Phew, wot a scorcher!

Time for some re-posting of everyone else's news, just to reassure regular readers after the Exxon stuff that I haven't gone over to the dork side. First though a link to more of the bleedin' obvious, Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming by Bart Verheggen, or Devastating Reply To Richard Tol’s Nonsensus In Peer-Reviewed Journal by Collin Maessen.

Anyway, enough of that, on to the recent run of hot months. This pic shamelessly ripped from HotWhopper but you can find similar at Moyhu or Open Mind. Gavin, perhaps only slightly recklessly, is already laying down all his worldly goods on 2016 being a record warm year; but I'm not going to offer to bet against him.

Speaking of which, sea ice, hmmm, my $10k isn't looking terribly safe. But don't worry, it is still early in the year, all to play for, and it is currently snowing in Oxford.

On to the space fillers - I do so hate it when the text runs out alongside an image - I went running again in the Rotterdam marathon but disgraced myself with 4:16:51. Clearly more training is required.

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Think of how better it would be were all the time, money and effort spent on studying the consensus of the consensus of the consensus spent, instead, on the actual deployment of emission reducing technologies and efficiencies.

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 16 Apr 2016 #permalink

@Paul Kelly - that's weird. The effort that went into those several papers is minuscule compared to the effort that goes into disinformation campaigns. Think of how it would be ever so much better if all the time, money and effort that went into trying to persuade the public that climate science is a hoax, was instead spent on the actual deployment of emission reducing technology. Or even into discussion solutions and policy that would help address the problem.

(The argument that it's not worth letting the public know the scientific consensus is virtually unanimous doesn't hold, when it is the public who elects the people who can make a difference - or not. The average person in the USA thinks the consensus is only around 55% - when it's close to 100%. It makes a difference.)

discussion = discussing

I don't think it is weird. I think the whole "it's an information battle" idea is misguided and counterproductive. I believe the scientific literature that says the information deficit communication model is inapplicable to climate issues. I recognize that climate is one of several valid reasons to replace fossil fuels. Communication should be organized around the shared goal of energy transformation rather than any particular reason to desire it. Worrying about who thinks what about climate science is irrelevant, in my opinion, to attaining the real goal.

[Sou is right, in that the money and time that went into those individual papers is small. You're right in that its not really very productive, at least in theory. Whether it works in practice for those "uncommitted" I don't know -W]

By Paul Kelly (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

In comment threads where I think the uncommitted audience might be non-zero, e.g. climate articles in the New York Times, I often mention "the lopsided consensus of working climate scientists for AGW", without citing actual numbers. If there's room, I'll link to the joint 2014 publication by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the UK, Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, with begins with these words:

CLIMATE CHANGE IS ONE OF THE DEFINING ISSUES OF OUR TIME. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate.

I'll point out that the NAS and the RS are "two of the world's most respected scientific societies", and that their public pronouncements on any scientific topic should be assumed to represent the expert consensus. While the public at large may not understand what consensus means in science, I'm hoping NYT readers recognize that if they can trust any sources of scientific information, they can trust the NAS and the RS. Hard to say whether anyone's been moved from "uncommitted" to committed as a result, but my link usually gets a few "recommend"s at least 8^}.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

Please define 'Defining'.

There's more to science than the success of semantic agression.

Russell:

Please define ‘Defining’.

Who, me? Ask the guys who wrote the Foreword. I'll bet you know Ralph Cicerone personally.

There’s more to science than the success of semantic ag[g]ression.

But Russell, the booklet was written for an educated lay audience; like, yuh no, teechurs, loyers, gubmint oafishuls and such. Trying to shove actual science down their throats would be another kind of aggression.

I jest, as do you. Those two sentences are just the front matter, the science follows. It's at a level appropriate for the intended audience, which means scientists will be disappointed.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 17 Apr 2016 #permalink

" Ask the guys who wrote the Foreword"

Forewards are second only to titles as the locus of semantic preemption.

Whenever authors, whether disinterested or practicing a rhetoric of motives , deploy words in titles , they reify their validiity , and begin to frame their definition.

Science is not supposed to be about the creation and manipulation of symbols for political or policy ends

By Russell Seitz (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

"Science is not supposed to be about the creation and manipulation of symbols for political or policy ends"

This is true in a world where politics and policy do not ignore science. I am not sure that applies in this era.

There are many instances in history where scientists had to pull out the soap box and start screaming at the clouds to push politics and policy in a different direction to avoid disaster. Is this the optimum situation? No. Is it the world we live in? Yes.

By Kevin ONeill (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

Russell Seitz:

Science is not supposed to be about the creation and manipulation of symbols for political or policy ends

Says who? There you go with your semantic aggression, declaring yourself master of the word "science". It won't wash, Russell. Deacon Dodgson had your number 150 years ago.

Your proprietary claim notwithstanding, I reckon the members of the NAS and the RS may judge for themselves what science is supposed to be about.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

If science' means creating and manipulating symbols, then how does it differ in theory from semiotics, and in practice from propaganda?

The RS motto means not being obliged to swear by the words of any master.

By Russell Seitz (not verified) on 18 Apr 2016 #permalink

Russell, you are smarter than that. John Doe does some science. His results show that substance X can be found in drinking water. He writes a paper detailing his findings. The science ends here.

Of course substance X is dangerous, very dangerous - but there is no public policy reaction to the paper. Per Russell, John Doe does nothing. Anything more - like screaming at politicians for action - would be the creation and manipulation of symbols.

Thank pasta there are scientists that didn't learn ethics from Russell.

By Kevin O'Neill (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink

Russell Seitz:

If science’ means creating and manipulating symbols, then how does it differ in theory from semiotics, and in practice from propaganda?

Science, per Kuhn, is what scientists do. "Science" is a word. It is the symbol, not the referent. As a symbol, it maps to multiple referents, overlapping or distinct depending on who is doing the mapping.

How does "science" differ in theory from "semiotics" or "propaganda"? Well, for one thing, they're spelled differently. Theory? I got your theory right here: for each of us, "science" symbolizes a cloud of concepts, some hidden below the surface of our conscious minds. For me, "science" symbolizes a way of trying not to fool myself. I still fool myself all the time, though. As for you: science has traced the action of nicotine as a neurotransmitter "agonist" (another symbol with multiple referents), yet you somehow manage to reconcile your nicotine addiction with "liberty". "Liberty" evidently symbolizes something different to you than to me, and I presume "science" does too.

The NAS and the RS are collections of individuals who were incorporated by charter documents. The Congressional Act that established the US National Academy of Sciences didn't go into a lot of detail (my italics):

"the Academy shall, whenever called upon by any department of the Government, investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art..."

You'll notice the Act doesn't attempt to define science or art, leaving that to the Academy's members. The members choose themselves, by recognizing each other as doing whatever it is scientists do.

The Academy's policy mission, though, is implicit in its charter. C'mon, Russell, I agree with Kevin: you're smarter than this. The Foreword to Climate Change: Evidence and Causes might be "propaganda" to you, but somebody has to do it.

By Mal Adapted (not verified) on 20 Apr 2016 #permalink