So often you get folks who have some brilliant theory, but unaccountably lack the courage to write the thing up and submit it for publication. However, I'm pleased to report that Nicolas Nierenberg is not such a man, and he *has* written a paper: Early Climate Change Consensus at the National Academy: The Origins and Making of Changing Climate (blog post). Whether (like me) you think it is basically correct or (perhaps, I'm guessing, like Eli you don't) you will, I'm sure, welcome the way this is being played out in scholarly debate.
What's it all about? Broadly speaking, this is but a minor wrinkle on the great road of climate scholarship. To some extent this paper is a complement to (but, I think, less important than) my paper with Peterson and Fleck on the "global cooling" stuff. Not because it is directly related, but because, like PCF, it examines a period in the history of the developement of climate science, and actually uses real sources rather than careless broad-brush handwaving.
Getting a bit closer, this may have an impact on the wider debate because it impacts, negatively, on the reputation and credibility of Naomi Oreskes. Who (no doubt quite unfairly) is mainly known for her analysis showing that there are few if any proper paper disagreeing with the std.assessment of climate change. And before you call me a total apostate, let me point out that (apart from a slight carelessness with which she described her search terms) that paper is essentially correct, and valuable.
So, Oreskes decided to go a bit further back and published an article with an extremely stupid name which attempted to rip up [[William Nierenberg]]. Initially I was uncertain - for example, not really understanding the chronology, I was prepared to believe that Nierenberg was Evil because he was appointed by Reagan (he wasn't (appointed by Reagan, that is. Whether he was Evil or not is another issue on which I have no strong opinions)).
[Update: looks like the PDF I've been reffing has been moved. Try http://www2.lse.ac.uk/CPNSS/projects/CoreResearchProjects/ContingencyDissentInScience/DP/DPOreskesetalChickenLittleOnlinev2.pdf - thanks SS -W]
Nicolas Nierenberg (son to William, in case you were uncertain, and so no doubt possibly swayed by the bonds of filial affection) also thought Oreskes was wrong, and has commented here and on his blog on the matter; leading now to the publication of his joint paper. Congratulations.
Where does this leave Oreskes? Looking a bit silly, and a bit shoddy too I think. Whilst the "Ivory Tower" paper was valid, and decent work, the "Chicken Itza" paper seems to have been written around pre-arranged conclusions, or perhaps even around its absurd title. As NN writes on his blog I was quite shocked to discover that much of the material [in Oreskes] had been paraphrased in ways that changed the meaning, or which misrepresented the original document. I can only assume that the authors didn't think anyone would get access to the original material. Still, on the plus side, it is unlikely that anyone outside the incestuous field of climate history scholarship will notice or care.
One thing I did want to say is that I think NN is wrong, at least partialy, on the climate sensitivity issue. I recall having a discussion with him about this on his blog but can't now find that. So I'll just note the issue here as a placeholder.
Incidentally: note that the "Nierenberg report" is now available via google books. Hurrah for google!
Searching words from that 1970 letter from the Nixon Archives climate change is interesting.
This interview came out in March of this year:
"... at the time that the satellites were first launched in 1960, there was not a big interest in the Weather Bureau in actually using the satellite data. ... they didnât want to be bothered by this new toy that was coming along called TIROS.
... when ESSA was formed, the predecessor of NOAA.... Bob White ... realized that the future of weather satellites had great potential ...."
Weart's history only mentions Bob White once.
"... The organization called the Environmental Science Services Administration, ESSA, was formed in 1965 just two years after I took charge of the Weather Bureau. It resulted from a very particular constellation of individuals.... This was the first organization in the federal government that had the word âenvironmentâ in its title. No legislation was required to bring these agencies together, only an executive order with congressional approval....
... President Kennedy had laid down an international challenge: Collaborate with the nations of the world using technology to bring about significant improvement in the time range and accuracy of weather forecasts. Experiment with weather modification. Apply satellites to obtain global weather information...."
Kennedy creates an agency assigned to further international cooperation on climate change and weather modification. Wow.
I wonder what the conservatives thought of that idea.
White was appointed in October 1963.
> I don't see Federal Focus here .... Sourcewatch
Cites exactly the same reference at PMDOCS as does that footnote in the Tobaccocontrol article, for the Federal Focus/Marshall connection. So if you insist it be in Sourcewatch -- you can find it.
Seriously, rather than say you don't believe there are connections, if you read what you can easily find, they're laid out for you.
Yes, the tobacco document files are voluminous and hard to search. But the public health authors have done the work; search their publications.
I think John Mashey has done a good bit of work on the interconnections, funds flows, and sock puppets used.
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Thanks for the post!
Here is where you think I'm wrong. I think I'm just quoting from WG1, but does it really matter that much? I just thought it was interesting.
[Thanks. I now realise that I confused your climate blog with your other blog. Argh! Just for the sake of anyone else confused, they are:
As to the substance: I thought we were discussing how to work out what the CC report thought of climate sensitivity. Oh, and belated apologies for my tone in the comments: I must have been having a rather grumpy day. But no, it is not particuarly important.
> two days before Changing Climate was released, the
> EPA report issued Can We Delay a Greenhouse Warming?
Has anyone done a Pielke-type evaluation of the two prediction sets, side by side and compared to what's happened so far?
Eli believes he has pointed Wm to Myanna Lahsen on the three musketeers, Seitz, Jastrow and Nierenberg.
[Yes, but that doesn't make Oreskes right over the CC report. You've essentially endorsed the Oreskes version by quoting favourably from her paper and I've never seen you acknowledge her error -W]
Pretty much can be summed up as a comment on the arrogance of physicists, as captured in an interview by her
In his interview with me, the young physicist interpreted the Marshall Institute SDI report as an instance of physicistsâ inclination to think themselves experts on
Young physicist: [Physicists learn] a way of thinking, a way of looking at problems. Seeâthis is a problem with physicists: they think they know everything, because theyâre smart. What they donât understand is that yes, it is true, actually meteorology is a branch of physics. And so you take a physicist, like me, and you can sit him down, and in 2 or 3 years, they could learn meteorology. But physicists confuse being smart and having the ability to learn everything with actually knowing stuff!
There is a difference between having the ability to learn and actually having learned, and there is also a difference between understanding certain physical principles, which physicists do, and then knowing certain facts. Physicists always think âoh, Iâm a physicist, I understand astronomy.â But really, you donât, because, for example, in astronomy there are just things you have to know. For example, you have to know how big the galaxy is. And being a physicist doesnât automatically teach you how big the galaxy is. You might understand the physical laws that govern the galaxy, but you donât know these facts: you donât know how big it is, you donât know what itâs made of, you donât know what the planets are made ofâthere are just a lot of things you donât know.
So physicists think they know everything, I mean, they get confused between having the ability to understand everythingâwhich they more or less haveâ and then actually knowing everything.
Interviewer: Why donât chemists do the same thing?
Young physicist: Why donât they have a similar arrogant attitude [small laugh]? I donât know!
"you can choose to sponsor the digitization of any adoptable technical report. The cost is $85 (approximately the same cost as ordering a hard copy)"
Oreskes' Reagan mistake is understandable. In the run up to the 2008 election, it was important that voters understood that Republicans are anti-science and that Obama would return science to its proper place.
Fortunately we now have a Nobel Prize winning Energy Secretary who didn't know his portfolio included regulating oil companies, a Science Adviser who coauthored the thoroughly discredited "Population Bomb" and an Interior Secretary who made a false claim of scientific peer review for the 6 month drilling moratorium.
So your point is that physicists are arrogant and you aren't? The events you refer to took place in 1990, seven years after the events in my paper. At least in my father's case he was a member of the NAS, the NAE, had been a co-author of MacDonald et al., and the chair of the 1983 NAS report on CO2. According to Science, the Marshall report was also endorsed by Jerome Namias and Reginald Newell, along with Richard Lindzen. I'm not saying it was right, just that they had a right to their opinion. Remember that this was about five years before the IPCC had concluded that there was a clear signal.
I've posted selected images from the EPA report. Obviously not the whole thing, but I think it covers the important stuff.
Nicholas, William Nierenberg never changed his stripes and Eli is a chemist (ok, that's sorta wrong, but don't tell Ralf).
Lahsen looked at a lot more than that 1990 "report" circulated by the George Marshall Institute, which, as Jerry Mahlman put it, was "noisy junk". Some, not Eli he hastens to add, might ask why it was written and how it comported with the views of the three amigos, Seitz, Jastrow and Wm. Nierenberg and advanced their issues. Some others, might note that the three founded the GMI in 1984, not so distant in time from the NAS report.
[Deleted. Lets try to stay polite -W]
You could at least get my name right after all this time.
The big lie continues with Oreskes article in Nature. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7299/full/465686a.html. In that article they claim that Nierenberg's acid rain panel played down the issue. Here is the truth.
Seitz, on the take from the tobacco industry, but *eminently* on the take. You betcha, Tom C.
[Err, but why is this of any relevance to the issue under discussion? -W]
I don't really know that much about it. But how was Seitz "on the take?" Do you really know anything about it, or are you just going off of what Oreskes wrote?
Nicolas, reconcile these two Seitz quotes:
"We had absolutely free rein to decide how the money was spent."
"They didn't want us looking at the health effects of cigarette smoking,"
Free rein or not?
OK, now read the reasons why Seitz was hired:
His specific mandate was to research tobacco and health. He spent 10 years researching everything but, which he later admits (while simultaneously asserting "free rein"). He was a shill for the tobacco industry.
William, a complete list would help. For example, this belongs in your 'ice age' collection (a reminder that much remains hidden for many years): http://nixonlibrary.gov/virtuallibrary/documents/jul10/55.pdf
[That is good; I like that one -W]
The tobacco archive is a notable exception in historical material, divulged under legal compulsion with the lawyers' assertion their clients revealed everything relevant. Research in that archive has changed a lot of public health history -- and continues to do so.
That Seitz letter is a mild example; searching e.g. here
will find new publications as they come out, e.g. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1747615/ -- there are continuing surprises (as there are from for example the Nixon Library archive on the coming ice age, linked at the top here).
A similar release of contemporary documents would no doubt entertain future historians; "history is opaque to the men who make it" [Terray 1978:299].
NN, you complain about Oreskes using sources not easily available to the public; is there a complete list of everything that needs to be digitized so people can see it for themselves?
It irks me to see the agency gives people the choice -- at the same price -- to buy one photocopy or to 'adopt' the paper so it will be digitized and made available to anyone subsequently. That allows people with the money to buy their own copy without making the same material easily available to others who want to look for it.
While I claim no special knowledge of the subject, this paper looks like good scholarship (and in the same journal no less!).
Methinks Oreskes has some questions to answer.
Your quotes seem to me to be self contradictory. If he wasn't looking at the health effects of cigarette smoking then how was his mandate tobacco and health? If you read the document that you linked to you see that his mandate was the study of degenerative disease. Look at the bottom of page 7.
Thanks for your comment.
The Scripps archive is a huge collection of correspondence and documents from people who worked there. Included in my father's materials are numerous items no one would ever need to see. I think that in this type of case researchers should make documents available as necessary. Or perhaps should be required to upload documents that they reference.
Since that is not currently required I am ready to upload any referenced document that someone would like to see.
Did you take a look at the EPA report I uploaded?
Another source (1999); cited by anyone?
NN, got the images, working on reading them (don't have a printer, so reading on screen). Handheld camera shots?
NOTE: to greatly improve the quality of images of double-sided pages, put a BLACK sheet of paper as a background behind each page. That increases the contrast of the scan or photograph dramatically. (This is counterintuitive for some folks; try it.)
I recommend a flatbed scanner to get images that aren't distorted (VueScan shareware includes some OCR capability: http://www.hamrick.com/ -- it makes a valiant attempt at OCRing even from your images, but it'd be faster to retype the pages; I can't do that.
I just noticed your comment about the 1990 Marhsall report.
I don't understand your point. It was written/edited by Nierenberg, Seitz, and Jastrow in 1990. It is clearly labeled as their viewpoint. The book also includes reprints of several apparently peer reviewed papers. Malhman did say that. Alternatively Namias and others endorsed it.
The 1984 founding of the Marshall institute had to do with SDI, they didn't turn to CO2 and other issues until several years later. Even Oreskes acknowledges that.
Anyway you seem to have dodged William's question as to whether you still accept Oreskes' version of the CC story.
In short Eli sees protestations of paleo-innocence as contradicted by just about all of the proxies.
The George Marshall Institute (GMI) was intimately connected to the tobacco industry and the tobacco industry's attack on science. As Hank's links show, at a minimum the GMI was funded by the tobacco industry through a cut-out, to discredit science on the issue of the ozone hole. William Nierenberg, it need not be said, was at that time a director and big shot in the GMI and the GMI accepted the funding and the work.
Yet others claim that the 1990 (1989) attack piece on climate science was "clearly labeled opinion". It sure was not flogged to the political class as "opinion". It was sold as the conclusions of distinguished scientists.
Oreskes mentions that William Nierenberg and Fred Singer distorted a report on acid rain in the 1980s following strong NAS reports on the subject:
President Reagan commissioned an independent peer review of the existing scientific evidence. Most of the panel members were, actually, independent, and agreed with the National Academy that regulatory action to control sulfur emissions was warrented
However, Nierenberg and Singer worked to challenge that conclusion, adding a policy-oriented appendix by Singer â which was not approved by the entire panel â that first advocated free-market approaches to controlling pollution, and then concluded (but without a real quantitative analysis) that the cost of reducing acid rain would very likely exceed the benefits. Nierenberg also worked behind the scenes with White House Science Advisor George Keyworth to soften the conclusions of the reportâs executive summary and to make them seem more ambiguous than they had originally been.
That was in the 1980s
William Nierenberg was still involved with GMI (as a member of the Board?) at the time of his death in 2000, and he was in deep with SEPP. Innocent he was not. A deathbed convert to attacking climate scientists he was not. You might want to discuss the matter with Ben Santer who was falsely attacked in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere by the GMI trio including William Nierenberg in 1995.
Agnotology: The Cultural Production of Ignorance, edited by Robert Proctor and Londa Schiebinger, Stanford University Press.
"... It is perfectly possible to accept the reality of global warming and believe that nothing should be done about it.92 Indeed, that had been Nierenbergâs position in 1983, when he chaired a major National Academy of Sciences study of climate changeâand before he became involved with the Marshall Institute.93
Pielkeâs critique of the linear model has been largely directed at scientists, who, he suggests, have a naiÌve faith that determining the scientific facts automatically determines the required policy action. And yet in their own way, the climate change deniers presumed the linear model, too: that if global warming was proven true, then government interference in free markets would necessarily follow. Thus, they had to fight against the emerging consensus, either by challenging the scientific evidence directly or by striving to create the impression of ongoing scientific debate....
... To accept that the unregulated free market may be creating profound problems that the free market cannot solve would be, as one of us has argued elsewhere, âideologically shattering.â95When scientific knowledge challenging their world view, these men responded by challenging that knowledge.
Believing in free market capitalism does not require one to dispute the scientific evidence of global warming or to misrepresent that state of scientific debate. But in the hands of the Marshall Institute, and those it has influenced, climate science has been profoundly misrepresented, and a great deal of confusion and ignorance produced."
92It is also possible to be a communist and have no opinions whatsoever about global warming.
93 National Academy of Science, Changing Climate: Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1983), xiii-xvi, 1-4; William Nierenberg, âClimate, CO2 and Acid Rain,â presented at the 80th Anniversary of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, October 13 1983, Box 169, Folder 17, MC13, Papers of William Aaron Nierenberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives, University of California, San Diego; and see physicist Alvin Weinbergâs scathing denunciation of the 1983 studyâs âdo nothingâ attitude: Alvin M. Weinberg, âComments on NRC Draft Report of the Carbon Dioxide Assessment Committee,â July 6, 1983, Box 86, Folder 7, MC 13, Papers of William Aaron Nierenberg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives, University of California, San Diego.
95 Erik M. Conway, A History of Atmospheric Science in NASA (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming).
See the Google Books link I posted above for quotes
Actually I like that paper by Lahsen. You should think about the bottom line which is that conspiracy theories are counter productive in general.
Seriously you are quoting Oreskes and Conway to show that I am wrong about Oreskes and Conway?
Also sorry you are having trouble reading them. Are you maximizing the size on Flickr? They seem easy to read to me.
I had to use a camera as these items can't be removed from the archives.
I am not aware of any tobacco link with GMI other than Seitz. What funding are you referring to?
As to the acid rain thing it is a remarkable demonstration that you continue to accept Oreskes at face value. That is another complete fabrication. Take a look at my post 9 above. The panel chaired by my father took a strong stand on the need to immediately take measures to reduce acid rain despite "imperfect knowledge." My father was quoted in numerous articles and gave speeches over the years on this topic. The major controversy surrounding the report were allegations that it had been suppressed by the Reagan administration because of its policy implications. That was in the summer of 1984. Oreskes goes on and on about edits to the executive summary, which were in fact done by the OSTP, but none of that changed how the story was covered by the press. The headlines were that Reagan's panel had called for substantial reductions in pollution.
In June of 1983 that panel had already issued a press release through the OSTP making their position clear.
My father didn't agree with Singer on that subject as is also clear from various correspondence. Singer's chapter was moved to a signed appendix and out of the body of the report. In any event do you know what Singer wanted? The answer is Cap and Trade. But the scientists on the panel including my father weren't familiar or interested in that issue.
NN, I'm not taking a side here, I'm looking for sources people can read and cite, as they come across these discussions later on.
Academic publication-- as William points out -- is the right way to go at this kind of issue, by a series of papers.
Even in blogging threads like this I urge people who've had access to otherwise unavailable sources to cite to their sources so others later can find them. Your father's correspondence disagreeing with Singer would be a good example; you saw it, you know where.
Again I'm urging this not for me but for later readers' benefit.
Authors who take the step of making full text available on every opportunity, by "adopting" scanning a paper rather than buying a personal copy, or by putting images online, deserve extra credit.
(Convincing the institution that holds the paper to also host the images would be a good longterm approach; if they won't, I'd urge you to add an image to the set by photographing a sheet of paper you've printed in nice big clear font that includes the full citation to where the original can be found.)
Again, put a black sheet of paper behind any two-sided page when you photograph or scan it; that will _greatly_ improve the contrast for later OCR.
> I am not aware of any tobacco link with
> GMI other than Seitz.
Seitz, GMI chairman, was the first author of the GMI publications. 'Other than' Seitz rules all that out.
You should read this again (free registration required)
(PM is Philip Morris; SHS is control of second-hand smoke, still a public health issue won by the industry most parts of the world as of today)
"... Philip Morris funded Jim Tozzi's Federal Focus; the latter, in turn, was one of the funders of the George C Marshall Institute in Washington DC.54 In 1994 the institute published a report called âGlobal warming and ozone hole controversies. A challenge to scientific judgment,â written by its board chairman, Dr Frederick Seitz. While introducing the subject Seitz also listed a dozen other environmental substances whose dangers he considered controversial, including ... passive smoke. Referring to the latter he wrote, âthere is no good scientific evidence that passive inhalation is truly dangerous under normal circumstances.â55 It is clear that MBS's Jim Tozzi had access to early copies of this publication and was planning on using it to further PM's agenda through a symposium to discuss the report findings.54 This symposium was to be attended by âFederal employees as well as private sector interestsâ...
... Seitz's report had potential for an international reach as PM Europe's Helene Lyberoupoulos suggested ....
PM was considering staging a âSeitz Symposiumâ,... as part of its attack on the EPA..."
Don't confuse the political motivation of the thinktank members with the business motivation of the thinktank funders in these matters. Delay is profit, and this is precedent that will greatly reassure many other industries: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/business/29tobacco.html
"... arguing in a preliminary report that 'actions have to be taken despite incomplete knowledge', Nierenberg's activist stance on acid rain provoked a storm of controversy within the Reagan administration...."
Fascinating details abound. Read more than the bit I quote. It's juicy stuff.
Likely all this has been cited somewhere in the published works, but being lazy, I'm just poking around.
Here is one letter to Singer.
Here is the testimony to congress in September 1983 from the panels preliminary results. (Note that my father was not able to attend, but William Ackerman testified in his place. Given this testimony it is ridiculous for some Congressmen to eventually complain that they didn't have the information they needed fro the Reagan sponsored report.
And when EPRI complained to Keyworth about the panel's recommendations to limit sulfur, here is my father's response.
There is lots more here. I'm considering writing another paper about it. But the bottom line is that Oreskes is completely wrong on this one as well.
Sorry here is the congressional testimony.
Don't you guys realise that posts like this reveal the group think practiced by the hockey team?
[I don't know. Who are the Hockey team? Am I on it? -W]
John, you can't have looked at that Google Books link.
Thanks for the link on the acid rain stuff. I think you can see from this that Oreskes' work is completely revisionist history.
I don't see Federal Focus here. I see Exxon in the later period, but no tobacco. I really think the tobacco link to the GMI is a stretch.
> I'm considering writing another paper about it.
Do. It helps to establish a pattern.
Nicolas, my reply with detail and links of a day or two ago seems to have failed, perhaps off topic; shorter answer: to get a Sourcewatch cite, see the Seitz article, which footnotes the same reference at PMDOCS. See the Sourcewatch 'front groups' list. FF passed corporate money to MI, allowing MI to claim all their funding was independent. MI was deep in tobacco money.
PS for Nicolas; I don't pretend to advise on tactics for scholarly competition (wry grin).
Future historians would benefit if you can provide a complete list of the docs you refer to, along with a list of those you've photographed. Someone might try to get a comparable list of docs from other historians.
That could be compared to the complete index at Scripps, to help later workers revisit what you've read and look at what you (and others) haven't read or cited.
You use the word "revisionism" -- which isn't exactly right, I don't think. Opinions vary. You may believe your father fought Singer; from the _outside_ it may look like they played the same game in different ways, since your father didn't disavow Singer's idea (which, as you point out, is now the mainstream idea, cap'n'trade). Whether moving it to a separate chapter was a promotion or a demotion is again a matter of opinion. Eli has one, the book I linked to has another, you have a third, Oreskes has a fourth. I don't have an opinion, just an itch to get citable sources published.
It took a bit of googling but I was able at last dredge up WTF Oreskes et al. paper you guys were on about. All of the links to it on Stoat's and many other sites lead only to the LSE/CPNSS front page.
So: the working link to "From Chicken Little to Dr. Pangloss: William Nierenberg, Global Warming, and the Social Deconstruction of Scientific Knowledge" is currently
The particular revisionism I am talking about is that the peer review panel played down the issue, when in fact it is clear from the record that they didn't. The record includes the articles that I linked to as well as the book you cited. Eli cited Oreskes which hardly counts in this case.
The Singer chapter is a complete sideshow, but obviously moving it to a separately signed appendix lowered its perceived impact from including it in the jointly signed report.
I went and looked at your reference with regard to Federal Focus. The underlying document to that quote doesn't back it up.
"Possibly could provide funding, through Federal Focus, to the George C. Marshall institute or some of its members."
I don't see any evidence that ever happened, and indeed that memo is from 1993 so again claims that tobacco was a major, or really any source of support to GMI seem to be without foundation.
So Oreskes got it right in her Science article in December, 2004. Think again friend. Go to the nearest library and try to duplicate her reported results with the Web of Science. Surprise, surprise -- Oreskes and your results won't even come close. It's too bad she and the editors of Science Magazine don't have the guts to face that issue and answer some basic questions about research that any college freshman would be better qualified to answer.
[Err, you're wrong, and I've no idea why you think you're right (unless you're referring to the error in the exact description of her search term, long ago corrected) -W]
Well, Mescalero, if it's so easy, why don't you repeat her study?
Note that others have. Benny Peiser, for starters, who quietly retracted his claim that Oreskes was wrong.
See also here for someone doing the same study (albeit rather limited):