Mike Hulme says Lawrence Solomon story was phoney

In his latest column Lawrence Solomon misrepresented an article by Mike Hulme, claiming that Hulme wrote that the IPCC consensus was phoney. Of course it was Solomon's story that was phony, as Hulme explained:

"I did not say the 'IPCC misleads' anyone - it is claims that are made by other commentators, such as the caricatured claim I offer in the paper, that have the potential to mislead."

Deep Climate has all the details.

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Mike Hulme makes some good points, but in the light of his IPCC critique, one might think he would be more careful in his wording, as to not be caricatured, himself.

Thorn, #1 shows how ridiculous that is -- not that it wasn't already obvious to sensible people.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Mike Hulme is so vague and wishywashy, I'm not surprised that he could be selectively quoted.
Put it this way, I read an article in the Guardian by him some years back, and until I'd read the first three paragraphs, I seriously thought he was a climate denier.

That's stupid; anyone can be selectively quoted.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

There is nothing misleading Hulme simply didn't understand just how significant admitting that the great consensus was really reached by a "couple of dozen" individuals is. This is really more about his stupidity. He naively admitted something in passing that he wasn't supposed to admit. Everyone knows that it is the lead authors and editors that control the IPCC and the consensus but its something that they donât officially admit. The official stance is that itâs the consensus of thousands of scientists.


You are so right. Here's what the IPCC said in a press release in 2007 abou AR$

"The IPCC was established by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Programme and represents the consensus science position on climate change, directly engaging more than 2,500 scientists from more than 130 nations".


By Dave Andrews (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Don't forget that in large part this episode is an expression of the nature of denialist culture, in their effort to market it to the masses. A new sensational piece every month. This month they're traducing Hulme, next month it'll be someone or something else.

There's one blog where the denialist mouthpiece calls AGW the cult that will not die, because, well, because everybody knows the gaffe was blown with climategate. The emails were proof of the fraud, and every month since more of "the lie" has been "exposed", in their dreams.

Except out in the real world, nobody knows or cares who Baron McinTyres or Sheriff Watts or Bishop Wormtongue or Villein Fuller the self-publishing marvels are.

Out in the real world, there are junior school plays featuring penguins and polar bears protesting to the leaders of men by singing "Ice is nice".

Which may be a tad trite and twee, but it helps me retain some degree of perspective in the face of this ongoing alternative reality clown circus in these days of globally cooled record warmth.

You're not one to talk about anyone else's stupidity, Tom.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

For someone who wrote a book about Why We Disagree About Climate Change, I'm surprised that Hulme did not see this (i.e. the misinterpretation of his comments) coming.

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Let's all get this straight: Lawrence Solomon isn't noted for his concern with facts.

By Tony Sidaway (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

@Former Skeptic

A general expectation that statements will be distorted cannot be translated into a specific expectation. And the only way to prevent one's statements from being distorted is to remain silent -- which seems to be what the victim-blaming critics of Hulme really wish.

By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Just another case of a scientist or scientists trying to put out a brush fire of their own making.

No wonder the public is confused, and going cool on action by governments to combat climate change. The charge that anthropogenic climate change theory, is merely the result of a small exclusive cabal of scientists within the IPCC, has long been a central tenet of the climate change deniers case.

Ill considered statements, and poor communication skills, by scientists like Hulme are manna from heaven for the denial industry.

By Richard McGuire (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

I also read his work some years back and while I wasn't sure that he was a climate change denier, I was convinced that he was at best some sort of concern troll-like character whose aim it was to white-ant efforts at mitigation. I wrote him an angry letter, which he never even bothered acknowledging with the usual pro-forma "thanks for your interest".

I wasn't the least bit surprised when he was named afterwards in a group of "dissenting" "scientists" who were pals with Lord Lawson on taking "a more balanced" approach to action on climate change.

If the fellow has been verballed, then I suppose that is wrong, but he can't say that he didn't deserve it. After all, much of his "work" was about how to spin the messages.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

The interesting thing about the previous comments is the shared expectation by both climate thinkers and the denialists that denialists will seek to distort and lie about a piece, not what Hulme said in this case.

Furthermore the denialists justify it by blaming the messenger. Wonderful logic, satire is dead (sorry to rip you off Lenny), its a bit like the spectacle we had here in Australia a few days ago where billionaires mounted a protest march for more money.

When your whole point is that people need to be careful how they phrase things lest they make themselves "vulnerable to outside criticism", and yet your own words are twisted by outside critics to mean something they didn't, you've obviously done something wrong.

> When your whole point is that people need to be careful how they phrase things lest they make themselves "vulnerable to outside criticism", and yet your own words are twisted by outside critics to mean something they didn't, you've obviously done something wrong.

An alternative hypothesis is that "the whole point" is unachievable in the real world when outside parties are not honest actors.

By Lotharsson (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Just another case of a scientist or scientists trying to put out a brush fire of their own making.

Yeah, sure, scientists are inept fools; it's their fault that the denialati distort their views.

I suppose that is wrong, but he can't say that he didn't deserve it.


An alternative hypothesis is that "the whole point" is unachievable in the real world when outside parties are not honest actors.


By truth machine, OM (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

Um...Tom @ 6.
If you're going to do the stupid thing, use the handle of the stupid brush not your face.
Get less stupid paint on yourself don't ya know.

Not surprisingly, here it is at WUWT.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 16 Jun 2010 #permalink

In almost any other area of science Hulmes critiques of the IPCC would be part of the normal discourse on wheather a key comittee in the science needs a bit of reform.

With the wild hysteria whipped up by the vigilante\ lynch mob auditing sensible people here are cutting close to calling for self censorship.

Now let's be clear. It doesn't really matter what Hulme or anyone actually says about an issue, a journalist, giving their piece the house opinion slant and selective use of actual quotes can say just about anything they want. Black can be white and any shade in between.

Dr. Lambert,
I was really surprised to see you in the Warmist Camp. As a computer vision person you would know better than most people how PCA was used in this field. This simple dimension reduction tool can never be tied with a physical parameter like the way Mann did...


Not only is Geoks 11 year too late with his complaint, any scientifically literate person will be able to tell him that AGW does not depend on the historical reconstructions by Mann, Jones, Briffa et al.

Now, back to the topic at hand: blatant misrepresentation of a scientist by certain media, and the cheering by the scientific illiterates over at WUWT. Anyone note how they try to dismiss the clarification Hulme has posted? It's eerily similar to their cheering when arctic sea ice melt took some time to get started this year, and their current attempts to dismiss short-term observations as useful.

Well, let's take the long-term trend then! (oops)

As a computer vision person you would know better than most people how PCA was used in this field.


An alternative hypothesis is that "the whole point" is unachievable in the real world when outside parties are not honest actors.

Right. And he should have known that. So what exactly did he think was going to happen? That the denialists were going to thank him for clarifying some minor issue? That he'd be hailed as a sensible, middle-of-the-road person?

Somehow, most IPCC authors manage not to get quoted as saying that the IPCC has misled everyone and that there's no agreement about its contents. You have to set yourself up for that.

The best bit in the NJ is how the comments completely freeze when Hulme's correction is pointed out. As usual, no admission of guilt or misquoting occurs

Mike Hulme is a 'concern troll'- I agree. He constantly talks about the denialist game as if it is all just amounts to differences of values and interpretation. I've read as much of his book as i could stand.

Sure, of course there are plenty of legitimate differences of values and interpretation when it comes to climate change. But there are also people acting dishonestly and Hulme provides no evidence that he recognises that. I was forced to conclude that one of the following is true:

a) He is so shoddy he didn't bother to do basic research into the events he decided to write about and doesn't realise that some people are acting dishonestly

b) He is steeped in silly English-literature-department philosophy to such a degree that he really believes that there is no difference between truth and lies, that everything is equally valid and "hey man, homeopathy, its like, true for me, yeah". Some of what he says sounds a lot like this.

c) He is a skeptic, doesn't want to openly admit it and is playing games.

Have you fine people ever stopped to contemplate how all this brouhaha falls right into a denialist trap? All that the Rightwing psychopaths of the denial industry need do is confect a new lie, and the blogs are full of sane, rational,informed people denouncing another insult to truth and intelligence, while in the moronic inferno of the Rightwing blogosphere the Dunning-Krugerites, lashed on by the almost uniformly far Right denialist rabble-rousers swap imbecilities and encourage one another in their race to the moral and intellectual bottom. I think that, as the denialist rabble, being too stupid, vicious and ignorant,like all Rightwing lynch-mobs, will never be convinced to drop the ideological jihad, the best course of action is to ignore the phony 'controversy' and get on with doing practical things in one's own life, hoping and praying that others will do so and encouraging and aiding those that so act, and prepare ourselves and our children for the worst. Because it is absolutely certain that nothing, not even a climate catastrophe unequivocally caused by anthropogenic climate change, will cause the morally insane Right to change course,and as the Right controls our politics and media absolutely,a political solution is impossible. The truth is that these robopaths are spiritually and intellectually deficient to such an extent that they do not care what happens after they are dead and they would rather savour the delights of lying, bullying and preaching hatred against environmentalists and scientists (as they do against Moslems, other races than their own, their class enemies etc)and this hatemongering will inevitably spill over, and soon, I believe,into violence. Violence is the Right's strong suit because it is their preferred option, and the character assassination and abusive e-mails will, inevitably, be followed by even more nasty behaviour, just ask the thousands of environmentalists already murdered in Rightwing pathocracies like Colombia and the Philippines. They cannot act otherwise, its in their psychological makeup.

By Mulga Mumblebrain (not verified) on 18 Jun 2010 #permalink

Mulga Mumblebrain:

> I think that, as the denialist rabble, being too stupid, vicious and ignorant,like all Rightwing lynch-mobs, will never be convinced to drop the ideological jihad, the best course of action is to ignore the phony 'controversy'

Are you seriously suggesting that if we just keep quiet, the right-wing extremists will just go away? Are you seriously suggesting that?

Or are you, in fact, a concern troll trying to find any pretext to stop people from criticizing right-wingers?

Mulga Mumblebrain,

The denialist stupid cannot be made to go away, but it can be (at least partially) contained.

By Lars Karlsson (not verified) on 18 Jun 2010 #permalink

frank, what I said was that the denialists will not go away, no matter how often you expose their imbecility and dishonesty. What I said was that exposing their moral and intellectual insufficiency is a waste of time, and thus, a victory for them. As for 'concern troll' whatever that is, seeing that I hold a well-nigh palpable disdain and contempt for the denialists and their obscene and suicidal ideological crusade, I am the last person you could accuse of possessing 'concern' for people I despise. I am concerned, however, that rational and intelligent and honest people, who are always at a premium, are being 'sucked into' wasting their time on a completely hopeless, if morally correct, endeavour. My position is basically that a market absolutist society controlled as it inevitably must be, by the psychopathic Right,is utterly immune to reason, decency and logical argument. These creatures operate on the level of visceral ideological hatreds, rooted in psychopathy, hatreds assiduously cultivated by Rightwing propagandists, and arguing facts with them is like trying to teach piranha to appreciate Bach.

By Mulga Mumblebrain (not verified) on 18 Jun 2010 #permalink

If you guys want to see what a deranged lunatic Lawrence Solomon really is (or at least was in 2008), read this [hilarious joke of an op-ed piece](http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/07/12/a…):

Up! Up! Up! The world is consuming more and more energy and, as if by miracle, the amount left to consume grows ever higher. Never before in human history has energy been accessible in greater abundance and in more regions, never before has mankind had more energy options and faced a brighter energy future.

Take oil, the scarcest of the major energy commodities. In the Americas, proven oil reserves have increased from 170 billion barrels to 180 billion barrels over the last two decades, according to the 2008 Statistical World Review from British Petroleum. In Europe and Eurasia, proven oil reserves almost doubled, from 76 billion barrels to 144. Africa's proven oil reserves did double, from 58 billion barrels to 117. Even the Asia Pacific region, where China and India are reputed to be sucking up everything in sight, has increased its proven reserves. And the Middle East, the gas tank of the world, shows no sign of slowing down -- its reserves soared by almost 200 billion barrels, from a whopping 567 billion barrels to a super-whopping 756.

Bottom line for the world: an incredible 36% increase in oil reserves during the two decades that saw the greatest globalization-spurred oil consumption in the history of mankind. And that doesn't include the 152 billion barrels in proven oil reserves obtainable from Canada's tar sands. Is there any reason to doubt that the next two decades won't build on the steady growth of the last two?

These oil reserves aren't the end of it. These figures -- for the year ending December 2006 -- represent oil that's not only known to be available, but also economic at 2006 prices using 2006 technology. Since prices have soared in the last year, and technology has improved too, BP's annual assessment for the 2007 year will show greater proven oil reserves still.

But this is still not the end of it. Unconventional oil reserves are now in play. In 2005, the Rand Corporation estimated that the oil shale in America's Green River Formation, which covers portions of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, contains 1.5 to 1.8 trillion barrels of oil, with as much as 1.1 trillion barrels of oil recoverable, an amount comparable to the reserves of four Saudi Arabias. Oil shale becomes recoverable at $95 a barrel, it determined. With oil now trading at $140 a barrel, oil shale

exploitation is now very much economic. Then there's Canada's tar sands, with its even greater potential--estimates of the total reserves that may be available top two trillion barrels, or eight Saudi Arabias.

This is still not the end to it. Most of the oil we know about lies in the well travelled portions of the globe. But most of the world remains unexplored -- the interiors of Africa, Asia and South America have seen relatively little oil exploration. Oil exploration in the oceans, too, is in its infancy. For all practical purposes, mankind has limitless oil supplies available to it. The story is similar for natural gas and coal, the other major nonrenewable sources of energy. And for nuclear power. And for the renewables.

The amount of solar power landing on Earth could supply our current needs 10,000 times over. This potential will soon start to be realized on a large scale thanks to breakthroughs in the U. S. and Israel that have dramatically brought down the cost of solar technology. Wind also represents an inexhaustible resource, as seen in a 2005 NASA-funded study at Stanford University of viable wind sites worldwide. It found that wind power could satisfy global demand seven times over, assuming a realistic capture rate of 20%. Some European countries already meet a significant portion of their power needs with wind.

The world is awash with exploitable energy, both renewable and non-renewable. Availability is not at issue and never has been.

The only issue is the cost --both economic and environmental --at which it can be exploited.

Nuclear currently fails on economic grounds. But most fossil fuel technologies don't need subsidies and soon, neither will most renewable technologies. That leaves the environment as the chief determinant of what energy we use, and where we use it. Thanks to environmental awareness and the high energy prices we now face, energy production has become ever cleaner, safer, and more efficient, giving us more meaningful options than ever before.

Whatever the outcome, whatever energy forms we ultimately rely on, the table is diverse and bountiful, allowing the world economy to grow large and to grow cleanly. And it will have been largely set by environmentalists.

If that is not insanity, what would be?


1. I don't think your text marks you as a concern troll -- a term covering those who disingenuously claim to be proffering helpful (but in practice counter-productive) advice on how to pursue a cause with which they claim to agree.

I would share much of the attitude you express towards the enemies of mitigation.

Indeed, without going so far as to suggest we ignore such people, I have (while praising those who find the energy to do it) wondered out loud at the realtive usefulness of enduring endless rounds of rebuttal of long discredited business-as-usual lies and misdirection. There are a number of people here whose scientific expertise would probably be better spent explaining the light that new relevant data in the field sheds on policy formulation. It's a pity in some ways that we can't simply refer the really persistent troll to an archetype response and move on.

On the other hand, the internet is very much a place where you don't want mythmaking to be given a free hand, and I can understand why allowing people to make claims that are patent nonsense without robust challenge is going to stick in the craw. If you care about an issue, it's hard to resist correcting someone who is talking tosh, even though you suspect they know it's tosh and are just doing it to waste your time and energy, or to nuke a more useful thread.

By Fran Barlow (not verified) on 18 Jun 2010 #permalink

If you wish to understand where Solomon and many of his extreme Rightwing 'Cornutopian' ilk come from, pathopsychologically and ideologically, just pick up on little signals like his praise of scientific research from the 'US and Israel', as if these two Holy States of absolute exceptionalism were the only countries on the planet contributing to human progress (in truth the exact opposite, nearly, of the truth). Anthropogenic climate change denialism is a Rightwing crusade, based on crude ideology, and its propagandists carry all the other baggage of that mindset,including slavish support for the US and Israel and their global empire.

By Mulga Mumblebrain (not verified) on 18 Jun 2010 #permalink

Look at all the AGW zealots in here... this place stinks!

Mulga's point is definitely well-made - LS seems to have completely missed the fact that Europe is at least a generation ahead of the USA in terms of societal evolution (as usual) and is therefore driving technological development in these areas.
However, I would be interested in a more reasoned critique of Lawrence Solomon's piece than simple labels of "hilarious joke" and "insanity".

For example, on petroleum,
- he fails to mention escalating exploration and development costs.
- he fails to recognise the mechanism which gives us "estimated reserves".

By Vince Whirlwind (not verified) on 21 Jun 2010 #permalink

Vince, the situation in the United States is,in my opinion,not one of being a generation 'behind' Europe in terms of 'societal evolution' but of vast swathes of the US population being centuries behind in intellectual and moral terms, and,propelled by incessant brainwashing financed by extreme Right, psychopathic,plutocrats, they are actively regressing. Moreover, complacent hopes that this Rightwing atavism can be confined to the US are, I believe, deeply flawed. Within every market capitalist society there are broad forces, the propaganda employees of the ruling kleptocrats and much of the corrupt political class, that share the US Right's omnicidal agenda in every particular. And, the fatal weakness, the Right has mobilised its mass base, the Dunning-Kruger ignoramuses and moral pygmies, who, having been told by their thought controllers in the media that every environmental disaster unfolding is just lies peddled by evil, 'Leftwing', Greenies, are salivating and yelping on cue, just like the good Pavlovian dogs that they are. These are creatures who do not think, do not question their opinions, do not entertain doubt or uncertainty. These are robopathic ideologues who, when confronted by uncomfortable truths or facts, simply retreat into more virulent abuse and rejection. And they all have a vote, and the resources needed to motivate them to action are there,just waiting to be called on.

By Mulga Mumblebrain (not verified) on 23 Jun 2010 #permalink