Can't think of any more amusing Curry jokes

Not that any of the existing ones are that good, either. Anyway: I slagged off her post on attribution a while ago, and then forgot (or couldn't be bothered) to slag off the nonsense she wrote about uncertainty (although my Judith Curry is now blogging, which is probably a good thing, because now instead of nitpicking other people's blogs she is now attempting to say what she thinks. Unfortunately this results in some very strange things is becoming every more clearly correct. Having to make a coherent argument is quite hard; Curry needs someone to read her stuff before she posts it). Anyway James (who can do the probability stuff better than me, and is certainly more authoritative than me or Curry on whether it makes sense) is unimpressed, and conveniently points to mt quite forthright.

But since I'm here, I wanted to talk about Heresy and the creation of monsters wherein Curry talks about Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues which plaintively asks Why can't we have a civil conversation about climate? And the answer, at least in Curry's case, is that she often doesn't know what she is talking about (see the above) but has frequently seen fit to say it in various blog comments, and subsequently failed to apologise for her errors. The ones that stick in my mind is Currygate and her denigration of DC's charges of plagiarism against Wegman, for which she now looks very stupid (there are far more, those might not even be the most exciting, but they are the ones I can remember). It is very difficult to have a "civil conversation" if people have, effectively, no honour - if they feel able to make false statements and then run away from them. In fact this is very much a divide between the "skeptic" and "science" blogs - all the "science" ones I know of, and bother read, make an effort to be accurate and correct errors.

So, to conclude: of course Curry is happy to attack and discuss the SciAm article - because that article has completely missed the point of the criticism of her. Whether Curry has, and is evading it, or it has just passed her by, I don't know.

[I had hped not to have to say this: but this and its comments is not the place for PA's on Curry]


* Attribution errors
* Round in circles with Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice?
* Currygate, part 3: the key papers exposed
*(S)He who refuses to do arithmetic is doomed to talk nonsense
* Nice comment at RC
* Judith Curry goes from building bridges to burning them
* And even "Jugular" Zorita
* apsmith
* Gf thinks I'm too kind to Curry / SciAm

More like this

Hi William,

Two of us were left trying to make sense of this 'plagiarism' accusation at Keith Kloor's blog:

But after serious objections to Mashey's work were pointed out, there was no further interest in discussing the matter.

Judith Curry as well as Eduardo Zorita and others have probably adopted the correct position, viz. there is much ado about nothing here.

The following study from another field shows that the kind of plagiarism Mashey/DeepC discovered is probably normal in scientific publishing:

âPlagiarism sleuths tackle full-text biomedical articlesâ…

...even in papers reporting novel results, certain sections, such as the introduction or methods section, frequently have large amounts of content that appear elsewhere,â said Garner. The researchers went on to explain that the re-use of text in certain sections, such as the methods section of papers, where authors provide details on how the work was done, is not a bad thing because it is important to use the accepted and most consistent techniques.

The fact that Yasmin Said is a young post doc, probably of middle eastern origin, where attitudes towards lifting of text would be completely different, should also be mentioned.…

But even if we agreed that there was 'plagiarism', the more serious Mashey allegation would be that distortions of the material were introduced.

However, it appears that all of his claims beyond simple lifting of text are simply false.

So what we really have is probably innocent lifting of text in a work done pro bono for Congress, and a beat up analysis from John Mashey, who now refuses to comment.

Hoping to hear more from John Mashey on this matter.

Best, Alex

By Alex Harvey (not verified) on 30 Oct 2010 #permalink

For the "what could she possibly be thinking" file:…
"All advice, all policy recommendations emanating from the environmentalist movement must be summarily rejected unless and until they can be validated on the basis of a pro-man, pro-wealth, pro-capitalist standard of value. Such a standard will never imply such a thing as the destruction of the energy base of industrial civilization as the means of addressing global warming.

The environmental movement is the philosophic enemy of the human race....."

For the antithesis file:

"What Marx really wrote is 'The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.' Today, in the age of credit cards, we must revise his adage: 'The capitalist will _lend_ you the money to buy the rope to hang him with.'"

Still working on the synthesis, but I suspect it will turn out to be a Fermi Paradox.

> cost
"Convincing" is the key word here.

Rolling out clean diesel trucks at the same time will make the point that people aren't giving up their traditional free fuel to allow the old dirty diesels to continue in use.

Look for regulations addressing particles much smaller than the current PM10 -- the ones that get deep into airways -- as part of the task. That will be difficult -- and those may be proportionately more from vehicle fuels, though that's, as they say, arguable.

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Haven't you heard? Curry is never wrong. All of her errors are not really errors on her part. They are just an indication of people from a tribe trying to play "gotcha".

Curry jokes? OK, so an Indian a Pakistani and a guy from Shri Lanka walk into a restaurant to eat lunch with Henry Kissinger and a hippie...

Curry is boring. Who else is bored?

[I know what you mean. It is like those irritating traffic jams on the motorway that turn out when you get to them to be for no reason other than people slowing down to look at a crash on the other side of the road. OK, I'll take the hint -W]

"Curry is boring. Who else is bored?"

Well quite a few are bored but not with Judith Curry who regularly elicits tens and even hundreds of posts to her slightest after-thought (unless my post is deleted by moderation, I count 4 posts to this idiot post, in contrast). Eat your hearts out guys! You've not only been relegated to the status of "kitschy dork, has-beens", "super-annuated loser-smartypants", and "especially-noxious-refuse-on-the-dust-bin-of-history", but you've even been reduced to fungus-among-us." And by a girl. A girl! Go Judy!

Please allow me to tighten-up the language of my previous post:

-Should read: "...4 comments to this idiot post..."

-Should read: "...'fungus-among-us.'"

mike: Maybe she could get her own TV show... Judy Curry's Climate?

"Maybe she could get her own TV show... Judy Curry's Climate?

No doubt. Would even attract some real human beings as viewers. Commercial sponsors, even. Big ratings and all that. Not recommended viewing for the PBS/NPR pod-spawn though.

Boring, as half the US has gone insane?

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 30 Oct 2010 #permalink

I considered adding your first name to this:
but thought you were doing such a good job at WP so I didn't, but may I?

[I can hardly complain about such august company -W]

On other observations, the US, Andorra and Holy See are the only countries not interested in preserving their biodiversity so polluting and destroying the ecosystems of these is permissible, by their own decision, or not. (Nice to know what the dumps of this world are.)

Yes, this isn't funny anymore even in a sardonic manner.

No. More People need to understand this. The last part of Mt's piece is very likely wrong. It's not just the person, it's also the medium.
In the scientific world, she writes for a specific audience. Coauthors and reviewers help her maintain a certain standard. In the blogosphere, there is no one between her and the "post" button, and the standards of discourse are low. This often results, as mike notes, in her posting something silly and the blogosphere going crazy. The substance, however, is missing, and the whole thing gets boring real fast.

Dr. Connolley is right. She needs a blog reviewer. I nominate Dr. Inferno.

It sounds like you already ate those buttons. You're tripping dude... We in the US may have more liberty than other nations on the rest of the planet, but "Shining Beacon"? Not so much.

By wildlifer (not verified) on 30 Oct 2010 #permalink

mike: I'm sorry that you are unable to appreciate our elitist NWO commentary. I guess you need to decide whether you want to troll or communicate. You can't do both at the same time (sense of humor might help, too).

Jeez, Rocco, I guess I blew it. I'm mortified to learn that I lack the Stoat flair for humor. But I really enjoyed the following giggle-magnets (all in reference to Judith Curry):

-"...she now looks very stupid..." (Connelley)

-"It is very difficult to have a "civil conversation" if people have, effectively, no honor..." (Connelley, again)

-"Curry is boring" (you)

-"...she really has turned into a sad sack." (Rabett)

Give me a second chance, please, Rocco. I promise I'll try to be funny like you laugh-a-minute Stoats.

mike: Those are not the funny parts, unfortunately.


I am being something of a troll, but I'm responding in kind to a type of discourse that seems to be the norm on Stoat and similar blogs (but not on Judith Curry's blog). Seriously, why can't there be "civil conversation" on the AGW, CAGW, etc. business? Honestly, I've never seen such reflexive nastiness on any other subject. Where does this come from?

Two quotes.

" Eat your hearts out guys! You've not only been relegated to the status of "kitschy dork, has-beens", "super-annuated loser-smartypants", and "especially-noxious-refuse-on-the-dust-bin-of-history", but you've even been reduced to fungus-among-us."


"Seriously, why can't there be "civil conversation" on the AGW, CAGW, etc. business? Honestly, I've never seen such reflexive nastiness on any other subject. Where does this come from?"

It is fascinating that these appear to be from the same person.

Mike writes:

"I am being something of a troll"

It took awhile, but Mike finally gave us a useful contribution, in the form of an accurate statement. Given all the pre and post blather, his on base percentage is exraordinarily low.

[Trolling deleted. DNFTT folks -W]

mike: "(but not on Judith Curry's blog)"

Shark jumped, fridge nuked.

Dr. Curry if you and Steve McIntyre can pull down a climate change consensus (which seems to me the scientific method) then it would fall down eventually. Science is not, and never should be, majority rule.

curryja | October 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Yes, the consensus seems fragile indeed if they are threatened by the likes of myself and McIntyre


In reading about the actions of AGW promoters, and in reading the defenses of the AGW community, it is striking that time and time again religious concepts are invoked by those supporting AGW.
Many observers of the AGW phenomenon have noticed the striking similarities in behavior between the AGW opinion leaders and defenders and religious movements.
âHereticâ was the best word available for Lemonick because that is the way he and his intended supportive audience view the situation.

And how about...

Hi Judith, IMO the heat you are feeling from the establishment, and its intensity compared with that directed at other âhereticsâ such as Dick Lindzen, is mainly due to your being seen as an apostate, rather than merely a heretic. Some in the mainstream camp clearly feel betrayed.

Then there's...

Personal integrity and scientific honesty seem to have become rarer commodities in this world. Hopefully, your stand on these issues will be contagious.


Even to an ex-Biology major and a practicing family doctor, the methods by which the blundering âclimatologistâ charlatans of the AGW fraud and the colluding politicians and bureaucrats of both the United Nations and the various levels of government in these United States had put before the public â by way of the complicit and unskeptical âif it bleeds, it leadsâ catastrophe-mongering media â

Bored now. Facepalm and lunchtime.

@J Bowers,
You seem easily bored.

@ unter,
Give me credit. It took a whole two minutes out of my life to find those few comments.

Perhaps she's cultivating the mantle of Socratic irony.

Was Socrates made of iron?

By David B. Benson (not verified) on 31 Oct 2010 #permalink

âMost of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.â

As to uncertainty, the layman would like to know what percentage of the warming is due to gasses and what to land use as described in the IPCC consensus reports. Words like most and very likely are too imprecise.

[Do you think so? I don't see any great clamour from laymen to know this. The IPCC statement is simple, concise, and accurate. As to most and very likely being imprecise - you are aware that "very likely" has been given a precise definition, aren't you? (I assume you must be, since you've read the text; but then your point becomes very hard to understand. Is it possible you've cribbed your homework off someone else?) Presumably, if you care about land-use, you can look deeper in to the reports to find this, but I don't see why it should be brought out to the top level. You haven't been readnig RP Sr again, have you ;-? -W]

Scientists could successfully explain the significance of uncertainty by stressing the known radiative properties of CO2 as a percentage of total warming. They could say they are absolutely sure doubling CO2 by itself brings a 1C increase(or whatever the correct number is). Scientists should then explain the exact feedbacks that cause actual temperature increases 3 or more times that of CO2 alone.

[Again, I have to wonder if you've read the report -W]

27. "As to uncertainty, the layman would like to know what percentage of the warming is due to gasses and what to land use as described in the IPCC consensus reports. Words like most and very likely are too imprecise."

The IPCC has quantified the uncertainty phrases in, for example, the introduction to the AR4 Synthesis Report.…

Reading the report certainly doesn't always result in understanding it.

The meme has been that the more people understand the science, the more likely they are to accept it. My comment was in that spirit. It's not easy. I slogged through a lot of blogs before determining that this was the best place to get straight answers to my climate science questions.

[Well well. How can I and my commenters resist such flattery?

As to the meme: I have grown less convinced that is true, or at least significant, as time goes by. Of the vanishingly small percetnage that do take the trouble to study the actual science, then yes I agree with you: you cannot read it and still believe the septic nonsense from the like of Inhofe. And maybe those vanishing few will tell their friends. But the vast majority who need to accept the science - I'm really not sure how they are to be convinced. By the voice of authority, perhaps -W]

The science is relevant insofar as it informs corrective action and the allocation of limited dollars. Is it more effective in limiting temperature increase to attack a known feedback like black soot, which even uber denier Sen. Imhoffe supports?

[Stuff like black soot is a resonable question. However... how is it going to inform correct action? All the evidence is that the political process cannot deal with that level of subtlety. So the only plausible plan is to thrash it out between the scientists, and have them tell the lower-level policy folk, and it gets folded into a plan for the higher level folk, who then proceed to foul it up (see fisheries). My own thought is that black carbon is worth some attention but not much: it won't be a major factor into the future -W]

Haven't been to RP Sr's in many many months and probably fewer than 30 times before that. He's a bit of a one note Johnny. I'm sure he's never posted anything about bees.

[It was the bit about land use that triggered the RP Sr reflex, since that is one aspect of his note -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

30. "Reading the report certainly doesn't always result in understanding it."

"The length of this document defends it well against the risk of its being read."
-- Winston Churchill

That seems to apply mostly to those who proclaim AR4 to be a lie.

From AR4: "Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results), then the following likelihood ranges are used to express the assessed probability of occurrence: virtually certain >99%; extremely likely >95%; very likely >90%; likely >66%; more likely than not > 50%; about as likely as not 33% to 66%; unlikely <33%; very unlikely <10%; extremely unlikely <5%; exceptionally unlikely <1%."

Understanding would be enhanced if there were a clearly worked out example; e.g.,where actual statistical measures were combined with expert judgment in a stepwise fashion leading to a quantitative assessment of uncertainty. Does anyone know where an example of this sort can be found?

By bob koepp (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

"That quote seems to apply mostly to those who proclaim AR4 to be a lie."

I daresay those who proclaim AR4 a lie are more likely to have read it, looking for error and conspiracy.

If, in the unlikely event you think I've any disagreement with the IPCC reports, no. AR4 shows climate to be one more reason, although not the most immediate one, for replacing fossil fuels.

The world knows all about the stated dangers to climate. It has heard the projections and in large part accepted the science. Every government, every school from kindergarten through university, most newspapers and magazines and media outlets subscribe.

Despite that, the world has rejected the global/state approach of mitigation through tax or penalty. Since Copenhagen the climate concerned have been slow to face this reality.

As someone who has seen the necessity of energy transformation for far longer than climate has been an issue, let me assure the climate concerned. There is an overwhelming mass of people who share your goal of fossil free energy, but for other reasons. Even though you've very largely won the climate debate, your approach to the goal is irrevocably blocked. No further discussion of the science can change that.

The goal, however, is still attainable. If you stop thinking in terms of climate, you will find approaches that can be implemented and have a chance for success. The truly concerned will ask how best to achieve energy transformation if climate were not an issue at all?

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

On black soot

I'm working from the premise that mitigation can and must come from actions whose primary purpose or benefit is something other than climate.

Action on black soot is informed by an environmental approach, irrespective of climate. Even if it had no effect on climate, black soot would still be a pollutant worthy of attention. The necessary technology is available and affordable.

Ironically, one thing standing in the way is climate advocacy. In the US, the Senate passed a strong bipartisan black soot program with global focus that was even cosponsored by the most ardent climate denier, Inhofe. Unfortunately, majority leadership insisted the bill could only be an amendment to the climate bill that never made it out of committee.

[This is part of the reason I'm not very interested: it will indeed get fixed by other means. Similarly, China's smog won't continue to grow in proportion with their GHG emissions or they will all die -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

Paul, "if climate were not an issue at all" then actions in the past couple of decades and coming couple of decades wouldn't make a great deal of difference, because "if climate were not an issue at all" there would be no big delayed cost build into the future by current inaction.

Also, "if climate were not an issue at all" there would be ample time to sell off investments in the old technology to governments and pension plans before their value collapsed,

With the time pressure on owning fossil fuels, due to costs that can be anticipated of climate feedback, the markets aren't valuing fossil fuels as "if climate were not an issue at all."

Markets have become shall we say prematurely aware that carbon does carry large external costs that are being assigned to its stock value.

The normal approach -- selling while the value is perceived as high by outsiders -- isn't working out. So there's all this scurrying to somehow assign money politically to the people who own the stuff that's become recognized as troublesome.

I reckon this undertainty racket might be better helped if there were 2 parallel lines of certainty / uncertainty.

Number one, the numbers. Statistics and all that jazz - leads people with a little stats and less science into the trap of thinking they know better.

Number two, the physics (or other science). Instead of the IPCC saying "expert judgment" they should say how likely =based on the physics= is the conclusion. So for the central temperature rise question, the statistical outcome might be 90ish%, the physics "expert" evaluation can be 99%.

So the conclusions then become, the science shows we should expect a particular set of results. The assemblage of evidence backs that up to some level. A 99% scientific certainty backed up by 90+% support for that proposition (absent any compelling evidence for a 1% shot) amounts to "Unequivocal" in anyone's language.

undertainty = uncertainty

I'm sure there's a joke in there if I had the wit to think of it.


By David B. Benson (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink


There really is no such thing as current inaction. The error is defining inaction as anything that is not government imposed CO2 suppression regimes. Such regimes are not on the horizon and even if implemented would be least likely to succeed. They are a closed door. I don't think it's productive to keep knocking on a door that never opens, when there's an open window right next to it.

The open window is energy transformation. Through this window the question is not why, but how. The end game is the same - replacement of fossil fuels.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

I think they were successful because of a very limited number of producers and the availability of other refrigerants at roughly the same cost. Like cap/trade for sulfur emissions, CFC treaties are unfortunately neither analogous nor scalable to CO2. I'd also note the underlying science was easily understood and not much disputed.

[I think you're wrong on that last point. Don't take this as gospel, but I believe it is true that action on CFC's began long before we had the level of scientific certainty that we have for GHG forcing today -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 01 Nov 2010 #permalink

"so an Indian a Pakistani and a guy from Shri Lanka walk into a restaurant to eat lunch with Henry Kissinger and a hippie..."

Better make that two hippies. Serving a Secretary of State as a condiment is a serious violation of protocol.

When Judith Curry charges her iPhone, she actually feeds in the electric grid.

Li'l' Troll said:

-Should read: "...'fungus-among-us'

Erm, no.

If one is attempting to demonstrate one's primary school-level grammar, it should read "fungus amongst us".

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Nov 2010 #permalink

Paul Kelly, I don't see anyone seriously engaging your comment (#33), so I've highlighted it over at my site:

Gotta say, the denialism over here--in the face of the reality that Paul continues to make a good case for--is an interesting phenom of itself. If Paul's right, but the climate concerned prevail with their approach, it might be akin to you winning the battle but losing the war.

[Denialism, within the cliamte arena, is usually a word reserved for "not accepting the science of climate change". Which I don't see here. If you mean something else, it would be less confusing to use another word, or even to say what you mean -W]

The US banned CFCs as propellants in containers in the 1970s based on the Rowland/Molina work. It was clearly a case where there were replacements and the manufacturers didn't much care. The same thing happened with FCs recently (can't remember if they disappeared in the 90s or this decade) when their global warming potential was recognized although there was a bit more of a scramble (and FCs are really neat solvents, almost as good as supercritical CO2)

William, Why do I have to limit my use of "denialism" to the way you and a subset of people define it?

[You can call black white if you like. But it makes what you say hard to follow -W]

At any rate, you're playing semantic games. You know exactly what I mean.

[It would be nice if you wouldn't call me a liar on my own blog. You get away with it this once, don't do it again -W]

I'm suggesting that a different form of denialism has taken root in the climate concerned community--which, to paraphrase your definition, would translate into: "not accepting the political reality of climate change."

[Who knows. I've said repeatedly that the politicl aspect isn't my area of interest. But what does that have to do with this thread, which is about Curry's errors? And even then I still don't know what you mean. Could you please just listen to what I've said instead of denying it (ho ho) and please quote the bit where I'm exhibiting denialism? -W]

Way to go, Keith. Equating scientists and other good folks with conspiracy theorists and shills just because they disagree with your political opinion. That sure is gonna "move the debate forward".

Over at my site, Neven (a regular here, I believe?) is doing battle on a thread that is nominally about the enterprising Anna Haynes, a self-styled "citizen journalist."

Anyway, relevant to this conversation, Neven said something curious in an exchange with Judith Curry.

She wrote (…):

"I think policies like carbon stabilization targets are doomed to fail, either politically or in implementation, without any help needed from the denial machine."

As part of his response (…) he said:

"I think I agree with that, as the root problem goes far, far deeper and goes beyond AGW alone (most of the warmist masses are in denial themselves about that). But it needs a bit of help from the denial machine nonetheless. If the help from the denial machine wasnât needed, it wouldnât have been there in the first place."

Notice he said "...most of the warmist masses are in denial themselves about that..."

Denialism. Cuts both ways.

[Err, I'm sure you've got a point somewhere but I don't know what it is. Is there some connection between someone asserting denialism by the "warmist masses" over at your blog and your perception of "denialism" by me at this blog?

Either you're being too obscure or I'm being too stupid. Either way, the solution is to attempt to make a coherent argument rather than just present a few quotes plus a snark -W]

My, my, so touchy. Well, I can see this is going nowhere fast.

[And you aren't? -W]

First of all, I was responding to a comment by one of your commenters (who happened to be off-topic as well).I won't do that again. In the future, I'll refrain from engaging with commenters and just keep my commments focused like a laser beam on the (snark-free) substance of your post.

[No, your're welcome to respond to other comments. But doing so in a comprehensible way is good. You're even free to be allusive the first time, but remaining elusive thereafter isn't friendly -W]

As for the ratio of coherent arguments to snark in your comment threads, well, by all appearances, it would seem I fit in fine here. You just don't happen to like my particular snark.

[Snarky can be OK, but it doesn't make a choerent argument. I assumed you had a point to make. I've repeatedly asked you to make it, and you keep backing off. Which reminds me of someone -W]

As I recall (I'm looking for a history that Oxford published, it's been a while) the original ozone concern was about mid-latitude damage, and the effort to restrict use of CFCs was well advanced before the unexpected Antarctic stratosphere ozone damage was discovered.

Reality is worse than the imagined worst case -- but the precautionary approach had gotten the political process well along before the severity and urgency of the problem was recognized.

China has gamed the CFC regulatory system extremely well for short term profit.…
--- excerpt follows ---
... Molina and Rowland have a lot to say on the issues of ozone and policy, of course. When they called for a worldwide ban on CFCs, following their discovery that CFCs were destroying the ozone layer, they were, in many respects, pioneers. But though their efforts ultimately led to the phasing out of CFCs, their results â and outspoken views â were initially greeted with caution from the scientific community. I asked them what the young scientists working on climate change can learn from their experience.

Rowland was adamant that young scientists should not be afraid to speak up on the implications of their research. I queried them on how far researchers should go in speaking up. Would they, for example, now call for a worldwide ban on the use of coal, given that coal is such a significant contributor to the problem of climate change?....
... they said that the use of dirty coal should be banned globally, if CCS becomes available. In other words, use of CCS should be mandatory on all exisitng and newly built plants, once the technology is ready to be deployed . I guess the rationale behind that stance is that we're not currently in a position to stop using coal altogether - and realistically China is unlikely to want to - so calling for a cab fullstop is unrealistic. ....
--- end excerpt ---

As William reminds us from time to time, another issue to look at is fisheries. There again the worst case has turned out to be been far worse than the scientists imagined, but the warnings were pushed back and the political process has been completely captured by cheaters.

"All denialism is defined by rhetorical tactics designed to give the impression of a legitimate debate among experts when in fact there is none".[22] -- Wikipedia definition

KK extends this to include rhetorical tactics designed to give the impression that there is no legitimate debate among voters when in fact there is.

Makes sense to me. It's just the opposite. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.' 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master.'"

Keith is a good egg. Let him call whatever he wants by whatever word he likes, he's teaching the controversy, and that keeps the bloggers lively.

Hm, not found the book I was thinking of, but there's this:…
"Begins with the initial qualitative confirmation of the main points of the chlorine-ozone depletion claim in 1976, which coincided with the resolution of the US policy debate over aerosols. It proceeds through 1985, with the seeming contradiction between slowly growing confidence that the main processes operating in the stratosphere were coming to be understood, and two shocking new claims of observed ozone losses that sharply called this confidence into question...."

Ah, hat tip to of course Google and to Ian Enting in a comment here:…

"... Maureen Christie did a PhD at Melbourne, published by CUP as The Ozone layer: A philosophy of science perspective that tracked through the history of the real scientific debates, especially over the ozone hole: solar or dynamics or chemistry. And then how, after the science was settled (i.e. the main proponents of other ideas accepted the evidence of chemistry) a political debate was continued using old discredited arguments. One thing she pointed out was that poor stuff that got through the peer review process often just got ignored, rather than anyone taking the time to refute it. Putting this another way, the most important form of peer review is not the bit that is done at the time of publication, but the ongoing review by the scientific community."

see also:
Climatic Change (2008) 89:143â154 DOI 10.1007/s10584-008-9400-6
Learning about ozone depletion
Paul J. Crutzen & Michael Oppenheimer
Published online: 14 March 2008 (c) The Author(s) 2008

Stratospheric ozone depletion has been much studied as a case history in the interaction between environmental science and environmental policy. The positive influence of science on policy is often underscored, but here we review the photochemistry of ozone in order to illustrate how scientific learning has the potential to mislead policy makers. The latter may occur particularly in circumstances where limited observations are combined with simplified models of a complex system, such as may generally occur in the global change arena. Even for the well-studied case of ozone depletion, further research is needed on the dynamics of scientific learning, particularly the scientific assessment process, and how assessments influence the development of public policy.
1 Introduction
The resolution of the problem of ozone depletion has become a touchstone for analysis of environmental policymaking on global issues (Parson 2003; Christie 2001). Much attention has been paid to the forces behind the development of international agreements and domestic regulation (Benedick 1998; Barrett 2003), as well as the role played by evolution of scientific understanding (Rowland 1989, 2006; Parson 2003). ...."


You want to define the terms of the language ("denialism") I use so I can't even get past go.

But should you show some flexibility in the arena of language play, here's what I'm saying, as I build on Paul Kelly's argument:

Many climate concerned exhibit another form of denialism when they fail to accept the political reality of climate change. In other words, the political obstacles to carbon mitigation have been apparent for several decades, all the while climate science has increasingly won the day.

Of course, if you (and anyone else here) doesn't accept the premise of Kelly's argument ("The world knows all about the stated dangers to climate. It has heard the projections and in large part accepted the science.), then there's no sense in us going further.

Now, am I going to go into enough detail to satisfy your standards for "coherence," probably not in a comment thread. But as I've been meaning to take this up in a post (beyond what I've already done today at my site), I'll check back with you again after I've done so to see if my climate concerned denialists thesis makes any more sense then.

[OK. Put like that, what you say is mostly just obvious, or wrong, depending on what you mean. Many people have been saying for quite a long time that "we" already "know as much science as we need" (rough paraphrase - don't quote me on that) - mt and I amongst them. However, the "we" is important - what I mean by "we" is the scientifically literate. I don't agree that The world knows all about the stated dangers to climate. It has heard the projections and in large part accepted the science is accurate, using a commonplace defn of "world" -W]

Keith (and Paul):

Care to explain us why NOT invoking climate change as a reason to alter our energy use is NOT going to get challenged by the fossil fuel industry and by people who are 'natural' contrarians whenever something challenges their entrenched position?

It appears to me that Paul Kelly's position is about as much denial of political and sociological reality as 'our' supposed position...…

---excerpt follows----

... could we have a different and more efficient energy system? You bet.

... most of the reasons to make a real change simply arenât compelling enough to overcome the value built into the energy system we have.

... General Electric .... wants the government to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a way of creating a U.S. market for cleaner technology.
Ditto getting off imported oil.... the main impetus for a new energy policy. Yet, history shows that weâre simply not willing to change ...

Climate change could be the game changer, though....
---- end excerpt ----

Over at my site, Neven (a regular here, I believe?)

Keith, I'm not really a regular here, but I drop in every once in a while because of the informed and intelligent chatter.

You could have asked me to specify what I meant when I said there is denialism on the warmist side instead of using it to wave at WC. I will try to explain here, if WC will allow it. If only because my lay-out looks normal here and I can use html tags.

Denial is a common human trait. Practically everyone is in denial of one thing or other. It helps us cope with life. Now, when I said that the warmist masses are in denial of how deep the root cause of most global problems (of which AGW is but one, though quite big) goes , I wasn't referring to the warmists on blogs such as this one. Those are the smart people who dig deep, who know about the science, who know about the PR, etc. They're a very small, very well-informed group, generally speaking.

I was referring to the masses who go to live concerts with Al Gore, change their light bulbs and who automatically believe AGW is happening without really looking into it (although a lot of them in my vicinity will also remember that they read some interview with a local skeptic saying AGW was not a problem). These are the people who think they can just greenify everything they do, send 10 bucks a month to Greenpeace et voila, problem solved.

Most of them are simply in denial that much, much more needs to be done to actually make an impact. How many people do you know who really made an effort to cut on all the waste they produce and restrain themselves? I know practically no one.

My problem with warmists in general, the smart ones too, is they seem to ignore that AGW is but a symptom of a root cause, and gets disproportionately more attention than the root cause. This root cause has many more symptoms, such as financial bubbles, resource wars, the diabesity epidemic, top soil erosion, etc (I already named them on your blog).

In my opinion the neoclassical economic concept of unending economic growth is at the root of all these problems. This concept has dominated economic theory for decades and shaped our society and culture in many intricate ways. But evidence is accumulating every day that shows that the concept doesn't work, because nothing can be infinite in a finite system. There have to be limits, and sooner or later the limits start to impose themselves. This is just pure logic, I believe.

As long as people focus on solutions to the symptoms without eliminating the root cause, nothing will change and limits will be imposed. In fact, this has started already and will become become more obvious as years pass.

So, this is the form of denialism I meant, but it's incomparable really to the climate denialism that fills such a large part of your comment sections, Keith. I admire you for letting it all pass unchallenged. You're a great honest broker.

Neven said: So, this is the form of denialism I meant, but it's incomparable really to the climate denialism that fills such a large part of your comment sections, Keith. I admire you for letting it all pass unchallenged. You're a great honest broker.

In this respect, is it reasonable to say that the deniers are putting too many obstacles in the climate debate, and do not let it (the debate) to progress and educate the masses?

That is, deniers such as WTFUWT, CA and others are making it much harder to fix things with their stalling tactics. And Keith, you are also shortsighted.


You only used the term to be inflammatory, perhaps because you yourself think it is inflammatory, but that would be two wrongs make a right, or perhaps you just wanted to call some people hypocrites but didn't want to do it directly. Additionally the argument from blog comment kind of reminds me about Judith dodging and weaving and being deliberately obtuse regarding your argument about plagiarism. Only you can judge the level of deliberation you undergo when you write the things you do. And instead of talking about what Judith wrote we are talking about what people wrote about Judith, and how you go about writing things about other people writing things about Judith.

Good old Keith.

Post 46 Bernard J.

"fungus amongst us"

What's with you guys. A constant regression to your glory days as teacher's pet in Mr. Milquetoast's English class for future smartypants elites. No one, and I mean no one, outside of a Stoat blog, would say "fungus amongst us." Indeed, saying "fungus amongst us" is one of the surest signs that the speaker is "fungus among us." I guess it's some sort of Brit class thing where nit-picking the peasant's grammar and punctuation keeps the peasants in their place. Doesn't cross the Atlantic though. Here, peasants sass back. Say things like "yo mama!" Go ahead, Bernard J., play Mr. Grammar minder with that one. I double dare you!

Hank, an interesting thing about ozone, is how S. Fred lead the forces of reaction using much the same tactics. Also, how accusations of China gaming the system were used to try and wreck the Montreal Protocols. They were given more time to come into compliance, as they have ahead of schedule, with little extra emissions compared to what was already in the atmosphere (for ~a decade they were the major emitters of CFC11 and CFC12, because no one else was). However, we really need a fungistat amongst us to deal with Mike

Read Wm's post which points out how the eminent Dr. Curry has been slashing wildly about, making false claim after false claim,

at least in Curry's case, is that she often doesn't know what she is talking about (see the above) but has frequently seen fit to say it in various blog comments, and subsequently failed to apologize for her errors.

So, what does that make her? Sad sack is quite mild.

What's this about picking on girls?

No-one picks on me much,apart from some of Judy's retinue. (And Climate Clash isn't a picnic either.) But when people are willing to put stuff out there, but unwilling to say, "Oh, really, you might be right. How interesting, I'll read that through again." or similar, then girls and boys alike should be prepared for what comes along.

Hey, an off topic Q - is there an equivalent of the Jim Prall "expertise v. doubterism" study on scientists, looking at journalists?
(or are there so few journalists with a science background that you couldn't do the study?)

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 02 Nov 2010 #permalink

p.s. Adelady#68, I've got a story or two that I could recount. A few fellows do seem to relish it.

By Anna Haynes (not verified) on 02 Nov 2010 #permalink

Eli, thanks, I always have to wonder how much I've been bamboozled; clarification about (the stories about and timing of said stories about) China's tactics welcome. I was thinking about HCFCs -- this story, seen many places…
But am I being fooled again? (Yes, everything described is legal under the rules as set up; they could have learned it all from good old Amurrican farm subsidy manipulators, or rather their lawyers and accountants, if it's even true).

Keith Kloor.

You should consider Neven's words carefully, as he touches upon a more general aspect of denialism that escapes most folk.

It's probably way beyond the decent limit of stretching the subject of this thread to actually deconstruct the matter and explain the underlying import of denial in climate change science in the modern warming context, but one significant implication is that not only is Curry obfuscating the understanding of the physics of warming, she is completely ignorant of its implications in the context of ecology, and of plant and animal physiology.

[To be fair, this is afailing of many of the physical climatologists (like me; my only defence is that I know I don't know. What I don't know, though, is how important it will be). It is sort-of an extension of the physics arrogance which makes people like Hal Lewis or even Lubos Motl opine on GW without knowing much about it -W]

To this end her involvement in the politics of climate change leaves a particularly sour taste in the mouth. As an ecologist myself I can tell you that my biological colleagues are much more 'politically' forthright in their explanations of what the magnitude of climate change presages, than are most climatologists themselves, who are, after all, simply describing the physical consequences. From a biologist's perspective the climatology and physics professions have been remarkably dispassionate and apolitical, and the involvement of Curry and of lobbyists in general in this part of the chain indicates their ignorance and/or ill-intent.

The science is sufficiently settled that the physics really isn't the point any more at which discussion should be held. It is done so here, however, in large part because this keeps attention away from the ecological and sociological consequences of climate change, and thus permits a maintenance of the sort of more general denialism that Neven brushes upon. This is convenient for the physics denialists, who are all about maintaining a political/economic cultural inertia, but rest assured (even if you do not like the idea) that a change to the global climate in which modern human society evolved will hurt many more people than you believe might be protected by maintaining the 20th century Western politico-economic status quo.

[I think I agree with the general thrust here: that while there are still things to be learnt about the physics, the ecological uncertainties are probably larger. That, of course, is not a message that Curry wants to hear. *I* can say it now I'm out of the area :-) -W]

If you still struggle to understand this, I would recommend a four year tertiary-level course in ecology, ecophysiology, and population biology.


You have obviously missed my original (and only slightly subtle) point.

However, to add to it, if one cannot maintain the most coherent expression possible, one not only risks an increasing inability to effectively converse (albeit unidirectionally) with past and future generations, but one rapidly begins to lose the capacity to sensibly communicate with one's contemporaries. Orwell recognised it in his construction of Newspeak: many older scientists recognise a similar phenomenon occurring, in a mathematical context, in classes of students who have grown up with calculators and, over the last decade, with computers.

It's curious to see many people now regarding the difference between 'among' and 'amongst' as being one only of "archaic", "santimonious", "old-fashioned", or "pretentious" usage. Apparently the plural and the action contexts have been lost to most usage authorities, especially in the New World.

Of course, even using lots of words can these days confuse some people...

After all is said and done, though, Eli wins the argument. Terbinafine hydrochloride is the best answer.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Nov 2010 #permalink

Hank, while Eli is not a bunny to ever underestimate the cupidity of industry, remember, to get the credits the chemical companies are wasting 2% of their product which they could sell. Those would have to be very sharp pencils, but, as always this is another example of why the Army has a rule about the amount of rat in chocolate chip cookies.

The way we feed our cat medicine is to wrap it in some delicious spread or paste. Unfortunately he has noticed that he only gets these delicacies when there is a need to medicate him. So we have taken to giving him these also at irregular times without medicine... it's complicated.

This is what I inevitably think of when seeing Paul Kelly's proposal -- or the Breakthrough folks', really. It works for cats, and is the right thing to do... but grown-up humans? Doesn't anyone see an ethics issue with tricking humanity into saving itself, rather than informing and persuading so? Something to do with freedom, informed consent and responsibility? The 'denial' angle is just a silly word game by comparison.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 03 Nov 2010 #permalink

Martin, works for your cat? Mine (when I still had one) had the uncanny ability to smell the medicine (I never forget the evil look on those occasions), or to eat right around it. Num-num-num, gulp..............spit, pill on the floor. Repeatedly.

And yes, there is some policy connection there, too (read my unanswered question to Keith higher up the thread).

Martin Vermeer,

My ideas are very different from those of Breakthrough and were not inspired by them.
1) I think there are already sufficient efficiencies and technologies currently available to bring significant energy transformation.

2) I oppose "carbon pricing" because it does not necessarily bring deployment, likely making both carbon and carbon free unaffordable.

3) The least efficient path to transformation is government picking winners and losers in the marketplace. To me, Breakthrough's main purpose is to lobby for government hand-outs.

Also note, I'm not interested in persuading anyone about the necessity of energy transformation. There are already more than enough who understand to accomplish it. It does start with asking the right question. Do you see the benefit of energy transformation? Not surprisingly, almost everyone will answer yes. There is no reason to ask why, only how.

The approach using climate as the rationale and basis for and the measurement of success of policy is a dead end. This is a kick in the chops for a lot of people, who must decide if it is more goal oriented to wistfully hope this reality will change, or to find another way to reach their goal.

Gotta say, the denialism over here--in the face of the reality that Paul continues to make a good case for--is an interesting phenom of itself. If Paul's right, but the climate concerned prevail with their approach, it might be akin to you winning the battle but losing the war.

California's Proposition 23 - an effort to overturn California's comprehensive carbon emissions legislation - went down by a whopping 21%.

Whose reality are we talking about, here, Keith?

And, yes, I know Republicans have re-taken the House, but *you* know that climate legislation has very little to do with that.

Paul Kelly:

The approach using climate as the rationale and basis for and the measurement of success of policy is a dead end.

Same to you. Voters in california gave the lie to this claim.

Yes, Republicans will roadblock things at the national level, there's no helping that. But suggesting we give up all political focus on climate change mitigation is simply silly when you see the level of support for pro-active action SOLD AS ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE in one of the world's largest economies - California - during one of the state's most dismal economic times in its history, despite funding from the Koch brothers, oil interests, etc campaigning on an almost-reasonable sounding argument that the bill wouldn't *stop* action but only delay it until the CA economy improved ...

Who is being naive, here?

Those who suggest we don't give up, or those like you who and Keith who suggest we give up prematurely?

Yes, it certainly is a game changing event. The same voters who enacted Prop32 in the first place have chosen to let it be implemented! We can now patiently wait for the rest of the country to follow California's lead.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 03 Nov 2010 #permalink

Ah, but Paul, the majic of the market works for you in this case. California is huge, about 1/4 of the US economy. Perforce, no one is going to give up that market and most companies are not big enough to have a California and a rest of the US model. (Yes Eli knows about cars)

Exactly, Eli.

And, Paul, the point is that it's not climate change as an issue that's the primary problem.

We can now patiently wait for the rest of the country to follow California's lead.

IIRC the eastern seaboard states suing the EPA over CO2 emissions predates Prop32 by a healthy margin, and a lot of other state, regional and local initiatives are underway.

What we're patiently waiting for is for the federal government to catch up to the people.

My car, - '92 Geo Storm - has a California tuned emissions computer and I like it just fine. I might even have voted against Prop 23 if I lived out there. It's not that politics and government have no role in all this. It's that that path is slow, bumpy and often leads in the wrong direction.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 03 Nov 2010 #permalink

FYI, PK, *AB*32 was a legislative act, not a ballot proposition.

By Steve Bloom (not verified) on 03 Nov 2010 #permalink…

Read to the end of the excerpt for the irony:

--- excerpt follows ---

"In 2002, California enacted legislation .... 13 states ... soon moved to adopt the program.

... the Bush administration ... delayed ....
....In May, the Obama administration ... enabled the creation of a single, national fuel economy/global warming emissions program for cars based on the California standards....

The new standards are expected to reduce gasoline consumption by as much as 11.6 billion gallons per year in 2016 nationallyânearly as much as is consumed by all the vehicles in Texas in a year ...."

--- end excerpt ---

Oh, the irony!

No more Curry jokes?

Try the new post on the "Feedback Loop" - no, not sensitivity. Nasty, greedy scientists on the IPCC gravy train.

My sense of humour fails me this time.

[This? Yes, I think you have the right reaction -W]

Pinko Punko:

Two wrongs may not make a right, but three rights make a left!

By Rattus Norvegicus (not verified) on 03 Nov 2010 #permalink

Eli and Bernard J.,

Response to yr comments #65 and & #71.

I'm going to make a big effort to keep this comment within the chalk-lines.

Fungistat?! Terbinafine hydrochloride?! Are we getting traction? Are you guys successfully putting me in a box? I leave it to the Stoat regulars to decide. But, jeez, guys I seem to have struck a nerve. Hope I didn't tap into anyone's deep-seated, adolescent memory bank (kids can be so cruel).

Hey, Bernard J., I really apreciateed your prissy concern with the decline of nuanced English in the "new world". On the other hand, you seemed to shy away from any comment on the earthy "yo mama!" Personally, the only thing I'd modify in contemporary America would be to change the legend on the flag with the coiled rattler from "Don't tread on me" to "Yo mama!"--the authentic expression of American peasants like me.

If you Stoaters ever have the slightest desire to influence an American electorate then, in my humble opinion, you guys need to shed the superior airs that waft through Stoater-world--that is, you guys need a new perfume. Ain't workin' and all that.

And I kindly offer the above insight with little risk that you'll take it for action. Rather, I offer it so that when humanity finally rejoices in the ultimate triumph of truth, justice, and the American Way, I'll be able to add a self-satisfied: "I tol'ja so!"

[OK. That is absolutely the last such that gets through this thread. Mike: I appreciate that you dno't like the responses you're getting, but there really isn't any substance in the above, except the last paragraph, which would have been better posted on its own. And yes I know others have also posted largely substanceless stuff -W]

If you Stoaters ever have the slightest desire to influence an American electorate then, in my humble opinion, you guys need to shed the superior airs that waft through Stoater-world--that is, you guys need a new perfume. Ain't workin' and all that.

Prop 23, trashed by 21% in CA.

The only direct vote on climate science-driven action on yesterday's ballot.

And climate science came out on top.

Dems showed no balls after winning both houses and the presidency. This was commented on at the time - "oh, they'll f*** it up."

I had hopes this time would be different, but I'm not surprised.


I apologise for my earlier post - I hope that this might serve in its place.

Mike, my original point isn't nearly as "prissy" as you suggest. If a person can't establish their basic concepts and terminologies properly, sooner or later they end up making silly confabulations in their arguments, such as Judith Curry's recent confusion about confidence and probability in her clumsy Italian flag comparison.

Of course, in her case it might extend to not actually understanding the subject matter itself, but that's another story entirely...

To you it might seem like sematic pedantry; to me it can be the difference between making a valid point and speaking rubbish.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 04 Nov 2010 #permalink

Climate politics came out on top in CA, the science still has a long way to go until it is established. I'm suprised at this reaction to Curry, there is nothing at all controvertial in what she espouses, rather some inconvenient truths.

[Hard to know what you mean by that. People are complaining about her being *wrong*: for example, this. Being wrong is incompatible with espousing truth -W]

By nano pope (not verified) on 04 Nov 2010 #permalink

Paul Kelly, what you and Breakthrough have in common is the type of your dishonesty, whatever else your differences may be. Yes, I agree with the necessity and inevitability of energy transformation. What you're missing is, it's going to cost money and effort. Yes, it's worth doing, but a major reason why this is so is climate. Denying that is, well, 'denial'.

> The approach using climate as the rationale and basis for and the
> measurement of success of policy is a dead end.

And not doing so, i.e., not considering or even mentioning a major rationale in favor of minor ones, important as they are, is what I am doing to my cat. Good for cats, thoroughly dishonest for free, responsible, informed human beings. And economically sub-optimal to boot.

You have no 'trick' to pull this off in the absence of the climate rationale. There is none. None good enough to justify the level of substantial, sustained investment needed.

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 04 Nov 2010 #permalink


What you're missing is that the money and effort best comes from the voluntary actions of free, responsible, informed human beings - you and I doing something together, rather than waiting for actions to be imposed on us. From your comment I gather that, if not for climate, replacing fossil fuel wouldn't be a compelling issue for you. That's where we differ. I find economic and environmental reasons compelling enough.

To better understand where I'm coming from, try this. Ask a random sample of people, "Are we facing a climate catastrophe?". The ask another random sample, "Do you see the benefits of energy transformation?". Compare the results. My view is simply that it really is time to look for allies rather than converts.

On a personal note. You may call me wrong about all this - as I could be - but don't call me dishonest.


about dishonesty: I'm dishonest with my cat, and not ashamed of it. It's just an observation, not meant as an insult. You propose to shortcut the democratic process by misrepresenting -- intentionally understating -- the case for energy transformation. You must admit that cannot be called 100% honest.

> From your comment I gather that, if not for climate, replacing
> fossil fuel wouldn't be a compelling issue for you.

Wrong. It's not a yes/no thing. Decarbonization has a cost to it. It causes pain, and that has to be justified. Economic and environmental reasons alone -- and getting unhooked from the Middle East -- will only justify a slow, slow process in which bad things are likely to happen with climate further down this century.

This isn't just theory; you know, the useful thing about a carbon price is that it allows you to actually measure the pain. We have had a C&T regime in the European area that creates a price for carbon; that price has been way too low -- precisely because nobody was ready to confront the pain -- but it did lead to a small but measurable emissions reduction. To achieve the reductions that are needed in order to avoid bad outcomes, a much higher price is needed if that is the mechanism we choose. Obviously, no country has been ready for that yet.

If you have another idea how to organize bringing about the emissions reductions we're talking about without causing this kind of pain to folks somewhere down the line, you should be getting a Nobel prize... I don't believe you. Least of all the idea of voluntary actions. TANSTAAFL. Somebody is going to pay for it: the users of fossil fuels directly, or, e.g., the developers and deployers of new energy technologies, and they will roll it into their prices, and consumers will pay. Just like nature, economics cannot be fooled.

Yep, most folks already see the benefits of energy transformation. And right now it's going about an order of magnitude too slow. Somehow I don't see repeating the argument in a louder tone of voice speeding that up much, do you? Now, on the other hand, pointing out synergies...

By Martin Vermeer (not verified) on 04 Nov 2010 #permalink

Wow, people sure are interested in Curry. You all made me go and look.

And I found this:

"Note to the plagiarism police: none of these are my original ideas and I am claiming no academic credit for them, I have done my best to synthesize my knowledge into clear statements and attribute specific ideas to their source."…

And this:

"For ease of reading, I have not blocked or italicized the quotes, but indicate them with quotation marks and a parenthetical citation at the end of the paragraph. (clarification for the plagiarism police :) )"…

What you're missing is that the money and effort best comes from the voluntary actions of free, responsible, informed human beings - you and I doing something together, rather than waiting for actions to be imposed on us.

Beyond being a statement of faith, rather than an objectively provable statement of fact, it also gives the lie to your posing as an unbiased commenter who claims that those of us who don't accept your claim that climate change is dead as a political issue are "in denial".

Least of all the idea of voluntary actions. TANSTAAFL.

Very appropriate, BTW. Your first sentence rejects a common libertarian fantasy, while TANSTAAFL was popularized by a well-known libertarian-leaning science fiction writer ...


I don't make any case for energy transformation. I assume it is a necessity. I'm really only interested in those who assume so, too. What is completely honest is my belief in a bottom up solution succeeding through the aggregate of millions of individual actions.

Carbon pricing has some fine attributes. That you think its finest one is that it brings the most certain pain is a curious argument.

It is too bad you lack confidence in the power of individual action.


I have never presented myself as an unbiased commenter. I come here with specific ideas and questions. Nor have I said climate change is dead as a political issue. I have said mitigation through CO2 suppression is, for the foreseeable future, a closed door. You will not find "in denial" in any of my comments.

I have never presented myself as an unbiased commenter. I come here with specific ideas and questions.

The snippet I quoted implies a political motivation for your claims.

Nor have I said climate change is dead as a political issue. I have said mitigation through CO2 suppression is

Well, pardon me, then, but the political focus has been on mitigation, and I think equating "action on climate change" with mitigation to be a reasonable thing to do given the current political climate. Cap and trade. Negotiated reductions in emissions. Etc. This has been the focus.

You will not find "in denial" in any of my comments.

Perhaps you'd be so kind as to correct keith kloor's misrepresentations of your position, then?

[That seems unreasonable. As one who has been misrepresented many a time, I wouldn't care to be charged with, effectively "so you haven't corrected his misrepresentation so you must agree with it" or similar -W]

Gotta say, the denialism over here--in the face of the reality that Paul continues to make a good case for--is an interesting phenom of itself.

Yes, it was Keith Kloor, not Paul who claimed that those of us who don't accept Paul's version of reality are in denial.

> you lack confidence in the power of individual action

The pump don't work 'cause John Snow took the handle.

The power of individuals includes inspiring appropriate top-down regulation -- especially in the face of large businesses that will lose money of the regulations are enforced, as was the case with John Snow against the
water suppliers affected by his actions.

See also Rachel Carson, for another example.

Hank Roberts has it right when he says:

"KK extends this [the word 'denialism'] to include rhetorical tactics designed to give the impression that there is no legitimate debate among voters when in fact there is."

Those asserting things like "denying the political reality" are nearly always those opposed to emissions reductions. They use it to project their own political views onto reality. This can be seen in Paul Kelly's recent comment.…

California Prop. 23 failed by a very large margin. Support for broad-based legislation is quite strong in at least one major economy. There are many things that shape the political reality, including public views of the science, level of concern, views of the economic costs of mitigation, views on the additional environmental and societal benefits of emissions reductions, political ideology (libertarian "free market" types often being opposed), and special interests. In California, most voters and politicians accept the science and haven't bought into claims by mitigation opponents that mitigation will create economic catastrophe. It's certainly not the simplistic binary view that some here are taking on it.


I hope others will read the comment following the one you cited to show that I don't take a simplistic binary view. As I said above, I probably would have voted against Prop23, if only to see what the effect of AB32 actually will be - states are "laboratories of democracy" after all.

It is noteworthy that corporate support for the no on 23 side, mostly venture capitalists who expect to profit from AB32, was more than double that for the yes side.

Some of this is how one defines mitigation and what approach is most effective in reducing emissions and their effects in the long run.


Before the pleasant distraction of going over to KKloor's, I was going to ask you about your comments on black soot. You wrote: "My own thought is that black carbon is worth some attention but not much: it won't be a major factor into the future".

Why won't it be? Recent papers have identified black soot as a significant positive feedback for late 20th century warming. Does the feedback effect diminish as CO2 or temperature increase? Has anybody modeled this?

[My thoughts were nothing so sophisticated. I just don't think it will grow at the rate of CO2. It will be controlled, as an obvious pollutant -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 05 Nov 2010 #permalink


That was snark, actually. Be careful when you agree with me

That was regarding kk's stretching 'denialism' to cover "all the voters agree" -- I think the definition I quoted there (denialism ... giving the [false] impression of a legitimate debate among experts) is usefully narrow.

I wouldn't stretch 'denialism' to cover standard PR rhetoric claiming _no_ legitimate debate among _voters_.

Stretching the word that far verges on humptydumpsterism; a word stretched that far loses its usefulness.

Stretching the word that far verges on humptydumpsterism; a word stretched that far loses its usefulness.

There's glory for you!

> black soot

Both public health and climate change issues combine here; the industry argument I vaguely recall was that there was uncertainty about exactly which size particles needed to be regulated, and from what sources (mainly diesel engines and coal power plants). E.g.

I recall arguments made long ago that particles from diesel engines are either too small to regulate, or too big to get into small airway passages in the lungs.

But the whole range goes into the Arctic:
and the Himalayas

The major sources of soot are also different from those of CO2. Much of the soot comes from primitive cook stoves in non industrialized areas. That it is short lived means that permanent reductions can be achieved by one time actions.

I don't understand the resistance (or is it apathy?) to a direct and immediate attack on soot. If mitigation of the effects of CO2 is the goal, shouldn't the relatively inexpensive, agreed to even by climate deniers, doable elimination of a known positive feedback be a priority?

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 06 Nov 2010 #permalink

Paul, got a cite on that "major sources" apportionment?
It's certainly possible to trace sources, but I didn't find an overall statement like the one you give above; the local reports are more from developed countries and from the development of the methodology to identify sources, e.g. this very early one:

"The largest primary source contributors to fine particle mass concentrations in Los Angeles are found to include diesel engine exhaust, paved road dust, gasoline-powered vehicle exhaust, plus emissions from food cooking and wood smoke, with smaller contribution:; from tire dust, plant fragments, natural gas combustion aerosol, and cigarette smoke. Once these primary aerosol source contributions are added to the secondary sulfates, nitrates and organics present, virtually all of the annual average fine particle mass at Los Angeles area monitoring sites can be assigned to its source."

More relevant for policy, sources like diesel can be regulated and widespread compliance verified. Controlling open air cookfires, though, requires social engineering, and has multiple impacts, e.g.…

I don't understand the resistance (or is it apathy?) to a direct and immediate attack on soot.

Any reasonable attack on CO2 emissions will sweep up particulate pollution in its wake.

That, of course, assumes your statement's right, which it is not. I'm simply point out that even if your braindead-stupid statement were correct, in the long-term, it doesn't matter.

Efficient power production will cut soot emissions. QED.

If mitigation of the effects of CO2 is the goal, shouldn't the relatively inexpensive, agreed to even by climate deniers, doable elimination of a known positive feedback be a priority?

No one opposes it. We just understand that 1) it's not sufficient and 2) will be swept up with the expensive CO2 solution if the world decides to actually save itself and 3) you should know this, since you're lecturing us on our stupid denialist inability to accept reality crap.

[PA redacted. Don't do this stuff folks; your comments will just vanish and I will think a little less of you and you will gain nothing -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 06 Nov 2010 #permalink

No, Paul is right about the source (also lousy old coal central heating stuff in China and inefficient electricity plants) but he is wrong about the solution.

The problem is that they are burning dung. The poorest of the poor gather and dry it and the cost is very very low. There have been multiple attempts to provide modern stoves burning propane and similar, but the cost of the fuel always exceeds that of the dung, so this does not work. The only way to make it work is to give the stoves away, subsidize the fuel for the new stove and distribute it through the people who are now spending their lives gathering the dung, and oh yes, provide digesters to turn the dung into fertilizer. There are lots of cows.

An ongoing subsidy will be needed.


Thanks for knocking down the idea that the soot problem would be solved as a consequence of CO2 reductions. You also accurately describe the impediments to action on soot. I think the cost to replace all the dung stoves is around $15 billion, monies which may already be in place. Don't know what the cost of propane subsidies and digesters might be.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 07 Nov 2010 #permalink

As Hansen pointed out many years ago, solving the soot problem buys significant time to solve the CO2 emissions problem and has the benefit of improving the health of a lot of people (sitting around one of those fires is not great for the lungs)

No argument bad cookstoves matter a lot.

Just sayin' -- Beware attempts to focus on them by the "individual action not big gummint regulation" and "bottom-up-action" and "anything-but-our-diesel" folks tho'.

The big point sources pays off fastest; going after the widely distributed small sources has to follow. finds among much else this science-based blogger's discussion:

Air quality standards in Europe were developed using PM2.5 and PM10 particle sizes (less than 2.5 and less than 10
micrometers in diameter, respectively). The limitations of the measurement equipment available at the time were
at least partly responsible for the choice of these particle sizes. ....
... PM1 measurements, however, could be used to distinguish between particles from combustion processes distinct from mechanically generated particles. Data from many environments around the world showed a clear cut off point around the PM1 mark, with particles below this size being derived almost exclusively from combustion.

This suggests that PM1 and PM10 would be more useful measures of air quality than the current system. Switching
to PM1 measurements could be made now as the measurement technology is already available. In future it may
become increasingly useful to focus on the ultrafine particles vehicles emit in large quantities. These are even smaller than PM1 ....

Particle size plays a key role in determining exposure to pollutants; it plays a part in both the chemistry of the particle and the likelihood we will breathe it in. The nose, for example, filters out most particles larger than PM10. ... Most anthropogenic pollution is combustion-related, and creates particles less than 1 micrometer in diameter (PM1).
documents/air_pollution.pdf ...

Sources: Morawska, L., Keogh, D.U., Thomas, S.B., and Mengersen, K. (2008). Modality in ambient particle size
distributions and its potential as a basis for developing air quality regulation.
Atmospheric Environment.42 (7): 1617-1628.

Eli: "and oh yes, provide digesters to turn the dung into fertilizer."

You missed a bit...

...provide digesters to turn the dung into fertilizer and bio-gas.


Soot falls in the significant mitigation action whose primary rationale and benefit is other than climate category. A good example of the bottom up approach is the 10:10 group, their recent epic PR fail notwithstanding.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 09 Nov 2010 #permalink

One more joke attempt. Is it right to beat a dead horse with a curry brush?

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 09 Nov 2010 #permalink

+1 to PK's latest...

As a big fan of deploying better cooking stoves (a good friend of mine is hard at work on getting a low tech CSP-mirror-based stove deployed in Central and South America), it pains me to say that such efforts probably will be in vain unless there are dedicated funds from the UN/GEF/UNEP etc OR a viable carbon offset market...which at the moment looks as dead as the horse mentioned above...

By Marlowe Johnson (not verified) on 10 Nov 2010 #permalink