So who is John S Theon?

The usual denialists (e.g. The Register) are excited because some guy they never heard of before has joined Inhofe’s merry band, writing:

“I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made.”

M. J. Murphy has some information about Theon. It seems that Inhofe’s claim that Theon was Hansen’s supervisor is completely untrue:


Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009. “I was, in effect, Hansen’s supervisor because I had to justify his funding, allocate his resources, and evaluate his results. I did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation…

Read the last bit closely. Being “in effect” Hansen’s supervisor is here contrasted with being “in reality” Hansen’s supervisor–being the guy who gives Hansen his annual performance appraisal, in other words–which, frankly, does linguistic violence to the term.

Gavin Schmidt writes:

Dr. Theon appears to have retired from NASA in 1994, some 15 years ago. Until yesterday I had never heard of him (despite working with and for NASA for the last 13 years). His insights into both modelling and publicity appear to date from then, rather than any recent events. He was not Hansen’s ‘boss’ (the director of GISS reports to the director of GSFC, who reports to the NASA Administrator). His “some scientists” quote is simply a smear – which scientists? where? what did they do? what data? what manipulation? This kind of thing plays well with Inhofe et al because it appears to add something to the ‘debate’, but in actual fact there is nothing here. Just vague, unsubstantiated accusations.

And Joe Romm finds some more misrepresentations in Inhofe’s press release:

The Morano post blares:

NYT’s Revkin chides Hansen for promoting sea level claims that are not ‘even physically possible’

But let’s go the link and see what Revkin actually wrote. …

Sea level is a case in point. Jim’s views are clearly at the upper boundary of what many glaciologists and oceanographers together see as realistic, or even physically possible, in a warming world.

Whether you agree with Revkin or Hansen on the science, Revkin never asserted that Hansen promoted sea level claims that were not even physically possible.

Comments

  1. #1 Adam
    January 29, 2009

    “Revkin never asserted that Hansen promoted sea level claims that were not even physically possible.”

    This requires a level of subtlety in reading Rezkin’s writing that people like Jim Inhofe are not capable of using.

  2. #2 davidp
    January 29, 2009

    Yet another superannuated science administrator joins the denialist/inactivist list. Just like William Kininmonth.

    Administrators who haven’t done any science since the early 1980’s and don’t trust this new fangled modelling.

  3. #3 bi -- IJI
    January 29, 2009

    Oh great, so there’s another name to add to the “rapidly growing”[1] list of Nobel Platinum Prize recipients, “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” economists, people who were “warmists” in their previous unknown incarnations, and foster-bosses[2] who doubt the theory of man-made global warming.

    [1] about once every few weeks, drum rolls please!

    [2] in analogy with “foster parents”

  4. #4 Dano
    January 30, 2009

    I was, in effect, Frank Bi’s supervisor. I am glad to lend my name against award alarmism. He should have been muzzled regarding his views on awards.

    Best,

    D

  5. #5 Lurkbot
    January 30, 2009

    A denialist who’s out of touch with the facts and misrepresents his authority? I’m shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

  6. #6 Paul
    January 30, 2009

    liar, liar, pants on fire?

    Don’t deniers claim it is impossible to predict the future?

    So how can they then claim that Hansen is predicting a level that is to high?

    That would imply that as a denier you were predicting a sea level rise that was lower. Which would contradict the prediction claim.

    If you think it isn’t possible to predict, then you may as well accept that all answers are possible, which means Hansen could be correct!
    After all something is going to happen to see levels (up, down or nothing) and to criticise specific answers assumes you know something else that is going to happen in the future!

  7. #7 DavidONE
    January 30, 2009

    > The usual denialists (e.g. The Register)…

    It’s a pity – I used to enjoy reading the The Reg, but deleted it from the news reader (recommend http://www.rssowl.org/) after [Orlowski's](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Orlowski#Criticism_of_anthropogenic_climate_change) concerted campaign of denial began. And, like every other site that has a side-agenda of Denialism, it attracts the thinking-challenged in droves. Maybe they click on more ads? ;)

  8. #8 Eli Rabett
    January 30, 2009

    Gavin seems to have gotten it wrong. Back in the 90s, the Director of GISS reported to the Director of the Laboratory for Atmospheres who reported to the Director of GISS who reported to . . . (some Associate Administrator of NASA)

    Of course, it changes every two weeks. NASA’s exists to reorganize.

  9. #9 bigcitylib
    January 30, 2009

    “Of course, it changes every two weeks. NASA’s exists to reorganize.”

    If you ever worked in a large bureaucracy you would know how much fun a reorg can be. Every six months you get to upgrade your office furniture, if you play your cards right.

  10. #10 J
    January 30, 2009

    Back in the 90s, the Director of GISS reported to the Director of the Laboratory for Atmospheres who reported to the Director of GISS [...]

    I’m thinking Eli must be a bit confused here. That can’t be right.

    :-)

  11. #11 Dano
    January 30, 2009

    Every six months you get to upgrade your office furniture, if you play your cards right.

    Or get moved to the cube next to the hottie. Or away from the boss. Or more memory in the hard drive. Or a window seat.

    Best,

    D

  12. #12 caerbannog
    January 30, 2009

    The yahoos and know-nothings have wasted no time in picking up this ball and running with it.

    Over at the San Diego Union-Tribune climate-change forum (http://forums.signonsandiego.com/forumdisplay.php?f=153), a particularly obtuse participant who goes by the name of PeterSD just threw Theon at me.

    To give you an appreciation of just how obtuse PeterSD is, I’ll quote an excerpt from another of his posts (from http://forums.signonsandiego.com/showpost.php?p=3471637&postcount=36 ):

    Mainly, computer models cannot and do not take into accurate account the impact of our oceans, clouds, the efficiency of precipitation at removing heat from the atmosphere, and other myriad factors that affect our climate.

  13. #13 Hank Roberts
    January 30, 2009

    Let’s see if we can figure out the logic here.

    We know evaporation cools things off, so it removes heat from things. And PeterSD believes that precipitation also removes heat from things. So it’s a perpetual motion machine? The water endlessly continues to first evaporate and cool things off, then condense and precipitate and cool things off?

    Wait, where does the heat go? Okay, say it just, er, goes away magically.

    Ah! So we could keep adding CO2 to the air and never get any warmer, until the water became so acidic that it ….

    No, wait, that can’t be right.

  14. #14 bi -- IJI
    January 30, 2009

    In somewhat related news:

    60 more people have just pledged their allegiance to climate skepticism! Muhahahahaha! Warmaholic Goracle, your days are numbered!

  15. #15 Dano
    January 30, 2009

    Wait, where does the heat go?

    Hank, you obviously don’t live where the precipitation is snow. When it precipitates here in January, it gets like reeeal cold. Then, the temperature talent fairies take away the heat, obviously, and store it under leaves and such (as heat rises, see, you want to put it under something). Some of the fairies also have – oooobviously – gone down to watch the Australian Open, taking some of our heat with them down there.

    Get with the program, man! All that warm air on that side of the Bay is addling your senses!

    Best,

    D

  16. #16 Marion Delgado
    January 30, 2009

    Dano:

    Nature is already using the heat of fusion, and solving global warming in the process.

    But simply because he told the truth about 9/11, Steve Jones was unable to bring cold fusion to the masses. Instead, the coal-and-cobalt-fired GoreCam became the only NASA project allowed.

    Ice is the leading cause of global warming, so the less of it there is, the better.

    Hint: try cooling a drink with a hot poker. According to alarmists it works.

  17. #17 caerbannog
    January 30, 2009


    Of course, it changes every two weeks. NASA’s exists to reorganize.

    And that reminds me of this old chestnut, many variations of which have been circulating on the net since the pre-www days (and circulating on hard-copy for who knows how long before that). But it’s still as funny and relevant as ever.


    Investigators at a major research institution recently discovered the heaviest element known to science and have tentatively named it Administratium.


    Administratium has no protons or electrons, thus having an atomic number of 0. It has, however, 1 neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons and 111 assistant vice neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.


    These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of a meson-like particle called morons. It is also surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically as it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with.


    According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium caused one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would have normally occurred in less than a second.


    Administratium has a half-life of approximately three years. It does not decay but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places.


    In fact, Administratium’s mass will actually increase over time, since with each reorganization some of the morons inevitably become neutrons forming new isotopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is spontaneously formed whenever moron concentration reaches a certain level. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as the Critical Morass.

  18. #18 caerbannog
    January 30, 2009

    My gawd — what’s the deal with the funky fonts?

    It sure didn’t look like that when I previewed it!

  19. #19 Eli Rabett
    January 30, 2009

    It’s been reorganized

  20. #20 John Hooper
    January 30, 2009

    If you believe that consumption leads to carbon emissions leads to climate change leads to disaster, the best you can do is to have yourself sterilized, or better, take your own life and as many others with you. The only way to reduce consumption significantly is to reduce consumers significantly.

    If you disagree with this statement, then you truly are in denial. Either get real, or quit the debate.

  21. #21 dhogaza
    January 30, 2009

    So if I understand science I have to commit suicide? Odd. Easy to understand why modern conservatives are so anti-science if they really believe this, though.

  22. #22 John Hooper
    January 30, 2009

    I don’t see why you need to resort to a political smear. I thought this was science, not some puerile tribal feud. Next you’ll be blaming Bush.

    It’s very simple: if you believe we need to reduce carbon emissions, then you need to come up with some ways to reduce the human population drastically.

    I guess being pro-abortion is a start. I presume that’s part of your political package, though I have no idea why that’s been politicized either.

    My estimate is we need to wipe out around 80% of the human race. How’s that align with your figures so far?

  23. #23 Ender
    January 30, 2009

    “If you ever worked in a large bureaucracy you would know how much fun a reorg can be. Every six months you get to upgrade your office furniture, if you play your cards right.”

    And generally it works in a 5 year cycle. In 5 years the reorgs get the organization back to exactly the way it was 5 years ago.

    In a nameless bureaucracy I used to work for they spent over a million dollars reorganising the office and knocking down all the office partitions claiming a revolution in the way we we were going to work and communicate was just around the corner. Of course, as the old timers knew, it was open plan 5 years ago when another million dollars was spent revolutionising working conditions and putting up the partitions.

    Also in the 15 years I have spent in the IT industry for various large and small companies I have seen countless reorgs of upper management that were going to completely change the way we do business etc. So far in that same 15 years I have done pretty much the same thing to the same customers in exactly the same way.

    Its deck chairs on the Titanic.

  24. #24 Ender
    January 30, 2009

    dhogaza – “So if I understand science I have to commit suicide?”

    Please don’t feed the troll – you know where this is going….

  25. #25 Mark Schaffer
    January 30, 2009

    Really John Hooper! Rather than the most responsible among us taking their own lives why don’t we start with the most wasteful and remove them as that would give us the most bang for the buck???

  26. #26 luminous beauty
    January 30, 2009

    John Hooper,

    Should you decide to demonstrate your commitment to reality, I will gladly hold your watch and wallet.

  27. #27 Steve Bloom
    January 30, 2009

    Theons’s cv, noting a very peculiar-looking PhD (obtained in just two years in his mid-50s while still working at NASA, and granted for atmo science work by an engineering program):

    Education: B.S. Aero. Engr. (1953-57); Aerodynamicist, Douglas Aircraft Co. (1957-58); As USAF Reserve Officer (1958-60),B.S. Meteorology (1959); Served as Weather Officer 1959-60; M.S, Meteorology (1960-62); NASA Research Scientist, Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (1962-74); Head Meteorology Branch, GSFC (1974-76); Asst. Chief, Lab. for Atmos. Sciences, GSFC (1977-78); Program Scientist, NASA Global Weather Research Program, NASA Hq. (1978-82); Chief, Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch NASA Hq., (1982-91); Ph.D., Engr. Science & Mech.: course of study and dissertation in atmos. science (1983-85); Chief, Atmospheric Dynamics, Radiation, & Hydrology Branch, NASA Hq. (1991-93); Chief, Climate Processes Research Program, NASA Hq. (1993-94); Senior Scientist, Mission to Planet Earth Office, NASA Hq. (1994-95); Science Consultant, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (1995-99); Science Consultant Orbital Sciences Corp. (1996-97) and NASA Jet Propulsion Lab., (1997-99).

  28. #28 John Mashey
    January 30, 2009

    re: #28 Steve

    1) I don’t find the PhD necessarily peculiar.

    2) gavin Schmidt explained some relevant NASA organization. This is (slightly) akin to AT&T HQ compared to Bell Labs. [I.e., somebody in AT&T had something to do with the funding of the Lab I was in, but my management chain was entirely Bell Labs and usually decided what we were doing.]

    3) However, an interesting question is that he was a Chief at HQ for a while, then a Senior Scientist, then left NASA. I *speculate*:

    a) If he entered UG school (1953-1957) @ 18, that would put his birth year around 1935.

    b) If so, he would have left NASA ~60/61, but obviously, he wasn’t ready to retire, given that he worked for various other companies.
    Maybe he wanted to taper off from full-time work – he had been a Chief (1982-1994), then spent ~year as a Senior Scientist, then left NASA after ~33 years.

    That could legitimately be a desired change, but he did claim to have been “responsible for all weather and climate research in NASA”, so perhaps his career trajectory at NASA wasn’t what he wished.

  29. #29 Dano
    January 30, 2009

    if you believe we need to reduce carbon emissions, then you need to come up with some ways to reduce the human population drastically.

    Shorter Hooper:

    We’re too stupid to figure this out. Let me sell you this trinket to take your mind off of our utter failure and uselessness. That’ll be 9.99, plus tax.

    Best,

    D

  30. #30 Steve Bloom
    January 30, 2009

    Consistent with your speculation, John, my thought about the apparently minimum-effort PhD is that it was obtained because he had to have it for career advancement purposes, but that it didn’t work out for him. Speculating yet more, he may have gone into admin to begin with as a way out of a mediocre research career. What does seem clear is that he never had an authoritative basis for criticizing Hansen’s work.

  31. #31 Ezzthetic
    January 30, 2009

    if you believe we need to reduce carbon emissions, then you need to come up with some ways to reduce the human population drastically.

    Well, I for one am glad to see the ecological theories of Charles Manson finally coming into their own.

  32. #32 TomG
    January 31, 2009

    #15 Dano…
    Temperature talent fairies?
    You don’t suppose they snatched that missing volcano in West Antarctica? You know…the invisible one causing all the warming down there?

  33. #33 Eli Rabett
    January 31, 2009

    It is not such a peculiar pattern. People get drafted in from the centers to do the grunt organizational work at HQ. There are also volunteers It actually makes sense. First, they meet the HQ people. Second, as part of the HQ job they have to travel to the other centers (Goddard, Marshall, etc)and meet the people there. Third, it is a way of training scientists and engineers in management. Fourth it is a way of putting scientists and engineers in HQ where they can at least to some extent guide the programs. Fifth, when they go back they will not (maybe) moan incessantly about those idiots at HQ having recently been one. It actually is something you should do if you want to get into management at the centers.

    NSF does this with rotators from universities. DOE also follows this pattern in basic energy sciences.

  34. #34 Eli Rabett
    January 31, 2009

    Eli should also point out that the PhD business is also not so peculiar. There are many people in research labs (Tom Karl is one for example) that started working with a master’s degree. After a number of years of publishing, doing significant research, building links within the community, they are the polar opposite of ABDs (all but dissertation, the people who have completed all their doctoral work, but not their thesis) they are ABCs (all but classes).

    If motivated they can go to the necessary classes at a nearby university over a period of time, or, in some labs they can take a leave of absence with pay (NASA allows this) to finish up their classes. They then either do research at the place where they are studying, or pull something off their shelf that they have been working on and use it for their dissertation. Since they have been doing dissertation class research for many years, this is a lot easier for them, than for new folks.

    Eli knows a few people who have done this. It accounts for “late” degrees. Not something to worry about.

  35. #35 stewart
    January 31, 2009

    I don’t know the corporate culture at NASA, but Eli’s comments make sense. Theon did some serious work (about 30 papers, some edited books, plus lots of monographs), including a couple of Science papers in the 60’s, so he wasn’t puffing up his accomplishments like some, and an h-index of 6. He seems to be from the meteorology (clouds and tropical rainfall) rather than the climate side of things. But why is he commenting on events occurring 12 years after he left NASA? What basis does he have for his comments?

  36. #36 Dano
    January 31, 2009

    TomG,

    Those were the geology talent fairies who snatched the vol-caner. The Queen was a little cold, see, because the temperature talent fairies got a little energetic and took too much heat to Australia and the Queens toesies were cold. Those fairies have been a little capricious lately, haven’t they, and the Queen is wondering what to do about it! Bad fairies! Bad!

    Best,

    D

  37. #37 Hank Roberts
    January 31, 2009

    > why is he commenting on events occurring 12 years after
    > he left NASA? What basis does he have for his comments?

    Someone should ask. There are good science reporters still working, a few.

    I’d guess he was recruited.

  38. #38 Dano
    January 31, 2009

    I’d guess he was recruited.

    Yup. Five bucks he’s at least on a panel discussion in the Heartland Victory Tour* (replacing the Heritage Victory Tour this year, apparently), where he will eat yuh-hummy catered food and bask in adulation for his truth-telling.

    Best,

    D

    * J. Taylor, T. Harris, T. Jefferson, G. Galilei, I. Newton, and F. Bi. 2009.
    World Exclusive! More than 1,040 attendees unofficially pledged for New York global warming skeptic conference. Intl. J. Inact., 2:17–19

  39. #39 Steve Bloom
    January 31, 2009

    Eli, that makes perfect sense and actually had occurred to me, but in Theon’s case the contemporaneous dissertation-quality research appears to be missing. That he apparently got the degree through an engineering progtam at a time when atmo science programs existed still seems odd.

  40. #40 Eli Rabett
    January 31, 2009

    Atmospheric science rears its head in a whole lot of strange places and a large part of it is fluid dynamics which is played in a lot of departments including mechanical, aerospace and chemical engineering. In Theon’s case the thesis

    “THE EFFECTS OF OROGRAPHY ON LAND-ATMOSPHERE TURBULENT EXCHANGE PROCESSES (BOUNDARY LAYER, FLOW WAKES, MOMENTUM FLUXES, KINETIC ENERGY, HEAT)”

    makes sense for engineering. As important, his degree is from the University of Tennessee Space Institute, a very interesting, important and barely known place, established after WWII to take advantage of the work going on in the at the Arnold Engineering Center esp the wind tunnels. Very important aerospace center.

  41. #41 Steve Bloom
    January 31, 2009

    Thanks for locating that, Eli, but I’ll just note that the subject matter seems to have nothing to do with anything he published around that time (or perhaps ever). Given that, it *still* seems a little fishy unless there’s some non-obvious way that the subject matter relates to TRMM.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    January 31, 2009

    Steve, Eli thinks you are avoiding the obvious. Theon did a lot of work early on about wind structure in the meso and stratosphere, was involved in the TRMM mission planning so it is no jump big to the thesis topic.

    Eli did make a mistake the PhD is from UT Knoxville while he is listed as an alumnus of UTSI, maybe his masters when he was in the air force or just out.

  43. #43 bi -- IJI
    February 1, 2009

    > Yup. Five bucks he’s at least on a panel discussion in the Heartland Victory Tour* (replacing the Heritage Victory Tour this year, apparently), where he will eat yuh-hummy catered food and bask in adulation for his truth-telling.

    :-B That reminds me: maybe I should try to form a new free-market think-tank with 20 people just so that I can also partake in the free food and drinks. I think I’ll call this new group a nice name, e.g. “Coalition for Research on American Prosperity”.

  44. #44 TomG
    February 1, 2009

    A think tank?
    Frank….beware the Dark Side!

  45. #45 bigcitylib
    February 1, 2009

    Don’t know how this fits in, but R. Spencer claims here that Theon was HIS boss at NASA.

    http://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:5kP86oEiDJcJ:www.drroyspencer.com/+%22john+theon%22+wiki&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=ca

  46. #46 dhogaza
    February 1, 2009

    Theon probably supervised the NASA bible study group, then …

  47. #47 Nick
    February 1, 2009

    #45, Spencer is just attention seeking, claiming ” In truth it wasn’t Hansen who was muzzled,but it was me in the Clinton-Gore years…” But apparently “that was fine…if a little annoying.” Mmmm… tighter please. So Theon’s been on the denialist circuit for a couple of years, and Roy’s only just noticed? Making waves,indeed.

  48. #48 dhogaza
    February 1, 2009

    So if Spencer was muzzled, why didn’t he file a complaint?

  49. #49 John Mashey
    February 1, 2009

    This “boss” business: reread my #28 (and see Gavin’s comments) and Eli’s #33.

    I’ll try again:

    Large organizations often have HQ’s with a bunch of staff positions that are involved in coordination, planning, and (some) high-level budgeting. Normally, many more people work in operational divisions with their own lines of management.

    Such staff jobs can range from being very powerful (a real gatekeeper, say like Todd Palin :-))to being not so (an assistant who mostly executes orders). Speaking as having been a hiring manager for a decade, and having worked in a much larger organization than NASA), people with long careers in those staff jobs occasionally overstated the influence thereof.

    Likewise, in helping sell super-computers, one learns from good salespeople who the decision-makers actually are, as there are sometimes staff people who are keen to show they are powerful and can say NO, whereas one may need the CEO to say YES, or at least some division line manager. I’ve sometimes had to make presentations to mixed-level groups of decision-makers and techie staffers, which was always “interesting”, especially until you figured out the real dynamics.

    However, the idea of someone in a separate line organization calling someone in an HQ staff job their “boss” is pretty amusing. Someone might ask Spencer’s actual boss(es) what they think.

  50. #50 bi -- IJI
    February 1, 2009

    > > maybe I should try to form a new free-market think-tank with 20 people just so that I can also partake in the free food and drinks. I think I’ll call this new group a nice name, e.g. “Coalition for Research on American Prosperity”.

    > A think tank? Frank….beware the Dark Side!

    Don’t worry, I’ll disband the group once the free food’s finished. :)

  51. #51 Dano
    February 1, 2009

    So, Frank, if one eats their fill of catered food at your events, what will they be full of?

    Best,

    D

  52. #52 bigcitylib
    February 1, 2009

    John Mashey,

    Another thought that occurs to me is that if Theon really was Spencer’s “boss” then its pretty clear that Theon would know why Spencer was “muzzled”. Or one would assume.

  53. #53 bigcitylib
    February 1, 2009

    …which is to say that you would think he would be the man applying the muzzle.

  54. #54 z
    February 1, 2009

    ” Theon would know why Spencer was “muzzled”

    fundamentalist Muzzlims who hate our way of life, obviously

  55. #55 z
    February 1, 2009

    “maybe I should try to form a new free-market think-tank with 20 people just so that I can also partake in the free food and drinks. ”

    “Six degrees of ExxonMobil” http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2009/1/30/8266/80668

  56. #56 John Hooper
    February 1, 2009

    Come on you guys, billions of people need to die if we’re serious about reducing carbon emissions.

    So many Denialists, not enough time.

  57. #57 a
    February 1, 2009

    This attempt to smear Theon is terribly, terribly thin.

    He remained at NASA until at least 1999, btw.

  58. #58 Eli Rabett
    February 1, 2009

    A final word on the dystopia that is NASA. Funding and supervision run along different tracks. A substantial part of the funding for GISS may have run through his office, but he almost certainly (only so weak because Eli has better things to do than go fishing through old NASA web sites) did not supervise either Hansen or Spencer who reported through the normal chains up to the Center Directors who reported to the Associate Administrators.

    Theon, when he was at HQ, was in a mission directorate, which also report up through the Associate Administrators. A certain amount of funding comes directly to the centers, another amount comes through the mission directorates. Theon almost certainly was responsible for providing some GISS and Marshall funding for Hansen and Spencer, but was no more their supervisor than a program manager at NSF supervises people they make grants to.

    Org Chart for the obsessive.

  59. #59 Gaz
    February 1, 2009

    John Hooper: “If you believe that consumption leads to carbon emissions leads to climate change leads to disaster, the best you can do is to have yourself sterilized, or better, take your own life and as many others with you. The only way to reduce consumption significantly is to reduce consumers significantly.”

    If energy consumption per capita was fixed AND carbon emmissions per unit of energy consumed was fixed, then this statment would make some sense.

    However they aren’t, so it doesn’t.

    If you believe what you’ve said is true, then you’re stupid.

    If you don’t believe it then you’re a deceitful troll.

    I’d guess the latter.

    Nobody’s that thick.

    If you disagree with this statement, then you truly are in denial. Either get real, or quit the debate.

  60. #60 Taluka Bvvalnian
    February 2, 2009

    Interesting that #45 gives reference to Roy Spencer’s article that also contains the phrase:
    “And how many defections have we seen in the other direction — from the skeptics’ camp to the alarmists’ camp? Seems like it’s been a one-way street so far.”

  61. #61 bi -- IJI
    February 2, 2009

    > > Don’t worry, I’ll disband the group once the free food’s finished. :)

    > So, Frank, if one eats their fill of catered food at your events, what will they be full of? –Dano

    Freedom?

    Because that’s what the Coalition for Research on American Prosperity stands for. :)

    > “Six degrees of ExxonMobil” http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2009/1/30/8266/80668 –z

    Heh, but Miles Grant himself admits that the methodology isn’t very reliable…

    > This attempt to smear Theon is terribly, terribly thin. –a

    I guess you’re being muzzled too, even as you speak?

    > Interesting that #45 gives reference to Roy Spencer’s article that also contains the phrase: “And how many defections have we seen in the other direction — from the skeptics’ camp to the alarmists’ camp? Seems like it’s been a one-way street so far.” –Taluka Byvalnian

    The claim is “interesting”… as in “tired and old and false”?

  62. #62 Ken
    February 2, 2009

    John Hooper is correct that population is a serious issue and is relevant to climate, but taking out all those that can foresee a looming overpopulation led disaster and leaving behind only those who fail to see population as a contributor to the problem is not a solution. Similarly for any forseeable and avoidable disaster. Does anyone expect the looming disaster that is AGW would just fail to eventuate for lack of believers? Mmmm, I suppose a lot of denialists would expect that. Somehow I don’t expect the Earth’s climate is going to conform to their expectations. But most of those people believe, without any supporting evidence, that human activity has no effect on climate. I prefer a science based understanding of climate and prefer that the people who work to build and improve that understanding to stay on the job.

  63. #63 John Mashey
    February 2, 2009

    re: #60 Taluka

    I’ll save people some time:

    Taluka’s profile says one of his/her interests is “honesty” and the newest post on his website features an article by Steve Milloy. :-)

    ===

    If a scientist goes off into clear anti-science, it’s pretty hard to ever come back. Of course, only a tiny fraction of climate anti-scientists were ever real climate scientists in the first place, and they certainly can’t easily become climate scientists.

    Classical skeptics (i.e., who actually evaluate information) who study the problem mostly end up following the science.

    A few climate scientists manage to say one thing in peer-reviewed journal articles, and something very different in their web pages and OpEds. They still get articles published, for example, Lindzen’s IRIS.

    Reasons for going into anti-science can be found here.

    The few serious scientists who’ve gone off seem to fit PSYCH-1, PSYCH-2, and maybe PSYCH-5 in that list, although course some of the more famous cases were clearly IDEOL-2 and maybe ECON-3. Of course, Spencer is a creationist: as well. (H/T ThingsBreak). See also Wikipedia. Presumably he has disavowed the use of much modern medicine to be consistent.

    Occasionally, scientists get committed to a position and have a hard time changing. People may recall that Spencer & Christy’s UAH results, on which were pinned many of the non-AGW beliefs, were found to have serious errors. It’s too bad, as I think he has actually done some reasonable work.

  64. #64 dhogaza
    February 2, 2009

    Interesting that #45 gives reference to Roy Spencer’s article that also contains the phrase: “And how many defections have we seen in the other direction — from the skeptics’ camp to the alarmists’ camp? Seems like it’s been a one-way street so far.”

    Spencer really said that? Surely he knows that the first professional reaction to warnings by Hansen and others was almost total skepticism, and that it took a couple or three decades for the climate science consensus to shift from “interesting theoretical problem that might be observable someday” to “it’s happening, we’re seeing it, it’s a serious problem that needs addressing now”?

  65. #65 Bud
    February 2, 2009

    bi-IJI – “The claim is “interesting”… as in “tired and old and false”?”

    Actually, I think it would be highly instructive were the claim true. If the science were as unsettled and controversial as many on the “skeptics” side claim, then one would expect a fair number of people crossing both sides of the divide. If the movement only goes one way, it suggests that either a) the scientific consensus is moving strongly away from AGW theory or b) that people are moving across for reasons other than the science.

    And since a) is demonstratably untrue, then…

  66. #66 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 2, 2009

    John Hooper writes:

    Come on you guys, billions of people need to die if we’re serious about reducing carbon emissions.

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but do you do a lot of cocaine?

  67. #67 trrll
    February 2, 2009

    Interesting that #45 gives reference to Roy Spencer’s article that also contains the phrase: “And how many defections have we seen in the other direction — from the skeptics’ camp to the alarmists’ camp? Seems like it’s been a one-way street so far.”

    This is a bit like starting your graphs of global temperature in 1998. At one point, many climate scientists were skeptical as to whether the amount of global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 would be great enough to be a threat, but as the evidence mounted, they changed their minds, one by one, over a period of years. At this point, pretty much all rational scientists have accepted that global warming is real and a serious concern. I haven’t heard of anybody “defecting” from the flat-earth camp to the round-earth camp lately, either.

  68. #68 BlueIndependent
    February 2, 2009

    DavidONE: “It’s a pity – I used to enjoy reading the The Reg…”

    You ain’t kidding. I used to read that site religiously a few years back, but got out of my normal rhythm and haven’t read it at much length at all lately. I loved BOFH and their injection of British humor and sarcasm into mundane news…but this is very disappointing. And to think I just added their feed to my iGoogle. I’m guessing they adored the GW Swindle flick from two years ago? A short search on their site seems to indicate quiet support.

  69. #69 jonno
    February 2, 2009

    John Hooper writes:

    Come on you guys, billions of people need to die if we’re serious about reducing carbon emissions.

    I think he may be right Barton. What will it take? There are many blogs on the net arguing or the science, even though the evidence is so plain – emissions need to be reduced – yet there has been no action to reduce emissions, only talk. People still have not comprehended the reality of climate change and what needs to be done to avoid the worst case scenarios.

  70. #70 Bud
    February 2, 2009

    With respect Barton (66), you do cocaine a disservice. You’re better off with the classic: “Have you been smoking crack?”

  71. #71 Jp
    February 3, 2009

    Holy cow, people! The discreditors here are unbelievable. And it’s so hilarious because it’s exactly as the Bushies operated for the past 8 years. You know the drill. Don’t refute facts or address the issues raised. Simply smear the person and split hairs over whether the PhD is legit.

    This guy was a NASA scientist for many years, through Democrat and Republican administrations. Just admit good people can get it wrong and move on to facts as we know them. Otherwise, you’re just a bunch of dithering hens gossiping over a game of Bridge.

    Can’t you just smell the hypocrisy?

  72. #72 John Hooper
    February 3, 2009

    The fact remains, if there is an element of truth in these Doomsday prophecies, and your best solution requires:

    1. Doing without.
    2. Some ridiculously feeble expensive technology like Solar or Wind.
    3. Paying a middle class guilt tax.

    Then you’re basically an out of touch urban assclown who hasn’t thought this out properly.

  73. #73 bi -- IJI
    February 3, 2009

    Jp:

    > And it’s so hilarious because it’s exactly as the Bushies operated for the past 8 years.

    Theon is still not Hansen’s former boss.

    > This guy was a NASA scientist for many years,

    He’s still not Hansen’s former boss.

    > through Democrat and Republican administrations.

    He’s still not Hansen’s former boss.

    > Just admit good people can get it wrong and move on to facts as we know them.

    The fact is, Theon is still not Hansen’s former boss.

    * * *

    John Hooper:

    > Then you’re basically an out of touch urban assclown who hasn’t thought this out properly.

    So John Hooper’s telling us that, if the solution to global warming doesn’t involve humongous mega-gizmos the size of New Jersey, or huge campaigns of genocide, or both, then global warming’s obviously a scam.

  74. #74 Mark Schaffer
    February 3, 2009

    Maybe John Hooper is fat and doesn’t want to go on a diet???

  75. #75 Dano
    February 3, 2009

    So John Hooper’s telling us that, if the solution to global warming …

    No.

    Hooper is saying humans are too stupid to stop fouling their nest.

    Presumably he has a product to sell us to take our minds off of this inconvenient assertion, preferably the product of a distillery or available at a pharmacy, right Hooper?

    Best,

    D

  76. #76 Gaz
    February 3, 2009

    John Hooper, what the heck is an “assclown”? I’ve never heard that term before, but thank for for introducing it here.

    I just think it would be right to acknowledge that you do have something to offer this discussion, even it is only a new insult.

    It could conceivably come in very useful.

    If it turns out that your asumptions (ie that energy use per capita is fixed, GHG emmissions per unit of energy are also fixed and that any form of sequestration is unfeasible) are not totally ridiculous but correct, and that a massive cull of the population turns out to be necessary, then perhaps the assclowns could be first to get the chop.

    Urban assclowns first, of course, then the presumably less odious suburban assclowns and then, if that’s not enough, the country assclowns.

    But only if it comes to that.

    It would be a shame to cull the country assclowns.

    They are the salt of the Earth and such lovely people. Sigh.

  77. #77 Majorajam
    February 3, 2009

    Shorter John Hooper: Wind power and solar are for pussies and artsy urbanites are self-hating assclowns therefore the physics of anthropogenic global warming are not sound.

    On an unrelated note, in a fascist regime the judiciary is largely superfluous.

  78. #78 luminous beauty
    February 3, 2009
  79. #79 z
    February 3, 2009

    “humans are too stupid to stop fouling their nest.”

    IIRC, one problem with primates as pets is they can’t be housebroken. even with kids it seems kind of iffy sometimes.

  80. #80 Gaz
    February 3, 2009

    Thanks Luminous.

    Jeez you know a lot of useful stuff.

  81. #81 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 4, 2009

    John Hooper posts, in his usual, charming fashion:

    The fact remains, if there is an element of truth in these Doomsday prophecies, and your best solution requires:
    1. Doing without.
    2. Some ridiculously feeble expensive technology like Solar or Wind.
    3. Paying a middle class guilt tax.
    Then you’re basically an out of touch urban assclown who hasn’t thought this out properly.

    1. Conservation is not “doing without.” It’s doing more efficiently.

    2. Solar and wind are neither feeble nor expensive. Wind electrical power is now — right now — compatible with electrical power from fossil fuels, and beats nuclear. Each is growing explosively.

    3. Nobody advocates “guilt tax[es].” A carbon tax would discourage the use of carbon the way a tax on anything discourages use of anything. I myself prefer a cap-and-trade scheme to a tax, though, since cap-and-trade on sulfates worked spectacularly well to reduce acid rain in the US.

  82. #82 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 4, 2009

    Sorry, I meant wind power is “competitive” with fossil fuel power. Not “compatible,” although of course you can envision a utility using natural gas for baseload power and wind for peak power, e.g.

  83. #83 Barton Paul Levenson
    February 4, 2009

    Having played piano in a cathouse for many years, I know a lot about assclowns. Whenever a john who was really into rear entry would be depressed, the brothel owner would send in the assclowns to cheer him up. First, they would drive up in a tiny asscar. Then ten or twelve of them would get out, face away from the depressed john, and bend over, displaying their brightly painted posteriors. I should note that the ass makeup for an assclown is a very individual thing and specific assclowns often get their assmakeup copyrighted.

  84. #84 Dano
    February 4, 2009

    they can’t be housebroken. even with kids it seems kind of iffy sometimes.

    Do you know any good strategies to get the 5 1/2 year-old to flush after poopies?

    It’s similar to implementing strategies to get people to stop putting their poopies in the atmosphere, methinks.

    Best,

    D

  85. #85 John Mashey
    February 5, 2009

    BigCitytLib offers a useful direct (and quite gracious) quote on Theon. Others would be less polite, but this seems in Hansen’s style.

  86. #86 frankly0
    February 5, 2009

    Well, rather than simply throwing all manner of ad hominems at Theon, I’d be more interested in hearing at least some kind of rebuttal of Theon’s claims — particularly his assertion that the data have been manipulated by “some scientists”.

    some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it.

    They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists.

    I gather that one piece of evidence that this data has been manipulated is that a chart of GISS data on global warming from 1999 showed rather little evidence of warming, but was supplanted by an adjusted chart that showed what seemed to be dramatic evidence.

    As as administrator, Theon certainly might have been in a good position to know the nature and provenance of this kind of data. What’s the answer to that claim? (I’m genuinely not myself implying there’s no good answer — I just don’t know it.)

  87. #87 sod
    February 5, 2009

    I gather that one piece of evidence that this data has been manipulated is that a chart of GISS data on global warming from 1999 showed rather little evidence of warming, but was supplanted by an adjusted chart that showed what seemed to be dramatic evidence.

    look: in the real world, the person making an accusation of fraud has to provide the evidence FIRST.

    but you knew that, didn t you?

  88. #88 frankly0
    February 5, 2009

    Really, sod, don’t you think you can do better than that?

    This claim of adjusted charts is, as best I can gather, a staple of those on the other side of the argument — see this link as an example. I have no idea how well that example stands up to criticism, but I’d guess it’s the sort of thing Theon is alluding to.

    The thing is, awareness of the provenance and quality of such data is something that I would expect someone in Theon’s position to possess.

    Note that Theon isn’t claiming “fraud”, as you assert — he really seems to be claiming that the technique used to adjust the data is, possibly, distorting the outcome, precisely because the techniques employed are not open to public inspection. Again, if you were more interested in what Theon said rather than trying to find some way to dismiss him, you would have noted this distinction.

    So is it true or not that the techniques that have been used to adjust the data aren’t publicly disclosed, and accepted by consensus? I personally just don’t know. You certainly would seem to — why don’t you explain your confidence on the point?

    In general, I have to say, I came to this blog expecting some rational argument, but virtually everything I see, including the original post, is nothing but, effectively, ad hominem.

    I can certainly be convinced that what Theon says is just garbage. But I certainly haven’t read anything on this thread that would so convince me.

  89. #89 guthrie
    February 5, 2009

    Franklyo- lets see what you say again:

    “This claim of adjusted charts is, as best I can gather, a staple of those on the other side of the argument — see this link as an example. I have no idea how well that example stands up to criticism, but I’d guess it’s the sort of thing Theon is alluding to.”

    So, you guess that is what Theon means? Why don’t you quote him saying what he means? or, say, write to him and ask? If you are only guessing what he means, why are you even concern trolling?

  90. #90 frankly0
    February 5, 2009

    guthrie,

    Look, I am certainly speculating that the example of the GISS data that, supposedly, was adjusted between 1999 and some later date — as described in the link I offered in the previous post — is what Theon has in mind.

    You, or someone else, might try to explain that either it is simply a false claim that the data were adjusted — that it has always been the same — or show that, while, yes, it has been adjusted, it followed publicly available and scientifically uncontroversial techniques. Given how long the claim has been out there that there’s a problem, I should think that this point has been addressed. So what is the rebuttal? I still don’t know.

    And, again, while I don’t know what Theon is talking about specifically, he would, I think, be in a position to know about such data coming out of NASA.

    And just one further thing. I have no idea what agenda Theon may be operating under, of course, and it may be quite distorting in its own right. But don’t you think it’s pretty fair to say that Hansen has his own very definite, and potentially quite distorting agenda? I will say, even though it’s true that Inholfe originally distorted what Revkin said (though it has been since corrected in the press release, one should note), what Revkin does say, that Hansen is, in effect, at the very hairy edge of what’s scientifically acceptable to say about how far sea levels might rise, is itself troubling. It certainly suggests the possibility of a scientist who really is pushing the envelope as hard as he can to make a case, whether it be an extreme scientific case or a political case. If so, then evidence he might present on related matters bears much public scrutiny.

  91. #91 sod
    February 5, 2009

    Note that Theon isn’t claiming “fraud”, as you assert — he really seems to be claiming that the technique used to adjust the data is, possibly, distorting the outcome, precisely because the techniques employed are not open to public inspection.

    this is plain and simply FALSE.

    “Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results.

    http://tinyurl.com/aulo3w

  92. #92 frankly0
    February 5, 2009

    sod,

    “manipulating” the data, in this context, need not necessarily be “fraud”. Data virtually always has to be adjusted in one fashion or another to give a reasonable result. If, for example, one tries to estimate the temperature of the surface of the earth, one presumably has to introduce all sorts of adjustments to accommodate for the unrepresentative distribution of weather stations reporting around the world — maybe too many on land, too few at the poles, etc. That can be described as “manipulating” the data, especially if one thinks the adjustments used aren’t reasonable, but there’s no presumption that actual “fraud” has occurred. It may be nothing more than one thinking that some theoretical bias has intruded.

  93. #93 sod
    February 5, 2009

    “manipulating” the data, in this context, need not necessarily be “fraud”. Data virtually always has to be adjusted in one fashion or another to give a reasonable result.

    if he had wanted to say “adjusted” or “modified”, he would have said so.
    the word he used is “manipulated”

    fact.

  94. #94 John Mashey
    February 5, 2009

    0) When someone suddenly pops up (at EPW, especially), making strong claims about their expertise, it is not ad hominem to examine those claims, and in this case, there is enough real information about Theon & NASA workings to think there is rather a bit of exaggeration going on, just from this thread the links here.

    1) If somebody cares more, they can always write him, as his address is easily findable in White Pages, and not waste people’s time speculating on what he might or might not have meant. Had he made specific complaints and documented them, they might be worth spending a microsecond evaluating, but otherwise…

    2) Hey, I just realized that since I (a US taxpayer) helped fund NASA over the years, I must have been Theon’s “boss” too.

  95. #95 guthrie
    February 5, 2009

    franklyo #90-
    Do I look like I work for NASA? Am I supposed to magic evidence to demonstrate that it is a false claim that evidence was adjusted from my sleeve?
    This is a blog. If you want to know about NASA stuff, go and ask at Real climate, one or two of them have worked there. Failing that, find some scientists to talk to.
    Blathering on a blog isn’t science, and doesn’t confer the right to answers from scientists.

    Have you followed the climate wars long enough to know that there are scores of claims out there, and thousands have been made over the years? The signal to noise ratio is so high and people like climate audit throw out so much chaff, that even working out what is a relevant question is a bit hard.

    Which is all a long winded way of saying we’ll carry on as we are, thank you very much.

    Hansen meanwhile has an obvious agenda, insofar as he is the one out making public noises. Oddly enough they tend not to attack the other hockey stick authors. Your concern with accuracy in science is noted, but again, this is a blog, not a university or a science journal or suchlike.

  96. #96 bigcitylib
    February 6, 2009

    And Theon has now come out with another statement here:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2009/02/theon-strikes-back.html#links

  97. #97 sod
    February 6, 2009

    An employee is a supervisor if they have the power and authority to do the following actions (according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour):

    1. Give instructions and/or orders to subordinates.
    2. Be held responsible for the work and actions of other employees.

    it doesn t look as if he was able to give orders or was responsible for Hansens work.(would be a strange position for a denialist..)

    giving money does NOT make you a “supervisor”. (i don t feel supervised by the cash machine..)

  98. #98 dhogaza
    February 6, 2009

    Franklyo … Theon claims “data has been manipulated to meet model expectations” (paraphrase).

    This is an accusation of scientific fraud.

    his claim of adjusted charts is, as best I can gather, a staple of those on the other side of the argument — see this link as an example. I have no idea how well that example stands up to criticism, but I’d guess it’s the sort of thing Theon is alluding to.

    GISS does not generate data. Rather it analyzes data gathered and then reported by national weather instrumentation agencies around the world.

    In this case, the Russians accidently re-sent September numbers for a number of Siberian stations, rather than October numbers, therefore skewing the GISS number-crunching results.

    Later, the error was found, the Russians sent the proper data, and the results were adjusted.

    There is NO WAY that this can be described by anyone honest and logical as being:

    1. “embarrassing for GISS” (as Evan, a total twit of a denialist, BTW) claims. Any “embarrassment” would apply to the Russians who accidently sent a bad data file.

    2. “manipulating data to fit model expectations”. The accidental sending of a bad data file by Russia is not evidence of fraud at GISS, except to the most devoted of denialist Kool-Aid drinkers (like Evan). Are you one, too?

    3. The GISS figures were posted on their website, as they do every month, and clearly labelled as being PRELIMINARY. Among other things, they post before all available station data is sent to them. They do this all the time, they say they do so CLEARLY, the state that the results are preliminary CLEARLY, they state CLEARLY that the final numbers, which come out after several months, will differ to some degree from the PRELIMINARY numbers.

    What is so hard to understand about that?

    And there’s no denying the fact that Theon is lying when he claims to be Hansen’s ex-supervisor. In this particular contest, we have a liar – Theon – claiming that some climate scientists are guilty of scientific fraud (manipulating data to fit model expectations). He doesn’t give any example of such fraud – you’re just guessing when you claim that perhaps it has to do with the accidental shipping of a wrong datafile by Russia. I’m sorry. In the real world, if you’re going to claim fraud, you’d better provide some specific examples that can be reviewed.

    And, BTW, when will you stop beating your wife?

  99. #99 Nyx
    March 11, 2009

    For an alternative view of John Theon, see John Theon speech at the International Climate Conference yesterday.

  100. #100 devin martin
    December 3, 2009

    getem john hooper u the man dam liberals

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