserts that it is psychologically uncomfortable to hold contradictory cognitions. The theory is that dissonance, being unpleasant, motivates a person to change his cognition, attitude, or behavior. What distinguishes the chiropractor’s rationalization from the cult member’s is that the latter is based on pure faith and devotion to a guru or prophet, whereas the former is based on evidence from experience. Neither belief can be falsified because the believers won’t let them be falsified: Nothing can count against them. Those who base their beliefs on experience and what they take to be empirical or scientific evidence (e.g., astrologers, palm readers, mediums, psychics, the intelligent design folks, and the chiropractor) make a pretense of being willing to test their beliefs. They only bother to submit to a test of their ideas to get proof for others. That is why we refer to their beliefs as pseudosciences. We do not refer to the beliefs of cult members as pseudoscientific, but as faith-based irrationality. The chiropractors’ misguided belief is probably not due to worrying about their self-image or removing discomfort. It is more likely due to their being arrogant and incompetent thinkers, convinced by their experience that they “know” what’s going on, and probably assisted by communal reinforcement from the like-minded arrogant and incompetent thinkers they work with and are trained by. They’ve seen how AK works with their own eyes. They’ve demonstrated it many times. If anything makes them uncomfortable it might be that they can’t understand how the world can be so full of idiots who can’t see with their own eyes what they see!

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

law of truly large numbers (coincidence): The law of truly large numbers says that with a large enough sample many odd coincidences are likely to happen.

AGW example: Romm scouring the planet’s press agencies to list all sorts of disasters that might somehow be connected to anthropogenic global warming

 

cold reading: Cold reading refers to a set of techniques used by professional manipulators to get a subject to behave in a certain way or to think that the cold reader has some sort of special ability that allows him to “mysteriously” know things about the subject

AGW example: The popularity of climate models’ ensembles among politicians looking for something to confirm they need to be voted for, and in the process getting convinced science can really tell us something about the climate of 2100

 

communal reinforcement: Communal reinforcement is the process by which a claim becomes a strong belief through repeated assertion by members of a community

AGW example: The tendency of warmist websites to censor dissenting comments away, leaving readers (believers) with the impression there is really a huge huge number of them, and just a handful of nasty skeptics

 

confabulation: A confabulation is a fantasy that has unconsciously emerged as a factual account in memory. A confabulation may be based partly on fact or be a complete construction of the imagination

AGW example: The decade-long fight to remove from collective memory the substantial agreement among scientists about global cooling (potentially, an ice age), a consensus that lasted at least between 1972 and 1975.

 

confirmation bias: Confirmation bias refers to a type of selective thinking whereby one tends to notice and to look for what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore, not look for, or undervalue the relevance of what contradicts one’s beliefs

AGW example: Briffa’s uncanny ability to avoid for years any mention of the misbehaving trees he had himself published a paper about, in the Yamal saga

 

file-drawer effect: The file-drawer effect refers to the practice of researchers filing away studies with negative outcomes. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Negative outcome may also refer to finding something that is contrary to one’s earlier research or to what one expects

AGW example: Extreme lack of interest among prominent climate scientists to publish anything (not even an Op-Ed) about the “travesty” that was (is) their inability to explain why temperatures (actually, the averages of the global temperature anomaly) have not risen since 1998

 

Forer effect: The Forer effect refers to the tendency of people to rate sets of statements as highly accurate for them personally even though the statements could apply to many people

AGW example: The worldwide phenomenon that sees most Ministers and Prime Ministers announce that their own particular country is being affected by climate change at twice or more the planetary average

 

gambler’s fallacy: The gambler’s fallacy is the mistaken notion that the odds for something with a fixed probability increase or decrease depending upon recent occurrences

AGW example: Tamino’s (?) absurdist blog about the probability of having consecutive hot periods being astronomically low

 

hindsight bias: Hindsight bias is the tendency to construct one’s memory after the fact (or interpret the meaning of something said in the past) according to currently known facts and one’s current beliefs. In this way, one appears to make the past consistent with the present and more predictive or predictable than it actually was.

AGW example: The Met Office discovering in January how it had forecasted a cold December in October, as shown by a statement nobody did read, and nobody has read

AGW example: The silly notion that Anthropogenic Global Warming has been consensually recognized in the 1970’s or even earlier

 

inattentional blindness: Inattentional blindness is an inability to perceive something that is within one’s direct perceptual field because one is attending to something else

AGW example: Lancet publishing an incredibly misleading Climate Change report with little mention of the huge difference in the number and type of deaths of people during cold and warm snaps

AGW example: The complete lack of interest about linking the generalized Northern Hemispheric cold and the silent Sun

 

magical thinking: According to anthropologist Dr. Phillips Stevens Jr., magical thinking involves several elements, including a belief in the interconnectedness of all things through forces and powers that transcend both physical and spiritual connections. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbol. One of the driving principles of magical thinking is the notion that things that resemble each other are causally connected in some way that defies scientific testing (the law of similarity)

AGW example: CO2’s mysterious ability to free the Arctic from the ice, and to increase the amount of ice in Antarctica, plus its long hand into anything and everything that ever happens and has bad consequences.

 

motivated reasoning: Motivated reasoning is confirmation bias taken to the next level. Motivated reasoning leads people to confirm what they already believe, while ignoring contrary data. But it also drives people to develop elaborate rationalizations to justify holding beliefs that logic and evidence have shown to be wrong

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural swiftness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

nonfalsifiability: Scientific theories not only explain empirical phenomena, they also predict empirical phenomena. One way we know a scientific theory is no good is that its predictions keep failing. Predictions can’t fail unless a theory is falsifiable. Some pseudoscientific [theories] can’t be falsified because they are consistent with every imaginable empirical state of affairs. Karl Popper noted that psychoanalytic theory, including Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex, is pseudoscientific because they seem to explain everything and do not leave open the possibility of error. Even contradictory behaviors are appealed to in support of the theory.

AGW example: Thousands and thousands of words written by journalists, scientists and activists about anthropogenic global warming, and not one of them indicating what if anything could falsify…anthropogenic global warming

 

positive-outcome (publication) bias: Positive-outcome (or “publication”) bias is the tendency to publish research with a positive outcome more frequently than research with a negative outcome. Negative outcome refers to finding nothing of statistical significance or causal consequence, not to finding that something affects us negatively. Positive-outcome bias also refers to the tendency of the media to publish medical study stories with positive outcomes much more frequently than such stories with negative outcomes

AGW example: The amount of time some highly-functioning minds have spent to justify scientifically the reasons for the “hide the decline”

 

post hoc fallacy: The post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this therefore because of this) fallacy is based upon the mistaken notion that simply because one thing happens after another, the first event was a cause of the second event. Post hoc reasoning is the basis for many superstitions and erroneous beliefs

AGW example: The Anthropogenic Global Warming’s crowd supernatural completeness in explaining every (bad) phenomenon as a consequence of human CO2 emissions

 

pragmatic fallacy: The pragmatic fallacy is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where ‘works’ means something like “I’m satisfied with it,” “I feel better,” “I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant,” or “It explains things for me

AGW example: The inane request to publish via peer-review a scientific alternative to mainstream Anthropogenic Global Warming theory because “it works”. One doesn’t need to be a leader or a tailor to see if the Emperor is naked.

 

regressive fallacy: The regressive fallacy is the failure to take into account natural and inevitable fluctuations of things when ascribing causes to them

AGW example: The general agreement that natural variability doesn’t count much for Anthropogenic Global Warming, even if the very same people go on to claim temperatures have not increased in a decade because of natural variability

 

representativeness error: In judging items, we compare them to a prototype or representative idea and tend to see them as typical or atypical according to how they match up with our model. The problem with the representativeness heuristic is that what appears typical sometimes blinds you to possibilities that contradict the prototype

AGW example: The sterile obsession with studying climate science by climate models alone

 

retrospective falsification: D. H. Rawcliffe coined this term to refer to the process of telling a story that is factual to some extent, but which gets distorted and falsified over time by retelling it with embellishments

AGW example: The abuse of Arrhenius’ “greenhouse gas” works, with the first one continuously mentioned exactly as the second one gets forgotten, being a more sober rethinking of the original ideas

 

selection bias: Selection bias comes in two flavors: (1) self-selection of individuals to participate in an activity or survey, or as a subject in an experimental study; (2) selection of samples or studies by researchers to support a particular hypothesis

AGW example: Mann’s obviously irrelevant pick-and-choose of which series to use for the Hockey Stick

 

selective thinking: Selective thinking is the process whereby one selects out favorable evidence for remembrance and focus, while ignoring unfavorable evidence for a belief

AGW example: Any post at Skeptical Science, with its incredible list of peer-reviewed all-mutually-consistent scientific papers

 

self-deception: Self-deception is the process or fact of misleading ourselves to accept as true or valid what is false or invalid. Self-deception, in short, is a way we justify false beliefs to ourselves

AGW example: Connolley et al publishing an article about a “Myth” of global cooling consensus in the 1970’s despite providing themselves ample evidence to support the same “myth”

 

shoehorning: Shoehorning is the process of force-fitting some current affair into one’s personal, political, or religious agenda

AGW example: Also known as “decorating the Christmas tree”…at every climate negotiation for the UN, thousands of people try to add their pet project to the cause, including “forest protection, poverty alleviation, water equity, women’s and indigenous rights

 

subjective validation: Subjective validation is the process of validating words, initials, statements, or signs as accurate because one is able to find them personally meaningful and significant

AGW example: Anthropogenic Global Warming causing a (temporary?) shutdown in critical thinking among those worried about getting the world “greener”

 

sunk-cost fallacy: When one makes a hopeless investment, one sometimes reasons: I can’t stop now, otherwise what I’ve invested so far will be lost. This is true, of course, but irrelevant to whether one should continue to invest in the project. Everything one has invested is lost regardless. If there is no hope for success in the future from the investment, then the fact that one has already lost a bundle should lead one to the conclusion that the rational thing to do is to withdraw from the project

AGW example: The UN’s COP bandwagon, moving a lot of people a lot of times in a lot of different locations (but never in Moldova or North Korea, for some reason) even if everybody agrees it will never mean anything substantial

 

anecdotal (testimonial) evidence: Testimonials and vivid anecdotes are one of the most popular and convincing forms of evidence presented for beliefs in the supernatural, paranormal, and pseudoscientific

AGW example: Monbiot’s famous February floral musings brought to the world as evidence of anthropogenic global warmings, back when Februarys were still warm

 

Texas-sharpshooter fallacy: The Texas-sharpshooter fallacy is the name epidemiologists give to the clustering illusion. Politicians, lawyers and some scientists tend to isolate clusters of diseases from their context, thereby giving the illusion of a causal connection between some environmental factor and the disease. What appears to be statistically significant (i.e., not due to chance) is actually expected by the laws of chance

AGW example:Pretty much any Al Gore speech

 

wishful thinking: Wishful thinking is interpreting facts, reports, events, perceptions, etc., according to what one would like to be the case rather than according to the actual evidence

AGW example:Pretty much any warmist blog or statement

=======

Obviously there’s much better examples out there, so do send them across if you see any…

Incredibly Accurate Climate Forecast For 2011

(no £33M supercomputer was harmed in the making of this blog)

  • All atmospheric, oceanic, glacial, geological and public-health phenomena with any kind of negative impact will be linked to (anthropogenic) global warming with no shortage of experts confirming how we’d known that all along, and of computer models showing how obvious those consequences have always been
  • No atmospheric, oceanic, glacial, geological and public-health phenomena lacking any kind of negative impact will be linked to (anthropogenic) global warming
  • Romm will continue his fishing expeditions, hoping this or that weather-related mass killing can be taken advantage of, in order to promote the concept of anthropogenic global warming
  • Hansen will get (willingly) arrested once or twice, ready to proclaim 2011 as the warmest year ever, mostly due to extremes of heat in faraway places devoid of people and weather stations
  • McKibben will get even thinner, and just as ineffectual, while identifying new enemies forever closer to himself
  • RealClimate will keep its absurdist censorship policy, and in post after post the Team will “demonstrate” their intellectual superiority
  • Skeptical Science will keep building climate salad surgeries to no end, sprinkling statements of various robustness with seemingly limitless references to the Literature, to be used by the lazy and most scientifically-ignorant among its readership (i.e. the journalists)
  • The Climate Change Rapid Response Team will say nothing of relevance that hasn’t been already said
  • The nastiest criticisms by rabid AGWers will be thrown in the direction of Curry
  • Revkin will keep reaffirming his absolute confidence in mainstream AGW science despite the evidence to the contrary presented in Revkin’s blog
  • Pielke Jr will be distracted by other things, thereby avoiding Revkin’s problem
  • The IPCC will make sure nothing really is changed in its procedures or results
  • McIntyre will be made privy to secret information showing how deeply unpopular in the mainstream climate community is anything remotely linked to McIntyre
  • Goddard (S.) will publish his 25,000th blog post
  • Goddard (NASA’s) will discover that recent thermometer readings must be adjusted upwards, and past ones downwards, for purely scientific reasons of course
  • Watts will be criticized (for being Watts and) for providing web space to people with strange theories
  • ScienceOfDoom will busy himself with explaining the first law of thermodynamics (again!) thereby missing all the fun
  • Connolley will not notice the rest of the planet
  • Tamino will pop up once around here and other places, posting an inane, canned comment that could be written in reply to any other blog post written by anybody on any topic
  • Some people with a very nasty mindset will suggest that the glowing comments to Tamino’s posts might as well have been written by people sharing the same identical DNA with Tamino
  • The recipient of the 2010 Edward Davis Wood, Jr.’s Climate “Blogging Turkey” Award will sink to new lows
  • The art of obfuscating FOI and non-FOI answers will be perfected by the CRU and the BBC
  • Popular media will be filled by photographic reports about a changing climate, with no picture showing anything remotely connected to climate change in a proper scientific way
  • Popular media will be filled by countless breakthroughs in climate science showing how worse it is than we thought
  • Scientifically speaking, there will not be any breakthrough in climate science
  • A very large number of well-known and otherwise knowledgeable scientists will make complete asses of themselves by appearing on TV and in print with idiotic regurgitations of mainstream AGW theory, mostly inconsistent with the very statements made by the IPCC
  • If the weather will keep cold, a major European scientific institution will break ranks with mainstream AGW theory before the summer
  • Popular interest will wane as most people will be titillated about the 2012 “end of the world” instead
  • The EU will find new ways to use climate change to transfer money to the rich, and to China
  • China will happily go along the EU cash-transfer schemes
  • The US Congress and President will strike a united front in protecting climate-change-related pork (money not meat)

And finally for the real world…

  • It will rain, otherwise it will be sunny, foggy, cloudy or overcast. It will snow in places, with sandstorms in other places (or the same ones). It will be cold, then hot, then cold again, or viceversa more or less overall. Some droughts, some floods, and places experiencing drizzle. Unprecedented weather will be experienced for the 200,000th year running, with lack of morals among humans indicated as main culprit for the 200,000th time as well
  • Many people will die of poverty in weather-related events around the world, with the keys being “poverty” and “weather” but all action concentrated on “climate change”
  • Children will keep dying of soot, while the world concerns itself with CO2 emissions only
  • Elderly people will keep dying of fuel poverty, while the world concerns itself to increase fuel prices in order to reduce CO2 emissions

Two Words Summing Up The Cancún Agreement

Mostly harmless.

ps if a chihuahua roars, does anybody care?

Either A Climate Negotiations' Glitch, Or A New Business Opportunity for Selling A Bridge

In Andy Revkin’s “A ‘Shared Vision’ on Climate, With a Glitch“, our dear friend laments the distortion of the IPCC’s own conclusions in the Cancún “shared vision” draft, in particular in the statement:

Recognizes that warming of the climate system, as a consequence of human activity, is unequivocal, as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report

OF COURSE, there is nothing of the sort in the IPCC AR4. Revkin writes “I’m not sure how the clause ‘as a consequence of human activity’ slipped in, but it shouldn’t be there” and concludes hoping “several [IPCC] scientists and Rajendra K. Pachauri” will “suggest a change” to correct such a “glitch“, even if “it’s minutiae“.

Here’s my comment posted at the NYT:

Andy – this is is not “glitch” #1, this must be “glitch” #267…say, have you ever tried to follow the trail from the IPCC’s 2007 statements on solar influences to what appears in newspapers and at policy conferences?

And all those “glitches” always go in the same direction. What more evidence do you need to realize that these “broken telephone” games:

  1. are biased from the start,
  2. make a mockery of climate science,
  3. undermine any effort to deal with future resource and disaster management challenges and
  4. (d) demean journalists that keep talking about them as “glitches” into the kind of people whom dodgy characters would like to sell a bridge to

Global Warming As Imperial Surrogate For The United Kingdom

I have just sent my local MP a slightly-edited version of Clive Francis’ “£400 billion” letter. (h/t Malcolm Shykles).

The UK governments’ obsession with AGW had actually been until now a bit of a puzzle really, as it covers the entire spectrum of Westminster’s opinions, apart from a few lonely voices. A bunch of fools they might be alright, but carefully selected to be in the same place at the same time, that’s unlikely.

Then I read a passage from Carl Sagan’s “The Demon-Haunted World“, and everything became clear:

The last scientifically literate President may have been Thomas Jefferson…Britain had such a Prime Minister in Margaret Thatcher. Her early studies in chemistry, in part under the tutelage of Nobel Laureate Dorothy Hodgkins, were key to the U.K.’s strong and successful advocacy that ozone-depleting CFCs be banned worldwide.

Never mind if promising to achieve an impossible target by spending an incredible amount of money makes sense or doesn’t. What matters for successive British governments really _is_ to be able to “show leadership”, i.e. be at the head of the bandwagon. Just like Mrs Thatcher was able to do: a great surrogate for a lost empire, if you ask me.

In other news: when will Mrs Thatcher or one of her scientifically-illiterate male clones finally stop being the UK Prime Minister?

Four Steps For A Climate Policy Beyond Scenarios And Fear

Very interesting review by Tim Lewens in the London Review of Books with (explicit) reference to a “new” way to select a rational climate policy, beyond the usual soup of running scenarios designed to deal with worst-case and in general of applying the precautionary principle in order to stifle innovation and institutionalize killjoyfulness. In summary:

  1. We should aim for “concrete recommendations that are thoroughly in accordance with precautionary thinking in remaining humble about our state of knowledge, while taking into account the full range of scientific evidence
  2. However, the precautionary principle on its own is no guidance to policy decisions when facing great complexity and uncertainty, as both action and inaction might lead to disaster
  3. Cost-benefit analysis is not much better, as it simply collapses complexity and provides “a bland expression of uncertainty” that strongly depends on the (lack of) knowledge and understanding of the system at hand
  4. Instead, the first step of a good policy is to “examine how our proposed interventions will fare under a range of different plausible scenarios for the unfolding of a complex system, picking the strategy which has a satisfactory outcome across the largest range of future scenarios
  5. The second step is to “assume that the world may not behave in a manner we expect it to, and therefore make sure that the strategy we choose can be undone or altered with reasonable ease
  6. Another problem for a good policy is to avoid falling victim of “optimism bias” (overestimating the likelihood of outcomes one favours) and “affiliation bias” (the dependency of a researcher’s results on his/her affiliation)
  7. The third step is therefore to “to be attentive to the institutional sources of the data“, in order to understand and perhaps even remove the biases from the policymaking “picture”
  8. The fourth step goes even further for the same aim, and involves “broad public participation

Very shortly: know your science, know its limits, know its biases, involve as many people as possible, pick a policy that looks best across many scenarios and can be easily changed.

Now, it is pretty easy to argue that the IPCC has failed on all fronts: by fixating on worst-case analysis thereby restricting the range of scenarios; by not assuming that the world may not behave as expected, steering quite clear of providing any sign of being humble about anything; by refusing to consider the bias of its own authors and editors, through its flawed review system; and by consistently trying to keep the public at bay, with countless elitist “summits” only good for people on expenses and/or without a day job.

It will be interesting to compare the above with whatever Roger Pielke Jr has written in “The Climate Fix” (also with “Look Inside”), a book I bought a few days ago.

======

And now for some quotes from Lewens’ review of “Unsimple Truths: Science, Complexity and Policy” by Sandra Mitchell, 
ISBN 978 0 226 53262 (available at Amazon.com with the “Look Inside” feature enabled):

[…] on the important matter of what decision-makers can do to handle complexity […] Mitchell’s book is at its best. Nearly all the systems we care about – the global climate, the human body, the international financial system – exhibit the various forms of complexity she dissects.

[…] A typical reaction, displayed in many policy documents, is that when dealing with scientific uncertainty in relation to important systems, policy-makers should adopt a precautionary approach. […] Both unintentional vandalism and irresponsible dithering can lead to disaster. Those who oppose precautionary thinking often argue that it becomes incoherent or dangerous when spelled out in detail. The problem is that precautionary thinking is supposed to help in situations of uncertainty; that is, in situations where we lack knowledge, or where our knowledge is imprecise. But since decisions under such conditions tend to have the potential for grave outcomes whichever option we choose, we need guidance on how to err on the side of caution.

High-profile opponents of the precautionary principle, such as Barack Obama’s new regulation tsar, Cass Sunstein, have argued [for] a form of cost-benefit analysis as the best way to ensure that the potential costs and benefits of all courses of regulatory action – including inaction – are placed ‘on screen’.

Mitchell’s critique of cost-benefit analysis is a familiar one. It is suitable for well-understood systems, unfolding over short time periods, where we can assign probabilities with confidence. But the probability of a given outcome – financial profit, the extinction of species, an increase in sea levels, high blood pressure – in whatever system we are analysing will often vary significantly with small changes in the starting conditions, with our assumptions about the causal interactions within the system, and with variation in background conditions as the system evolves over long periods of time. Our estimates of these conditions will often be imprecise, or thoroughly conjectural, in spite of the apparent precision of the cost-benefit methodology. The question is how to turn uncertainty of this sort into trustworthy policy recommendations.

Mitchell’s stance on these matters is not new […] but her way of justifying it is particularly crisp and compelling. Simple cost-benefit analysis will tend to collapse a rich understanding of the complexity of a system into a single set of all-things-considered probability estimates for its likely end-states. In so doing, Mitchell says, we mask our grasp of complexity, and replace it with a bland expression of uncertainty.

[…] once we do acknowledge complexity, two strategies become available. First, we can examine how our proposed interventions will fare under a range of different plausible scenarios for the unfolding of a complex system, picking the strategy which has a satisfactory outcome across the largest range of future scenarios. Second, we can assume that the world may not behave in a manner we expect it to, and therefore make sure that the strategy we choose can be undone or altered with reasonable ease. The end result should be a set of concrete recommendations that are thoroughly in accordance with precautionary thinking in remaining humble about our state of knowledge, while taking into account the full range of scientific evidence.

[…] The question of how good a particular outcome would be, were it to arise, should be wholly independent of the question of how likely that outcome is. And yet it turns out that we tend to overestimate the likelihood of outcomes we favour, while underestimating the likelihood of outcomes we don’t want. This is known as ‘optimism bias’. And ‘affiliation bias’ results in (for example) the conclusions of studies on the effects of passive smoking varying according to the authors’ affiliation with the tobacco industry. Needless to say, these psychological results suggest that policy-makers need to be attentive to the institutional sources of the data they use. And this, in turn, underlines a long-standing theme of work among social scientists, who have claimed that broad public participation in risk planning may increase the quality of risk analysis. Mitchell’s stance on policy isn’t complete, but perhaps that is to be expected in a complex world.

How AGWers Endangered Humanity

Continuing in the policy of “elevating” otherwise lost comments deep in some blog post’s thread, here some insightful and quite sad thoughts by TAG at Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit. They should provide ample food for thought even to the most panicking AGW catastrophist:

In the 70s, I worked with someone who had worked in Guyana and had married a woman from there. In a coincidence with SMc, he worked for a mineral survey business. He was in charge of their electronic equipment. One day he had to go to a remote work site to repair some equipment. He and another employee flew in on a jet helicopter. The helicopter could not land at the camp but deposited them on a sandbar in the middle of the jungle river. A launch from the camp was to come out to fetch them. They helicopter landed and they unloaded their equipment. The helicopter took off and they watched it disappear into the distance. They then stood there with their equipment as if they were waiting for a bus on a sandbar in a jungle river.

They both then realized that they were not waiting for a bus. They were waiting on a sandbar in a jungle river with caiman (a form of crocodile) swimming around them. My friend’s colleague then noted that they didn’t even have a pointy stick to defend themselves.

The nub of this anecdote is that they came to that river sandbar on top of a pinnacle of technology, They were the rulers of the world with a world wide technological economy supporting them. They had no thought that they were vulnerable in any way.

The AGW issue is of the same sort. It is easy to think us to be not vulnerable when we are surrounded by the power of our technology. Yet as my friend discovered we are only as invulnerable as our technology allows and when that fails we are very vulnerable indeed.

The hockey stick scientists have produced nothing that is of assistance to policy makers. Their results have been debunked and there is little prospect that their will be any change in this. This is not good news. It does not mean that AGW is not an issue. it means that we have been denied what had been hoped to be a useful guide for policy makes so that we as a human society could chose a path to cope with possible dangers.

We might be standing on a sandbar in a jungle river with caiman swimming around us without even a pointy stick to defend ourselves. Since the science has failed, we just do not know.

Climate Scientists Fight Back (Minus The Climate Scientists)

Funny people, the climate scientists. One would expect, for example, that behind a website sporting a “new rapid response team of climate scientists [that] promises to connect reporters and editors with a team of experts” (in the words of The Guardian), there would be at least the one climate scientist ready to put their face where their internet connection is.

Alas, one would be wrong. For who’s organizing the Climate Rapid Response?

  • Dr. John Abraham, “Associate Professor of Thermal and Fluid Sciences at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering.[1][2] His area of research includes thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluid flow, numerical simulation, and energy“(from Wikipedia)
  • Scott A. Mandia,  “Professor of Earth and Space Sciences and Assistant Chair of the Physical Sciences Department […] He received his M.S. – Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1990 and his B.S. – Meteorology from University of Lowell in 1987” (from Wikipedia)
  • Dr. Ray J. Weymann, “Staff Member Emeritus and Director Emeritus, Carnegie Observatories” (as far as I can tell, an astronomer)

As far as I can tell, the combined scientific output of the public faces of the Climate Rapid Response Team is zero. Or maybe one, by stretching things a bit.

This is not to criticize anybody, esp. Prof. Mandia, who after a couple of decades of teaching introductory climatology may know a thing or two, so to speak. But in absence of original research by its leaders, we can only expect the  Climate Rapid Response Team to be a campaigning (political) platform, not a scientific one.

Martin Luther, Here I Come!

The “AGW is logically impossible” list (aka Global Warming Miracles) has suddenly jumped to 52 items, doubling in size in a little less than three weeks. As commented at the Italian version of the page, I am now only 43 items away from putting a poster at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Or perhaps I should find out where the bulletin boards are, at the University of East Anglia…

Why The Global Cooling Story Is So Important…In The Anthropogenic Global Warming Debate

On the face of it, the whole debate about “global cooling in the 1970’s” is a matter of despair. If we can’t agree on what has happened less than 40 years ago, and is still remembered by many people, despite the avalanche of available snippets of information, a great deal of them accessible to all via the Internet…then what can we agree on? And what is the meaning of “history” at all??

So the only way to rescue our knowledge of the Renaissance, Ancient Rome or the Pharaos is by establishing that there is something special about the “global cooling the 1970’s debate“, something the unfortunately gets in the way and prevents people from recognizing what has happened within living memory. What is it?

=====

The story so far…Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling? Yes. A paper by Mitchell in 1972 consolidated the idea. The Peterson, Connolley and Fleck article usually paraded around, it says just as much. Here I quote them again, with some added emphasis for those hard of seeing:

By the early 1970s, when Mitchell updated his work (Mitchell 1972),

THE NOTION OF A GLOBAL COOLING TREND WAS WIDELY ACCEPTED

, albeit poorly understood

In fact, we now know that “the world” was not cooling at the time, but “the Northern Hemisphere” was. Only thing, the scientists in 1972 had no way to know it was just a Northern Hemisphere thing. All of this is actually quite inconsequential wrt the original question (once again: “Did the scientists believe in the 1970s that there was global cooling?“). Anyway: in the published scientific literature, the global cooling idea started in fact evaporating in 1975, and had been replaced by global warming at full speed from 1979 or so (curiously, in sync with the PDO…). The same happened but much more slowly outside the world of research, so most people have been exposed to “global cooling” (actually, to global cooling consensus) well into the 1980s.

I am not saying I have found the last word on this, but the story above makes much more sense than the usual worldwide newsmedia sensationalism conspiracy as suggested by those adamantly opposed to any memory of the global cooling scare. What is it, that they can’t digest, to the point of denying recent history even if it stares at them from the ink of their own writing?

=====

If one believes in contemporary global warming, the most obvious and logical reply to anybody saying “there was a global cooling consensus in the 1970s” should be “Yes, but…” followed by a long explanation on why the consensus is right this time and was wrong at the time. After all some consensuses have been right in the past, and some wrong.

This would cut off all sorts of sterile polemics and actually contribute to an increase in reputation of the average warmist daring to launch into such an argument, facing reality rather than fudging it. But nobody goes in that direction. Why?

=====

As far as I can understand it to date, there are two main reasons for such a peculiar behavior: the AGWers’ unhealthy attachment to catastrophism (that forces them into defending absurdist ocean-boiling claims), and their single-minded determination not to allow the mere possibility of anybody uttering any suggestion that anything about AGW could be wrong, unless “it’s worse than we thought!” (that forces them into trying to rewrite history, personally attack any disbeliever, blowing up schoolchildren in comedy videos, and all sorts of nasty stuff).

In the AGWer world it is worse than blasphemous even to try to remember that, not so many years ago, there was indeed a climate worry, only it was a worry about the world getting cooler, rather than warmer. With so many easy-to-spot mirror claims (eg Pakistan floods because of cooling then, Pakistan floods because of warming now) logic dictates that the wall of evidence needed to convince people to really care about AGW becomes taller by the minute. And the one needed to acquire the political will to work against catastrophic climate change, it becomes impassable.

This explains why the discussion about global cooling in the 1970s often degenerates with people stupidly claiming “there was no consensus in the 1970s about an ice age“. Yes, there wasn’t. But who cares? Even a cooling of a few degrees, not exactly an ice age, was presented as very worrying, and potentially as harbinger of catastrophes.

Hence, the “ice age” mention is pointless.

=====

Like the “AGW is a logical impossibility” page, the discussion about the global cooling consensus in the 1970s on this blog by itself will never be enough to put the antiscientific claims about upcoming catastrophic AGW to rest. At the end of the day, those pages are “just” reminders that we should avoid leaps in the dark, and always be very aware of our hubris.

Anyway…for me at least, these two subjects are evolving into a kind of “litmus test” that will help to tell the honest warmers from the rabid ones. The honest ones, you see, don’t worry about facing reality, including history.

How To Get A Comprehensive, Serious, Effective Global Treaty About Climate Change

It’s so simple, no rabid environmentalist or holier-than-thou climate scientist will understand it…so I won’t explain it here, and leave it as an exercise to the (rational) reader starting from this quote:

“Now, if for the past 20 years we had been told that there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch, then I could join with you and the consensus. Instead of which I have been repeatedly told that trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and it is the most urgent problem, more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution, likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover that the science is settled and to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal. So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year. Ask yourself if these emails had been within a drug company about a drug trial, whether the establishment would have been so determined to excuse them”

I shall rephrase it for the IQ challenged:

IF for the past 20 years we had been told that:

  1. there is a probability of some change in the climate due to CO2, and
  2. a very small possibility that it is likely to lead to a drastic lurch,

THEN I could join with you and the consensus.

INSTEAD I have been repeatedly told that:

  1. trillions must be spent urgently because there are only a few months to save the world and
  2. it is the most urgent problem,
  3. more urgent than hunger, malaria and indoor air pollution,
  4. likely to lead to the collapse of the entire economy and moreover
  5. the science is settled and
  6. to question it is to be equivalent to a criminal

So, apologies if I sound a little exercised on this, but as a huge champion of science I feel very, very let down by the science establishment, especially the laughably poor enquiries on the emails published this year

It's Official! There Will Not Be Any Climate Apocalypse! (For At Least Five Years)

It’s official! The WWF is wrong. Greenpeace is wrong. Avaaz is wrong. Prince Charles is wrong. The UN climate negotiators are wrong. James Hansen is wrong. Many, many people are wrong, including Bill McKibben, Joe Romm, John Holdren. Countless people and especially children are being duped, day in, day out, into believing that the end of the world is nigh.

Simply, there is officially no hurry about climate change, as stated by the “European Union’s rapporteur on climate change” (the European Union? Or the Council of Europe? Does anybody care, can anybody tell the difference?) about the upcoming Cancun meeting:

Let’s have a voluntary agreement. Let’s stop the clock. Instead of Kyoto having to be done by 2012, stop it for about five years, put in a voluntary agreement and a verification system.

Thus spake on Thursday Lord John (Two Jags) Prescott, having cycled to China (or maybe not). His words were uttered on the august microphones of the BBC’s Today programme, but for some reason failed to materialise in the Today’s “running order” page, or anywhere else at the BBC site apart from the direct link to the interview’s recording. Had it not been for the Telegraph, I would have had to re-type them myself (Carbon News and DeHavilland are hiding their reports behind paywalls).

Anyway…what can they mean? Remember, whatever his past Lord Prescott is now talking for Europe, and European politicans have always liked to be at the forefront of quasi-suicidal climate-change-fighting binding pacts. They are hardly a bunch of Koch-sponsored evil Deniers: and still, at this stage of the negotiations they’re happy to settle for a five-year hiatus in imposing anything to anybody.

In other words, the most pro-AGW politicians on Earth are pretty much convinced we are not facing the last chance to save the world, it’s not 99 months to the apocalypse, the 350ppm threshold in CO2 concentration can be crossed for several years in a row without any cause for panic. Etc etc.

I wonder if all of that will go in the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC AR5?

Copenhagen Humor

Couple of year-old clippings from the NYT “Green Inc” blog. All humor as unintended as ever.

Nov 29, 2009:

[…] few failed to recognize that the Copenhagen plot line — after years, really, of stalemate, lowered expectations and continued scientific bickering — appeared to be moving forward. “As we head towards Copenhagen, the world’s two largest emitters have stepped up to the plate at the highest political level,” Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. “This shows that international engagement on climate change can produce real results.”

Dec 8, 2009:

The U.N. Climate Convention meeting needs to be a show‐stopper and a chart‐topper in the annals of international cooperation,” said Achim Steiner, head of the United Nation’s Environment Program, according to the Seal the Deal Web site. “As the negotiations kick off in Copenhagen, Dance for Climate Change can help energize action towards ensuring that nations hit the highest of high notes on the climate change challenge.” […] As show time approached, in fact, so few tickets had been sold that the price dropped to $15. And according to some local reports, tickets were actually handed out for free at the gates when the music began to play. Various reports put attendance at about 2,000. Amanda Orlanda, a spokeswoman for the Water for Life concerts, told the Danish music magazine Gaffa that about 10,000 tickets had been sold, though she conceded that somewhat fewer showed up, noting that many of the foreign delegates in town for the negotiations may have had a hard time figuring out how to find Parken Stadium, a communications breakdown on the organizers’ part, she said. “We could have done better,” she said.

Live Microblogging Of GWPF – Montford – Bishop Hill Climategate Enquiries Presentation

I am at the House of Lords for the GWPF / Montford / Bishop Hill presentation of the climategate inquiries report

Follow @mmorabito67 on Twitter for live updates from 10am GMT

UPDATE: here the relevant Twitter entries in chronological order

  • Delingpole, Warehouse in attendance
  • Lord Lawson, Benny Peer, Lord Turnbull, Andrew Montford ready to go
  • Benny Peiser of course – curse you, Android!
  • And that was Whitehouse :-P
  • Starts right on time. Turnbull first
  • Turnbull: so far boys-will-be-boys defence. ButBritish science reputation important.
  • Turnbull: climate policy ipcc-based in UK demands almost complete decarbonisation
  • People questions if science is solid enough to warrant these sacrifices
  • Climategate enquiries timely but did they answer the original questions? New parliam commit looking at things again
  • Missing is review of science that select committee thought would be done by Oxburgh and was not
  • Montford reads. Starts with lack of independence
  • Panels full of campaigners, no skeptic selected
  • Serious allegations overlooked, selected papers by UEA and Jones themselves
  • Known fraud evidence not considered at all
  • Sir Muir Russell informed of FOI breach but did nothing about it
  • Curry, von Storch critical of the enquiries too. Reputation of British science is on the line
  • Peiser underlines it’s the enquiries that are under scrutiny, not the original allegations
  • Times journo challenges Montford on Jones’ selection claim. Good answer.
  • Turnbull: flaws from day one, prejudicial remarks, little representativity, flawed processes
  • I asked: enquiries give free hands to fraudsters as long as it’s not too serious a fraud: Bishop is more optimistic
  • Telegraph journalist asks Lords’ own opinion. Lawson mentions huge cloud of doubt when emails came out
  • Inquiries are the expertise of Lord Turnbull -these ones failed to close the debate on Climategate
  • They may be right about the science, so why did UEA engage on disreputable behaviour?
  • Guardian journalist asks how report was written (desktop job)
  • Why the Bishop? Lawson asks to judge report on merits
  • Turnbull: parliament is listening to Sir Muir and the others too
  • Montford: plenty of citations in my report if anybody is looking for them
  • Telegraph: new info? Russell minutes on website, recently available
  • UEA head of IT: Briffa took home some emails. Russell did not even mention this
  • Turnbull: can we really do AR5 as if nothing had happened
  • Lawson: there is no indication the ipcc will implement the recommendations
  • The ipcc hid the decline – very disreputable – even if Jones mentioned it in the original articles
  • Montford: only mention of hiding at the very last moment in AR4
  • Whither the IPCC? Lawson: doubts undermine its purpose
  • MP already in Sci Tech committee: our outcome not influenced by our chairman remarks
  • Continues: surprise by huge gaps when we asked none there would be
  • More: Jones and Briffa cannot reproduce their work. “Very disturbing”
  • Meeting closes at 10:53am Gmt

No Science Without Contradiction

High-brow climate science specialists might almost be a lost cause, yes, but they are not the only ones working about climate-related stuff. So the latest development in terms of investigating the relationship between people and climate is very welcome, because it shows that not the whole world is supinely enthralled in fashionable doom-and-gloom deathwish: tentatively, the analysis of what “climate” means to us may have actually put a step forward.

I am talking about the ‘Climate not to blame for African Civil Wars‘ piece from PNAS, also described at the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW) at PRIO’s website and in an article on the BBC News website.

What is important is not so much in the conclusions (“the paper concludes that climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict“): those contradict an earlier study, so we can only assume another peer-reviewed paper will soon get published contradicting CSCW’s work (perhaps even, putting forward a third interpretation).

What is important is that (finally!) an immature field such as climatology (finally!) sees some kind of scientific debate, instead of the usual circling of the wagons.

So far, that had surfaced only regarding hurricanes. Note that of course, this can only come about when theories meet empirical evidence…as per Alan Sokal’s “refrain”,

clear thinking, combined with a respect for evidence — especially inconvenient and unwanted evidence, evidence that challenges our preconceptions — are of the utmost importance to the survival of the human race in the twenty-first century

But in reality, that is the standard framework of science: peer-reviewed articles more often than most contradicting each other (see here, here and here), because to “do science” means to freely investigate, to see even dead ends as the results of a fun journey, to start anew.

And to consider contradicting articles as a great chance for a synthesis, rather than a mortal, dangerous opportunity for the enemies of science. Why, does anybody remember…”all human knowledge begins with intuitions, proceeds from thence to concepts, and ends with ideas“…

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

What will a mature climate science look like? From one of Scientific American’s blogs, take the word of “late, great anthropologist” Clifford Geertz:

progress [in a field of science] is marked less by a perfection of consensus than by a refinement of debate. What gets better is the precision with which we vex each other

“Vexing each other”: instead of working in the background to prevent people from publishing at all.

Climate Science's Troubles With The Physical World

My original concern about global warming back in 2003 was quite simple: if we are experiencing climate change, where is the change? Something noticeably different, that is, such as a weather pattern consistently showing up in places where it had never or seldom been seen.

Alas, I soon discovered that those questions are considered blasphemous or worse, by many people deeply and wholly convinced about the Truth of Climate Science. And in fact, there are signs that mainstream climate science is curiously uninterested with verifying what the physical world actually does: for example, check the disdain reserved for the IPCC’s own Working Group II Report “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”, the one that after all contains the most practical chapter of them all, “Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems“.

Here’s RC’s take as of last January, eulogizing about the Working Group I Report “The Physical Science Basis”:

In this case, it appears that not enough people with relevant experience saw this text, or if they saw it, did not comment publicly. This might be related to the fact that this text was in the Working Group 2 report on impacts, which does not get the same amount of attention from the physical science community than does the higher profile WG 1 report (which is what people associated with RC generally look at). In WG1, the statements about continued glacier retreat are much more general and the rules on citation of non-peer reviewed literature was much more closely adhered to. However, in general, the science of climate impacts is less clear than the physical basis for climate change, and the literature is thinner, so there is necessarily more ambiguity in WG 2 statements.

How come the WG1’s report is superior to WG2’s? Because it deals with “hard data and peer-reviewed studies”

To be fair to our colleagues from WG2 and WG3, climate scientists do have a much simpler task. The system we study is ruled by the well-known laws of physics, there is plenty of hard data and peer-reviewed studies, and the science is relatively mature. The greenhouse effect was discovered in 1824 by Fourier, the heat trapping properties of CO2 and other gases were first measured by Tyndall in 1859, the climate sensitivity to CO2 was first computed in 1896 by Arrhenius, and by the 1950s the scientific foundations were pretty much understood.

I am pretty sure most scientists of all sorts (but not climatologists, as it seems) would find it peculiar to see the physical impacts of a scientific theory relegated in the background so that people can celebrate their “relatively mature” science. And no, the belief that understanding some physical mechanisms means understanding what happens in the real world is a naive, dangerous fallacy.

The same attitude surfaces at Connolley’s blog. Look at the recent “case closed!” about WG1’s science

[…] we have all the evidence that is required (disclaimers: I’m only really speaking about WGI stuff, because it is the only thing i have a clue about, and I’m not saying we should shut down all the physical climate change research. There are plenty of exciting and interesting things to discover. But they won’t change the big picture […]

In comparison to that, poor WG2’s authors become little more than amateurs

WG I would never have made the mistake WG II made over this 2350 / 2035 stuff, for two reasons. Firstly, they are subject to line-by-line scrutiny because people actually *care*. And second they just do a better job with better people.

Has any climate scientist actually read the WG2 Report? Here’s one that hasn’t, and forgets two thirds of it

I know a little about Working Group II – as well as climatologists, it is written by hydrologists, glaciologists, economists, social scientists and medical scientists and considers the potential impacts of climate change

Tellingly, not even the Aristotelian phalanxes at Skeptical Science can come up with much about “empirical evidence“.

What is happening here? Perhaps, the physical world is just too complex to deal with, for people used to draw their neat theories (and models). In truth, so far there still is nothing to show for climate change, and yet plenty of educated scientists are so convinced by it, nothing would ever change their mind. Hence the need to elevate “climate science” above those earthly, physical troubles, to a realm where it actually works.

The realm, that is, of meta-physics

Sexing Up Dr Pachauri's Qualifications

Say, this is surely a minor point, but isn’t it worrying that IPCC Supremo Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s qualifications are not always unambiguously specified? And especially at his own “home”…

Take for example his resumé at the London Speaker Bureau, suggesting Dr Pachauri is that rare human, holding two PhDs

Dr. Pachauri began his career with Diesel Locomotive Works in Varanasi, India, before attending North Carolina State University where he gained a clutch of qualifications including PhDs in Industrial Engineering and Economics

Of course, and instead, the NC State’s Alumni website correctly mentions a “joint PhD”

Dr. Pachauri obtained both his graduate degrees from NC State, including a master’s degree in industrial engineering in 1972 and a joint Ph.D. In industrial engineering and economics in 1974.

Same on Wikipedia

Pachauri was awarded an MS degree in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University, Raleigh, in 1972, as well as a joint Ph.D. In Industrial Engineering and Economics in 1974.

Move to TERI‘s instead, it’s two PhDs for “Dr Dr” Pachauri

Dr Pachauri joined the North Carolina State University in Raleigh, USA, where he obtained an MS in industrial engineering in 1972, a Ph.D. In industrial engineering and a Ph.D. In economics.

Same text at the IPCC, in line with the accepted exaggeration policy.

Here’s a take, BTW, on what it means to get two PhDs

Well, don’t take my word for it, as I’m hardly an expert, but i’ve never come across anything like that. I don’t think any university would be willing to award you two phds without you actually writing two theses (as well as registering and paying for two courses)

Somehow, I doubt that joint PhDs were invented to allow people’s qualifications to double overnight. But as usual I might be wrong on this, so perhaps we will get very soon yet another confirmation of Dr Pachauri’s genius.

Tony Blair Explains Why IPCC "Science" Is A Difficult Endeavour

Politicians are obliged from time to time to conceal the full truth, to bend it and even distort it, where the interest of the bigger strategic goal demands it be done […] Without operating with some subtlety at this level, the job would be well-nigh impossible

One wonders what an InterGOVERNMENTAL Panel is supposed to do?

The Big Green Lie Exposed – Mandatory Reading

Thanks to Andy Revkin, here’s the link to Walter Russell Mead‘s blog post “The Big Green Lie Exposed“, that I believe vindicates all The Unbearable Nakedness of CLIMATE CHANGE has been writing about since December 2007.

The text is incredibly jam-packed with quotable remarks, such as:

the reason that the Great Global Green Dream is melting lies in the sad truth that whatever the scientific facts of the matter, the global green movement is so blind and inept when it comes to policy and process that it has deeply damaged the causes it cares most about

(about Climategate) The greens were found innocent of inventing the science, but guilty of systematically hyping their case

excitable greens have oversold a wide variety of worst case scenarios — and underestimated the complex nature of the relationship between climate change and world politics

The Big Lie is that the green movement is a source of coherent or responsible counsel about what to do

Many leaders of today’s environmental movement are like the anti-alcohol activists before Prohibition

The green movement’s strategic failure is also reminiscent of the Peace Movement of the 1920s

You can diagnose a disease but have no clue how to treat it. You can be an excellent climate scientist and a wretched social engineer. You can want to do good and end up furthering exactly the evils you most deplore

The real and lasting damage that the green movement sustained in the last eight months has been the revelation that it is strategically and politically incompetent

Precisely because a growing body of science points to the existence of some serious concerns about climate, we must think carefully and clearly

Alcohol abuse was a real problem in 1918, but the Prohibitionist belief that there was One Big Legislative Answer only made things worse

At best, the green movement might be compared to an alarm clock: jangling shrilly to wake up the world. That is fair enough; they have turned our attention to a problem that needs to be carefully examined and dealt with. But the first thing you do when you wake up is to turn the alarm clock off; otherwise that shrill beeping noise will distract you from the problems of the day

And so on and so forth. Whatever one thinks of AGW, “The Big Green Lie Exposed” has to be mandatory reading!

Climategate: Mr Bean At The UEA

If I had to bet money on Climategate, most of it would go to back up Fred Pearce’s interpretation, as described in Damian Carrington’s blog about the Jul 14 Guardian debate:

Pearce was passionate in arguing that ‘Climategate’ was a very human tragedy, in respect of scientists feeling under siege and becoming fiercely defensive – which only spurred on the sceptics, who thought there must be something to hide. But he thought many CRU critics were not sceptics at all: “They are actually data libertarians, rather than climate sceptics, still less climate deniers. It turned into data wars.” Pearce’s conclusion was that at this turning point for climate science, more “candour” was needed from all.

Count me in as Data Libertarian!

Scientists feeling under siege and becoming fiercely defensive – which only spurred on the sceptics, who thought there must be something to hide“? Just like Mr Bean at the airport then…

And yes, I would recommend medication for anybody still trying to smother FOI and/or in the business of hiding any data directly related to published scientific papers…

Live Microblogging Of McIntyre and Holland At Climategate GWPF London Event

I just came out of tonight’s GWPF event in London, chaired by Benny Peiser and with Lord Lawson in the audience.  Guest speakers about Climategate were David Holland and Steve McIntyre.

(links added – most of them… I will put all the links tonight)

As usual, here my notes as published live on @mmorabito67 (my “main” Twitter account remains @omnologos):

(for clarity, my own remarks are in italic)

  1. Around 35 in the audience so far. Holland already seated
  2. Lord Lawson and McIntyre in the room
  3. There we go. Attendance around 50
  4. Peiser quotes damning article by Harrabin in December (and here’s the quote unless the UEA inquiry is demonstrably impartial it will fail, and a new fully independent enquiry will almost certainly have to be formed“)
  5. Holland first, about his data requests
  6. Holland details how nobody could have checked the data before Kyoto’s
  7. Holland “no poor soldiers, only poor generals”
  8. Holland’s tells a tale of obfuscation by MetOffice reminding me of opening chapter of HHGTTG
  9. Holland: Russell report full of factual errors, no investigation of effort to delete emails
  10. Room almost full now
  11. McIntyre’s title slide “The ‘Inquiries'”
  12. McIntyre: 98% emails about Hockey Stick
  13. McIntyre: independent temp reconstructions not so – same names keep appearing
  14. McIntyre: Jones, Mann, Briffa prodigious writers of HS-related articles also reviewing each other
  15. McIntyre: CRU secretive to protect funding without investing on quality control
  16. FOI at stake on this but many don’t get how important it is
  17. McIntyre: first upload of emails was to RealClimate, as if a prank
  18. McIntyre makes fun of counterterrorism involvement
  19. McIntyre: UEA not investigating in the open – parliamentary reporters too clever compared to environmental ones?
  20. McIntyre: parliamentary committee left science to Oxburgh
  21. McIntyre: “trick” needed to “preserve the message” by IPCC
  22. It all sounds like propaganda reports before the Vietnam war opened eyes of journalists to the now-obvious lies
  23. McIntyre: independent science Oxburgh commission sent email from UEA
  24. McIntyre: Oxburgh left no notes or any documentation – no science examined – articles chosen by UEA
  25. Why would Lord Oxburgh want to associate his name to such a disaster?
  26. McIntyre: mention “sleight of hand” quote by UK MP
  27. McIntyre: Russell’s findings not based on anybody else but UEA, (slightly nutty) reference to “natural justice”
  28. McIntyre: mentions Harrabin referring to him as the most knowledgeable about CRU science outside UEA
  29. McIntyre: Muir Russell did not go to Jones’ interviews – no rigour, no due diligence
  30. McIntyre: odd that interviews conducted by climate activist with years of UEA work
  31. McIntyre: Jones’ request to delete emails a day later FOI request
  32. McIntyre is steadily destroying Sir Muir Russell’s credibility
  33. McIntyre: no accountability in the system
  34. McIntyre: climate science is being depreciated among public by hiding of adverse data
  35. McIntyre: climate sensitivity an issue. We can’t wait for absolute certainty
  36. First q: did MWP happen?
  37. I asked about consequences on democracy and why bother at all. Upbeat answers by Peiser and Holland
  38. Peiser speculates scientists’ jobs at stake, grandees took credibility hits as no gross misconduct apparent
  39. IPCC is not following most/any of the recommendations
  40. McIntyre: grudging consensus against preventing the release of data – would be idiotic strategy in civil lawsuit
  41. McIntyre: EPA has hockey stick among evidence – very unwise (I can’t find where and when that happened)
  42. Climategate has put the EPA in “uncomfortable position”
  43. Peiser: GWPF’s push for effective policies is gaining ground
  44. Peiser: GWPF report by Andrew Montford out end of Aug 2010
  45. Sunday Times enviro journalist: have scientists tried to present a clean narrative where knowledge still fuzzy?
  46. Holland hopeful science community understands things have to change
  47. McIntyre sees no change, grand statements, critics being blamed
  48. McIntyre: if hockey stick won’t matter, get rid of it. Plenty of PhD’s in readership, IPCC should focus more
  49. Peiser concludes hoping Climategate has changed Science and made it more open and transparent

British Manipulation Of Scientific Publishing, circa 1964

Worried about some dodgy behavioural traits of some prominent British scientists? Astonished at the cavalier attitude regarding publications and dates by IPCC Lead Authors?

Stop worrying and be astonished no more. It’s common practice:

[John Maynard Smith, the famous British evolutionary biologist] coined the term “kin selection” in an article that ran off with Hamilton’s idea without giving him much credit. In the meantime, Maynard Smith was one of the anonymous reviewers on Hamilton’s seminal 1964 paper elaborating on the idea, which was delayed for nine months while Hamilton made the requested changes, thus allowing Maynard Smith’s article to appear first — something Hamilton harbored a grudge about his whole life.

Therefore (according to Sir Muir Russell), nothing in the above does “threaten the integrity of peer review or publication” (p.68, chapter 8.6 item 18).  How nice.