Judith Curry WTF?

oglaf-dick JC has been veering more and more to the dark side in recent years1. Or maybe not so recent? I find that all the way back in 2010 I wrote Hopefully Curry isn’t going to fall off that cliff, but she is teetering. And I managed to be nice to her soon after. But in August of that year I felt obliged to announce her shark-jumping. And by 2013 it had only got worse to the point where I think I stopped reading her, and certainly made an effort to stop writing about her. She is suffering - uninterestingly - from having nowhere to go. Her scientific papers are of no interest but she is, by now, accustomed to a role in the "scientific debate". With nothing to say on the "light side" she is inevitably left talking to the dark side. Somewhat like Richard Lindzen.

[As a token gesture to talking about science, why not read Record heat despite a cold sun at RC or Apocalypse now? by James instead of reading on here. Or even - I'm trolling you, don't worry, I know what you're like - Trump Should Repeal Frank Dodd - And Replace It With Obama And Clinton's Sensible Alternative by Timmy.]

Anyway, the post that had Things Break reacting with "What. The. Fuck." (and more amusingly, RP Sr reacting with @curryja Thanks! You have provided an excellent summary of Donald Trump's views on environmental and climate issues. I learned from it) is Trumping the climate (aren't you just sick of people inserting the word "Trump" into phrases? Still, not as stupid as a certain well-known presidential ex-hopeful who was dumb enough to use it in her own slogan good grief will some people never learn? But I digress).


Disclaimer and/or FYI: I started writing this post after reading her first few paragraphs and being almost unable to believe the drivel she was writing. So I do hope I'm not going to have to change my mind after I read more. But I feel quietly confident I can "trust" JC in this.

So, just to to-and-fro this a bit, sourced from Politifact: Bernie Sanders says (as, I think, do many others): Donald Trump "thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese." JC's response is to go off on one of her ludicrous anti-UNFCC rants, yawn (Sou really really didn't like that bit). A better answer is to read Trump's words which she quotes: Well, I think the climate change is just a very, very expensive form of tax. A lot of people are making a lot of money... But this is done for the benefit of China, because China does not do anything to help climate change. They burn everything you could burn; they couldn’t care less. They have very — you know, their standards are nothing. But they — in the meantime, they can undercut us on price. So it’s very hard on our business. I don't think Trump has the science, the economics, and the politics straight in his mind (he is, of course, far from unusual in this). He isn't thinking through this stuff carefully. His "hoax" can be taken to apply to the science; but more plausibly it applies, not absolutely literally, to things like the Kyoto treaty as attempts to solve the problem. Or to many of the "subsidy regimes" created in the West (which I too have been critical of). I can't defend his original The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive, because that is clearly stupid and unthinking. But then again, he wasn't a pol then. He does appear to have learnt to back off from such unsustainable positions; which of itself is good. Politifact rates BS's claim "mostly true" and I'd agree, but not without hope.

JC reflections

The stuff after that until "JC reflections" is just dull. But my eye was caught by In my post Trumping the elites [WILL YOU STOP F*CK*NG USING THE WORD "TRUMP" IN ALL YOUR BLOODY BLOG TITLES YOU HOPELESS IDIOT -ed], I stated that Trump’s election provided an opportunity for a more rational energy and climate policy. Many in the blog comments and the twitosphere found this to be an incomprehensible statement. I, by contrast, find it a comprehensible statement, so that's great. What does she mean by it? Well apparently:

Here is what I think needs to be done, and I do see opportunities for these in a Trump administration:
* a review of climate science that includes a faithful and transparent representation of uncertainties in 21st century projections of global and regional climate change
* reopening of the ‘endangerment’ issue, as to whether warming is ‘dangerous’
* a do-over on assessing the social cost of carbon, that accounts for full uncertainty in the climate model simulations, the integrated assessment models and their inputs.
* support funding for Earth observing systems (satellite, surface, ocean) and research on natural climate variability.

Apart from the last one, which is sane in a dull and uncontroversial way (as long as you take care to pass over her pointed introduction of "natural climate variability" as though it was a concept she'd invented), the first three are mad hobby-horse riding kind of stuff (she must be hoping for a post from Trump, Shirley?). A rational energy policy would begin by removing all subsidies for biofuels, since that's about the most insane part of the entire system. Will she advocate it? I doubt it. Will Trump: and piss off all those lovely midwest farmers? Ho ho ho.

Overall: doesn't really live up the the outrage that her ridiculous "here is the dictionary definition of a hoax" stuff first stirred in me, but stands as a useful marker in her long slow slide off into the dark.


* (We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang and Temptation - Heaven 17
* You might not like the TPP. You are going to like the alternative less - Bronte Capital
* Curry update: looks like she's fucking off: see WATN 2016


1. And now (February 2017) comes evidence that she has moved over to the total shithead side.


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The future EPA.

[That's an interesting article because it totally misunderstands ME, in my opinion. Is it very much written through the lens of what the author wants to see. MEs focus is not the science; it is policy and economics. He is not, I think, very interested in the science; he is certainly not well up on it. To spend so long attacking him on the science is pointless; you need to understand his economic and philosophical stance -W]

By Russell the Stout (not verified) on 14 Nov 2016 #permalink

You're spot on there, William. As I see it, Judith set out on the path of denial back in 2009, publicly at least. It might have begun earlier than that in private.


In 2014 she rated herself as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10, where full blown denial is 1 and 10 is the fairly conservative IPCC science.


Now she'd be below 1 on the scale.

I doubt she has the wit or stamina to manage a political appointment. Blogging and the occasional attendance supporting efforts to increase warming aren't too demanding because she gets her readers to prepare her presentations for her. That would be hard to do from a Governor's office or, horror of horrors, the White House. (She'd not survive 10 minutes in the White House.)

"a review of climate science that includes a faithful and transparent representation of uncertainties in 21st century projections of global and regional climate change"

Excellent idea, we should get the worlds leading scientists and economists with relevant expertise, divide them up into working groups to look into the basic science, the likely impacts and the mitigation steps that might help and get them each to write an authoritative report to provide the politicians with the information they need to make the right decisions. I'm surprised nobody thought of that already, what buffoons we have all have been! Oh, hang on...

By Dikran Marsupial (not verified) on 15 Nov 2016 #permalink

FWIW there has clearly been a problem with Prof. Curry (at least in terms of basic scientific skepticism) since her "Wow" post about Salby's theory about the rise in atmospheric CO2, the problems with which are very, very obvious.

[Her posts on Salby are just incomprehensible. No-one even vaguely sane believes his stuff; even most of the denialists recognise it for rubbish. Other than as a signal that she's a wacko, I'm quite unable to understand why on earth she would post what she did. She can't possibly be unaware that it is junk, can she? -W]

By Dikran Marsupial (not verified) on 15 Nov 2016 #permalink

Everyone loses the plot as they get older: some go earlier, faster and therefore get further down that path than others. I agree with the above that the Salby stuff was a stand-out event, she was well out of her depth with the uncertainty nonsense but I can't remember which came first. Anyway, I'm sure she will be thrilled at being one of the republicans' regular choices for these silly hearing pantomimes that they seem to go in for.

By James Annan (not verified) on 15 Nov 2016 #permalink

> To spend so long attacking him on the science is pointless;
> you need to understand his economic and philosophical
> stance -W]

Alice didn't know what to say to this: it wasn't at all like conversation, she thought .... 'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all'.

By Hank Roberts (not verified) on 15 Nov 2016 #permalink

Ah, I see that I really am in Lostplot, US.

By Obstreperous A… (not verified) on 16 Nov 2016 #permalink

Why Trump Flourishes?
Darn, you have put that word in your own post headline again, Bill.
Full of popcorn, full of beer, I just turn on the ABC news [here in Australia] and listen to the talking heads bemoaning their lack of insight.

Nearly as good as your rowing I would imagine, when you win.

My opinion, what you're missing is that she is a regular for testifying to our Republican Congress. I don't know how that works out financially, but I'm sure that is taken care of. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Now there is no check on that for at least two years (they have the courts and both houses of Congress, and also the means for increased voter suppression), and they've got all the "experts" they need with Curry, Christy, and the rest of the sorry crew.

This doesn't belong here, but I listened to Ebell's words, and though his smarmy manner made my skin crawl, he was careful not to make any strongly counterfactual assertions while he stuck a dagger in the back of honest science with the usual claims.

By Susan Anderson (not verified) on 22 Nov 2016 #permalink

" Bernie Sanders says (as, I think, do many others): Donald Trump “thinks that climate change is a hoax, invented by the Chinese.” "

Doesn't he realize Trump got that direct from Beijing?

[Ah, who could forget the glory that was CCR? -W]

You said, "A rational energy policy would begin by removing all subsidies for biofuels, since that’s about the most insane part of the entire system. Will she advocate it? I doubt it. Will Trump: and piss off all those lovely midwest farmers?"

Being a farmer myself I would absolutely love Trump to do this. The biofuels subsidies are just one part of the commodity crop buffer stock scheme that Earl Butz gave us. These policies taken as a whole bankrupted 1/2 the farmers in the midwest, and an even higher % of the rural economy. This is why chicken farmers raising 97% of the chicken produced in USA don't even own the chickens they raise! And generally the bank owns the chicken houses. And they live below poverty levels with no say at all in their production methods. This is why the vast feedlots dominate livestock and it takes 2000 acres to reach break even for a new hog farmer. It is why vast areas of Iowa is so eroded that the rolling hills region subsoil is peeking through and visible from air, on land that have over 3 feet of the best topsoil of the world. This is why the AVERAGE age of farmers today is almost 60, and over 60% of the remaining are operating at a loss, having to take second jobs. As if farming wasn't a hard enough job as it is.

Yeah Trump could easily drop the biofuel subsidies. But only if he also restructures the buffer stock schemes and complete guts the antiquated portions of the USDA regulatory structure. We can keep USDA NRCS and SARE, but the rest needs gutted and rebuilt.

By Scott Strough (not verified) on 06 Jan 2017 #permalink