Curry, part 4

At last! I have a chance to be nice to Curry, which I’ve been waiting for. This opportunity is her comment reply to my comment question over at c-a-s, viz:

I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science. The problem that I have with the WG1 Report is the summary narratives (executive summary, summary for policy makers) where all this is integrated and summarized. My main issue with the WG1 report is that I think that many of confidence levels are too high: there is inadequate scientific uncertainty analysis, and lack of accounting for known unknowns and unknown unknowns. I have substantial issues with the WG2 report and the impacts.

So what does all this add up to? A moderate warmist that sees very large uncertainty with regards to hypothesized catastrophic impacts

Regarding your list of skeptics on the wikipedia (ed: I’d pointed her at [[List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming]]): I don’t align myself with any of them, but some of their statements cannot be refuted with a high level of certainty and there are other skeptical points that are not covered on your list.

So I think there are a lot of important things in there, and it helps to understand Curry’s position. Just to ram home a point I’ve made elsewhere in relation to another comment she made, I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science is not a comment you’ll find the septics making. As to her assertion that the confidence levels are too high: I don’t have a strong opinion on this. She might be right; likely she is wrong. There is room for debate. The problem comes with how you phrase that kind of comment; wrapped up in loaded words like “corruption” is becomes unhelpful. As for WG2, I sort-of used to agree with her, but people have slightly taken me to task for dissing WG2 so I’m not so sure any more (is that kind of woolly enough for you?). That she thinks that “catastrophic impacts” are uncertain is fine with me. I’m also very happy with her characterisation of the wiki list.

Comments

  1. #1 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    Eli rather suspects you are where he is on WG2 and WG3, that they are about where WG1 was 10-15 years ago, which is not surprising, because you have to have a pretty good understanding of the physical basis before you can start on the effects and cures.

  2. #2 bigcitylib
    2010/04/30

    “I find the main text of the WG1 Report to be an accurate assessment of the science.”

    Although she’s also said she wants a redo of the global historical surface data set. I find the one statement hard to square with the other.

    [Yes, that is true. So Curry is not being a politician - she is not making sure that she is "on message" with every comment - very far from it. Nor is she making any great attempt to be consistent. I woudl read this as: at heart, she is in agreement with WG 1. But, she has some quibbles. The difficulty is trying to assign relative weights to thse two. I'd say 90-10%. But if you're a septic, then of course you're going to boost up the 10%. And of course, if you're thinking about what needs to be *done*, for the *future*, then from Curry's point of view of course you'll be talking about the 10% -W]

  3. #3 Alex Harvey
    2010/04/30

    William, what you need next is an opportunity to be nice to Steve McIntyre as well. If you find that opportunity, those of you who are cornered in this leftist hole you’ve dug yourselves out there will start to sound reasonable to the general public. The Curry/Lambert exchange is worth reviewing.

    [If you can find a statement from McI as reasonable as that from Curry, do let me know -W]

  4. #4 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    What Prof. Curry is doing is tone trolling and we are feeding her.

  5. #5 Ron Broberg
    2010/04/30

    I think its worth pointing out that while Dr. Curry is singing kumbayah and asking why can’t we all be friends, Zeke Hausfather, posting mostly at Lucia’s Blackboard, has actually been doing the work to bridge the gap and find some common ground between skeptics and main-streamers – especially in the field of the surface temperature records – a field that Curry has indicated she now has doubts about due to the purloined emails.

    A typical example:
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2010/comparing-global-landocean-reconstructions/

  6. #6 Hank Roberts
    2010/04/30

    Ron’s pointer to Zeke et al. at Lucia’s is worth following.
    Dr. Curry has also been participating in that thread.
    It’s a calm discussion with good pointers to sources when people ask questions. Commendable. Recommendable, even.

  7. #7 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    Seems to me that Curry is vaguely musing out loud about issues she hasn’t looked into in any detail. Which sets up the following cycle:

    1. McI says there is some problem with X.
    2. Curry hears that, and later mentions there might be some problem with X, without doing any rigorous work to investigate.
    3. This is treated as an endorsement of the initial statement from McI.

    Now, I could be off the mark here because I haven’t followed this soap opera at all; I’m just reacting to what little I’ve seen of it.

    So in essence, I’m right now doing exactly what I’m suggesting Curry is doing, but I’m being open about it.

    I’d be more interested to see the results if McI attacked something Curry has done, or at least, something that’s directly in her field. Has this happened?

  8. #8 kkloor
    2010/04/30

    So William, I’d love to hear whether you agree with Eli (4), whether Judith Curry is a ‘tone’ troll.

    Also, thanks to your more charitable readers for articulating what I thought were worthy counterpoints (that would be you Bart. among a few others), which I then tried to put into some final questions here:

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/30/curry-the-finale/

  9. #9 Sou
    2010/04/30

    Fairly typical concern troll. She asks for polite engagement, but plays the blame game herself.

    Eg 1: It’s Mann and Jones own fault they were defamed and worse.

    Eg 2: She was the first to raise the issue of Wegman – and at length. But in her latest post, puts the blame onto others (me!) for ‘pushing her buttons’, forcing her to defend Wegman and pile on DeepClimate (when I pointed to the plagiarism discussion). And still no apology to DeepClimate for her nasty attack.
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3187
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3192

    I thought Hank’s post was interesting:
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/04/26/judith-curry-warmist/#comment-272418

  10. #10 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    As the Keith tone trolls. . .

    C’mon

  11. #11 Paul Middents
    2010/04/30

    William,

    Is this your reward for saying something nice? Prof. Curry has elevated you to “big gun in the climate blogoshere” right alongside fellow guns, Eschenbach and Mosher.

  12. #12 kkloor
    2010/04/30

    Eli,

    I think you may have missed your calling. Your zero-sum mentality is more suited to the political operative. You’re obviously not interested in having any debate.

    One can take issue with Judith’s arguments, but the one thing she seems dead on is the proclivity of people like you to malign someone’s motives. You so desperately want to be taken seriously, yet you continue to undermine yourself with your petty personalizing–just like the guy you admire so much and are so quick to defend. Amazing.

  13. #13 Paul Kelly
    2010/04/30

    McI attacks a single area of climatology, proxy based temperature reconstructions used in IPCC. He’s generally ignorant in science, but you can’t beat him in math. That a hobbyist has such influence and stirs such emotion within climatology is something.

    Curry, otoh, wants a redo of the data sets. I don’t know if she means the raw data or the value enhanced data. Could anyone now improve on the data Jones amassed so long ago? Is the skeptic charge that the raw data no longer exists in coherent form true? If the full set of all the world’s temperature records is not currently compiled and digitally available, then for the sake of science it must be done. How many graduate students does it take to type in a temp log? Six. One to do the typing, two to get the beer and three to sleep in.

  14. #14 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    Paul, Steve has also actively gone after the surface temperature records, sea level and just about everything you could think of. Just search CA using terms like GISS, GissTEMP, HadCRUT, etc.

  15. #15 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    On the contrary Keith, exchanging comments with you is a negative sum game, a few of Eli’s brain cells decide that life is not worth living every time they process one of your comments, which is a good reason for avoiding you and your stable of climate McCarthys.

  16. #16 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    Paul Kelly: If you want raw data, it’s at the NOAA webpage, compiled, digitally available and quite easy to use. Well, raw inasmuch as a monthly average of raw daily max/min values is raw.

    I suppose the question is, how raw do you want? Maybe some people won’t be happy until every scrap of paper with the original hand-written numbers is scanned in. Where computers have eliminated the handwriting, that doesn’t even exist.

    One gets the impression that people complain about the availability or quality of data, without taking the time to see what’s available.

  17. #17 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    So far as big guns go, could somebody tell me exactly what Mr. Eschenbach has contributed to scientific understanding?

    So far as I can tell, McIntyre’s tangible contributions are detecting a spurious discontinuity in GISTEMP US records, and a quibble with the original methodology in MBH98.

    But I can’t figure out what useful thing Eschenbach has added.

  18. #18 Ron Broberg
    2010/04/30

    Paul, you appear to have been misled about the source and state of the surface-records. Jones has very little to do with it.

    1) Jones collected data from various sources, mostly national weather services.

    2) He took the raw data and performed quality control measures on it such as parsing it into a single format and throwing out high/low outliers (5 sigma).

    3) Jones has little to do with the current GHCN data set.

    4) The Global Historical Climate Network (GHCN) is a compilation of pretty much the same set of weather data that was used by Jones – current data comes mostly from the national weather services. There are two channels: daily and monthly. The monthly mean data is what is used in most global temperature reports.

    5) NOAA/NCDC receives the data from the national weather services when they chose to send it; it does not pull the data.

    6) NOAA/NCDC does its own quality control on the GHCN data. For monthly data, this is made publicly available in digital format as v2.max, v2.mean. and v2.min.
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2

    7) NOAA/NCDC then performs additional adjustments intended to remove ‘time-of-observation’ and ‘urban heat island’ and other effects from the data. This adjusted data is then made publicly available in digital format as v2.max_adj, v2.mean_adj, and v2.min_adj.
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2

    8) GISS, UK Met, NCDC, and JMA (Japan) all consume this information (along with sea surface data) to produce global temperature anomaly records by different methods.
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/anomalies/
    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/gmd/tcc/climatview/

    9) More information on GHCN:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/Peterson-Vose-1997.pdf

  19. #19 Ron Broberg
    2010/04/30

    In response to Paul, I’m in the spam filter for too many links. :(

    Rescue me! Please! :D

  20. #20 mphysopt
    2010/04/30

    carrot eater, I can only speak for my self, but everytime I read an Eschenbach post, I try to work out how he’s wrong. Keeps my meteorology training from rusting up. So in a Panglossian sense, he is performing a useful function.

  21. #21 MarkB
    2010/04/30

    carrot eater writes:

    “So far as big guns go, could somebody tell me exactly what Mr. Eschenbach has contributed to scientific understanding? ”

    I don’t think that’s Curry’s method of “big gun” evaluation.

    “Now Willis characterizes himself as an “amateur scientist” or a “citizen scientist”. While a case “might” be made for not going to any effort for Willis, it was a bad move since Willis is a rising star in the skeptical blogosphere with the 2M strong WUWT army behind him.”

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-3316

    Curry seems believe that contrarians are popular because scientists dismiss them. If scientists like Jones bother with people like Willis, he wouldn’t be the “rising star” with the “2M strong WUWT army behind him” (most marching in lockstep I might add). Reason would prevail.

  22. #22 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    Sounds like fantasy to me, MarkB.

    When somebody is a rising star, despite not producing any useful substance, that tells you something about the army, and what they’ll respond to.

  23. #23 Paul Kelly
    2010/04/30

    Maybe some people won’t be happy until every scrap of paper with the original hand-written numbers is scanned in.
    Some of the “some people” could be scientists. Such a compilation would serve a good purpose, if only to give climatology students an opportunity to construct their own infilling and value enhancing methods.

  24. #24 Paul Kelly
    2010/04/30

    Ron Broberg,

    Post your links on your site. I’ll read them there.

  25. #25 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    You don’t want or need scanned images of handwritten scraps of paper to construct your own methods.

    You simply need the compiled raw numbers, which is exactly what NOAA provides in the v2.mean file.

  26. #26 Paul Kelly
    2010/04/30

    carrot eater,

    So, a compilation of the actual raw data does not exist but a value enhanced (infilled and monthly smoothed) set is in the v2.mean file and there’s no need or use for the really raw stuff.

  27. #27 carrot eater
    2010/04/30

    Paul Kelly:

    There is no infilling in v2.mean. It is raw. If you want a monthly mean, and most climate work is done using monthly means, you go to v2.mean.

    If you really want daily or hourly data, that’s available raw and compiled as well, in the GHCN-daily and ISH datasets. These sets aren’t as complete, but they’re there if you really want to work with them.

  28. #28 Paul Kelly
    2010/04/30

    carrot eater,

    Thanks. Still don’t know what Dr. Curry wants done with the data. Does anybody?

  29. #29 Steve Bloom
    2010/04/30

    Judy wants the denialist demand-of-the-moment fulfilled. Her basic political misjudgement is that the rational-seeming (to her) leadership of the denialists (e.g. McI, CEI) can be persuaded to a more reasonable stance if enough science is shoveled at them. Of course this ought to be RP Jr.’s cue to attack her for “scientism,” but don’t hold your breath on that one.

  30. #30 Eli Rabett
    2010/04/30

    Well, Peter Webster asked for and got surface temperature data from Phil Jones so we can presume they have some purpose.

    Interestingly Curry is mad at Jones for being mad at Webster for telling people that he got the data from Jones after which the McIntyres got mad at Jones for giving the data to Webster instead of McIntyre. If that confuses you Cthulhu has explained it all

  31. #31 Steve Bloom
    2010/04/30

    Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask Cthulhu what “Shub Niggurath” means in the language of the Old Ones who sleep in their dead city beneath the sea.

  32. #32 Hank Roberts
    2010/04/30

    > … -just like the guy you admire so much
    > and are so quick to defend….
    > Posted by: kkloor

    Ah, who would that guy be, KK?

  33. #33 John
    2010/04/30

    Personally, I think Judith Curry has been watching too many Westerns, what with all the talk of tribes on the warpath and circling of wagons.

    She even seems to fashion herself as Wyatt Earp out to clean up Dodge (CRU? IPCC?).

    What’s next, a shootout at the OK Corral?

  34. #34 PaulK
    2010/05/01

    Steve Bloom,

    McI is not a leader of the denialists. Those leaders are the so called Lord Monckton, Marc Morano types. McI, if everyone must have a label, is maybe a tepid luke warmer.

    Googled CEI. Didn’t see anything that looked like leadership there. They are against corn ethanol subsidies, which puts them on the side of the angels. Corn ethanol is bad for the climate, bad for the environment, bad for the economy, disruptive of the food chain and emits PAN.

    “persuaded to a more reasonable stance if enough science is shoveled at them”

    Actually, persuasion is more likely if less science is shoveled. Here’s an idea for lunch. You can talk about anything except climate and CEI can only talk about achieving energy transformation.

  35. #35 Steve Bloom
    2010/05/01

    Well, PaulK, Judy certainly thinks they’re leaders, and that Monckton and Morano aren’t. Do be sure to let her know about her error.

  36. #36 John
    2010/05/01

    Steve Bloom says “this ought to be RP Jr.’s cue to attack her for “scientism,”

    That thought had entered my mind as well.

    isn’t RP, jr the one who insists that scientists should not be exploiting their authoritative position as scientists to influence the public?

    And isn’t that precisely what Curry is doing in this case?

    If she were a nobody (like me, for example), would she be getting all the attention she has been getting of late? I seriously doubt it.

    That’s not to say that I see anything wrong in using leveraging her position as a scientist to get people to listen to her. Unlike RP, i don’t see anything wrong in that in and of itself.

    But I do think it is important that she make it clear to the general public when she is representing the consensus view of the science and when she is only expressing her opinion (on climate sensitivity, the temperature data and other things)

    I think she has actually failed the latter.

  37. #37 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/01

    Steve,

    If McI is a leader, it’s of the contrarians. Why is it so important to you that he be misidentified as a denier. He does not dispute basic AGW theory on his blog. He has repeatedly said were he in charge, he’d follow IPCC recommendations. He doesn’t even deny the efficacy of dendroclimatolgy, only that the numbers are wrong.

    Roger Pielke Jr. is a leader of the contrarians. He is often harshly condemned by catastrophist blogs for reasons I have never understood.

  38. #38 Steve Bloom
    2010/05/01

    PK, you, like Judy, make the mistake of taking McI at face value. He’s a denialist. RP Jr., who probably is a contrarian, gets condemned for promoting policy views inconsistent with the implications of the science.

    Ah, “catastrophist.” Is there a Velikovskian blog somewhere that I don’t know about?

    Oh, wait, do you mean you think *this* is a catastrophist blog? Well then, if I were you I’d get out of Dodge before being infected with any of that inconvenient scientific thinking.

  39. #39 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/01

    Steve,

    This blog has no catastrophist attributes. It is middle of the road on sensitivity, sea ice and civility. There are no warnings of impending doom or any attempt to tie global warming to bridge collapses or the end of July 4th celebrations. I wouldn’t dispute any point of science posted by William.

  40. #40 kkloor
    2010/05/01

    PK (38):

    You have succinctly identified what I find appealing of this blog. (Assuming WM agrees with you.)

    The thing about the Steve Blooms and Eli’s worth understanding is that they are invested in the catastrophic angle to the climate change debate. That’s why they no doubt find Stoat’s past criticism of Romm inconvenient and annoying (and why they reflexively defend Romm every time his name pops up on my blog).

    I tend to think that catastrophe dramatization will not win the day. That doesn’t mean I automatically discount any chance of severe AGW-triggered mayhem to society in the indeterminate future. In fact, I think Paul Krugman’s ethical discussion on potential future impacts in his recent NYT magazine cover story was refreshing. Having this kind of debate–on risk– would be very useful.

  41. #41 carrot eater
    2010/05/01

    John,
    “But I do think it is important that she make it clear to the general public when she is representing the consensus view of the science and when she is only expressing her opinion (on climate sensitivity, the temperature data and other things)”

    I think there’s an option here missing.

    There is the view (or range of views) that emerges from the whole sum of the literature, there is the view she may have from her own work, and then there is half-way informed opinion.

    I’ve not gone and read all her papers, but it doesn’t look like her work directly puts her into estimations of sensitivity or the nitty-gritty of the surface record. Which in itself is fine; you still have the tools and the access (going to conferences, reading the papers) to know what’s going on in whatever other aspect of climate science that interest you. What isn’t fine is taking blog posts (whether they be technical, accusatory or just whinging) from McI or Eschenbach at face value, without looking into it.

  42. #42 Eli Rabett
    2010/05/01

    Paul, if you want to understand the role that CEI plays google Myron Ebell who is their energy and environment guy. While not much visible on blogs he is continually quoted in papers and on the TV. CEI, as is Marshall and more recently Heartland, is also a conduit through which a lot of denialist welfare flows.

  43. #43 john
    2010/05/01

    RE: risk

    It’s difficult (if not impossible) to do a traditional risk analysis (based on mathematical expectation) in the case of climate change because in order to do so, you not only have to assign a cost to each of a number of different possible scenarios covering the range from “no warming” to “catastrophic warming” (which can at least be done in principle), but you also have to assign a probability of occurrence to each scenario.

    The latter involves assigning a probability to each of the different emissions paths for CO2 and other greenhouse gases which depends heavily on collective human behavior.

    Assigning a probability to humans collectively behaving in a certain way?

    Good luck with that.

  44. #44 carrot eater
    2010/05/01

    kkloor: I rather dislike Romm. I pretty much don’t ever bother to go read him.

    But (and others can say whether I’m representing the idea well, or not) I can see why others take the position they do. Romm fills a niche, which is communicating to the masses. Stoat, whatever its other merits, simply isn’t a mass-appeal blog. RC tries, but a reader would generally need some background to follow along.

    Romm is in many ways the opposite of WUWT. Tons of content, heavily opinionated, politically charged (making it basically entertainment for the like-minded), and accessible to everyman. In so doing, he loses a touch of propriety and caveat. In not being an actively publishing scientist, he loses a certain perspective and restraint.

    But once you see Romm as the opposite member of WUWT, you appreciate it for what it isn’t. We can quibble about Romm, but you look at WUWT, and you see a steady stream of confusion, misrepresentation, and flat-out incompetence.

    So if somebody pretending to take a middle ground spends an inordinate amount of time complaining about Romm’s tone, and doesn’t give a proportionate criticism of WUWT, the honesty of the stance begins to appear questionable. It looks like a distraction from the substance of the matter.

  45. #45 Eli Rabett
    2010/05/01

    Keith, good try, but Eli hardly mentions Romm except when you reflexively call him a Climate McCarthy. At that point, why yes, Eli says you are behaving badly, especially given your tone trollistic tendencies.

    As you yourself admit there is a potential for very serious mayhem associated with continued emission of greenhouse gases at the rate that we have been doing so, and noting the consequences is called thinking about the future. (Eli heroically resists the temptation to snark at this point)

  46. #46 carrot eater
    2010/05/01

    If you’re new to the topic, you may not appreciate CEI’s role. Before the age of grassroots septic blogging, the mainstay was industry-funded fake think-tanks, lobbying and advertising, and CEI is at the heart of that.

    When people talk about Exxon money or rent-a-scientists who used to advocate for tobacco companies, Watts gets all upset. But it’s hard to believe that he doesn’t realise that’s all in the background, even if he himself doesn’t get that money. Though the twain do indeed meet from time to time, through Heartland and SPPI.

  47. #47 John
    2010/05/01

    carrot eater: “you see Romm as the opposite member of WUWT”

    Does that make Romm the “anti-Watts”? (or “ant(i)thony”?)

    If you brought Romm and Watts together in the same room, would they annihilate each other in a burst of energy, leaving nothing but two photons traveling in opposite directions? (left and right)

  48. #48 afeman
    2010/05/01

    If you’re new to the topic, you may not appreciate CEI’s role. Before the age of grassroots septic blogging, the mainstay was industry-funded fake think-tanks, lobbying and advertising, and CEI is at the heart of that.

    Which makes her using them (as opposed to refereed literature) as a reference at c-a-s gobsmacking. As a working scientist, she should know better. Or is she going to retreat to a claim of ignorance, like with the Wegman thing?

  49. #49 John
    2010/05/01

    People support CEI for the same reason that they once supported Alan Greenspan back in his heyday: shared (Ayn Randian) ideology.

    After the fatal “flaw’ in his thinking became obvious to anyone with an IQ over 50 (because it brought the financial system to its knees), Greenspan’s support has evaporated (or more likely, simply gone underground).

    The “flaw” that Greenspan found* was that people at the top of organizations sometimes behave in ways that benefit ONLY themselves and at the expense even of their clients and investors. What an earthshaking “discovery”!

    But of course, this has no relevance whatsoever to the discussion about climate change.

    *You just gotta love the way Greenspan puts things: “I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact…”

  50. #50 carrot eater
    2010/05/01

    “Or is she going to retreat to a claim of ignorance, like with the Wegman thing?”

    When you are forced to do that a couple times, a person might pause for reflection.

    “People support CEI for the same reason that they once supported Alan Greenspan back in his heyday: shared (Ayn Randian) ideology.”

    Let’s leave Greenspan aside. But what you’re hitting on has always been pretty clear to me: it really doesn’t matter what the physics says; if people are uncomfortable with what its implications may be, they’ll flock to whatever tells them that the physics is wrong, and for good measure, also smears the scientists and paints some huge conspiracy of fraud. You can patiently explain the science to these types all you want, and you’ll only get so far.

    But exactly what you hope to achieve by treating their leaders as adults at the table, I’m not sure. If they want to be treated as adults, they should say something coherent, finish the analysis, and actually publish it.

  51. #51 Steve Bloom
    2010/05/01

    Nice try, Keith. As if you understand enough of the science to participate intelligently in a discussion of potential outcomes.

  52. #52 John
    2010/05/01

    carrot eater says : “they should say something coherent’

    That’s precisely it, in a nutshell.

    The vast majority of the stuff written about climate science (mainly by non-scientists) outside the scientific literature (on blogs and in magazines, etc) is basically “incoherent”, for all intents and purposes.

    That’s one of the primary purposes of the scientific publication process: to force scientists to express their results in a (cohernt) way that can be understood by others.

    I think Curry is herself guilty of ‘incoherence”, at least when it comes to the stuff she has been claiming in her “interviews” lately.

    In fact, she seems to be all over the place in the claims she is making, which makes me wonder if she even knows herself what it is she is trying to “accomplish.”

    In one breath, she indicates she is trying to “restore trust” after just using the word “corruption” to describe the IPCC process.

    In yet another breath, she seems to indicate that her primary goal is to “fix” the “corrupt IPCC process”, when she herself seems to have essentially jettisoned standard process (eg, for addressing charges of scientific impropriety) altogether and is now appealing directly to the news media (because she does not seem to like what came out of the investigations by Penn State and the House of Commons)

    In yet another breath she criticizes the IPCC for not properly specifying the uncertainty on their findings (projections, etc), while she herself makes statements (about sensitivity, surface temperature record, corruption of the IPCC process, etc) that are so ill-defined (indeed nebulous) as to be essentially meaningless.

    She criticizes scientists for not taking the “skeptics” (bloggers, book writers, etc) seriously, while ignoring the fact that at least some of these folks have been accusing scientists like Michael Mann of fraud based on the flimsiest of “evidence” (essentially NONE) for some time now — and long before the emails ever came to light.

    Until Curry herself actually starts to think about what she is saying before she says it — so that she can actually “say something coherent” — none of what she says will be worth anyone’s time.

    Just my opinion, worthless as it probably is.

  53. #53 MarkB
    2010/05/01

    Reading through Curry’s comments (and others) provides some perspective about what motivates global warming denial. It’s easy to characterize all denial as being driven top-down by industry-funded interests. Oreskes does a good job of covering this, and even Curry reserves the term “denier” for those overtly engaged in political activities or directly funded by industry (anything less than direct is good faith skepticism). This is a large part of it, but it’s insufficient.

    In terms of numbers, the majority of deniers aren’t paid political or industry operatives. Most are ideologically driven folks paranoid about government regulation, being taxed, sending society back to the horse and buggy days, or what not. Hard economic times tend to make this crowd more zealous and fanatical. Duping this crowd into believing the science is bad and it’s a grand hoax is fairly easy. We have the Rush Limbaughs, Drudges, UK Telegraphs, and WUWTs of the world ready to deliver. Over time, some passively being duped become active dupers.

    In both cases, the target audience of the propagandists is mainly the general public, although certain agenda-driven media outlets and politicians will be eager to parrot any disinformation that supports their position. Their goal is influencing public opinion. So while very effective at motivating the base and influencing public opinion to some extent, its effectiveness is small among more moderate and normally more objective critical thinking individuals and journalists.

    Useful for deniers would be another angle or strategy. This is where McIntyre/Mosher/Pielke/etc. come in. Start with the assertion that you don’t outright reject the mainstream consensus. Greenhouse gases cause warming. It might have some bad consequences but good outcomes as well. There are lots of uncertainties. Make a case for the low side of climate sensitivity and consequences. Call yourself a “lukewarmer”, “honest broker”, or some other reasonable-sounding name. Highlight and subtly overstate uncertainties. Play the populist line of freeing the data/code. Cast oneself as an honest individual volunteering their time to find the truth. Engage in reasonable scientific discussion on occasion (albeit often amateurish) on blogs. Even criticize a few extreme deniers like Morano from time to time. All sounds reasonable on the surface, and in fact one can find support for some of the lowball arguments within peer-reviewed journals, but requires dismissing a larger body of inconvenient studies. The idea is to disarm the target audience, which is broader in this case than for the other groups. Since they don’t seem to be obvious whackos or hacks, some take them seriously. This audience includes more objective journalists and individuals who might not be paying very close attention.

    All this might seem defensible until this group starts slandering climate scientists and the climate science “establishment”, speaks of widespread “corruption”, alleges scientific misconduct, implies the most allegedly corrupt scientists have immense power, and labels mainstream scientists as “alarmists”. About the only difference between standard deniers and this smaller group at this point is how subtle the accusations are, but they’ve got an army of even more brash individuals eager to step up the rhetoric. Since they’ve already put the time into boosting their credibility, the more indefensible claims might seem more reasonable to some. It’s an odd dichotomy. Their angle is that science might be mostly right but nearly everyone involved is a fraud…except them of course…and nearly all skeptics (aside from Rush Limbaugh and a few token ones perhaps). There’s the obvious element of concern trolling. This group and their followers are nearly all non-climate-scientists. One obvious goal (perhaps driven by ego as much as ideology) is to take down the climate science establishment and boost the stature of their blogs, books, or various rants. Perhaps policymakers (some of them) will throw out science in favor of blog science, leading to eternal confusion and obfuscation, where scientific validity is determined by who screams the loudest. What a nice David/Goliath story.

    So where does Curry fit in? The tribe in this case is not determined by one’s public position on climate science. Romm described it as determined by “who’s faults you gloss over”. I’d add “who you decide to attack without substance”. I disagree with Romm about where Curry fits in. She’s not a member of the McIntyre tribe. Right now she attends tribal meetings, for whatever reason likes what she hears, is starting to repeat tribal talking points and defend tribal members against any attacks, and most unfortunate of all, doesn’t appear to question or take a critical look at the sermons. I hope that will change.

  54. #54 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/01

    Eli,

    I’m glad you don’t mention Romm much. He is a trickster who uses his knowledge of alternatives to lure the unsuspecting. What he promotes as being the consensus in climatology is laughable.

    Carrot eater,

    Why do you say WUWT is politically charged? I don’t read every post there, but don’t think I’ve ever read anything on energy policy or political candidates.

    MarkB et al,

    You’ll understand those you describe better if you avoid using words like ideologically driven, paranoid, zealous and fanatical. Maybe that’s part of what Curry is saying.

  55. #55 kkloor
    2010/05/01

    Why so testy, boys (Eli, Steve)? I merely stated a trend, that as soon as I so much as sneeze the chief’s name, you all come mob me like a bunch of crows (as does Lambert, but he always arrives a bit late, on account of the time difference).

    That’s been the pattern for the last year. Now why is that? I find it such a curious thing.

    Also, Eli, I never said anybody was a climate McCarthyite. That was the Breakthrough Institute. And Steve, when I get around to having that discussion on risk at my blog, please come around and remind me that I might be in over my head.

    Seriously, I simply don’t know what I would do without you guys. I never had such jolly entertainment when I was stuck in the print world.

  56. #56 MarkB
    2010/05/01

    Paul K,

    Would you prefer “trickster”, Mr. Pot?

    - Kettle

    “Why do you say WUWT is politically charged? I don’t read every post there, but don’t think I’ve ever read anything on energy policy or political candidates.”

    You’ve lured me into giving Watts a few more page views, which he’ll boast about soon enough. Finding politically-charged posts on WUWT is like shooting fish in a barrel. I can only assume you almost never read WUWT, which would be a good thing.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/29/virginia-attorney-general-goes-after-mann-and-uva/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/28/gores-new-venture-crowdsourced-tv/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/27/australia-dumps-carbon-trading-scheme/

    That one’s probably the most amusing – claiming that lack of policy action implies the science is weak. In contrast, when actions are taken, it’s’ proof of a government hoax. See how he covers all bases?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/25/gore-associate-said-to-be-named-in-brewing-ethics-scandal/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/25/graham-comes-to-his-senses-dumps-support-for-climate-bill-lurch-in-a-lurch/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/21/not-a-joke-gores-inconvenient-youth/

    One could make a case that if trickster (I assume now that label meets your approval) Watts wasn’t so obsessed with Gore, his army wouldn’t be half its size. There’s quite a demand for anti-Gore rhetoric.

  57. #57 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/01

    > He is a trickster who uses his
    > knowledge of alternatives to lure the
    > unsuspecting. What he promotes as being
    > the consensus in climatology is laughable.
    > … You’ll understand those you describe
    > better if you avoid using words like
    > ideologically driven, paranoid, zealous
    > and fanatical.

    I see. Choose your words carefully.

  58. #58 David B. Benson
    2010/05/01

    All four major global temperature products are in close agreement. Those products even give good agrrement with borehole temperature reconstctions:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/pollack.html

    Teapot tempest over picked nits.

  59. #59 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/01

    http://scienceblogs.com/bioephemera/2010/05/the_switzerland_problem.php
    Online civility: between 10,000 cliques and 2 cultures, where’s the neutral ground?

  60. #60 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/01

    Keith, making entertainment out of people on this issue is part of the problem. Seriously, do read the bioephemera posting about the tone bloggers take and the pressure toward riling up partisanship. It’s quite relevant to the question of what you as a blogger make of people. You’re not just conveying the message here.

  61. #61 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/01

    Hank,

    It’s especially important to choose words carefully if you type as slowly as I do.

  62. #62 MarkB
    2010/05/01

    My last post didn’t go through (too many links?). Paul Kelly warns about civility, doesn’t like “trickster” Romm, and doesn’t believe WUWT speaks of energy policy and politicians. I count 4 posts on Al Gore, 2 posts on carbon/energy policies, and 1 jubilant post on a Virginia politician going after a climate scientist, most within the last week. My last post had lots of links to WUWT. Maybe those links get filtered to the junk folder. So I’ll go with a much better blog this time…

    http://wotsupwiththat.wordpress.com/

    I essentially agree with what carrot eater said in #43.

  63. #63 Sou
    2010/05/01

    From my reading of this thread, KKloor doesn’t like climate activism. He positions himself as a ‘reasonable man’ wanting to wait until uncertainties are narrowed even more before seeking any action by governments.

    Many people don’t distinguish between refining and adding to (scientific) knowledge and taking action as a result of what is already known. Curry keeps bleating: it’s all too uncertain. A lot of what’s been written by KKloor and Curry is a demonstration of concern trolling.

    Romm is correct when he says:

    “…what’s curious is that among her incessant attacks on Mann, Jones, IPCC scientists and the like she has nothing negative whatsoever to say about McIntyre and Watts. That’s the sense she’s in their tribe.”

    A lot of people are taking the line that it’s up to scientists to determine what action, if any, societies must take. Why now? It’s never happened that way before. On every other issue of importance, the decision-makers look to get the best information available from science and elsewhere, and make decisions (usually with a great deal of reluctance). It is the activists who have helped to convey the urgency and limit the inherent tendency of governments to defer decisions.

    Romm isn’t the opposite of Watts – there is no comparison. Watts is targeting the little selfish people who want to deny the situation. Romm deals with decision-makers. And he’s not willing to wait until the worst happens, has been measured by scientists, double checked by other scientists and reported back to any remaining government that, yes, the climate has changed measurably. Just as well!

  64. #64 Carl C
    2010/05/01

    Has anyone considered “geography” in this – i.e. Curry is at Georgia Tech (the deep south, a pretty right-wing school when I went there), other noted denialists are from U of Virginia, U of Alabama-Huntsville etc — they’re surrounded by Sarah Palin lovers! ;-) Seriously though, they’re not the mainstream liberal universities (i.e. the good ones ;-) that talk-show hosts are usually complaining about!

  65. #65 Sou
    2010/05/01

    Carl C – that point had not escaped my notice.

    Nor Curry continuing to tout CA as the preferred ‘science blog’!!!
    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/30/curry-the-finale/#comment-4019

    Curry wants the focus to remain on science not policy. She want to continue with nit-picking trying to find irrelevant micro-faults in detailed calculations, so governments can avoid having to make the big decisions that must be taken sooner or later. She’s hoping that by being distracted by the pseudo-science at CA, especially if we are less capable of assessing the detailed scientific work, then we’ll end up at least as a waverer if not a denialist. If you hang out with the wrong crowd for long enough you risk becoming a part of them.

    That last post of hers makes me want to throw up. I have a strong aversion to people who influence through insinuation not fact and who set themselves up as saints.

  66. #66 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/02

    Well, clearly, people have a right to know what the worst case scenarios are. Southerners included.

    “… In an exploration plan and environmental impact analysis filed with the federal government in February 2009, BP said it had the capability to handle a “worst-case scenario” at the Deepwater Horizon site, which the document described as a leak of 162,000 barrels per day from an uncontrolled blowout – 6.8 million gallons each day.

    Oil industry experts and officials are reluctant to describe what, exactly, a worst-case scenario would look like ….”
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GULF_OIL_SPILL?SITE=VANOV

    Surely the IPCC should be expected to do no less.

  67. #67 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/02

    MarkB,

    Just to quibble a bit: Al Gore is no longer a political candidate. The “2 posts on carbon/energy policies” were reprints of EPA press releases posted without comment or advocacy. The post about the Virginia AG (who is no doubt politically motivated and, I think, foolish) was likewise simply a reprint of a news story. So I’ll stand by my original comment.

    My advice about words wasn’t about civility, but about the path to clear thinking. The biggest problem in terms of persuasion is getting undesired answers due to asking the wrong questions. Catastrophists want to know if a person believes in AGW. It’s the wrong question, automatically narrowing the field. When you recognize that climate is but one of several equally valid reasons to replace fossil fuels, the question becomes does that person see the desirability of energy transformation, casting a very wide net. Suddenly all the argument and controversy melts away and we can all work on solutions.

  68. #68 Tim Lambert
    2010/05/02

    If you want to see an example of what Kloor calls mobbing see my exchange with him on this thread.

    Kloor reflexively attacks Romm whenever Romm criticizes members of Kloor’s tribe, journalists. If you suggest that in some particular case that Romm has a point, Kloor classifies you as an “advocate” and decides that this proves the original article was objective journalism because it is being criticized by “advocates”.

  69. #69 MarkB
    2010/05/02

    Paul Kelly 2 writes:

    “Just to quibble a bit: Al Gore is no longer a political candidate. ”

    Here is your full statement:

    “Why do you say WUWT is politically charged? I don’t read every post there, but don’t think I’ve ever read anything on energy policy or political candidates.”

    Now if we assume you meant “current political candidate”, zealous derogatory comments regarding a policy proponent nonetheless would be viewed by any reasonable observer as “politically-charged”.

    “The “2 posts on carbon/energy policies” were reprints of EPA press releases posted without comment or advocacy. ”

    Nice try. One was the EPA story, in which Watts labelled Lisa Jackson as “action Jackson”. The other was some opining on lack of policy moves in Australia, in which Watts writes:

    “A scheme indeed. Well said Chris. Andrew Bolt has more: The greatest reversal of dud policies in our lifetime

    Add this to the collapse of the Kerry-Leiberman-Graham bill in the U.S. Senate this week, and all of the sudden it’s been a really bad week for alarmists.”

    —–

    “The post about the Virginia AG (who is no doubt politically motivated and, I think, foolish) was likewise simply a reprint of a news story.”

    Watts’ editorializing: “From The Hook, it seems satirical YouTube videos will be the least of Dr. Mann’s worries now.”

    “So I’ll stand by my original comment.”

    …or lie on the ground next to it at this point.

    “Catastrophists want to know if a person believes in AGW. It’s the wrong question, automatically narrowing the field. When you recognize that climate is but one of several equally valid reasons to replace fossil fuels, the question becomes does that person see the desirability of energy transformation, casting a very wide net. Suddenly all the argument and controversy melts away and we can all work on solutions.”

    The last statement is naive. Many, if not most, of those denying global warming often are those who are economic catastrophists regarding any strong move away from fossil fuels. I would also guess you’re misinterpreting the motives of some. Some seeking a move away from fossil fuels might be willing to cast a wide net and not focus too heavily on convincing folks of the scientific consensus on global warming. Most science-minded individuals simply don’t accept flat-Earth theory. There’s no compromising science and finding faux middle ground for the sake of political convenience.

  70. #70 Carl C
    2010/05/02

    thanks for the link Hank. the recent BP disaster off southern US shores is quite telling as the same sorts of skeptics of global warming were the ones saying for all these years (even Obama said it) how “modern & high tech & clean” offshore rigs are etc. Now they’ve got a million-gallon-per-day gusher a mile deep in the ocean and f— all ideas on how to plug it (Dick Cheney;s company Halliburton apparently didn’t do such a hot job originally).

    This uncontrolled oil output is about 1/7th of what you say BP claimed “worst case scenario” they could handle too. It’s also ironic it happened off the coast of Louisiana, who’s Republican governor was trying to score points months ago by decrying the waste of spending on “science stuff” such as monitoring volcanos etc.

    It’s interesting that so far I haven’t seen anybody bashing oceanographers or auditing their claims of the oil slick possibly heading up the east coast of the US etc — it seems the skeptical punditry only likes oceanographers if they aren’t saying the seas are warming! ;-)

  71. #71 john
    2010/05/02

    Paul Kelly said:When you recognize that climate is but one of several equally valid reasons to replace fossil fuels, the question becomes does that person see the desirability of energy transformation, casting a very wide net. Suddenly all the argument and controversy melts away and we can all work on solutions.”

    That may be true in some cases, but unfortunately, some of the most outspoken — and influential — make no distinction between “government intervention to facilitate energy transformation” [of our economy] and “government intervention to facilitate emissions reductions”[in our economy]. And they believe (largely based on “free-market” ideology in many cases) that both are bad — ie, they don’t like government intervention period.

    Fred Singer is the poster boy for this type

    “A lot is at stake here. If the recent warming is based on faked data, then all attempts to influence the climate by controlling the emissions of the so-called “pollutant” carbon dioxide are useless –and very costly…There go all the windfarms, both onshore and offshore, the wasteful ethanol projects, and the hydrogen economy.” – S. Fred Singer

    Singer actually believes that it involves a conspiracy on the part of climate scientists.

    “We know from the leaked e-mails of Climategate that Prof.Michael Mann was involved in the international conspiracy to “hide the decline” [in global temperatures], using what chief conspirator Dr.Phil Jones refers to as “Mike [Mann]’s trick.” — S. Fred Singer

    note sure if Singer does, but some of these folks actually believe it’s part of a much wider “socialist plot” to establish world government.

  72. #72 snide
    2010/05/02

    I’m just wondering when she will acknowledge that the whole vilification of individuals thing started at CA?

  73. #73 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/02

    MarkB,

    What you call naive, I call pragmatic based on personal experience. Since high school, I’ve had a “popular mechanics” interest in energy transformation and find it exciting that it is now technologically possible. For the last year and a half, I’ve been taking small steps towards energy activism. I’ve organized several 21st Century Energy Forums and started a community based alternative energy club. I have found that people interested in energy transformation run the entire gamut of opinion on AGW from outright denial to those who make Joe Romm look like a luke warmer to those with no opinion at all. It cuts across the political spectrum, too.

    Some examples:

    I met a brilliant architect who has been designing passive solar buildings since the early 70′s, long before climate was an issue. Does he now have climate concerns? Sure, but his motivation has always been beauty and efficiency.

    In Minnesota and Wisconsin, lots of farmers are installing ground temperature assisted heat pumps (one of the most cost effective technologies) for heating and cooling. They do it to save money, not because of climate.

    Last year I read a magazine article about Prius hyper mileage clubs in California. The writer was surprised that club members were fairly evenly divided between enviros, cheapskates and gear heads.

    No one has to compromise the science. I’m advocating moving the discussion to how to transform rather than why.

    or lie on the ground next to it ….nice one, touche.

  74. #74 Alex Harvey
    2010/05/02

    William, you were waiting for an opportunity to say something nice about Steve McIntyre I believe. ;-) I submit, here is that opportunity: http://climateaudit.org/2010/05/02/cuccinelli-v-mann

    [The first sentence is good. But then McI is unable to suppress his unthinking anti-Mann-ism, so the piece as a whole comes out a net zero at best. It would be better stripped of the pointless invective, but if he did I suspect his audience wouldn't care for it. The comments make it very clear that his core audience is deeply disappointed in him, which (of course) is good -W]

  75. #75 Eli Rabett
    2010/05/02

    The distinction between what Fred Singer says and what Fred Singer believes has always been a subject for lively speculation.

  76. #76 Arthur Smith
    2010/05/02

    Here’s my problem with Dr. Curry’s praise of ClimateAudit: McIntyre’s censorship policies, and the blog’s general lack of long-term coherence.

    Curry points to this thread as exemplary – http://climateaudit.org/2010/01/18/curry-reviews-lindzen-and-choi/

    but even there you can see quite a collection of “snip”s and complaints of contributions being deleted. You can’t have a substantive discussion of science in that context.

    ClimateAudit did once have a nice forum section – phpbb3. Eli, Nick Stokes, and I were among the many scientifically-oriented people who put some major effort into comments there, with detailed references and lengthy discussions of the science. It was one of the best places on the web to find an analysis of Miscolzi, for instance.

    McIntyre axed the entire thing at some point.

    Where are our thoughts, our writing, our contributions to the science? Vanished into the ether.

    [That is bad. I cut some stuff, but only in near-real-time; if I've let it stand for a day it won't get deleted thereafter -W]

    Yes, there are also a lot of hopelessly confused people on climateaudit. That state of things is *fostered* by the host through his comment deletion policies – people who put effort into comments are not rewarded.

    And there is no long-term memory. A few years back there was a “predictions thread” that should have told you something about how reality-based the denizens of the site are. Nearly everybody predicted cooling. I put in my two cents, and was by far the closest to being correct. That was for 2008 temperatures – and it turns out my prediction at that time for 2009 was extremely close too. Where’s that cooling now? More details on that here:

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/bragging_rights

    Watts is at least as bad, of course – he has most recently banned science-advocate Joel Shore for putting “skeptics” in quotes – see for yourself in this thread:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/04/23/new-book-from-dr-roy-spencer/

    [Oh dear. I currently use skeptics-in-quotes on wikipedia, because the more natural septics is banned by the Thought Police. But you can't use skeptics-without-quotes, for the obvious reasons -W]

  77. #77 dhogaza
    2010/05/03

    Well, Alex, McIntyre’s wording gives no reason to say anything nice to about him:

    Obviously, I think that Mannian effusions have negligible scientific value. However, the people in the field think otherwise and organizations like NSF seem ready and willing to lavishly fund analysis that seems to me to be little more than paleo-phrenology

    What an insulting, self-possessed, deluded man McIntyre is.

  78. #78 dhogaza
    2010/05/03

    Oh, and McIntyre gets better …

    To the extent that there are issues with Mann or Jones or any of these guys, they are at most academic misconduct and should be dealt with under those regimes. It is unfortunate that the inquiries at Penn State and UEA have not been even minimally diligent, but complaints on that account rest with the universities or their supervising institutions and the substitution of inappropriate investigations by zealots like Cuccinelli are not an alternative.

    There we go, the academic misconduct claim again …

    No reason to be nice to McIntyre.

  79. #79 dhogaza
    2010/05/03

    I suspect McIntyre’s opposition to such moves are strategic only. He fears the backlash, nothing more.

  80. #80 Arthur Smith
    2010/05/03

    Hmm, a comment of mine yesterday here on how McIntyre and Watts censor seems to have been swallowed in William’s filter – perfectly logical, if ironic…

    [Up now. Sorry, the spam filter delays anything with more than one link, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it -W]

  81. #81 john
    2010/05/03

    Steve McIntyre: “I think that Mannian effusions have negligible scientific value.” [..and others in the field and NSF have obviously swallowed the Koolaid]

    I wonder: does this exemplify the invaluable “skeptic” contribution to the conversation that Curry is encouraging scientists to listen to and entertain?

  82. #82 Deep Climate
    2010/05/03

    I would be more impressed if McIntyre had dissociated himself from the efforts of Inhofe and Barton, apologized for co-operating with them in the past and promised not to do so in the future.

    Until he does that, anything he says on the matter reeks of hypocrisy.

  83. #83 MarkB
    2010/05/03

    “I suspect McIntyre’s opposition to such moves are strategic only. He fears the backlash, nothing more.”

    Likely so, although I’m not sure he really fears “backlash”, given his status as a lead witch hunter. I suppose one could argue that there’s no reason to publicly support it if it doesn’t need his support, and McIntyre certainly wants to characterize himself as non-political. Witch hunts from your humble amateur skeptic blogger are maybe viewed as different compared to witch hunts from politicians. That said, he would be one of the first to parse and spin the emails if they are made public.

    Alternatively, he might suspect that such a witch hunt won’t be a net benefit for his tribe. Denier-selected Mann correspondence with CRU certainly didn’t reveal any wrongdoing. And the new request includes email correspondence with other contrarians, including McIntyre. Would that be worth it?

  84. #84 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    Part of McIntyre’s currency among the public is in appearing reasonable to the general public. So this fits in with the pattern of trying to appear reasonable. Though he just can’t help himself, and throws a bone to his crowd then anyway.

  85. #85 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    It is beyond understanding that anyone truly concerned about climate spends even a moment of thought on McI. Here are elaborate constructions of motive and interconnection. He is a flea.

    If your goal is a speedy energy transformation, McI is not in your way. Nor is just about the entire skeptic world. Right now the impediment is the catastrophists defined as the tribe led by Hansen, Romm and Gore. It is their excesses that pushes public opinion away from AGW.

    What a contrast. On the one hand, there must be Machiavellian machinations in saying poor math and confirmation bias are not crimes; on the other declaring deniers guilty of treason is applauded.

  86. #86 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    What tosh. Hansen, etc are the reason why it’s difficult for China, India, US, EU, Australia, Russia, Brasil, and rest of the world to come all together and agree on a coherent and binding strategy that will have effects on the economies of all of the above, and the trade flows amongst them?

    Sure.

    I’m sure that the negotiators at Copenhagen were only held back because Hansen said something that sounded scary, not because of the inherent complexity of the topic, the competing national interests, and the possible costs.

    Get real.

  87. #87 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    The reason why it’s difficult for China, India, US, EU, Australia, Russia, Brazil, and rest of the world to come all together and agree on a coherent and binding strategy is that the people are against it. The people are against it, in part, because the extremism of the catastrophists drowns out all reasonable discussion. The catastrophists hinder the ability of the people to understand the actual consensus. Of course it’s not the only reason.

    Look at the percentage of Americans who accepted AGW on the day climateprogress went up on the net. Look at the percentage now. See a trend there?

  88. #88 Steven Sullivan
    2010/05/03

    “as anyone considered “geography” in this – i.e. Curry is at Georgia Tech (the deep south, a pretty right-wing school when I went there), other noted denialists are from U of Virginia, U of Alabama-Huntsville etc — they’re surrounded by Sarah Palin lovers! ;-) Seriously though, they’re not the mainstream liberal universities (i.e. the good ones ;-) that talk-show hosts are usually complaining about!”

    IIRC, Curry herself alluded to this in one recent post, indicating that her contrarianism (even if it’s more about ‘known unknowns’ of AGW effects, and about process, than whether AWG itself is real) plays well in her part of the country.

    Too lazy/busy to find the exact link right now, sorry.

  89. #89 Steven Sullivan
    2010/05/03

    Paul Kelly wrote:
    “Look at the percentage of Americans who accepted AGW on the day climateprogress went up on the net. Look at the percentage now. See a trend there?”

    Wow. Just wow. Could your analysis be more facile? Why is climateprogress (launched 2005) more responsible for this trend, than, say, WUWT (launched in 2006)?

  90. #90 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/03

    So, Paul Kelly, you told us a while back you were going to quit smoking, and would be looking to take out your resulting nervous energy by finding blog topics to stir up. How’s that working for you?

  91. #91 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    According to the archives, CP launched Saturday, August 5th, 2006. I stumbled onto CP fairly early and it was my introduction to the climate world. Romm is far more influential than Watts, with books and many media interviews to his credit. Plus, CP is backed by a major Washington think tank. Romm is a self described expert on climate, alternatives, politics, policy and rhetoric. In the beginning, CP had a very good group of regular commenters including John Mashey, Earl Killian and David B. Benson.

    As far as I can tell, Romm’s main purpose is to alienate all but the true believer. His characteristically sharp attacks on would be fellow travelers like Pielke Jr. and the Breakthrough group and anyone else who does not exactly toe the line is certainly counterproductive.

  92. #92 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    Wow, Paul, you’re just inventing your own reality over there.

    In the real world, these negotiations are difficult purely because of the economics; it has nothing to do with whether people like Hansen or Romm or not. No country wants to put itself at an unfair disadvantage, no country wants to sacrifice much economic growth, no country wants to reduce emissions beyond its fair share, and everybody has different perceptions of what their fair share is.

  93. #93 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    Nothing like extrapolating from your own unique experience to the entire population of the globe.

  94. #94 MarkB
    2010/05/03

    “The reason why it’s difficult for China, India, US, EU, Australia, Russia, Brazil, and rest of the world to come all together and agree on a coherent and binding strategy is that the people are against it. ”

    I think you mistake your own opinion with that of “the people”. Even in the U.S., nearly every poll shows strong support for emissions reductions:

    http://www.pollingreport.com/enviro.htm

    Example (international treaty):

    USA Today/Gallup Poll. Dec. 11-13, 2009. N=1,025 adults nationwide. MoE ± 4 (for all adults).

    “As you may know, representatives from around the world are gathering for a United Nations conference on global climate change in Copenhagen. Do you favor or oppose the U.S. signing a binding global treaty at the Copenhagen meeting that would require the U.S. to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions?”

    Favor: 55%

    Oppose: 38%

    If adequate response (some states/countries have been more assertive than others) was dependent on public opinion (and certainly qualified scientific opinion), a lot more would have been done by now.

  95. #95 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    Hank,

    Thanks for asking, but you’ve got it a bit wrong. The quit smoking program I was trying recommended focusing all your tension on one individual. I picked Joe. I even started a blog where I intended to rip on him every day. It was working, too. In two weeks, I went from over a pack to less than 3 cigarettes a day. Then the son of a gun went a whole week of posting things I mostly agreed with and the whole thing fell apart. Looks like I have an opportunity to try again.

    I’m not trying to stir things up – well maybe a little. Mostly, I’d like people to stop arguing about science and get on with what needs to be done.

  96. #96 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/03

    Anybody arguing that blogs had any effect on the Copenhagen talks is taking the blogosphere far too seriously. Maybe one day such puffed up self-importance on our part will be merited, but not now. Not by a very long way.

  97. #97 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    Mark,
    The polls show that more people support reducing emissions than believe in AGW. Cast a wide net.

    Look at the trend in results for these questions especially since 2006.

    Do you believe increases in the Earth’s temperature over the last century are due more to the effects of pollution from human activities, or natural changes in the environment that are not due to human activities?”

    “Which of the following statements reflects your view of when the effects of global warming will begin to happen?

    Is the seriousness of global warming generally exaggerated, generally correct, or is it generally underestimated?

    I think the polls support my view of the catastrophists. Because they exaggerate the science, they make the denier’s argument easier.

  98. #98 Carl C
    2010/05/03

    I think the current catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, i.e. a colossal man-made screwup of biblical proportions, will be a premonition of what’s to come with global warming. That is, will we see corporate accountability (ha), or will it just be a political blame game (as is already happening, i.e. the “usual suspects” (septics ;-) trying to just turn this into “Obama’s Katrina.”

    Since it seems capping this rift in Pandora’s Box we’ve made at the bottom of the ocean will take months; there will be a lot of time to see all sorts of craziness unfold. Already we’re witnessing anti-government, pro-corporate right-wingers & so-called Libertarians who think Obama is a Kenyan communist; screeching for gov’t intervention at all levels!

  99. #99 Carl C
    2010/05/03

    as a follow up to my post above — just look at how even a “liberal/socialist” US regime brushed off NOAA over the threat of offshore oil rig spillage/catastrophes:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/03/noaa-warned-interior-was_n_561615.html

    if we can’t have any hope of fixing things which are more demonstrable to happen; is there any hope to do anything about global warming?

    even when American’s favorite beaches are being lapped by grease; I suppose 50% of ‘em will still blame high taxes or illegal Mexicans etc.

  100. #100 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    “No country wants to put itself at an unfair disadvantage, no country wants to sacrifice much economic growth, no country wants to reduce emissions beyond its fair share, and everybody has different perceptions of what their fair share is.”

    Agree 100% and it is why people need to really think of ways to solve the problem that do not depend on government actions that will likely never happen.

  101. #101 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    MarkB: The key is that while people are willing to reduce emissions, they are not willing to pay much more for their everyday expenses in order to get there. And they certainly don’t want some other country to somehow get ahead economically, in the process.

    That’s all it is. Paul Kelly’s blathering about the imagined sins of scientists is irrelevant.

    Makes the denier’s argument easier? 90% of what they say is just pure ignorance or paranoia. They will happily continue on that track, regardless.

  102. #102 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/03

    Paul, if the voters support reducing emissions it doesn’t matter to the policy-makers if the voters say they think the science is valid or not. For the scientists, the largely positive public view of their work is nice to have but public opinion doesn’t factor in to the results of the science. The world is apparently heading for a global regime of reductions in emissions, and I don’t think there is as much concern about that at local level as I would have expected even five years ago.

    The battle for hearts and minds starts and ends with the scientific mainstream, which alone has the public stature to convince. And that battle was won over a decade ago. There is scarcely a country in the world that has no plans to handle global warming.

    That alone is an overwhelming success story, perhaps the most effective science-led global change in public attitudes ever achieved. I’m absolutely staggered that there are still people who think we should expect more buy-in than has been achieved in two short decades.

  103. #103 carrot eater
    2010/05/03

    Carl C: I wouldn’t call the spill a screwup of biblical proportions. It’s pretty bad, and will be detrimental to some human livelihoods and wildlife, but the area will eventually recover.

    Paul Kelly: “why people need to really think of ways to solve the problem that do not depend on government actions”

    Paul, this is extremely simple. Alternative energies (or conservation) will happen automatically only if the cost of fossil fuel comes to exceed that of the alternatives. This can be achieved by simply waiting around (for who knows how long) for this to happen (as other technologies improve and oil becomes harder to extract), or it can be sped up a bit by government grants for research and subsidies for installation, or sped up a lot by government putting in a price for the currently unpriced externalities of fossil fuels.

    That’s pretty much your range of options.

  104. #104 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    Tony Sidaway,

    That’s my point. There’s no need to convince anybody else on the danger of CO2. It is time to stop trying and concentrate on joining with all who wish to replace fossil fuel for whatever reason, even if they’re (horrors!) AGW deniers.

  105. #105 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/03

    Putting in a price for the currently unpriced externalities of fossil fuels ends up being a terribly regressive tax on consumers and could easily merely make both fossil and alternatives unaffordable. Much better economically to bring the cost of alternatives down below fossil – not so simple a thing, but possible.

    Ground temperature assisted heat pumps and solar water heating are almost there. I’m optimistic about our automotive future.

  106. #106 MarkB
    2010/05/03

    Paul Kelly writes:

    “The polls show that more people support reducing emissions than believe in AGW. ”

    Your argument seems to change with the wind. Your prior argument:

    “The reason why it’s difficult for China, India, US, EU, Australia, Russia, Brazil, and rest of the world to come all together and agree on a coherent and binding strategy is that the people are against it.”

    Please keep your argument straight. I’m not chasing more red herrings.

    “Putting in a price for the currently unpriced externalities of fossil fuels ends up being a terribly regressive tax on consumers and could easily merely make both fossil and alternatives unaffordable.”

    Waxman/Markey compensates with energy rebates and allowances. See the CBO analysis for effects at various income levels. The bottom quintile actually comes out a little ahead. A carbon tax with a flat rebate could accomplish the same.

    “Much better economically to bring the cost of alternatives down below fossil – not so simple a thing, but possible.”

    The two are not mutually exclusive. In fact, pricing carbon inherently directs massive private market resources towards further low carbon technology development, increasing the chances for technological advancement, and increasing economies of scale.

  107. #107 MarkB
    2010/05/03

    carrot eater writes:

    “MarkB: The key is that while people are willing to reduce emissions, they are not willing to pay much more for their everyday expenses in order to get there.”

    I guess it depends on what constitutes “much more”. See the polling questions from the link above. While polls vary a bit, there’s a tendency to support emissions reductions even if an individual’s energy costs are higher, which won’t necessarily be true depending on how it’s structured.

    “And they certainly don’t want some other country to somehow get ahead economically, in the process.”

    …the classic Prisoner’s Dilemma in one sense, but one that is a bit overblown. Most objective studies on the average economic effects over the long-run of emissions reductions policies in the United States indicate only a small net reduction in GDP, and such studies I’ve seen in the past (CFCs for example) largely overstate the costs. Now the costs might be more for China if they were to adhere to the same reduction schedule, due to their much higher rate of economic expansion.

  108. #108 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/03

    Paul, I don’t think anybody is arguing any ideological purity line. If the election turns up a Conservative government that proposes effective emissions reduction measures or other realistic policies, it matters not to me that some in that party may not agree with the precise nature or cause of the warming.

    I suspect that your presentation of the state of affairs bears very little relation to the real world. In particular, the implicit assumption that any discussion in this or any other blog has any great influence on the real world seems unrealistic. The public have been deluged with information about global warming, and there is little serious public doubt that it’s worth taking seriously enough to make policy decisions. Of all national parties fielding candidates in the election, just two on the very fringe do not have a serious policy to tackle global warming. There are no votes in sticking your head in the sand, or so they seem to have decided.

  109. #109 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/04

    Tony,

    No doubt measures will be more easily passed in the UK. After all, it was the Tory icon Mrs. Thatcher who got the ball rolling. Here in the States, it’s a different story. Waxman/Markey is an ungodly mess. The Senate bill is dead for now. There’s a strong anti incumbent mood right now and legislators are likely to be very cautious.

    I think blogs – all media for that matter – can influence public opinion. The bloggers certainly think so. And it is true that public opinion here is moving away from AGW.

  110. #110 J Bowers
    2010/05/04

    One for the record on the Inconvenient Provocateur thread: Steven Mosher openly stating that he sent a frivolous FOIA request to UEA that was intentionally designed to fail.

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2010/04/23/an-inconvenient-provocateur/#comment-4219

    “WRT FOIA spamming I actaully orchestrated making sure that each country was covered.
    [...]
    requests that went into cru that took more than 18 hours were rejected
    I know, because I tailor my request to take MORE than 18 hours to see how they would handle such a request. They refused to work on it because it would have taken more than 18 hours…”

    Now, personally, I take a very dim view of that, which i told him, given repeated claims that the FOIA requests were legitimate and not frivolous.

  111. #111 Tony Sidaway
    2010/05/04

    The stalling of the US Senate proposal is down to realpolitik. Immigration reform is seen as a bigger priority for now and that has made Graham a bit wary.

    But I think those who see public opinion moving away from global warming are placing too much confidence in opinion polls. That’s an issue that won’t go away, and America will do something about it, with or without legislation. That is what the Supreme Court told the EPA it had a duty to do under Bush.

    There are some people who think blogs are effective in changing public opinion, that much is true. Those people get their opinions from blogs.

    [Don't shatter my dreams :-( One day Obama (or Clegg) *will* phone me up and say "William, I want *you*" -W]

  112. #112 john
    2010/05/04

    Steven Mosher: “WRT FOIA spamming I actaully orchestrated making sure that each country was covered.”

    Somehow, that does not surprise me in the least — either that someone else would be “orchestrating” McIntyre’s dirty work for him or that Mosher would be among his lackeys.

  113. #113 J Bowers
    2010/05/04

    I thought it a bit bigger than a bit of insight, given the constant claims that the FOIA requests were legitimate, non-vexatious and non-frivolous. By the co-ordinator’s own admission it was quite the opposite, with them being referenced to as “spamming”, and his own request a fishing trip designed to go nowhere rather than a genuine request for information.

    Now, in my book…

  114. #114 Andy
    2010/05/05

    Romm makes an important point that is consistently avoided. That is that if business as usual continues until we reach 1000ppm CO2 and beyond then catastrophe is pretty much a given. He’s asked folks if they agree (Revkin numerous times) and never seems to get a straight answer. Why is that? I think ideology is preventing Revkin and others from admitting that humans are capable of destroying the world as it now exists.

  115. #115 john
    2010/05/05

    J Bowers said “I thought it a bit bigger than a bit of insight, given the constant claims that the FOIA requests were legitimate, non-vexatious and non-frivolous.”

    Sociopaths are usually pathological liars.

  116. #116 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/05

    Andy,

    This is typical of catastrophist false logic, arguing from a highly unlikely or impossible premise. Under BAU, it would take several hundred years to reach 1000 ppm. Plus, it assumes no advances in technology or efficiency and no increase in deployment of those we already have.

    If anyone is driven by ideology, it is Romm. He is the paid mouthpiece for the hyper partisan Center for American Progress.

  117. #117 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/05

    Paul, are you back to using attacking Joe for quitting tobacco? If not, your imagination has run away with you on this subject. You can look it up. What matters for both ocean and atmosphere is the rate of change and the peak concentration.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/nobel-winner-co2-going-to-1000-parts-per-million/

  118. #118 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/05

    Hank,

    Good of you to cite Revkin, who Andy seems to think has ideology problems. Can you find anything more definitive than an non time framed answer to a “quick question” posed during a break?

    Dr. Rowland is a chemist with expertise in CFC’s. N.B. in the same article, he explains why the successful CFC solution is not scalable for CO2.

    Quitting smoking is very hard. Tensions in the house are high as my wife is going through menopause. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of global warming is caused by her hot flashes.

  119. #119 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/05

    > can you find ….?

    Yes, you can.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aipcc.ch+1000ppm

  120. #120 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/05

    > quitting smoking is very hard

    No argument there. My dad started at age 12 (when he was working as a surveyor, the only person in his family who had an income during the Depression–he could do trigonometry). Trying to quit was horrible for him.

    Want a target for anger? Ask yourself how old you were when you started smoking. The window of vulnerability to tobacco addiction is through about age 18. People who don’t try tobacco til they’re adults rarely continue. The marketers target children.

    Use the anger. Focus.

    “Tobacco marketing documents subpoenaed by the Federal Trade Commission [f6] over a decade ago show how a cigarette company can introduce ‘starters’ to its brand:

    ‘… an attempt to reach young smokers, starters, should be based, among others, on the following major parameters:
    * Present the cigarette as one of the few initiations into the adult world.
    * Present the cigarette as part of the illicit pleasure category of products and activities….’”

    http://ajph.aphapublications.org/cgi/reprint/86/2/156.pdf

    citing http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Pierce+JP%2C+Gilpin+E.+How+long+will+today%27s+new+adolescent+smoker+be+addicted
    —–

    Yes, you have good reason to be angry.
    Use it well.

  121. #121 dhogaza
    2010/05/05

    Want a target for anger? Ask yourself how old you were when you started smoking. The window of vulnerability to tobacco addiction is through about age 18. People who don’t try tobacco til they’re adults rarely continue.

    Hmm, my father and his two brothers got hooked in their early 20s.

    One or two packs in every C- or K-ration served them during WW II …

    I know my father was hooked by the time of the battle of the bulge, probably got hooked while slogging through the bocage country in June/July 1944 …

  122. #122 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/05

    D — not inconsistent with what’s known about the timing and mechanism of addiction, e.g.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2008.09.009

  123. #123 Hank Roberts
    2010/05/05

    Here ya go, Paul, focus that anger; try Mr. Fagan’s memo:
    http://www.pmdocs.com/PDF/1000743912_3913_0.PDF

    Here’s the home page; new documents are still being loaded into the database through June: http://www.pmdocs.com/pmpublic.asp

  124. #124 Andy
    2010/05/05

    I’ve been called a name on a blog. Wow, that’s pretty cool. I feel empowered. A “catastrophist”. Sounds about right. I think most of my colleagues would agree with you.

  125. #125 J Bowers
    2010/05/06

    122 Andy: “A “catastrophist”.”

    We should start a club, or make badges. Got called it today at the Guardian. Seems to be the new term for us, while the denialists cry a river at… well, “denialist”.

    I’ve got a new term for denialists: “agnotologists”.

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/17-02/st_thompson

  126. #126 Paul Kelly
    2010/05/06

    Starting a club is a good idea. Or you could simply join mine. The only requirement for membership is a desire to speed the transition to 21st century energy. We had a successful organizing fundraiser last month. Our next one will be for funding a specific project.

  127. #127 Ron Broberg
    2010/05/06

    Paul Kelly: Under BAU, it would take several hundred years to reach 1000 ppm.

    Assuming 1 ton emission C per person per year
    Assuming 1% growth rate in population

    It would take something more like 150 years …
    … and the population will be up around 30 billion.

    I think its likely that we won’t see a BAU future.

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