Socrates, Or Pointing The Way For The Future Of Climate Science

Roger Pielke Jr laments the withering of climatology:

Climate science — or at least some parts of it — seems to have devolved into an effort to generate media coverage and talking points for blogs, at the expense of actually adding to our scientific knowledge of the climate system

Actually, it was December 2009 when I wrote in the pages of the Spectator (UK):

This might be the most important lesson of the 1974 report on global cooling: that we need to grow up, separate climatology from fear, and recognise — much as it pains politicians and scientists — that our understanding of how climate changes remains in its infancy.

Here we are, almost two years later. For example, what do we understand about the past? Willis Eschenbach at WUWT shows it in the non-smoothed BEST reconstruction graph:

"BEST global surface temperature estimates. Gray bars show what BEST says are the 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for each datapoint"

And what do we understand about the future? Patrick Frank in’s Reading Room:

"The Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES-SPM-5) A2 projection from Figure 1 showing the physical uncertainty of the projected temperature trend when including ±10.1% cloud error (light shading), or the uncertainty in greenhouse gas forcing (dark shading). Inset: A close-up view of the first 20 years of the A2 projection and the uncertainty limits."

In other words: for the past, all we know for sure it’s that the error bars cover from -5C to +3C if we go back to 200 years ago. For the past, all we can estimate for sure it’s that error bars cover an enormous span if we move forward 100 years (even removing cloud uncertainty, still the 2100 error goes from -10C to +16C).

For all we know, Romans were conquering a world that was 50C colder than today, and oceans will boil before the XXII century. Or vice-versa.


Please do not start speculating about uncertainty as a reason for doing nothing - it isn’t.

Think of science instead: what’s the way out of this cul-de-sac made up of giant error bars? How can our understanding finally leave its infancy? The way out has actually being indicated already, by a guy born in 469BC:

Socrates was wise in that he knew the he knew nothing, whereas others were unaware of their own ignorance.

If and when such a realization will become widespread, only then climate science will be able to mature away from silly manipulations, towards the approach so nicely described by Professor Sir Bernard Lovell to David Whitehouse:

One evening we unrolled the pen recorder data in a long ribbon down the corridor outside the main observing room. “Now,” he said, “look at the data. Get to know it.” His point was that before us was what the universe was saying, and that it was more important than any theory.” Data is never inconvenient. It beats theory every time.

An unexamined climate is not worth studying…

Richard Muller Is (And Isn't) A Former Skeptic

Tons of desperate journalists and bloggers couldn’t help themselves when talking about the Muller/BEST’s press release, and filled the net with what must have been one of the largest collective display of idiocy this side of the carpal tunnel syndrome epidemic of old (tellingly, even Tamino was too enthusiastic to bother reading things properly whilst RC’s Steig did, so poor Grant F felt compelled to busy himself in disagreeing with Muller about something).

One of the most popular claims concerns the depiction of Muller as some kind of “reformed skeptic”, some pretty soul who’s finally seen the data, and the light alongside. Here’s the UK’s Independent repeating the party line, for example.

Professor Richard Muller, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, who has been an outspoken critic of the science underpinning global warming, said that there is little doubt in his mind the phenomenon of rising land temperatures is real.

In the meanwhile, Don Surber of the Charleston Daily Mail and Steven J Milloy of Junk Science fame have posted almost-definitive evidence demonstrating that Muller has never really been a climate skeptic. Muller quotes include:

back in the early ’80s, I resigned from the Sierra Club over the issue of global warming. At that time, they were opposing nuclear power. What I wrote them in my letter of resignation was that, if you oppose nuclear power, the U.S. will become much more heavily dependent on fossil fuels, and that this is a pollutant to the atmosphere that is very likely to lead to global warming


Muller estimates 2 in 3 odds that humans are causing global warming

Well, I can now report (with no worry of being refuted) that Richard Muller has been a climate skeptic all along. And he has not. At the same time!

The important point, in fact, is the definition of “climate skeptic”.

In a saner world, a “climate skeptic” would simply be any person approaching the field of climate change with a critical eye, and especially about the more outlandish claims of impending catastrophes caused by humans burning “fossil fuels” and doing all the other nasty things humans do. Of course, in a saner world 99.999% of the people would be “climate skeptic” and there would be little or no discussion about “global warming” or “climate change” being the “the world’s greatest challenge“.

From the sane point of view then, Muller, a guy who resigned decades ago about the “global warming” issue and believes humans are quite likely causing it, is no skeptic at all. From Muller’s own “Physics for Future Presidents” (chapter 10, page 18):

Humans have very likely contributed to global warming, and that suggests that
the worst effects are still ahead of us.

Coming back instead to the insane world we live in, definitions change. In particular, in the eyes of AGW True Believers a “climate skeptic” (aka “climate denier”) becomes anybody that questions anything about the IPCC-led climate change orthodoxy. And by that I mean, anything. It doesn’t matter if one surmises the world has been warming (the very definition of “global warming”), and that humans are “very likely” causing that (the very definition of “anthropogenic global warming”): all it takes is an expression of uncertainty or doubt about whatever topic, and immediately the brainless hordes will descend in full fascistic gear.

From the insane point of view then, Muller, a guy who famously discounted the Hockey Stick graph as “an artifact of poor mathematics“, is a fully-fledged skeptic (ie “denier). From Muller’s own ”Physics for Future Presidents” (chapter 10, page 2):

In fact, much of what you hear every day is exaggerated, often on purpose.
People feel so passionately about climate change, and they are so frightened about
what is coming, that they overstate their case (either pro or anti) in an attempt to
enlist proselytes

All in all, it looks like nobody knows who Richard Muller actually is. Expect surprises.

B.E.S.T. Not Yet

Plenty of brouhaha everywhere about the pre-pre-pre B.E.S.T. papers. Ignorant reactions undoubtedly already abound.

I surmise that the four pre-pre-pre-papers will get torn to pieces in the next few days (here’s my biting off the UHI article, followed by Steven Mosher’s). The quality of the BEST work will be measurable in the way they will react to that ( (a) making the necessary adjustments, (b) ignoring the lot, or (c) circling the wagons).

The jury is still much out. In the case of Anthony Watts, so far it’s been a strong (b). Assuming B.E.S.T. is not a collection of unprofessionals, such a reaction makes little sense.

OTOH we do not even know if B.E.S.T. is really about science, or something else. As I commented at Judith Curry’s blog:

Read what you write Judith! A PR strategy! Did Bohr have a PR strategy, or Maxwell, or Dirac.

The BEST PR strategy is not the best PR strategy because it became so important as to become visible. It’s THE news, as you can read at WUWT. And a total failure: science takes once again the back seat, and who cares if BEST does it for visibility rather than politics?

Your results and your work have just been buried by your team. Congratulations! /sarc

No placebo pill will ever work if it’s got “PLACEBO” written on it: likewise, no PR strategy will work if it’s so much in-your-face to its potential audience.

A Summary of The B.E.S.T. UHI Pre-pre-pre-pre-paper

We know peer-review is a thing of the past and something somewhere forced Muller and friends to jump the gun for some reason. Anyway as a public service (given most people won’t ever look at the scientific details even when commenting them), here’s a summary of the UHI pre-pre-pre-pre-paper:

1. The UHI exists in named places (eg Tokyo)

2. Within the same paper, Tokyo’s UHI varies from 2C/century (introduction) to 3C/century (discussion)

3. By shooting in the dark (classifying in a rough fashion a large number of unnamed places), the UHI doesn’t exist any longer

4. We don’t have the time and/or the money to verify if the UHI remains disappeared when using named places, individually assessed and perhaps even (shock! horror!) assigned a degree of urbanization

5. A back of the envelope calculation suggests that if 27% of the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly (GHCN-M) stations are located in cities with a population greater than 50,000, then assuming a UHI of 3C/century the contribution BY UHI to the world MEASURED average is 3*27%=0.81C

6. Nevermind, there’s always space for pure speculation

Keep It Going, Gavin!

An overexcited Andy Revkin sings the praises of Gavin Schmidt, first recipient of some rich prize assigned by an organization lead by some journalist with an English Major. Cue substantially less-excited commenters, from all sides of the debate. Cue Revkin commenting on his own blog much more often than usual, defending Schmidt with a classical “can’t win” argument.

Also IMNSHO Gavin can’t win. But the reason is that he is a poor debater. Very poor, to the point of appearing repeatedly like the best thing that ever happened to climate skeptics (check his puerile behavior against McIntyre and Pielke Jr, absurdist references to Feyerabend, involvement with the NYT self-censorship of March 2010, incredible claims about data analyses being good only if they improve the models, etc etc)

As for his campaigning skills, read it from the horse’s mouth at CNN.

I guess Revkin has fallen in a self-referential trap. Just as only wheelchair-bound persons will truly understand how many obstacles are routinely placed against their freedom of movement, only a non-believer in climate change catastrophism will be able to appreciate how much RC is middle-ground (or isn’t).

"As usual with your scientific men they've more brass than brains"

From Jules Verne’s “Around the Moon“, published in 1870. It’s Chapter 5 and the heroes have just discovered the scientists at the Cambridge Observatory (now Harvard College Observatory) had given them too low a value for their initial speed:

“Ha! ha! ha!” [Ardan] laughed bitterly. “Precious scientific men! Villainous old hombogues! The whole set not worth a straw! I hope to gracious, since we must fall, that we shall drop down plumb on Cambridge Observatory, and not leave a single one of the miserable old women, called professors, alive in the premises!”

Note: the translation is from 1876. I have found another, just as harsh…here‘s from the book available at

“Hang our Cambridge friends and their calculations!” cried Ardan, with some asperity; “as usual with your scientific men they’ve more brass than brains! If we’re not now bed-fellows with the oysters in the Gulf of Mexico, no thanks to our kind Cambridge friends. But talking of oysters, let me remind you again that breakfast is ready.”

Schechtman's Lessons

From Haaretz, from an article published a full six months before the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dan Schechtman, some climate-relevant findings. In no particular order:

  1. “Unchallengeable basic tenets” must be considered as transient in any scientific field
  2. Any scientific field that is considered “closed”, “solid”, “total” is ripe for a revolution that will still be burning decades later
  3. New discoveries are surrounded by suspicion and ridicule, accompanied by outright rationalized dismissals
  4. It doesn’t matter if you can show people your discovery. It doesn’t matter if they can replicate your discovery in their own lab. Many will still refuse to believe it. We have not moved an inch since the times of Galileo and telescope-denier Cesare Cremonini
  5. Many of them will change their mind only if the discovery is demonstrated using their old techniques
  6. Scientists-discoverers don’t keep their techniques secret
  7. Many discoveries are observed for many years, before somebody realizes there is a new discovery to be made of those observations
  8. Scientists-discoverers are worried about losing their job because of their discovery
  9. And rightly so
  10. They are even worried of being unable to find any job because of their discovery
  11. You need at least two Professors to support the article describing the discovery, before it passes so-called “peer” review
  12. The famous, influential, powerful people invited to deliver the keynote addresses at scientific conferences, they are very likely wrong on any new topic
  13. We have no idea how many Schechtman’s will forever remain unknown, because they didn’t have the luck and the guts to persevere the way Shechtman did

And now for the excerpts:

[...] Since the birth of modern crystallography in 1912, when x-rays were diffracted from a crystal for the first time, until that moment 70 years later, this branch of science had relied on an unchallengeable basic tenet [...]

The scientists concluded that there can be no pentagonal symmetry in crystals, since they cannot create periodic order – as anyone who has tried to cover a bathroom floor with five-sided tiles knows. In countless observations over many decades, crystallographers indeed saw only geometric crystals, all of them possessing rotational symmetry.

But on that April day in 1982, when Shechtman looked at the pattern of points created by the crystal of the alloy he had prepared in the lab from aluminum and manganese, he saw a structure that contradicted both rules: the 10 points that appeared through the microscope attested to the existence of pentagonal symmetry; and the immediate conclusion was that the crystal did not possess a periodic structure. Shechtman had discovered a new world, in which there are solid crystals, but the known order was gone. [...]

Within days, his peculiar ideas generated suspicion and ridicule, to which he would be subjected for some time [...]

“I told everyone who was ready to listen that I had material with pentagonal symmetry. People just laughed at me,” [...]

In the months that followed, he tried to persuade his colleagues in the lab that what they were looking at was a previously unknown crystal. But in vain. “I knew my observations were in order. I couldn’t explain the phenomenon, but I knew it was material that no one had seen before me, impossible material according to the laws of crystallography,” he says [...]

One day, the administrative director of his research group approached him. “He gave a sheepish smile, placed a textbook on my desk and said, ‘Please read what’s written here.’ I told him that I taught my students from the book, but that I also knew that we’re dealing with something that exceeded the book’s understanding,” Shechtman says. The director returned 24 hours later and asked him to leave the research group, because he was “bringing disgrace” on the members. [...]

the researchers at the institute were not able to check the discovery for themselves. Many of them did not know how to work with an electron microscope, which is the most appropriate tool for identifying rotational symmetries in small crystals. Moreover, he notes, “They were not really interested in dealing with it.”

Shechtman also forwarded the findings to a friend, who was about to go on a scientific tour. When the friend returned, Shechtman relates, he brought an array of off-the-wall explanations for the 10 microscopic points, gleaned from colleagues. None of them took seriously the possibility that it was a case of pentagonal symmetry. [...]

only one person was ready to listen in earnest: Prof. Ilan Blech [...] Shechtman now felt sufficiently confident to publish an article on the subject. Until then, he says, “I was afraid to publish alone, in case it turned out to be nonsense.” [...]

Shechtman turned to the senior scientist John Cahn, who had invited him to work in the institute. Cahn initially had reservations, but afterward worked with Shechtman and proposed that they co-author an article. For the mathematical aspects he added a French crystallographer, Denis Gratias, and the three wrote an article that was a concise, refined version of the first article. They added Ilan Blech’s name as a fourth author and sent the article to Physical Review Letters, which also deals with physics. The addition of Cahn’s name turned out to be a winning move: the article appeared in November 1984, within a few weeks of its submission [...]

To get researchers to believe him, Shechtman described exactly how to prepare the alloy. “There are people who keep the mode of preparation secret, but I wanted every researcher who had an appropriate laboratory to be able to prepare the material and examine it under an electron microscope within a few days,” [...]

despite the success in repeating the experiment in several labs, only a few scientists accepted the thesis of pentagonal symmetry. Leading scientists rejected Shechtman’s conclusions, and towering above all of them was Linus Pauling [...]

“There are tens of thousands of chemists in the United States, and Pauling was their star,” Shechtman notes. “He would open the conferences of the American Chemical Society, and quasiperiodic crystals were always his topic. I attended one of the conferences, at Stanford. Thousands of people were there, and he attacked me. He would stand on those platforms and declare, ‘Danny Shechtman is talking nonsense. There is no such thing as quasicrystals, only quasi-scientists.’ [...]

In the first years following the discovery, Shechtman’s support came primarily from physicists and mathematicians. But crystallographers had a serious problem with the findings: Shechtman had used an electron microscope, whereas their main tool was the x-ray. “It’s as though a mechanical engineer were to explain to a heart surgeon how to perform an operation,” Shechtman says. “From their point of view, I was not a crystallographer, because I had used a tool they considered imprecise and illegitimate.” [...]

in 1987, friends of Shechtman’s from France and Japan succeeded in growing quasi-periodic crystals large enough for x-rays to repeat and verify what he had discovered with the electron microscope: the existence of pentagonal symmetry. [...]

“In the forefront of science there is not much difference between religion and science,” Shechtman says. “People harbor beliefs. That’s what happens when people believe something religiously. The argument with Linus Pauling was almost theological.” [...]

As his fear of not finding employment faded, Pauling’s assaults became a compliment for Shechtman. “I realized that if it’s Pauling against Shechtman, then at some level we are equals. [...]

Prof. Shlomo Ben-Abraham, one of the first Israeli scientists to support the discovery, says, “Until Danny’s discovery, we thought the subject of crystal structure was completely closed. Today, nearly 30 years later, we know we have not even scratched the surface. [...]

Prof. Ron Lifshitz, a physicist from Tel Aviv University, describes Shechtman’s discovery as “a scientific revolution that is still in going on.” Science, he says, must now answer questions that were once thought to be basic and closed, such as what a crystal is, alongside new questions, such as how the nonperiodic structure influences the qualities of those materials. [...]

For decades, crystallography clung to a mistaken description of the physical world, which was presented as a solid, total truth. On the other hand, that same science was able to acknowledge its mistake and refute long-held basic assumptions within a relatively short time, once the theory was shown to be inconsistent with reality. Still, it was necessary to have someone who is capable of shouldering the revolution.

Prof. Ben-Abraham explains Shechtman’s strength: “The greatness of a discoverer lies in knowing what he has discovered. People encounter things and ignore them for one reason or another. I know of four documented cases in which people found this before Danny.” However, he notes, because all the books state that pentagonal symmetry is inconsistent with periodicity of crystals, the researchers ignored what they saw. [...]

Klima Süß

(comment just left at WUWT)

From the [Crownies] show’s website (my emphasis):

Richard is prosecuting a case in court, this time with a good chance of winning. But he is not happy. He has to prosecute his climate scientist hero Tim Coghburn for assault, after Coghburn punched a persistent climate denialist, James Watt. Watt is an annoying gadfly and Richard detests all he stands for. And the fiasco is made worse when Richard sees Coghburn is being represented by Richard’s old, much admired law lecturer. Richard makes a stuttering start in court, and the defence QC makes Watt look unreliable and a bit of a goose. Part of Richard wants to lose because of his environmental concerns, but part of him needs a win. Richard finally cross examines Tim Coghburn and gets to reconcile his needs. He leads Tim through a series of questions as put by James Watt and his ilk, stirring Coghburn’s anger as he airs the simple rebuttals. Eventually Tim blurts out that yes, he did hit James Watt, and it felt great. Richard has his win, Tim is fined, and Watt still comes out of it looking like an idiot.

If it were England, a trip to the defamation court would have been in order.

Anyway…a filmed story that has no connection with reality and portrays the “villain” using basic, demeaning stereotypes? Where did we see that already

Fracking BBC

guest post by Rupert Wyndham -about the BBC World Service “On the Fracking Frontline“:

Amongst an infinity of others, this programme is just one more example of a policy of systemic bias within the BBC. It might be tempting to add ‘in relation to so-called environmental reportage’. Upon reflection, of course, that is not true. BBC partiality and prejudice is evident across the entire spectrum of its journalistic output. In fact, the notion that BBC ‘journalists’ should report in such a way as to avoid any suggestion of insinuating personal opinion is now as moribund as the Corporation’s founding father himself or, indeed, as the Corporation’s own notional Editorial Standards.

It is quite evident that news reporting/commentary is no longer a matter of providing dispassionate and, as far as possible, carefully verified, accounts of matters of current concern. Rather, BBC news coverage is effectively little different from any other form of ‘reality television’. ‘Journalists’, laughably so termed, are no longer content to provide principally facts for listeners/viewers to absorb and interpret for themselves. On the contrary, instead they consider it encumbent upon themselves to pontificate. They do so, moreover, often with an arrogant disregard for the basic courtesies of civilised exchange. Indeed, impertinent interruption of interviewees now constitutes a mark of supposed independent thought and a tough interrogatory style. Presentational techniques display a uniformity, which denote the hallmarks of institutional in-house training. With few exceptions – and they, by and large, from an older generation – exaggerated gesticulation and extravagant body language are deployed to convey an aura of authority for output that, in truth, is merely glib. Radio has its own counterpart techniques for achieving the same objectives – frequently repeated interruption being especially favoured. The adoption of an endemic ‘corporate speak’ reinforces the perception of shallowness, not to mention of professional indolence. Of course, we now know that much of this froth amounts to little more than rehashes of press releases issued by leftist pressure groups and vested interests – such as organs of pseudo-environmentalism, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Worldwide Fund for Nature, The National Trust, by way of example.

This programme was no exception. Thus, with excruciating inevitability, we had trotted out for the millionth time the fashionable mot juste of the moment, ‘iconic’, in this case to describe Woodstock. What, pray, is ‘iconic’ about Woodstock? How, might one now go on to ask, did the BBC ever survive the preceding eight or nine decades with only rare and selective recourse to what has now been rendered a facile and hackneyed choice of adjective?

But, though irritating, this type of derivative, copycat reporting is but a symptom of a far deeper and more insidious underlying malaise marked, in particular, by a wilful rejection of objectivity. Repudiation in favour of what? Why, to be sure, in favour of ‘emotional truth’, to borrow the specious and fatuous terminology offered by editors of The Times Comprehensive World Atlas. In short, mere assertion is no longer to be challenged. Demonstrable evidence of a contra-indicative character is to be simply ignored or wilfully misrepresented. Data are to be cynically manipulated within computers programmed to deliver predetermined outcomes. Such outcomes are to be so ordered that any and all observable phenomena in the real world are to be construed as confirmation of a contrived and perverted orthodoxy. Indeed, computer modelling is always to trump actual observation. And it is to this garbage that the BBC lends the weight of its authority – paid for, of course, by the license fee payer. Truth is to be the preserve of a consensus.

So it is with this programme. So-called ‘climate change’ attributable to CO2, human generated in particular, was not to be treated as an unproven assertion but as established fact, to be marshalled to inform programme content with as much certainty as blood circulation informs medical diagnosis. That scientific practitioners in thousands, many of immense achievement and distinction, regard climate change science as a fraudulent contrivance is a fact simply to be ignored, as is the associated chicanery attendant upon it.

Underlying institutional prejudice was carefully re-inforced by repeated references to ‘carbon’, notwithstanding its questionable contextual relevance. The shameless appeal to ‘emotional truth’ was also carefully structured in such a way as to create a putative link between emissions of CO2 (in the programme maker’s eyes, a pollutant) with other wholly unrelated – and, for a change, possibly even genuine instances of pollution as, for example, in China and Hungary. It is noteable that One Planet made (and, one suspects, makes) little of massive pollution created in China, but brought about solely as a consequence of shrill Western pseudo-environmentalist demand of battery operated vehicles. But then, of course, the welfare of third world citizens and their living environments are to be regarded as expendable on the altar of AGW religiosity.

Like most BBC science/eco coverage, this programme was/is meretricious and hypocritical.

My "Wonko The Sane" Moment

Wonko the Sane laughed. It was a light easy laugh, and sounded like one he had used a lot before and was happy with. “Ah yes,” he said, “that’s to do with the day I finally realized that the world had gone totally mad and built the Asylum to put it in, poor thing, and hoped it would get better.”
Douglas Adams, “So Long and thanks for all the fish

That’s exactly my feeling in reading the enthusiastic reception at Judith Curry’s blog post of the biggest piece of quackery ever to disgrace climate science: “Personality type differences between Ph.D. climate researchers and the general public: implications for effective communication“.

Otherwise intelligent people have joined in the futile attempt of getting themselves described by four letters, and not even starting with “f”. It’s all due to the fascination with the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, a fictional item that sounds like a modern-day American replacement for astrology (here’s some ideas on how to debunk it – OTOH if you need to see it debunked, there’s not much hope).

So far only one other commenter has shown any skepticism. One last hope.

Remember…No Climate Change Until July 5, 2005 ((c) Phil Jones)

A well-known but never too quoted, revealing statement by Phil Jones no less:

From: Phil Jones To: John Christy
Subject: This and that
Date: Tue Jul 5 15:51:55 2005

[...] As you know, I’m not political. If anything, I would like to see the climate change happen, so the science could be proved right, regardless of the consequences. This isn’t being political, it is being selfish. [...]

I shall almost refrain from pointing out that Jones’ selfishness means hoping for millions of people suffering for “climate change”, just so that he’ll be shown right (it’s more infantilism than selfishness, really). The obvious and important point instead is that Jones himself declares that until 2005 there had been no “climate change”, not of the kind expected by his science at least.

So changes in temperature anomalies, in hurricanes, pine beetles, whatever else, according to Jones none of that qualifies as “climate change”.

The climate, in fact, has not changed. At least until 2005. And if “climate” is weather averaged over 30 years, we can kick climate change to 2035…

They're At War – 1 – The Belief Of The Unpleasant

WUWT wonders why warmists are almost invariably and incredibly rude, constantly choosing to appear as unpleasant as possible

But, hasn’t it always been that way since the very beginning of the issue? The combination of perceived moral high ground mixed with the educated liberal mindset, combined with a dash of anonymity, in my opinion, leads AGW proponents to revert to tribal mannerisms in dealing with others whom they perceive as inferior in intellect and creed.

On the plus side, this very behavior, which seems to be omnipresent in AGW proponent circles, (though skeptics have a few bad examples too) is part of the reason why skeptics are winning the war of public opinion.

There is one important bit missing in the above. It’s not just perceived moral high ground mixed with the educated liberal mindset, combined with a dash of anonymity: there is also a strong war-like mentality, since the Cooks and dana1981s and taminos of the world are literally (in their view) protecting the planet against us evil skeptics.

When one believes to be at war, a war for survival no less, then there is little time for niceties and considerations about the feelings of fellow human beings. And just as well, the first casualty of war is truth and that’s why there isn’t much of it alive at Skeptical Science, or RealClimate, or Tamino, etc etc.

Do Climate Forcings Exist? Map And Territory In Climate Science

Some interesting ideas that are surfacing at Judith Curry’s “Cloud wars” blog post, leading to the conclusion that there might as well be no such a thing as a “pure” climate forcing.

A “pure” climate forcing (i.e. one that occurs only as a forcing to the climate system, not also as a feedback) is of course an independent input to the system. IOW it is an independent variable that will provide its “push” in a specific direction whatever the value of all other variables.

It sounds obvious (maybe not to the average Climate Believer) that a great deal of so-called forcings aren’t: clouds of course (both a forcing and a feedback, perhaps on different timescales); but also CO2 emissions (as noted by commenter Eric Ollivet), water vapor, and pretty much anything that happens in the atmosphere.

One is left with the influence of other planets, of volcanoes, and of course of the Sun. But are those true and “pure” forcings, really?

For example, who’s going to demonstrate that the atmosphere will respond predictably and progressively if the Sun input to it varies, and everything else remains equal? For all we know, the Sun could be a positive forcing up to a point, then negative, then positive again, or simply positive but by different amounts following a complex multi-step function that moves up and down, all according to the atmosphere’s initial status.

Actually, we can be pretty sure of all that complication, thanks to the Mpemba effect (and the Leidenfrost effect).


Every reduction and simplification seems poised to destroy our ability to understand the climate itself. We might be ending up trying to apply statistics and/or computer models simply to distract us from the underlying truth: perhaps, in climate science, the only good map IS the territory. And the only hope to understand the climate, is by considering it whole.

Times Atlas: Suicide By Wikipedia? – UPDATED

UPDATED: Sort of a confirmation for the below as Hanlon at the Daily Mail has posted an article where HarperCollins, the publishers of the Times Atlas Greenland fiasco, try to argue that they only depicted white the areas with ice>500m thick.

Strange things are always afoot, in matters of climate.

Incredibly, and despite having been shown the wrongness of their ways from multiple and even warmist sources, a spokesperson from the £150-a-piece Times Comprehensive Atlas of the World still maintains their debunked “AtlasGate” Greenland map is correct:

“But a spokeswoman for Times Atlas defended the 15% figure and the new map. “We are the best there is. We are confident of the data we have used and of the cartography. We use data supplied by the US Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.

As the story unfolds, I would like to point to something about the new map that is strange indeed: the level of detail. See for example this comparison from Real Science:

There are two possible interpretations for that: either some people at the Times Atlas have decided to reinvent the world adding fantasy features to a previously fully white map; or, much more likely, they have used some other, existing map of Greenland, embellishing to conform to the Times Atlas style.

In fact, and intriguingly, and twice embarrassingly, there exists one map that strongly resembles the Times Atlas’ “15%” Greenland (see also the Greenland Physical Map from And the embarrassing bits are: it’s one map used on Wikipedia. Worse, it’s supposed to be only showing ice sheet thickness, not “cover” as claimed (it doesn’t highlight the areas where the ice is less than 10m/30ft thick).

Look for example at the outline of Eastern sides of Kong Christian IX Land and Kong Christian X Land, the nearest to Iceland (brown on the Times Atlas to the left, green on Wikipedia to the right).

Look now at the Times Atlas’ Greenland map of 1999 (below, to the left) and the fact that their 2011 map (center) is so much alike the Wikipedia Greenland ice-sheet thickness (right) becomes even more evident.

So the following series of events is consistent with the observations:

  1. Times Atlas personnel read or listen from somewhere that the Greenland ice sheet is melting
  2. They open the Wikipedia page on the Greenland ice sheet
  3. As if by magic…that page contains a map of Greenland
  4. Times Atlas personnel convert that map to the Times Atlas high-quality standard

Now where’s the evidence for it? Where is it indeed, as Michael Corleone would have asked.


This doesn’t look like a good way to enhance the reputation of a publication like the Times Atlas. As usual, it’s the stubborness of their response the real problem, perhaps even more than the original error. One is left wondering how many more mistakes have been made (perhaps them too, miraculously similar to maps posted on Wikipedia), mistakes simply too small to immediately notice. And the publishers and editor will never admit one anyway.

Revkin: The Gore-a-thon Was Good, Actually It Was Bad

I just posted this comment about the Gore-a-thon at Andy Revkin’s Dot Earth “Seeking Reality on Climate” entry:

Apologies for being even slower than usual Andy but…could you please explain exactly what “usefulness” these soon-to-be-forgotten 24 hours have had?

I can see you criticize the Gore-athon’s polarizing stance, oversimplification, mix-up of science and policy, and finally silence about “fossil fuels”. Unless of course the first few praising paragraphs are there simply to make your life simpler, by making sure nobody can accuse you of Gore-bashing.

Arctic Sea Ice: As You Like It…

Peter Sinclair yells “Sea Ice Extent Low Record Smashed. Still no Bottom Yet.” on Sep 9. And “Arctic sea ice has melted to a level not recorded since satellite observations started in 1972“, says the Guardian on Sep. 11, imitated by Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Is that for real? Check the collection at WUWT. Yes, says the University of Bremen. No, according to AMSR-E. Maybe, according to NSIDC (it’s a tie). No, according to the DMI. No, according to Arctic ROOS. Maybe, according to NOAA (another tie). No, according to Cryosphere Today (anomaly of -1.797, a far cry from the Sep 2007 anomaly of less than -2.5 million sq. km).

Steven Goddard goes as far as to say, “Arctic Sea Ice Continues To Recover“.

Funny thing, they are all right, since each graph doesn’t necessarily measure what the other graphs do

So one can pick-and-choose whatever convenient to report. Confusion reigns, but I guess such a flexible piece of news is vert welcome by journalists the world over. In the meanwhile the absurdity of focusing on a day-by-day Arctic melt account in the context of multi-decadal climate change, gets completely lost.

Wolfgang! Wolfgang! What Have You Done?!

Here’s some commented text from paper 1 at pages 1 and 2 of issue 1 of Remote Sensing, Feb 20, 2009…yes, of course an editorial by brown-nosed Professor-with-little-to-teach Doctor-with-nowhere-to-guide-to Wolfgang Wagner, introducing the new journal with “A Better Understanding of Our Earth through Remote Sensing” (PDF):

We are so accustomed to seeing satellite pictures of the earth that it seems as if there is nothing left to be discovered. [...] Yet, does this truly mean that all the secrets of the earth have now been disclosed? Can we extract all the information we need from existing earth observation data?

No we can’t. Why? Because of people like you, Wolfgang, trying to remove credibility from those that do use “existing earth observation data” and spending their time sending apologies to the ones who pretend “there is nothing left to be discovered“.

[...] we have now more open questions and needs for environmental monitoring capabilities than ever before [...]

No we don’t. See above. How did you dare mention “open questions” a few months before Copenhagen?

[...] What is the mass balance of glaciers and how strongly does their melting contribute to sea level rise? Are sea surface temperatures rising and will we experience more hurricanes and tropical storms as a result of that? Can we measure subtle changes in sea surface salinity and how do they affect ocean circulation?[...]

Say what? So, in 2009 you did ask questions like a climate skeptic. Wow. Impressive.

[...] These and many more question can only be answered by combining remote sensing and geophysical modeling capabilities in a process-oriented framework.

Process-oriented, uh? As in, by establishing processes that do not depend on the whims and egos of the people involved. What a dream. Too bad it died around 30 months later, when your “framework” stopped caring about the “process“.

The scope of the new journal Remote Sensing is to publish regular research papers, reviews, letters and communications covering all aspects of the remote sensing process, from instrument design and signal processing to the retrieval of geophysical parameters and their application in geosciences. Remote sensing is understood in broad terms, encompassing a wide range of sensors that acquire data about the Earth and its environment, and other physical objects and processes [...]

Now this is important. You know, following your resignation people have started saying the nastiest things about Remote Sensing, a minor journal of no interest for climate science. People who? People like the person you apologised to, dear Wolfgang.

[...] Remote sensing is a highly interdisciplinary field where electrical engineers, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and surveyors meet with their colleagues from photogrammetry, GIS, and the various geosciences[...]

They meet, alright, then what? You try to ostracize some of them, uh? Do they have to listen to a recording of all RealClimate posts in Vogon language?

Is that what a meeting of minds should be about?

[...] Due to the confounding influence of other natural parameters it may for example not be possible to achieve an unambiguous interpretation of the remotely sensed data. The limited number of independent measurements may also mean that an exact solution is unattainable or at least impracticable [...]

So if you KNEW all of this in Feb 2009, what made you throw it away in Sep 2011? On which date exactly did your mind lose coherence (or you evil cousin took over)?

[...] The scientific challenge is to develop retrieval algorithms that describe the physical measurement process in sufficient detail, yet be simple enough in order to allow a robust inversion of the remotely sensed signals [...]

Are you sure your newly-found friend Gleick would agree? Actually, do YOU agree with that statement and if so how can you, now?

[...] My personal wish is that Remote Sensing will stimulate the exchange of scientists from around the world [...]

And yet, when you have seen your wish granted you ran away. What have you done, Wolfgang? Do you realize, from yesterday onwards, each and every paper published on Remote Sensing will be greeted by a question: “What does Kevin Trenberth think about it?”.

It’ll be better and more sincere for MDPI to add a little note to every contribution: “I’m Kevin Trenberth and I approve this paper“.


ps in his introductory editorial, Wolfgang mentions “climate change” twice, “global carbon balance” once. Of the seven rhetorical questions he poses, six can be traced to climate change. I don’t know what one should think, but the importance of “climate change” for Wolfgang and Remote Sensing is self-evident.

If The Skeptic Society Were Not Fast Asleep On AGW (Anecdotes Do Not Make A Science)

This is what the Skeptic Society would write regarding the constant barrage of reports, blog posts, news items, peer-reviewed articles about the current and future (lack of) catastrophes related to man-made CO2 emissions – they would write it, that is, if the Skeptic Society were not fast asleep on the topic, most of the time – but not always – seeing itself as Defender of the Orthodoxy of Established Science rather than, shock! horror!, a society of skeptics:

Anecdotes Do Not Make a Science:
The ThisShouldBeWhatSkepticsAreAbout Reply
by non-Michael Shermer, non-Arthur Benjamin & non-James Randi

We realize that hour-long “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) demonstrations” do not a scientific experiment make, but there is no question that you warmists present them as if it were a scientifically known fact that “we are experiencing or going to experience Catastrophic AGW” to some degree. In your blog posts and articles, in fact, you state that these “physical phenomenon” is “something that is happening to us all,” thus stating your support of the “fact” of the existence of catastrophical man-made global warming. But scientifically speaking, the “facts” of the matter are that there is no positive evidence whatsoever for the existence of any of the increase in exceptional weather you discuss, when records are compiled in controlled scientific conditions.

Even the pro-AGWers who do serious responsible research on the matter are now admitting that their entire research program, after over fifteen decades of data collection, has produced nothing statistically significant. The few “blips” in the data that appear, quickly disappear when conditions were instead expected to replicate. This is one of the beautiful components of the scientific method—its self-correcting nature. For those who are corrected, however, it may not seem so attractive.

(Of course, Mr. Warmist, if your arguments for the validity of CAGW claims are based upon religious, rather than logical, scientific reasoning, many of these arguments may not apply to your statements. In that case we are arguing about a preferred belief system rather than a provable—or disprovable—claim).

Our position is not meant to be scornful or condescending. We only want to make the point that under controlled measurements over many decades, there has never been a proper and statistically significant finding of catastrophic increase in exceptional weather events. What CAGW people have are anecdotes about hurricanes or Arctic sea ice, and anecdotes do not make a science. Anecdotes are stories related by participants: “I saw a tornado and thought ‘this is what CAGW is about’.” Or: “I spotted some maybe-dead polar bears and made a guess about how many more have died because of CAGW.” And so on.

The simple fact is that thousands and thousands of CAGW stories, as impressive as they may seem, do not make a science. Ten anecdotes are no better than one anecdote, and a hundred anecdotes are no better than ten. Actually, a hundred anecdotes are worse than ten, if you do not also have statistically significant data showing a worrisome change in weather patterns and events somewhere in the world. It is a fact, Mr. Warmist, that NO results shown so far have been adequately obvious and clear-cut. In the case of old data—and the reputation of CAGW rests almost entirely on old, dubious paleoclimate data—those requirements often cannot be applied, obviously. But if your CAGWers are able to NOW produce data, we can show you how standard statistics can be applied. We await, with interest, your response to this suggestion.

Anecdotes are only useful to illustrate a phenomenon that already has been proven scientifically, in this case, statistically. If you do not have this, and as far as we can tell you do not, then all those anecdotes indicate is that there is something else going on that has absolutely nothing to do with CO2 emissions. To repeat the six-word phrase that should be memorized by every CAGWer and skeptic (it is difficult for all of us to understand), and repeated every night before bed:


(freely inspired to the Skeptics Society reply to the Association for Research and Enlightenment, an ESP advocacy group)

(Failure at the New York Times and ClimateWorks) Why So Many People Are So Unperturbed

It says a lot about contemporary “green” journalism when a report that links the Permian extinction to “methane burps” using a Baltimore Sun article of Dec 2004 is described as “the best job I [Justin Gillis of the NYT] have seen of explaining, in layman’s terms, why scientists keep pressing the issue“.

Perhaps we simply shouldn’t have anymore laymen writing about environmental stuff.

Anyway, here’s my comments to “The Costs of Delay” by Hal Harvey and Sonia Aggarwal for the ClimateWorks Foundation:


How many times can the same concepts be regurgitated before people recognize they don’t lead anywhere?

The report says “A delay—of even a decade— in reducing CO2 emissions will lock in large-scale, irreversible change“. Ironically, this same sentence has been heard first more than TWO decades ago.

It then goes on to “Carbon “sinks” are disappearing” but “the proportion of total emissions soaked up by the oceans between 2000 and 2007 _MAY_ have declined by as much as 10 percent.” I am afraid such weaselry with words is very 2008.

the more CO2 [the seas] absorb, the more acidic they become“: a physical impossibility due to all that salt. Seawater could become less alkaline, but to call that “more acidic” is again a trite, old way of playing with words.

The pages on “impacts” only deal with future stuff that “may“, “is likely“, etc etc happen. That means it “may not”. “Estimates” are so 2008 too.

It gets even more ridiculous when the Permian extinction is linked to a “methane burpby way of a Baltimore Sun article of 2004. Is that a joke? And the authors proceed to mention two studies that depict adaptation in worse terms than even the Stern Review, thereby forgetting all the research that points in the other direction.

In conclusion the Climate Works report shows exactly why so many people are so unperturbed. The case for mitigation against climate change should be made in a less amateurish, less partisan, and decidedly more scientific way. IF that’s possible, that is.

Here's What Livescience Doesn't Want You To Read

A comment of mine “disappeared” from Liescience. Surprise, surprise! Here it is then:


Sometimes I do all looks like a theater where everybody feels they need to play their usual, tired characters…

Noaa _cloud_ researcher; “it is not newsworthy”

Once upon a time we were told only peer-reviewed research was important. Now there is a peer-reviewed paper with a brand new tack on clouds&climate. If that is not newsworthy then what is?

Andrew Dessler, a professor of atmospheric sciences at texas a&m university: “he’s taken an incorrect model, he’s tweaked it to match observations, but the conclusions you get from that are not correct”

Talk about having an a priori, unchangeable opinion…

Dessler, the A&M climatologist said that he doubted the research would shift the political debate around global warming.

Do clouds care about what a climatologist has to say about the political debate around global warming? Is this ‘Livescience’ or ‘Livepolitics’?

Gavin Schmidt, a NASA goddard climatologist: “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

Lord Oxburgh of Oxburgh Climategate Review fame told the UK parliament that “it probably would have been true” to say that “it was actually impossible to reconstruct temperatures over the last thousand years”

Kevin Trenberth: “I cannot believe it got published,”

Of course he cannot. Trenberth is in the scientific dissent suppression business.


Scientists have shown that as the planet warms water vapor, and thus clouds, will increase, trapping even more heat

Have shown? Talk about prejudice…shouldn’t reporting remain separate from a journalist’s opinion?

The study, published july 26 in the open-access online journal remote sensing, got public attention when a writer for the heartland institute
the paper was mostly unnoticed in the public sphere until the forbes blogger declared it “extremely important.

It’s just two days!! And the paper was mostly unnoticed because Livescience fails at his mission “to satisfy curious readers” and never reports on papers that don’t agree with mainstream climate science.

University of Alabama, Huntsville researcher Roy Spencer, is a climate change skeptic and controversial figure within the climate research community
No climate scientist contacted by Livescience agreed.

Spencer is a climate scientist himself. Was that too difficult to report?

Leo Hickman, or the Rehabilitation of Used-car Salesmen

Hickman’s search for peace talks lasted between 3:41PM and 10:43PM on 21 June. That’s seven hours two minutes for the math-challenged warmists in the audience.

Call me a cynic, but I have seen more honesty displayed by used-car salesmen. He can really go back to dance with Ahmadinejad as far as I am concerned.

Policy Lass (And The Climate Bullies) Didn't Get It

I knew I was asking for a miracle even bigger than catastrophic anthropogenic global warming, still for a few short hours my optimist side took over and kept waiting for any signal that Policy Lass would “get it”.

“It” being the rather obvious fact that by antagonizing anybody that doesn’t adhere to their particular aspect of climate faith, by focusing on exclusivity nobody will ever be able to see approved and then implemented any policy, climate or otherwise. That applies to democracy, but also to pretty much all dictatorships apart from Burma and North Korea perhaps.

Now, considering also the fact that 19 years of international climate efforts have been even less effective than 40 years of international illegal drugs efforts, one starts to wonder

does Susan/Policy Lass/Shewonk actually care about the environment, climate change and the planet, to the point of being willing to participate to the building of effective, practical, realistic, implementable environment and climate change policies…or is she just interested to participate to a good fight?

The end result of my probing? Susan “Shewonk” didn’t get it, actually launched into a tirade of extreme pessimism regarding policy of any kind. That still doesn’t explain what she would find worthwhile in berating people that don’t totally agree with her. Also somebody (Friedman?) said pessimists are right, but it’s the optimists that can change the world. So Susan can’t change the world, and doesn’t even want to.

Another commenter “sharper00″ went a step further, and appeared to justify the aforementioned berating by the desire to tell people when their attitudes and decisions are not based on science, where “science” is whatever “sharper00″ means it is. It’s the famous strip, why don’t you come to sleep, wait, somebody’s wrong on the internet. This doesn’t strike as a particularly effective way of saving the planet either.

In a few short hours things degenerated, as usual, with the all-too-predictable actions of a pair of bullies, the aforementioned sharper00 and the notorious Dhogaza, transformed in the Climate Torquemadas, spending their Saturday by reading my contributions to Steven Goddard’s blog in the insane attempt of finding a mistake for me to admit. I’m feeling honored already.

What they found, was instead a collection of sarcastic remarks. Alas, they didn’t get that either. How many people really equate sarcasm to “joke”, I wonder. Apart from climate believers that is.

Anyway…what I find ridiculous in the extreme, beyond sarcasm even, is that those that scour the web in search of a “denier” to bully, are the same people that claim the world is going to experience a series of disasters unless something’s done pretty quickly.

It makes absolutely no sense.

Reposting anyhere my complete blog presence since January 2003 will do nothing, nothing, nothing at all wrt preventing the AGW disasters they fill their mouths and keyboard with. So why would anybody do that?

Why do they do that?

There has to be somebody out there capable of explaining themselves.

Global Warming Statistics 101

Averages can only tell you so much, and that’s quite little. As “global warming” is based on worldwide averages, it should be then always looked at judiciously and with a good deal of curiosity to figure out what is happening above and beyond the simple figure that is an average temperature.

Say, one lives in Placeville, a town where it’s -20C in January, +20C in July. Average is zero C (32F).

Imagine now, winters warm by 10C, summers cool by 5C. So it’s -10C in January, +15C in July. Average is 2.5C (36.5F).

Headline news: “Placeville heavily hit by global warming, average temperatures up by 2.5C“. When the real-life news is, it’s much cooler than before: still very cold in January, and now not even warm in July.

This is such a simple concept, I am always amazed how many people don’t get it. But then few grasp the most elemental aspects of statistics. And I wish three people in the world understood what “global warming” might be about.

Proof That Venice Is Sinking And Not Sinking Due To Climate Change

  1. Venice is sinking (the city in Italy, that is)
  2. It is apparently sinking due to human activities (buildings, gas and water extraction, etc)
  3. However, were Venice not be where it is, it would not be sinking
  4. Venice is where it is because it was founded by escaping populations around 421AD
  5. The populations were escaping from invading Germans and Huns
  6. Germans and Huns were invading due to climate change

QED: Venice is sinking…due to climate change.

  1. Venice is not sinking
  2. It is not sinking because storm surges are expected to happen less often
  3. Such expectations are due to climate change.

QED: Venice is not sinking…due to climate change.

Next: why it is legal for the UK Government to collect VAT on fuel duties; how President Obama has started decreasing the Afghanistan war effort by sending in more troops; why banks too big to fail must be encouraged to get even bigger.

See: the world starts making some sense!

I Know Why Some Scientists Can't Tolerate FOI Requests

It’s because those e-mails will make them look and sound petty and manipulative, with all those white and not-so-white lies peppered around, the fence-sitting dominating their writings, the brown-nosing, the bullying, the cult of their personality, the disdain of outsiders.

And so FOI requests can destroy a lot of the veneer of hypocritical respectability, professionalism, “cool” image of the fearless purveyor of what reality is about.

Sad isn’t it…and still, it shouldn’t take a PhD to understand that you should consider anything you write on the internet as something that could be put up tomorrow as first-page news. Or should it?

Will CO2 Cause Bieber Fever In Fish Worldwide?

No, I am not talking about this Fish. Or that Phish. I am talking about fish of the swimming variety, recently in the news as under multiple lines of attack by (you guessed it right) increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

Poor little ocean inhabitants will run out of breath, or go deaf. Or maybe not, as both papers compensate with novelty what they lack in robustness.

In the meanwhile, though, there are some indications that, at least for now, great white sharks are into AC/DC. That could be useful news (if under threat of attack, just convince a fellow diver to burst into a watery version of “Back in Black” and you’ll be fine. You, that is, not the fellow diver).

Why stop there, though? We can combine all these pieces of evidence to come up with a realistic scenario (as realistic as anything ever written by the likes of David Suzuki or Paul R. Ehrlich, that is): with human-caused CO2 emissions apparently unstoppable, fish the world over will experience irregular heartbeats, and hearing difficulties causing a decline in musical taste.

That is, they will all suffer “Bieber Fever“.

Please help prevent such a tragedy, by reducing your CO2 emissions.

Why Ethics Requires Encouraging Warmists To Make Silly Links Between Tornadoes and Climate Change

There’s a Donald A. Brown Associate Professor at Penn State happy to demonstrate that professorships should be assigned more carefully, and teaching of “environmental ethics, science, and law” is too much for person to do.

For those not in the know, Prof (Ha!) Brown has used lots of words to argue that “Ethics Requires Acknowledging Links Between Tornadoes and Climate Change Despite Scientific Uncertainty“. Basically, even if science says there’s no link (perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a negative link), Prof (Ha! Ha!) Brown argues that the link must be done because in the face of possible future disasters, it’s ethical (??) to lie now to the public.

Reactions have been predictable, from debunking to horrified to speechless. But (as already suggested at Revkin’s place), personally, I do welcome silly professors saying silly things about climate change (they mean, about AGW). In fact (this is my comment at Lubos’):

By overusing the AGW concept, [they] will cheapen it to oblivion. Furthermore if AGW is a moral cause, then it’s demonstrably non-scientific, as science will only take the third place after ethics and politics. So the IPCC becomes even less important, or meaningful.

Go, go, AGW go…one stupid claim at a time, and AGW will soon be gone!!

Surefire way to avoid all risks

According to the World Health Organization, mobile (cell) phones “may cause cancer”. However, there’s no established link. Still, it could be a possibility. It could also not be.

Therefore a bunch of experts have decided to warn the public with the non-news. Maybe that’s the “ethical” thing to do.

But if that’s true, then we should warn the public about a far more certain risk. You see, it can be easily established that the one thing in common among people that die, is that they were alive in the first place.

Armed with this incredible revelation, the WHO experts will soon recommend us all not to be born at all.